Dan Ugaste: 2022 candidate for Illinois House District 65
Office sought: Illinois House District 65
Occupation: State representative
Previous offices held: Current state representative
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: Structurally, term limits, especially those on leadership, should be enacted. Therefore, as you can tell, I support term limits on leaders and legislators alike. Having these in place would go a long way in keeping one person from amassing so much power, like we just went through with Speaker Madigan, which in turn should make the legislature more effective. I also believe that real ethics reform would help in this regard.
These would include a ban on lobbying local governments, more power for the Legislative Inspector General and a more detailed Statement of Economic Interest.
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: While we are doing better than we were, I am not certain we have advanced as far as some may believe. In order to truly advance our budget situation, we need to make structural reforms and this must start with pension reform. Other items needed include an independent commission to look into making state government more efficient and creating an environment in Illinois that is pro-growth. Until we improve our economic climate, we will continue to lose people, jobs and businesses. We cannot tax our way out of our problems, we must grow our way out. Finally, preparing and passing a budget in a transparent manner would go a long way. Since I have been in Springfield the House has never had a budget filed, which could be vetted by legislators, the press and the public, for more than 2 days before it is called for a vote.
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 evidence based model has been good for education, but it is not the answer alone. The State needs to assume its role as the primary funding source for schools. What is adequate funding should be closely studied. Money alone is not the answer. We need more accountability in the system.
Q: Do you believe elections in Illinois are free and fair? What changes, if any, are needed regarding election security and voter access?
A: I believe that in general a good job is done by our election officials. However, more should be done in areas of election integrity. This would require both sides of the aisle to have say in our election laws. There are currently number of bills filed in the General Assembly which would go a long way to improve fairness. Bills that would verify vote by mail application signatures, clean up the voter roles and require photo identification.
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: Nothing has changed in Illinois following the Supreme Court's ruling on abortion. Illinois still has some of the, if not the, most liberal laws in the nation in this regard. Last year, the Democrats removed an important protection in the law for our children, the Parental Notification Law. I fully support parents' rights and believe they should know about medical procedures for minor children, which also provides protection for children in abusive situations.