On Feb. 1, Ken Idstein appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. We asked him why he’s running for the GOP nomination in the Illinois House of Representatives in the 62nd District:
My name is Ken Idstein. One of seven children. Born and raised in Grayslake. I’ve lived in Grayslake all my life. I lived in the district all my life. Married, five children, three grandchildren. I have served the Grayslake community and the village planning and zoning commission for a little over twelve years. I joined the Chamber of Commerce back in 1985 and had the pleasure of serving two terms as president. In fact, I can still see the bewildered look on the president’s face in 1985 when I walked in his office and simply asked how I can serve. I always relish the opportunity to give back to the community. Back about twenty years ago I decided that while I make a decent living off of being a mortgage banker and keeping families in homes that it would be very appropriate that I support the homeless, so I’ve been a volunteer for Pat’s Homeless Shelter for about 20 years. I’ve also served the community with youth sports, many youth sports have run programs, Grayslake youth baseball, park district basketball, Grayslake Colts football.
Top priorities, first of all to get down to Springfield and build coalitions to walk across the aisle and build coalitions with legislators with like-minded interests and issues. Things to consider would be rolling back the 32 percent income tax increase, certainly consolidating duplicative units of government and finding alternatives to fund schools to lessen the heavy burden, especially in our area of real estate taxes.
The Chicago Sun-Times sent the candidates seeking nominations 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. Idstein submitted the following answers to our questionnaire:
TOPIC: Top priorities
QUESTION: Please explain what your specific cause or causes will be. Please avoid a generic topic or issue in your answer.
ANSWER: Workmen’s compensation system is driving jobs out of Illinois and the people are following the jobs. One of my top priorities is to submit legislation to fix this corrupt system. I will also submit legislation to have all new state employees be moved to a 401L retirement plan.
Running for: Illinois House of Representative 62nd district
Political/civic background: Village of Grayslake Planning & Zoning- 12 years / Grayslake Chamber since ’85- 2 terms as President
Occupation: Sr. Loan Officer
Campaign website: electkenidstein.com
TOPIC: Top district needs
QUESTION: Please list three district-specific needs that will be your priorities. This could be a project that is needed in your district, or a rule that needs to be changed, or some federal matter that has been ignored.
ANSWER: Jobs leaving my district to move out of state is definitely a problem since we are so close to the Wisconsin border.
Consolidation of units of government- the recent bill allowing townships with less than 4 miles of road to consolidate with the county or other units of government is almost useless. We definitely need to reduce number of units of government in my district.
Route 120 is an absolute nightmare and fixing 120 is a top priority for my district. Rte 53 extension still needs to be considered.
TOPIC: Pension debt
QUESTION: In 2017, Illinois’ unfunded pension liability ballooned to at least $130 billion. Do you support re-amortizing this debt? Please explain your answer. And what is your position on a constitutional amendment that would reduce the liability of the pension debt?
ANSWER: Re-amortizing this debt will not fix the problem. I will push legislation to enroll all new state employees in a 401K style system. Funds owed this system need to be deposited first!
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TOPIC: Minimum wage
QUESTION: Cook County and Chicago are on their way to paying a $13 hourly minimum wage. Many suburbs in the county, however, have opted out of the wage increase. Should Illinois raise its minimum wage from $8.25 an hour? Please explain. And if you favor an increase in the state minimum wage, what should it be?
ANSWER: Jobs and people are fleeing Illinois by the thousands and raising the minimum wage is not the answer. We need to eliminate the drastic overspending that occurs annually in Illinois and then we can review the minimum wage question.
QUESTION: Should recreational marijuana be legalized in Illinois? Please explain.
ANSWER: With a major problem in my district with the opioid situation and I do not favor legalization of marijuana.
QUESTION: Would you support more casinos in Illinois, including in Chicago? What about racinos? Please explain.
ANSWER: We already have a carload of businesses in my district that have gamboling machines and I see no need to expand. If Chicago wants to have a casino that should be decided by the residents of Chicago.
TOPIC: Property tax freeze
QUESTION: A property tax freeze in Illinois has been proposed frequently since Gov. Bruce Rauner took office. What’s your position? If you favor a freeze, how many years should it last? Should the freeze exclude property tax increases to service the debt, make pension payments or cover the cost of public safety? Again, please explain.
ANSWER: Why would we freeze property taxes which are amongst the highest in the United States! Taxes need to be reduced.
TOPIC: School funding
QUESTION: A revised school funding formula was approved this year by the Legislature and the governor, but a bipartisan commission has concluded that billions more dollars are needed to achieve sufficient and equitable funding. Should Illinois spend more on schools, and where would the money come from?
ANSWER: I would not support more funding for schools until we have fully addressed the issue of school consolidation in Chicago and the rest of the state in addition to improving the quality of education across the State.
QUESTION: How can the Legislature best address the problem of opioid abuse and addiction? Please cite specific laws you have supported or would support.
ANSWER: The state should join the 5 counties that have filed a law suit against the pharmaceutical companies that are a major source of this problem. We also need to eliminate the over prescribing that is occurring within the physician community. The “Deflection Act” should be supported. I would support a law than any non-citizen found guilty of illegally selling drugs should be deported.
QUESTION: Do you support a state ban on gun silencers? Please explain.
ANSWER: I do not support a ban on gun silencers. Gun silencers are a minuscule portion of the problem and there is no way to enforce such a law.
QUESTION: Should all gun dealers in Illinois be licensed by the state? Please explain.
ANSWER: Gun dealers are currently licensed Federally but the loose regulation needs some severe tightening.
QUESTION: Should family members be empowered to petition courts for the temporary removal of guns from emotionally or mentally disturbed people who may be a danger to themselves or others? Please explain.
ANSWER: I would not favor such a law until I have seen a statistical analysis of the occurrence of such problems and a detailed analysis of who and how this decision would be made.
QUESTION: What would you do to ensure the long-term viability of the state’s Medicaid program? Do you support continued Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act? Should the state continue on a path toward managed care for Medicaid beneficiaries? Should everyone be permitted to buy into Medicaid?
ANSWER: Since the latest audit of Illinois Medicaid found that over 50 percent of recipients were not eligible for the benefits they were receiving I would demand an annual audit of Medicaid conducted by a private contractor.
I do not favor expansion of Medicaid until we have an annual audit.
No, not until we have an annual audit in operation.
No, not until we have an annual audit in operation.
TOPIC: College student exodus
QUESTION: Illinois is one of the largest exporters of college students in the country. What would you do to encourage the best and brightest young people in Illinois to attend college here at home? Does Illinois have too many state universities, as some have argued?
ANSWER: Encourage young people to attend college here at home. Tuition costs at Illinois universities are increasing dramatically with some public universities climbing by 100%. A 2015 report by the Illinois Senate Democratic caucus concluded that much of this increase was used to support an increasing larger bureaucracy and excessive administration salaries.
It is not the number of Universities that is the problem but the overwhelming bureaucracy and salaries.
TOPIC: Gov. Rauner
QUESTION: Please list three of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s principles, or decisions he has made, with which you agree. Also please list three of the governor’s principles, or decisions he has made, with which you disagree.
ANSWER: I agreed with his decision to sign Public Act 099-0876 which prohibits the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation from discriminating against many ex-offenders from seeking employment in a variety of trades.
I agreed with his decision to sign Public Act 100-0571 which will significantly reduce financial burdens for entrepreneurs starting Limited Liability Corporations.
I agreed with his veto of the 32% Income Tax Hike
Also please list three of the governor’s principles, or decisions he has made, with which you disagree.
I disagree with his decision to provide a sanctuary state for convicted criminals.
I disagree with his decision to veto HB 1424 which would have protected seniors in the community care program from massive cuts. The bill was very poorly written and was another attempt by the SEIU to feather their pockets. The Community Reinvestment Program proposed by Rauner was a decent start on solving this problem and negotiations to reach a compromise should be reinitiated.
I strongly disagree with Rauner’s decision to sign a pro-abortion bill. The most recent audit of Illinois Medicaid found that over 50% of the individuals receiving Illinois Medicaid were not eligible for the benefits they were receiving and a mailing discovered that 6% of the people on Illinois Medicaid no longer live in Illinois. Adding abortions will only lead to more corruption. When I am elected to the state legislature I will push and push for a yearly audit of Illinois Medicaid by a private contractor.