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Illinois Senate District 23, Republican 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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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau
Birthdate: 8/13/1947
Occupation: State Senator, State of Illinois
Marital status: Married
Spouse: John

Education:

University of Illinois Chicago, Bachelor of Science, Accounting

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Bloomingdale Township Republican Origination
Bloomingdale Township Republican Women's Organization
Chamber of Commerce Member
The Conference of Women Legislators – Co-Chair
American Legislative Exchange Council

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

Yes

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

Keeneyville school board member
DuPage County Board Member
State Representative
My husband, John, has done some contract legal work for the Bloomingdale Township Highway Department.

Ramey
Birthdate: 3/17/1962
Occupation:
Marital status: married
Spouse: Sharon

Education:

B.S. degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in Restaurant Management

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Phi Kappa Theta, Free Masons, Scottish Rite, Medinah Shrine, Wayne Township Republican Organization, DuPage County Republican Organization, Wayne Township General Assistance, DuCAP

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

Secretary of State, 13 years
Wayne Township Trustee, 7 years
State Representative,55th District, 6 years

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

Pate Philip, former Senate President
Nancy Philip, formerly employed at the State, office personel and Comptroller Lindberg

Campaign information
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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

Campaign headquarters: 105 E. Irving Park Rd, Itasca IL 60143
Website: www.peopleforpankau.com
Campaign manager: Tom Mannix
Campaign budget: $200,000
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
John Pankau - $20,000
Illinois State Medical Society - $5,000
Peter Huizenga - $5,000
Richard L. Duchossois - $5,000
Christopher Burke Engineering - $5,000

Ramey

Campaign headquarters: 1879 N. Neltnor Blvd. #325
Website: rameyforil.com
Campaign manager:
Campaign budget: $150,000
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
On my D-2 filing

What are your top priorities for your district?
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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

Creating good paying local jobs.

Ramey

Jobs
Infrastructure

What is your top priority for the state?
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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

Working with leaders in both parties in Springfield in a spirit of cooperation to put Illinois back on a track towards economic prosperity.

The partisan bickering and fighting has led Illinois down a path that has brought our economy to the brink of collapse. We need to stop focusing on political affiliations; and begin figuring out how we will put Illinois families back to work.

Ramey

Jobs, far to many people out of work and we need to make our State a better place for people to do business.

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

Since I was appointed as the Minority Spokesperson on the Senate Commerce Committee, I have focused my attention on gathering input from business leaders and Illinois residents about how we can put Illinois families back to work.

I introduced several pieces of legislation to make it easier to start a business in our state, as well as legislation that will begin to track the exodus of good paying jobs. Before we can truly tackle the economic crisis facing Illinois, we need to fully understand why a business chooses to leave this state, and what we, as legislators, can do to keep them here.

Ramey

DUI fund use expansion
Victims Rights Reform, Victim Impact Statement
DuPage County Water District Reform
Adult Entertainment facility placement
Many Township Government initiatives
Rapid RePat
Local Government Press Notices Requirements
Motorcycle Fund Usage Reform

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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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

At this moment, the sustainability of our pension system is the single greatest threat facing our state.

I believe we must act swiftly to reduce our unfunded pension liability by changing our current pension system, however, we cannot reduce pension benefits of those workers who have already earned them.

One reform idea that I believe has some real potential is the Cap – and – Age proposal brought forward by Senator Chris Lauzen. This legislation caps the total payout that an individual can receive from state backed pension systems, and prevents individuals from taking any pension benefits until they turn 62. While this proposal is a good starting point, it is, by no means, a final solution to the pension problem facing our state, however I do believe that this concept, with some modifications, can put us on a path towards fixing this broken and abused system.

I voted no on SB512 when it was first introduced in the Senate, as it was a shell bill, with no actual legislative language included. Considering the amendments being debated in the House, I am leaning towards supporting this legislation, but will reserve a final decision until the details have been finalized.

Police and fire pensions should not be included in SB512.

Ramey

Pension reform is needed and should be an agreed upon bill process. I am currently working with Reps. Tryon, Fortner and Nekrita along with the IPI and the Teacher Unions on that very compromise.

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

See above

Ramey

as stated above

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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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

The income tax increase needs to expire as soon as possible; I would not support extending it.

Ramey

No, I believe the tax increase was a mistake and needs to be repealed. We need to keep our commitments, live within our means, and offer businesses incentives and tax deferrals to stay, and invest, in Illinois. As well, we should empanel a special commission, as Ronald Reagan did with Peter Grace leading, that roots out waste and duplication of services. Put a hold on all new non-life threatening initiatives until Illinois economic picture improves.

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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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

We need to repeal the corporate tax rate increase that was passed in 2011.

Additionally, we need to remove onerous fees associated with setting up or renewing a business in this state. For example, if you choose to renew a business license online, there is an automatic fee assessed that is not charged if you were to renew a license in person – this is a needless fee, and discourages efficiency in state government. There are many other small fees and fines that add up quickly and cost business millions of dollars each year. Having a reliable and predictable business tax system, where businesses know the cost to do business in our state, will result in more businesses staying in Illinois, or possibly moving to Illinois from other states.

Ramey

We need to repeal the State Corporate Tax increase, in fact all of the tax increases. We also need to remove the fee increases that occured a few years back under the Blago administration.

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

We cannot continue to grant special incentives and tax breaks on a case-by-case basis. Currently job creators are holding the State hostage because they know that our state is in a precarious economic situation, and we, as a state, are in no position to lose even one more job.

Our state should be focused on revamping our tax structure to encourage job creators to move into our state so we can put Illinois families back to work. In addition to tax relief, we need to reform the workers comp system, reduce our pension liabilities, and curb out of control Medicaid spending to put our state in a position where we can begin to look at cutting taxes, as opposed to raising taxes.

While these reforms will take significant time and political will to institute, I believe that many of us in the General Assembly are ready to work together across party lines to put Illinois back to work.

Ramey

We need better workman's comp reform( Causation ), lower the business tax, lower all the fee increases, tort reform and stop adding more regulation. We need stability so that business knows what it will be able to re-invest and grow. With growth their will be hiring which will help our state all around.

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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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

I do not currently support any additional borrowing. I believe we need to see the promised budget reorganization and restructuring implemented before we can look towards more borrowing.

Ramey

I would support borrowing if we received a great rate and the budget is cut. If we borrow and continue spending then we will dig a deeper hole. We need to go through the budget and get rid of programs that are duplicative and are not working.

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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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

This is a move by Speaker Madigan to get back at Gov. Quinn regarding the pay raises that were doled out to certain unions prior to the election in 2010.

I do not believe that the General Assembly should play a role in negotiating contracts with unions, however I would fully support a system similar to what we see at the local government level, where the executive negotiates a contract, and the legislature ratifies the contract.

This will add a check and balance to what is now a process that costs tax payers millions of dollars with little public scrutiny.

Ramey

I believe we could be helpful in these negotations. We have seen in the past where the Governor had negotiated their own deal and it has come back to haunt them.

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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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

Expansion of gaming seems to come up every single year in Springfield, and yet, none of it has passed.

In light of the current economic crisis in our state, we need to aggressively explore all options that will help put Illinois families back to work.

Before moving forward with any expanded gaming, however, I believe that we need to increase funding for the Illinois Gaming Board to ensure that they have the staff and resources to properly oversee all aspects of gaming in Illinois.

Ramey

I voted against the current expansion to gambling. I believe there could be a Chicago Casino as long as strict rules and egulation are in place and enforced.

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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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

I would support closing certain loopholes from the campaign finance overhaul that we passed last year.

I would support capping donations from state party leaders to candidates during a general election.

Ramey

I voted for the changes and believe we should cap what party leaders can donate.

Would you back a constitutional amendment to shift from a flat income tax to a progressive income tax system?
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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

No

Ramey

no

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

School funding comes out of the GRF. Pension payments come out of the GRF.

The best way we can adequately fund our schools is to get out from under our massive pension liability. If we were able to cut our pension contribution by even half, we would be able to increase the foundation level by over 25%.

I do not feel comfortable taking property tax dollars from local schools, sending that money down to Springfield and letting Springfield reallocate those funds. Based off of how the past several governors' have handled the state's checkbook, I do not think we should be sending even more money down to Springfield to be mismanaged.

Ramey

I have introduced legislation that would save the state money and would require the state to pay a minimum of 50% of the education costs. You woul immediately see property tax savings and the inequities would be minimalized.

What is your view on gay marriage?
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    ALL
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    Pankau
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    Ramey
Pankau

Civil unions are now the law in Illinois.

Ramey

I am against it.

The race
The candidates
Carol Pankau
Randy Ramey
The district
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