Name: Wendy Erhart
Office seeking: Illinois House of Representatives District 112
City of residence: Maryville
Campaign website: wendyerhart.com
Why are you running and why should you be nominated? I’m running because I can’t sit by any longer and watch the state I love – my family’s home – get driven into the ditch by career politicians who won’t change the way we do business in state government. Enough is enough. If we want to change the course of Illinois’ future, we must change out politicians, like current 112th State Rep. Katie Stuart, who swear their allegiance to Mike Madigan to the detriment of taxpayers. I believe I should be nominated because of my experience and ability to win. Unlike most of those in Springfield, my experience has been 20 years of balancing budgets, putting teams together, and solving problems as a business executive in the financial sector. I also know that the 2018 general election will be a bruising campaign with a lot of money spent on both sides. My opponent in this primary, Dwight Kay, is someone who I respect but doesn’t possess the ability to beat Katie Stuart. To unseat Madigan, we must get this seat back and I will do that.
What is the most important issue facing the state? How would you approach it? The biggest issue facing Illinois is that every day, we have businesses and taxpayers fleeing to other states with more opportunity. In many cases, all they must do is cross the border into Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, or Wisconsin. These aren’t just numbers on a paper – they are our friends and family who no longer wish to subject themselves to Illinois’ burdensome taxes and regulations. We can fix this problem by fostering an environment for job creators to thrive. I will push aggressively for pro-growth and business friendly measures like property tax relief, workers’ compensation reform, unemployment insurance reform, tort reform, and cutting the ridiculous amounts of red tape that hamper small businesses.
The state's income tax was increased to 4.95 percent in 2017. Would you try to roll it back? Why or why not?And if so, how would you roll it back? I would absolutely push to roll it back because Illinois taxpayers are the most over taxed group of people in this country. At some point we must reverse the trend of trying to squeeze more and more out our citizens and instead have a state government that sets priorities and lives within it’s means as obligated by our state constitution. Through a combination of spending cuts and economic growth, we have the ability to roll it back over the course of the next couple years.
Illinois is still running a budget deficit. How should it be balanced? If cuts should be made, what programming cuts should be considered? For long term balancing of the budget – the only solution is Illinois must have economic growth. We will never dig ourselves out of the fiscal crisis – we will never be able to pay for the services we need – if we continue to ask more from an ever-shrinking tax base as people and business flee the state. More jobs and rising incomes lead to more wealth and more taxpayers paying into the system. In the short term, cuts should be made across the board and efficiencies should be enforced like eliminating the Lt. Governor’s office, combining the state Treasurer and Comptroller’s offices, and rooting out fraud and abuse in Medicaid. Tough decisions will have to be made and I am willing to make them.
Campaign funding has been an issue in the last few months. Should there be changes in the state's campaign finance rules? Why or why not? If so, what changes would you want to see? Big money certainly makes politics more difficult and shuts normal people out of the process. I am certainly finding that out as a first-time candidate for public office. I think changes should include transparency, so millionaires and billionaires cannot hide behind a super PAC that does not have to disclose the identities of its donors.