Marty Malone, Illinois House 12th District Democratic candidate profile
His top priorities include property tax reform, small business support and Lake Michigan’s rising water levels.
Running for: State Representative, 12th District
Political/civic background: Director of Community Affairs, Cook County
Board of Directors, East Lake View Neighbors
Board of Directors, Lakeview Citizens Council
Local School Council Community Representative, Greeley Elementary
2019 graduate, Chicago Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy
Trainee, Obama Foundation’s Community Organizing Program
Board of Directors, Young Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago
Co-founder, Queer Clout Happy Hour, an informal happy hour designed to bring together LGBT people who work in politics and government.
Education: Bachelor’s, Broadcast Journalism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
St. Rita of Cascia High School
Campaign website: martymalone.com
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. Marty Malone 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.
For the past two and a half years, I worked for Cook County as a Director of Community Affairs. In this role, my main responsibility was to help residents of Cook County’s 10th District (Chicago’s north and north west sides) save money on their property taxes. I assisted over a thousand residents with securing exemptions and filing appeals, both on the phone and at workshops I organized around the district. It was during this time I witnessed first hand how horribly Lakeview was hit by rising property taxes -- 30, 40, even 50+ % raises in a single year -- and I could no longer sit on the sidelines and tell people I was sorry I couldn’t do anything more to help them.
Outside of work I also was elected to the board of two neighborhood organizations, East Lake View Neighbors and Lakeview Citizens Council. Additionally, I am currently an elected member of the Local School Council for my neighborhood elementary school.
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.
1. Property tax reform -- a 5% cap on any annual property tax increases is my #1 priority.
2. Small business support -- Lakeview has far too many vacant storefronts. A property tax cap should help alleviate investment insecurities somewhat, but our state should also focus on equitable investments in small businesses in line with the ones given to major corporations.
3. Lake Michigan’s rising water levels -- the 12th District’s entire eastern border is Lake Michigan. I would strongly support any measure that focuses on combatting local climate change and securing Lake Michigan and its shores for future generations.
What are your other top legislative priorities?
I would argue that if it’s not priority one it’s not getting done, which is why I am focusing on a 5% cap on any annual property tax increases. In addition to that and the other two concerns stated above, I would be a strong supporter of any legislation benefiting women, the LGBT community and our environment.
What is your position on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax? Please explain.
It’s a good start, but I don’t buy into the hype that it’s a major fix for our state’s financial situation. If you ask any economist what our state’s number one fiscal issue is, they would say our pensions -- yet it doesn’t appear that the Fair Tax is going to make any substantive fixes to our pension obligation.
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?
Open up the constitution and fix our pension system once and for all.
Should Illinois consider taxing the retirement incomes of its very wealthiest residents, as most states do? And your argument is?
I would like “very wealthiest residents” to be explained.
As it stands now, we’re already losing residents at record rates, and this additional tax would only push away our seniors even more.
What can Illinois do to improve its elementary and high schools?
I proudly marched with my neighborhood CPS school during the recent teachers strike because I firmly believe every student in Chicago and in Illinois deserves a social worker, a nurse, a library, a manageable class size and a teacher who is paid a respectable wage. The CTU made some gains, but there is still more to get done. I would support any legislation that focuses on investing in our schools and our teachers.
Mass shootings and gun violence plague America. What can or should the Legislature do, if anything, to address this problem in Illinois?
I would defer to federal policy for this issue. Every democrat in the presidential primary has plans to address our nation’s gun violence, which is why I will proudly be supporting the Dem nominee.
Do you favor or oppose term limits for any elected official in Illinois? Please explain.
100% favor. Although I can understand and appreciate the argument that “elections are term limits”, I have, since entering this race, witnessed up close and personal the ways in which our current system is unfairly rigged towards helping incumbents succeed.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to state that I also oppose big money in politics. I capped my own contributions at $312.40 (to bring to light Lakeview Township’s average property assessment increase last year which was 31.24%). The way money dictates our state’s politics is abhorrent, and it’s no wonder there seems to be a new story every other week about an Illinois politician being charged with corruption.
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?
Let independent experts draw maps together in an open and transparent process.
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 don’t think it goes far enough. For example, there’s zero mention of aldermen or mayors.
I believe Illinois should enact term limits and campaign finance reform.
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?
I would argue this is more of a federal issue than a state issue.
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?
I believe the premise of this question is flawed. I think Illinois’ focus should be on making our state more attractive to return to after graduation from out of state schools.
Let kids leave for four years and explore other cities, states and even countries if they want to. The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is already attractive to high school students across the globe -- as a matter of fact, UIUC had the second-highest number of international students in the entire country.
I was extremely proud of the University of Illinois last year when they guaranteed free tuition for families making under $61,000. That’s a great start. And many Democratic presidential candidates have plans for free public university tuition which would also be great for Illinois. But let’s not lose focus on making our state a great place to live, work and raise a family for life after college.
What is your top legislative priority with respect to the environment?
As stated previously, the 12th District’s entire eastern border is Lake Michigan. Over the past few months, water levels have risen drastically. I would prioritize any legislation that works towards protecting Lake Michigan and the thousands of Illinois residents who live on its shore.
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. I’ll never forget when I met him and shook his hand at the Obama Foundation’s first community organizing training session. I especially admire and respect the work he is doing post-presidency to train the next generation of global leaders.
What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?
The Great British Bake Off. It’s the perfect amount of stress and suspense (re: very little) for a TV show. It brings people together from all different walks of life to compete each week for best baker, and I’m always left hungry and inspired.