Robert Pritchard: Candidate Profile
70th District Representative (Republican)
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Website: Pritchardstaterep.com; citizensforpritchard.com
Family: Married to Mary for 46 years with 2 sons and 4 grandchildren
Occupation: full-time legislator and farm manager
Education: BS and Masters Degrees from the University of Illinois
Civic involvement: DeKalb County Board member and chair, DeKalb County Farm Bureau Board and executive committee, County-Illinois-National 4-H Foundation Boards and chair, national president Ag Relations Council, school Parent Teacher Organization co-chair, School board member, Lions Club member and president, Rotary Club member, church council and layleader, county mental health board member and chair, DeKalb chamber of commerce board member.
Elected offices held: See civic involvement
How will you work to make the General Assembly function more productively and effectively? Wlll you vote to retain your party's current legislative leader? In what specific ways do you support changing how government in Springfield works?
I seek bipartisan cooperation in developing solutions to state issues. I seek to build relationships, and confidence through participation in legislative caucuses, work with legislators on their issues of concern and thoughtful dialogue. The Republican leader was just elected and I support his continued leadership. There needs to be limits on leadership service to avoid concentration of power away from elected representatives. I support leadership term limits, non-partisan redistricting every ten years, decisions based on merit not politics, a balanced budget, and an open transparent government.
If the Supreme Court, strikes down the SB 1 pension reform, what is your Plan B and why do you think it would be both legal and effective?
Pensions are a contractual benefit with employees which I believe can be changed only through agreement of all parties. From the beginning of recent pension discussions, I have been urging for discussions with all parties. Perhaps now the leaders will allow and participate in such discussions. The pension system can not continue to take 20 to 25% of the state's general revenue. Benefits must be fair to workers and taxpayers, and be sustainable. Shifting the cost of pensions to the local employer will contribute to more rational benefits.
As it stands now, the 2011 income tax increase will expire as planned on Jan. 1. Do you think that expiration should be reconsidered? Would you support making the increase permanent or extending it for some period of time? Please be specific about what level of tax increase, if any, you would support.
I support sound fiscal policies including paying bills on time and not overburdening taxpayers or job creators. I believe the current tax will have to be continued for a time to pay past obligations but do not support such a tax extension until the Governor demonstrates cost controls, implements operating efficiencies and reduces growth in spending to no more than revenue growth. I have proposed a review of our total revenue system that would result in property tax relief, a broader but lower sales tax, and more reliance on the income tax. Illinois taxes must be competitive with surrounding states.
Do you support cuts in state spending? If so, what specifically do you suggest cutting and how will those cuts be sufficient to restore the state's financial health and economic climate?
I support better prioritization of state spending and a more thorough review of the results from that investment. Let's stop spending on programs that don't produce the desired results, instead invest in activities that reduce future spending. Education has been shown to reduce crime, incarceration, and need of social services. Helping workers gain the needed skills helps them find good jobs and reduces the need for some social programs. We can do more to reduce fraud and increase government operating efficiencies. Cutting the cost of doing business in Illinois can improve individual revenues and also resulting state revenue.
What changes, if any, do you believe the state should make in the area of education? Would you support the the so-called pension cost-shift to local schools?
We must reduce the mandates upon our schools and allow teachers to teach the needed skills for college and career success. School funding must become more equitable and adequate for educating today's student. School leaders must be expected to create a climate for learning that is measured and modified to meet the student's potential. Increased focus must be placed on parent engagement and support for student learning. Schools must better manage resources and employee benefits. Toward this goal I support the cost shift of retirement benefits. Our preK-16 education system must be aleigned and better articulated.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
Truely balanced budgets, prioritization of state services, reduced red tap so businesses can be more successful and employ more workers, efficiency of government operations, transparency of government operations, fair-competitive state contracting, promoting the many desirable benefits of living and working in Illinois
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Belief in God and my faith which teachers honesty, hard work, respect, service to others, kindness, and value for the gift of life.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
spending more time raising my boys
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Social studies: it gives an understanding of history, geography, cultures and the world we live in.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and love the Lord with all you heart, sole and mind.