Job: State representative, financial advisor
Phone: (618) 977-6404
Education: Bachelor's, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Previous offices: --
Qualifications: As a financial advisor, I have the practical skills to address the fiscal challenges facing the state. In my first year in office, I went to work on fixing the state's budget mess by working with both Democrats and Republicans to reduce the state budget by $1 billion. When I learned that the state was wasting $350 million a year in fraudulent Medicaid payments, I worked to pass a strict new verification law to kick scammers out of the system. As a combat infantry veteran in the Persian Gulf War and former police officer, I am not afraid of a challenge. As a freshman legislator, I am an effective and independent voice for Southern Illinois. For instance, when Gov. Quinn attempted to close down Chester Mental Health, I was on the front lines of a grassroots, community-based campaign that eventually led the governor to abandon his misguided plan.
Top issues: A top issue is obviously fixing the budget mess in Illinois and improving the regional business climate to promote job growth. I am opposed to the efforts to place the burden of higher taxes on hardworking families, and I will vote to repeal the income tax increase that was passed before I took office. I am a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights and I am 100 percent pro-gun. It is a disgrace that we are the last state in the union without the right to carry a concealed firearm. I am the chief co-sponsor of legislation, House Bill 148, that would legalize the right to conceal and carry and I will continue to push for its passage. I also believe we must focus on restoring faith in public service. As a former Army paratrooper, service is in my blood. We need people who will lead by example. That's why I voted to cut my own pay and made it harder for lawmakers to get pay raises. We must stand up for our area, which is what I am doing in supporting a law that would limit school funding for Chicago while guaranteeing more state funding for our downstate schools. We also have a serious problem when it comes to Medicaid and illegal immigration. I voted to kick scammers out of the Medicaid program and eliminate $350 million in fraudulent spending. I also support eliminating welfare benefits for illegals and going after employers who put illegals to work instead of Americans. Lastly, the increased use and access to synthetic drugs, meth, and heroin is alarming. To combat this epidemic, I passed House Bill 5233 out of the General Assembly with unanimous support. This important new law puts into place tough penalties against retailers that sell synthetic drugs to kids in our community. In addition I sponsored legislation, Senate Bill 73, which is now law, creating the Methamphetamine Precursor Tracking Act. This will be an effective way of restricting the ability of criminals to manufacture meth.