MY GOALS AS A STATE REPRESENTATIVE:
Jobs for our Area
In 2008, Illinois ranked 44th in US News and World Report for the cost of doing business in the State (tax burden, utilities, worker’s compensation insurance, etc.). We are 44th in the quality of our workforce (educational attainment), and 35th in business friendliness when looking at legal and regulatory framework. Finally, we rank 25th in quality of education. The state’s approach to jobs, schools, and spending is hurting our overall economy.
We need to enhance and expand our economic development efforts to market our region to the world in order to help local companies increase sales and increase jobs. In addition to this focus, we need to properly improve and maintain our infrastructure to retain and attract new investment.
Creating Better Opportunities for our Future
We need to improve academic performance through increased competition, a re-evaluation of our systematic approach to education, the creation of more charter schools, and parent choice. With public spending for education increasing over 70% per student since 1996, we have not seen corresponding results. We need to take innovative approaches to education to make sure that all children are being given a chance to succeed.
Fixing the State Budget
All three ratings agencies (Standard and Poor’s, Fitch, and Moody’s) are downgrading Illinois. The state is borrowing billions just to stay afloat. Census data shows that about 240,000 more Illinoisans lived in poverty in 2008, compared to 2000, yet there are over 4,000 former State of Illinois employees receiving pensions over $100,000/year.
We have serious problems to fix.
To fix these problems we need to take a common sense approach and reduce spending. In a time when state revenues are decreasing, we must decrease spending to be fiscally prudent.
We need to make positive changes that will create long term solutions. For example, we need to make immediate changes to the state pension program like the creation of a dual track system that will begin to reduce escalating costs to the state.
We need to streamline state government, improve accountability, reduce wasteful spending, increase efficiency through technology, and reduce fraud in major budget areas such as Medicare. We also need to move to a system of “health care” rather than “sick care.” A health system that requires personal responsibility and encourages people to take better care of their health will reduce costs to state and local governments.
Mapping our Future
We need to focus on the basics of state government and improve our roads, bridges, and other important infrastructure. If we improve these areas, we will be better equipped to be a competitive business recruiter.
The greater Winnebago-Boone-Northern DeKalb County community is growing in positive ways that will draw people to our region. These recent improvements include the following:
1. Wanxiang, a Chinese solar-panel manufacturer, is building a facility near the Chicago-Rockford International Airport. This project will bring nearly 200 jobs to the region and bring green energy technology that will hopefully spur other growth in this sector.
2. Swedish American recently made a multi-million dollar investment to bring hospital-based care back to the Boone, Western McHenry, and Northern DeKalb County.
3. Our region is seeing significant state highway rehabilitation projects, I-90 interstate expansion projects, including a new off-ramp at Irene Road in Boone County. We are also in line to have more infrastructure improvements through the State of Illinois’ capital plan.
In addition to these improvements, we need renewed focus on our downtown areas, particularly in Rockford and Belvidere, through our region’s efforts to bring Amtrak and Metra to our area. Passenger service will help redefine our region for decades to come and help our city centers to become residential, entertainment, and business destinations.
We need to work together throughout the region to create a common direction, lobby for regional economic development, work to consolidate similar services to save taxpayer dollars, and build on our inherent strengths.
Conservative Pro-family Approach to Government and Business
Limited government that allows for individual freedom is an important characteristic of our country that needs to be preserved. Freedom and the ability to realize any dream is what makes our country great. Government should not take responsibility, but rather require that individual citizens take responsibility. Limited government should protect all life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the basic freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Limited government should protect the family’s income and reduce the need for taxation.
Provide Great Representation
We may not always agree on every issue, but when it comes to basic constituent representation… everyone deserves the best. If elected as your State Representative, I will be available and accessible to address our region’s problems and needs. I will represent the voters of Boone, Winnebago, and DeKalb to the best of my ability and demand the best from all state of Illinois offices.