Randy Ramey, Illinois House 45th District Republican candidate profile
His top priorities include property tax relief, the opioid crisis and changes to workers’ compensation laws.
Running for: State Representative, 45th District
Political/civic background:Wayne Township Republican Committeeman, 1992-present
Served as Chairman and Vice-Chairman
Du Page County Republicans, Chairman 2011-2012
Township Officials of Du Page County, President 2018-present
Wayne Township Trustee 1998-2005
State Representative, 55th District 2005-2013
Wayne Township Supervisor, 2017-present
Wayne Township Food Pantry, Volunteer
Occupation:Midwest Director for TIPS
Education: BS in Restaurant Management
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Campaign website: randyramey.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 Illinois and their districts. Randy Ramey 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.
I have for many years volunteered at the Wayne Township Food Pantry to help distribute food and clothing to those in need. As Supervisor, I saw a need and worked with the Directors to gain funds to help with the expansion of our facility. We were awarded a $350,000 HUD grant for that project. Two grants were received to help pay for other amenities to the pantry. I worked with all department heads to acquire a loan to expand the facility for the food pantry and the senior center. We had requested and received $375,000 in commitments from the capitol project funds. Needs have grown in Wayne Township so working together we accomplished our goals without a property tax hit.
I have also worked with BAPS, a Hindu community in Bartlett. They are a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to improving society through individual growth by fostering the ideals of faith, unity, and selfless service. I subscribe to their belief of in the joy of other lies our own.
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 tax relief is a concern for all communities. The high burden is forcing people out of their homes and driving them to move to other states.
The opioid crisis needs to be addressed and I support efforts from State’s Attorney Bob Berlin, Sheriff Jim Mendrick and Coroner Rich Jorgensen to enforce laws, educate the public and introduce new ways to help fund mental health, addiction and treatment services. I would support budgets that fund these services, which would have a positive impact with employment, recidivism, healthcare, education, and public safety.
I would work on reducing the burden on employers from workman’s compensation and frivolous lawsuits to help them grow as the national economy has grown. We are behind the pace of this record setting economy. The heavy burden of taxation and regulation force companies to re-evaluate their priorities, such as expansion and hiring, to moving their business to a more business friendly state.
What are your other top legislative priorities?
Pension reform is the highest priority. We should structurally reform Illinois’ pension system through an amendment to the state constitution’s pension clause. An amendment that protects pensioners’ already-earned benefits and allows for slower growth in future benefit accruals would help the state address its debt while protecting public employees’ retirements. It would also protect taxpayers, and any hope for the state’s economy.
Proper educational funding to relieve the property tax burden. If we restrain new spending and address our constitutional requirements then we can accomplish this goal. Other ideas offer getting rid of the administrative bloat and pension reform.
Governmental consolidation of unnecessary entities. Their are many ways to consolidate and save. Budgets that are actually balanced as constitutionally required. The balanced budget shell game has gone on long enough.
What is your position on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax? Please explain.
I am against it. The policies of the Governor and his party have driven business and population out of this state. The proposed tax needs to have the constitution changed. If that door is opened then there is no stopping them from raising taxes on everyone. There is not enough money from the “rich” to pay the bills. They would need to increase the reach to cover the 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?
We need to stop the excessive spending and get back to what the constitution advises us to do. Education, Infrastructure and Public Safety are the priorities. Once those are funded properly then you can review where the rest of the revenues can go. A forensic audit should be performed to weed out the obsolete programs and duplicative spending.
Should Illinois consider taxing the retirement incomes of its very wealthiest residents, as most states do? And your argument is?
When does it stop? Illinois already has the highest tax burden so to add to it would only enhance the outward migration of Illinois residents and businesses. Illinois just introduced 9 new taxes that will total $1.7 billion dollars. Illinois does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.
What can Illinois do to improve its elementary and high schools?
Illinois needs to create an education system that makes student and instructional spending the top priority. We can spend more efficiently by having a much more consolidated school district system. By taking away the gluttony of administration, more dollars can reach the students. Other states have moved to this format and accomplished better results on their educational spending. I believe there was a school efficiency bill passed in the House this year but lies in the Senate.
Mass shootings and gun violence plague America. What can or should the Legislature do, if anything, to address this problem in Illinois?
The state already infringes upon the rights of gun owners to the extent that everything they try to pass is unconstitutional. We have laws in place, enforce them.
Do you favor or oppose term limits for any elected official in Illinois? Please explain.
Term limits are a good idea but better for legislative leaders. With term limits the prospect of new legislators more often may pose problems with participation. While changing leaders you can bring new ideas to the front and allow for more bi-partisan work to get accomplished.
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?
Gerrymandering by the party in power continues their stranglehold on the state. A non-partisan computer generated map should be produced that would reflect the proper representation of all people.
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?
It was proper but loop holes remain. There are more ways to combat corruption. The legislature should pass legislation that would stop legislators from becoming lobbyists right away. They should ban lobbying for sitting lawmakers. There should be more disclosure when a lawmaker has a personal stake in the legislation. They should give the Inspector General more power to do their job.
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?
We should have restrictions on how this information can be shared, especially for profit. People should feel secure in knowing that as the internet grows and usage increases, that they are protected. Business is becoming more reliant on the ease of the internet and the access it affords. The legislature should be the guardians of their constituents information.
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?
Illinois Universities have become too high priced to local students. Their drive for foreign students has boxed out our brightest. Out of State schools make it more attractive by being less expensive and many times offering better educations. As increased spending at universities drives tuition hikes, students and the public deserve to know how these schools are spending their money. Universities claiming a well-rounded curriculum should offer one that includes history, government, economics and literature. Unnecessary curriculum has created bloated faculties and bloated tuition.
What is your top legislative priority with respect to the environment?
Illinois has many environmental restrictions. I would continue to make sure our water resources are kept clean. Illegal dumping and sewage laws should be enforced and as needed, penalties should be enhanced.
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.
I have grown up in a political family and have had the honor of knowing many of Illinois’ effective leaders and inspiring individuals.
In politics, my step-father, Pate Philip, was a leader who gave you his word and stuck to it. If you don’t have your word you have nothing. In the current climate of corruption in Springfield, one needs to be honest and forthright. As he showed, you can stick to your beliefs and be informed to adjust to what is best for the State.
In life, the many volunteers, teachers, policemen, firemen and public servants I have worked with over the years have all given me a view of our community that with common goals and energy, we can achieve much. I will continue to learn from these people and use their inspiration to help Illinois become a better place for all.
What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?
I do not watch much television. In the past, comedies were my choice to help me laugh and distract from other issues.