On Oct. 15, Democrat Trisha Zubert appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. Watch the video above to find out why he’s running for the Illinois House of Representatives in the 64th District in the 2018 general election.
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board 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. Zubert submitted the following responses:
Please explain what cause or causes you will make priorities.
Zubert: We need to repair the property tax system. There are too many loopholes being abused, and those need to be closed. The budget needs to be balanced and Illinois needs to stop spending more than we take in. We need reasonable solutions to the opioid crisis, and effective solutions for taking care of our environment.
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.
Zubert: Property Taxes are excessively high, not enough public transportation options, and the opioid epidemic.
Who is Trisha Zubert?
She’s running for: Illinois House of Representatives, District 64
Her political/civic background:
- School Board Member and President
- Volunteer with many local organizations, including:Lake County Haven
- St. Mary of the Annunciation Church
- Vacation Bible School
- Homeless shelters
Her occupation: Finance
Campaign website: TeamZubert.org
What are the most important differences between you and your opponent?
Zubert: I am running to be the voice of people who haven’t been heard in this district in a long time. My opponent is claiming he’s going to fix property taxes, yet he voted to increase them at every opportunity he had on the Lake County Board. He spends his time attending events rather than meeting with constituents and knocking on doors. This is indicative of the type of politicians we tend to elect in this area: superficially involved.
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?
Zubert: Residents that are leaving are mostly middle to low-class. This group desperately needs their taxes lowered, and the wealthy need to pay slightly more. I don’t want any group of people to suffer, and currently, the lower classes are doing just that. We also have companies in Illinois that accept our tax dollars, and often, tax breaks, but ship jobs out of state and that can’t continue.
In 2017, our state’s unfunded pension liability ballooned to more than $130 billion. What’s to be done about that?
Zubert: It’s money we owe. If we owed $130 billion to other creditors, there wouldn’t be talk or expectations of just ignoring it. This is one of many problems that exist because of Illinois’ inability to have a balanced budget. I think the problem starts and ends with that.
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?
Zubert: Illinois doesn’t have enough affordable colleges here. We lose twice when students choose to pursue higher education out of state, because once they go somewhere else for school, only 50% of students will ever then return to the state. It will cost us up to $776 million in revenue for the state when they go elsewhere, and then we lose again when these educated students start businesses in other states.
What laws, if any, should the Legislature pass to address the problem of gun violence?
Zubert: SB1657 passed all legislature and then was vetoed by Governor Rauner. Obviously that was a bill that had the support of both houses, so I would like to see something like that proposed. I think we need to support smart, holistic, bipartisan solutions that will promote safer schools.
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?
Zubert: While I would support such a law being adopted, I don’t feel I know it enough to give an informed response in writing at this time. I will research this issue.
Should recreational marijuana be legalized in Illinois? Please explain.
Zubert: 2/3 of the people in Illinois support legalizing marijuana. As representatives, we’re supposed to represent the desires of our constituents. Therefore, we should legalize it and tax it. We also should regulate it like we do anything else – we can place restrictions on who can grow it, how it’s grown, what is in it, who can sell it, and at what age you can buy it. In general, a regulated product is safer than a product you buy on the black market. We should legalize it safely and responsibly.
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?
Zubert: In Lake County, Police Chief Eric Guenther started a program which won national awards called “A Way Out.” It prescribes a policing practice called “deflection,” which essentially tries to steer those suffering from substance abuse disorders into treatment instead of the prison system. A person is allowed to walk into a police station with no fear of arrest, state “I’m an addict and I need help,” turn in any narcotics on their person, and be directed towards a program of services that gets them the treatment they need.
Unfortunately, this only will treat half of the problem. We also need to stop overprescribing such drugs to people with chronic pain. It’s unreasonable to think a lifetime of opioids is a good solution to those with a lifetime of pain.
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?
Zubert: I absolutely agree with the objectives and substance of the Act. I have a hard time understanding what the long-term negative side effects of creating jobs, and doing so in an environmentally-conscious way, could possibly be.
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?
Zubert: I apologize for being redundant, but this is another concern that is remedied when we have a balanced budget. Managed care is an important benefit of Medicaid, and it needs to be available without unreasonable limitations.
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?
Zubert: Not giving inmates the opportunity to work perpetuates their inability to acclimate to society if and when they are paroled. It’s a legitimate concern and one of many in relation to our penal system.
Should the state restore the practice of parole for people sentenced to long terms? Why or why not?
Zubert: Yes, we should restore that option. What is a person’s motivation to better themselves if there is literally no hope of being allowed out again? This would obviously need to be handled on a case-by-case basis to ensure public safety. Why do we continue to make it harder to fix the problem of prison overcrowding by backing ourselves into a corner without being open to other options?
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.