This is the fourth installment of the Tribune Editorial Board’s endorsements for Illinois House races in the Nov. 8 general election.
This northwest suburban district includes Hoffman Estates, Streamwood, Hanover Park and Bartlett. Democratic incumbent Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates has represented the 44th since 2007. He’s known as a moderate Democrat who can work across the aisle, and his views reflect that. Unlike many of his Democratic colleagues, he’s wary about burdening school districts with too many unfunded mandates.
His Republican challenger, Patrick Thomas Brouillette, is a contractor from Hoffman Estates who is ardently anti-tax, but his views go too far. He would eliminate the state income tax and cut property taxes in half. We also look askance at Illinois’ tendency to overtax, but there’s a danger in cutting so much that governments don’t have the revenue they need to function. Our endorsement goes to Crespo.
Republican lawmaker Deanne Marie Mazzochi of Elmhurst is one of the best examples in Springfield of someone who sees a problem and crafts smart legislation to solve it. In the past, we have spoken out against unscrupulous politicians who raid their campaign funds to defend themselves when they become the target of criminal investigations. Mazzochi pushed legislation to stop lawmakers from using campaign funds when charged with criminal or sexual misconduct. Alas, the Democratic Party, with its iron grip on Springfield governance, shut down the bill.
To help municipalities retain manufacturing, Mazzochi drafted legislation that allows local governments to use property tax freezes to encourage manufacturing growth. “My policy approach looks for pragmatic solutions to address concrete problems and deliver some actual results,” she told us. Mazzochi’s Democratic opponent, Jenn Ladisch-Douglass, is a lawyer from Elmhurst who focuses on improving access to affordable health care and low-cost prescription drugs. We enthusiastically endorse Mazzochi.
Illinois has more than 6,900 units of local government. Republican Robert Stevens of Villa Park says that’s a prime reason why sky-high property taxes are choking businesses and forcing people to leave the state. “We need consolidation, more efficiencies and more shared public expense across all of our taxing bodies,” Stevens, a truck driver, told us. He’s running against Diane Blair-Sherlock, a lawyer who is also from Villa Park. This DuPage County district includes Glendale Heights, Addison, Villa Park, Bloomingdale and parts of Elmhurst, Lombard, Glen Ellyn and Oak Brook. Stevens is endorsed.
Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the nation. GOP lawmaker Amy Grant of Wheaton says the best approach to giving homeowners and businesses relief isn’t to take the Democrats’ approach and shift the burden to other taxes such as the income tax or sales taxes — but to spend less.
Grant also says a bigger share of the federal pandemic relief money should have been used to chip away at the state’s existential pension crisis. “We had a responsibility to use those extra dollars to take a huge step toward cleaning up our fiscal house,” she told us. Grant is the incumbent in the 42nd District, which has been redrawn into the 47th and includes Wheaton, Carol Stream, Winfield and parts of Warrenville.
Grant’s Democratic opponent, Jackie Williamson of Wheaton, works in human resources. She’s for abortion rights and pro-gun control. Grant is a social conservative, and we don’t agree with all of her views, but she is an important voice in Springfield for fiscal responsibility. Grant is endorsed.
The district for this open seat includes the western suburbs of Itasca, Wood Dale, Bloomingdale, Roselle and parts of Hanover Park and Elk Grove Village. Both candidates, Democrat Azam Nizamuddin of Bloomingdale and Republican Jennifer Sanalitro of Hanover Park, back referendums on pension and redistricting reform. But we prefer Nizamuddin, whose nuanced approach to crime includes bolstering afterschool programs and youth mentoring, as well as helping ex-offenders find stable housing and a livable wage. Nizamuddin is endorsed.
When Republican Kevin Wallace of Bartlett knocks on doors in western DuPage County and parts of Kane County, rising property taxes keep getting mentioned as the top priority. Wallace, the mayor of Bartlett for the last nine years, says fixing the problem “starts with a more efficient government.” He also would establish a first-time homeowner tax exemption to encourage more families to move to Illinois. He’s challenging Democratic incumbent Maura Hirschauer of Batavia, a former grade school teacher. Wallace is endorsed for the 49th District.
Republican Donald Walter of Aurora faces Democratic state Rep. Barbara Hernandez, also of Aurora, who represents the 83rd District. No endorsement.
One of the most agonizing ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic entailed family members who could not visit their stricken loved ones in nursing homes because of government restrictions. State Rep. Chris Bos, a Lake Zurich Republican, pushed legislation, later signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, ensuring that a family member could not be barred from being present with a dying loved one. That’s compassionate legislation, and Bos deserves the credit.
Bos also spearheaded a new law that enables citizens to form committees at least once every 10 years to evaluate the efficiency of local governments and recommend consolidation where needed. His Democratic opponent, 23-year-old Nabeela Syed of Inverness, is a digital strategist for a national nonprofit that fights voter suppression. She received our endorsement in the primary and has a bright future in politics. But in this race, Bos is the better choice. He is endorsed.
A lot of politicians talk about scaling down excessive taxes, but Republican incumbent Martin McLaughlin has actually done it. As mayor of northwest suburban Barrington Hills between 2013 and 2021, he reduced the village’s tax levy seven times. His opponent, Mary Morgan of Island Lake, wants to work across the aisle to get stronger gun control legislation passed. That’s good, but McLaughlin’s background in the financial world makes him the better choice. He is endorsed.
Jack Vrett practiced law in one of the most dangerous parts of the world — eastern Afghanistan, where in 2010 he was deployed as a captain and an international law attorney helping with U.S. counterinsurgency operations. Now he’s a Republican running for this northwest suburban district, which includes Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows and Mount Prospect.
The 39-year-old Arlington Heights labor lawyer correctly says that Illinois cannot tax its way out of the pension crisis, and instead must combine pro-growth policies with bipartisan pension reform to put the state back on the path of fiscal stability.
Vrett’s opponent, Democratic incumbent Mark Walker of Arlington Heights, voted for a massive 67% income tax hike during his first term from 2009 to 2011. We took him to task last year for sponsoring legislation requiring new and prospective data centers to sign so-called peace labor agreements with unions representing workers who maintain infrastructure. Data centers are a fast-growing cog in the state’s economy, and measures like the one Walker pushed hinder rather than help the state. Time for a change — our endorsement goes to Vrett.
The seat for this northwest suburban district opened up after GOP incumbent Tom Morrison decided not to seek reelection. Arlington Heights Trustee Mary Beth Canty, a Democrat, is running against Michelle Hunter, a lawyer who also lives in Arlington Heights.
Canty has been a village trustee since 2019. In that time, Arlington Heights hasn’t raised its property tax levy and has still maintained the level of services it normally provides. She’s passionate about gun control and says that after the mass shooting in Highland Park on July 4th, the General Assembly should have held a special session to take up the issue of stricter gun control, such as a ban on assault-style weapons. Hunter doesn’t think an assault-style weapons ban would help. We disagree. Canty is endorsed.
As the owner of a food and beverage company, Park Ridge Republican Michael Lupo knows the squeeze that the combination of inflation and high taxes is putting on entrepreneurs. “Without our small and medium-sized businesses, we will crumble from the inside,” Lupo told us. “The state needs to cut taxes and regulations for our businesses and taxpayers.” Well said.
Lupo says he’s a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. His opponent is Democratic incumbent Martin Moylan of Des Plaines. We haven’t forgotten his wayward attempt at legislation in 2017 that would have sent to jail local officials who backed right-to-work zones for their communities. For this northwest suburban district, Lupo is endorsed.
During the pandemic, many Illinois private schools opened up classrooms sooner because they smartly strategized with local health officials on how to minimize the risks of in-person learning. Democratic incumbent Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg threatened to throw a wrench into those plans with legislation she co-sponsored that would have put the Illinois Department of Public Health in control over when nonpublic schools could reopen — even though those schools had already made classrooms safer by requiring masks, temperature-taking and limited movement of kids between class periods. Private schools had done their homework, and were still being penalized.
While Madigan was House speaker, Mussman voted in lockstep with his fiscal irresponsibility. Her Republican opponent, E. Dale Litney, also of Schaumburg, is a small-business owner who pledges to bring families and jobs back to Illinois through smart tax policy, careful spending and pension reform. Litney gets our endorsement.
Democratic incumbent Jonathan Carroll was instrumental in pushing legislation aimed at ending the abusive disciplinary policy of isolation punishment at some schools that were detailed in a joint Tribune/ProPublica Illinois investigative series. Northbrook resident Carroll, 48, has a personal connection to the problem — he says that, as a child diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, he was subjected to isolation punishment at his school.
Carroll also helped lead legislation to impose a universal 72-hour background check for all gun purchases and backs a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. His GOP opponent, Rory Welch, a 59-year-old consultant from Northfield, opposes such a ban. How can anyone justify allowing military-style weapons on the streets? Carroll is endorsed.
This district includes Highland Park, site of the horrific mass shooting last summer that involved the use of an assault-style rifle. Democratic incumbent Bob Morgan of Deerfield says such tragedies make curbing gun violence his top legislative priority. Morgan chairs the House Firearm Safety Reform Working Group, which is trying to “find a solution to make sure no other town anywhere in Illinois has to go through what our town experienced,” Morgan told us.
His Republican opponent, Mike Clark, a construction manager from Lake Bluff, opposes a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, telling a recent League of Women Voters candidate forum that “The gun doesn’t kill anyone. It’s the individual.” That’s straight out of the NRA script, and doesn’t resonate with Americans fed up with mass shootings and rampant gun violence. Morgan is endorsed.
Democratic incumbent Daniel Didech of Buffalo Grove believes the state needs to take a hard look at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ failure to appropriately place teens in its care into proper settings. So do we. His Republican opponent, Charles Roeske of Mundelein, tells us he doesn’t know enough about DCFS to comment on the issue. Didech is endorsed.
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November 2, 2022 at 06:49AM