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Illinois Senate District 14, Democratic Primary

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The questions

All candidates were invited to respond to questionnaires, although not all chose to participate. Click on a candidate's name to see the unedited response to each question.

Biographical information & experience
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    Jones
Jones
Birthdate: 5/16/1978
Occupation: State of IL
Marital status: Single
Spouse:

Education:

Studied Business Administration at Chicago State University

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

none

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

IDES, Senior public adminstrator
DCEO, Public administrator

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

none

Campaign information
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    Jones
Jones

Campaign headquarters:
Website:
Campaign manager: Tiffany Hightower
Campaign budget: 150k
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

What are your top priorities for your district?
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    Jones
Jones

1. Ensuring our children have an adequate education opportunities in a safe learning environment the promotes academic advancement and equality

2. Creating environments where residents can live in a safe healthy communities

3. Provide information that prepares future home owners for the challenges of home ownership and enforcing, and creating systematic regulations to prevent predatory lending practices.

4.Reducing our staggering unemployment rate by providing employers with means to operate.

5. Ensure our most vulnerable citizens have an opportunity to maintain a sustainable way of life.

What is your top priority for the state?
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    Jones
Jones

Illinois has endured an exasperating economic struggle. My goal is to further assist our state's climb out of this fiscal mess; in doing we can improve the lives of every Illinoisan.

For incumbents, please list your accomplishments. For challengers, what unique strengths would you bring to the job of state lawmaker?
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    Jones
Jones

Our students are pivotal in ensuring our communities continue to advance. In order attain these high standards safe learning environments are critical so, i passed legislation for uniformity in how we discipline students who are accused of bullying. I passed legislation that prohibits stalkers from using a 3rd party to continue stalking their victims. Furthermore, during this time of economic uncertainty, I passed legislation that ensures taxpayers are given the money owed to them from income and property tax overpayment. Also, in an effort to combat over reaching regulations in the cemetery industry, I sponsored cemetery oversight legislation that reforms regulations that impeded on smaller, not-for-profit cemeteries ability to keep their gates open. I passed legislation to ensure these burial grounds remain in business. I also supported Earned Income Tax Credit for working families and I want to continue working with industry leaders in rein in the foreclosure epidemic.

The state public employee pension system is severely underfunded and paying down the debt threatens to crowd out spending on core state services. Do you support reducing pension benefits not yet earned through a bill like SB512, which offers state workers three options for earning future pension benefits. Should police officers and firefighters be included in a reduced pension system?
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    Jones
Jones

In order for our state to successfully fund our pensions system we must create dedicated revenue streams to adequately fund the system. The current pension system is damaged but with a bipartisan effort we can correct mistakes and ensure that state employees received the benefits they earned and were promised by the Illinois Constitution.

If you don't support a bill like SB512, how would you deal with the state's unfunded pension liability?
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    Jones
Jones

We need to create a dedicated revenue stream that will address growing pension payments. We should also conserve vital resources and add the dollars saved to future payments. Furthermore, modernizing our tax code would drastically reduce our overbearing pension payments

Do you want the 2 percent point income tax increase to expire in 2014, as planned, or would you like to see the tax increase extended beyond 2014?
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    Jones
Jones

I support a fair and balanced tax structure that distributes tax contributions so no citizen is taken advantage of.

Do you support any changes to the corporate income tax rate? Do you support any other changes to the state's business tax structure?
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    Jones
Jones

In order to have a fair and balance tax structure we need to put a system in place that adequately represents Illinois diverse fiscal population. There are several provisions in the current tax code that are simply outdated. Updating out tax structure is critical as we walk the path of economic recovery

What should the state government do to create a more favorable business climate and to promote job growth?
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    Jones
Jones

We need to offer businesses incentives for individuals re-opening abandon enterprises. Small businesses have a direct impact on communities, they instill resources, jobs, added tax income that improves neighborhoods and schools. As we support small businesses they grow and hire more people that will help Illinois escape this current fiscal downfall.

Lay out your plan for paying the billions the state owes schools, universities, human service providers and others. Would you support borrowing to pay down those bills?
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    Jones
Jones

We need to offer businesses incentives for individuals re-opening abandon enterprises. Small businesses have a direct impact on communities, they instill resources, jobs, added tax income that improves neighborhoods and schools. As we support small businesses they grow and hire more people that will help Illinois escape this current fiscal downfall.

State legislative leaders are trying to give the General Assembly a role in negotiating contracts with state labor unions. What is your opinion of that?
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    Jones
Jones

This legislation will severely erode labor unions power to protect workers. Furthermore, stripping executive authority of labor relations would lead to unwarranted layoffs and poor work conditions.

The legislature has tried repeatedly to expand gambling in Illinois. Do you support expanded gambling in Illinois? In what form? Do you support a Chicago casino?
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    Jones
Jones

Casino expansion would add much needed revenue to assist with paying a monumental pension payment and assist with providing money for our struggling educational system.The governance of the regulatory aspect of the casino must be in place to deter corruption and other criminal activities. A casino in Chicago's southside would add much needed revenues to assist with operations, balancing the budget, and decrease or backlog of bills.

Would you seek any changes to the state ethics and campaign finance laws? Would you support capping what state party leaders can donate during a general election?
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    Jones
Jones

A fair and balanced system is necessary so that democracy can flourish. I have supported major ethics reforms to our procurement system, Freedom of Information Act, and Illinois' first ever campaign contribution caps. I support increasing voters' access to the ballot box, greater expansions in voter education, and at addressing other unethical behavior.

Would you back a constitutional amendment to shift from a flat income tax to a progressive income tax system?
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    Jones
Jones

A progressive income tax system would ensure that every citizen equally contributes to the development of our state.

Do you have a plan to adequately fund schools and reform the property tax system that results in inequities?
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    Jones
Jones

I support a plan that provides all children with an equal opportunity to obtain an education that will allow every student to become contributing member of their communities.

What is your view on gay marriage?
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    Jones
Jones

I support gay marriage

The candidates
Emil Jones III
The district
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