presents
Voter’s Edge Illinois
Get the facts before you vote.
We depend on your support.
Text VOTE to 52000 to donate $10.
Brought to you by
MapLight
November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
We depend on your support.
Invest in unbiased information

Text VOTE to 52000 to donate $10.

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.

Illinois State House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 12

Photo of Sara Feigenholtz

Sara Feigenholtz

Democratic
State Representative
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.
Thank candidate for sharing their information on Voter's Edge.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Affordable, accessible, efficient health care.
  • Quality education.
  • Public safety and crime prevention.

Experience

Experience

Profession:State Representative
State Representative, Illinois House of Representatives — Elected position (1994–current)

Education

Northeastern Illinois University Bachelor of Arts, Political science, and speech and performing arts (current)
Harvard University Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program, Kennedy School of Government (current)

Biography

Sara Feigenholtz represents Illinois’ 12th District, which includes Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Near North neighborhoods. Her commitment to the residents of her district and sponsorship of groundbreaking legislation has earned her the appointment of Assistant Majority Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Sara champions a multitude of complex legislative and budgetary issues, reinforcing her statewide reputation as an effective legislator and champion of accessible health care, human services, and adoption reform. Sara’s passion for justice in health care earned her the Chairmanship of Human Services and Appropriations where she served for a decade before her appointment as Assistant Majority Leader.

As an adopted person herself, Sara works tirelessly to improve the practice of adoption in Illinois. She possesses an unwavering commitment to ensure that adoption laws in Illinois reflect a high level of integrity in the practice and placement of children. In 2010, Sara passed historic legislation making Illinois the most populous state to grant adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates – a right that was denied since 1946. The American Adoption Congress awarded Sara with the Legislative Excellence Award for the largest expansion of birth certificate access in U.S. history.

In 2013, she sponsored and passed historic legislation extending Medicaid coverage to the uninsured through the Affordable Care Act. Earlier in her tenure she sponsored and passed Illinois contraceptive equity law, insurance coverage of mammograms, and other legislative victories such as access to sterile syringes without a prescription and increased AIDS Drug Assistance funding (ADAP). Her focus on the enhancement of the Community Care Program to allow seniors to remain in their homes to age independently is one of her crowning accomplishments.  

Amongst her numerous community and statewide awards, Sara most recently received the Friend of Tourism Award for her work on the Culinary and Hospitality Modernization Act.

Prior to entering public service, Sara was the principal of SKF Consulting, a firm that raised over one million dollars for diverse political candidates and non-profit charitable organizations. As a local small business owner, she has also served as the Executive Director of the Central Lakeview Merchants Association. She actively serves in an advisory capacity in numerous community organizations throughout the 12th District.

Sara earned her BA in Political Science and Speech and Performing Arts from Northeastern Illinois University. She participated in the Fellowship program of the Illinois Public Health Leadership Institute and in 2011 completed the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives program.

Representative Feigenholtz aspires to be a transformative and energetic leader who advocates for effective and practical policies that have a positive impact on both the residents of her district and the people of Illinois.

Questions & Answers

Questions from Chicago Sun-Times (15)

Do you support term limits for legislators? Do you support term limits for legislative leaders? Please explain.
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

I am a big believer in new approaches and ideas. Legislators in term limited states often claim that term limits do nothing more than empower lobbyists and lifelong bureaucrats, allowing special interest to be the deciders of complex policy matters. I do support term limits on legislative leaders.    

Who do you think bears responsibility for the budget stalemate? Do you have your own ideas on how to resolve it?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

The people of our state deserve better.

From the public’s perspective, we are all to blame. 

The unprecedented nature of this stalemate begs the question: what has changed?

The new-to-government Governor insisted that his turn around agenda be adopted quid pro quo.

That declaration triggered a budget hostage situation that to date has not ended the stalemate. 

Governor Rauner’s decision not to utilize the line item veto pen was stunning. It’s the Governor who has the final word on the budget and actual spending discretion. Rather than line item veto parts of the year long budget, he vetoed three entire budgets. 

In his first year he signed the education budget bill and left the other 19 budgets to languish, providing  no spending authority elsewhere. Were it not for an existing federal court order (Memisovski) , hospitals and all Medicaid spending would not have been appropriated because he abdicated his responsibility.

I like to be optimistic that the Governor will return to Springfield as a collaborative partner. Jim Edgar is a good example of how compromise is struck in a bi-partisan fashion. The Governor should take a close look at Jim Edgar’s tenure as Governor and learn some lessons on bi-partisan compromise.

Again, Illinoisans deserve better.

A June 3 New York Times op-ed was headlined “Higher Education in Illinois is Dying” because of significant funding cuts. Do you agree or not with Gov. Bruce Rauner that additional large cuts could be necessary?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

I do not agree with Gov. Rauner that additional cuts are necessary. Classroom and academic cuts have been drastic and we have lost large percentages of students due to loss of MAP grant funding and unpredictability.  Faculty resignations are up 70 percent and continue to climb.
 
Our economy will thrive only if we produce well-educated citizens capable of learning the trades, getting jobs and starting businesses to succeed in our economy.  When students focus more on securing state MAP funding over studying (as was the case at Chicago State and other schools) everybody loses.

The Governor’s stance has done nothing but create instability in higher education in Illinois.

This has resulted in driving students to schools in other states or dropping out altogether.

How should the state’s school funding formula be changed to give all children a better chance at a quality education?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

More equity in school funding is necessary, and this can be enacted by changing the school funding formula. 

I supported Senate Bill 231, which would secure resources for districts based on the needs of their students by driving more state dollars to districts that need it the most.

SB 231 also creates a single, straightforward model for school funding based, in part, on the school district’s ability to support local schools with local funds. Reforming our funding formula is the first step to education parity.

We in the General Assembly are working hard to achieve a more equitable system.  

Without a budget, Illinois is spending much more than it takes in, leading to an ever-growing stack of bills, underfunded services and a growing deficit. What new revenue sources do you support to help fix this problem?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

Illinois must steer away from a flat tax and move toward a more equitable progressive income tax. Our current tax code needs an overhaul, reflective of the service economy we live in.  

I do not support an increase in sales tax. Expanding sales tax to some services, combined with lowering the rate makes better sense.  

Taxing retirement income harms the poorest and those that are living on fixed incomes and should not be taxed.

A constitutional amendment is on the ballot that would require money raised for transportation not be spent elsewhere. Do you support this concept? Also, transportation planners say more money is needed for roads and bridges, Metra, CTA rail services and the like. Do you agree and, if so, where would you get the funding?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

I am opposed to the “lockbox” amendment. The legislature should not tie its hands because priorities change from year to year and budget to budget. 

Limiting our ability to address other pressing state matters, some of which could be emergency and disaster relief, is not prudent.  

In the last session, the governor and Legislature turned their attention away from pension reform. What initiatives do you support to reduce the costs of pensions?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

Given the Supreme Court’s ruling, there are components of the Senate proposal of “consideration” that remain viable.  Also, re-amortization of the state’s pension debt should be considered as a management tool.    

Do you support measures to reduce Illinois’ prison population and divert more money into community-based services?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

I strongly support diversion and community based programs as alternatives to incarceration. Project Adult Redeploy is just one example of how an involved community given incentives can have great success. The pendulum is swinging in right direction with the Governor and legislature working together to decrease Illinois prison population through reforms.  There is bipartisan agreement that the punitive punishment system needs reform.

Also, we must put together an aggressive plan to stop prisons from housing people living with mental illness.


There are calls to reform the state’s civil asset forfeiture system, which allows police and prosecutors to seize and take – permanently – property from someone who has not been convicted of a crime? What is your view?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

Civil asset forfeiture has become an issue in recent years and the need for reform has become apparent. 

It should not take decades to have assets returned to someone who was acquitted of a crime. It should not be standard operating procedure to seize assets or freeze funds from those who have not been convicted.

Illinois’ laws are unique insofar as they are more burdensome than any other state, according to both left-leaning and right-leaning think tanks.

 

Do you support allowing transgender persons born in Illinois to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery first?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

Yes, I sponsored and tried to pass a nearly identical bill in 2007. 

I am a co-sponsor of HB 6073 to change gender markers on birth certificates. Some patients are unable to undergo surgery due to other risk factors so doctors elect to treat these patients with courses of hormone therapy. Either way, a person knows what gender they associate with and the state should respect their wishes.

What is your view on so-called “death with dignity” — physician-assisted suicide — which has become a contentious issue in other states? California’s End of Life Option Act took effect on June 9.
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

If the legislation is carefully crafted,  I would support. I was a co-sponsor of this measure when it came before the legislature in the past. 

There are many Illinoisans who fear that if they are alone and without a health advocate this method will be used as a cost-cutting measure for end of life. Safeguards must be put in place to address these concerns. 


Of note is that people who obtain these end of life drugs often do not use them.

That said, they should be available.

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

I support stricter regulations and penalties on gun sales, guns sold through ‘straw purchasers’ and illegal possession of guns. Although legislation addressing mandatory minimums didn’t move in the general assembly, this priority issue is being revisited by Senator Raoul and Representative Zalewski who are hoping to strike a balance on a final bill.

Chicago’s gun violence has reached epic proportions. A multi-pronged approach providing quality education, after school programming, eradication of poverty, access to health care, and jobs are the most successful path to reducing gun violence. 

Additionally, Chicago needs more police in order to protect neighborhoods all over the city.

A number of states and local jurisdictions (including Chicago) have recently increased the minimum wage. Do you support or oppose a statewide increase in the minimum wage? If so, what should the new minimum be, and by when? Should local jurisdictions be prohibited from passing their own minimum wage laws?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

I do support an increase in the minimum wage. 

Senator Kimberly Lightford’s bill raises the wage statewide up to $11 dollars by 2019, and if passed would make Illinois the highest statewide minimum wage in the country.  

There are pro’s and con’s to local jurisdictions setting their own wages. I am weighing the benefits while watching cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles who have risen their minimum wage to fifteen dollars.

I am supportive and would like to see a carefully crafted bill that considers potential job loss. Tools such as the tip credit need to stay in place in order to grow our robust restaurant, hospitality and tourism industry.

In the past couple of legislative sessions, there has been a proposal to add a 1 cent tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Illinois. Do you support or oppose such a measure, and why?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

I am opposed to the soda tax because it is an unreliable source of revenue.  Soda is now at it’s lowest point of consumption in 20 years. Water is now the most consumed beverage.     

In recent years, there has been a growing push to increase the development and use of renewable energy sources. Do you support or oppose these preferences?
Answer from Sara Feigenholtz:

I support the Clean Jobs Bill. 

Illinois generates 8% of its energy from renewable energy.  Our state's renewable energy mandate sets a goal of 25% by 2025, so we have a way to go. I support a fix to the RPS and an expansion of renewable energy and efficiency in Illinois.

There are currently 104,000 jobs from energy efficiency and renewable energy in Illinois.  This is more than the real estate and accounting sector combined.  Over 30,000 of those jobs are from renewable energy.  

The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill will support create 32,000 new jobs once the new standards are in place and fully ramped up in 2021, and maintain that level of job growth for the next decade. That is on top of the 104,000 clean energy jobs in IL today. 17,000 of those new jobs would be in the Chicago area.

Political Beliefs

 

A lot of people have obsticles when they work with government. They feel invisible. It is our responsibility to listen to them, and take their concerns to Springfield with us and to respond to their concerns.

This is the design of representative government: to be responsibe to people in need. It's one of the fundamentals of my political philosophy. 

The public may not see what we do in Springfield as a direct route to problem solving, but the legislature is a deliberative institution that considers the minority and majority interest. And because of that, the route is often not direct.

I look at the legisalture as a labritory of ideas brough into a diverse body of democracy. 

 

Videos (1)

Sara Feigenholtz tells why she should remain the state representative from the 12th district.

Candidate Contact Info

Email campaign@sarafeigenholtz.com
Phone: (773) 296-4141

Who else is running?

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.

PUBLISHING:PRODUCTION SERVER:PRODUCTION