Running for: Illinois 10th District State Senate
Political party affiliation: Conservative Republican
Political/civic background: Police Officer, Republican Norwood Park Township Committeeman, and Illinois 5th Congressional President Trump Delegate.
Occupation: Police Officer
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in History and a minor in Political Science
Campaign website: www.nwsgop.com
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent the nominees for 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. Anthony Beckman 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 problem Illinois has is it always believes the solution to deficits is taxing businesses and people. This contributes to the mass exodus from our state. The solution is actually the opposite to this way of thinking. Maybe the state should lower taxes on businesses, which would encourage companies to invest in the state and generate more tax revenue. Especially after Pritzker hurt businesses during the entire Covid pandemic.
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?
I give Governor Pritzker an “F”. I think he handled this very poorly by closing down businesses, churches, and schools in every county. Like other blue state governors in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, and Virginia, Governor Pritzker, failed on his handling of nursing homes. President Trump built the hospital at the McCormick Place and it was not even utilized. Vulnerable patients, with Covid were being sent back into nursing homes from hospitals which infected very compromised individuals with comorbidities. Pritzker closed down places of worship, which violates our first amendment rights, but enabled rioters to loot, attack police officers, and destroy property. He had no response to these horrific acts.
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?
I do not agree with other blue states and blue cities with defunding or dismantling the police. Defunding the police will have a bigger impact on communities and crime will spike even further. In today’s environment, police officers have their hands tied; leftist mayors, like Lori Lightfoot, demonize and call for police reform on a daily basis, but want the protection of police when her family and neighborhood are compromised. The police actually need more funding and more manpower. The CPD is 5,000 police officers short of what they should have; other municipalities and cities are experiencing similar situations. With this onslaught on policing, it is hard for departments to recruit decent prospects to fill these vacancies. Officers should receive more training and better equipment.
4. Should the Legislature pass a law requiring all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras? Why or why not?
Yes, but it would not be feasible because body cameras do not always depict everything that is occurring during the officer’s calls for service. Also, body cameras do not always work properly. If body cameras caught every angle of interactions between police and subjects, then I would not have a problem with body cameras. This should be left to the discretion of each city and municipality to decide whether or not they want their police officers to wear body cameras.
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?
This corrupt practice has been taking place in Chicago politics for years. The patronage hiring and ghost payroll schemes did not just start with ComEd. Both the politicians who partake in these bribes, as well as the companies involved are to blame. Madigan should resign; but, if evidence determines that a crime was committed, he should be held accountable and indicted like anyone else. For far too long, politicians believe they are above the law, like the Clintons and so many others. The Chicago and Illinois Swamp has been crime ridden for decades. It is time they are all held accountable for their actions.
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 have been a Police Officers for 18 years; protecting my community is honorable in itself. Additionally, I have coached little league baseball for the past four years and grammar school football for the past three years. I am my police department’s Union President. I served as a NIPAS SWAT Officer for eight years. Before becoming a Police Officer, I played minor league/semi-pro football for four years after college. I also tried out for several professional football teams during this time. I have had a life full of many different experiences and difficult hardships. In August 2019 I was diagnosed with Leukemia and fought a long 11-month battle. I am currently in complete molecular remission and winning the battle. My last 28-day treatment was completed July 7th and I went back to full police duty on July 8th. I have always been a fighter and fought for everything I have in my life. Nothing has been handed to me. Now I am ready for my next fight, which if fighting for the people of Illinois and to make their lives better.
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.
There are many issues that exist in every area of our state, especially high taxes and the governor mandated shut down. The first issue is we have many empty storefronts. Some of this is associated with the high taxes placed on businesses, which is forcing them to leave the state. Another reason is the extreme restrictions placed by the governor during this time, which bankrupted businesses, and some will never resurrect. The second issue is the low-income housing projects that local officials want; the problem is this will lower the property values in some communities. Another issue is extremely high property taxes, which are plaguing the entire state. My district does not only include Chicago. It also includes some of the Northwest suburbs. The problems that exist in the city, might not exist in the suburbs and vice versa.
8. What are your other top legislative priorities?
My top legislative concerns are fighting the unfair progressive income tax, getting better legislation that will fund the police, rather than defunding them like so many leftist Democrats are proposing. Repealing the horrific late term abortion/infanticide law, which has nothing to do with Roe Vs. Wade and my opponent supports.
9. What is your position on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax? Please explain.
Governor Pritzker spent $56 Million of his own money on a marketing campaign to promote this horrific bill. We can only wonder what the governor is getting out of this by spending this much of his Daddy’s money. I am totally opposed to the proposed graduated income tax, also known as the progressive income tax. Giving the politicians of Springfield a blank check is the worst thing the people of the state can do. The liberal Democrats try to make it sound so pretty and that the middle class will not be affected by this amendment, which is a complete lie. These politicians will have the ability to change the tax code at their whim. Businesses will also be affected, which will force them to leave the state and more people will lose their jobs. This will also spiral into many different directions. Retirees will be taxed on their pensions and by year two of this debacle, the middle class will be affected because the dirty politicians in Springfield will want more of their hard-earned money.
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?
First, CTU could pay a fairer amount into their pensions, like 9.75%, instead of the measly 2%, that was recently implemented. Prior to this, they were paying nothing into their pensions. We should also look into capping pensions and limit people to collect only one pension, rather than multiple pensions. There are way too many people in management positions making upwards of $400,000 - $500,000 and collecting on these large amounts. Also, we do not need 50 aldermen in the city of Chicago. New York is more than twice the size of Chicago and has fewer aldermen. We need to start cutting the fat on big government spending.
11. Should Illinois consider taxing the retirement incomes of its very wealthiest residents, as most states do? And your argument is?
Illinois should not be taxing the retirement incomes on anyone. The most prosperous states do not even have a state income tax.
12. What can Illinois do to improve its elementary and high schools?
Illinois should first consider more school choice, giving parents the option to choose charter schools or private schools for their kids, rather than only public schools. Schools should also remove politics from the equation of educating children and focus on teaching the skills that will help the students prosper in life. We need to go back to the time when teachers were actually educating kids on History, Science, English, and Math and not their own political agenda. We also need to get rid of common core Math because this has become a detriment to the Math skills of our youth. Illinois recently passed a law that mandates all public schools teach the history of the LGBTQ community. I do not have an issue with the LGBTQ community or anyone’s sexuality, but I strongly believe it does not need to be taught in our school system, when our children are not even learning American history. Being a History and Political Science major in college, I feel that students are missing the opportunity to learn from past events, which could play a big part in the present and the future.
13. Mass shootings and gun violence plague America. What can or should the Legislature do, if anything, to address this problem in Illinois?
I do not have a problem with background checks or people with mental illnesses not being able to own firearms. The real problem is with our judicial system. They are weak in prosecuting criminals and repeat gun offenders and demonize people who obey the law and want to retain their second amendment rights. Kim Foxx and the liberal judges should start prosecuting the criminals, instead of releasing them into society to commit more heinous crimes.
14. Do you favor or oppose term limits for any elected official in Illinois? Please explain.
I am in favor of term limits; I believe individuals get stale and do not have the best interests of their constituents if they ever did in the first place. Politicians need to work hard for the people they represent and then get out of the way to allow someone else to continue the job. Politics is not supposed to be a career. Our founding Fathers did not envision it this way. Many politicians oppose term limits because they are power hungry.
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?
Gerrymandering is bad and also does benefit other states, but my concern is with the state of Illinois. Politicians in Illinois say they are opposed to gerrymandering, but they all benefit from it; the bottom line is they are all phonies and are afraid to oppose the Madigan’s strong hold. In Illinois, gerrymandering mostly benefits the Democrat party; I believe politicians should not be able to decide the make-up of their districts and constituents.
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?
I am pleased there are efforts to combat corruption in the state of Illinois.
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?
I completely oppose the internet and wireless devices and companies collecting data on our U.S. citizens; this practice of collecting data to share gives companies and people the opportunity to steal someone’s identity. I believe this matter should be addressed at the Federal level. If there is something that could be done at the state level, I would support legislation that limits these practices.
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?
Illinois students are getting more scholarships from out of state universities. If Illinois wants to compete, they should offer more scholarships for both academics and sports.
19. What is your top legislative priority with respect to the environment?
To continue President Trump’s clean energy and clean water initiatives. I believe fracking and drilling are important and vital to our economic superiority in the world. We are placing enough restrictions and regulations on these practices which do not negatively impact our environment. If we start listening to leftist lunatics like AOC and Bernie Sanders, on eliminating fracking, drilling, and fossil fuels, our country will be in economic ruins. If we really care about clean air and pollution, we should call out India and the left’s ally, China on these issues, both of which have the highest rates of pollution and dirty air.
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.
There are two historical figures from Illinois that I admire: President Ronald Reagan, who was born in Dixon, Illinois and in my opinion, is the third greatest President in the United States, next to Abraham Lincoln and President Trump. The second historical figure is Walter Payton; I still consider him the greatest and toughest running back of all time. I played running back and tried to emulate Walter’s style of running. Also, he was a genuinely good man who would be ashamed of the way athletes act today. I was lucky enough to meet Walter on several occasions.
21. What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?
My favorite TV show growing up and even today, is Batman. The billionaire, Bruce Wayne, who risks his wealth and life to protect the citizens of Gotham City, when he really did not need to do this. Now we have President Trump who is also a billionaire, that put his exceptional life and wealth aside to fight for the American people, while losing a lot of money in the process. We need more people in society to take risks and try to improve the lives of others. If I am lucky enough and given the Lord’s blessing to be in government, I will be that individual fighting for the people of Illinois, specifically the working-class people who are being trampled over. The only thing is I am not a billionaire or an entitled millionaire, like my opponent.