Illinois House 82nd District Democratic nominee: Tom Chlystek

SHARE Illinois House 82nd District Democratic nominee: Tom Chlystek
SHARE Illinois House 82nd District Democratic nominee: Tom Chlystek

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.

Democrat Tom Chlystek, who is opposing Republican Jim Durkin in the 82nd district, submitted the following responses, and watch the video above to find out why he’s running for the office.

Please explain what cause or causes you will make priorities.


  1. I want to bring back true representation back to the Il82 District. We are a district of families, and I want my districts values represented in Springfield. I would like to implement policy that would make Illinois a desirable place for families and introduce legislation to ensure all parents have PAID maternity leave. Six months maternity leave is commonplace in most industrialized countries. I want to support women and men as they establish themselves as new parents.
  2. I want to lower healthcare costs and make healthcare competitive by requiring upfront costs to be posted at all healthcare facilities so consumers can make informed decisions.
  3. I will propose a total ban on the use of ethylene oxide (EtO), an odorless, volatile gas that is a known carcinogen, in residential areas where families live, work, and play. The freedom to live with clean air and water is a value all residents of Illinois have in common.

Please list three concerns that are highly specific to your district, such as a project that should be undertaken or a state policy related to some local issue that must be changed.


  1. The most urgent issue we have in District 82 is the company Sterigenics. Sterigenics uses the toxic substance ethylene oxide. Ethylene Oxide, is known to cause a variety of physical problems including an elevated cancer risk, miscarriage, reproductive issues. A complete ban of this toxic substance from my community is my number one priority.
  2. I will advocate for common sense gun legislation in Illinois. Safer neighborhood/schools are a great concern to me and are important issues in my community.
  3. I would like to support business that support “Smart Technology” to bring new innovative business into my district to support job growth and stability for working families.

Who is Tom Chlystek?

He’s running for: Illinois House of Representatives, 82nd District His political/civic background:Alderman for the City of Darien, Ward 4 His occupation: Engineer His education: Bachelor of Science Campaign website: Twitter:@tomforrep1

What are the most important differences between you and your opponent?

Chlystek:The major difference between my opponent and I will be my commitment to listen and be accessible to all my constituents. I will represent the families in my district, not special interests which is what my opponent consistently does. My opponent has not been responsive to his constituents, this has been a problem during his tenure. It appears that he doesn’t have to work for any votes, and I will make sure that I will have the full support of the community now and in the future.


Illinois is now the sixth-most populated state, down from No. 5, after 33,703 people moved out between July 2016 and July 2017. What must the Legislature do to make Illinois a more desirable place to live?

Chlystek:The reason people like living in a particular state or location is the quality of life. That quality is determined by opportunity, education, and values. It can also be as simple as clean air and clean water. I believe by focusing on what people need in order to feel valued, we will bring an increasingly more desirable state in which to live in.

In 2017, our state’s unfunded pension liability ballooned to more than $130 billion. What’s to be done about that?

Chlystek:I do support re-amortization of the pension liability. We need to explore ways to follow through on our obligations. The state’s pension is a major commitment we have to those individuals who earned a pension, but we are in a challenging situation. We need to look at double dipping, and abuse. Its time to end double dipping and to improve the efficiency within our pension systems.

From 2000 to 2016, the number of Illinois residents who enrolled as college freshmen outside the state increased by 73% (20,507 to 35,445). Why are so many more Illinois residents going to college elsewhere? What should be done to encourage more of them to go to school here?

Chlystek:Make college education more affordable for families. We need to explore new revenue sources. A bipartisan commission concluded that millions of dollars were needed to fund out schools. Prepare Illinois for the jobs of the future. Maintain our commitment to funding State Univeristies and vocational schools by consolidating districts to reduce waste within our educational system. Working with businesses to make sure we are sending students out into the world with the skills they need for the 21st Century.

What laws, if any, should the Legislature pass to address the problem of gun violence?

Chlystek:I believe in common sense gun legislation that requires stricter background checks and stronger gun licensing standards. I would support a ban on silencers and military style weapons. As a Hunter myself, I am a strong proponent of training and education. Mandatory education should be part of owning a gun. We have drivers education, why not gun education?

On-demand scheduling software now helps large retail companies determine how many staff members they will need on a day-to-day or even hour-to-hour basis. The downside is that employees may not receive their work schedules until the last minute. Oregon and a number of cities have responded by adopting “fair scheduling” laws. Would it be appropriate for the Illinois Legislature to pass a “fair scheduling” law? Please explain. What would such a law look like?

Chlystek:A fair scheduling law should be introduced in the State of Illinois. The practice of not giving workers advanced notice of work schedules is not supportive of a healthy quality of life nor does it attract workers to our state. A new law would require employers to give employees at least two weeks notice of schedule so they may plan for daycare, after school activities, and a quality home life.

Should recreational marijuana be legalized in Illinois? Please explain.

Chlystek:I believe recreational marijuana should be legalized in Illinois as it is in other states; it could be an excellent source of revenue.

Opioid overdoses and fatalities continue to rise in number. In Illinois in 2017, there were 13,395 opioid overdoses, including 2,110 deaths. What should the Legislature do, if anything, about this?

Chlystek:Opioid abuse could be handled through legislation by promoting programs that support prescription monitoring, physician and patient education as well as increased training on alternative sources of pain relief and abuse deterrent opioid formulations.

The Future Energy Jobs Act, passed in 2016, is generating job growth in renewable energy and improving energy efficiency. Do you agree or disagree with the objectives and substance of the Act? What more — or less — should be done?

Chlystek:The Future Energy Jobs act has helped keep energy cost low in the State of Illinois, along with attracting more investment in our clean energy. In addition, the Future Jobs Act helps Illinois be a leader in reducing Carbon Emissions which has been shown to be a driver of Climate Change.

What would you do to ensure the long-term viability of the state’s Medicaid program? What is your view on managed care for Medicaid beneficiaries?

Chlystek:To help ensure long-term viability of the state’s Medicaid program I would push for more aggressive competitiveness with the service providers, along with supporting programs that would improve the health of people on Medicaid. Similar to programs that companies use to help reduce their health care costs in the private sector.

Underfunding at the Department of Corrections has led to troubling findings by the auditor general that many inmates don’t receive services or opportunities for work while incarcerated. Is this a legitimate concern? What should the Legislature do?

Chlystek: As a state we need to explore what has been successful in other states to find the best opportunities and services we could offer our inmates so they can live as productive citizens.

Should the state restore the practice of parole for people sentenced to long terms? Why or why not?

Chlystek:I think we should review all non-violent offenders and evaluate them against current law restoring the practice of parole for people sentenced to long terms. It would lower the prison population and allow those incarcerated for minor crimes to return to society.


Ahead of the historic 2018 elections, the Sun-Times is teaming up weekly with the Better Government Association, in print and online, to fact-check the truthfulness of the candidates. You can find all ofthe PolitiFact Illinois stories we’ve reported togetherhere.


• ENDORSEMENT: Jim Durkin for Illinois House in the 82nd District

• Illinois House 82nd District Republican nominee: Jim Durkin

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• Endorsements for 17 Illinois Houseraces in the Chicago area, Districts 51 through 98

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