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State House, District 50

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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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    Bernard
Andrew Bernard
Political party: Democrat
Birthdate: 3/24/1988
Occupation: Insurance and Investments
Marital status:
Spouse:

Education:

University of Illinois at Chicago
Master of Public Administration (MPA)
Concentrations in (1) Financial Management and (2) Local Government Administration

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Kane County Democrats

Geneva Township Democrats

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

Democratic Chairman of the Geneva Township

Committeeman, Geneva Precinct 17

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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    Bernard
Bernard

Campaign headquarters: P.O. Box 752, Batavia, IL 60510
Website: www.AndrewBernard.org
Campaign manager:
Campaign budget:
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Laborers' Internation Union of North America, Local 149
$1,000.00

For incumbents: In either the fall veto session or in January, will you support a bill like SB1673? That bill cuts pension costs for four of five state pension systems by making state workers and retirees choose between keeping state-subsidized health insurance or an automatic 3 percent annual pension hike during retirement. Do you support the element of the bill that shifts employer pension costs from the state to local school districts?
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    Bernard
Bernard

Did not respond

If you don't support a bill like SB1673, what is your plan for rescuing the state's pension systems?
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    Bernard
Bernard

Did not respond

For challengers or candidates for an open seat: If there is no action on pension reform in the fall veto session or in early January, would you support a bill like SB1673 in the next legislative session? That bill cuts pension costs for four of five state pension systems by making state workers and retirees choose between keeping state-subsidized health insurance or an automatic 3 percent annual pension hike during retirement. Do you support the element of the bill that shifts employer pension costs from the state to local school districts?
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    Bernard
Bernard

I would not support SB1673. It is unconstitutional to make modifications to existing state contracts. I do support examining contracts for those that will enter into new state contracts.

I do not believe that the pension costs should be shifted to local school districts. Many school districts are having financial hardships and cannot afford to spend anymore. Shifting the burden to suburban school districts will take away educational resources from the students.

If you don't support a bill like SB1673, what is your plan for rescuing the state's pension systems?
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    Bernard
Bernard

Illinois must honor its current pension obligations, but make modifications for future employees. The issue of pensions should be solved as soon as possible in a bipartisan effort to ease our state's financial crisis. Illinois must close the loopholes that are allowing people to receive pensions who simply do not deserve them. Illinois must work to stop any form of pension abuse.

For all candidates: Do you support the Medicaid reform package passed last spring, including $1.6 billion in cuts and rate reductions and an increase in the cigarette tax? What else, if anything, needs to done to ensure the health of the state's Medicaid system?
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    Bernard
Bernard

I do not support the Medicaid reform package passed last spring. This bill cut funding for hundreds of medically fragile children and requires co-payments that many families cannot afford. That being said, I do support the increase on the cigarette tax. Illinois residents pay for the poor health choices that other citizens choose. The state must bring in revenue to pay for those health choices that contribute to the cost of rising health care.

Do you support letting the 2 percent point income tax increase expire in 2014 as planned, or would you like to see the tax increase extended beyond 2014?        
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    Bernard
Bernard

The temporary income tax increase should not be continued beyond 2014. People are currently struggling in these tough times to make ends meet and raising taxes will only make things worse for middle class families. I support a graduated income taxation system where people pay what they can afford. Taxation should not be a "one size fits all" policy.

Do you support any changes to the corporate income tax rate? Do you support any other changes to the state's business tax structure? What should the state government do to create a more favorable business climate and to promote job growth?
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    Bernard
Bernard

I support a graduated business tax rate that allows businesses to pay income tax rates based on what they earn, rather than a 7 percent flat rate. This taxation system will help small businesses grow by allowing them to pay what they can afford; therefore, placing more money into their business. Illinois should also grant tax breaks to employers who choose to hire more employees.

Do you support the gambling package Gov. Quinn vetoed at the end of August? If not, how could it be improved?
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    Bernard
Bernard

The positive points of increasing the number of casinos in Illinois would be the creation of new jobs, increased state revenue, and tourists that will spend money in our state. That being said, Illinois must be cautious of who get a license to allow gambling. For example, it is important to give the Illinois Gaming Board acceptable time to review license applications for items such as video poker machines. I am not opposed to new gaming in Illinois, but want to ensure that all of the regulations are followed to protect consumers and the best interest of the state.

Over the last few years, the state Legislature has begun to bring spending in line with revenues by cutting spending in education, health care, social services and other areas. Has the state Legislature done enough to reduce spending and run government more efficiently? What more could be done? Are there any areas where you would like to see greater state investment?
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    Bernard
Bernard

The state has taken many steps to reduce government spending and run government more efficiently. That being said, the state can always do more to ensure that tax payer money is spent wisely. I would support cutting spending with the following actions: (1) Cut the General Assembly salary; (2) Consolidate the Treasurer's Office and the Comptroller's Office; (3) Move Medicaid to a managed care system; (4) Remove Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding for those who test positive in a drug screening; and (5) Demand pension reform for incoming government employees.

I support investing in new infrastructure in Illinois. Investing in new infrastructure will create new job opportunities, improve our current systems for the public, and raise the economic value of our state. Part of this plan will include supporting state grants to local governments in order for them to invest and fix their existing infrastructure; thus, creating new job opportunities. Investing in new infrastructure will also attract new businesses to Illinois, which in return, will create new revenue and jobs. This will also increase state revenue over time with the new businesses that will develop in Illinois.

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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    Bernard
Bernard

I would favor lowering the donation amounts to campaigns. Money needs to be taken out of politics as much as possible. I would support capping what state party leaders can donate during a general election.

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

I would support a constitutional amendment to shift from a flat income tax to a progressive income tax system. In order for Illinois to create financial stability it must first fix its regressive tax structure. Currently Illinois is one of few states that maintains a flat rate income tax. This type of taxation system is the primary cause for Illinois having to raise taxes on all workers in Illinois. I support a progressive taxation system that would have allowed the middle class to keep the tax rate of 3 percent; contrary to raising their taxes to 5 percent. I strongly believe that raising taxes on the middle class is harmful to the economy. The best solution for Illinois is to adopt a progressive income tax system and lower the tax rate for middle class residents. When the middle-class residents pay less in taxes they will spend more and stimulate the economy. In other words, Illinois businesses will need more employees when businesses are growing stronger.

Do you have a plan to reform Illinois' school finance system so that it no longer produces inequities in school funding across the state?        
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    Bernard
Bernard

I support shifting more education funding to the state and away from property taxes. A child should not have a inferior education because he or she lives in a lower economic area. I also support increased funding for lower income school districts. Investing in our children is important and will save the state funds in the future.

What is your view on gay marriage?     
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    Bernard
Bernard

I support gay marriage in Illinois. That being said, I will defend the liberty of religious institutions to make their own decisions in regard to which marriages they recognize.

The candidates
Andrew Bernard

Andrew Bernard

Kay Hatcher

Kay Hatcher

 

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The district
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