Running for: 60th District State Representative
Political/civic background: Current 60th District State Representative - 2010 - Present
Former Vice President Waukegan Board of Education
Occupation: 60th District State Representative
Education: MS - Management and Business Administration - Benedictine University
MS - Management and Organization Behavior with emphasis in Organizational Development - Benedictine University
BS - Computer Information Systems - Columbia College
Campaign website: voteritamayfield.com
Facebook: State Rep. Rita Mayfield
2020 Election Voting Guide
This article is part of our Illinois 2020 election voting guide. Click here to see more.
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent candidates 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. Rita Mayfield 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.
Here in Eastern Lake County, we have learned that ethylene oxide is being emitted by two facilities and poses a health risk to residents. I worked with StopEto, the Illinois Environmental Council, Faith in Place and my colleagues to enact legislation towards protecting the health of our residents. I have cosponsored several environmental bills as well as legislation to address Coal Ash Ponds and the new Clean Energy Jobs Act. Since day one in office, I have been a fierce advocate for education and have fought for our teachers and worked hard to secure funding for our schools and grants for students. This year I was able to secure a $1 Mil grant for Youth Build Illinois, a $1.5 Mil grant for Vocational Training at the College of Lake County and passed legislation to allow Grow Your Own to extend free college tuition to high school juniors and seniors to become teachers. I’ve also sponsored several pieces of legislation to address recidivism and criminal justice reform.
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.
Property taxes place a substantial burden on hard working families. As a member of the Property Tax Work group, I am working with my colleagues to find innovative solutions to provide property tax relief.
Fostering a positive business climate that provides good paying jobs while respecting workers’ rights is also a priority.
Every child deserves a quality education. Ensuring that schools have the resources and wrap around services necessary should be a top state priority. This starts with changing the way we fund schools.
What are your other top legislative priorities?
As a society, we need to do much better at protecting human rights. While the policies and rhetoric from the Trump administration are profoundly disturbing, this speaks to a problem that has existed for much longer. We cannot have any populations of people whose rights are not respected. This means everywhere from the border and all of the way through our court system. I recently joined with Representative Lisa Hernandez on HR577, a measure to protect immigrants. I have also been working diligently on creating an independent Ombudsman Office within the Department of Corrections. The current system is broken and the number of complaints against personnel is growing at an alarming pace. The State of Illinois cannot afford any more lawsuits.
These are two of my top priorities with much more to come.
What is your position on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax? Please explain.
I strongly support the fair tax. It makes good practical sense and will make a substantial difference in paying down debt here in Illinois
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?
The State of Illinois needs to prioritize it spending. Ensure that vouchers are processed timely by department heads and invest in bringing more companies and more good paying jobs to Illinois.
Should Illinois consider taxing the retirement incomes of its very wealthiest residents, as most states do? And your argument is?
Yes, everyone needs to pay their fair share. The middle class is shrinking, those that are making millions on the backs of others can afford to pay more and should. With this policy change we need to ensure that there are strict measures/penalties in place for those to attempt to evade payment.
What can Illinois do to improve its elementary and high schools?
Start with how we fund schools, then look at consolidating into unit school districts (where feasible) for fiscal efficiency. Reduce the number of tests that students are required to take and implement a curriculum that ensures that every child is proficient in reading and math by third grade. K-3 creates the learning foundation that students need to excel in higher grades. Without that foundation, students are playing catch up and many get discouraged and give up.
Mass shootings and gun violence plague America. What can or should the Legislature do, if anything, to address this problem in Illinois?
The way we address gun policy is tragically inadequate. We need to ensure that weapons of war are not accessible by people who are a danger to themselves and those around them. While this is primarily a national policy, here in Illinois we can and should take steps that takes guns off our streets. We need legislation that targets and sends a strong message to straw purchasers and illegal gun dealers that their activities will not be tolerated.
Do you favor or oppose term limits for any elected official in Illinois? Please explain.
Term limits are popular, however choice should not be taken away from voters.
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?
Efforts to reform mapping should be a coordinated national effort that encompasses all government bodies: federal, state, county, municipal, park, etc.
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?
I strongly support transparency and ethics reform. The legislation that passed was a good start but more work needs to be done to ensure that all lobbying activities and contracts are disclosed. There should be a ban on all lobbying activities by elected officials,
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?
Corporations have developed methods to mine and compile data at an alarming rate. Technology in this area has developed at a rate that has far outpaced our society’s collective ability to consider it. Now is the time for that to stop. We need to carefully and quickly determine what data we allow for corporations to have and hold them to that limit. Consumers need to know what data is being tracked and companies should not be allowed to sell or share personal data without permission.
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?
Here in Illinois, we have some of the nation’s most excellent colleges and universities. Unfortunately the costs have risen sharply. Controlling and reducing those costs will help to encourage Illinois students to remain here to complete their studies.
What is your top legislative priority with respect to the environment?
Most immediately is to control the emission of ethylene oxide. There has been excellent legislation introduced that if passed by the GA and signed into law, would quite effectively address this problem. Next is the passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act which if passed would provide an end to Coal and a much needed infusion into alternative renewable and sustainable clean energy sources. Finally, we need to address our underground drinking water supply lines to ensure access to fresh water everywhere in the State
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.
Barack Obama. He led this nation with dignity and tremendous ability. Barack served in tough times, brought people together and had a sincere regard for others. He reflected well on our Nation and made me quite proud.
What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?
So many to choose from --- Vikings - The Women kick butt and are Treated as Equals