Both incumbent Republican Chris Lauzen and his Democrat challenger, Leslie Juby, believe the state government needs to be reformed. Lauzen said his ideas are based on his 18-year career in Springfield. Juby said her ideas are based on her years as a teacher, community volunteer and Geneva School Board member.
Family: Married, four children
Education: BS with honors Management Science and English, Duke University, 1974; Certified Public Accountant (CPA), University of Illinois, 1976; Master of Business Education (MBA), Harvard University, 1978; Candidate for Doctorate in Education Finance, NIU.
Experience: Owner, Comprehensive Accounting Services, 1984-1998; President, Comprehensive Accounting Corp., 1979-1984; Assistant to the President, Gould Corporation, 1978-1979
Political: Served on State Senate since 1992
Community involvement: Geneva Lions Club, Sons of the American Legion, Compassion Foundation Board of Directors, Heart of Illinois POW/MIA Association, IL Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Harvard Business School Old Boy Rugby Team, Fox Valley Maoris Rugby Team
Chris Lauzen said he wants the chance to return to Springfield because he wants to continue keeping the promises he made prior to taking office for the first time in 1992.
â€œWhen I first ran and was elected to the state Senate, I didn’t promise anyone a road, government job, engineering contract, lobbying position, or to tow any partisan line,â€ Lauzen said. â€œInstead, I promised to work hard, stay honest, and use common sense … and I have kept those promises.â€
Lauzen defined common sense by saying it means traditional American values, â€respect for innocent human life, fidelity to the U.S. Constitution including the Second Amendment, support for the traditional definition of family, and fiscal conservatism.â€
With the state facing significant budget issues, Lauzen said the solution is not as complicated as some make it soundâ€”the Illinois government must simply live within its means without passing a tax hike. To accomplish that would require a massive spending reduction. Lauzen said the state should apply the 2010 public employee pension reforms to current employees for future earnings. The state should cap annual benefits at $120,000 per year, raise the age of retirement to 62 years from the current 55 years, stop multiple pensions from â€œdouble dipping,â€ and reduce Medicaid eligibility to national average levels. He said the state should also go through each state agency and program and â€œseriously pruneâ€ them. Only after these cuts should the state consider tax reform and modernization, he said.
He said the state must focus on bringing jobs back to Illinois.
â€œTo bring jobs back to Illinois, in the short-run, we need to cut the costs of doing business in Illinois in order to increase the incentive to grow across-the-board, i.e. workers compensation and unemployment insurance reforms, stable and low tax rates, elimination of unnecessary regulations, etc.,â€ he said. â€œIn the long-run, (being) competitive is a matter of â€˜capital formation,â€™ both human capital (education) and financial (net on money invested).â€
With a growing distrust in government, Lauzen said it is important that each elected official focus on their own conduct.
â€œI am proud of my record of personally returning every telephone call, e-mail, or piece of correspondence from constituents for more than 17 years,â€ he said. â€œBut most importantly, restoring trust in public institutions begins with the personal conduct of our elected officials. Appropriate and ethical behavior has been my family’s and my first priority for 18 years. It is up to all of us, as voters to discipline politicians who enrich themselves, their families and friends at our taxpayer expense.â€
Family: Married, two children
Education, employment, and political background: Governor’s State University, BA Language and Literature, 1983; substitute teacher Batavia Public Schools; member of the Geneva Board of Education 2007-present
Community involvement: School and church volunteer; Geneva Beautification Committee; Historic Homeowners Association; Geneva History Center
Leslie Juby said her run for the State Senate seat representing the 25th District is based on her belief that the state needs new leadership and ideas.
â€œI want more than political rhetoric designed to confuse, deflect and mislead,â€ she said. â€œI want to put people back to work, clean up state government, restore fiscal sanity, and ensure that education becomes a top priority.â€
Juby pointed to her experience gained through her professional background, as well as her time spent on the Geneva School Board, as an example of how she would work with people with various ideas for the future.
â€œI have a history of working with people to fix problems at work, on the school board, and as part of many volunteer groups,â€ Juby said. â€œI will take my enthusiasm, fresh perspective, and new ideas to the state Senate and better represent our communities.â€
Juby said that the first thing Illinois should do is to reduce its waste.
â€œThe absolute first thing state government must do to confront the budget crisis is make real cutsâ€”particularly to obvious examples of waste, mismanagement and bloated bureaucracy,â€ she said. â€œSince 2000, Illinois has reduced its workforce by 21 percent. It needs to reduce office space by the same amount, consolidating offices and ending unnecessary lease agreements and renegotiating others.â€
She said one idea that should not occur at this time is a tax increase.
â€œGiven the state of the economy and Illinois’ unemployment rates, a tax increase is simply unsupportable right now,â€ she said. â€œAlthough in the long term, we may need to consider modernizing Illinois’ revenue code; first we need to demonstrate to voters that we have cut every last bit of waste from Illinois government.â€
Juby believes the state should place education, public safety, and the social services people rely on for their survival as the top priorities.
â€œWhile I recognize that we may need to make some cuts to human services, we will have to be particularly careful not to cut programs that Illinois residents rely on for their very survival, like medical assistance and the Department of Children and Family Services,â€ she said. â€œWhat we need to do is ask state agencies which programs are most vital to their missionâ€”making it clear that there will be cutsâ€”and go from there. I am certain there are many smaller programs that serve an important purpose, but that we can do without in this crisis.â€
She said she will be able to help the state focus on its finances while preserving its necessary priorities because she is not a career politician with a career politicianâ€™s mindset.
â€œI was raised with the belief that it is our duty to give back to our communities,â€ Juby said. â€œThis ideology is reflected in my tireless commitment to make my schools and community better … It is counter productive to continue to fixate on how Illinois got into this crisis instead of working together to get out. I will take my skills to Springfield to facilitate problem solving and implement solutions to get Illinois back on track.â€