State Senate candidate wants to be a voice for Illinois residents
Name: Tanya Hildenbrand
Office seeking: State Senate, 57th District
City of residence: Belleville
Campaign website: https://www.facebook.com/Hildenbrand4Senate/
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running to serve my community, district and state. I am not taking an Illinois state pension or healthcare benefits to serve my fellow Illinoisans. I also pledge to only run for two terms. I am running to provide Southern Illinois with a voice against Chicago in Springfield. After 20 years in the same party’s hands, we need a change in the State Senate seat! If Illinois was doing great, I never would have run for Illinois State Senate, but our jobs are being pushed out of the state and we are being taxed out of our homes. We need a true public servant who will represent the needs of our community and provide Southern Illinois with a strong advocate. We also need someone who is not politically connected and engrained in Saint Clair County politics. We need an outsider who will shake things up! I am highly educated and successful in my career field and I ask Saint Clair County voters for the opportunity to use my skillsets to work across the aisle, usher in common sense spending reforms and help create an environment where business will come and invest in Illinois. The problems of this state needs someone who understands economics. I tutored micro and macro-economics to work my way through my first two years of college and I worked at the Iowa Civil Right Commission investigating discrimination claims during my last two years in college prior to law school. I worked my way through and graduated from The University of Iowa, College of Law and I will draft effective legislation to hold people accountable. We need strong conflict of interest laws to pull the reigns on corruption politicians! Lastly, I am no stranger to hard work and I have not been bankrolled by Chicago in this endeavor. I am the person who delivered signs, knocked on doors and listened to the problems and frustrations people are facing in Saint Clair County. We desperately need change and the political elites depend upon people not voting. I encourage everyone who’s frustrated to VOTE in November. I ask voters for your vote, I will fight for you!
Who will you support for President of the Senate and why? I would support Senator Bill Brady for President of the Senate. Senator Brady has the experience and leadership to support and guide fiscal reforms and cut taxes to make Illinois affordable. He’s a good man with mid-western values who can work across the aisle to bring about positive change for Illinois. I will not vote for Senator John J. Cullverton to continue his Presidency of the Illinois Senate. Senator Cullverton has been the President of the Senate since 2009 and has Illinois has been on the decline under his leadership. Our state income taxes were increased by 32 percent under his leadership without any fiscal reforms. Senator Cullverton’s policies have pushed tax hikes and increased government intrusion in our lives. We need change to turn Illinois around and keeping the same President of the Senate since 2009 is not it.
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? In the United State of America, we should have the freedom of choice to be a union member or not. I do not believe in forced membership; however, if the union supports and defends a non-union member in a legal action or a work dispute, that union should be compensated for the time and resources expended in that non-union member’s defense. It’s not fair to get something for free. This would strike a balance between the two difference sides and brings more fairness to both positions. Expanding the aperture, as people and businesses continue to move out of Illinois to escape high taxation, union jobs are leaving the state as well. Unions need a Pro-Business State Senator who will advance a smart economic agenda to grow Illinois’s economy and increase job growth. A robust Illinois economy is great for union and non-union businesses. Also, unions should look at actions verses words. I supported a union business to order my yard signs. My signs have the union bug; however, my Democratic opponent went with non-union. It’s quite ironic since he’s the one who’s received a lot of local union money for his campaign yet, I’m the one that actually supported a union business.
What is your stance on expanding gambling in Illinois? Illinois currently has 10 casinos and there is a bill to create six new casinos in Rockford, Danville, Marion, Waukegan, the Homewood area and Chicago. I think those communities should decide whether they want to have a casino in their city verses legislators in Springfield deciding for them. Put the issue on the ballot and let the people decide! I’m tired of Springfield deciding issues for us and I am an advocate of putting more power back into the hands of the people. Economically, casinos provide employment, increased opportunities for restaurants and retail organizations; however, casinos also have the possibility of bring in increased illegal drug activity and crime. Each community needs to evaluate those factors and if the majority of that community wants a Casino, I would support their decision. I’ve seen a large increase in video gambling in the past couple of years in the local area and I have not noticed a large corresponding increase in crime associated to that expansion. People are employed, and tens of thousands of dollars in tax revenue has been earned so generally I’m in favor of gambling expansion. I am not a gambler but if people want to gamble, that’s their personal choice.
Illinois roads are in disrepair. How would you approach this problem? How would you pay for it? We pay some of the highest gas taxes in the nation and have some of the worst roads. We currently pay 34.1 cents in Illinois state taxes per gallon of gasoline. The reason why gas is cheaper is Missouri is because the difference in state taxes. Where is all our gas tax money going? It’s definitely not being used to fix our roads. We need to ensure all gas tax revenue is specifically designated for road and infrastructure projects instead of funneled off to legislator’s pet projects. According to the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, $6.8 billion in transportation funds was diverted by Illinois’ legislature between FY02 to FY15 in order to plug budget deficits in non-transportation related areas. Our gas taxes are not going to fix our roads. That’s the problem. Additionally, there is corruption and political pay for play for infrastructure projects which increases contract bid price. We need conflict of interest laws so it’s no longer who you know but what you can do. We need a fair and transparent bidding process that evaluates companies on past performance, ability to complete the project on time and price.
What else should be done to address the ongoing opioid epidemic? The Opioid epidemic requires a multi-prong approach that is coordinated at the local, state and national level strategically focused upon: 1. Decreased Opioid Prescriptive Use (PREVENT) 2. Opioid Addiction Treatment (TREAT) and 3. Increase Law Enforcement Monitoring and Enforcement (FIGHT). The federal government allocated a record $4.6 billion this year to fight the nation’s deepening opioid crisis and we should leverage federal efforts to achieve a synergist effect for Illinois. PREVENT: Decrease opioid prescription for pain relief. A Veterans Administration study shows non-opioids can be just as effective and a far less risky for treatment for most types of chronic pain. Create an effective public and school education/awareness campaign and develop non-addictive pain treatment alternatives. TREAT: First responders should be trained to administer Naloxone to decrease death overdoses. Enhance Treatment within the Criminal Justice System and coordinate with organizations such as Medication-Assisted Recovery Anonymous (MARA). FIGHT: Increase Law Enforcement emphasis on opioid trade and enhance monitoring and tracking of new and emerging synthetic opioids, with a focus on high opioid areas. Coordinate with Federal Law Enforcement to gain intelligence and or resources to fight the opioid trade in Illinois.
What should Illinois’ income tax system look like? What rates would you want to see? How would those rates effect the state’s revenues? We need to go back to the tax rate of last year and put us on a competitive playing field with Indiana and the rest of the Midwest. Additionally, instead of relying upon EDGE and TIF incentives, we need a fair and transparent tax rate for all businesses. Right now, just the politically connected businesses receive an economic tax advantage via TIFs and the EDGE program while punishing regular businesses with a 7 percent tax rate. It’s not fair. All businesses should have a fair playing ground. We need to roll back the punishing 7 percent tax rate that was put into effect last year to 5.25 percent so we can start to attract businesses to our state again. I am not an advocate of the JB progressive tax that increases taxes on people in the state of Illinois. According to WalletHub, a national personal finance service, Illinois is the 51st in the nation in terms of the severity of its overall tax burden, that’s last among the 50 states and Washington, D.C. We need to decrease the tax burden on people and grow the tax base. Illinois does not have a revenue problem but it has a spending problem and we need legislators who will go to Springfield and cut spending! Illinois tax payers have been treated like an ATM machine by our legislators and it’s time to stop! Corrupt Saint Clair politicians count on people not voting to stay in power so I hope tax payers overwhelmingly go to the polls in November and to let the politicians here their voice directly! Many people don’t think their votes counts, but it doesn’t count when people sit at home. This is the year, tax payer’s voices can be heard!
Would you term limit yourself? If so, how many terms? Yes, I made a pledge I would only run for two terms for a total of 8 years in the Illinois State Senate. I did not run for office to be a career politician and I believe long term politicians are part of the problem in Illinois. The 57th State Senate seat is currently occupied by a career politician who’s held the seat for over 20 years and he and his party needs to take responsibility for the state of disarray Illinois finds itself in. We need real change for the 57th, not just not a name change like the Democratic Party wants to do. Additionally, I would support term limit legislation for Illinois State Senate and the House of Representatives. I propose Illinois State Senate to be limited to two terms maximum for a total of 8 years and the House of Representatives to be limited to 4 terms maximum for a total of 8 years.