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State Representative - 65th District (Republican)

Voting will take place Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Voters will be able to select 1 candidates in this race. The 1 candidates with the most votes will be elected.

Winner in this race will be elected for a term of 2 years.

Click a question below to display the candidates' answers to that question.

Why are you running to represent the 65th Representative District?

Daniel Ugaste

I have always been involved in my community, even while growing up, and in college before my wife and I moved to Geneva. I have been a coach, a volunteer firefighter, helped with the various church activities and was a member of the PTO in addition to engaging in all the various activities and teams my daughters joined. I see the position of State Representative as another community service; it just carries quite a bit more responsibility and a greater commitment. I want to use a lifetime of personal and professional experience to bring a conservative viewpoint to lawmaking and policy making in Springfield, Illinois. I see our state headed down the wrong path, too much debt, crushing taxes, and a terrible economy – I am running to fix these problems and so many more.

Debbie Miller

Like most people in Illinois I am tired of the corruption in Illinois government and the condition of Illinois’s economy. We need more public servants in the Illinois State Government who have no ties to special interests.

Steven Andersson

I am running for state representative because I want to serve the people of the community that I live in. My dedication to local activism has led me to serve on the Geneva Library Board and multiple boards and commissions in our community. I believe the people of the 65th District are fed up with their tax dollars being wasted and seeing no return on their investment to their state government. I want to protect those tax dollars and ensure that money is reinvested here at home and not lost in the fiscal nightmare that is Springfield. I want to make Illinois great again. With the people that make up our state, we should not be near the bottom in so many categories, personal income, job creation, and education. With our resources and infrastructure, Illinois should be the capitol of the Midwest. Wasteful government spending, massive tax increases, and un-affordable programs have hurt our state. However, I do not believe all hope is lost. I believe we can get back on the right track by making the courageous and common sense solutions. We can make Illinois great again and that is why I decided to run for state representative.

Illinois faces a $100 billion unfunded pension liability, and in December the state legislature passed a bill to address the issue. What are your views on the passed pension reform measures? And what else – if anything – needs to be done to address this issue?

Daniel Ugaste

I think the bill that passed isn’t going to solve the entire problem, but it was the first step in the right direction and it needed to happen before our state credit rating dropped any farther. To continue to do nothing with no reforms to the pension system in 2013 would only have served to do more harm to Illinois’ economy and increased the state debt. Further reform is definitely needed, such as capping the total pension amount paid out to one person from one or several pension funds – we need to explore all options to further address this pension issue. The biggest problem is that the state legislature is going to have to be fiscally responsible moving forward, and it has failed to do so in the past. There are still going to be hard decisions to make and a payment schedule to keep. I will never vote to skip a payment and will vote to make the state abide by all the terms of the pension reform.

Debbie Miller

From the Supreme Court decisions I have read, this new legislation may possibly be unconstitutional. We will have to wait to see what the court decides when it hears the arguments from both sides of this issue. I believe Illinois may need to move to a defined contribution plan for all new employees and newly elected officials like most businesses have done. I feel this may be necessary because the pension problem not only involves those who were promised a pension but it also involves the people of Illinois who have to pay the bill. It is very important to take all stakeholders needs into consideration before any changes are made. And since pensions are protected by the State Constitution, the requirements as decided by the Supreme Court must also be taken into consideration before creating and passing any legislation.

Steven Andersson

I believe we need to keep the promises we made to our employees. As such, I would have had difficulty voting for the bill. However, if we did nothing, we may have been in a position of not providing any pensions when the system collapses (which would have been much worse). While certainly not fair and not perfect, this may have been a better of the options available to us at this time. Sometimes the choices we are forced to make are not between a good option and a bad option, but between two bad options. I believe this was probably one of those cases of two bad options. When faced with such a choice we must pick the “least bad” of the options. As to the future, we need to move, for future employees, away from a defined benefit system (i.e. a pension) to a defined contribution system (I.e. 401K).

Would you allow the "temporary" state income tax increase to drop down to 3.75 percent in 2015? Explain your answer.

Daniel Ugaste

Yes. The ever-increasing tax and fee burden on Illinois businesses and individuals is driving businesses and people out of Illinois. The total tax burden (income tax, sales tax, excise tax, property tax, estate tax) in Illinois is one of the highest in the nation. The taxes and fees in Illinois have been increasing while incomes in Illinois remain flat, or in many cases, are declining. This is creating enormous hardship for businesses and individuals. Every business that closes or leaves creates a ripple effect because the revenue that had been collected by state now has to be collected from whatever businesses and individuals that remain.

Debbie Miller

We may need to extend the temporary income tax increase in 2015. But only until the General Assembly puts more business friendly policies in place to attract enough jobs for all the people who need those jobs in Illinois. These policies must include lower regulations and license fees, incentives to provide jobs, more support for Illinois schools to create the most talented workforce in the nation and competitive state corporate and personal income taxes. This will help keep businesses in our state and attract new businesses, including manufacturers, to Illinois. When most of the people in Illinois are employed, the social service portion of the budget, which is now the largest portion, will become much lower. Lower unemployment rates will end the need to borrow money from the Federal Government for unemployment benefits. This will allow Illinois to pay off these Federal Government loans and their included interest. And with more people working more taxpayers will be sharing the tax burden. All of these benefits combined will allow the percent of tax taken from each person’s income to drop back down to 3.75 percent or possibly even lower.

Steven Andersson

I would not allow the tax hike to become permanent; in fact, if I were in office I would be actively working to repeal it. When times are tough, you do not raise taxes. In the middle of the biggest recession since the Great Depression, the people of this great state cannot afford to give the government more money to be needlessly wasted. Instead of flooding the state coffers with more money, we should have started with a forensic audit of state finances, identify needless spending, waste, and redundancy and eliminate it. Each agency should prepare for a budget cut in order to “share the load” until our finances are under control.

Where do you stand on proposed plans for a progressive income tax in Illinois?

Daniel Ugaste

I am against ANY progressive or graduated income tax in any form. The key to attracting and keeping businesses in Illinois is to levy just enough taxes, restrictions and regulatory oversight to fund and protect the interests of the people – and then just leave them alone. In a free market, they will sink or swim on their own. If you ask any business owner whether he would rather have the government help them or just leave them alone, the answer is invariably “just leave us alone”. Business leaders have absolutely no confidence in the ability of Illinois leadership to pro-actively improve the business climate.

Debbie Miller

There is no need to change to a progressive income tax. Presently Illinois income tax is computed as a fixed percentage of a taxpayer’s income so people or businesses who make more money already pay much more than people or businesses who make less money. I believe it is fair the way it is. One of my goals in the General Assembly is to work toward no income tax in Illinois. This will bring more people and businesses to Illinois and allow everyone to thrive.

Steven Andersson

I oppose it. As noted in a recent editorial in a recent newspaper article, the progressive tax is not aimed at making the tax system more “fair,” for Illinois but simply to raise more revenues rather than make required cuts. It is a blatant money grab and must be opposed.

If elected, what transportation projects in the 65th Representative District would be a priority for you?

Daniel Ugaste

We need to focus on providing money to villages and towns to rebuild their streets. We need a third track along the Metra UP West line. Additional bridges over the Fox River. Overall the State needs to take a much longer term look at our infrastructure, as it seems that those in the majority party see more projects go to their districts, politics has no place in how we fund our infrastructure improvements.

Debbie Miller

Transportation is very important to make sure Illinois can fairly compete in the Global economy and to allow the people of Illinois and others to safely travel throughout the state. Making sure the bridges and roadways in the 65th District and throughout Illinois are the safest to travel over would be a high priority for me. Also, making sure public transportation serves the needs of the people in an efficient and safe manner is very important. I will carefully evaluate and support important proposed transportation projects which meet the most pressing needs of the people and use the most cost effective and safe methods for completion.

Steven Andersson

There are always more transportation projects than there is money to fund them. In order to determine priorities for funding I would meet with the elected officials and engineers for the County and the local municipalities to determine which projects are most needed and would produce the most benefit for the region. I also would look for solutions to resolve the ongoing issues between Grafton and Rutland Townships regarding public transportation for seniors and the disabled in their townships. Specific projects that should be considered are intersection improvements north and south of the railroad under-pass at the intersection of US Route 20, Il Route 47 and Il Route 72 (Starks Corner) and the Long Meadow Parkway project (technically out of district but would benefit district residents).

Besides pension reform and taxes, what one or two other issues or projects would be most important for you, if elected?

Daniel Ugaste

My top priority is getting the state’s checkbook back in balance so we can pay our bills on time, reduce our debt and lower our debt service payments so we can follow in the footsteps of many of our Midwestern neighbors and have a state budget surplus. I want to work on reforming Illinois workers compensation laws so that they are fair to both business owners and workers. This one-sided system is causing business owners thinking of locating or expanding in Illinois to explore states with pro-business laws and tax policies, and better weather. It means fewer businesses, less jobs and less tax revenue for the state in general. Reforming the workers compensation system is a top priority, as it will mean more jobs and a growing economy.

Debbie Miller

The two solutions that are most critical at this time are: 1) Putting policies in place to make sure Illinois supports businesses so they can provide plenty of jobs for the people, 2) Making sure Illinois has the best schools, community colleges and universities and also trade and technical schools in order to have the most talented workforce in the nation. These two solutions combined will help retain businesses already located in the state and attract more businesses, including manufacturers, to Illinois. More businesses in Illinois means more job competition. And job competition will naturally raise wages so people can support themselves and their families. These solutions will also improve the economy because the state will receive more tax money, people will be spending more disposable income, less unemployment benefits will paid out and less social services will be needed. In addition to these very important solutions, and what most people consider to be the most crucial step to stop government corruption in Illinois. Introduce and/or support legislation to begin the process of adding an amendment to the Illinois Constitution instituting term limits for the Governor and both chambers of the General Assembly.

Steven Andersson

1) We need to balance our state budget. A stronger constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget would be important to this effort. The current clause in the constitution has little to no teeth to require the budget be balanced. Balancing the budget will involve tough decisions and a re-evaluation of existing programs of the state. While perhaps most state programs have a beneficial purpose, we simply cannot afford to fund everything we would like to do. In deciding which programs to reduce we should have an economic analysis of the cost versus benefit conducted, to see where the State gets the most “bang for its buck.” Programs which yield high value results with low costs should be prioritized over programs with high expense and low value returns on the investment. 2) Term Limits. We need to implement term limits for our elected leaders at all levels of state government. I believe in term limits on all elected state officials. This way, no one can spend over six decades in power and allow the state to get into the situation that we are currently in.

How are you different from your primary opponents in this race?

Daniel Ugaste

My opponent is Steve Andersson. He seems like a very nice man, but his personal philosophy has caused him to support the recent legislative efforts to enact the redefinition of marriage in Illinois and to support President Obama’s effort to create a tax on the wealthy in the form of an enhanced graduated income tax. I opposed both of these laws and in general have a very conservative view of government, both fiscally and socially, which reflect the views of the majority of the people in this State Representative district. I think the polar opposite legislative stances Mr. Andersson and I have on issues like these give voters a good insight into the kind of legislator both of us would be. Debbie Miller is a nice woman; it seems we have many differences of opinions.

Debbie Miller

I am a small business owner who has previously been an employee or associate in several areas of the business sector, real estate, health care, school district, architecture, phone service provider, etc. I have also been a member of two different Illinois unions. This has given me a unique history in different aspects of the business sector as compared to my opponents. Both of my opponents are Geneva attorneys, whose campaigns at present are almost entirely funded by other local attorneys. Presently, Illinois already has 25 attorneys in the General Assembly and our present Governor is also an attorney. I personally have nothing against attorneys but they are already very well represented in the Illinois legislature and I feel we do not need to add one more to their numbers. The more attorneys we have in the General Assembly the more attorney’s special interests are served. I have no ties to any special interest groups unlike my opponents. A little known fact is two of the four previous Illinois governors who have been sent to prison were attorneys.

Steven Andersson

I am the only candidate with experience in lowering taxes and creating jobs. In the City of Geneva, the Library Board is the only governmental entity that actually lowered their tax levy last year. As the Treasurer of the library board, I advocated for this tax cut, helped oversee the cut and balanced the budget to ensure we could afford it. We did it in Geneva; we can do it in Springfield. In my professional career, I have had the pleasure of working with many dedicated and talented individuals to help bring homes, services, and jobs to our community. One of these individuals is Greg Marston, the Mayor of Pingree Grove. Working with the Village, we were able to reach out to many developers and recruit them to come and invest in our community. This is exactly what the State of Illinois needs. Tax hikes, red tape, and overall poor economic outlook have chased employers away. With this type of recruitment, we can bring well-paying jobs into our community.

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