Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. To help voters learn a little more about the candidates in state and national races that affect them most, Richard Free Press sent out candidate profiles to those running. The profiles have been edited slightly for spelling and grammar.
This article focuses on the race for the 37th District seat on the Illinois House of Representatives previously occupied by Margo McDermed, who is not running for re-election.
The candidates on the ballot are Michelle Fadeley (D—Joliet) and Tim Ozinga (R—Mokena).
Previous political or relevant experience
Fadeley: Lifelong volunteer and community advocate, including 18 years with the National Organization for Women (NOW), with almost 10 as president of the Illinois state chapter; co-founder of ERA Illinois, a statewide coalition that successfully pushed for Illinois’ adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Ozinga: Mokena Community Park District Commissioner, elected in 2019; member of Village of Mokena’s Economic Development Commission and Technology Committee.
“Health care is the concern that I hear most from residents of the 37th District. Every day, I hear from families that are concerned about the unsustainable rising costs of health care premiums and prescription drugs, along with the accessibility of mental health care, disability services, and affordable childcare and senior care. The middle class cannot afford to be squeezed any more by these rising costs. I will work to cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs, like Illinois did with insulin medication, as well as provide more affordable and accessible mental health, disability, child, and senior care facilities and services.
“The second issue I hear most often from residents as being foundational to their families is education. We need to better fund early learning, vocational training and higher education. Because of decreased funding to our state colleges and universities almost every year since 2004, the No. 1 population leaving Illinois are students seeking more affordable higher education opportunities elsewhere. By restoring that funding, as well as increasing MAP grants and vocational training opportunities, we can stop the ‘brain drain.’
“We also know that early learning is the most critical time in a child’s life, and Illinois has fallen behind in this area. If we can better fund early learning, as well as address the teacher shortage, our children will be set up for successful futures.
“I have walked 10,000 doors (voters on all parts of the political spectrum) to date. Taxes are easily the most concerning issue for Illinois residents. Many are sick of the corruption, irresponsible spending and businesses leaving; however, there is no conversation I’ve had without the mention of overburdensome taxes.
“I will not support any tax increases and will fiercely combat the culture of corruption that has infected and stifled our great state.”
From a statewide perspective, what do you see as your biggest policy goal to get accomplished during your term if you are elected to office this November?
“Ethics reform is top of the list. We need to restore trust with the voters of Illinois, and it is past time that we enact much-needed ethics reform to mend this. I’m committed to changing the culture in Springfield, and as state representative, I will work to:
- Empower the legislative inspector general to have more independence from the General Assembly when investigating cases of corruption or complaints in the legislature.
- Stop the revolving door policies that allow lawmakers leaving office to immediately become lobbyists by implementing a minimum cooling-off period before lawmakers can become lobbyists.
- Protect against ‘shadow lobbying’ or attempts to influence legislation without interacting directly with lawmakers.
- Require anyone convicted of profiting off of or defrauding taxpayers to pay back every penny to the taxpayers.
- Implement universal lobbyist registration across all levels of Illinois government.
- Institute term limits for leadership positions.
- Prevent lawmakers from being able to lobby other levels of government, a potential conflict of interest.
“With these seven measures, we can ensure Illinois has some of the strongest ethics reform laws in the entire country and restore faith in Springfield.”
“My first priority is bringing fiscal responsibility to Springfield. We must treat our state’s finances as we would our homes. We cannot get the big-screen TV before paying the mortgage. Once we pay the mortgage, we have to fix the leaky roof. Then, we can talk about the idea of a big-screen TV.
“My second priority will be to resurrect our business climate and get Illinois back to work. A healthy business climate will encourage people to move to Illinois rather than leave. I want to grow our tax base, not our tax rate.”
What is a reason someone should vote for you, even if he or she is not aligned with your listed political party?
“As a middle-class worker who comes from a middle-class family, I personally know how important issues like affordable health care, education, quality jobs and community services are to our everyday lives, and are the very reason why we need someone in Springfield who is going to fight for the middle class.
“As a lifelong volunteer for my community, I believe in public service and working across party lines to make peoples’ lives better. I will bring my experience from successfully working on bipartisan legislation in Springfield to protect and strengthen the middle class and bring real ethics reform to Illinois.”
“I am not married to the Republican Party on legislation, viewpoints or any action they carry out. While I align myself with the Republican Party, I will always put my district and the state of Illinois first. Suppose I believe the Republican Party represents a harmful issue or piece of legislation to either of those. In that case, I will oppose them without hesitation. I will never compromise my integrity, the trust of those who vote for me, or the constituents who will not. I care deeply for every Illinois resident. I am running for state representative to better their lives, and I will take whatever necessary course of action to get there.”
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October 27, 2020 at 03:07PM