Name: Hal Patton
Office seeking: State Senate 56th District
Party: Downstate United
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City of residence: Edwardsville
Campaign website: halpattonforsenate.com
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? For years, I sat back like so many others, thinking the chaos in Springfield would get straightened out. But as long as Mike Madigan is in office, things will never change. It is time for downstate Illinois voters to take back their representation, to speak as one voice about the things that matter most to us: fiscal responsibility, excellent schools, job opportunities for our hardworking people, and steadfast support for the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. I have a proven record of results as Mayor of Edwardsville. We have created 4,800 jobs over the 5 years I have been Mayor, which is a stark contrast to what has been happening in Illinois. If the voters of the 56th District send me to Springfield I will be a voice for them, not Chicago.
Who will you support for President of the Senate and why? I will support Bill Brady for President of the Senate. For almost 10 years now John Cullerton has been pushing Chicago’s agenda, and over those 10 years the people of Illinois have had to deal with two devastating income tax increases, property tax increases, and a budget mess that will take years for us to get out of. It is time for a new direction and a new voice as President. Illinois needs a leader that will bring people together, end the fighting in Springfield, and bring this state back to where it belongs as the powerhouse of the Midwest. Bill Brady is who we need as President of the Senate.
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’m a supporter of organized labor and feel the labor movement has brought value to workers across the Metro East. During my time as Mayor of Edwardsville, and on the Madison County Board, I have been a part of over a dozen successful collective bargaining contract negotiations. These agreements have been able to create a great balance between a good income for workers and a good value for taxpayers. As Mayor, we have been able to create over 175,000 hours of union labor for public sector improvements and many times that amount for trade unions on private sector projects. It is my hope that if there is a positive result from Janus, it will be that workers will get a better return on their union dues by supporting causes that create jobs and better wages.
What is your stance on expanding gambling in Illinois? Our state needs to look at ways of bringing in additional revenue without raising income or property taxes and an expansion of gambling should be an option as part of the equation. Sports gambling is something that is happening today all across the state even though it is illegal. Illinois should legalize sports gambling and be able to bring in revenue on an activity that is already taking place here. Other options that Illinois should consider are an expansion of slots or table games at horseracing tracks and existing casinos.
Illinois roads are in disrepair. How would you approach this problem? How would you pay for it? Illinois is in serious need of infrastructure improvements and repair. Our state has a great geographical location in the heartland of America. We have major interstates, railways, and airports that have been an economic boom for Illinois. These assets need to be maintained and improved for our state to reach its full potential. It has been almost 10 years since our last capital bill and a new one is sorely needed. A new capital bill to improve our infrastructure would put citizens to work and increase productivity for businesses that depend on reliable infrastructure to transport their goods. Public-private partnerships should also be looked at to improve our infrastructure. With the current state of Illinois’ finances almost every option should be looked at; however I am opposed to using tracking devices in cars like the proposal that President Cullerton has advocated for.
What else should be done to address the ongoing opioid epidemic? As of September 17th, both houses of Congress have passed legislation to stem the tide of over prescribing opioids, to provide funding for addiction treatment, and training to emergency workers. As a health care provider, I have been leading the effort to avoid prescribing addicting drugs to my patients when non-addicting medicine effectively manages the pain. Continuing education should be required for all providers, just as for CPR certification. Additional measures should include prescription drug monitoring programs including information from all states and profiteering drug companies should be providing more funding for addiction treatment centers.
What should Illinois’ income tax system look like? What rates would you want to see? How would those rates effect the state’s revenues? The current income tax rate in Illinois is crushing taxpayers and driving thousands out of state. For Illinois to thrive we need to give taxpayers and job creators some relief. I would favor Illinois returning to the 3% tax rate the state had before the Madigan tax hikes. The idea of a graduated income tax in Illinois would only hurt the state. Under the graduated tax filed by Democrats, any family making over $40,000 a year would see an income tax increase of at least 26%, that’s not a new way to tax – it’s just a giant tax increase. If the state was to return to the earlier tax rate we would see a slowing of the outmigration and overtime see people returning to Illinois. With that growth we could make up for the initial loss of revenue from returning to the lower tax rate.
Would you term limit yourself? If so, how many terms? Yes, I would term limit myself to two terms. Politicians in Illinois have made holding political office a career and that needs to change. I’m running because I want to serve the people of the district, not to make this a career.