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Illinois Senate District 43

Description of office: The Illinois Senate is made up of 59 senators elected from individual legislative districts determined by population; redistricted every 10 years, based on the U.S. Census. Under the Illinois Constitution of 1970, senators are divided into three groups, each group having a two-year term at a different part of the decade between censuses, with the rest of the decade being taken up by two four-year terms. This ensures that the Senate reflects changes made when the General Assembly redistricts the state after each census.

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    John Connor

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    Ben Bierly

Biographical Information

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?

The fair tax is the most equitable way for the state to balance its budget and fulfill its obligations. Given that it will only affect taxpayers making over $250,000.00 a year, it is the logical choice for how to achieve a stable financial stable footing. Most other states and the Federal government have graduated income tax systems, why shouldn't we allow ourselves the fair tax option here in Illinois?
Any proposal for implementing a non-partisan system for legislative map drawing that implements the concepts of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and does not dilute or diminish the votes of any traditionally underrepresented group is something I can support.
Ken Kesey seemed to demonize mental health facilities when he wrote "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in 1962. While I don't blame a fiction author for the de-institutionalization trend during the decades after the book, that trend caused a lack of availability for both mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment. This has exacerbated our problems by making first responders like police and paramedics the only available treatment providers for those falling through the treatment cracks. I would like to see Illinois lead the nation in demonstrating that investment in mental health and substance abuse treatment is a cost-saving measure that pays for itself through fewer hospitalizations and fewer police and paramedic calls for events triggered by substance abuse or mental health issues.
Oppose. There is no guarantee rates won't go up on lower-income people. Illinois also already has the highest tax rate in the US (sources:; USA Today; Kiplinger's; Illinois Policy Institute). We need to tackle spending instead.
Support! Illinois has some of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation.
We need to help people suffering, but be careful not to overgeneralize our approach. Chronic pain sufferers have been adversely affected by the reaction to the opioid crisis, though they don't tend to be the ones overdosing. We also can't fix cultural problems with political solutions, so any attempt to tackle the listed issues needs to be a holistic approach (i.e. government does its part in concert with the community).