Running for: Illinois House of Representatives District 85
Political party affiliation: Republican
Political/civic background: I have worked for a number of candidates and issues at the local level. I have served as open lands commissioner in Woodridge and I have been on social boards
Education: BA in psychology from Southern Illinois University
Campaign website: Ron2thehouse.com
Facebook: Ron Doweidt
2020 Election Voting Guide
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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. Ron Doweidt 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? Please be specific.
The things that should be done with the budget in 2021 are the things that should have always been done. Work with a balanced budget. That hasn’t been done since 2001. Stop wasteful spending, Stop pork spending. Live within your anticipated revenue stream. Review cost such as why education in Illinois is 50% more per pupil than our neighbors. There isn’t any difference in performance. Review the 80 agencies the State has and combine those that can be, and possible eliminate others. Pension reform is as much for participants as taxpayers. Pensioners have no recourse if the system fails and I should think they would want to reduce the possibility of insolvency. Virtually all 49 states cut their budgets as a result of the Pandemic. Not Illinois. Illinois increased the budget by $2 billion. The General Assembly even tried to put through a salary increase.
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?
With regard to the Governors response, it is the same for the President and the other 49 governors. They are having to make decisions based upon very little scientific help. I will paraphrase how the Illinois Director of Health put it. She said we don’t know what we don’t know. Only time will tell how well the Governor did.
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?
With respect to police reform, it to a degree is like reform in many organization. Like the priesthood for example. The reason I state this example, most of us would never believe the priesthood would needed reform. When there are consequences to higher ups for the behovior of the rank and file I believe there will be change.
4. Should the Legislature pass a law requiring all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras? Why or why not?
I believe the more documentaion on an incident, the better to draw a conclusion. That does not mean a bunch of useless paperwork. Had there not been a dash cam in the Jayson VanDyke event things would have very different. I believe body cams are as much value for the police as the accused. It will stop many false accusations made against the police.
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?
Federal prosecutors looking at the Speaker is nothing new. The Speaker is a master at knowing the difference between unethical behavior and criminal activity. Until there is esthetic reform in Illinois, nothing will change. And that will not happen under the current leadership. Who is to blame. All parties, If its illegal to bribe it is equally illegal to accept one. Both parties should be prosecuted. No hand slap
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.
In the last two years I have worked with campaigns for candidates who have benefited my community and will continue to do so in the future.
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.
My three concerns for my community are the same concerns I have for the State.
1. improved our educational system. Our students across the board need to be better prepared for the challenges of the future. We are no longer an industrial society. We are a technological society requiring greater skills. Illinois educational systems is an abomination. If Illinois and it communities want higher paying job,s they need to have the residents that can do those jobs.
2. A state’s finances give residents and employers the confidence to invest. Illinois needs to vastly improve its financial house.
3. Property tax in Illinois is the second highest in the nation. It lessens property value and it is a deterrent to business interested in locating here. When elected I will sponsor a bill making all referendums appear on the national ballot where more people will be involved and the special interest will not control outcomes. It will, I believe, put an end to run away tax increases.
8. What are your other top legislative priorities?
I also know certain state agencies need bolstering. The DCFS is in trouble as shown by the murder of the young boy in Crystal Lake. Out mental health facilities need vast improvement.
9. What is your position on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax? Please explain.
The Graduated Income tax proposal needs to be voted down. The Governor will do his best to sell it to the low income family but they will be the ones hurt the most. The reason it will definitely be a job killer and where states that have adopted it have shown the middle class are the first to see raises in their bracket. Those states have also adopted taxing retirement income. They have also witnessed the greatest flight of high paying tax residents and the least job growth. When this issue is approve you have no say in the brackets or their percentages. And the tax is not being sold to reduce debt. One of the questions I have is why the Governor wants to raise his income tax while cheating to reduce his property tax. It doesn’t add up.
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?
I have already laid out where the state needs to get in order to paying its bills and righting the ship. Unless it does, its only alternative is bankruptcy. Forbes Magazine wrote an article stating that Illinois is the poster child for bankruptcy. This is a horrible thought. Approximately 0ne million pensioners will be left out in the cold and the same people who were responsible for it will still be running things. I can’t vision what this state would be like with a clean slate and a corrupt government.
11. Should Illinois consider taxing the retirement incomes of its very wealthiest residents, as most states do? And your argument is?
12. What can Illinois do to improve its elementary and high schools?
Put a greater emphasis on k-5 so that students have a solid foundation to build on. Teachers need greater insight to students family structure so intervention can be used for support.
13. Mass shootings and gun violence plague America. What can or should the Legislature do, if anything, to address this problem in Illinois?
Most of the violence occurs in poverty areas. The federal and state governments need to start looking at poverty in a new light. Since 1970 poverty has been in the 12-14% range without change. Government continues to throw money at it hoping it will go away. But it hasn’t. two things. Everyone knows education is the way out of poverty. I have stated how I believe education can improve to help. Secondly I believe those on welfare who truly want to get out should have a time limit program whereby they can continue on their support program but also go to work in any field. At the end of a time period they can continue to stay on welfare or get off and stay with the job. They cannot benefit by both. The program would be offered to an individual on a one time basis. It word be complicated with many opportunities for abuse. But I believe something like this might be worked out.
14. Do you favor or oppose term limits for any elected official in Illinois? Please explain.
I favor term limits. However, the terms would need to change. Many programs need time to develop and two years is not enough to establish a program and monitor it to work out the kinks. The legislator would also need to define term limits. In some states where they have term limits a legislator serves a term as a Representative then runs far a senate term then again as a representative when the senate term ends. That defeats the purpose.
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?
If we go to geographical lines we will still have minority, esthetic and party strong holds but what we will hopefully prevent is State leadership form silencing strong opposition voices. It will be complicated but better than what we have.
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?
SB 1630 is puff it was totally sponsored by the Democrats and doesn’t address any real issues. We really need to have a true reform by eliminating legislators from making money privately as a result of their political position.
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?
We all know it is a data collecting world at both the private a government levels. Both will make errors using it and it will be costly. If you don’t want your information out, don’t give it out.
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?
I just had two granddaughters graduate from high school and are off to college. One went out of state because she couldn’t get into her subject at U of I. The other went private in Illinois. I kind of got the idea her choice was random. Her grades would have gotten her in anywhere. I know there needs to be an end for financial support to enroll in Illinois schools and those funds need to be transferred to early childhood education. Illinois schools had better research and find out why they are loosing out.
19. What is your top legislative priority with respect to the environment?
I do not have a priority on the environment. Daily business improves their standards because they learned efficiencies save money. There are some polluters and those we should continue to make certain that they comply to standards.
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.
How about Reagan, Carl Sandburg for two
21. What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time? Why?
I am not a TV fan