Illinois House 17th District Republican nominee: Peter Lee

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The Chicago Sun-Times sent the candidates running for the Illinois House of Representatives a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois.

Republican Peter Lee submitted the following answers to our questionnaire, and watch the video above to find out why he’s running for the Illinois House 17th district seat.

Please explain what cause or causes you will make priorities.


  • Curb spending in Springfield so that we can bring fiscal house in order
  • Hold the line on taxes: income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes
  • Pension reform: State is suffocating under the pension liabilities
  • Term limits: two terms or 8 years should be enough.

Please list three concerns that are highly specific to your district, such as a project that should be undertaken or a state policy related to some local issue that must be changed.


  • RedistrictingDistrict 17 carves up Glenview and Northbrook into too many parts diluting voting power of Asian and other minorities.
  • Merit based admission policyDistrict high school students should have equal chances to enter into the best state schools and colleges.
  • Minimum wage op in/outMunicipalities should encourage businesses and job growth.

Who is Peter Lee?

He’s running for: Illinois House of Representatives, 17th District His political/civic background: No elected political background. Had been a vice president then elected as president of Korean Association of Chicago, an umbrella community organization serving Korean Americans in Chicago and suburbs. His occupation: Attorney His education:

  • B.S. from U of IL, Champaign
  • JD from Chicago Kent Law School


What are the most important differences between you and your opponent?

Lee: Independence: My opponent is large sums from Speaker Madigan and his machine which begs the independence question. I am not beholden to anyone. I will be representative of independent thinking voters of District.

Graduated tax: My opponent supports it and I do not.

Illinois is now the sixth-most populated state, down from No. 5, after 33,703 people moved out between July 2016 and July 2017. What must the Legislature do to make Illinois a more desirable place to live?

Lee: Lower taxes. People cannot keep paying some of the highest income, sales and property taxes in the country. They would rather move to, say Georgia, and pay half the property taxes.


In 2017, our state’s unfunded pension liability ballooned to more than $130 billion. What’s to be done about that?

Lee: First, we must honor contractual obligation to current beneficiaries as mandated by the state Supreme Court. However, new employees can go into defined contributions such as 401K as done in private sector. Also must consolidate numerous pension funds to control costs. Part time elected leaders should forego pension and set a good example.

From 2000 to 2016, the number of Illinois residents who enrolled as college freshmen outside the state increased by 73% (20,507 to 35,445). Why are so many more Illinois residents going to college elsewhere? What should be done to encourage more of them to go to school here?

Lee:Reduce in state costs in comparison to out of state costs for students. Also allow more generous deductions for parents sending their kids to in state schools.

What laws, if any, should the Legislature pass to address the problem of gun violence?

Lee: Provide for more stringent background checks for gun buyers. Close loop holes for gun shows.

On-demand scheduling software now helps large retail companies determine how many staff members they will need on a day-to-day or even hour-to-hour basis. The downside is that employees may not receive their work schedules until the last minute. Oregon and a number of cities have responded by adopting “fair scheduling” laws. Would it be appropriate for the Illinois Legislature to pass a “fair scheduling” law? Please explain. What would such a law look like?

Lee: Provide for a minimum notice time to call in employees, otherwise employers should pay additional compensation to employees.

Should recreational marijuana be legalized in Illinois? Please explain.

Lee: No, at least not yet. Medical marijuana is sufficient for Illinois. Let’s see how other states are dealing with recreational before dealing with this matter.

Opioid overdoses and fatalities continue to rise in number. In Illinois in 2017, there were 13,395 opioid overdoses, including 2,110 deaths. What should the Legislature do, if anything, about this?

Lee: Serious problem in Illinois an elsewhere. Provide for additional manpower and training for first responders and municipalities.

The Future Energy Jobs Act, passed in 2016, is generating job growth in renewable energy and improving energy efficiency. Do you agree or disagree with the objectives and substance of the Act? What more — or less — should be done?

Lee: Agree. The Act generated job growth in renewable energy and provided for improving energy efficiency for large utilities. Good for everyone.

What would you do to ensure the long-term viability of the state’s Medicaid program? What is your view on managed care for Medicaid beneficiaries?

Lee: The long term viability depends to some degree on state’s financial stability. Managed care for Medicaid beneficiaries is a good thing similar to what private sector is trying to do.

Underfunding at the Department of Corrections has led to troubling findings by the auditor general that many inmates don’t receive services or opportunities for work while incarcerated. Is this a legitimate concern? What should the Legislature do?

Lee: Legitimate concern. Inmates should receive proper services and have opportunities for work so that they can become productive citizens outside.

Should the state restore the practice of parole for people sentenced to long terms? Why or why not?

Lee: Yes. Parole for long term inmates makes sense, especially for those who are non-violent. Taxpayers are footing the bill to maintain these facilities and house inmates.


Ahead of the historic 2018 elections, the Sun-Times is teaming up weekly with the Better Government Association, in print and online, to fact-check the truthfulness of the candidates. You can find all of the PolitiFact Illinois stories we’ve reported together here.


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