Challenger Philip Nagel seeks to curtail government authority; incumbent Patrick Joyce cites ‘extreme political agendas’

The Republican candidate in the state’s 40th Senate District says COVID-19 mandates and the education system in Illinois prompted him to challenge Democratic incumbent Patrick Joyce.

Philip Nagel said he drafted legislation last year called the Parental Medical Choice Act, filed by his representative, that would’ve taken away the governor’s emergency authority to mandate medical treatment for students in K-12 schools or higher education institutions.

Joyce said he’s seeking reelection “to continue representing all people regardless of party, bringing practical legislation rather than extreme political agendas to Springfield.” He said he’d like to continue supporting law enforcement, working families and fighting for reproductive health care.

The district includes parts of Chicago Heights, Crete, Glenwood, Manhattan, Monee, Park Forest, Richton Park, Steger and University Park.

Nagel said he is anti-abortion, and that he believes the 1973 Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling “was the first time the judicial branch of the government actually started legislating from the bench.’

Abortion should’ve always been an issue that states addressed, Nagel said, and he’d support abortions up to 15 weeks.

“It’s sad because when you go past that time frame, like Roe v. Wade had, the babies are developing,” Nagel said.

Joyce said he supports any legislation that would strengthen a woman’s right to reproductive health care and keeping government out of the conversation.

“A decision between a woman and her doctor should not be restricted by government,” Joyce said. “A woman deserves the right to have 100% choice on her reproductive health decisions.”

Nagel said he would support abortion in the event that a mother’s life is in danger.

“There shouldn’t be a law that puts the mother’s life at risk,” Nagel said. “There’s a common sense element to this.”

Nagel said he was disappointed a parental-notification bill was repealed and would propose legislation to again require parent consent for a minor to get an abortion. Joyce said he voted against the repeal of the parental notification law.

Nagel said he’d like to repeal the recently signed Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act, which in part reads students should “describe the role hormones play in the physical, social, cognitive and emotional changes during adolescence and the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identity as transgender.”

“There’s a mass gender confusion program going on right now, and the Democrats have been successful at it,” Nagel said, adding he believes there are only two genders.

The World Health Organization recognizes that gender and sex are related, but differ from gender identity, which “refers to a person’s deeply felt, internal and individual experience of gender.”

“Rigid gender norms also negatively affect people with diverse gender identities, who often face violence, stigma and discrimination as a result, including in healthcare settings,” according to WHO.

Property taxes are too high for working families, Joyce said, and to address that he sponsored the Southland Reactivation Act, which targets commercial and industrial properties that have shown a clear pattern of economic decline.

“The purpose is to attract developments, create jobs and lower property taxes in the south suburbs,” Joyce said.

Nagel said the state has a spending problem. The state pension “is eating our budget,” he said. He’d like to see the state pension system shift to a 401K system.

“It’s necessary if we want a sustainable state,” Nagel said.

If the state allowed for school choice, allowing parents to use money they pay in taxes to their school district to instead pay tuition at private schools, then property taxes would decrease, Nagel said.

“Schools will consolidate, they’ll stop spending so much money,” Nagel said. “The capitalism is the way to be successful in this country.”

When schools compete and receive money from parents, Nagel said the school administrators would then “have to do what the parents want.”

Philip Nagel

Philip Nagel (Philip Nagel)

Patrick Joyce

Patrick Joyce (Patrick Joyce)

Joyce said he wants the state to continue funding the evidence-based funding model, which the legislature allocated $350 million for the last four years. The model requires school districts to apply for state funding if they agree to lower property taxes, officials said.

To decrease property taxes and help communities with an eroding tax base, Nagel said businesses have to return. Nagel said he’s support tax breaks for businesses as an incentive for them to open in Illinois.

“What they’re doing isn’t working because you can’t just tax the people to death. You have to bring companies in. You have to support businesses,” Nagel said. “We have to be a business friendly state.”

Joyce said to support communities with an eroding tax base, the state has to lower debt and continue to increase the funding for schools.

“I would encourage local school districts to reevaluate how they spend. We have saved millions in interest costs, had six credit upgrades, removed the bill backlog and put money in College Illinois to be a fiscally responsible state,” Joyce said.

Nagel said the SAFE-T Act’s goal to release defendants facing nonviolent charges as they await trial is “a manufactured lie.” The act was signed into law to appease a voting base and doesn’t address what is right for the people, he said.

If a new bill were proposed with the same goal, Nagel said he’d have to see how the bill defined a nonviolent offense. But he said there is already a system in place to hold criminals accountable.

While there is a notion that police officers have a bias when stopping criminals, Nagel said he doesn’t agree because “police aren’t looking at your race, they’re not looking at your gender … they’re looking at crime.”

Nagel said he’s open to have conversations about how to address the argument that rich people who can afford bond get out of jail while poor people who can’t pay remain while their case is pending.

“Our criminal justice system right now isn’t bad,” Nagel said. “It does a very good job as far as, it puts the decision making in the judges’ hands.”

Joyce said he’s working with a bipartisan group of state’s attorneys, sheriffs and chiefs “to ensure that law enforcement have the resources needed to do their job.”

“Everyone agrees that reform is necessary,” Joyce said.

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While many state’s attorneys and law enforcement officials have raised concerns about the SAFE-T Act, Joyce said he is the chief co-sponsor on a bill to address their concerns.

For example, the bill clarifies that pretrial release may be denied for any crime where the court believes there is a serious risk of harm to a person or the community, the person won’t come back to court or the person will obstruct justice by threatening a victim or witness.

“This will give prosecutors and judges the authority to detain people they believe are a flight risk or a risk to the public,” Joyce said.

The SAFE-T act requires police departments to have body cameras by 2025, and Nagel said that he doesn’t believe in mandating body cameras but rather giving departments the option.

This year, Joyce said he secured $150,000 for the Kankakee County sheriff’s office for body cameras and other equipment, as well as $200,000 to other departments in Kankakee and Cook counties.

The way to measure if the SAFE-T Act is successful will be to measure police response time and homicide rates, Nagel said, which he predicts will increase.

Joyce said ensuring that law enforcement officials and judges can successfully do their jobs and body cameras will be a measurement.

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October 12, 2022 at 06:40PM

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