Thomas Maillard: 2022 candidate for Illinois House District 62

 
Updated 6/8/2022 9:24 AM

Bio

Party: Democrat

 

Office sought: House District 62

City: Waukegan

Age: 32

Occupation: Director of Government Operations city of Waukegan

Previous offices held: 10th Congressional Democratic State Central Committeeman

Q&A

Q: How well did the Illinois government respond to the COVID-19 crisis? What do you think should be done differently?

Illinois acted responsibly to educate & adapt to rapidly evolving COVID knowledge. As a local leader, I'm grateful to have partnered with the Governor's Office to bring a state-run testing & vaccine site to Waukegan. I'm thankful for the availability of experts like Dr. Ezike who helped guide us. Working with DCEO to connect businesses to Back2Business grants, these restored some but not enough. Identity theft with IDES is very concerning. Getting resources to disadvantaged communities is a challenge when it hasn't happened historically, & having written bilingual emergency orders, we must continue to build more trust. I co-lead an internet taskforce with schools & others, & COVID only further spotlighted the existing education funding gap.

We must acknowledge the heavy toll of COVID -- I don't believe in celebrating COVID responses, because that means celebrating ONLY so many deaths, businesses failing, children falling behind, & ONLY so many people's dislike for the "new normal."

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Q: What are the most important components that should be included in legislative ethics reform? What will you do to help them come to pass?

Ethics reform will come through campaign finance reform such as closing loopholes that candidates circumvent to self-enrich, through implementing freedom of information policies upon state legislators that are already required of county and local government, and other transparency measures such as requiring live video broadcasting of public meetings. I have a record to point to -- I voted to replace Mike Madigan with new ethical leadership for the Democratic Party of Illinois, implemented video recording of all Waukegan City Council Committee meetings, and assisted the creation of the first

ethics policy update in 50 years in Waukegan. Legislative ethics reform has been a key pillar of my campaign, and I will prioritize this issue when I'm elected, starting by limiting large dollar donations.

Q: What should the state do to address the still-growing problems with its key pension programs?

1. The legislature has a history of dipping into the pension fund to pay down other debts and fund other needs. We must pay our pensions first every single budget year. End the practice of taking irresponsible pension holidays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

2. We should continue to fund buyout programs that save taxpayers a significant amount of money in the long term.

3. We should incentivize early retirement options that will reduce financial pressure both on our pension systems and our school districts.

Q: Describe at least two circumstances in which you have shown or would show a willingness to act independently of the direction or demands of party leadership.

1. As the new 10th District Congressional Democratic party leader, I voted to replace Mike Madigan as Chair of the Illinois Democratic Party.

2. I served as Chief of Staff to the first African American Democratic Mayor of the City of Waukegan. He was replaced in the last election by a political rival from a different party. I remained with the City as a Senior Advisor to the Mayor because I believe in serving residents to my fullest ability regardless of the party affiliation of a Mayor.

Q: What should lawmakers be doing to stem out-migration from Illinois?

The 62nd District faces a unique challenge with out-migration, being so close to the Wisconsin border. Although reports originally indicated more residents left Illinois, recent data shows the opposite. However, people have left nonetheless. The number one factor impacting out-migration are the astronomically high property taxes in Illinois. Property taxes must be addressed through a fair tax cut, full funding by the state of our schools, & by growing our business sector with quality jobs, so we don't continue to place the undue burden on everyday community members to pay the majority of the property taxes to support such as good public schools. We must also increase the availability of EDGE tax credits, especially for those businesses that are considering leaving for nearby border states.

Q: Do you believe climate change is caused by human activity? What steps should government be taking to address the issue?

Climate change is undeniably caused by human activity.

I am appointed to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Environment Committee. I am Waukegan's environmental advisor, coordinating EtO air testing, negotiations to remove coal ash from the Lake Michigan site, SolSmart Gold for reducing solar permit bureaucracy, millions in infrastructure improvements such as water plant efficiency, the first Sustainability Plan, Complete Streets Policy, signing the Paris Agreement & Mayors Monarch Pledge, etc. I have a proven environmental record & other governments can copy this example.

We must pass SB3073 to remove coal ash & also protect other sites. IDPH Cancer Incidence Studies for EtO emissions in Gurnee/Waukegan are a crude tool only tracking cancer diagnoses at residences but must track location data for employment & school. We must adjust the lead replacement law to not charge local governments interest on state loans, which discourages governments from fixing a health hazard.

Q: The graduated income tax is designed with the intent to reduce taxes for 97 percent of Illinoisans. Do you believe that will happen? Why or why not? What assurances can you offer voters?

I support the Fair Tax, which is a tax cut for 97% of Illinoisans (or no increase). Historically Democrats have been poor at messaging their policies' benefits for working families & the most recent attempt at passing the Fair Tax did not codify the tax structure. Rates should be established clearly from the beginning thereby guaranteeing nearly every Illinoisan will receive a tax cut. Millionaires & billionaires who must pay their fair share should not control the narrative for Illinois working families who are in desperate need of tax relief. That said, an ethical state government will offer voters assurances of the benefits and true impact.

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