- Position Sought: Illinois House of Representatives, 50th District
- Party: Democrat
- Website: www.AndrewBernard.org
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: (630) 847-3635
- Address: Friends to Elect Andrew BernardP.O. Box 752Batavia, IL 60510
- Age and birthdate: March 24, 1988 (23)
- Education: University of Illinois at ChicagoMaster of Public Administration (M.P.A)Concentrations: Financial Management and Local Government Administration, Illinois State University B.A. Political Science
- Occupation: Financial Industry
- Previous Elected or Appointed Offices: Democratic Chairman of the Geneva Township (Current) Precinct Committeeman, Geneva 17 (Current)
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position? I have worked for the University of Illinois at Chicago as an employee supervisor for five Head Start sites. I have updated the Village of Westchester's policies in regards to new Illinois General Assembly legislation and collective bargaining rights.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office? I have three main priorities if elected to as the 50th District Representative. My "Key 3 Plan" consists of (1) Job Creation, (2) Tax Relief, and (3) Welfare Reform.
Job Creation: I will fully support investing in new infrastructure in the 50th District and throughout Illinois. Investing in new infrastructure will create new job opportunities, improve our current systems for the public, and raise the economic value of our state. Part of this plan will include supporting state grants to local governments in order for them to invest and fix their existing infrastructure; thus, creating new job opportunities. Investing in new infrastructure will also attract new businesses to Illinois, which in return, will create new revenue and jobs.
Tax Relief: Illinois has one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation. This has been seen from the unfair tax increase that has been implemented on middle-class Illinois residents. In order to support middle-class tax relief, Illinois must move forward by implementing a progressive tax system that is similar to the other thirty-three states who have one. The current tax system simply takes too much and gives too little to the majority of Illinois residents. The tax plan I support would allow Illinois to lower the tax rates for many families and individuals in Illinois. A progressive tax system would allow Illinois the option of raising needed revenues without financially hindering the middle-class. I strongly believe that middle-class tax relief stimulates the economy and promotes job creation.
Welfare Reform: I propose mandatory drug testing for anyone who receives benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in Illinois. This will help us determine that our tax dollars will be used wisely, while not being abused by those who take advantage of the system. We must stop those who tarnish our welfare system that is intended to help those in true need. This specific plan will clearly show what individuals are using the funds properly, while exposing those who are abusing the funds. Therefore, giving more respect to the tax payers and their hard earned dollars, while restoring trust in our system.
What sets you apart from the other candidates? I will bring new ideas and experience to the Illinois General Assembly. I have not been around the same policies that have been failing us for years. As I knock on doors I am hearing the same message that people are tired of Springfield politicians who are not fighting to change the broken system.
I have six years worth of education in public policy and have my Master of Public Administration (M.P.A) from a nationally top-ranked institution. My specialization in financial management would be beneficial in Springfield during this chaotic financial time. It is time for public servants to start practicing policies that work and halting the policies that fail us, while being honest with the public. As the challenger, I have no allegiance to special interest groups and industries that halt progress due to lobbying. I will simply work for the people.
What should first be done by the state to keep businesses that have strongly voiced the possibility of leaving, such as CME and Sears? I support financial incentives and tax breaks for businesses that choose to operate and invest in Illinois. Illinois needs to become a business friendly state that encourages businesses to locate in Illinois. This will help create more jobs and revenue for Illinois long-term.
What can be done to help College Illinois? One of the most important things that Illinois can do to help families and make college more affordable is to encourage state universities to use their funding wisely, while avoiding tuition increases. For example, Illinois universities should not be giving large pay raises to faculty members when tuition is on the rise. They should be using those funds to keep tuition steady, if not lowing it. Illinois must also continue to encourage residents to invest in Illinois 529 college savings plans such as "Bright Start" and "Bright Directions." This will help ensure that more students are financially prepared for college.
What should the government do to create more jobs? As stated previously, I will fully support investing in new infrastructure in the 50th District and throughout Illinois. Investing in new infrastructure will create new job opportunities, improve our current systems for the public, and raise the economic value of our state. Part of this plan will include supporting state grants to local governments in order for them to invest and fix their existing infrastructure; therefore, creating new job opportunities. Investing in new infrastructure will also attract new businesses to Illinois, which in return, will create new revenue and jobs.
The government can also create more jobs by fixing Illinois’ regressive tax structure. Currently Illinois is only one of seven states that maintain a flat rate income tax. This type of taxation system is the primary cause for Illinois having to raise taxes on all workers in Illinois; therefore, hurting small businesses and halting new job opportunities. I support a progressive taxation system that would have allowed the middle-class to keep the tax rate of 3 percent; contrary to raising their taxes to 5 percent.
I strongly believe that raising taxes on the middle-class is harmful to the economy and stunts job creation. The best solution for Illinois is to adopt a progressive income tax system and lower the tax rate for middle-class residents. This taxation system would have allowed the General Assembly to leave the income tax rates untouched for the middle-class. When the middle-class residents pay less in taxes, they will spend more and stimulate the economy. In other words, Illinois businesses will need more employees when businesses are growing stronger.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues? The Illinois General Assembly must tackle our economic crisis before debating social issues. These issues are being used to distract the general public from our high unemployment, unfair tax increases on the middle-class, and our $13 billion deficit. Our main focus needs to be on fixing the economy.
Do you support a gaming bill that would increase the number of casinos or other gambling venues in Illinois? Should a casino be built in Chicago? The positive points of increasing the number of casinos in Illinois would be the creation of new jobs, increased state revenue, and more tourists that will spend money in our state. That being said, Illinois must be cautious of who gets a license for gambling.
For example, it is important to give the Illinois Gaming Board acceptable time to review license applications for items such as video poker machines. I am not opposed to new gaming in Illinois, but want to ensure that all of the regulations are followed to protect consumers and is in the best interest of the state.
What do you suggest for property tax relief? I support increasing property tax credits for homeowners and ensuring that homeowners are not mandated to pay property taxes that they cannot afford. I also support property tax relief for senior citizens.
Should the state consider consolidating school districts? What would be the best way to accomplish this in your legislative district? In some cases, it has been shown that consolidation of school districts has resulted in greater spending costs per student. I would not be opposed to consolidations if specific ones are shown to save money and enhance student learning.
Should the state legalize marijuana? I believe that our first priority in regard to marijuana is keeping it out of the hands of our children and discouraging the use for the general public. Drug abuse in society is a serious problem and needs to be addressed. Illinois should begin to address marijuana abuse as a dependency problem for non-violent offenders, rather than a criminal one.
I favor policies that help people cure their drug addiction that do not waste tax-payer money. This is contrary to placing non-violent offenders in prison where they receive little substance abuse treatment and progress into even more dangerous drugs, while wasting tax-payer funds.
Are there ways to reform the legislative scholarship program, or would you support calls to eliminate the program? I would support calls to eliminate the program. Illinois simply cannot afford this program with our current financial situation.
Who are your political heroes and why? A political hero of mine would be President Lyndon B. Johnson in regards to his domestic policies. I admire President Johnson for his fight against poverty and establishing needed programs for the elderly (Medicare). I also admire his support for education being the key to one's success.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain. No