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Illinois House District 32, 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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    Thapedi
Thapedi
Birthdate: Did not respond
Occupation: Attorney / Thapedi & Thapedi - Attorneys at Law
Marital status: Single
Spouse:

Education:

LeMans Academy - Graduate
Saint Ignatius College Preparatory - Graduate
Morehouse College - Graduate
The John Marshall Law School - Graduate

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

See curriculum vitae attached.

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.

Andre' Thapedi - State Representative
Llwellyn Thapedi - Circuit Court Judge

Campaign information
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    Thapedi
Thapedi

Campaign headquarters: 6800 South Michigan - Chicago, Illinois 60637
Website:
Campaign manager: Llwellyn Thapedi
Campaign budget: I am still in the process of developing a budget.
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Andre' Thapedi
Llwellyn Thapedi
Labor
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois State Medical Society
Friends of Michael J. Madigan

What are your top priorities for your district?
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    Thapedi
Thapedi

Job creation, crime prevention, and foreclosure relief.

What is your top priority for the state?
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    Thapedi
Thapedi

Other than resolving the fiscal crisis - Workers Compensation Reform.

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

See curriculum vitae attached hereto.

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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    Thapedi
Thapedi

I believe the Illinois Constitution is very clear as to the legality relative to the reduction of existing pension benefits. I believe any proposal that diminishes existing benefits for existing employees is - on it's face - unconstitutional. Nonetheless, the existing pension systems and plans are malfunctioning in several aspects. Any changes made to the existing systems and plans should be constitutional and fair to taxpayers and public employees collectively. A pension panel, as proposed by the Governor, is a step in the right direction relative to reformation.

Moreover, experts opine that pension payments coupled with rising Medicare payments are the crux of the State's fiscal problems. Consequently, I fully support revamping the current methodologies to ensure that the State pays down the existing debt, and properly funds these systems.

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

Did not respond

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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    Thapedi
Thapedi

Although the income tax increase is a "new" revenue stream for the State, Illinoisians can not afford to pay the income tax increase beyond 2014. As I have walked and talked to citizens in the suburban portion of my district, they have made clear that State fiscal responsibility is the key to resolving the current fiscal crisis - not an income tax increase. I look forward to reviewing the Governor's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and will make the appropriate informed decision at that time. For this reason, among others, I have supported reductions in State spending while at the same time protecting vital programs for seniors (i.e. Circuit Breaker) and our youth.

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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    Thapedi
Thapedi

The current tax code is archaic which prompted tax relief requests from various corporations this past legislative session. Allowing businesses to both invest and reinvest in their businesses both sparks the creation of jobs, and also makes Illinois far more business friendly. To this end, I fully support revamping and modernizing the tax code to fairly tax corporations and individuals without harming businesses.

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

Reform the Workers Compensation system. Having sat on the reform committee last Christmas holiday, I recognize that reformation of the Workers Compensation system is of paramount importance to the business climate of Illinois. As a lawyer who has tried several cases to verdict, I am uniquely qualified to support this endeavor.

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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    Thapedi
Thapedi

I have filed a few Bills that generate millions of dollars for the State of Illinois - without harming Illinoisians. Some of my efforts have been reported by the Sun Times.
For example, my Bill creating the Baggage Fee Sharing Program generates scores of millions of dollars for both the State and local governments. Similarly, my Bill authorizing the creation of designated, ventilitated, segregated, state-of-the-art rooms on riverboats and in the racetracks garners hundreds of millions of dollars for the State. Equally true, my Bill which addresses the testing of certain vehicles in the State for emissions output - recoups millions of dollars for the State. These viable options were fully researched and vetted by me before I crafted the language for these Bills. Exploring options such as these obviates or, in fact, eliminates the need for borrowing money to "balance the budget" and pay down invoices.
A line-by-line analysis of the budget is the key to resolving this crisis. There is no dispute that there is considerable waste in many of the State agencies. Identifying the waste should be the first priority of the legislature.

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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    Thapedi
Thapedi

There are various facets to true negotiations. Meaningful negotiations require cooperation and the presence of all of the stakeholders/decision makers. Logically, including a mediator and all decision makers throughout the course of the negotiating process can not be deemed foolhardy. However, statutorily forcing caps and parameters on the state labor unions is not the most prudent path to an amicable resolution.

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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    Thapedi
Thapedi

The true inquiry is "[s]hould Illinois become the Nevada of the Midwest?" Due to the current fiscal crisis --- the anticipated revenue from new gaming facilities can not be ignored. However, massive gaming expansion should be Illinois' last resort for fiscal balance. In light of recent actuarial and budgetary findings, it can be argued that Illinois has, in fact, reached the "last resort" plateau in the budget crisis. Nonetheless, existing Illinois gaming facilities can be systematically improved to recoup huge gaming losses to Indiana, Missouri and other boarding jurisdictions. More simply put, the creation of designated, segregated, ventilated, state-of-the-art rooms on existing riverboats and racetracks will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the State of Illinois. This path essentially eliminates or obviates the need for gaming expansion.

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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    Thapedi
Thapedi

Historically, this has been a challenge in Illinois and fully explored with proposals and legislation. The campaign finance reforms that have recently been put in place are a great start. Contemplating equality in elections can not be summarily disregarded.

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

I would support a proposal that places this question on the ballot.

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

The property tax system is also archaic. I believe assessments should be every two years to properly and fairly assess it. Also, the equilization factor portion of the formula should be far more straightforward.

What is your view on gay marriage?
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    Thapedi
Thapedi

I am uncertain of the query. How does one define "gay marriage" in the context of this query? I consider "gay marriage" and a "civil union" to be mutually exclusive terms defined differently. Please provide me with your defination of a "gay marriage" for a fuller response to this query.

The race
The candidates
Andre' Thapedi

Not pictured:
Bobby Joe Johnson

The district
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