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Illinois House District 34, 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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    Kasperek
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    Sims
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    Wooten
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    Wortham
Kasperek
Birthdate: 5/7/1987
Occupation: John Kasperek & Co., Inc.
Marital status: Single
Spouse: N/A

Education:

I attended St. Victor's Elementary School in Calumet City. From there, I attended Marist High School, which is a college prep school on the Southside of Chicago.

I sought a high quality business school in state for college and decided on attending Northern Illinois University, where I earned a B.S. in Finance.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

-Accountant - John Kasperek Co., Inc.
-Auditor for Public School District Accounts
-Association of Government Accountants Member
-Calumet City Cavaliers Service Organization Member
-Chamber of Commerce Member
-St. Victor's Catholic Church Parishioner
-Alpha Kappa Lambda Alum
-These Hands Don't Hurt Volunteer (Sexual Violence Prevention Awareness)

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

No

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

John Kasperek Co. Inc. provides accounting and/or auditing services for various local governmental entities, sometimes on an ongoing basis and sometimes on a specific project.

Sims
Birthdate: 9/21/1970
Occupation: Attorney/Illinois Governmental Consulting Group, LLC
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Shivonne L. Sims

Education:

Juris Doctor, Loyola University Chicago, 2007
Master's in Public Administration, University of Illinois at Springfield, 1997
B.S., Political Science, Illinois State University, 1993

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

CIVIC EXPERIENCE
Member and Immediate Past President, Board of Directors, Chatham Park Place Homeowner's Association
Member, Board of Directors, South Central Community Services
Member, Chairman's Advisory Council, Big Shoulder's Fund
Member, Chatham-Avalon Park Community Council
Member, Greater Chatham Alliance
Member and President, Board of Directors, Illinois Torch Foundation, NFP
Member, Board of Directors, Charles H. Wesley Foundation
Member, Board of Directors, Alpha Phi Alpha Building Foundation
Member, Illinois State University, Black Colleagues Association
Member, University of Illinois at Springfield Alumni Association
Member, Loyola University Chicago Alumni Association

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
Member of the Bar, State of Illinois
Member, Illinois State Bar Association
Member, Chicago Bar Association
Member, Cook County Bar Association

FRATERNAL ORGANIZATIONS
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
• Midwestern Regional Vice President and member of the Fraternity's National Board of Directors
• Immediate Past District Director, District of Illinois
Menelik Consistory #49
Central Lodge # 3, PHA

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

I have not held any previous elective or appointed office. However, for over 18 years I have worked in government at various levels and in different capacities.
My governmental career started as an intern, where I served as an Dunn Fellow under former Governor Jim Edgar; it progressed to legislative budget analyst and then staff director, when I served as Director for Appropriations under former Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. and the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus, to Principal in a governmental consulting firm, Illinois Governmental Consulting Group, LLC.
All of these experiences have afforded me with a unique perspective of all aspects of government and helped me to develop the skills that will make me an effective legislator.

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

Our firm Illinois Governmental Consulting Group, LLC or my law firm, the Law Offices of Elgie Sims have proudly represented various public sector clients including:
Chicago State University
Forest Preserve of Dupage County
Illinois Housing Development Agency
Lyons Township Highway Department
Joliet Arsenal Development Authority
Kane County Board
Orland Township
PACE
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
Village of Bridgeview
Village of Norridge.

Additionally, for twelve years my wife has served as a juvenile probation officer for the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Wooten
Birthdate: 6/21/2012
Occupation: Police Officer City of Chicago
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Sandi Wooten

Education:

Oglesby Elementary School, Stagg Elementary School, Chicago Vocational High School, now Chicago Vocational Career Academy, for three years before attending, Cosmopolitan Prep High School and I received a Bachelor's Degree in Law Enforcement Management in 2001 from Calumet College of St. Joseph, Whiting, IN.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

I served my country honorably for 10 years in the U.S. Army, worked at Olive Branch Mission helping and servicing the homeless and less fortunate for several years, Founded Gathering Point Ministries now known as Gathering Point Community Council serving at- risk youth and their parents through counseling and supportive services, I currently provide employment and training for Chicago Public Schools Safe Passages program, I worked in the Chicago Police Dept. 6th dist. CAPS office as the community liaison bringing participation to second place in the city within 4 years out of 25 police districts, I am a proud 6th ward small business owner so I understand budget and operations, and finally I am currently an 18 year veteran Chicago Police Officer serving and protecting people and communities while counseling individuals through very challenging situations as it relates to life and death. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7 member, Chaplain of Nu Pi Chapter, Joliet, IL., of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Worshipful Master King David Lodge 100 of Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons. I am currently the Associate Pastor of Faith Walk Church International where I minister the word of God counsel parishioners and feed the homeless at the Door of Hope Homeless Shelter faithfully.

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

I served my country honorably for 10 years in the U.S. Army, I worked in the Chicago Police Dept. 6th dist. CAPS office as the community liaison bringing participation to second place in the city within 4 years out of 25 police districts, I am a proud 6th ward small business owner so I understand budget and operations, and finally I am currently an 18 year veteran Chicago Police Officer serving and protecting people and communities while counseling individuals through very challenging situations as it relates to life and death.

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

Chicago Public Schools Safe Passages Program.

Wortham
Birthdate: 7/25/1983
Occupation: Attorney/Chicago Police Department
Marital status: Single
Spouse:

Education:

I received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism, with a concentration in Public Relations, from Howard University. I received my Juris Doctor from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Chatham Avalon Park Community Council, Executive Board
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
Just the Beginning Foundation, Associate Board
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated

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

I worked as an intern in the office of Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County one summer during my time in college.

I worked as a Judicial Clerk for the Circuit Court of Cook County during the summer after my first year in law school. I also worked as a Court Appointed Attorney for the Circuit Court of Cook County for a time during 2009 and 2010.

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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Kasperek

Campaign headquarters: 240 Pulaski Rd.
Website: www.kylekasperek.com
Campaign manager: J.R. Patton
Campaign budget: $150,000.00
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
1.) Kyle Kasperek - $8,550
2.) Richard Matthews - $400
3.) Hernesto Gamino - $339
4.) Stephen Drew - $250
5.) Daniel Metzcus - $193.60

Sims

Campaign headquarters: PO Box 19677, Chicago, IL 60619
Website: www.ElgieSims.com
Campaign manager: Darren Tillis
Campaign budget: Our campaign budget will keep us competitive and provide us with the resources to get our message out to voters of the 34th District.
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Elgie & Shivonne Sims: $15,000
Health Care Council of Illinois: $6,000
MidAmerican Energy: $2,000
Ameren Illinois Utilities: $2,000
Illinois Pipe Trades Association PAC: $1,000

Wooten

Campaign headquarters: 400 W. 76th St.
Website: restoringvalues.com
Campaign manager: Sherri Snead
Campaign budget: $80,000
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
None

Wortham

Campaign headquarters:
Website:
Campaign manager:
Campaign budget: $30,000
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
To date, my campaign contributions have come from individual citizens in amounts at and below $250.00.

What are your top priorities for your district?
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Kasperek

The top three priorities for my district are to create jobs so that people can support themselves and their families, to provide a better education for school children so they can live up to their full potential, and to create a safer physical environment for families to live, work and enjoy their lives.

Sims

1. Creating a comprehensive economic development and job creation plan that creates sustainable jobs, supports small businesses, attracts businesses to the district and reduces the district's unemployment rate;
2. Providing resources to schools throughout the district to ensure they have the resources to make and keep them among the best performing schools not only in the state but the country;
3. Fighting for public safety initiatives that will keep our streets safe by getting tough with criminals and smart on crime; and
4. Fighting for increased resources dedicated to preventative health services and access to adequate community based health care.

Wooten

Public Safety
Making sure we protect the pensions of police & firefighters who risk their lives everyday to serve and protect our families.
Support legislation to introduce new crime fighting tools regarding domestic violence, drugs, and gangs, in neighborhoods.
Form a youth mentorship committee to address juvenile justice issues, provide education and athletic scholarships
Help create jobs for convicted felons to return to useful citizenship after release from prison according to our Illinois constitution

Veterans Support
Making sure we put more resources in place to provide jobs, housing, healthcare and education to assist our military veterans and their families during active duty and after they have served our country honorably

Economic Development Reform
Sponsoring better jobs legislation creating more jobs, & protecting workers & unemployment benefits supporting families
Sponsoring better legislation to support small business growth opportunity grants related to Rural & Urban Agricultural Farmland, Green/Solar Energy Projects, & Technology expansion in Rural & Urban Communities
Sponsoring better legislation to protect Homeowners experiencing foreclosure
Create better legislation to expand access to Construction Redevelopment projects, Apprenticeship trade programs, contracts and projects for minorities to do business with the State of Illinois

Education Reform
Supporting legislation to address a new school funding formula so that all students can have access to a quality public education in a safe and healthy learning environment
Supporting legislation that would require all school board members be elected by voters

Senior Programs
Protecting our seniors from nursing home neglect, physical abuse, and financial crimes
Expanding and implementing new programs to include healthcare, vacations, and senior games competitions throughout the 34th Representative District

Healthcare
Making sure we provide access to healthcare, & prevention care for everyone in our state
Increase funding to care for persons diagnosed with, Autism, Breast Cancer, Substance Abuse, HIV, & Mental health disorders

Wortham

Did not respond

What is your top priority for the state?
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Kasperek

The top three priorities for the State of Illinois are to stabilize a rapidly deteriorating government financial structure, to create a stable economic base to encourage business growth and job opportunities and to eliminate the political selfishness and systemic corruption which has destroyed the confidence of people in their government and their elected officials.

Sims

My priorities for the state are the same as my priorities for the 34th District, a strong economy, good paying jobs, an educational system that is second to none, safe communities and a health care system that is available and affordable to all.
I would however, add one additional priority for the state: focusing on the stabilizing the State's budget, including but not limited to dealing with the State's structural deficit and addressing the failure to fully fund the state's pension obligations.

Wooten

Public Safety
Veterans Support
Economic Development Reform
Education Reform
Senior Programs
Healthcare

Wortham

Did not respond

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

I can count.

From what I can see that has not been a strong suit of legislators for the past 20 years, which has brought the state to the verge of bankruptcy.

The inability to count is the only explanation I can think of when I see annual operating budget deficits of approximately $7 billion each for FY 2011 and FY 2012. Illinois continues to borrow money annually to pay operating expenses and delays paying bills due to vendors / debtors for 6 months or longer. Illinois has no plan to reduce the existing pension liabilities and has over $200 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities (loans, bonds, pensions, etc.) Illinois has no plan in place to address the unsustainable long term debt / ultimate bankruptcy.

Sims

The unique strengths that I possess are Experience, Commitment and Vision.

Experience
I have been blessed and afforded opportunities to experience government at various levels and from different vantage points. For nearly twenty years, I worked in Springfield learning the procedural nuances and how to effectively navigate that process. As a former budget director I understand the budget process and the decisions that need to be made to move the state in the right direction. My overall experiences taught me more than just how to pass a bill, they taught me what is wrong with government and what needs to be done to change it and put government to work for the benefit of people.
Commitment

My experience is only rivaled by my commitment to making a positive impact on the community and my unwavering commitment to leave the community better than I found it. I am dedicated to making a positive impact on the community and how government impacts people each and every day. I believe the role of government is to protect people and improve their quality of life and I am committed to ensuring Springfield never forgets that.

Vision
My greatest asset lies in my vision for the future of the 34th District and how it will progress and move forward. The 34th District remains one of the most diverse districts in the entire General Assembly, with urban, suburban and rural communities. My ability to work with different groups and bring together different interests to execute an agenda that is good for the entire district is my greatest strength.

My Experience in the process; Commitment to the community and Vision for the future of the 34th District are the skills that will make me an effective legislator.

Wooten

I studied Law Enforcement Management, I served my country honorably for 10 years in the U.S. Army, worked at Olive Branch Mission helping and servicing the homeless and less fortunate for several years, Founded Gathering Point Ministries now known as Gathering Point Community Council serving at- risk youth and their parents through counseling and supportive services, I currently provide employment and training for Chicago Public Schools Safe Passages program, I worked in the Chicago Police Dept. 6th dist. CAPS office as the community liaison bringing participation to second place in the city within 4 years out of 25 police districts, I am a proud 6th ward small business owner so I understand budget and operations, and finally I am currently an 18 year veteran Chicago Police Officer serving and protecting people and communities while counseling individuals through very challenging situations as it relates to life and death. I am currently the Associate Pastor of Faith Walk Church International where I minister the word of God counsel parishioners and feed the homeless at the Door of Hope Homeless Shelter faithfully.

Wortham

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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Kasperek

I support SB 512 as an emergency measure to keep the current unsustainable Illinois pension system from total immediate collapse. I know of police and fire pension funds that are in fine financial shape and in some cases overfunded. I don't think it wise or fair to merge good pensions programs with bad ones, especially if it is not clear under which people or set of rules they will operate under (the people/rules that ruined one or the people/rules that sustained another ?)

Sims

No. I do not support reducing benefits for current employees under a system similar to that proposed in SB 512. The problem with Illinois' pension system emanates not from benefits paid but from a failure to adequately fund the system and deferring the cost until later years. Furthermore, in my opinion plans to reduce pension benefits for current employees that have not yet been earned through unilateral action of the General Assembly would violate the pension clause of the Illinois Constitution. The benefits owed to current employees were collectively bargained for and are an obligation the state is contractually bound to respect and just as the benefits were bargained for, a reduction should be treated in the same manner. If the state is going to properly manage its budgetary problems it must better control the underfunded pension liability and this starts by stemming the tide of years of poor decisions by decision makers in Springfield.
No. I do not support reducing pension benefits for our men and women who put their lives on the line for us each and every day, our police officers and firefighters.

Wooten

If the pension benefits have not yet been earned I would support the measure. However it is my belief that we should not include police and fire fighters in a reduced pension system. They have risked their lives everyday to serve and protect the citizens of our state and they deserve to retire with dignity and honor for their service to mankind.

Wortham

No, I do not support reducing pension benefits not yet earned. I do not believe police officers and firefighters should be included in a reduced pension system.

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

Did not respond

Sims

I support and am open to various options, because no one option will solve all problems, to address the state's unfunded pension liability; however, one option that I would caution the state to stay away from is a move to a defined contribution plan. Illinois' current problems with its pension system are not the result of benefits paid, but the result of chronic underfunding of the system and cost deferrals. Estimates demonstrate that the underfunded liability cannot be eliminated by switching to a defined contribution scheme; actually, a move to a defined contribution plan would cost more when changeover costs, ongoing and other costs are taken into consideration.
Additionally, the likelihood that employees would switch to a defined contribution plan is relatively low. In Florida and Michigan, more than 90% of those eligible to switch to a defined contribution plan stayed with the defined benefit plan. Similarly, a relatively small number of Ohio's public employees enrolled in the state's defined contribution plan when that option was recently made available. Benefit experts universally agree that defined benefit plans are far superior to defined contribution plans for employees.

Wooten

We must generate new revenue

Wortham

The state’s unfunded pension liability should be addressed from several perspectives. To begin, the State should consider allowing future employees to manage their own retirements through participation in a 401K plan. In addition, the state must seek new and creative ways to obtain revenue which can be used to assist the state in paying down its debt to ensure that funds are no longer taken from the pension without the ability to pay it back. In addition, the state must also look seriously at ways to cut costs across government. While no individual cut will fully solve the problem, an earnest prioritization of spending could assist in addressing the unfunded pension.

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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Kasperek

I don't think we have any choice but to keep the current tax increase in place, but I think we have to let the tax lapse as planned in the future if we want to see economic growth and job creation. You cannot tax your way to prosperity, just the opposite, and the tax revenue lost from closed or moved businesses may offset any increased revenue collected. In the end, you don't wind up with anymore money, but you do lose jobs and are forced to pay out more in social service assistance.

Sims

Yes, I would like to see the tax expire, but the reality is that given the current state of Illinois' economy, the real question is if it were to expire would the state be able to maintain the current level of services and meet all obligations?
The State of Illinois' fiscal plan must operate like any other entity and answer two basic questions:
a. Is the proper amount of resources available to cover all ongoing expenditures and other spending priorities? and
b. What are ongoing expenditures and spending priorities that must be addressed?
Fundamentally, spending for state services ought to be determined by a cost benefit analysis comparing the benefit derived from the spending to the cost of raising the necessary revenue. On the spending side, the state of Illinois ought to use whatever revenue-raising vehicle imposes the least burden on taxpayers. I support efforts to be more proactive with state resources, including getting a better handle on revenue and expenditure projections for the current and upcoming fiscal years.
Any efforts to roll back the tax must be coupled with revenue alternatives that will support state operations in the absence of the revenues provided by the tax. In my opinion it is bad public policy to eliminate a revenue source without a corresponding revenue replacement or expenditure reduction.

Wooten

I would like to see that tax increase stay in place until long term solution is worked out. Which in my opinion will be a permanent tax increase to address our states financial debt crisis.

Wortham

I would like to see an account of how the funds generated by the increase have benefited the state. If the funds generated have assisted in paying down the debt, and allowed more Illinois citizens to keep jobs and benefits, I would like to consider extending the tax increase beyond 2014.

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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Kasperek

Only to let the current income tax increase lapse to prevent any further economic deterioration. I also think we should cut back on cash incentives for certain large to businesses to stay in Illinois, and instead invest that money in general economic growth strategies that benefit all businesses.

Sims

I support fiscal policies and business tax laws that actively promote economic growth in Illinois by encouraging increased capital investment, productivity and the creation of new job opportunities for Illinois citizens. I support a business environment that attracts business to Illinois, grows and expands our indigenous businesses and makes our business climate competitive with neighboring states.

Wooten

It is obvious that our past corporate tax structure has worked in the best interest of corporations and lawmakers have not done what is in the best for our state and economy over the years. However, we must create an environment that attracks new corporations to our state and keeps those that are currently doing business in our state.

Wortham

For the time that the individual income tax increase remains in effect, the corporate tax increase should also remain. However, I do believe Illinois officials must carefully examine the business climate and ensure that we remain a favorable climate for employers and employees. To do so, if the corporate income tax rate remains, the state should examine other incentives for businesses which would benefit the business itself as well as potential Illinois employees.

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

The accounting firm I work for has many business clients and their biggest beef with the government is to just leave them alone. Regulation and oversight are needed for the protection of workers and consumers, but it should be kept to a minimum to allow businesses to focus on their core objectives – making a profit, providing a service or product, and employing Illinois residents.

We need to stop “nickel and diming” business owners with taxes and fees that may cause them to pull up stakes and leave. In the end, many small businesses have a profit margin of less than 10% and if you take half of that away, they may find it easier and more profitable to go find a job than run a business. We can't all be workers. There has to be some employers.

Sims

I am a firm believer that in order to turn our state's economy around we will have to create an environment that invests in small and medium sized businesses, incentivizes the job creation efforts of all businesses and is more business friendly. The only way for us to truly save the middle class is to invest in those businesses that are its backbone, small and medium sized business, thereby creating an environment where businesses thrive and working people prosper.
To promote job growth the state should take a comprehensive approach to job creation as opposed to one that addresses the business needs of only a few. Additionally, the state must have a comprehensive business retention plan that engages companies currently doing business in the state as well as imploring an aggressive business attraction agenda that maximizes Illinois competitive advantages.

Wooten

Create incentives for major corporations to do business with small businesses, and invest in more. Support small business growth opportunity grants related to Rural & Urban Agricultural Farmland, Green/Solar Energy Projects, & Technology expansion in Rural & Urban Communities.

Wortham

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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Kasperek

The last two Governors and the legislature have painted Illinois into a financial corner. There is no way out that is not painful to every segment of our population. Spending must be cut or we will go bankrupt. Illinois can no longer borrow – short term or long term – and expect future growth to cover that debt. We have to live substantially within our current revenue stream because we have to cover current costs and debt. Unless drastic and painful cuts are made now, there will not be a later.

Sims

Just like other states Illinois was hit with the worst economic downturn in generations; this economic downturn when coupled with years of failing to deal with its structural deficit, expenditures that consistently outpace the growth in revenues and a chronically underfunded pension system have placed enormous pressure on Illinois' operating budget.
I support fiscally responsible measures to meet the obligations the state must pay while making the difficult decisions to bring our fiscal condition under control. The state cannot continue to spend money it does not have and must be more disciplined in meeting its obligations.
I support borrowing to pay down bills on a limited basis, but only to the extent it relieves the pressure on vendors who are struggling to continue providing or have already provided services on behalf of the state. Additionally, any borrowing proposal must include a detailed repayment plan that demonstrates how funds will be repaid without increasing the state's overall debt.
Unfortunately, this crisis took years to create and calls for a balanced approach that represents a comprehensive effort to address the economic downturn and undisciplined spending on the part of our government. In my opinion this crisis provides the state an opportunity to enact some fiscal disciplines that have been lacking and I look forward to leading the charge to enact these changes and enforce this discipline.

Wooten

I support borrowing on a limited basis but the reality is that we must identify new funding if we are going to address this issue over the long term.

Wortham

As the State generates funds through increased taxes and other avenues, the use of those funds must be prioritized carefully. Schools and human service providers are vital services to Illinois citizens. Thus, as Illinois looks to pay down its debt, an ongoing payment plan should be designed to ensure the schools, universities and human service providers are paid.

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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Kasperek

Legislators caused the pension problems by approving pension legislation. I don't see how allowing them additional power to solve a problem their initial lack of political will created makes the situation better.

Sims

In my opinion the only parties to the collective bargaining process should be labor and management. This limitation provides consistency for the process and one that allows for a result that has no political basis or motivation. I understand the rationale for allowing the General Assembly as the entity responsible for appropriating funds necessary to cover the costs of any collective bargaining agreement into the process, however, in order to have a process that is balanced and truly reflects the labor-management relationship the only parties to the process should be representatives of labor and management.

Wooten

I think it is important that the General Assembly play a vital role in this process to ensure that we begin to hopefully move towards creating a balance that is in the best interest of our state.

Wortham

If the intent is to have the General Assembly involved in order to ensure the budget is constructed in acknowledgment of what will be spent on the state payroll, I think that could be beneficial. However, the State must ensure that any General Assembly presence does not decrease workers’ ability to negotiate

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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Kasperek

I don't think gambling is a good primary basis for an economy and I do not think gambling revenue should be relied on so heavily, but I have no objection to the expansion of three casinos. One for Chicago to serve the tourists and convention trade, one in the south suburbs to cut off Illinois gambling proceeds from benefitting Indiana, and one up north to prevent the same situation with Wisconsin.

I do not support video gaming in the bars and I don't think slots at race tracks or county fairs is a good idea.

Sims

I support fiscally responsible measures to raise revenue for the state of Illinois that impose no greater burden on taxpayers. I believe the compromise gambling expansion measure that recently failed to pass the General Assembly was a reasonable compromise that addressed many of the concerns presented by the Governor while also providing needed revenue for the locations where the new facilities would have been located.
As the district I hope to represent includes portions of Chicago and the southern suburbs, I welcome the economic development and job opportunities expanded gambling would present. With unemployment in double digits in some areas of the 34th District we must make decisions that make long term economic sense for our area.

Wooten

Because of our state's financial crisis, I do support gambling expansion as one way to get our state back on track. It will help create new funding, jobs, and reducing Illinoisians going to neighboring states to gamble their funds. It is my hope that supporting gambling legislation will ultimately push our state to a more sound financial state in the future.

Wortham

I do support the expansion of gambling in Illinois. I support a Chicago casino.

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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    Wortham
Kasperek

I would find the tightest, most restrictive laws in any state and apply them to Illinois in hopes that it would stop some of the corruption that money brings to the political process.

I support eliminating legislative leadership funds. Not only do they improperly influence votes in Springfield, but they center power in a few hands that have ruined our state financially.

Sims

In the post-Blagojevich era, Illinoisans expect and demand a government they can be proud of; I support efforts to bring transparency and sunshine to the electoral process. I believe the actions taken in the passage of campaign reform in 2009 should be seen as a step in the right direction and not the ultimate destination. Illinoisans want control of their government and campaign reform is an integral part of this effort.
I do not support anyone having more control over the process than the people who are represented therein including state party leaders. If we are truly to be the government envisioned by Abraham Lincoln over 200 years ago “of the people, by the people and for the people” we must take steps to return government to the people, and campaign reform helps achieve this goal.

Wooten

I have no issues with state ethics and campaign laws, and I support the party being allowed to donate during a general election.

Wortham

I believe the State’s ethics and campaign finance laws should be such that no one entity is permitted to unduly influence any election. However, I am undecided on the issue of capping state party leader donations during general elections.

Would you back a constitutional amendment to shift from a flat income tax to a progressive income tax system?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Kasperek
  • [ + ]
    Sims
  • [ + ]
    Wooten
  • [ + ]
    Wortham
Kasperek

No. And I support a flat tax on the national level as well, even though it would throw a huge monkey wrench into the accounting business.

Sims

Yes. I support placing a constitutional amendment before voters and giving them the right to decide whether to establish, a progressive income tax.

Wooten

Yes I would be open to a progressive income tax system but the voters should be allowed to weigh in on the constitutional amendment as well.

Wortham

Yes, I would support examining the potential benefits of shifting to a progressive income tax.

Do you have a plan to adequately fund schools and reform the property tax system that results in inequities?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Kasperek
  • [ + ]
    Sims
  • [ + ]
    Wooten
  • [ + ]
    Wortham
Kasperek

No. I don't have the answer to the huge budget gaps which cannot be adequately filled regardless of which system we choose to fund it under. However, I believe my financial training has equipped me better able to find a solution than the non-accountants (but fine people) who are my opponents.

I also believe the property tax appeal system in Cook County is skewed in favor of large commercial property owners, which leave small businesses and residential property owners to fill the gap by paying a higher percentage. I would be eager to work on legislation that creates hard and fast guidelines which cannot be ignored by assessment officials.

Sims

Yes. For many years I have advocated for equitable funding for schools throughout the state of Illinois and a move away from a reliance on property taxes as a means to fund our schools. My educational plan prioritizes creating a funding system that is equitable and provides opportunities for students regardless of zip code. We will forge a comprehensive plan that focuses on providing resources to all schools to allow them to achieve academic success for our students focusing particular attention on establishing smaller class sizes as a means to increase educational achievement and advancement. My educational plan focuses on developing an agenda that empowers teachers, encourages parental involvement and holds our administrative leadership accountable.

Wooten

New taxes and looking at the current funding structure and what needs to be revised.

Wortham

I am certain that we must move away from the property tax system if we are going to properly educate the students of Illinois. I am still researching the best alternative to the current system.

What is your view on gay marriage?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Kasperek
  • [ + ]
    Sims
  • [ + ]
    Wooten
  • [ + ]
    Wortham
Kasperek

Civil unions are the law of the land and I accept it, just like Roe v. Wade. I don't believe my personal or religious beliefs should be my only guide to legislative matters. I believe I should look to consensus among my constituents in legislative matters involving moral issues.

Sims

It is not the place of government to involve itself in the private affairs of its citizens. The time has come for our society to move past questions of whether marriage is defined as between members of opposite or same sex. It is time we move toward an era where family is the core of our communities, and as our country becomes more diverse what family means continues to change. As long as two people demonstrate they are prepared to be in a committed relationship with each other it is not the role of government to stand in the way.

Wooten

It is my belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Wortham

I support the right to gay marriage.

The race
The candidates
Kyle Kasperek
Elgie R. Sims Jr

Not pictured:
Paul Steven Gregoire
Richard A. Wooten
Sandra J. Wortham

The district
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