Democrat Martin J. Moylan is the Sun-Times’ endorsed candidate in the Illinois House 55th district race. Moylan faces Republican Marilyn Smolenski in the 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.
Moylan submitted the following responses, and watch the video above to find out why he’s running.
Please explain what cause or causes you will make priorities.
Moylan: As an independent voice for my district, the issues I have and will continue to prioritize are issues that I hear when going door to door. I continue to witness the pain of skyrocketing property taxes on middle-class families in my district and will continue to support ways to reduce property tax burdens. Further, I am hearing the need for common sense gun laws. I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to achieve solutions to the gun violence that plagues our communities. Lastly, I will continue to focus on building an economy that works for the middle class by fighting for fair wages, demanding equal pay for women, and defending workers’ rights.
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.
Moylan:Property Tax Freeze: I continue to fight for a property tax freeze and will continue to introduce measures that do so. In addition, I supported the landmark school funding reform bill which should have a significant effect on lowering property taxes over time. Also, I voted to expand the values of the standard exemption homeowners can receive, cutting property taxes for every homeowner, and providing additional relief to seniors and veterans (Senate Bill 484).
Reducing Senseless Gun Violence: When I travel the district and speak with parents, it is clear that many are worried for the safety of their children when it comes to the accessibility of high-powered assault rifles. I introduced House Bill 4107, which bans military-style assault weapons and House Bill 1467, which bans the bump stocks modifications that allow an assault weapon to shoot 800 shots per minute.
Protecting funding for municipal services: I will continue to fight to protect the funding for local services from budget raiding to protect the critical local dollars for our roads, police and fire.
Who is Marty Moylan?
He’s running for: Illinois House of Representatives, 55th District His political/civic background:
- Mayor, Des Plaines, 2009-2012
- Alderman, Des Plaines, 2007-2009
- State Rep, 55th District January 2013 – Present
His occupation: State Represenative His education: Attended University of Illinois
What are the most important differences between you and your opponent?
Moylan: My experience as an independent voice for my district and having to work together with legislators on both sides of the aisle to improve our state separates me from my opponent. As a legislator, I’ve demonstrated my willingness and ability to work in a bipartisan manner to cut taxes on working families, fight for women’s equality and work towards enacting common sense gun policies.
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?
Moylan: The nearly three-year budget impasse manufactured by the governor devastated higher education funding and led students to seek schooling outside the state. Higher numbers of students who remain in the state they attend college will lead to a weaker Illinois workforce. We need to pass full state budgets that make critical investments in higher education and retain our educated workforce. This, in addition to providing property tax relief by expanding exemptions for middle-class homeowners, seniors and veterans as well as cutting taxes on middle-class and struggling families while making billionaires pay their fair share will allow the state to continue to invest in our schools and grow our economy.
In 2017, our state’s unfunded pension liability ballooned to more than $130 billion. What’s to be done about that?
Moylan: The pension issues has no quick fix, and is the result of years of mismanagement and political games by both governors and legislators. I have fought to ensure that the state is making full pension payments. I’m committed to a long-term solution that brings all stakeholders to the table to come up with an answer that ensures both pension solvency and creates a path toward reducing our unfunded liabilities.
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?
Moylan: The state needs to pass full state budgets that properly invest in higher education. The outmigration of students has a detrimental effect on the revenue base and economy of our state. Because of this I worked to pass bipartisan budgets that restored funding for higher education and MAP Grants, the critical scholarships that help students attend college. I also voted to allow students to access MAP grants during all 4 years of college instead of just one year, and voted to create a new merit based grant for students.
We also must realize that traditional four-year schools may not be for everybody and that more of an emphasis needs to be placed on high tech manufacturing job training and dual credit programs for students to prepare them for the jobs that will be there in the future.
What laws, if any, should the Legislature pass to address the problem of gun violence?
Moylan: I have been a leader in Springfield in addressing gun violence. We need to pass a ban on bump stocks and trigger cranks, a ban on military-style assault weapons and we need to pass the gun dealer licensing act which places more accountability on the gun dealers and weeds out bad actors. I have sponsored all of these bills and will continue to fight for them in the General Assembly.
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?
Moylan: I would support efforts to reform scheduling practices to provide for more fairness for workers. One such effort I support is House Bill 5046. Among the tenets of the bill are a 72-hour notice for shift changes and a right to receive at least half of expected wages if a shift is cancelled or modified. Passing this bill will help middle-class families and provide a better quality of life for low-income workers.
Should recreational marijuana be legalized in Illinois? Please explain.
Moylan: I believe more research needs to be done on the topic of legalization including hearing from experts, such as physicians. I am worried about underage use as we’ve seen with alcohol. I do not want “normalization.”
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?
Moylan: The legislature has a responsibility to fight the opioid epidemic in this state and country and I have taken steps to do this. In the 700 days Illinois didn’t have a budget, funding for mental health and addiction services was decimated, which turned the opioid problem in Illinois into a full-blown crises. In the recent budget we restored this critical funding. Additionally, I supported the Heroin Crisis Act, which expanded access to treatment, required insurance companies to provide more efficient access to care for those in need, and increases access to Narcan.
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?
Moylan: I should explain that first and foremost, I support green job creation and clean energy production. However, we cannot add to the burden of middle class families in the form of new taxes, fees and higher utility rates. Polluters should be paying to clean up the mess they’ve made, not increasing rates on middle-class families.
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?
Moylan:Managed Care Organizations should provide more coverage and a more organized and less confusing way for vulnerable populations to receive the care they need. However, Bruce Rauner has made unilateral changes to the Medicaid system which have resulted in huge bailouts for insurance companies and longer wait times, more paperwork and less quality of care for Medicaid recipients.
My office has fielded countless calls from constituents over the last three years needing help with Medicaid because of the inefficiencies caused by Rauner’s changes which gave out-of-state managed care organizations some of the largest contracts in Illinois history, and watched them deny care to those in great need in order to pad their own profits. I am committed to righting Rauner’s errors and will work in the General Assembly to ensure more transparency and accountability in the Medicaid system. The people I serve depend on this to happen.
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?
Moylan:My main priorities continue to be working to pass bipartisan budgets that invest our finite resources that families in our community depend on most, like our schools, medical care for the elderly, lifesaving breast cancer screenings and domestic violence shelters.
Should the state restore the practice of parole for people sentenced to long terms? Why or why not?
Moylan: As a state legislator I am called on to vote on issues that affect everybody in our state with varied interests and priorities. On this issue, I will confer with law enforcement and criminal justice reform advocates. That said, I remain committed to property serving the district I represent by fighting against tax increases on the middle-class, fighting to lower property taxes, standing up to the hateful and divisive agenda of Donald Trump and working to enact common sense gun policies.
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.