Illinois House District 97
Description of office: The Illinois House of Representatives is the lower house of the Illinois General Assembly, it consists of 118 representatives elected from individual legislative districts for two-year terms with no limits; redistricted every 10 years, based on the U.S. Census. The state legislature has the power to make laws and impeach judges. Lawmakers must be at least 21 years of age and a resident of the district in which they serve for at least two years.
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What is your position on the proposed graduated rate income tax for the state of Illinois?
What is your position on the Fair Maps Amendment to implement a non-partisan system for drawing legislative maps for Illinois?
In light of the opioid crisis, an increase in suicide rates, and mass shootings throughout the country, what is your view of the state of Illinois’ responsibility to help its citizens with mental health treatment, including addiction?
We need a tax system that works for all citizens of Illinois and provides real relief for the middle-class. Currently, our federal government uses a progressive taxing system, and that's something that we should be considering as an option for our state. My priorities will remain to ensure that we are able to provide tax relief for working families, and that we have a balanced budget in Illinois that protects critical services and prevents the loss of residents and businesses due to policy.
I believe the process towards fair maps has to start at the federal level. All states should be playing by the same rules to truly produce fair maps across the country and ensure that there are necessary protections for minority voting rights. But I also believe that not just one reform will help restore people’s faith in government, and we need to additionally look at discussing a reform of the way campaigns are financed and making sure that every citizen has the right to choose who they think is the best candidate to represent them and their community.
As state representative, I would look at ways to expand mental health services to help curb suicides and prevent and treat addiction. I spent around 8 hours last year at the Will County Opioid Summit, listening to solutions, medical care and mental health professionals and am now Narcan trained as well. As an Ironworker, I have seen many become addicted to opioids that are or were prescribed due to work injuries. Some actually became addicted to heroin, because the prescriptions no longer worked after built up tolerance.
We need to acknowledge the opioid crisis and problems within our communities, so we can create real solutions to help end this crisis. That involves removing the stigma and mental health issues and addiction, or they will only worsen with time. Will County has been one of the leaders in helping to address the opioid crisis, increasing education and services, and that must be expanded throughout the state.
I oppose the graduating income tax. Illinois is already one of the highest taxed state in the nation. Not only are we losing residents, the residents leaving the state have a higher income than those moving into it. This would only increase the disparity. We need to start dealing with the inefficiencies in our state government. There are bountiful examples of wasteful and inefficient spending. But at the core of it all is corruption. Illinois cannot fully achieve its fullest potential until we deal with the corruption problem.
I’ve supported several different non-partisan proposals for a fair mapping system. I have even introduced my own unique ideas. One of the biggest arguments used against a fair mapping system in Illinois is that there are Republican states that gerrymander. Therefore, Democrats would be at a disadvantage nationally. I have proposed two solutions. The easiest is to merely have the new system in Illinois in place only for state offices. The second unique idea is to partner with a Republican state or group of states so that any reform is balanced.
One of the most important roles of government is to help those who cannot help themselves. A big frustration of mine is that while Illinois has high taxes, we do not support those in need well. Illinois ranks dead last in support of those with mental disabilities. And part of this is due to the issues covered in the previous question. We need to clean up government in Illinois or we will always be struggling to fund necessary services.
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