Eric M. Wallace
Running for: State Senate District 40
Political party affiliation: Republican
Political/civic background: Zoning and Planning board for Matteson
Occupation: President and Co-founder of Freedom’s Journal Institute
Education: PhD in Biblical studies; Emphasis New Testament
Campaign website: wallaceforillinois.net
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. Eric M. Wallace 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.
On May 24 the general assembly approved a budget that was already 6 billion dollars in the hole. First, we need to establish realistic budgets with real anticipated resources. In other words, follow the constitution and put together a balanced budget. Second, because of COVID we need to reassess the budget and find a way to make cuts in a budget that was bloated to begin with. We need people in Springfield who will stop playing games with taxpayer money and spending monies we don’t have.
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?
The Governor get an “F” for extending his authority beyond his constitutional mandate. He should have allowed cities, Counties and townships the ability to make decisions about closing business. The main priority should have been to protect the most vulnerable. However, he should have allowed business owners to remain open and allowed consumers to shop based on the standards of preventing the spread of the virus.
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 the reform should be to ask the unions to make it easier to fire bad cops. We need to stop the code of silence in the police department that covers up for bad cops. In the same vein we need to ask the community to drop its code of silence for those criminals terrorizing the communities.
4. Should the Legislature pass a law requiring all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras? Why or why not?
All officers should wear cameras and have dash cameras. It protects the officers and the general public. It makes it more difficult to lie about an encounter on both sides.
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?
It’s Madigan’s fault. However, nothing will change until Madigan steps down, forced to resign, incarcerated, or passes. He controls the house and the Democrat Party. So, all the blame falls on him. However, silent Democrats are also culpable for not demanding accountability. The answer is term limits for leadership, at minimum.
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’m a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and we do projects and raise money for organizations that impact our community. Our nonprofit organization holds conferences on sociopolitical issues and recently started the initiative Black Families Matter. Our mission is to change our communities one family and one marriage at a time.
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.
Education: Allow more charter schools; Economic empowerment: Business friendly legislation for star up companies; Family stability: promoting marriage and family to stabilize the community.
8. What are your other top legislative priorities?
The first two are closely related. They are property tax reform and education and the last is Ethics reform.
9. What is your position on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax? Please explain.
It’s a nonstarter. Residence of the state are already taxed too much. The rich will find ways to avoid taxation just like the Governor avoided paying taxes on his unoccupied mansion. Thus, any progressive tax will not produce anymore tax revenue.
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?
We need to stop spending more money than we take in.
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?
13. Mass shootings and gun violence plague America. What can or should the Legislature do, if anything, to address this problem in Illinois?
Allow teachers and administrators to be armed. For neighborhood gang violence let’s come up with greater incentives for Fathers to raise their children, even those behind bars.
14. Do you favor or oppose term limits for any elected official in Illinois? Please explain.
As I mentioned, above we should at minimum have term limits for the leadership positions so that no one person controls the legislature, Like Michael Madigan.
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?
Have a computer program draw the maps
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?
Enforce it and elect people with some integrity.
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?
Require notification of a company’s intent to sell the data of its customers.
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?
19. What is your top legislative priority with respect to the environment?
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.
Adelbert H. Roberts was the first African American to serve in the Illinois State Senate. He was a Republican and a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. If I am elected to office I will be the third Black Republican elected to the state senate and the first in 81 years.
21. What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?
My favorite movie is Brave Heart. I admire the courage of William Wallace