Running for: State Senate 40th District
Political party affiliation: Democrat
Political/civic background: Involved with political campaigns my entire life
Occupation: Farmer/Business owner
Education: BS Degree Agribusiness, Illinois State University
Campaign website: electpatrickjoyce.com
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees 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. Patrick Joyce submitted the following responses:
The COVID-19 pandemic has hammered the finances of Illinois. The state is staring at a $6.2 billion budget shortfall in this fiscal year. What should be done? Please be specific.
No state can recover without federal assistance so we must continue to advocate for that assistance with our congressional representation. Undoubtedly there will be difficult decisions and bipartisan discussions are the best path forward to finding proactive solutions and making those decisions. We also need to address the services across the board that are needed now more than ever. IDES is overwhelmed and improvements must be made. IDHS needs expansion, not cuts. Students and school districts need more infrastructure and resources to adapt to remote learning.
What grade — “A” to “F” — would you give Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic? Please explain. What, if anything, should he have done differently?
A. Look at Illinois versus the rest of the nation. Governor Pritzker made difficult decisions early on and prevented the pandemic from being politicized. Each decision that has been made has been guided by science and the medical community and we have not seen the same approach throughout much of the rest of the country. However, we must remain vigilant as the pandemic is far from over and more challenging decisions will need to be made. We as a people can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, washing hands, and practicing social distancing.
In the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, legislatures in some states have taken up the issue of police reform. Should Illinois do the same? If so, what would that look like?
Several Senate committees are currently examining issues dealing with police reform. At the same time we are watching our federal delegation dealing with possible national legislation. It is important we take our time with this important issue and get this right. As discussions continue possible legislation will take shape and I will participate in those discussions.
Should the Legislature pass a law requiring all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras? Why or why not?
Yes, I would support legislation requiring all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. Body cameras protect the citizens as well as the officer while providing clarity and transparency.
Federal prosecutors have revealed a comprehensive scheme of bribery, ghost jobs and favoritism in subcontracting by ComEd to influence the actions of House Speaker Michael Madigan. Who’s to blame? What ethics reforms should follow? Should Madigan resign?
There is no doubt ethics reform is needed and we as elected officials need to do everything we can to restore the trust of our constituents. If found guilty, Speaker Madigan must resign.
Patrick Joyce submitted the following responses before the March primary:
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.
Team leader raising funds for Leukemia Lymphoma Society
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.
High property taxes in the Southland. There is need to bring in industry to offset high residential taxes. Reevaluate school funding formula.
Kankakee River sediment buildup. Sediment is coming from the Indiana portion of the river. This buildup is causing increased flooding, decreased recreation access, and endangers the 11 million gallons of drinking water pumped out of the river daily. Immediate and long term funding is needed to stabilize this crucial natural resource.
Bringing Natural Gas to Pembroke Township, this is a decades long issue that needs to be resolved to an under served community. Federal , State, and local funding need to unite to serve this community.
What are your other top legislative priorities?
Fighting for affordable health insurance and prescription drugs
Kankakee River issues
Increasing education funding
Creation of jobs through rebuilding Illinois’ deteriorating infrastructure
What is your position on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax? Please explain.
Support - 97% of Illinois residents will pay the same or les in income tax under this proposal. Illinois and this country are experiencing some of the largest divides in upper and middle class in history. This proposal narrows that gap.
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?
Recently passed pension consolidation is an example of creative thinking to decrease the cost of doing business in Illinois. More consolidation of overlapping services need to be investigated. As we utilize these and other savings to pay off bill backlogs the states bond rating will improve, saving potentially millions in interest costs creating addition funds for education.
Should Illinois consider taxing the retirement incomes of its very wealthiest residents, as most states do? And your argument is?
Retirement income has been earned. Discussion on taxation of those incomes and a determination of “wealthiest residents” would need to happen for a proper answer.
What can Illinois do to improve its elementary and high schools?
Funding - over the past two decades school funding as a percentage of the states budget is dramatically less. This has to be corrected through some of the previous answers.
Mass shootings and gun violence plague America. What can or should the Legislature do, if anything, to address this problem in Illinois?
Education of our youth is a key component towards the decrease of future gun violence. Culture changes, funds for mentoring programs, and community involvement are major steps in the success of decreasing gun violence.
Do you favor or oppose term limits for any elected official in Illinois? Please explain.
Favor - It is important to have legislators with experience and knowledge in Springfield, but it is equally important to have new ideas and new approaches to state issues.
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?
Remapping is necessary every census to make sure legislators serve the proper number of constituents, but the separation or splitting of villages or communities should be avoided whenever possible.
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?
Legislators are in office to serve their constituents. I am in favor of ethics reform that reminds legislators who they work for.
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?
Companies often have a terms and conditions statement that most users click without reading because it is too long. These technologies will continue to grow and protections for users will need to evolve with them.
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?
In State tuition incentives need to be increased as well as MAP grant funding.
What is your top legislative priority with respect to the environment?
Global warming is not being properly acknowledged on a federal level. Continued advancement of carbon free energy in Illinois is essential
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.
William Ogden - First Mayor of Chicago has a fascinating history making Chicago a major railroad hub, philanthropy, spending his fortune rebuilding after the Great fire of 1871, advisor to several Presidents
What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?
M.A.S.H. was a series I grew up with bringing levity to a difficult era.