Immediate family members: Husband: Steve; Son: Dean; Daughter: Hannah
Occupation: Mathematics Instructor at SIUE
Office sought: Illinois General Assembly 112th District
Previous elected positions: None
Q. Why are you running?
A. I have seen the devastating effects of our budget situation in Illinois. I want to work to get our state on a financial path that will balance our budget without putting an increasing tax burden on our residents. I want to be a voice for families who are experiencing cuts in vital programs like services for disabled children, domestic violence victims, and the elderly. I want to be an advocate for job creation in new fields like clean energy while protecting existing jobs families depend on.
Q. The state recently passed a stopgap budget, but a long-term solution to budget issues has evaded the General Assembly and governor’s office. How should the state solve its budget issues?
A. We deserve legislators who are willing to put party aside and work toward compromise. We need a complete, full-year budget that protects vital services and improves communities. We need to stop focusing on agendas that will negatively impact working families. We need to close corporate tax loopholes instead of cutting public safety, education, and other essential services. We need to get rid of expensive lawmaker pensions, which I will refuse to participate in.
Q. Should the state raise income taxes, other taxes or fees, in order fix the budget issues? Why or why not?
A. I am opposed to tax increases, including proposals that would tax retirement income. We need a long term plan that will focus on spending cuts and streamlining government to remedy our budget issues.
Q. How can Illinois grow its economy?
A. Illinois needs to foster small business development and also move towards jobs in new sectors, such as clean energy and innovative technology, in order to develop growth in our economy. We must stand against companies moving jobs overseas. Illinois needs to work with businesses and organized labor to protect and grow jobs for the middle class.
Q. How should the state solve its pension crisis?
A. We need to ensure the solvency of the pension system and must pay back the unfunded liability and make full payments to the system. Teachers, state employees, and others made their contributions, but the state skipped their payments, causing the problems we are currently facing. We must learn from those mistakes and prevent similar crises in the future. We cannot pass the state's responsibility on to local taxpayers. I am opposed to attempts to reduce or eliminate defined-benefit plans, as that has been deemed to violate our state constitution.
Q. How should the state approach funding of public education? Is the system broken? If so, how you would fix it?
A. From my years teaching in middle and high school classrooms and in my work at SIUE training future school teachers, I know firsthand how important this is. I support a new, more equitable school funding formula that will provide a high quality education for all students in schools across the area. The current formula is inadequate and there are several groups at work finding more equitable solutions. I will work with those groups to advocate for the schools in our district. Building strong schools builds strong communities.