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House of Representatives District 52, 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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    Gaffney
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    McSweeney
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Gaffney
Birthdate: 1/3/1967
Occupation: State Representative/State of Illinois
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Elizabeth

Education:

I am a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Political Science. After taking a job with the House Republican Staff, I continued my studies as a graduate student at the University of Illinois – Springfield.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Local Chambers of Commerce, National Rifle Association

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

On July 4, 2011, I was sworn in as the new State Representative for the 52nd House District. I was appointed to the seat after the untimely passing of my friend and colleague, the late Representative Mark Beaubien.

I began my career in public service in 1988, working summers with the Illinois Senate. Upon college graduation, I worked in the private sector for several years. I came back to public service in 1997, taking a position on the Illinois House Republican Research & Appropriations Staff. In 2001, I became the Director of Appropriations for the House Republican Caucus.

As Budget Director, I fought for fiscal responsibility in Springfield, where I served as the lead budget negotiator for the House Republican Caucus. For several years there were no “Yes” votes from the House Republican Caucus on state budgets due to the fact that the budgets relied upon pension raids, borrowing, and the use of one-time revenue sources.

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

Director of Appropriations - Illinois House Republican Caucus, 2001-2011
Illinois House Republican Research & Appropriations Staff, 1997-2000

My wife Elizabeth served as a legislative liaison for the Offices of the Illinois Attorney General and Governor in the late 1990's.

McSweeney
Birthdate: 10/1/1965
Occupation: Self-employed / DMC Rockford LLC
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Margaret

Education:

I completed an accelerated BA/MBA program, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Duke University in 1987. I continued my education and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the Duke Fuqua School of Business in 1988.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

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

Village of Inverness Plan Commission, Palatine Township Collector, and Palatine Township Trustee

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

None

Rowe
Birthdate: 12/14/1972
Occupation: Marketing Director / Surface Prep Technologies
Marital status: divorced
Spouse:

Education:

McHenry High School, East Campus 1991.
22 years life experience in business.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Operation Homefront Illinois,
Wauconda Township Republican Club,
Lake County Young Republicans,
Liberty Street Tea Party

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.

None.

Campaign information
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Gaffney

Campaign headquarters: PO Box 63, Fox River Grove, IL 60021-0063
Website: www.kentgaffney.com
Campaign manager: Nick McNeely
Campaign budget: N/A
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Citizens for Mark Beaubien $12,382
Vincent Foglia $ 5,000
Patricia Foglia $ 5,000
Citizens to Elect Tom Cross $ 4,000
Ameren Illinois $ 4,000

McSweeney

Campaign headquarters:
Website: www.DavidMcSweeney.com
Campaign manager: Jim Thacker
Campaign budget: $250,000+
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
- The Pepper Companies ($10,000) – Richard and Roxy Pepper also contributed $5,000 each.
- Cancer Treatment Centers of America - $10,000
- Mikhail & Sofia Segal ($5,000 each)
- William Rockford ($5,000)
- Scott Mulcahy ($5,000)

Rowe

Campaign headquarters: 27672 N Oak Street, Island Lake IL 60042
Website: danielleforil.com
Campaign manager: Penny Pullen
Campaign budget: $150k
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Eric Weeder $2,000
Berger Excavating $2,500
Eric Nielsen and Kathy Nielsen $1,000
Michael Miller $4,000
William Kennedy $1000

What are your top priorities for your district?
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Gaffney

My top priorities for the 52nd District are job creation and tax relief. I support common-sense solutions for our families, including the following:

1. Repealing the Democrats' tax increase and cutting wasteful government spending;
2. Getting Illinois back to work with incentives for job creation and retention;
3. Putting an end to the over-taxing and over-regulating of our small businesses;
4. Ensuring our local sales tax money goes back to our local communities; and
5. Fighting for real property tax relief for homeowners in the Fox River Valley.

In an effort to protect Illinois jobs and provide tax relief to our businesses and working families, I voted to pass a jobs/tax relief package during the fall Veto Session.

As a member of the House Revenue and Finance Committee, I helped negotiate an agreement between Sears and Community Unit School District 300 that will keep Sears' headquarters in Hoffman Estates while increasing local tax dollar support for D300.

We all wanted Sears to stay in Illinois and we also wanted more funding for our local schools. We could not afford to lose the more than 6,000 local jobs that Sears provides. I worked to ensure that District 300's concerns were addressed in the final package approved by the General Assembly.

The package agreed to by District 300, Sears and Hoffman Estates will provide D300 and other local governments double the amount of property tax revenue they get from the current Sears Economic Development Area (EDA), while extending the EDA for up to 15 years. D300 also received a guarantee that Hoffman Estates would not use money from the EDA to pay for the operation or bonds for the Sears Centre Arena.

Senate Bill 397 (P.A. 97-636), the omnibus jobs/tax relief package, passed the House on a vote of 81-28-7. It included the following provisions:
• Extends the Sears EDA and provides Sears with EDGE tax credits
• Alters the way the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and other exchanges can source their revenue in Illinois
• Extends the Research and Development tax credit for five years, with an additional five year carry forward; the R & D tax credit is a critical component for Illinois manufacturers
• Reinstates the Net Operating Loss Deduction, which allows businesses the ability to carry their losses forward in a tough economy; this provision will help an estimated 36,000 small businesses
• Increases the estate tax exemption from $2 million to $4 million over a two-year period, lessening the tax burden on family farmers and small business owners
• Extends for five years the sales tax exemptions, credits, and deductions granted to agri-fuels
• Extends numerous jobs tax credits, including the Veterans Jobs Credit.

Senate Bill 397 was a broad-based approach designed to help Illinois compete in the national and global marketplaces. The legislation was supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Taxpayers' Federation of Illinois and many other groups.

I also voted to provide working families with tax relief. Senate Bill 400 contains language that will increase Illinois' Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from the current 5% to 7.5% in 2012 and 10% in 2013. It also increases the state's personal income tax exemption from $2,000 to $2,050 and provides an annual cost-of-living adjustment. These provisions will eventually provide more than $150 million in annual tax savings to Illinois working families.

Last year, Illinois Democrats hit our working families and small businesses with a 67% income tax increase. I strongly support repealing the Democrats' tax hike, but unfortunately, that was not an option presented to the House. Therefore, I voted to provide our working families and businesses with meaningful tax relief. The bottom line is simple – either you are for tax relief or you are against it. I chose to put more money in the hands of hard-working taxpayers, rather than giving it to an over-taxing and over-spending state government.

In response to rising property tax bills in the collar counties, I co-sponsored and voted for House Bill 3793, legislation that would offer relief to hard-pressed homeowners who are facing declining home values.

Since taking office, I have received many phone calls from homeowners upset that their property tax bills increased despite the fact that their home values decreased. Some of my constituents had their property tax bills go up as much as 15 or 20%. To me, it is completely unfair for people to be paying higher property taxes when their property values are declining.

The Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) limits local taxing bodies' property tax extensions to the lesser of 5% or the rate of inflation. However, in 2008 when the housing market crashed and assessments went down, taxing bodies began increasing their levies at the rate of inflation, increasing most homeowners' overall tax bill. House Bill 3793 would prohibit taxing bodies from increasing their levies in years that property assessments decrease.

House Bill 3793 failed in the Illinois House on a vote of 34-73-5. I was very disappointed in the bill's failure. This was a common-sense measure to provide real property tax relief to Illinois homeowners. With the housing market struggling and many homeowners seeing their largest asset decline in value, we need to update Illinois' tax code to reflect economic reality. I will continue to push for property tax relief for our homeowners.

McSweeney

• Repealing the 2011 tax increases
• Limiting property taxes

Rowe

(1) Job Growth. Restore a business climate that respects job creators; those that have a
business as well as for those who would like to start a business and brings jobs back to
our community.
(2) Medicaid Reform. This program does not get enough discussion. It is the program for
which we spend the most tax dollars and it is a budget-buster. We need to do a
redetermination of our Medicaid rolls to remove persons the program was never intended to serve and make sure the truly vulnerable, the intended beneficiaries are better served.
(3) Pension Reform. We need to deal honestly with state employees and Illinois taxpayers. A system with $90-$120B in unfunded liabilities (when we include state employee health care liabilities) is not sustainable. We need to strike a new deal on a go-forward basis that moves state employees from defined benefit to defined contribution plans.
(4) Property Tax Reform. We need a more fair property tax system such that people do not see spiraling property tax increases at the same time they experience dramatic property tax decreases.

What is your top priority for the state?
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Gaffney

My top priority for the state is to reform our budget process and put a stop to the over-taxing and over-spending in Springfield. Illinois is facing serious fiscal challenges and we cannot continue to borrow and spend our way into virtual bankruptcy.

I have the experience and dedication needed to get Illinois back on track. Prior to my appointment as State Representative, I served as the Director of Appropriations for the Illinois House Republican Caucus. I led the fight for fiscal responsibility in Springfield. I opposed the Blagojevich/Quinn borrowing and spending sprees that led to Illinois' massive debt crisis. And I worked to unite Republican legislators against the Democrats' 67% income tax increase that is crippling our economy and hurting our working families.

I am running for State Representative to bring accountability back to Illinois. I am a fiscal conservative who will work to make state government efficient and accountable to the taxpayers. As a member of the Budgeting for Results Commission, I am working with private and public sector leaders to reform Illinois' budget process.

McSweeney

(1) Fiscal Responsibility through state budget and pension reform
(2) Economic Empowerment by repealing the 2011 tax increases and cutting spending

Rowe

Repeal the dishonest, job-killing tax increase passed in January or, at minimum, ensure that it sunsets as was promised upon its passage.

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

I previously mentioned passage of Senate Bill 397, the jobs/tax relief package, which I supported. This was a very contentious issue for my area, as Community Unit School District 300 makes up a significant portion of the 52nd House District. D300 initially opposed the extension of the Sears EDA and feared that it would lose millions of dollars in property tax revenue for an undetermined period of time that was not defined in early drafts of the bill.

As a member of the House Revenue and Finance Committee, I helped negotiate an agreement between Sears and Community Unit School District 300 that will keep Sears' headquarters in Hoffman Estates while increasing local tax dollar support for D300.

Prior to passage of SB 397 from the House Revenue Committee, I made it clear that I would not support the legislation unless the administration and parents' organization of D300 had all of their concerns met. In the middle of the committee hearing, representatives of D300, Sears, Hoffman Estates and several of us legislators left the room to negotiate a compromise that was acceptable to D300.

I am proud of my work on this legislation. I stood up for the students, parents and taxpayers of D300, while helping to pass an important jobs/tax relief package.

I have only been in office for seven months. During that time, I have held town hall meetings across the district. I hosted informational events and seminars for our seniors, veterans and small business owners. I am working hard to provide excellent constituent services for the people of the 52nd District. I am their voice in Springfield. I take that responsibility very seriously and I hope to continue to serve the 52nd District in a full term as State Representative.

McSweeney

I believe that my business background and my independence from any outside influences other than that of my constituents makes me uniquely qualified for this position. I am coming at the job from the position of outsider and this will allow me to look at issues from a neutral viewpoint.

Rowe

My greatest strength is my commitment to the core principles that inform how I live my life and how I would represent my community as a state legislator. My experience
working in my family business, my volunteer activities including in support of Illinois military families, and my activism with grassroots conservative groups like the tea party have all helped to shape my public policy views and inform my understanding of the critical impact public policy choices have on people's lives. As a lifelong resident of the 52nd district, I will be a hyper-responsive, hyper-engaged legislator advancing the interests of my community in accordance with my common sense conservative views against those in Springfield focused on protecting a status quo that serves them at the expense of working families like those in the 52nd.

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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Gaffney

I support pension reform such as SB 512, and this legislation continues to be negotiated. Illinois has the worst funded pension system in the nation with an unfunded liability of $85 billion. For two of the last three years the state has borrowed in order to make the pension payment. The cost is simply not sustainable. We must continue to work to reduce the pension liability and shore up the system.

This is an issue that is not going away. Without changes to the current system, there will need to be deep spending cuts to education and human services in order to make the annual payments. Pension reform for police and firemen can be examined but in separate discussions.

McSweeney

All public employees including firefighters and police officers should be included in the same system. I would support SB 512, but prefer the option summarized below.

Rowe

Yes, this bill represents an important step in the right direction and buys us time to pay down our unfunded pension obligations (and restore Illinois' good credit rating in the process).

Police officers and firefighters negotiate w ith their municipal employers and, as such, those collective bargaining units should continue to negotiate at the local level w ith representatives of the populations they protect and serve.

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

N/A

McSweeney

The pension funding gap is the result of legislators and politicians over promising and over committing to special interests. When they initially could not meet the obligations to the funding of the pension system they borrowed more money and put off the day of reckoning. These irresponsible acts have consequences and all parties will have to participate in order to get our fiscal house in order.

Below is a brief overview of steps needed in this state for pension reform:

• Eliminate pensions for state legislators; and

• For existing employees, as Option 1, protect the existing defined benefit pension benefits earned to date and going forward convert employees into 401(k) plans similar to those offered in the private sector. Going forward, employees should also have the option of joining the Social Security system and receiving a smaller 401(k) matching payment from the State than offered under Option 1.

Rowe

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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Gaffney

I not only want the temporary income tax increase to expire – I want to repeal it. The Democrats' income tax increase has cost Illinois jobs and is crippling our economy. Surrounding states are actively pursuing Illinois businesses to relocate. This tax increase was ill-conceived from the very beginning. As the Budget Director for the House Republican Caucus, I fought every day against it. Not one Republican legislator voted for the Democrats' tax increase.

I am a co-sponsor of House Bill 175, which would repeal the income tax increase.

McSweeney

I would support immediate repeal of the tax increase.

Rowe

I believe the tax increase should be repealed or, at worst, it should expire in 2014 as
promised.

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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Gaffney

I support the repeal/rollback of the corporate income tax increase passed last year. I would vote for House Bill 3917 and/or House Bill 3918 to accomplish this goal.

For too many years businesses have been the target for increasing state revenues. Even prior to the tax increase last January, businesses were relocating out of Illinois and choosing other states for expansions. After the tax increase, unemployment in Illinois went up, not down. We need to be a pro-business state in order to keep businesses here and lure businesses from elsewhere. Private sector growth equates to lower unemployment, which leads to increases in personal income and sales tax revenue without rate increases.

McSweeney

I was strongly opposed to the tax increases and I would support their repeal. The tax increases have hurt small businesses and driven companies out of Illinois. The result has been a growing negative bottom line for the state and uncertainty over the state's long term fiscal and economic picture. We need to focus on cutting spending. I would also support cutting the corporate tax rate for companies that actually create jobs in Illinois. Additionally, I support the formation of a commission of business and government leaders to develop recommendations on how to make the Illinois corporate income tax code fairer and more competitive.

Rowe

I would repeal the 46% corporate income tax increase currently in effect until 2015. Our high corporate tax rate (when you include the personal property replacement tax) is one of the reasons Illinois is uncompetitive with our neighbors when it comes to capital formation and job creation. The high tax burden Illinois businesses face is one of the reasons Illinois was tied with New Jersey last year for the greatest out-migration of any state, according to the annual United Van Lines study. We are quite literally driving people out of Illinois for states where the cost of doing business is lower and the opportunity to keep more of the fruits of one's labor are better. We should be considering reducing the corporate tax rate in Illinois, even below it's previous level of 4.8% to send a signal to businesses the world over that Illinois is the place to take a productive risk, to put stakes in the ground, to grow a business or expand an existing one. We cannot treat employers as "those with the ability to pay" and then wonder why they leave.

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

Over the past few years, Illinois has become known for being unfriendly to business. A recent poll of 600 CEOs for Chief Executive Magazine rated Illinois the 6th worst state in the nation. To make matters worse, the publication ranked our state as the number one 5-year loser in business climate performance.

Illinois is ranked 47th in the nation in jobs growth. We have lost almost 250,000 jobs over the past eight years and while Illinois has lost 4 percent of its jobs since 2003 – the average state increased jobs by 1.7 percent. If we had grown at the national average, we would have 350,000 more jobs today. If we had grown jobs at the rate of Texas, which grew jobs at over 10 percent, we would have over 850,000 more jobs today and almost $3 billion in associated state revenues annually. Not only is a thriving business climate important for our working families, it is key to turning around our state's fiscal mess.

In order to attract businesses and create private sector jobs, Illinois must first get its fiscal house in order. The State cannot continue to over-tax, over-borrow and over-spend. More than anything, businesses want stability from state government. Illinois needs to truly balance its budget, pass pension reform, and reduce its long-term debt. A balanced budget will provide economic stability and encourage businesses that were once skeptical to reconsider Illinois as a good place to do business.

Illinois has a wealth of resources that can be put to use to create jobs and improve our economy. The way to increase revenues in Illinois is to make our economy more competitive with neighboring states as well as with foreign countries.

Unfortunately, there are some serious obstacles that stand in the way of progress in creating jobs for Illinoisans. Our tort liability laws are anti-business and anti-growth. Workers' compensation insurance costs cause many businesses to look to neighboring states for friendlier business climates. And our regulatory agencies are slow to respond to businesses' needs.

As State Representative, I will work tirelessly to improve our business climate to attract employers and good-paying jobs to Illinois. I support passage of real workers' compensation reform that includes a causation (primary cause) requirement. I support economic incentives for job creation and retention, such as those tax incentives passed in SB 397. And I want to put an end to the over-taxing and over-regulating of our small businesses.

McSweeney

• Immediately repeal the job killing tax increases passed by the legislature last year;

• Reduce taxes for companies that create jobs, including small businesses; and

• Review all state mandated regulations and fees on businesses to ascertain the impact they have on job creation and the overall business climate. A simple cost/benefit analysis is a solid private sector best practice and there is no reason the same analysis should not be applied to government. The Legislature should have to approve any new regulations that are projected to impose costs greater than $10 million per year.

Rowe

We need to lower the personal and corporate tax burden, as I stated above. We need to build off of the worker's compensation reform passed last session to go further in reducing worker comp costs in Illinois. We need to bring our budget into balance so we have the ability to make proper investments in our infrastructure if we want Chicago to continue to be the transportation hub of the Midwest. We need to improve the quality of
K-12 education in Illinois and reduce drop-out rates in our urban centers so we present a more prepared and better skilled indigineous workforce to prospective employers. We need sensible regulatory reform so that agencies like the IEPA and Pollution Control Board are less gratituously antagonistic towards business.

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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Gaffney

Last January, the House rejected the Governor's borrowing plan by voting it down twice. My concern is that if some level of borrowing were to occur, spending would simply continue to go up. For example, after the largest tax increase in Illinois' history was passed, the Governor introduced a new budget that included nearly $9 billion in borrowing and $1.5 billion of it was to pay for increased spending. A massive tax increase followed by more massive borrowing and increased spending? This is the mindset that makes it difficult to support any level of borrowing.

As mentioned, the House rejected the Governor's plan last session and instead passed a budget that reduced spending from the prior year and is estimated to spend $1 billion less than the state will take in. The additional billion dollars will go to pay down bills. We must continue to work to reduce spending, and as revenues increase we can apply those revenues to reduce the unpaid bills.

McSweeney

An oversized budget and an underfunded pension system are the key culprits in the state's fiscal crisis. Below are my ideas to reduce the budget and reform the pension system in this state:

• An immediate 10% cut in administrative expenses of each state department and agency

• Adoption of a zero-based budget system;

• A Blue Ribbon Commission should be appointed to recommend structural changes in the budget and spending cuts;

• An immediate 10% cut in the legislature's operational budget and legislative salaries;

• Eliminate pensions for state legislators. (This is a part-time job with full-time benefits funded by taxpayers,. The state legislature needs to lead by example);

• Eliminate government paid mailings by legislators; and

• Move additional Medicaid patients into managed care programs.

Rowe

We have $30 billion in bond debt. We have upw ards of $5-$8 billion in unpaid bills despite the promise made by the Quinn administration that revenue from the tax increase w ould go to pay the backlog of bills. And because of the fiscal irresponsibility of the Chicago Democrats in charge of this state, Moody's downgraded Illinois debt to the level at which our state now has the worst credit rating in the nation. We cannot and should not borrow more.

We spend most of our money on Medicaid, K-12 education, public pensions and infrastructure. The only way to sqaure Illinois' finances is to restructure these systems to make them more cost-effective. Online lottery ticket sales and other revenue gimmicks are not the way to fiscal solvency for Illinois. We need leaders in Springfield willing to tackle the tough problems and make the tough decisions on the programs that account for the overwhelming majority of current state expenditures.

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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Gaffney

During the 2010 campaign, when Governor Quinn gave a sweetheart deal to AFSCME to not downsize state employee positions for two years, it became clear that more safeguards were needed. Contracts should not be the purview of only the Governor's Office, especially when the general perception is that some of these decisions are made for political gain, rather than in the taxpayers' interest.

Furthermore, as the General Assembly must approve appropriations to pay for these contracts, we have a responsibility to ensure that state labor contracts do not put a huge hole in the budget.

McSweeney

I support that.

Rowe

It does nothing to address the inherent conflict of interest that exists because public sector unions are on both sides of the deal in these negotiations--financing through campaign contributions the 'management' with whom they negotiate. Contracts should be negotiated by independent boards. Further, I have called on Republicans to stop accepting campaign contributions from public sector unions to end this conflict of interest and have committed to do the same.

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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Gaffney

The problem with the current gaming package is that it's too big, and that is why I voted against it. At some point there is saturation and revenues will not increase but simply be distributed differently. I don't believe gaming is the answer to the current budget problems. As we have seen in recent years with the downturn of the economy, the revenue generated is not consistent.

McSweeney

I don't support expanded gambling legislation.

Rowe

No, I do not support the expansion of gambling. Turning us into the Las Vegas of the Midwest is little more than an effort by the establishment political class to avoid making difficult spending decisions and an attempt to continue financing a status quo we all know is untenable.

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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Gaffney

I believe campaign contribution limits should be imposed on political parties and funds controlled by House and Senate leadership. These regulations should apply in both the Primary and General Election so that the playing field is level for all candidates.

SB 1466 (P.A. 96-832) regulates the influence of all parties interested in campaign finance except for legislative leaders and political parties. The legislation was sold as a “campaign finance reform” bill, but the truth is the legislation was more of an incumbent protection tool for Speaker Madigan, who serves both as the leader of the House Democratic Caucus and as the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

I will support legislation that promotes a more open and honest state government. People are demanding accountability from their elected officials. To restore the public's trust in our government, we must put an end to the culture of corruption in Illinois.

McSweeney

I support instant disclosure of all campaign contributions. I also support closing the party leader loophole.

Rowe

The legislation that imposed campaign contribution limits that took effect January 1, 2011
w hich limited individuals, businesses, unions, associations, Candidate Political Committees, Political Action Committees out of balance w ith the limits put on Political Parties and Legislative Caucus Committees is policy that is not effective in preventing corruption. These caps give the incumbent an advantage and keeps them beholden to the Party leadership, centeralizing power among legislative caucus leaders this ensures more of the same and is not a fix that empowers the taxpayers. Eliminating all caps and mandating real time reporting so that the monitoring the flow of campaign donations is transparent and immediate is a better policy solution.

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

No

McSweeney

No.

Rowe

No.

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

As a new legislator, I believe the educational system in Illinois and its funding need to be overhauled. This is a difficult and complex issue that I intend to pursue in the coming session.

McSweeney

I support the 65% solution that would require that 65 cent of every education dollar be spent in the classroom. In Illinois, only about 60 cents of each dollar is spent in the classroom. We need to cut the educational bureaucracy and focus on educating out students.

Rowe

Local funding protects local control. Inequities in funding do not necessarily mean inequities in outcomes. In fact, some school districts that spend considerably more per pupil (e.g. CPS) than other school district (several in my district) actually produce less prepared students.

I do, however, believe w e need to be more aggressive in providing children from low income families with the same choices and opportunities children from more affluent or politicallyconnected families. I agree w ith those, like former CPS Superintendent Arne Duncan, who suggest that school choice is the civil rights issue of our time.

What is your view on gay marriage?
  • [ + ]
    ALL
  • [ + ]
    Gaffney
  • [ + ]
    McSweeney
  • [ + ]
    Rowe
Gaffney

I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

McSweeney

I believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Rowe

I do not support the redefinition of marriage. Marriage can only properly be defined
as that union between one man and one woman.

The race
The candidates
Kent Gaffney
David McSweeney
Danielle Rowe
The district
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