Name: Katie Stuart
Office seeking: State Representative — 112th District
City of residence: Edwardsville
Campaign website: StuartforRep.com
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I spent my career as a math teacher helping students in the classroom solve problems and prepare for their futures. As State Representative, I’ve brought those same skills to Springfield to address complex issues and put our state on a better path. I went to Springfield during an unprecedented budget crisis and made a promise that I would not accept a pay check until we passed a balance budget. I held to that promise and worked to pass a responsible budget that protects funding for our state’s most critical services. During my first term, I worked to bring millions of dollars in new funding to our local schools, enhance protections for nursing mothers in the workplace, protected funding for downstate transportation and reduce perks for politicians. Now I’m fighting for fair funding for SIUE, working to create more good-paying jobs and provide tax relief to middle-class families. I am proud of the work that I have accomplished so far, but there is still more to do to restore integrity and common sense to state government and I hope the voters of my district can put their trust and confidence in me, so I can continue fighting for them in Springfield.
Who will you support for Speaker of the House and why? When the time comes, I would evaluate all of the candidates who come forward seeking the nomination for Speaker of the House and vote for the individual who most closely aligns with my stance to protect working families and provide tax relief for the middle class.
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? As a strong supporter of organized labor, I believe the Janus case was another attempt by Governor Rauner to disenfranchise working families by slashing wages and eliminating workplace protections. I will continue to stand with organized labor to fight for fair wages, strengthen access to medical care for injured workers and protect the right to collectively bargain.
What is your stance on expanding gambling in Illinois? I am open to exploring gambling expansion that helps to sustain and create good paying jobs. Here in our community, Fairmount Race Track has been struggling to stay alive and that has a devastating impact on our local economy and all of the workers who depend on the track’s success for their own livelihood. I’ve introduced proposals in the past to allow for increased gaming at the track and I’ll continue working with community leaders and interest groups in Springfield to save Fairmount and the jobs that go with it.
Illinois roads are in disrepair. How would you approach this problem? How would you pay for it? First and foremost, it’s important that we pass a responsible state budget on time each year in order to invest our finite resources into infrastructure improvement. The two-year budget crisis halted road projects and forced thousands of layoffs of workers here in the metro-east. I voted to pass a balanced budget, bringing much needed stability to our area and allowing the state to focus on priorities such as road repairs. We need to examine our state spending and prioritize funding for road work, but I do not support a mileage tax or any new plan to tax drivers for every mile they travel. Middle-class families cannot afford to pay more to get to school or to work, in order to fund more dysfunction in Springfield.
What else should be done to address the ongoing opioid epidemic?Over the past two years, I’ve worked closely with local law enforcement and public health officials to learn about the opioid crisis taking place in our communities and look for solutions to help prevent more drug-related deaths. I was proud to pass legislation giving law enforcement the authority to prosecute out of state drug dealers for providing drugs to an individual who overdoses in Illinois. Recently, I filed a package of bills to help protect police officers who come into accidental contact with synthetic opioids and to crack down on prescription monitoring of opioids. I also worked to increase funding in our state budget for drug abuse prevention programs to provide treatment for struggling individuals and help law enforcement combat drug dealers. We still have a lot of work to do and this crisis is not going away soon, but I am committed to doing my part to help save lives from this devastating crisis.
What should Illinois’ income tax system look like? What rates would you want to see? How would those rates affect the state’s revenues? Providing tax relief is a top priority for me.I am, and will continue to be oppose to higher taxes on middle-class families. I voted against Springfield’s income tax increase, because I believe middle-class families are overtaxed enough and they cannot afford to pay more.It’s clear that we need to move to a more fair tax structure that reduces taxes on low and middle-income families while raising taxes on the wealthiest Illinoisans, like Bruce Rauner.
Would you term limit yourself? If so, how many terms? Two years ago, I ran for office for the very first time because I wanted to make a positive impact on my community. As a full time state representative, I’m proud of the work I have done so far, but I know there is still a lot more to do. I believe the most effective way to enforce term limits is through our electoral process and in the race for state representative, the voters of this district made their voices heard two years ago when they voted against Dwight Kay after his three terms in office.