State House 62nd District candidates share views on guns, abortion and taxes ahead of Democratic primary

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Grayslake Trustee Laura Faver Dias, Thomas Maillard and Lake County Board member Terry Wilke — the three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the 62nd District seat in the Illinois House of Representatives — are knocking on a lot of doors.

What Wilke, Maillard and Dias are learning is gun violence, a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion and taxes are on the minds of their potential constituents more than anything else.

Maillard, Wilke and Dias are seeking the Democratic nomination for the Illinois House of Representatives in the June 28 primary for the right to compete with Adam Shores of Grayslake, who is unopposed in the Republican primary, in the Nov. 8 general election.

The 62nd District encompasses much of the Round Lake area, Grayslake, parts of Libertyville and parts of Waukegan. State Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, currently represents the area He is running for the Illinois State Senate.

Wilke, a Round Lake Beach resident, has served on the County Board since 2008, and was Avon Township supervisor from 2017 through 2021. He said he decided to seek a seat in the Illinois General Assembly because he could do more about the issues important to his constituents there.

Terry Wilke.
– Original Credit: News-Sun
(Terry Wilke / HANDOUT)

One of those issues is passing laws to curb gun violence, whether mass shootings like the ones in May in an Uvalde, Texas, grade school and a Buffalo, New York grocery store, or gunfire in Lake County claiming lives. Wilke said he would consider licensing guns.

“Illinois has some good laws, but it can do better,” he said. “Licensing and insurance should be considered. Maybe we should allow more time for background checks. Mental health is an issue, but it is not the reason for the proliferation of guns.”

Maillard, who is the director of government operations for the city of Waukegan and a resident of that city, said the state can do more to ensure gun safety like regulating firearm storage and ammunition.

Thomas Maillard.
– Original Credit: News-Sun
(Thomas Maillard / HANDOUT)

“There is no excuse for unlocked weapons,” Maillard said. “It can be tragic if a child has access to unsecured firearms. Gun owners should be held accountable for anything that happens if their guns are unlocked. People who cannot buy guns should not be allowed to buy ammo.”

Like her opponents, Dias uses the phrase “common sense gun safety legislation.” She would like to see a ban of assault weapons like the ones used in the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings. She was jarred not only by Uvalde, but the killing of students at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

Laura Faver Dias.
– Original Credit: News-Sun
(Laura Faver Dias / HANDOUT)

“I was in high school when Columbine happened,” Dias said. “I was a teacher at the time of Sandy Hook. I was driving my second grade twins home from school Tuesday when I heard about Uvalde.”

Dias said she heard concerns as she visited area homes about the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade allowing states to regulate or eliminate abortion. While she believes Illinois has sufficient protection for women seeking to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, the state can do things to protect people coming here should the procedure be unavailable where they live.

“Maybe we can have mobile clinics close to the border,” she said. “Illinois will become a haven for those seeking access. We want to make sure it is safe and accessible in Illinois.”

Maillard said he is proud of his efforts helping Planned Parenthood open a facility in Waukegan — the only one in Lake County. He is also a member of Men4Choice, an organization which seeks male advocates for a woman’s right to choose.

“If Roe v. Wade is overturned, there will be an increase in the demand for services, especially in Lake County,” Maillard said. “We have to make sure there is funding for that and accommodations can be made so there are no bars to getting the procedure.”

Wilke said he would like to see Illinois become a sanctuary location for women coming here from one of the neighboring states or beyond. There needs to be protection from any potential ramifications when they return home.

“We have to protect them from laws in other states and from bounty hunters,” Wilke said, referring to a Texas law which pays people who disclose individuals availing themselves of abortion services.

An issue where the three candidates are not in agreement is the potential extension of Illinois Highway 53 into Lake County from where it ends at Lake Cook Road.

Wilke wants to see it eventually go north to Belvidere Road and then west to connect with Route 12, which goes into Wisconsin. There were proposals discussed which the state shelved in 2017.

“I want to see it back on the table to be built, or one of the other alternatives discussed to reduce traffic congestion in the western part of the county,” Wilke said.

Maillard said Highway 53 has been studied for more than 50 years. Over that period, much of the land was developed. To proceed now would require the state to take those homes and businesses and pay the property owners for their real estate. It also creates more carbon emissions.

That is wrong,” Maillard said. “We need to instead fix our existing infrastructure, better assisting east-west access throughout the county so our western Lake County communities can have convenient transportation options, while not risking their health to do so.”

While she has not formulated a position on an extension of the highway, Dias said the use of the land acquired for the highway is being discussed by a task force created by the state legislature. A report is due by the end of the year.

“I look forward to hearing those recommendations which could create a state park and compatible economic development,” Dias said.

With taxes, particularly real estate levies, on people’s minds, Dias said a solution is needed to assure funding for public education while not putting a severe burden on homeowners. She hopes better messaging can be found so voters will eventually approve a graduated income tax.

“There were a lot of mistakes on that,” Dias said referring to the failed 2020 referendum to allow a graduated income tax. “We can look at TIF reform so the businesses pay a larger share. High quality public education is the equalizer for people to get ahead in our society.”

Maillard said growing the business economy is one way to generate more income for the state rather than relying on property taxes. If local municipalities end the practice of using property tax incentives to bring businesses to town, it will lower the burden on homeowners.

“We need to grow the economy to take the burden off homeowners. We need to fix the income tax system so we’re not funding schools with home values.”

Wilke said “wholesale reform” is needed for the state’s tax system. He said he knows people with a $12,000 real estate tax bill and annual income of between $30,000 and $40,000.

“That’s outrageous and it’s regressive. We have a flat (income) tax and that’s regressive. We need a progressive tax system,” Wilke said. “We can give rebates to people with less income,” he added as a workaround to a graduated income tax.

via Chicago Tribune

June 10, 2022 at 06:29PM

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