High School, Marmion Military Academy
Bachelor's Degree, Political Science, University of Illinois/Urbana
Master's Degree, Business Administration, University of Chicago
Chairman, Oberweis Dairy
On the Record
Do you support a plan to shift responsibility for teacher pensions from the state to local school districts? What is your plan for pension reform?
There are advantages to having costs directly associated with services but any such shift must be done over time in a fair way to the local districts. New employees should be hired with a defined contribution plan (like a 401k), not defined benefit plan. A defined contribution plan would give employees the right to take their account with them when moving to a new job. Current employees and retirees are a more difficult challenge. We must negotiate a reasonable compromise or the state will not be able to fund it’s ongoing social service and education programs.
Should part-time state legislators, state representatives and senators, receive pensions? Explain.
State legislators are currently paid too much. Direct compensation could be reduced or pension costs could be eliminated. I believe we should also reduce the number of senators to 54 (3 per congressional district) and representatives to 108 (6 per congressional district). This would save the state money and reduce the opportunity for gerrymandering.
What are your thoughts on the Medicaid reform package passed by the General Assembly in May?
Unfortunately, our state has provided an extremely generous Medicaid program that we just can’t afford. Our program needs to be more like surrounding states’ programs. We cannot afford to have our taxpayers pay for half of all the births in Illinois as well as all of the medical costs of one out five of our citizens.
Do you think it’s appropriate for the General Assembly to vote on landmark legislation (such as the income tax or pension reform) after the fall election and in the last days of the assembly? Why or why not?
No. Once the voters have spoken, it is wrong for Mike Madigan to pass legislation by promising jobs to those who were not reelected if they will vote along with him for legislation that would not be passed by the newly elected General Assembly.
What will you do, if anything, to make sure that lawmakers don’t make the “temporary” income tax permanent? Should it immediately be repealed?
We MUST make Illinois a more business friendly state in order to create and keep jobs in Illinois. Repealing the 66% hike in our state income tax rates would be a step in the right direction. It must not become permanent if we want to slow the “wealth flight” that is occurring in Illinois right now.
What kinds of gambling expansion or contraction do you support?
I do not believe that gambling is a reliable long term way to finance our state. However we already have gambling at our race tracks. To keep our tracks competitive with other states, I would be inclined to allow slots at our tracks.
Outside of jobs and taxes, what are the one or two top issues in your district, and what will you do in Springfield to address those issues?
I believe we must make Illinois a more business friendly state. to do that, we need Workman’s Comp reform along with Medicaid and Pension reform. In addition, we need a different attitude in Springfield and in Chicago. Without business expansion, we will have no job or wealth growth in Illinois. These are important issues for entire state, not just my district. I also believe that citizen legislators, rather than career politicians, would make better decisions for our state. As a result, I strongly support term limits for all legislators.
Grade Gov. Pat Quinn’s job performance. What has he done well? Where has he failed?
He has failed to provide leadership to turn around the economic disaster in Illinois. He has not been willing (or able) to make the tough decisions so necessary to change our direction. On the positive side, he may be the first governor of Illinois in over a decade to not go to jail after his term ends.
Other Local Races