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Chris Bos, Illinois House 51st District Republican nominee profile

His top priorities include providing tax relief and eliminating corruption.

Chris Bos, Illinois House 51st District Republican nominee, 2020 election candidate questionnaire
Chris Bos, Illinois House 51st District Republican nominee.
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Candidate profile

Chris Bos

Running for: Illinois State Representative, District 51

Political party affiliation: Republican

Political/Civic background: Trustee, Ela Township (2017-Present)

Occupation: Director of Development, Reclaim13

Education: Northcentral University, Pastoral Studies (B.A.)

Campaign website: chrisbos.us

Facebook: Chris Bos for IL State Representative 51st Dist (@ChrisBos)

Twitter: @Chris_Bos

Instagram: @chrisbosfor51


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. Chris Bos 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. 

When I am out knocking on doors and talking to area constituents, the same two things are constantly brought up: taxes and corruption. Living with one of the highest overall tax burdens weighs heavily on our communities. People want to see spending reductions and responsibly balanced budgets. The only way to keep residents and businesses from fleeing this state is to reduce their overall tax burden, remove overly burdensome regulations, and create a pathway to financially reform the state to allow for business growth and development. This will diversify our tax base and allow it to grow so we can provide essential services and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world.

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 understand there was an enormous amount of pressure placed on the Governor to act quickly. We also aren’t out of the woods yet, so it’s premature to assign him a definitive grade; there is much more work to be done to see our state, and Illinois families and businesses through this crisis.

My greatest concern with the Governor’s response is the lack of transparency in the data, and lack of coordination with legislators and local officials. The different responses with how he dealt with the uptick in the Metro East region versus in the Will and Kankakee region demonstrate that even though he says all his decisions have been informed by science and data, they clearly have not been. We need all of the legislators and local officials with on-the-ground knowledge to provide insight and feedback from their respective areas, and to work together in managing this pandemic. Collaboration and communication with key players at the local level could have yielded a more cohesive response.

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?

Public safety has, and always will be, a priority for me as I represent our community. We must ensure that law enforcement has the resources and training to do their jobs to protect our residents, while also making sure they understand the needs and concerns of the particular communities and people they serve. This is where we should look as it relates to pursuing policing reform. The General Assembly can also work to provide better jobs in low-income communities by providing real economic and tax relief for small businesses, as well as property tax relief so that families can afford to stay in their homes. I would consider any legislative proposal that would help bridge any gaps between law enforcement and the larger needs of the community.

4. Should the Legislature pass a law requiring all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras? Why or why not?

I support law enforcement wearing body cameras, especially if it increases public safety and eases concerns about law enforcement interactions with the public. However, I do have concerns about unfunded mandates, and requiring local police departments to abide by this mandate if the legislature does not take steps to ensure funding. Privacy must also be considered. Ensuring proper safeguards are in place to protect the privacy of the public and law enforcement must be part of legislation requiring the use of 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?

I believe Speaker Madigan needs to step down from all of his roles immediately. It is evident that he is not operating with the people’s best interest in mind. He cannot be trusted, nor can he be allowed to continue to personally benefit from the system of unethical behavior he has built. I absolutely will NOT vote for him as House speaker if he does not resign.

There are several components needed to create lasting ethics reform in Illinois. No one policy change is going to fix the problem overnight, but it needs to start at the top with limits on how long one lawmaker can hold a leadership position like Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, or Minority Leader.

Other important areas to address:

  • Redistricting reform;
  • Prohibiting lawmakers from lobbying other levels of government;
  • Improved statements of economic interest to expose conflicts of interest;
  • Prevent lawmakers immediate family members from acting as paid lobbyists;
  • Increase fines and penalties for engaging in restricted activities.

There are more, and many of these ideas are not new. I am ready and willing to work with any member of the General Assembly to sponsor, craft and support legislation that will accomplish these goals.

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. 

My heart has always been one of service. I have served at my local food pantries over the years, and when the COVID-19 shutdown began, we were seeing record numbers of families at the food pantries. This led to the organization of a “touchless” pick up and drop off. Area residents could leave donated items on their porch, we would pick them up and deliver them to our area pantries.

After the fire at “the barn” in Lake Zurich, the preschool that was housed there lost everything. My wife and I organized a community-wide supply and toy drive to restock the teachers and make sure the kids had what they needed before they moved into their temporary space.

I also work with an organization that operates the only safe house in the state for minors rescued from sex trafficking and sexual abuse. We recently opened a second house, and the goal is to not only provide a safe place to heal but to help them develop the tools and coping skills to overcome their trauma, regain their self-confidence and experience compassion.

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. 

As I have stated before, when I am out knocking on doors and talking to area residents, the same two things are constantly brought up: taxes and corruption. Living with one of the highest overall tax burdens weighs heavily on our communities. People want to see spending reductions and responsibly balanced budgets. Business as usual in Springfield is not sustainable, and families know they cannot live here long term without change. This goes to the heart of the problem in our state, ingrained corruption that is the root cause of unsustainable taxing and spending. Now with COVID-19, people want to know our communities are safe, but they also want local governments to have a more direct say over how restrictions impact community needs, and I believe the legislature needs to step up to ensure this is possible.

8.  What are your other top legislative priorities?

The most immediate issue that needs to be dealt with is the impact of COVID-19 on not only the health and well-being of our communities, but the economic devastation it has also brought on our families and small businesses. I will fight the constant tax increases and press for a responsible government that lives within its means and operates on a truly balanced budget. We also desperately need true reform to the culture of corruption in state government, not the watered-down window dressing Madigan has used to maintain his power over the legislature. We need to restore integrity in Springfield, and rebuild the trust of the people of Illinois.

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

I don’t support the graduated income tax. This is a dangerous change to our constitution for all Illinois taxpayers, no matter their tax bracket. Once the flat tax is removed, the state has the ability to tax income on a graduated basis, but this provides no protection against middle class tax hikes because the new graduated rates will not be Constitutionally protected. There are no guarantees for middle- or low-income taxpayers that they won’t eventually be taxed at a higher rate. With the legislature’s historically proven and insatiable appetite for spending, this tax simply gives Springfield a blank check.

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 desperately need pension reform if we are going to right the fiscal condition of our state. Every lawmaker should refuse the General Assembly pension. That is something I believe every lawmaker should do to help be part of the solution and not the problem. Our overburdened state pension systems are one of our biggest hurdles to success.

As I stated before, the only way to keep residents and businesses from fleeing this state is to reduce their overall tax burden, remove overly burdensome regulations, and create a pathway to financially reform the state to allow for business growth and development. This will diversify our tax base and allow it to grow so we can provide essential services and address the state’s financial problems.

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

No. Illinois already has an outmigration problem, levying another tax will only drive more residents and businesses out of our state. We can’t tax our way out of our systemic financial problems, we need to reform the spending process to ensure the state operates more efficiently.

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

It starts with unfunded mandates from the state. Not only do these add burdensome costs, but they often have unintended consequences that inhibit instruction in the classroom. Residents elect local school boards to make important decisions and hire knowledgeable staff to guide student development. While it is important to have a minimum level of standards coming from the state, it has gone far beyond that today and is making it more difficult for local school boards to meet the financial and instruction needs that are most important to the communities they serve.

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

First, the General Assembly must stop passing budgets that sweep funds from the Firearms Services Fund that are supposed to be dedicated to the review and processing of background checks, FOID and CCL’s. The sweeping of more than $30 million over the past few years that is meant for ISP staffing and the processing of background checks have not only caused massive delays in violation of the law, but have made it easier for those who should not have a firearm to slip through the cracks. Second, we must address illegal straw purchasing offenders. In 2018, more than 5,000 guns used in Illinois crimes came from illegal straw purchases in other states with numerous repeat offenders.

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

I support term limits for elected officials. Career politicians have more incentive to be self-serving, which opens our statehouse up to corruption. The status-quo in Springfield has brought on federal investigations and the indictments of several elected officials. It’s clear we need change and term limits will produce that.

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?

A fair maps amendment hasn’t moved forward in Illinois because Speaker Madigan has strategically blocked it. Gerrymandering benefits the party in power, there is no question about it. Despite bipartisan support for an independent maps commission — and examples of other states adopting such efforts — Illinois has unfortunately succumbed to the power of one individual dictating the power and legislative map for the state.

It’s critical that Illinois adopt a fair map to prevent gerrymandering and provide Illinois residents with a government they can trust.

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 support stricter laws on lobbying to help prevent corruption in our statehouse. While updating the Lobbyist Registration Act was a set in the right direction, we also need to take further action as I previously stated:

  • Prohibiting lawmakers from lobbying other levels of government;
  • Improved statements of economic interest to expose conflicts of interest;
  • Prevent lawmakers immediate family members from acting as paid lobbyists;
  • Increase fines and penalties for engaging in restricted activities.

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?

While today’s technology provides a constantly changing backdrop for data sharing, I believe there are added safeguards that can be put in place to help prevent fraud and identity theft. Ensuring companies disclose, in an easy to understand way, what consumer information they will share and who they will share it with is an essential first step, and citizens must have the ability to prevent the sharing of their information without their knowledge.

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?

The cost of higher education in Illinois is far too high. This is a huge deterrent for students in choosing their college or university. Illinois’ public universities can lower costs by being more transparent about costs, address the exponential growth in duplicative administration positions, and recognize the changing landscape of higher education options and needs. Finding ways to restructure course offerings that work with private sector partners and focus on career readiness can help bring down costs and make Illinois schools more appealing to potential students.

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

I will support legislative proposals that will put Illinois on the best path forward to securing our future. The legislature can implement safeguards to ensure we have safe and clean water, land, and air. I will support legislation to keep our communities safe and support clean energy technology.

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 have a quote on my desk: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible” from Walt Disney. From humble beginnings here in Illinois, Walt followed his dreams. He led in innovation and changed modern storytelling. He was always learning, growing, changing, and adapting. This is exactly what Illinois needs more of today.

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

My favorite TV show is Shark Tank. I love hearing the stories of individuals and families who saw a problem and developed a solution. Their passion to overcome adversity and make a better life for their families is inspirational.