Richard Irvin: 2022 candidate for Illinois Governor
Office sought: Governor
Previous offices held: Alderman, City of Aurora; Republican Precinct Committeeman
What do you consider the key to an effective working relationship between the governor's office and legislative leaders? To what extent is this relationship effective now? What would you do to improve it?
Whether it's fighting out-of-control crime, pushing for permanent income tax cuts and property tax relief, or rooting out Madigan corruption, Illinois needs a governor who has the courage to lead. JB Pritzker has failed to lead in all the ways that matter most. I've been successful as mayor of the state's second-largest city in lowering crime, cutting wasteful spending, delivering tax relief and spurring job creation by leading and effectively communicating, even when members of the city council disagreed with me. Principled leadership in the governor's office and effective communication will be critical as we fight crime, lower taxes and root out corruption in Illinois.
What is the responsibility of the governor to work with legislators in determining health regulations during the pandemic or any other public health crisis? How would you work to meet this responsibility?
Governor Pritzker made a terrible mistake by ruling by executive decree throughout the pandemic -- shuttering businesses, devastating livelihoods and taking away decision-making rights from parents and local communities. When the pandemic hit, all we got from JB Pritzker was a shut-down order. In Aurora, we were on our own to find PPE for our frontline workers and provide financial relief to struggling family businesses. As governor, my priority will always be local control, especially protecting the rights of parents to make decisions for their children.
Should the state play a role in funding a new Bears stadium at Arlington Park? What is the governor's responsibility in this regard?
I am a Bears fan, but with everything going on in Illinois right now, I don't see taxpayers supporting state funding for a stadium.
What will you do to ensure spending priorities you espouse during your campaign are reflected in the budget?
As Mayor of Aurora, we eliminated wasteful spending and balanced the city budget every year. Illinois spending is out of control. Governor Pritzker's latest budget locks in permanent spending increases to set up taxpayers for a massive tax hike after the election. Spending under Pritzker has skyrocketed -- and his budget office predicts spending will grow even more if he's re-elected. Being governor is about leadership -- something JB Pritzker doesn't possess. If we control spending, we can invest in education, law enforcement and social services while permanently cutting income taxes for the people of Illinois.
Efforts to create an independent panel to determine legislative districts were not successful in time for the 2020 Census. How important do you think it is to create such a process for the 2030 Census? If you support the issue, what should be done to create change, when should it be done and how would you contribute?
I support Illinois Fair Maps to stop Springfield politicians from gerrymandering their districts. I want voters to choose their politicians -- not politicians choosing their voters with unfair lines. JB Pritzker campaigned on fair maps for Illinois, and said he opposed backdoor political gerrymandering. But again, he broke his promise and stood with Springfield politicians and signed the most politically gerrymandered maps in the history of our state.
How well do you think the evidence-based model for education funding in place in Illinois is working? How would you define "adequate" state funding for Illinois schools and what will you do to promote that?
I support state funding of public education -- it's the key to success for everyone in our state. I'm the product of our public school system. As governor, I'm committed to listening to parents to hear their views on education and the state's support to public education. Rep. Avery Bourne, who is running alongside me to be Lt. Governor, has been a leader in efforts to reform our school funding formula and will be a critical voice to ensure every school district in the state benefits, including suburban and downstate schools. The Constitution calls for the state to be the primary funder of education. If that were the case, there would be less pressure on local property taxes.
What will you do to fix the public employee pension systems?
One quarter of the Illinois state budget now goes to pay government pensions. That's billions of dollars annually to pay off old debt instead of hiring more teachers in the classroom or more police on the streets. First and foremost, we need to stop digging the hole. That will take leadership to find bipartisan ways to modernize our pension system, making it fair to workers and taxpayers alike. I will lead where Governor Pritzker hasn't by finding common ground to pass reforms that reduce our pension liabilities.