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State Senate, District 25

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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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    Oberweis
Jim Oberweis
Political party: Republican
Birthdate: 6/10/1946
Occupation: Oberweis Dairy
Marital status: married
Spouse: Julie

Education:

Marmion Military Academy
University of Illinois, (BS)
University of Chicago, (MBA)

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Northern Illinois Foodbank Board
Moose International
Secretary, United Republican Fund
Illinois Republican State Central Committee
FINRA Arbitrator
Moose International Pension Investment Committee

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

Elected to serve on the Illinois Republican State Central Committee in 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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

Campaign headquarters: 951 Ice Cream Drive, North Aurora
Website: www.jimoberweis.com
Campaign manager: Ben Marcum
Campaign budget:
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

We have the largest unfunded pension liablity of any state in the nation. Change is inevitable. New hires should be on a defined contribution system rather than a defined benefit system to keep the liability from getting worse. Private industry has already generally shifted to defined contribution over the last 30 years. I believe we have to ask all current state workers to retire later or pay more of their retirement costs if a defined benefit program remains. A defined contribution plan would allow state workers to retire whenever they wish to and can afford to do so while providing the flexibility to change jobs and move to the private sector while taking their accrued benefits with them.

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

See above answer

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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

We need to require proof that Illinois Medicaid recipients live in Illinois and are legal residents. We should look at surrounding states and bench mark against best practices. Today, one out of two babies born in Illinois are paid for by Medicaid. We cannot afford to continue to cover such a large number of recipients, many of whom are not entiltled to or in need of coverage.

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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

We need to make Illinois a more business friendly state. A first step might be to let the "temporary" income tax increase expire.

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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

A second step would be Workman's Comp reform. Illinois is reputed to have one of the three worst Workman's Comp systems in the entire country.
The third step is pension reform in order to begin to reduce the huge future liabilty.
Fourth, we need to elect people (like myself) who understand the needs of business leaders and entrepreneurs, including a positive view of business and entrepreneurs so that we can attract more jobs to Illinois.

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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

I don't believe that gambling revenue is a reliable long term source of financing for the state of Illinois. However, we already have gambling at race tracks and I believe slots at race tracks would help keep that industry competitive with other states without significantly expanding overall gambling in Illinois.

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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

We must target the significant waste, fraud and abuse still prevalent in Illinois. Illinois taxpayers have suffered under a "corruption tax" for far too long. We can't afford to do so any longer,

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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

I believe Illinois should not limit what an individual can contribute to a campaign but should continue to require full and immediate disclosure of receipt of all contributions over $1000. This will let voters support whoever they choose and will allow discriminating voters to discern who is supporting each candidate.

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

No.

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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    Oberweis
Oberweis

As a former teacher, I believe competition will produce better education results. Therefore, I support an expansion of charter schools, I support merit pay for teachers, and I support testing a voucher system. Competition in our education system can produce better results for all without an increase in costs.

What is your view on gay marriage?     
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    Oberweis
Oberweis

I believe marriage is a committment between one man and one woman.

The candidates
State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove)

State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove)

Corinne M. Pierog

Corinne M. Pierog

 

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The district
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