Maria Peterson: 2022 candidate for Illinois Senate District 26

  • Maria Peterson

    Maria Peterson

 
Updated 10/13/2022 1:23 PM

Bio

Party: Democrat

 

Office sought: Illinois Senate District 26

City: North Barrington

Age: 60

Occupation: Small business owner, retired

Previous offices held:

Q&A

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 current structure encourages partisanship by preventing cooperation. Opportunities for individual members to propose legislation and move bills to a vote is severely limited as it's controlled by a handful of leaders. This gives enormous powers to a few, reducing the ability of most to craft bills supporting their constituents. It opens the door for dark money organizations pushing prepackaged legislation.

Meetings across the State, hearing from affected people with experts, local and state officials from both parties using a task force instead of the limited committee model would be a major improvement.

I enthusiastically support term limits on leadership positions. Term limits in general is still an open question for me. A system making it easier for new candidates to afford to challenge entrenched politicians like my opponent that let the people decide when to bring in someone new with fresh ideas is needed. In this case, vote for me and improve your representation!

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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: By paying off over $10 billion from Illinois' backlog of unpaid bills, we increased our credit rating by three without using federal stimulus money. Paying our bills on time means we no longer pay interest debt for overdue bills.

I would look to continue responsibly consolidating pension obligations by supporting amortizing the state's pension debt to a level-dollar repayment plan saving tens of billions in debt service payments over the long term, close corporate tax loopholes, reduce pointless political pork projects, and enact ethics rules with teeth to keep graft and waste from taking a bite out of the budget. Lastly, our residents are being squeezed to make real estate tax payments that in some cases are more than a monthly mortgage payment.

While it has taken me a while to make sense of the jumble of taxing bodies and the complicated ways they try to add to our tax bills -- and I intend to find ways to simplify and bring more efficiency to the process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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: I'm happy the evidence-based model for education funding (EBF) is working. EBF has made historic investments supporting our children, bringing a level of equity to districts across Illinois.

Yet, 71% of districts are still below 70% of the needed funding. Without fully funding the EBF formula many districts are unable to offer basic support like a full-time nurse, mental health and library services.

If education were better supported with state dollars, people who pay high property taxes, and renters who also bear the cost through higher rents, would see their burden eased. Too much of the cost of public education is funded through local property taxes. Increasing EBF each year corrects that imbalance.

The Invest in Kids Act is due to sunset. I would advocate that the money now used as a voucher system, veiled as a tax credit, should be used specifically for mental health services in our public schools, as so many children are still suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

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 do believe elections in Illinois are free and fair. I am proud that elections in Illinois are administered by state and local officials who implement numerous safeguards to protect the security of our vote, pursuant to various state and federal laws and processes. I am also proud that our state has made voting more accessible to the Blind, Deafblind and Print-disabled voters.

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: I'm proud to live in a state protecting the rights of women, couples, families, and individuals. Illinois is preparing to protect medical providers from criminality when surrounding states try to erode these rights.

This is critical as the Court seems to be saying that unless a right is specifically named in the Constitution it may not be recognized at the federal level. Justice Thomas has made clear that the Court has wrongly protected rights we assumed fundamental, suggesting contraception and marriage equality may be at stake.

As a woman, mother to an LGBTQ+ community member and an unequivocal believer in self identity by the individual, not the government, I will continue to use my voice to defend rights placed at risk by this reasoning -- the right to privacy, the right to travel, among them.

As your State Senator I will work tirelessly to be sure the unenumerated but very real rights we have always depended on are clearly and permanently protected in Illinois.

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