Martin McLaughlin: 2022 candidate for Illinois House 52nd District
Office sought: Illinois House 52nd District
City: Barrington Hills
Occupation: Investment management, Rive Capital Advisors
Previous offices held: State Representative 52nd District, 2021-present; Barrington Hills Village President, 2013-2021
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 legislature needs to immediately reassert its legislative authority and stop the never-ending emergency declarations that the governor has issued over 33 times. These actions have violated the separation of powers in IL and have not provided voters with a voice by shutting out their elected representatives from the decision making process for well over 2½ years.
I have always been an advocate for term limits and, as a former mayor, I stepped down after 8 years, because I believe public service should be a service and not a lifelong career.
Term limits would once again ensure that the power of representative government would turn over and voters will once again have greater say in the direction of our state.
Legislative "leaders" should not be allowed to serve more than 10 years. There are too many reasons and too many examples of corruption and ethics violations by long-standing members of the General Assembly. That in itself should make leadership term limits mandatory.
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: Unfortunately, the state legislature has not appropriately applied this federal assistance to where it was designated to go, and only partially used the funds to put a Band-Aid on our state budget. The best (or worst example of this) was not paying off the unemployment insurance fund with these monies, which will place a burden on employers and future employees. It is inexplicable why the legislature did not completely cover this $1.9 billion shortfall.
Ultimately, this will act as an undisclosed tax to employers and employees, and worse will reduce benefits to those who will most need them in the future.
Federal aid and an unexpected increase in tax receipts due to inflation is a bad combination that has not been planned for by the governor or the state legislature. When rising costs erode the unexpected revenue increases, and when federal aid is no longer there, I believe the state budget will be once again in severe trouble.
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 Illinois Constitution requires the state to provide the primary funding source for education. This, in addition to significant contributions from local property taxpayers, (sometimes as much as 70% of a tax bill) is supposed to provide adequate funding for public education so that every child has a path to succeed.
Unfortunately, the results are not there. Test scores and academic performance has been significantly altered due to our state's pandemic response, and heavy reliance on remote learning. Prior to that, Illinois schools were already a very poor performing academic environment. Local school boards and parents need to reassert the authority that is placed in them and demand better results.
In addition, many schools in Cook County are operating at less than 20% of total student capacity. This is unconscionable, as taxpayers are on the hook for paying for these expensive institutions that aren't delivering results and are not filled anywhere near to maximum capacity.
Q: Do you believe elections in Illinois are free and fair? What changes, if any, are needed regarding election security and voter access?
A: Generally, elections in Illinois have been free and fair. However, several bills introduced by the Republican caucus which would ensure better election integrity have been stalled in committee by the super majority held by the other party. Common-sense bills such as HB1920 which would remove voters from the rolls when they move, HB2598 which would standardize the removal of deceased voters from the rolls, and HB2599 which would require a photo ID for voters have never been allowed onto the floor for consideration.
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: This question is somewhat flawed, as it combines several very different social issues which require individual consideration. There has only been one Supreme Court ruling among the named issues, with the other "indications" merely being speculation at this point.
James Madison said it best when he stated that the powers delegated "to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."
In terms of the Supreme Court's recent ruling, absolutely no changes have occurred in Illinois' laws.
But it should be noted that during the last session, legislators on the other aisle repealed the Parental Notice Act, removed parents' rights to know if their minor child is having significant medical procedure performed. It flies in the face of logic that parents wouldn't have to give their permission for all medical/surgical treatment involving their children.