Froy Jimenez, Illinois Senate 1st District Democratic candidate profile

His top priorities include economic development, public transportation and public safety.

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Froy Jimenez, Illinois Senate 1st District Democratic primary election candidate, 2020

Froy Jimenez, Illinois Senate 1st District Democratic primary candidate.

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Candidate profile

Froy Jimenez

Running for:Illinois State Senate, 1st District

Political/civic background: AsanimmigrantfromMexicothatcametoChicagoasayoungboy,itwaswiththeguidanceofcapableteachersandcaringsportscoachesthatIwasabletoearnscholarshipstofurthermyeducationhaveashotattheAmericanDream. Asa20 yearpublicservant,IstartedmycareerastheLegislativeDirectorandChiefofStafftoformerStateSenatorJesus”Chuy”Garcia.IalsoworkedfortheIllinoisHouseofRepresentatives,LegislativeIssuesDepartment,soIknowhowSpringfieldworksandwillusemyfullexperiencetoprovidethetypeofpublicserviceyouwouldexpectfromatrustedandqualifiedpublicservant.Now,asahighschoolhistoryteacherandsoccercoachforChicagoPublicSchools,Ihaveprovidedthesamementoringlessonsandopportunitiessince2007thatIreceivedtohundredsofstudentsonthesouthwestsideofChicago.Notjustanyonecanconnectwithhighschoolstudentsandmotivateteenstoimproveandexcel.NotjustanyonecanrelatetotheconcernsofparentssendingtheirkidstoschoolandraisingafamilyonChicago’ssouthwestside.Notjustanyoneiswillingtotakeonleadersinourgovernmenttochallengethemtoworkmoreonbehalfofworkingclasspeopleinsteadofpoliticalinsidersandspecialinterests.Mypublicexperiencedemonstratesarecordofbeingoutspoken,beinginformedontheissues,andstandingonthesideofworkingclassfamilies.

Occupation:CPS History Teacher & Soccer Coach

Education: Marquette University, BA International Relations
University of Liverpool, Masters in Public Administration
National Louis University, Masters in Teaching

Campaign website: froyjimenez.com

Facebook: Froy Jimenez for IL Senate

Twitter: @FroyforILSenate

Instagram: @froyforilsenate


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The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent candidates for the Illinois Senate a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois and their districts. Froy Jimenez submitted the following responses:

Please tell us about your civic work in the last two years, whether it’s legislation you have sponsored or work you have done in other ways to improve your community.

IambilingualinEnglish&Spanish(which my opponent is not) andthereforeIcanconnectmorewithmystudents,parents,andtheoverallcommunity.AsanelectedlocalschoolcouncilboardmemberandChicagoTeacher’sUnionexecutiveboardmemberandco-chairofthePoliticalAction-LegislativeCommittee,Iamconfidentinspeakingagainstbigbusinessesthatmakeitharderandharderonworking-classpeopleandourfamilies.Istandstronglyonbehalfofsocialjusticeandeconomicreformsandformakingthenecessarychangesthatbenefitindividualswiththemostneedintermsofeducationalfunding,publicsafetyandotherequityissues.

In addition, peopleinIllinoisaregettingover-taxed and I have publicly denounced this over taxation and have been published in both of the Chicago daily newspapers voicing my outcry on this topic.Chicago and Illinois taxesaremostlyregressive,unfair,andanattackonworkingclasspeoplethatcanleastaffordit.Tomakemattersworse,politiciansintheIllinoisSenateandHouseofRepresentativescontinuetowastefullyspendourtaxdollarsinaveryunchecked,unbalancedsystemthatrevolvesaroundpoliticalfavors,unethicaldealsandcronyism.Myviewsontaxesisthatourtaxsystemshouldbereformedsothatweusedthemmoreefficientlytofundthemostneeded.Specificallypropertytaxesandthesystemforassessmentoftheseislongoverdueforreform.SpecialinteresthaveobstructedAssessorFritzKaegi’sreformeffortsbecauseofthetaxappeallawyerspoweronIllinoislegislators.Weneedsomeonewithcouragelikemyselfthatwon’tbeafraidtostanduptopowerfulinterestandtothefourtopsandbeginacoalitionthatwillprotectandprioritizetheinterestoftheworkingclasspeople.

Most importantly, I have been a vocal critic about the wave of public corruption and called for real ethics reform with teeth and my outcry for real solutions has also been published by the Sun-Times. Taxpayers deserve comprehensive anti-corruption solutions and not just have short term fixes. It shouldn’t take numerous state legislators under Federal investigation to fix a rotten political system that continually defrauds the public trust and robs taxpayers from their hard earned money.

Governor Pritzker wants to address reforms on lobbyists and their disclosures, possibly addressing donations with the way legislators vote, otherwise known a pay to play. Democrats that are in control of both chambers have mentioned empowering the Inspector General with more powers over state legislators, which is also a noteworthy reform. Yet this is only the tip of the corruption iceberg and much more can be done to minimize fraud in Illinois government. Banning or creating guidelines on outside employment to have legislators focus full-time on their constituents is a common-sense reform urgently needed. If someone wants to be in public office they should prioritize that commitment and not use their public office to influence their cronies or others businesses. Springfield leaders also need to make the tough decisions of regulating themselves and stop the enormous temptation of play to play politics and questionable donations. A common sense approach to reduce pay to play corruption and benefit taxpayers is having term limits that safeguard against powerful politicians monopolizing the decision making process, prevent career politicians and their fraudulent deals in our state government and opening up more democratic opportunities for fresh new leadership that is not part of a deceitful Chicago or Illinois Way of governing.

Please list three concerns that are specific to your district, such as a project that should be undertaken or a state policy related to an important local issue that should be revised.

Small business is not the same as big business. We need to find solutions to empower economic development in our local neighborhoods. One way is to distinguish and draw a thick line between small mom and pop businesses and big companies that employ more than 50 or more employees. Often times we provide incentives for the Amazons, Walmarts, Menards or other big companies or even worse impose limitations on all businesses as if they were all large corporations. We need to provide more incentives and training for small businesses in our communities so they are not forced to close down and can compete without being driven out by large corporations.

Regarding crime, I believe in community policing and programs like DARE and CAPS and others that encourage relationship building with our youth and the public servants that are in charge of our public safety. I believe we should hire more police officers to offset the amount of retired CPD officers that are diminishing our ranks and to alleviate the amount of overtime current officers have to work because there is not enough officers to fully staff our city’s needs.

PublicTransportationshouldbewellmaintainedandfundedfairly.TherecentstateGasTaxof100%from19to38centspergallonisanexampleofhowfartoooftenourlegislatorsusetheworkingclasspeopletofundtransportationandinfrastructureprojectsonthebackofhardworkingpeopleanddon’tconsiderotheralternatives.TheTollwayshouldbeusedforitsoriginalpurposeandweshoulddemandourfairshareoffederaltaxdollarstopayfortransportationupgradesandessentialprojects.CTAfaresshouldnotberaisedwithouttheproperinput,feedbackandwithoutexhaustingotherpossibilities.Inaddition,studentsshouldbegivendiscountedfairs.

What are your other top legislative priorities?

Taxes in Illinois are astronomical and a big reason why people are moving out of this city and state. However, the movement to provide a fair income tax and ask those who make more to pay more is something I wholeheartedly support. I also support the corporate head tax and the real estate transfer tax, so we can stop relying on overtaxing the working class families. TIFs should be used for their intended purpose and surpluses should be invested in communities most in need.

In addition, Illinois has a very corrupt system of spending, taxing, and needs reform in its budgetary process. No more of the pork member initiative political tradition that often goes unchecked and contributes to out state’s wasteful spending. Our city and state has punished working class families with too many regressive taxes and fees and I am committed to be outspoken and defend our families from further attacks on those that can least afford it.

What is your position on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax? Please explain.

The movement to provide a fair income tax and ask those who make more to pay more is something I wholeheartedly support. I also support the corporate head tax and the real estate transfer tax, so we can stop relying on overtaxing the working class families.

Illinois continues to struggle financially, with a backlog of unpaid bills that tops $6 billion. In addition to a progressive state income tax — or in lieu of such a tax — what should the state do to pay its bills, meet its pension obligations and fund core services such as higher education?

Again there is too much wasteful spending in Illinois government. Local government entities can be consolidated to save taxpayers money. Specifically eliminating the Cook County Forest Preseve Police and letting the Cook County Sheriff’s department take over those functions is a start. Also no more of the unchecked member pork traditions is a great way to save taxpayers money.

Should Illinois consider taxing the retirement incomes of its very wealthiest residents, as most states do? And your argument is?

Possibly. Hearings on this would be appropriate but definitely worth considering. Retired people have worked very hard for their savings and any change in this should have public input.

What can Illinois do to improve its elementary and high schools?

As an elected member of John Hancock High School’s Local School Council, I am most proud of advocating for less standardized testing at our school so as to increase student instructional time and decrease stress levels of the students and parents. We should not have to teach to the test and our students should not be over-tested. Illinois needs to encourage more teaching and less standardized testing.

Mass shootings and gun violence plague America. What can or should the Legislature do, if anything, to address this problem in Illinois?

The Illinois legislature has historically tried many approaches. One consideration would be to focus on legislating against ammunition control and making harder to obtain bullets.

Do you favor or oppose term limits for any elected official in Illinois? Please explain.

Absolutely favor term limits. It would minimize the culture of corruption that is rampant in Illinois politics.

Everybody says gerrymandering is bad, but the party in power in every state — Democrats in Illinois — resist doing anything about it. Or do we have that wrong? What should be done?

Continue to push for fair maps without the focus being protection of political incumbents.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago is investigating possible official corruption by state and local officials. This prompted the Legislature to pass an ethics reform measure to amend the Lobbyist Registration Act (SB 1639). It was signed into law in December. What’s your take on this and what more should be done?

Recently, Governor Pritzker and Springfield’s Democratic legislative leaders have proposed ethics reform. It’s about time and long overdue, but taxpayers deserve comprehensive solutions and not just have short term fixes. It shouldn’t take numerous state legislators under Federal investigation to fix a rotten political system that continually defrauds the public trust and robs taxpayers from their hard earned money.

Governor Pritzker wants to address reforms on lobbyists and their disclosures, possibly addressing donations with the way legislators vote, otherwise known a pay to play. Democrats that are in control of both chambers have mentioned empowering the Inspector General with more powers over state legislators, which is also a noteworthy reform. Yet this is only the tip of the corruption iceberg and much more can be done to minimize fraud in Illinois government. Banning or creating guidelines on outside employment to have legislators focus full-time on their constituents is a common-sense reform urgently needed. If someone wants to be in public office they should prioritize that commitment and not use their public office to influence their cronies or others businesses. Springfield leaders also need to make the tough decisions of regulating themselves and stop the enormous temptation of play to play politics and questionable donations. A common sense approach to reduce pay to play corruption and benefit taxpayers is having term limits that safeguard against powerful politicians monopolizing the decision making process, prevent career politicians and their fraudulent deals in our state government and opening up more democratic opportunities for fresh new leadership that is not part of a deceitful Chicago or Illinois Way of governing.

When people use the internet and wireless devices, companies collect data about us. Oftentimes, the information is sold to other companies, which can use it to track our movements or invade our privacy in other ways. When companies share this data, we also face a greater risk of identity theft. What should the Legislature do, if anything?

This is terrible and is happening with student information and standardized testing. We should hold hearing and bring in companies that are responsible for this and hold them accountable.

The number of Illinois public high school graduates who enroll in out-of-state universities continues to climb. What can Illinois do to make its state universities more attractive to Illinois high school students?

Provide more incentives to Illinois students like expanding the duel enrollment and dual credit programs.

What is your top legislative priority with respect to the environment?

Exploring the ways lake Michigan can serve as a source of revenue while at the same time focus on environmental progress.

What historical figure from Illinois, other than Abraham Lincoln (because everybody’s big on Abe), do you most admire or draw inspiration from? Please explain.

Rudy Lozano. Rudy Lozano was a labor leader and champion of immigrant and worker’s rights. He stood up to the Chicago Democratic Machine and so am I. I am also willing so sacrifice my life to obtain change and public service that puts people first.

What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?

Cheers! Very funny and I love the feeling of a community, where everybody respects you and knows your name and listens and willing to help.

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