Howard Solomon: Candidate Profile
70th District Representative (Democrat)
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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.
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Family: married 40years to Barbara Solomon. We share our house with a 13 year old Shiba Inu named "Bo."
Education: Ph.D., Instructional Systems Design awarded at Florida State University in 2005
M.S. Ed., Leadership in Edaucation and Instructional Technology awarded by Northern Illinois University in 1999
MA, Philosophy awarded by Northern Illinois University in 1976
BA, Philosophy awarded by Bradley University in 1971
Civic involvement: District 428 Board of Education. Formerly board member of Egyptian Theater and of Habitat for Humanity
Elected offices held: School District 428 Board of Education member and secretary - current
Village of Fox Lake - Planning Commission member - 1985-87
What needs to be done structurally to make the legislature more effective? Will you vote for your current legislative leader? What is your position on term limits in general and for legislative leaders specifically?
There need to be more representatives elected who are willing to break away from pure party-line politics. There need to be some changes made in election rules that allow for independents and parties beyond the original 2 to have a chance at being elected. I oppose term limits. An individual who is elected represents the people who voted. Any candidate can be defeated by finding more people who will vote vote against. Term limits violate the right of the represented people to choose to re-elect those who have served them well. In the district in which I am running, we have had sixteen years of the same representative with few complaints. He chose to retire. That's his choice. The current legislative leader has been vilified by the governor although my former representative has not said anything bad about him. I will listen to cases made by anyone else, but will choose to cast my vote for the one person that I decide upon after listening.
On budgeting, what should be done to ensure that the state does not again go through a period of time without a budget in place? What will you do as a legislator to help ensure that the spending priorities you espouse during your campaign are reflected in the budget?
The best thing that can be done to assure that there is a budget is to elect a governor who is less ideologically bound to an agenda that he or she is trying to force through the legislature. Also, less tight party allegiance would help.
Should the legislature approve ballot initiatives either for a constitutional amendment on legislative redistricting or one on term limits? If so, how would you recommend the issues be structure? If not, why not?
There should be a ballot initiative on legislative redistricting but not on term limits.
Redistricting - Gerrymandering of district boundaries needs to be eliminated. Several independent organizations should be approached to develop proposals for new district boundaries. The legislature must approve boundaries by greater than a simple majority vote.
What approach do you support in fixing public employee pension systems?
Several items built into negotiated contracts need to be reviewed and gradually eliminated. The first one that needs to go is the practice of spiking an employee's salary for by a fixed percent for the last four years after the employee submits an irrevocable intention to retire. This should be gradual because there are many long-term employees who rely on a spike as part of a retirement plan. Reducing the spike by law by 1% for each new negotiating period may take 10-20 years to eliminate such spikes altogether. There should also be a general policy encouraging frequent polling of union membership on proposals submitted by both negotiating teams.
To what extent do you support or oppose legalization of marijuana for recreational use?
I believe that marijuana should be available to adults for recreational use. I believe that cultivation of marijuana on private land should be allowed as long as it takes place behind privacy fencing. Sale of recreational marijuana should be by licensed retailers who are regulated much like liquor retailers.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
I strongly advocate for a planned set of increases in the minimum wage that result in $15/hour statewide by 2025. If this was implemented in 2019, it would require approximately $1/hour/year for each of the next 6 years.
I will advocate for the state to set up a public option health insurance company to provide healthcare insurance on a non-profit basis until there is a federal single payer system in place. This would take advantage of economies of scale by negotiating for medical equipment and services to be provided at lower costs - just like insurance companies do now. It would charge premiums based on need and establish fair deductible amounts that the insured would have to meet. The idea of this is to keep the ill from falling into poverty.
A state bank would be another institution to establish. We have been worried for a long time about getting job-creating companies to locate here, but we have never had the ability to control the cost of their borrowing.
Whether part of the state bank or an independent agency, there should also be a way that people can begin to invest for their long-term expenses.
The School funding formula of 2017 restored funding but remains vague. This will need to be clarified. And while that is happening, the Opportunity Scholarships which, for practical purposes that distribute state funds to private schools should be rescinded. I also favor a small LaSalle Street transaction tax.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
State Rep Bob Pritchard is an excellent example of a leader whose focus is on service to the state and community.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Keep my temper in check if there is any chance that I might hurt somebody.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
My original choice of college wasn't researched well enough for me to know what I was doing. For chance 2, I'd do the research.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
I liked chemistry and did very well with it but never followed up on it. But it help me to have chem major friends.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Choose to be someone that you know you would like, and don't let criticism drive you away from becoming that person.