Joe Duplechin, Illinois House 19th District Democratic candidate profile

His top priorities include public safety, property tax relief and health care.

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Joe Duplechin, 2020 Illinois House 19th District Democratic primary election candidate

Joe Duplechin, Illinois House 19th District Democratic primary candidate.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Candidate profile

Joe Duplechin

Running for: State Representative of the 19th District

Political/civic background: Chicago Police Officer in the 7th district. Card carrying member of Carpenters Local 58.

Occupation: Chicago Police Officer

Education:Graduate of Lane Tech High School. Received my Bachelor’s degree from DePaul with an Accounting major and two minors in Economics and Management

Campaign website:

Facebook: Friends of Joe Duplechin

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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. Joe Duplechin 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’ve been a police officer for the last seven years. Running for Alderman last year I spent a lot of time talking to voters. Working with community groups to find out what issues are important and what needs to be changed and how to best make those changes . As a police officer I have been focusing in on taking violent criminals gun offenders off the streets.

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. 

Lack of proper representation for the voters of the 19th District, high property taxes, safety/community policing

What are your other top legislative priorities? 

One of my other priorities will be continuing the expansion Healthcare coverage for the people Illinois. As someone who has had family affected by addiction and someone who himself struggles with mental health, I know how important it is to have access to healthcare services. I also am going to work towards, making taxes fair for middle class families

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

I am in favor of Governor Pritzker’s Fair Tax. I believe that the wealthy taxpayers of Illinois should be paying more in taxes and thus give a break to the middle class taxpayers.

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 have to find ways to increase revenue – both from new sources and from ensuring compliance. We need to make sure we are collecting the taxes we already have on the books which is something I will focus on if elected. An issue, I know that is important to organized labor is misclassification of employees as independent contractors. A number of state’s have launch misclassification task forces which have millions in unpaid wages and taxes. In terms of raising new revenue, I believe the Casino’s allowed in the gaming bill will begin to work on creating more revenue. We also need to increase the population of the state to create a stronger tax base.

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

I am not in favor of taxing retirement incomes. According to the American Community Survey, the average household retirement income in Chicago is just over $25,000 a year. I just don’t believe seniors in my community can afford to pay taxes on that limited income. Before stating my support or opposition to such a law I would be interested in seeing the details of the plan. I believe an unintended consequence of taxing retirement income would be an increased exodus from the state including residents who helped build the state to what it is today.

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

We need to put more funding into the state’s new found formula to balance out the current disparity between schools in wealthy zip codes and counties versus schools in poorer zip codes and counties.

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

We have to make sure violent offenders are taken seriously by prosecutors. We have to work with federal and local authorities to ensure the flow of illegal guns into this state is ended and violent offenders are dealt with appropriately. As a police officer who works in areas afflicted by mass shootings on a regular basis I know the blight illegal guns are on communities around our city and our state.

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

Currently, our system without term limits has such a high barrier to entry that it is almost impossible for someone who is not independently to run for office. If we do not enact term limits than there needs to be safeguards in place for voters to better hold elected officials accountable.

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? 

I am open to discussing new ways to draw legislative districts especially if they include safeguards to ensure minority representative and honor geographic boundaries. Most of the plans I have seen so far, are just politicians picking a committee which I not sure makes the process better.

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 think we are taking the right steps to ensure corruption is eliminated for state and local government. However, more still needs to be done and we cannot rest on our laurels because that is how corruption enters a legislative body We also need to hold special elections when a state senator or representative step down. Our current system of appointing elected officials and having them run as incumbents ensures the new elected official is beholden to other elected officials and not the voters.

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 think passing laws that say the data on people’s phones are their property and not the property of the companies would begin to ensure the privacy of Illinois residents are protected.

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 there are two ways to improve the number of Illinois high school graduates going to Illinois state universities are by making the programs and education offered by Illinois state schools better or by improving the financial aid and instate tuition for these schools. Both are valid options that need to be explored and examined by the state legislature.

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

Working with other legislators to bring more clean energy jobs to the state. I am very interested in the Clean Energy Jobs Act that is pending in Springfield and what it can do to create more jobs and also work towards bringing cleaner energy options to the residents of 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. 

Ulysses S. Grant as a General in the Civil War, he was known for his persistence and his leadership. He did not let previous defeats deter his eventual success and help turned the tide for the Union, eventually reunifying the country.

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

I always enjoyed watching the A-Team because its always fun watching a rag tag group of people going around in a van solving crimes.

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