Running for: Illinois State Representative, 80th District
Political party affiliation: D
Political/civic background: Member and President, Bloom Township High School District Board of Education, 1995-2003. Mayor, City of Chicago Heights, 2003-2009. State Representative, 2009 to present. Chair, House Cities & Villages Committee. Former coach and current board member for Chicago Heights Small Fry Basketball.
Occupation: Republic Service
Education: Homewood Flossmoor High School & Elmhurst College
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees 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. Anthony DeLuca submitted the following responses:
1. 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?
A combination of borrowing, seeking federal assistance, reforms, reduced spending and efforts to grow our private sector economy to generate additional revenues.
2. 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?
At the very beginning when everyone knew very little about COVID-19, an A, lately, a C at best. The Gov is relying on a single source of “Science” to make all decisions without any formal hearings or input from the Illinois General Assembly. The curve has flattened, we have ventilators and hospital beds. We also have a much greater knowledge of who is most at risk. We also now know COVID deaths are recorded in a questionable way. When a person who has died tests positive for COVID, the person is listed as a COVID death even if COVID was not the cause of death. All the science must be considered when making enormous decisions such as continuing to shut down our economy and cancelling in-person learning for our children. Sports cancelled or postponed. The science demonstrating the longterm and real damage the shut down decisions will have to families, employees and businesses both financially and mentally must be considered as well.
3. 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?
Yes, but law enforcement must have a seat at the table to accomplish meaningful reforms and the best possible outcome. Reform must also include how best to deal with cases where uncooperative individuals force what appears to be a standard situation into an out of control escalation. We are seeing more cases where police officers find themselves in escalated situations which never should have happened because the individual refuses to cooperate and ignores all instructions. We should include the shared principles established between the NAACP and the ILACP. Additional training may help prevent overly aggressive cases of policing.
4. Should the Legislature pass a law requiring all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras? Why or why not?
I support body cameras but only if the legislature can fund the cost of the body camera mandate. Otherwise, it will become yet another unfunded mandate here in Illinois because municipal governments are in financial distress as well.
5. 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?
Anyone determined to be guilty of being involved in a comprehensive scheme of bribery, ghost jobs and favoritism in subcontracting should be held accountable. The Speaker stated he’s not resigning. I’ve had a private conversation with the Speaker. I’ve expressed my perspective and concerns.
6. 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 stand on my longtime record of community involvement and success.
7. 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, private sector job growth, funding public education, safe neighborhoods, transportation, strengthening safety net programs for the elderly and low income.
8. What are your other top legislative priorities?
HB43. Legislation dealing with the South Suburban Landbank and the Cook County Landbank. Provides an additional incentive to help market and ultimately develop land bank properties in the Southland. Developing and returning the landbank properties to the tax rolls will improve the economic opportunities for families living in the Southland while generating much needed tax revenues.
9. What is your position on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax? Please explain.
Prior to the pandemic, I voted yes to allow the people of Illinois to have a vote on whether Illinois should move from a flat to a graduated income tax system.
10. Illinois continues to struggle financially, with a backlog of unpaid bills. 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?
A combination of borrowing, budgeting, reforms, reducing spending and huge efforts to grow our private sector economy in an effort to generate much needed tax revenues.
11. Should Illinois consider taxing the retirement incomes of its very wealthiest residents, as most states do? And your argument is?
In the past I have not supported taxing any retirement income. I could possibly consider a retirement tax on public sector pensions above a certain annual income.
12. What can Illinois do to improve its elementary and high schools?
In an effort to direct more tax dollars into the classroom, I could possibly consider reforms such as administrative consolidation and school district consolidation. It’s a complicated formula but worth discussion to determine if it is a worthwhile approach. Doing so could direct additional funds into the classroom.
13. Mass shootings and gun violence plague America. What can or should the Legislature do, if anything, to address this problem in Illinois?
Be more vigilant in identifying problematic individuals before an event takes place. It often seems after a shooting there were many signs that were missed. Additional dollars for mental health services and also enforcing the laws on the books dealing with improper use of a firearm. Also consider new laws dealing with improper use of a firearm.
14. Do you favor or oppose term limits for any elected official in Illinois? Please explain.
I support term limits and have filed legislation every term I’ve been in the general assembly. I’ve yet to receive a single hearing or committee vote. HJRCA1 is my current legislation.
15. 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 support a fair map approach. Members of the Illinois General Assembly should not be drawing the legislative districts.
16. 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?
When a loop hole is identified, it should be closed. When certain aspects of the ethics law could be tightened up, it should be. Passing sweeping reforms as a response to a few bad actors, without due diligence, could potentially create more problems.
17. 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?
The appropriate committees in Springfield could hold hearings. The hearings will provide an opportunity for both sides to present why a legislative fix is necessary or not, and allow members of the GA to ask questions.
18. 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?
A certain percentage of students choose to attend college out of state, so there’s little that can be done to attract those students. Affordability, quality of education, successful athletic programs, expanded social life opportunities, and safe campuses.
19. What is your top legislative priority with respect to the environment?
Being sure our communities have access to affordable and clean drinking water. Maintaining our preserves and wildlife. Increasing recycling. Increasing energy efficiency and moving towards renewable energy.
20. 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 most admire and draw inspiration from family and friends. Those who have great stories of accomplishment but will not make the list of Illinois Historical Figures. Nonetheless, are wonderful people who have made great achievements in their own special way.
21. What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?
I don’t watch TV shows, sorry.