Election 2012: Laura Fine
Laura Fine is running against Kyle Frank for State Representative of Illinois' 17th District.
State Representative 17th District
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Facebook-Laura Fine for State Representative of the 17th District
3716 Dempster St. Skokie, Il. 60076
Age and Birthdate
Married to Michael Fine, two sons, Jeremy (15) and Jacob (13)
MA Political Science: Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois
BA Telecommunications & French: Indiana State University, Bloomington, Illinois, Universite e Paris, La Sorbonne, Paris France
Glenbrook South High School
Teacher-Northeastern Illinois Univeristy, Political Science
Official Name of Campaign Committee
Friends of Laura Fine for State Representative
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices
Currently serves as Clerk of Northfield Township
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for this position?
I'm a mother and teacher and I have just grown tired of the status quo and the business-as-usual mentality that has plagued Springfield. Recently my husband had a near fatal car accident that changed our lives forever. But thens to help from our neighbors, friends and local public officials, we persevered and got back on our feet. Now I want to give back. I feel this opportunity to help advocate for those friends, families and nieghbors that all stepped up for me. I want to go to work with them, fight for them, and be their voice in the General Assembly.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
The people of Glenview, Northbrook, Skokie, Wimette, Evanston and other communities of the 17th District are frustrated with Springfield and its inability to get anything done. They're concerned about our state's deplorable finances and the continued rise in property taxes - even as propery values go down. They're stressed about our local economy and the lack of jobs in our state.
I believe the best way to become an effective legislator is talking directly to the voters, and that's why I spend every day going door to door hearing exactly what is on their minds. In Springfield, I will work with representatives from both sides of the aisle to find bi-partisan solutions to get our state working for the people once again.
Illinois' unfunded pension liability is $83 billion. The state's inability to address the issue recently led Moody's to downgrade Illinois' credit rating. What should be done to address the state's rising pension obligations.
First and foremost, we need to get our state's budget under control, so one of my top priorities would be to go through the budget line by line to ensure we are continuing to cut waste and pay down debt while doing our best to preserve vital programs. WE also need to stop the abuses in our pension system, which is why I want to work on reforms taht will cut the abuse in the system and sve billions in our state budget. With our state's budget under control, we can start making progress on creating new jobs, improving our schools and making sure our most vulnerable receive the care and services they deserve.
The state has been working on this, but I believe that more nees to be done and done soon. For example, we need to ensure that those individuals working their final days at an inflated salary do not exploit the pension system by unfairly boosting their pensions. Additionally, we need to find a way to roll back pension perks instituted by political insiders for their own personal-and considerable-gain.
As to the benefits for the tens fo thousands of honest state workers paying into their pension systems, soem may argue that changing benefits for current employees would punish them for the sins fo past legislators and previous administrations who failed to make the state's contributions to the pension systems. But to do nothing would result in a far greater punishment-draconian cuts to many critical public services-and that's not acceptable.
This will not be an easy fix for the state, but I belive that if we continue to work together, as the General Assembly has done with recent budgets and education reforms progress can be made. It's important that when addressing these changes, we have all parties at the table working toward a solution.
I also wish to clearly state my position on the proposal to shift a portion of the pension burden form the state to local governments-a subject of great discussion lately. Local taxpayers already pay their fair share of taxes and anything more would just increase financial burdens upon them. And in a time where many families are struggling to make ends meet, this would be irresponsible.
Let's remember why we're even having a discussion about whether to shift the pension burden to local governments: past legislators and previous administrations shirked their responsibility to public workers and retirees by grossly under-funding the state's pension systems. Having done that, it would be double irresponsible to dump that liability onto already struggling local governments.
What are the most important issues facing your district and what would you do as a legislator to address them?
Going door to door in our communities, I hear about a number of issues randing from education to property taxes, but no one issue comes up more often than our state's budget. In order for our state to improve its credit rating and get people back to work, we need to construct a budget that eliminates waste in government and funds the vital services that so many rely on. If elected, I want to review the budget to find any unnecessary perks that we may eliminate to stem the flow of red ink. Cutting items like the state's automobile and air fleets, and cutting the salaries of state legislators, for instance, can all add up to savings for the taxpayers. The problems is we have too many career politicians in Springfield who are init for themselves and not for the people they were elected to serve. From Rod Blagojevich to George Ryan to former Representative Derrick Smith, this political culture needs to change and change fast.
Illinois' state government has a terrible reputation in terms of corruption. What would you do to change the culture of state government that has seen recent governors from both political parties convicted of felonies?
There are too many influences from outside sources that can affect a lawmaker's judgment. For example, lobbyists wine and dine legislators all the time and that is not their purpose. Lobbyists are there to help legislators with their expertise on the issues, not to buy them a fancy dinner. If elected, I would liek to on a bill that would prohibit lobbyists from buying anything, even a cup of coffee, for a public official.
It's also time that we ban political contributions from lobbyists and entities that lobby state government. Unfortunately, so long as such donations are permitted, candidates from both sides of the aisle will rely on them to stay competitive.
Additionally, we need more sunshine on campaign finance and should increase the enforcement powers of the State Board of Elections to ensure that those that choose not to follow the law face real, severe consequences.
Education in Illinois is funded primarily through local property taxes. What changes, if any, would you make to that funding system?
As a mother and an educator, properly funding our schools is a top priority for me personally. It's also paramount for the many families living in this district because of the high quality schools their children attend. My goal would be to maintain and improve our current resources. However, I know that we are facing some difficult financial times here in Illinois. As a result, we will have to make some incredibly unpopular decisions when it comes to state funding. I believe that if we stay consisten by demaning fiscal responsiblity and creating an environment that promotes steady job growth, we can get Illinois on stronger fiscal gorund, giving us the ability to increase funds for our local schools.
Illinois recently passed a significant increase in its income tax, yet the state continues to run a deficit. What specially should be done to reduce the deficit?
First of all, the tax increase should be allowed to expire, as the law provides. The state made a promise to the people of Illinois and we need to honor that promise. I believe Illinois can reduce the deficit and balance the budget without doing it on the backs of taxpayers. Illinois needs to focus foremost on incentivizing business growth by getting its budget under control. When busineses grow, they put people to work. Those people become greater consumers-the fuel of our economy. And when businesses grow and put people to work, the stat receives more revenue to support its programs.
Why would you do a better job representing the district than your opponent?
I don't know much about my opponent except that he aligns himself with some far-right-wing extremist groups like the Tea Party, and I don't believe that is the kind of representation our district wants or deserves. As I go door to door, I hear from residents saying we need to work together to fix things, not destroy them. We all agree that our state needs to be reformed but we need to do it in a way that can still benefit those that rely on the state's services the most. I am not a career politican, I am a mother and teacher and I have just grown tired of the status quo in Springfield. The residents and businesses of the 17th District are relying on the General Assembly to reform the state's budget, alleviate the state's debt and backlogged bills, provide the resources necessary to support critical services, and vest local officials with the power to make the decisions that are best for their communities. As a legislator, I will advocate for these common sense values.