Steven Reick: 2022 candidate for Illinois House 63rd District
Office sought: Illinois House 63rd District
Occupation: Retired tax attorney, full-time legislator
Previous offices held: Current state representative
Q: What needs to be done structurally to make the legislature more effective? What is your position on term limits in general and for legislative leaders specifically?
A: As to legislative effectiveness, I offer 3 suggestions, though there are certainly more: 1. Rather than combining all of the appropriations committee budgets into one overall budget, we should require each committee to present its budget individually to the Legislature for a vote.
2. Unless a bill is allowed to be reviewed for 3 days after presentation to the House before a vote, there shall be a presumption against the party proposing the bill as to legislative intent. The so-called "Safe-T" act is a good case in point, as the bill was proposed in the middle of the night and passed with no debate. 3. We spend a lot of time presenting "Points of Personal Privilege" on the House floor. These should be limited as to time and presented only before session begins or after adjournment. Our time in session would be much better spent considering legislation.
I don't believe in term limits. Citizens have a responsibility to take part in their governance.
Q: Federal assistance has enabled the state to make important advances toward improving its budget. What will you do to ensure these advances continue when the federal aid is gone?
A: We have to understand that the sugar rush of Federal money is not going to last. Working to improve economic conditions in the state is the only true way to keeping us on track from a budget standpoint. I'm very concerned that with all of the money Illinois received for COVID relief, we still owe $1.8 billion to the Federal Treasury for unemployment benefits advanced, plus interest. We can't continue to throw good money after bad, as witnessed by the 70% increase in administrative salaries at DCFS over the past 2 years while not demanding systemic change to this broken agency.
Q: To what extent are you happy or unhappy with the evidence-based model for education funding now in place in Illinois? How would you define "adequate" state funding for Illinois schools and what will you do to promote that?
A: Overall, I'm happy with the evidence-based model, as it begins to move the burden of paying for education to where our Constitution places it: on the state. However, without making systemic change that allow for greater freedom of choice in education, we're throwing good money into a system that is stacked against innovation. I'm very interested in moving to Arizona's education model, which gives parents the ability to use the money appropriated to their students in ways that allow them that greater freedom.
Q: Do you believe elections in Illinois are free and fair? What changes, if any, are needed regarding election security and voter access?
A: Voter access is important to the functioning of a democratic system. However, without adequate means of identifying voters and reasonable guardrails on voter participation which guarantee that only those entitled to vote actually do so, everyone's vote is diluted. COVID allowed for an excuse to remove some of those guardrails, and our procedures need to be re-examined.
Q: How well has Illinois responded to Supreme Court indications that it considers abortion, gay marriage and other social issues to be state, not federal, responsibilities? What if anything needs to be done in these areas and what would you do to make your vision come to pass?
A: Illinois hasn't had the time to respond to the Dobbs decision. Dobbs put the abortion conversation back to
where it should have always been: in the states and the hands of the people. Over the coming months, we're going to see that conversation play out throughout the state, as well as the country. We're at least one election cycle away from seeing where that conversation ultimately leads, as it's not going to be solved by November.
It's too bad that we had to wait 50 years for that conversation, because our politics today are much more polarized than they were then. There are going to have to be compromises made on both sides, and I question whether we can achieve reasonable compromise in the tribal atmosphere of our current political debate.