Name: Doug Jameson
Office seeking: State Representative — 113th District
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City of residence: Belleville
Campaign website: https://www.electjameson.com
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running because Illinois is headed in the wrong direction and new leadership is needed. We have big problems. We are overtaxed. Citizens are leaving the state. Businesses are investing elsewhere. Every day, I see Illinoisans needlessly struggling under the oppressive yoke of Speaker Mike Madigan’s political machine – whether in my capacity as a realtor or while serving in several community organizations. My opponent serves Mike Madigan - not the people of the 113th. Speaker Madigan and Jay Hoffman think increasing taxes, appointing political cronies and ‘staying the course’ are the path to economic prosperity. Speaker Madigan’s 36-year reign has pushed Illinois to the brink of financial insolvency with unfunded pension liabilities, unpaid state bills and the most oppressive tax burden in the country. I know there can be better way, but we must change direction now! It’s time to do the hard work of solving these big problems. I will support a reform agenda to encourage business development. By creating new jobs and ending corruption, we will reverse the outmigration. We must make Illinois affordable again. In short, I’m running to give the 113th and our Southern Illinois values a voice in Springfield.
Who will you support for Speaker of the House and why? I have signed ‘The People’s Pledge’, which states I will “vote for someone – anyone – other than Speaker Michael Madigan for Speaker of the House, ending his reign in power which is the longest in United States history for a state Speaker of the House.” There are many qualified candidates to be Speaker of the House. Since it is unclear which representative(s) will run for this position, it is premature to indicate which candidate I’ll support. That being said, voters should know that I WILL NOT vote for Mike Madigan to retain this position.
What is your position on organized labor and the Janus decision striking down the requirement for public sector workers to pay fair share fees even if they don’t want to? I deeply respect and support hardworking union workers and the role they play in building our economy and providing public services. In fact, I was a union worker for over ten years and my son is currently a union employee. I believe this experience gives me a perspective my opponent doesn’t have. I understand the need to ensure workers have safe working conditions, while being able to negotiate compensation, benefits and labor practices. The Janus decision applies only to public sector unions. It preserves unions’ ability to negotiate, through collective bargaining, for working conditions, compensation, benefits and other labor practices. Janus is now the law of the land. Because a majority of the mandatory public sector union dues were redirected towards political contributions and lobbying, many union members felt their dues were supporting politicians and causes with which they didn’t agree. I strongly believe in the right for workers to have access to collective bargaining and they should also have the freedom to choose whether or not they join a union. This ensures their right to free speech is maintained.
What is your stance on expanding gambling in Illinois? I am not in favor of expanding gambling in Illinois beyond its’ current levels and would consider a rollback in access to video gaming. Springfield politicians seem to continually seek expanded gambling as an easy way to generate ‘new revenue’ instead of doing the hard work needed to institute structural reforms. In reality, taxing gambling revenue is the most regressive form of taxation in the state and one that is addictive and habit-forming. In other words, those least able to afford it are the citizens paying the majority of gambling taxes. Additionally, we know that increased access to gambling increases crime. Last year, economists from the University of Illinois released the first study to analyze crime rates at the block level (not just at the regional or state level). Their findings suggest the expansion in access to video gaming has led to significant increases in violent crime – including robbery, aggravated battery and sexual assault. While I am a proponent of government staying out of private enterprise, I believe the gaming industry requires a heightened level of regulation and oversight to ensure unintended negative consequences are minimized.
Illinois roads are in disrepair. How would you approach this problem? How would you pay for it? A recent study grades a significant portion of metro-east roads and bridges as being poor or mediocre, structurally deficient and congested - costing motorists $2.3 billion annually. I will encourage lawmakers to increase federal funding by 20 percent to achieve ‘fair share’ level. The Federal Highway Administration provides Illinois only $114 per citizen compared to the national average of $137. I support the recent Safe Roads Amendment to the state constitution, which provides a ‘lockbox’ for transportation funds to ensure gasoline taxes and other fees are used to improve Illinois’ transportation infrastructure. Elected officials often divert these funds to other programs and sweetheart pension deals, resulting in our crumbling infrastructure.
What else should be done to address the ongoing opioid epidemic? I empathize with the victims of the ongoing opioid epidemic and am aware of the devastating and often fatal effect on too many of our residents and their families. I applaud Congressman Mike Bost’s leadership in Washington to bring light to this crisis and its effects. I support the passage of the U.S. House of Representatives’ H.R. 6, the Support for Patients and Communities Act, a bipartisan bill that combats the opioid epidemic by advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, improving prevention, protecting communities, and bolstering efforts to combat illicit synthetic drugs like Fentanyl. Detailed provisions in this legislation and the role state government can take can be found at: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr6/summary
What should Illinois’ income tax system look like? What rates would you want to see? How would those rates affect the state’s revenues? Effective July 1st, 2017, Illinois increased the state income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent - a 32 percent tax increase. I believe the state income tax rate should be rolled back to the previous 3.75 percent rate. To jumpstart Illinois’ economy, which would increase state tax revenue, I strongly believe we must institute comprehensive, pro-growth reforms. Items like tort reform, worker’s compensation reform, pension reform and a property tax freeze are necessary elements to attracting private investment and job creation. These reforms must be passed before any other tax rate increases are considered.
Would you term limit yourself? If so, how many terms? As a signatory to The People’s Pledge, I believe elected officials have the solemn responsibility to serve the interests of the people they represent. But for decades in Illinois, the Chicago political machine has run roughshod over the people, cutting sweetheart deals for entrenched special interests and abusing the power of the incumbency to keep career politicians in office. The results have been disastrous for hardworking Illinois taxpayers: out of control government spending, skyrocketing debt, and higher taxes that ask families to do more with less. Because of this, I pledge to support the implementation of eight-year term limits on elected officials in state government.