Democrat Maggie Trevor is the Sun-Times’ endorsed candidate in the 54th district Illinois House race. She faces Republican incumbent Tom Morrison in the general election.
On Oct. 11, Trevor appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. Watch the video above to find out why she’s running for the office.
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board also sent nominees 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 and their districts. Trevor submitted the following responses:
Please explain what cause or causes you will make priorities.
Trevor: When I have talked to voters going door to door in the 54th district, the key issues I hear about are access to affordable healthcare, education, high property taxes and making our communities safe. I plan to fight for affordable, accessible health care, including fighting for coverage of pre-existing conditions and a fairer system of taxation that provides adequate funding for education while reducing the need to rely on property taxes to alleviate the burden on middle class homeowners.
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.
Trevor: Going door-to-door in my district, residents tell me about the burden that high property taxes are placing on their families’ budgets. One of my top priorities is to offer middle-class families property tax relief by adequately funding education at the state level and shifting away from the reliance on property taxes as the primary source of funding of our neighborhood schools.
When I speak to parents of high-school aged students they are concerned about the state of higher education in Illinois. The 2-year budget stalemate decimated higher education in Illinois and left many state institutions on the brink of closure. Because of the impasse, local students are facing high tuition costs at state universities and community colleges and are leaving the state to attend college, causing our state to lose talented young workers, and further accelerating the flight from Illinois. I support fully funding our state universities, to keep our kids in Illinois and develop a highly-skilled workforce that attracts business to our state.
Lastly, equal rights for LGBTQ people has been a key issue in this district for a number of years. District 211 high schools have been at the center of a confrontation between board members who have worked with transgender students and the Education Department to reach an accommodation, and a small group of parents opposed to the compromise who are being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as a hate group because of its extreme anti-LGBT views. In support of this group, my opponent has introduced legislation requiring students to use the bathroom facilities corresponding to the gender they were assigned to at birth. I am opposed to such legislation.
Who is Maggie Trevor?
She’s running for: Illinois House of Representatives, 54th District
Her political/civic background:
- City of Rolling Meadows Environmental Committee 2015-present
- City of Rolling Meadows Traffic Committee, 2018
Her occupation: Principal/Owner, Trevor Research Services, LLC (Market Research/Business Consulting services)
- B.A., Chemistry – University of Chicago
- M.A., Political Science – University of Chicago
- Ph.D., Political Science – University of Chicago
Campaign website: trevorforstaterep.net
What are the most important differences between you and your opponent?
Trevor: I understand the value and importance of bipartisanship and compromise in the budget process, and I understand the value of laws that protect our rights, respect our dignity and create opportunity for all. I applaud the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and support women’s reproductive freedom, and I am committed to full, equal rights for LGBTQ people. My opponent voted against budget compromises, against the ERA, against equal work for equal pay, against being able to marry who you love, against HB40, and even used HB40 as an excuse for voting against the bipartisan budget agreement this year.
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?
Trevor: The main underlying concerns I’ve heard going door to door that are driving people to consider leaving are all ultimately related to how we finance education in this state. People are upset with their property taxes, and many see the connection between their high taxes and the state’s failure to provide adequate funding for local schools. They also are frustrated with the rise in college tuition for Illinois’ public colleges and universities, as well as the uncertainty in funding for higher education created by the budget standoff and are sending their children to be educated at colleges outside the state. We need to approve reasonable budgets in a timely manner, increase tax relief for the middle-class through targeted exemptions, restore state funding of education and reduce the need to rely so heavily on property taxes to fund our local schools in order to make staying in Illinois easier.
In 2017, our state’s unfunded pension liability ballooned to more than $130 billion. What’s to be done about that?
Trevor: It is important to remember that this crisis was the result of problematic decisions over several administrations – both Republican and Democratic, coupled with an historic downturn in the markets and that it is a complex problem that will take concerted action over a number of years to move to solvency for pension funds, and to pay down the unfunded liability. Moving forward, we must make full pension payments and address the unfunded liability over time. Future pension reform legislation needs to be carefully crafted to survive any legal challenges, be fair to taxpayers and public sector employees, require all stakeholders at the table, and consider options based on current interest rates and realistic rates of return on investments.
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?
Trevor: The parents I have talked to who have kids enrolled in out of state schools tell me they sent them out of state because of the rise in college tuition for Illinois’ public colleges and universities, as well as the uncertainty in funding for higher education created by the budget impasse. To keep our talented students in Illinois, we need to make college education more affordable and properly fund our higher education institutions. This starts with consistently approving reasonable budgets in a timely manner, making financial aid more accessible, and restoring students’ and their parents’ faith in MAP grants as a reliable source of aid.
What laws, if any, should the Legislature pass to address the problem of gun violence?
Trevor: I understand the value of preserving access to appropriate firearms for sport. However, there are common sense reforms that will reduce gun violence in our communities even gun rights activists can support. I support dealer licensing and tougher penalties for illegal sales of firearms. I also support a ban on the sale of weapons, accessories and modifications that allow rapid fire of large numbers of rounds. I will fight to keep guns out of the hands of those with a history of domestic violence or severe mental impairment.
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?
Trevor: Employees who are subject to this type of scheduling often are those with the fewest resources to deal with the uncertainties that it causes. Single parents who need to arrange childcare are left struggling to find affordable workable options at the last minute, or end up paying for childcare for shifts that don’t take place. Workers end up paying for transportation to shifts that are shorter than expected. I would support legislation such as HB5046 which would establish minimum notifications for shift workers, and minimum compensation for cancelled or shortened shifts to help make scheduling more fair to those workers who need to accommodate employers who use this type of scheduling, while still allowing employers the flexibility to utilize this type of scheduling to remain competitive.
Should recreational marijuana be legalized in Illinois? Please explain.
Trevor: As long as safeguards are in place for public safety, such as enforceable penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana, and we impose sufficient taxation of recreational marijuana to at a minimum cover expenses to the state and local governments as a result of legalization, such as for enforcement of DUI or any public health issues arising from its use, I would be open to proposals to the legalization of recreational marijuana.
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?
Trevor: Illinois needs to properly fund mental health treatment, and furthermore to work in a bipartisan manner to reach budgets to ensure that services that address mental health and opioid addiction, as well as law enforcement receive funding in a timely manner and can continue to deliver these needed services. Funding for these services was disrupted during the 700 day budget crisis, resulting in service cuts and in some cases, closure of facilities.
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?
Trevor: Green energy jobs provide an economic benefit to Illinois, while also helping to protect the environment through increased energy efficiency. Both are goals that are important to me, and I am proud that two groups that have worked to promote these goals, Sierra Club and AFL-CIO have chosen to endorse me. The interaction between job growth, energy efficiency, and any taxes, incentives and changes in utility rates is complex, and the specifics of such legislation needs to analyzed so that middle class families do not see a net negative economic impact as a result of higher taxes or utility rates.
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?
Trevor: In my professional experience, I have seen managed care achieve superior care for patients in a cost effective manner. Proper coordination of care can keep people healthier, reducing costly hospitalizations and trips to the emergency room. But poor oversight can also allow insurance companies to deny needed care to increase their profit. In order to work, that management must be transparent and must have the goal of care that is medically most appropriate for the patient, and provide the proper safeguards to make sure needed care is not denied in order to increase profits. Rauner’s recent action awarding contracts to insurance companies lacked the proper oversight and safeguards to ensure that insurance companies don’t deny patients the care they need. While managed care may provide some keys to improving both quality of healthcare and cost, this cannot be achieved without transparency and oversight, and the Illinois legislature needs to ensure this is done.
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?
Trevor: The services and programs that give inmates these opportunities lead to a reduction in recidivism, and are important. Underfunding of these services was also aggravated by the budget crisis. Bipartisan efforts to pass budgets in a timely manner can help to make sure that funds that are currently budgeted for these services are distributed and used in a timely manner to deliver services. I also understand the budgetary challenges facing Illinois and feel that we, in a bipartisan manner, need to consider increasing funding for these services relative to other critical budget areas, such as funding of schools and health care, in the context of how to best serve the community.
Should the state restore the practice of parole for people sentenced to long terms? Why or why not?
Trevor: I feel it is important to make sure that local law enforcement and victim advocates have a voice in changing such policies. These are important voices that focus on this issue, whereas the key issues that people in the 54th district are currently talking to me about that are most directly relevant to this involve the state budget, commonsense gun safety laws, laws and policies related to domestic violence and making sure that violent offenders are prosecuted.
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.