Kathleen Murray: 2022 candidate for Illinois Senate District 21
Office sought: Illinois Senate District 21
Occupation: CCO Chief Creative Officer & President of Global Sales, Titanium Technologies
Previous offices held: N/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: I support term limits. The country was created on the philosophy of ensuring ongoing fresh thought in government which can be accomplished when citizens serve for short periods of time and then return to private life. It is the government by the people for the people best represented by a turnover of fresh ideas from all walks of life. Term limits are a safeguard against corruption as the constant turnover limits the time elected officials can spend in power.
I support term limits that would be long enough to take advantage of the experience factor that comes with time devoted to a single role, but short enough to allow for a constant supply of fresh ideas and deter corruption.
Term limits can lead to more efficient legislation as it would allow legislatures more focus on policy making and to accomplish goals before their terms ended.
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: Illinois needs to cut waste. Like the federal government, Illinois has a spending problem not a revenue problem.
I would support legislation to eliminate bureaucratic redundancies in local units of government which would reduce the tax burden on Illinois taxpayers. There are nearly 7,000 property tax districts and 850 school districts, an excessive number compared to other states of our size. Having to fund each unit leads to excessive spending and fuels corruption as so many layers in government make it difficult to follow nuances. These unnecessary & massive redundancies lead to inefficiencies and wasting taxpayer dollars.
Certain school districts can be consolidated, freeing up tax dollars to be used to fund programs to enhance education and improve our national rankings. The majority of our tax dollars allocated toward education are going to administration and not classrooms or students. The entire budget and system need to be overhauled.
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: There is merit in the evidence-based model to compensate for economic disparities & to allocate more dollars to least-funded schools to get them up to adequacy (defined as having enough resources to cover the cost of providing educational services with results being measured by academic performance at state proficiency levels).
Despite increase spending in the school districts that need it the most academic performance has declined, and huge disparities still exist. Achievement gaps would be expected to diminish over time to make up for years of inequitable funding; however, it's not proving to be an effective solution at least in the short term.
I support School Choice vouchers to help close the gap in underprivileged districts, allowing taxpayer dollars to follow the child to go to the school of their choice, whether private or public. Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and reducing crime. Giving children the opportunity to get a quality education is paramount.
Q: Do you believe elections in Illinois are free and fair? What changes, if any, are needed regarding election security and voter access?
A: Like most things, there is definitely room for improvement to provide better election security, voter integrity and voter access. There are inherent flaws in the system that should be improved. Data and systems need to be constantly updated to reflect the ever-changing voter registration information for address changes, deaths, new voters, etc. Mail-in ballots are also most vulnerable to being altered, stolen, or forged. In order to increase security in elections, IDs should be required any time you vote. Technology should be utilized in the future to better secure our election process, perhaps similar to the facial recognition technology used by Global Entry at airports.
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: Illinois already has statutory structure and law on these issues. There needs to be some common-sense modifications to the current unlimited and unrestricted abortion law.
Illinois taxpayers should not be funding out of state abortions.
I do not support elective late term abortions and partial birth abortions, unless the mother's life is at risk or there is a medical diagnosis of a genetic defect or disease which would lead to suffering and childhood death.
Parental notification must be reinstated so parents can guide the health, safety and mental wellbeing of their children. It would also help protect victims of sex traffickers and sexual predators by requiring minors to have parental notification, when forced to have abortions by their abusers. Exceptions and judicial bypass waivers should be more accessible and simplified for those cases where a minor child has reason to not inform a parent, as in the case of rape and incest.
I support same-sex marriage.