Name: George Barber
Office seeking: State Senator, 54th District
City of residence: Greenville
Campaign website: georgebarber4il.com
Why are you running and why should you be nominated? To continue the legacy of Kyle McCarter and Frank Watson. They have been fine leaders and have fought hard for Southern Illinois. I am running for office to give the people of this district a voice and a choice. I will fight for the people of our district, I will listen to the people of our district, I will serve the people of our district. I have lived in the district for nearly 20 years, My wife, Lisa, of 29 years, and I have raised our five children here. This community has been great to us. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity at Greenville University to build winning basketball teams and build young men for others in the process. We say we are going for the 20-year return. People ask me if we have had a successful year. My answer is always "ask me in 20 years". If they are successful husbands, fathers, and employees, then yes, we had a successful year (20 years earlier). I am ask why does this require, and my answer is simple, "every last drop of your blood, to be dedicated to the program and the success of those around you". Before coming to Greenville I coached at Bradley University as an assistant, and before that I was a graduate assistant (earning a masters and doctoral degree) at the University of Kentucky where in 1996 where we won the Division 1 National Championship. I will bring those same winning principles and values to the political work. We have to work together to accomplish goals. We have to find common thread of ideas and values to insure that Southern Illinois has a seat at the table and voice in the conversation when it comes to "Our Illinois". We have great workers in our district, some of the best in the state. We can be healthy and have vitality. We say to our team that you are either an energy giver or an energy taker. You either light up the room when you come in, or when you go out. Be that energy giver, be the person who has realistic optimism to deal with the problems of our state. I am a small business owner, and educator. One of my greatest concerns is for the farmers. Eighty percent of our state is agricultural. Our farmers can not flee the state to seek employment elsewhere. We must take care of the farmer. We need to address our pension system. I will not take a pension as a legislator. The pension system needs reform. We must pay those who have been promised and have worked for a pension, moving forward however, the pension system need to be reformed. We must pass and live by balanced budgets. We must pay down our debt. Twenty five percent of our budget goes to debt service. Our debt has caused us to be at risk to borrow at a competitive interest rate (this includes all state university like SIUE and the University of Illinois). The answer is not more debt. The answer is discipline. If we pay down our debts, we can take care of infrastructure, education, and our most vulnerable citizens. I am an optimistic person by nature. It has been wonderful to campaign and meet people in our district. It is important to remain optimistic during times which require great discipline. I feel I am the best man for the job.
What is the most important issue facing the state? How would you approach it? I have several initiatives I would like to accomplish. I believe that we should repeal HB 40 (taxpayer funded abortions). I am pro-life. I would like to see term limits for legislators and leadership. Finally, we need to conduct a Debt Affordability Study. We are one of 22 states that does not conduct such a a study. The results would allow us to be transparent and have accountability with our spending.
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? Yes. I would vote for legislation to roll back taxes, and I would never vote to raise your taxes.
Illinois is still running a budget deficit. How should it be balanced? If cuts should be made, what programming cuts should be considered? Consolidation of municipalities and reduction of government.
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? Yes. Campaign funding should be transparent and limited. It is embarrassing how much is spent on campaigns. My wife is a family life and children's minister at our church. This Christmas we had members of our church who were going without basic needs. My wife and I could not bring ourselves to have exorbitant spending on campaigns with members of our communities not having basic needs met.