Name: Christopher Belt
Office seeking: State Senate- 57th District
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City of residence: Cahokia
Campaign website: http://christopherbeltforsenate.com/
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I have dedicated my entire life to giving back to my community. I want to expand on that, and serve the residents of my district. I have witnessed severe disinvestments throughout our communities, and I am ready to fight to change that. I want all of our children to have the same opportunities for success, no matter their zip code. I want everyone to have access to the best healthcare we can offer as a state, without being crushed by rising premiums. I want people to feel safe in their communities, and for law enforcement to have the resources they need to make this a reality. I want people in southern Illinois not to have to work 60 to 80 hours to make ends meet. I am running to make a difference for the people, and to put Springfield back on the side of working families.
Who will you support for President of the Senate and why? I will support the current Senate President, John Cullerton. His outstanding leadership is known throughout the state, on both sides of the aisle. President Cullerton listens to all members of the chamber, and works with everyone to find common ground to pass solutions that benefit the citizens of Illinois.
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 was raised in a union household. My dad owned a construction company and retired as an operating engineer. All of my brothers are union, as well as my sister. I believe in the right of workers to collectively negotiate wages, benefits, healthcare options, and workplace environment. When unions win, we all win! When wages go up, the road to the middle class becomes wider, allowing more people the access to a better life. When people can provide a better life for their families, America wins.
What is your stance on expanding gambling in Illinois? Expanding gambling in Illinois should be looked at on a case by case basis and take into account the socioeconomics of a region or community. If it will benefit the people of Illinois, then we should consider moving forward with the legislation.
Illinois roads are in disrepair. How would you approach this problem? How would you pay for it? Our infrastructure is in disarray because we have not had a capital bill in over 10 years. I will work with local officials and the Governor to secure revenue for infrastructure projects. To pay for this, we can do two things: switch from a flat tax, to a progressive tax on the wealthy, and move to a recreational state. Moving to a progressive tax would generate more than a billion dollars a year. Legalizing marijuana would generate $375 million-$500 million a year. Not only will we bring in additional revenue from moving to a recreational state, we will not be funding prosecutor fees, court fees, and housing fees for those who are incarcerated.
What else should be done to address the ongoing opioid epidemic? I believe we need to face this crisis by addressing numerous issues: Provide treatment, rather than pushing for incarceration. Ensure that insurance companies cover addiction treatment fairly for everyone. Treat abuse and addiction as a mental illness. Push to secure federal funds to help local municipalities with funding.
What should Illinois’ income tax system look like? What rates would you want to see? How would those rates effect the state’s revenues? I support a progressive income tax on the wealthy, rather than a flat tax. If the voters of Illinois support this measure, we will examine what brackets make sense for the state. I will never support brackets that increase taxes on the middle to lower class.
Would you term limit yourself? If so, how many terms? I believe that elections serve as term limits for rank and file legislators. The people have every right to vote for the person they think best represents their interests during each election cycle.