Why are you seeking election for this seat?
We deserve value for our tax dollars, which pays the salaries of our State Representatives. We deserve a State Representative who is active and engaged in our communities, and who has taken the time to understand the needs and concerns of residents across the whole district. I care about the people and organizations that have not been valued and have not been represented. I recognize that our previous elected officials have consistently voted against anything that costs money without considering the long term benefits. I have a vision to value investment in our communities, or people, and to protect our natural environment while investing in a green future for Illinois.
What do you believe are the most pressing issues facing the Illinois General Assembly?
One of the biggest problems we have in Illinois is a combination of 1) some of the highest property taxes in the country and 2) relatively low state contributions to our public school systems. Because the “Fair Tax” amendment did not pass, the burden remains on property owners instead of requiring higher earners to pay their fair share. We need to close loopholes that allow corporations and high earners to avoid contributing to the public good. We need to set more rigid tax liability structures for corporations so they cannot “bargain down” their tax liabilities as easily. Our local school districts lose much needed local property tax dollars from businesses when they are allowed to negotiate their own contributions.
What do you hope to accomplish in office?
I want to help Illinois preserve our leadership in the agricultural sector while protecting our natural environment. In addition to being vulnerable to extreme weather events, commercial crops require so many environmentally unhealthy elements, and then most of them are exported. We can improve our economy and strengthen our remaining family farms by increasing LOCAL food production and incentivizing cover crops, diversification, and alley farming. I am proud to have supported CEJA, The Clean Equitable Jobs Act, yet our building codes need to be updated to make sure that roofs are ready for solar, that we are collecting rainwater and reusing it, and that we are creating more permeable surfaces to reduce runoff and flash flooding. Additionally, I want to help working families by ending the ban on rent control and increase access to affordable childcare, and I will continue to work to reduce gun violence in Illinois.
What has prepared you for this position?
Because of my years of involvement in state legislative advocacy, I have observed bills being developed, including being in the spaces where conversations and community brainstorming sessions were held around environmental goals and pretrial fairness. I have watched and supported legislation as it is introduced, as we court legislators to sign on to sponsor, and filled out witness slips and made phone calls to push a bill through committees.
Having seen how legislation is developed and passed, I know that we need to do a better job of bringing in stakeholders early in the development process to truly collaborate, and we need to thoroughly examine risk assessments to understand all the possible impacts of a proposed piece of legislation. My extensive canvassing conversations (since running in 2020) have provided me with an understanding of the range of viewpoints across the 91st District. My father modeled compassion, deep listening, and honoring every person’s lived experience without judgment, and I can bring these skills to the office of State Representative. As a self employed interior house painter for 22 years, every new job is a new relationship, and a new negotiation. These skills are absolutely at the core of being a good public servant.