Position sought: 42nd State Representative District
Political party: Republican
Campaign committee: Friends of Jeanne Ives
Family: Husband, Paul; five children, Matt, Nick, Andrew, Joe, Louisa
Education: Bachelor's degree in Economics from the United States Military Academy at West Point
Occupation: senior tax advisor for small business and individuals
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices: Wheaton City Council (currently),
Milton Township Republican Committee (currently)
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
I commanded, lead and trained soldiers in the military. I am used to meeting challenges and working with all types of people to accomplish a mission. I will use that same dedication and leadership in Springfield to solve the fiscal problems in Illinois.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
1. Pension Reform: The Democrats in Rhode Island recently passed major pension reform. For Illinois, their plan would be a start, but I believe our situation is much more dire. In Rhode Island they brought all the parties to the table, clearly laid out the situation on the unsustainability of the current pension system, and forced the solution on current retirees, those currently vested in the pension system and those just getting started. The same honest discussion must happen here. The Rhode Island solution included, suspension of colas, increases in the retirement age, and moving everyone (except public safety) to a hybrid plan that included both a defined benefit and a defined contribution component. Illinois needs a new deal with its work force including public safety.
2. Cut Spending: We need to cut state spending and comprehensively reform pensions. The tax increase did not solve the problem, in fact it most likely worsened our economy and pushed off serious discussions on budgets cuts another year. In addition to pension reform, cut state grants not related to public safety, critical infrastructure or the direct operation of state facilities and land. For example, eliminate grants for arts, green energy, and tourism. Impose a wage and hiring freeze for all state employees. Require employees to contribute more to their health insurance. Eliminate legislative pensions. Legislators should lead on this issue. Verify eligibility for all medicaid recipients. Re-think how we do business and restructure entire systems.
3. Repeal the Tax Increase: One year after the January 2011 tax increase we know what kills jobs. The largest tax increase in history resulted in thousands of jobs lost and a tie for the greatest out-migration compared to other states in 2011. We only need to listen to the business community to know that the tax increase was a job killer and the state's decade of budget mismanagement has created uncertainty that is adding to the problem. Government creates the climate for job growth. I would vote to repeal the tax increase. The legislature gave back to select companies a good portion of the business tax increase already. These special deals only pushed the tax burden on to smaller businesses and individuals. Taxpayers and businesses voted with their feet and left Illinois in 2011. The tax increase was the trigger for many who exited. Other states used the increase as an opportunity to lure business away from Illinois. Real pension reform, real spending cuts, and a repeal of the tax increase would send a strong message to the business community that we are listening.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I have unique qualifications that will enable me to better understand the needs of a variety of residents in the 42nd District. I am the only candidate in this race with the following qualifications:
a. Municipal Leader—City Councilwoman with a proven record of supporting the business community and fighting for lower taxes.
b. BS in Economics.
c. Work experience in tax and accounting profession
d. Children in both public and private schools
e. US Army Veteran
What should first be done by the state to keep businesses that have strongly voiced the possibility of leaving, such as CME and Sears?
I do not support tax relief for major employers. Taxes need to be flat and fair applying across all industries in the same manner. If you start to identify a peice of legislation by the name of a specific business, such as the "Sears/CME bill" it is an indication of favors being handed out. It is important to remember Illinois' problems are on the spending side of the equation.
What can be done to help College Illinois?
This program, like the state, needs new, ethical leadership. Where was the oversight for the dollars invested in this plan? Here are my thoughts:
1. I am in favor of not allowing any new money in the program until the unfunded liability is reduced.
2. Investments should not be in hedge funds, private equity funds or anything that is not a traditional stock or bond, this requirement is now being proposed by the ISAC commission.
3. Part of the problem is the growth in state tuition costs which is related to the growth in pensions and benefits for staff, so slowing the growth of higher education is essential.
What should the government do to create more jobs?
We do not need original ideas for job creation. Let's just look at the states where jobs are growing. In some cases those states do not have the educated workforce, the natural resources, or the central location Illinois has. Our poor job climate is 100 percent the result of our political leadership. The only solution I put forth is a complete change in leadership at the state level, only then will we get commonsense solutions for job growth. See also my discussion about my priorities above.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues?
I am not in favor of gay marriage. Illinois has a DOMA statute that properly prohibits the marriage between two people of the same sex.
Life does begin at conception. Our state legislature can not overturn Roe v. Wade. That said, Attorney General Madigan should stop blocking the enforcement of the parental notification law that passed the General Assembly over 15 years ago.
Do you support a gaming bill that would increase the number of casinos or other gambling venues in Illinois? Should a casino be built in Chicago?
I am not in favor of casino gambling expansion. I believe that gambling operations should be located in places that capture a market that looks for this type of entertainment. Slots at race tracks that have a long established gambling presence makes sense. Locating a casino in Chicago where tourists are present also makes sense. I would advocate, not for expansion, but for the relocation of a current casino to a Chicago location to capture that market. Gambling should not be looked at a source of new revenue that legislators can spend.
Our focus needs to be on reducing spending and expanding government revenues through real business growth.
What do you suggest for property tax relief?
If we are able to grow the economy in Illinois and reduce government we will be able to offer tax relief in all forms e.g. sales, income and property. Pension reform must occur as it is eating up almost 50 percent of property tax levies in some towns. That situation is unsustainable. If unions will not negotiate reductions, then mandatory spending caps only lifted by referendum, must be imposed to protect taxpayers.
Should the state consider consolidating school districts? What would be the best way to accomplish this in your legislative district?
I support consolidation of government including schools districts but only with the agreement at the local level. Parents like local control and want an approachable, reachable administration and board. Every district needs to decide this on their own. A game-changer in this discussion would be complete transparency on how much school administration costs local taxpayers. When the true costs are shown, especially pensions, voters will either be more receptive to consolidation or find ways to run schools more efficiently for a reduced price.
Should the state legalize marijuana?
Are there ways to reform the legislative scholarship program, or would you support calls to eliminate the program?
Abolish the legislative scholarship program. We can not afford this program, it has been used to reward politically connected constituents, and is unnecessary as most of these students would find another way to get a college education.
Who are your political heroes and why?
1. Margaret Thatcher. Her bold leadership set the stage with the help of Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. She stood on the principles of free markets and a capitalist system selling many state-run enterprises which could not compete under the union systems propped up by the government. Many of her words will remain with us forever. One of my favorites is "The problem with Socialism is you eventually run out of other people's money."
2. Political Dissidents in Totalitarian or Communist States. People like Lech Walensa and Dietrich Bonhoeffer who stood up to oppression even when it meant death as in the latter's case.
3. The common ordinary citizens who every day will get out of their comfort zone and in a public meeting speak up for their belief or opinion on public policy.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain.