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Illinois House District 27, 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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    Brown
Brown
Birthdate: 12/29/1972
Occupation: Law Student
Marital status: Single
Spouse:

Education:

B.S in Chemistry from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
M.B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago
M.A. in Educational Administration from Governors State University
J.D. from Northern Illinois University College of Law expected in May 2012
Holds a Type 75 administrative certificate with a Chief School Business Official endorsement.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International, National Black MBA Association, and the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

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

N/A

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

N/A

Campaign information
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    Brown
Brown

Campaign headquarters:
Website: www.prestonbrownjr.com
Campaign manager:
Campaign budget:
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

What are your top priorities for your district?
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    Brown
Brown

My top priorities for the 27th Representative District are:

To work to create new economic opportunities that lead to the creation of new jobs;
To increase job training programs;
To increase funding for the hiring of new police officers to keep the District safe;
To improve the quality of education for children within the District;
To create new programs for youth to keep them active and out of trouble; and
To keep an open door policy to the residents of the 27th District.

What is your top priority for the state?
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    Brown
Brown

My top priorities for the State are:

To increase non-tax based revenue sources;
To improve the quality of public education;
To work towards ensuring increased transparency in State government;
To reduce wasteful government spending;
To reduce the mismanagement of State funds; and
To ensure that the rights of the citizens of Illinois are not infringed upon as a result of the enacting of legislation that has not been well thought through.

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

Did not respond

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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    Brown
Brown

I strongly oppose SB512. The bill in its present form can create a number of unintended consequences that could further enhance the very debt problem that the bill was created to relieve. Current state workers should not be required to take a reduction in their pension benefits.

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

Anytime there is a requirement to cut funding there unfortunately is going to be someone that will be affected. I understand the unions and their staunch position to prevent any pension cuts. My father was a laborer that worked for over 35 years and both he and my mother relied on his pension benefit to survive during retirement. I think that it would be easier to come to some compromise if there was not such a cloud of financial mismanagement that hovered over the capital in Springfield. The legislature has to do a better job in maximizing its reduction of wasteful spending and minimizing its poor management of debt reduction. Tax and toll increases are not the answer.

Eventually, calmer heads must prevail and there has to be a compromise whereby the legislature and the unions that represent State employees will have to decide how to enact a reasonable increase of pension contributions and a possible decrease in the benefits offered to future state employees.

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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    Brown
Brown

The 2 percent point tax increase should expire in 2014. We should take a phase approach going forward when increasing the tax rate where the tax rate cannot be increase more than one half of one percent in a 6 month period. Instead of legislators taking the initiative to enact huge tax increases they should be required to plan and chart out any need for an increase in the state tax as not to unreasonably burden the taxpayer.

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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    Brown
Brown

Did not respond

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

Did not respond

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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    Brown
Brown

I believe the most recent tax increase has helped to pay down a small portion of the billions in past due debt obligations. Only in the most serious of situations would I support an emergency plan to borrow in the short term to make any payments. We don't want to make the situation worse than it already is by increasing the debt with additional interest payments. Let work to eliminate any and all wasteful spending as a method of paying down our debt.

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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    Brown
Brown

Did not respond

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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    Brown
Brown

I would support the expansion of gambling in Illinois, but with some reservation. I believe that the expansion will help to generate some much needed revenue, but I am concerned about those citizens that may experience an addiction to gambling and the troubles that would result from any abuse. I would only support the issuance of a gaming license to the City of Chicago, if the planned location for the casino was located downtown.

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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    Brown
Brown

Did not respond

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

Did not respond

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

Article X of the Illinois Constitution states that “the State shall provide for an efficient system of high quality public educational institutions and services" and that “the State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education”. The State has fallen well short of ensuring the quality of public education and the State has not take primary responsibility for financing public education. I believe that if the State is going to take a serious role in ensuring the quality and adequate funding of public education then we must first define what is "quality education" in Illinois and how much will it cost to adequately fund each student pursuit of a quality education. Once we identify the goal then we can develop a plan that takes a phased approach in reducing property taxes and increases other state revenue sources so that the State can fulfill its obligation to the public school students in Illinois.

What is your view on gay marriage?
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    Brown
Brown

As a Christian, I have always been taught that marriage is the union between one man and one woman. When two people get married that union manifests itself through the consenting of both adults and the state recognizing the union. As a result, a legal contract is created. This contract creates a number of benefits that can include the assumption of a spouse's pension, legal immunity protections, joint adoption and foster care, visitation of a spouse in a hospital, and a spouse being entitled to wrongful death benefits to just name a few. I believe that everyone should be able to exercise their right to choose who they want to spend the rest of their life with and be entitled to all of the privileges and benefits that goes along with that choice. This also includes the ability to exit from the union and to be protected in the case of divorce. Two consenting persons of the same sex should have the ability to choose to get married and that union should be recognized by the State of Illinois

The race
The candidates
Monique D Davis

Not pictured:
Preston Brown Jr

The district
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