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Illinois Senate District 25, 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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis
Birthdate: Did not respond
Occupation: Chairman, Oberweis Dairy. Also chairman of Diamond Marketing Solutions
Marital status: married
Spouse: Julie Oberweis

Education:

Marmion Military Academy
University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, BA
University of Chicago, MBA

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Moose International (serve on Pension Committee)
Northern Illinois Food Bank, director
Oberweis Foundation, President
FINRA, arbitrator

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

Elected to the Republican State Central Committee, Congressional District 14, by the precinct committeemen of the district.

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

None

Richmond
Birthdate: Did not respond
Occupation: Self Employed/ Small Business Owner (LubePros Oil Change
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Julie

Education:

Yorkville High School 1980

Waubonsee Community College 1995
Associate of Science Degree

Northern Illinois University 1997
Bachelor of Science Degree

The John Marshall Law School 2001
Juris Doctor

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Township Officials of Illinois
Kane County Bar Association
American Legion
Navy League
Big Brothers-Big Sisters
Kane County Public Aid Committee

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

Blackberry Township Supervisor, Kane County
Blackberry Township Precinct Committeeman
Director of Constituent Services for the 14th Congressional District, Speaker J Dennis Hastert (Batavia District office) 2001-2007

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

Director of Constituent Services for the 14th Congressional District, Speaker J Dennis Hastert (Batavia District office) 2001-2007

Blackberry Township Supervisor, Kane County, 2009-Present (Serving parts of or all of: Elburn, North Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Campton Hills)

Slocum
Birthdate: 12/29/1950
Occupation: Attorney-Dreyer,Foote,Streit,Furgason & Slocum
Marital status: married
Spouse: Cynthia

Education:

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 1973
Doctor of Jurisprudence from Drake University Law School, Des Moines, IA 1976
Master of Laws in Taxation from John Marshall Law School, Chicago, IL 1984

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Wesley Methodist Church, Kane County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Aurora Chamber of Commerce.

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

I was a member of the West Aurora School Board District 129 for 16 years. I served on the Board for multiple years as Chairperson of the Finance Committee, four years as Vice President, and four years as President of the Board.

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

My son John Slocum is a staff attorney with the Illinois House Republican staff. My wife Cindy Slocum is an employee of the Geneva School District 200.

Campaign information
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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

Campaign headquarters: 951 Ice Cream Dr., North Aurora, IL. 60542
Website: www.jimoberweis.com
Campaign manager: Jeff Davis, consultant
Campaign budget: We don't discuss strategic campaign plans in questionnaires
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
The Pepper Companies, $10,000
Jerome Rich, $5000
Michael Romano, $5000
Patrick Joyce, $5000
Dan Deufel, $5000

Richmond

Campaign headquarters: P.O. Box 831, Yorkville, IL 60560
Website: www.votedaverichmond.com
Campaign manager: Anthony Barry
Campaign budget:
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

Slocum

Campaign headquarters: TBD-Batavia,il
Website: www.slocumforsenate.com
Campaign manager: Philip M Slocum
Campaign budget: $50,000.00.
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Al Raboine $2,500.00; Philip Slocum $1,000.00; Mike Lauria $1,000.00; Jose Arroyo $560.00; and David and Lynne Sullivan $620.00.

What are your top priorities for your district?
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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

My first, second and third priorities are to create an environment in Illinois where entrepreneurs and business people want to start businesses and create jobs and opportunities for people. that can only be accomplished by reducing regulatory burden and reducing tax rates while letting business know it is welcome in Illinois.

Richmond

My district just like the rest of the state, it has been hit hard by our economic slowdown, and the failures of Springfield and the continuing corruption keeps our state from being more competitive. The best way to start putting us back on track is to bring the values of the people of the 25th senate district, that I hold near and dear, to Springfield. Hard work, self-reliance and personal responsibility are the core values of my friends and neighbors and the corner stone that this nation was built on. While I served in the United States Coast Guard I learned that no one is alone in his actions but everyone must take responsibility to themselves.

The further we get away from these values the more trouble we seem to get ourselves in. We need leadership that will serve our needs in the 25th district. That means the repeal of our crushing taxes, regulation reform and the end of pay to play politics that have become second nature to us as Illinoisans. I want Jobs returned to my district and the state, I want honesty to be the watchword of the day and I want people to be in control of their own money and destiny.

Slocum

The 25th District includes a wide array of impressive businesses and talented people. My top priority is to ensure these resources are utilized to the greatest extent possible. Attracting jobs to the 25th is my number one priority. Priority number two is to reduce the tax burden on individuals and businesses.

What is your top priority for the state?
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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

Reducing spending to our level of income and reforming our pension system so that we can afford to fully fund our future pension obligations.

Richmond

Between 1995 and 2009 it is projected that Illinois has lost more than 800,000 residents. When people leave, they take their income and their talent with them. We have become a net departure state. We need to turn Illinois into a destination again.

This is a relatively simple problem to fix. We need only look to our neighbors to gather ideas about how to start turning our state around. Our taxes are too high for working families, our revenues too low to pay our bills, our borrowing rate is truly unsustainable and our regulation and red tape is choking out creativity and competition in the Land of Lincoln. This makes my top priorities simple, spend less, tax less and see more growth.

Slocum

There must be substantial reform in the taxes and fees the state collects. Currently, there is no tax or fee state government does not like. We must make taxes and government fees more manageable for citizens and businesses. There must an overhall in the way Illinois imposes taxes on small businesses and corporations. The piecemeal manner in which tax relief has been implemented in the past promotes cronyism and ignores small business. Second, spending must be reduced.

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

I believe my 40 years of business experience in both the financial services industry as well as the food manufacturing/processing industry provides me with great overall knowledge of how to deal with some of the challenges facing Illinois. In addition, I have successfully negotiated contracts with the Machinist/Aerospace Union (as lead negotiator) on behalf of Colborne Foodbotics and with the Teamsters (part of a team) on behalf of Oberweis Dairy. Contracts were successfully concluded on terms fair to both sides without any strikes. I am also a FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) arbitrator.

Richmond

I am a consensus builder, and while I vow to stick to my principles, I am always open to speak to others about different viewpoints.

As Supervisor of Blackberry township I promised to be fiscally conservative with taxpayer money and have delivered just that. We have a balanced budget, no debt, and have lowered the tax levy from the maximum every year. This means that at the end of the day the people of Blackberry Township have a few extra dollars in their pocket. I made a promise and I delivered on it.

I obtained my leadership abilities while serving in the United States Coast Guard as a Search and Rescue specialist.

I'm not running just for the title, nor am I running just to win the race. I am running because I want to continue my public service and be part of the solution and I believe that new leadership is part of that solution.

Slocum

I believe as a result of my ownership and operation of a successful small business, I have developed skills that will make me a successful legislator. What makes me truly unique is that I am not a career politican and I do not want to be one. Rather I want to legislate from the prospective of a taxpayer/small business owner.

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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

Yes I support SB 512 though we must be sure it will withstand any constitutionality challenges. At present, no reduced pension for police and firefighters is envisioned, though we will need to look at moving to a defined contribution system for all new hires.

Richmond

I support SB512 assuming that the changes made to it when it proceeds to the floor are real and not diluted by the legislative and amenditory process. Most police and fire pensions are controlled on the municipal level. Moreover, many of these are in significantly better shape than the state's pension system. Why should the Illinois legislature have the right to tell local governments how to structure their pension systems when they have failed so miserably to manage their own house.

Slocum

The unfunded pension benefits threaten the fiscal solvency of the State of Illinois. The current system is unsustainable. Past payments that have not been made, but were promised to be made by the State, must be paid. Going forward, there must be consideration of the changes as proposed in SB512. All state pensions must be considered and their funding mechanism reviewed. All the stakeholders must be involved in reaching the solution.

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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

Representative Mike Fortner has proposed an alternative to stabilize the current system and envisions a separate proposal to gradually reduce the unfunded liability over many years. The problem with that, of course, is that we thought we had done that in the '90s, only to see the politicians fail to follow through when the going got tough.

Richmond

Did not respond

Slocum

See answer 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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

The wording of your question is misleading. I'd like to see the 66% income tax increase repealed as soon as possible.

Richmond

I support the immediate repeal of the income tax hike. One thing I think Governor Quinn has been correct on is that any tax hike in this economy would be devastating to working families. Its too bad he was concerned with Washington and not Springfield when he said this. The state's 2% tax increase has done literally nothing to improve Illinois' economic outlook and serves only to take one full pay check from the citizens of Illinois. This was a bad deal when it was voted on by a lame duck legislature and it is an equally bad deal now. This is just one more of example of politicians asking their constituents to pay for Springfield's lack of fiscal discipline.

Slocum

The income tax increase should be allowed to expire. Before any additional tax is extended or imposed, the state must reduce expenditures.

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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

Yes. Corporate taxes and regulatory burdens must be reducedd to attract businesses to this state. Individual and corporate income taxes must be relinked to Federal income taxes in order to reduce the complexity of filing in Illinois.

Richmond

I support lowering the tax rate for families and businesses. This will reduce the need for sweetheart deals like the C.M.E. and Sears. Our state has a horrific record of picking winners and losers and we cannot subsidize the legislature's desire to purchase political favors with taxpayer dollars. That said we need to look at things that will make it easier to do business here in Illinois. For example Workman's compensation insurance for my business is twice what it would be in Indiana. This is a system where reforms have been “attempted” however the political will for real change is non-existent. Further we need to look at reforming junk law suits in a way that allows for wrongs to be redressed but without turning the legal system into a cash cow.

Slocum

A comprehensive review of the corporate income tax rate and its impact on the creation of a pro-business environment has to be considered. Possible incentives to create jobs in the state should include tax credits to businesses adding or creating jobs.

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

Reduce regulatory burden and income tax rates and create a more "business friendly" positive climate in Illinois.

Richmond

I believe that reforming our regulatory and revenue systems is the best way to bring jobs back to Illinois. We were struggling before the recession because of all of these factors and they have only exacerbated the situation. As I have stated above, reasonable Workman's compensation, junk law suit and tax reform is the starting ground.

This is only part of the solution. We must encourage small business growth in Illinois. This is made significantly harder when tax deals are balanced on the backs of families and those small businesses. This is symptomatic of the larger corruption problem our state faces. It is estimated that the “corruption tax” paid by each and every citizen of our state is in excess of $500 million. This discourages businesses from starting here who do not have the political clout over their counterparts; ensuring that the most connected, not the most worthy will succeed. This is wrong and can be easily addressed thought implementation of the Collins Commission's recommendations.

Slocum

The state government should provide broad tax credits to employers adding or creating jobs. The possibility of creating enterprise/business zones to encourage business location should be considered. Piece meal tax benefits to corporations are not beneficial to creating jobs throughout the state. The piece meal passage of tax relief for businesses creates mistrust and disrespect in the eyes of the public. The public must see actions being taken by state government to be beneficial for all its members.

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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

We must reduce overall spending to allow us to pay our bills without further borrowing. We can only begin to improve our credit rating if we reduce spending, not if we borrow more.

Richmond

We have to move to a zero based budget. A large part of these unpaid bills are due to over extension and the desire to have more money for failing or irrelevant programs. We need to move to an outcome based budget and not a need based one. The second step is freezing spending to pre Blagojovich levels and using the surpluses revenue to pay down overdue bills and our pension obligations.

Borrowing is out of the question because i just don't trust the legislature to use the money for what it is meant for.

Slocum

These entities provided services to thousands of individuals with the understanding, and reliance upon, the State providing the funding it had promised. The funding of many of the entities that are owed money is constitutionally mandated. Without a long-term solution to the expenditure side of the state budget, I would not be in favor of borrowing money to pay these obligations. The State must put its house in order by reducing spending so that funds are made available to pay the outstanding obligations in a more timely fashion.

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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

In private industry, both labor and capital are represented in negotiations. Unfortunately, primarily labor is represented in state/union negotiations since legislators have little to gain and much to lose by opposing union demands. Taxpayers are, therefore, unfairly represented. Whoever negotiates on behalf of Taxpayers must have the interests of all taxpayers foremost in their minds and hearts.

Richmond

Public contracts are paid with the people's money and as their representatives in the legislature should have a say in how it is spent.

Slocum

The process of adding additional representatives in union negotiations would be difficult to implement. Before supporting such legislation, I would have to be convinced that adding additional individuals to the negotiation process would be beneficial to the taxpayer and the success in completing negotiations.

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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

No. Gambling is not a reliable long term solution to our financing needs and frequently carries hidden costs that offset much or all of the gains. In addition, it tends to act like a tax on some of the most vulnerable citizens of our state.

Richmond

I am open to discussing gambling expansion however, I feel that this is to some extent a false argument. New gambling revenue cannot be counted on to close the state's budget gap. We need only to look at the reduction in revenue that the Elgin and Aurora casinos have seen in recent years from the expansion of more casinos to understand that more gambling does not mean more money in local economies.

That said, I believe that people have the right to do with their money as they choose. Further I believe that any gambling expansion should treat Chicago no differently than any other municipality.

Slocum

It appears that with the recent addition of a casino in the Chicagoland area, revenues at neighboring casinos, such as Elgin and Aurora, have suffered. Therefore, I am very leary of supporting additional gambling facilities. Furthermore,i would not favor adding additional revenue through additional casinos without addressing the expenditure side of the budget.

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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

the best change we could make to the state's ethics and campaign finance environment would be to reduce the size of government. By shrinking the pot of money available for looting we reduce the incentive for the looters.

Richmond

I believe that the Collins Commission did a wonderful job of setting up an ethics system that will lead to honest government. I was saddened when Governor Quinn, Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton ignored the elements of the legislation that had any real hope of offering meaningful reform. I absolutely support caps on leadership donations and further I support their term limits.

Slocum

I would consider additional reforms if the data supported the changes creating greater trust and respect in the public for their state government. Yes, I would support consideration of an agreed cap amount that state 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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

No

Richmond

I am all for tax reform and we need to put everything on the table to get our state out of the mess it is in. That said the devil i s in the details. As we have seen on the federal level a progressive tax generally leads to loopholes so that the very rich pay less than those who cannot afford to take full advantage of the system. This is not good for Illinois' future.

Slocum

A progressive income tax should be considered by the legislature as an option to solve the state financial crisis .

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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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

Richer districts will always find ways to funnel extra money to their school system. More school choice coupled with merit pay for teachers will help reduce the effects of those inequities.

Richmond

I think that the best way to fix schools is to take the politics out of education. That means parental choice. We have been seeing for years that charter and parochial schools are out performing their public counterparts. I am not in the business of laying blame but we have tried to work with the current system and have had almost no success.

If public schools are forced to compete with their private counterparts the outcomes for our children will be significantly better. We also need to be upfront with school districts about what they can expect from the state in terms of funding. Springfield is in the habit of promising more than it can deliver leaving schools in the lurch to pay teachers and vendors. This is no way to teach children the value of education.

Slocum

For years the State has not fulfilled its constitutional obligation to properly fund schools. Local school districts have been required to rely to an excessive amount on local real property taxes. Reforms of that system have been considered in the past. The reforms have not been implemented. The entire issue of school funding needs to be revisited.

What is your view on gay marriage?
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    ALL
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    Oberweis
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    Richmond
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    Slocum
Oberweis

Jobs and the economy keep me up thinking at night. Same sex marriage doesn't, but I believe marriage should be between one man and one women.

Richmond

I believe marriage is between a man and a women.

Slocum

I believe marriage is an institution shared between a man and a woman.

The race
The candidates
Jim Oberweis
Dave Richmond
Richard C. Slocum
The district
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