Connie Cain: 2022 candidate for Illinois House 66th District
Office sought: Illinois House 66th District
Occupation: Certified Public Accountant
Previous offices held: Dundee Township Precinct Committeeman
Q: What needs to be done structurally to make the legislature more effective? What is your position on term limits in general and for legislative leaders specifically?
A: The voters need an independent fair map commission to draw the legislative map for legislative reapportionment. Politicians should not have the ability to choose their voters. Fair maps are imperative because politicians must be accountable to the people they represent. The term limit for rank and file legislators should be no greater than 14 years. For legislative leaders, term limits of ten years are reasonable.
But no legislator is entitled to a "safe" legislative seat. A fair map is essential to making the legislature more effective. Gerrymandered maps with no term limits make it possible for legislators to remain in office indefinitely despite low performance.
Q: Federal assistance has enabled the state to make important advances toward improving its budget. What will you do to ensure these advances continue when the federal aid is gone?
A: Politicians in Illinois relied on one-time federal funds for budget revenue this past year instead of making critical structural reforms needed to sustain the recession and record inflation. I am concerned these same politicians will want to make much of this spending permanent, even when the federal subsidies expire. The lack of bold reform makes me believe Democrats want to hike taxes to keep paying the bill for increased spending. In addition to fighting for improved budgetary oversight, Illinois must also begin passing balanced budgets, which has not been done in years. Financial gimmicks in budgeting have led Illinois taxpayers into record-breaking unfunded liabilities. In addition to being a passionate voice for budgetary and constitutional pension reform (including the creation of Tier 4 pensions), I will fight for ethics reforms. The price tag for corruption in public service in Illinois is estimated to be upwards of $500 million/year, according to a recent analysis.
Q: To what extent are you happy or unhappy with the evidence-based model for education funding now in place in Illinois? How would you define "adequate" state funding for Illinois schools and what will you do to promote that?
A: The State of Illinois shall be the primary funding source for education under the Illinois Constitution. I support ensuring adequate state funding for education. However, money alone does not produce results.
Illinois parents, teachers, school boards, and administrators all must be engaged in increasing transparency, accountability, and delivering results to prepare our children to be competitive in the employment marketplace or for higher education before employment.
Illinois' high level of per-pupil education spending when compared with neighboring states demand a continued analysis of potential efficiencies and cost savings that could be achieved through consolidation of administrative functions and efficiencies.
Q: Do you believe elections in Illinois are free and fair? What changes, if any, are needed regarding election security and voter access?
A: While our elections can be improved by implementing best practices, they are generally free and fair. Keeping the voter rolls accurate is essential to promoting public confidence in free and fair elections. The legislature should pass a bill requiring election officials to cross-check voter registration rolls regularly with the postal service change of address data. While this is done in some jurisdictions more often, it can be very infrequent in many jurisdictions in Illinois. The legislature should also pass bills to promptly remove the names of deceased persons from the voter rolls. Two such bills have been proposed in the General Assembly and have been blocked by super-majority Democrats.
Q: How well has Illinois responded to Supreme Court indications that it considers abortion, gay marriage and other social issues to be state, not federal, responsibilities? What if anything needs to be done in these areas and what would you do to make your vision come to pass?
A: Under the Supreme Court's ruling, no changes occur to Illinois' abortion laws. In Illinois, abortion laws remain among the most permissive in the U.S. Last year, the Parental Notification of Abortion Law was repealed by Democratic lawmakers, removing a parent's right to know if their minor child had an abortion. No parent should be left in the dark about their unemancipated child's welfare. I will work with other state legislators to reinstate the Parental Notification of Abortion Law, which had clear safeguards for minors who have been abused.