This is the second article on the McHenry County Young Republicans 52nd District State Representative District Candidates’ Forum at Crystal Lake’s McHenry County College. The first is here.
Another interesting exchange involved abortion.
Both David McSweeney and Daniele Rowe said they were Pro-Life.
Rowe said it was one of the most asked questions when she knocked on doors.
Appointed incumbent Kent Gaffney’s answer was, “For me the social issues [are] not the focus of my campaign.” He said they divide the party.
The man he replaced, State Rep. Mark Beaubien was elected and re-elected with the strong and strident support of Personal PAC, an organization I do not hesitate to label as “pro-abortion,” since it favors allowing women to have an abortion up to the day before birth.
I note that Gaffney is not endorsed by Personal PAC. (The endorsements are here.)
Nevertheless, the Republican electorate locally is divided about 60-40 in favor of the Pro-Life position on abortion, so if McSweeney and Rowe each get half, they would tally 30% apiece, while Gaffney’s proportion on this issue would be 40%.
A related issue brought up was civil unions.
McSweeney said he was “absolutely” in favor of repeal.
Rowe said she “would support repeal,” while Gaffney replied,
“The law is passed. It’s not on my agenda to repeal the civil unions [legislation].”
All three agreed on the advisability of allowing individuals to carry guns to protect themselves. Gaffney pointed out that the effort had 68-69 votes in the current House (with 71 needed to withstand an expected veto by Governor Pat Quinn].
An issue on which the three were divided was whether the legislature should be part-time.
McSweeney called for a pay cut, no pensions and meeting only once every two years, as is the case in Texas.
Rowe pointed out she was the first to come out against legislative pensions, doing so at her announcement of candidacy.
She will not take a legislative pension, if elected. She also aid that the $68,000 salary was “way too much for that part-time position.”
Gaffney, who also opposes legislative pensions, made the case for being a full-time legislator, 24-7.
“It’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
[Having served as a fell-time state rep. for 16 years, I must admit to wondering how one could be an adequate state legislator working part-time. Government is so inadequate that a legislator’s intervention or that of his or her staff is constantly necessary. I’d go so far as to assert that government just doesn’t work.]
McSweeney says he will serve no more than three.
Gaffney also supported term limits, ten years, and told me later he will not serve more than three terms.
I’m pretty sure Rowe did, too, but it didn’t make my notes.
One point Rowe did make the others ignored were the very few Fiscal Notes requested in the General Assembly.
Six Fiscal Notes for 600 bills.
So for the vast, vast majority of the bills legislators had no clue what they would cost.
When I read this story in the Daily Herald, I was astounded.
I remember the 1993-94 session, I filed a Fiscal Note on every Public Aid bill because House Speaker Mike Madigan would not advance one of my welfare reform bills.
The Rules then and now say that Fiscal Notes have to be filed before a bill can received a final vote.
In effect, I had control of all welfare legislation that session. Sponsors tried to convince me to drop the notes and some even convinced me to do so. But my requests killed a lot of really bad legislation.
Other years, I’d have a staffer file a Fiscal Note on every bill.
I can’t help but wonder why someone did not step up to that role after I left the house in 2001.
One would think GOP Leader Tom Cross would do that routinely employ that tactic, if only to slow down the Democrats’ legislative agenda.
When questioned about involvement in local government and politics, McSweeney has the biggest resume. Rowe detailed extensive volunteer activity of local and Wisconsin Republicans.
Gaffney told of having worked statewide with the House Republican Organization.
One question was asked that none of the panel members seemed to understand.
In Illinois, individuals have a $1,000 a person exemption income from taxes.
Corporations used to enjoy a similar $1,000 exemption, but not since the Democrats repealed it.
From the question, it seems that really small businesses not only have to pay taxes on dollar one, but have to make quarterly tax filings.
McSweeney advocated eliminated taxes on businesses earning less that $5,000 a year.
Red Light cameras came in for universal opposition, as did Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s Speed Cameras over almost all parts of the city. McSweeney labeled as “a new scam.” Gaffney said he had voted against the bill.
There was a lot more, of course, but this will have to suffice from me.