Candidate Profile: Brian Stout

Get ready for the 2018 Election

Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.
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Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.

Name: Brian Stout

Office seeking: State Senator – 54th District

Party: Democrat

Age: 36

City of residence: Vandalia

Campaign website: www.stout4senate.com

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I’m running because this governor has been a failure, a failure to our schools, our hospitals, and employment. I’m running because I’m tired of “self-serving” folks tearing down the fabric of why we live in Illinois. Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, which he has been pushing, is bad for Illinois workers, bad for teachers, and bad for workers rights (collective bargaining). Meanwhile, while we waited three years for a budget stalemate, we, the people suffered.

Who will you support for President of the Senate and why? I will support the individual who stands up for those without a voice. I will stand up for the individual who understands the value and importance of education. It will be important for this Senator to have a sound understanding of the health crisis that faces many folks living in Illinois. Without being a current Senator, gaining an authentic understanding of who that individual is would be short sighted and premature to state who my pick will be.

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 strong supporter of organized labor. As the only candidate in my race endorsed by AFL-CIO, Illinois Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, and SEIU they recognize my committment. The Janus decision is just an attempt by Mr. Janus and Bruce Rauner to weaken unions throughout the State of Illinois. The middle class was built on the backs of Union laborers and I will stand with them any time.

What is your stance on expanding gambling in Illinois? I’m not convinced the expansion of gambling is a great idea. What I would like to expand are economic opportunites that are available to our citizens. We need to support small business development programs, rebuild our infrastructure, and bring quality “middle class” jobs to our district.

Illinois roads are in disrepair. How would you approach this problem? How would you pay for it? First and foremost we need to actual fund our infrastructure as it has gone by the waste side in recent years. There are a multitude of ways to fund the roads in the State of Illinois. First and foremost, we need a fair tax in Illinois instead of the antiquated “flat tax” which has essentially become an arcaic way of collecting taxes. We need to lesson the tax burdon on those in the middle and tax those at the top at a higher level.

What else should be done to address the ongoing opioid epidemic? We should hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable. For far too long, their influence in government has been far too great. This is an issue for both Democrats and Republicans and we need someone like myself who is not afraid to take them to task. We also need better access in Rural Illinois to clinics that will help individuals who have an addiction to opioids.

What should Illinois’ income tax system look like? What rates would you want to see? How would those rates effect the state’s revenues? “A graduated income tax is our best hope of getting tax relief for middle-class and low-income families. A graduated tax is REAL tax reform - it lowers the burden at the bottom of the income bracket and shifts the burden to those who have the ability to pay. For those making millions per year, paying a higher tax rate is a small price to pay for the benefits of living in a place where they have the opportunity to make millions a year.” I disagree with some of the current plans being floated. One plan I saw keeps the bottom end at the 4.95% and I can’t support that.

Would you term limit yourself? If so, how many terms? I would limit myself to 3 terms as a Senator in the State of Illinois.