First and foremost, I will work in the best interest of all the people in the 61st district - not just a few. The people in our community deserve someone who will listen to them and work for them in Springfield.
When our current lawmakers pushed our state to over 700 days without a budget, they tripled our State debt, plummeted our credit rating to junk status, and almost closed the doors of necessary service providers like shelters for domestic violence victims. Our current State Representative helped keep this impasse going, forcing families in our state to waste $1 billion in taxpayer dollars on interest payments due to late payment to vendors. When I saw that our leaders weren't listening to real people in our community, I knew that I had to step up and be the change that I want to see in our government. I believe that if lawmakers don't pass a balanced budget, they should not receive a paycheck. We need real representation who will stand up for people in our community and not take any taxpayer funded checks unless their job is done correctly. If elected, I will support real balanced budgets that do not raise taxes on middle-class families and won't accept a single dime unless the budget is balanced.
As a local school board member, former educator, and mother of two children who currently and previously attended local public schools, I know that we need to have high quality schools in order to build a prosperous future. I will fight to fully fund schools in the 61st District so that children can have an opportunity to succeed, no matter what ZIP code they live in. By ensuring the State meets it's obligations to fund our schools, we can provide property tax relief while improving our local schools.
With the cost of college tuition increasing every year, I know that young people are struggling with enormous amounts of college debt. Once highly qualified students leave our state for more affordable options, the chance of them ever coming back decreases substantially. I will fight to keep higher education in Illinois competitive and affordable so that our young people and top talent stay in-state, improving our economy and contributing to a flourishing future for of the State of Illinois, while ensuring these students have a real opportunity to live the American dream. Additionally - because the college path is not for everyone - I will work to support more vocational education for students so that we can fully prepare our future workforce for all opportunities available to them.
Some of the problems facing the State of Illinois and dysfunction in Springfield have been created by lawmakers who have been in leadership positions for far too long. Because of this fact, I support term limits for legislative leadership here in our state. I believe that new ideas and solutions are necessary in order to create progressive solutions to some of our major problems.
While we see politicians on all levels following President Trump's lead and attempting to roll back the rights and respect of women, we need leadership that is not afraid to stand strong for women's rights. I have been an advocate for women's rights and women's health for my entire life. When our incumbent State Representative voted against a ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and against funding for necessary services that help women receive medical care, I knew that I had to pick up a clipboard and stand up for women in our community. I believe that a woman's personal health decisions should be made between that woman, her healthcare professional, and her family... Not politicians and political insiders.
With senseless acts of violence happening all over our country more and more often, I know that something has to be done to ensure that we can enjoy our lives without worrying about the safety of our families. I believe that we need to find a balance and enact simple, commonsense legislation that protects Second Amendment rights for law abiding gun holders, while protecting the lives of our children and families.
If we are going to seriously plan for the future, we have to be conscious of the decisions we make today. I believe that we need to have a close focus on using our renewable resources responsibly and ensuring that our air and water are clean to keep families healthy. By focusing on improving clean energy in our state, not only can we improve the quality of our environment, we can also create more jobs and stimulate our economy to help build for a stronger future.