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November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
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Illinois State House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 15

Photo of John C. D'Amico

John C. D'Amico

Democratic
Elected Official
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Continue to work on transportation safety related bills. I want to continue to build on the already exisiting laws to help reduce road related fatalities, and to make Illinois roads as safe as possible.
  • To continue to work towards acheiving quality education for all kids. I want to make sure each student has the best opportunity to succeed, while no one is deprived of quality education.
  • I want to continue working with local and state police agencies to help reduca crime throughout the state, and to toughen penalties on crimes in which a firearm is used.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Elected Official
State Represntative, 15th District of Illinois — Elected position (2004–current)

Biography

Born June 12, 1962, graduated from St. Eduward Elementary School. Weber High School in Chicago, and attended Northeastern Illinois University. Currently the assistant superintendant in the Chicago Water Department, and member of Plumber Local Union 130 since 1982.

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 John C. D'Amico:

I support term limits for legislators. While I support the idea of term limits, it is important to know the specifics of any proposal, such as how many terms a legislator could serve and if legislators could serve more time in other chambers. Gov. Rauner has changed his mind several times on these specifics. I believe that if term limits are to be applied to legislators, they would apply equally to all members.

Who do you think bears responsibility for the budget stalemate? Do you have your own ideas on how to resolve it?
Answer from John C. D'Amico:

It is the constitutional responsibility of the governor to introduce a budget and it is the responsibility of the General Assembly to pass a budget. This process is meant to be a cooperative one, so all responsibility is shared. However, cooperation has been lacking in our efforts to pass budgets that prevent massive cuts to vital programs and services. I believe in a common-sense, balanced approach to the state budget that identifies areas that can be cut without devastating critical services such as breast cancer screenings, meals and care for the elderly, funding domestic violence shelters and victims of rape, and more resources for all local schools, combined with new revenue by increasing tax rates on millionaires and closing corporate tax loopholes.

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 John C. D'Amico:

I oppose Governor Rauner's plan to slash state support for Illinois colleges and universities by 30%. I was a co-sponsor of SB 2043, which funded MAP Grants. More than 16,000 students are leaving Illinois for college elsewhere, this is a devastating statistic. This will only continue to get worse under dangerous budgetary decisions that hurt Illinois' future. 

How should the state’s school funding formula be changed to give all children a better chance at a quality education?
Answer from John C. D'Amico:

The way in which the state funds our public schools needs to be updated in order to reflect the changes necessary so all students receive an excellent education. However, these changes should not result in losses of funding for schools of the children I represent. I have always been committed to working to find ways to make education funding more equitable. This will require a great deal of work and dedication to make sure the schools I represent do not suffer loss of essential support. I was a co-sponosor on HB 3763 which supported a budget plan of increasing funding for local schools, and I voted Yes on SB 2048 

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 John C. D'Amico:

I have supported HJRCA 26, as well as closing coprorate tax loopholes, but I reject additional taxes on the middle class. I support cutting the state vehicle fleet, the state air fleet, consolidating the offices of the state comptroller and treasurer, eliminating the lieutenant governor's office, reducing the number of state-issued cell-phones, eliminating unnecessary overtime at state agencies, consolidating services provided by state agencies, rolling back or eliminating pay for boards and commissions, and giving more authority to the Auditor General to identify overlapping and duplicative services, responsibilities, and operations.

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 John C. D'Amico:

I do support a constitutional amendment putting funds in a lockbox for transportation. 

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 John C. D'Amico:

In the legislature, many years of work led to a law that was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It is clear that something must be done to ensure the state's pensions funds remain solvent for all those who have worked and paid into their retirement. All involved in Illinois understand reforms are needed. any changes need to be fair to taxpayers and the the employees. All legislarion effecting these changes should be crafted with careful consideration and all stakeholders at the table.

It is not worth anything that our state retirement system funds have gotten into their present condition primarily for two reasons; decades of neglect in which both parties failed to make sufficient contributions, and the recession's negative impact on investment returns. There will be no easy or quick fix to this situation; but I am eager and willing to continue to work towards a common-sense solution that puts pensions on the path to solvency.

Do you support measures to reduce Illinois’ prison population and divert more money into community-based services?
Answer from John C. D'Amico:

Among my neighbors and constituents the biggest concern I hear about is safety and security for our families. I do not support plans that allow any dangerous or potentially dangerous criminal to be released from prison early and into our neighborhoods.

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 John C. D'Amico:

This is not an issue I hear about from the residents within my district. They are more concerned with keeping our neighborhoods free from crime. they would all like to see more funding for police and first responders in the state budget to be devoted to public safety measures, such as providing more funding to reduce the number of rape-kit backlogs in order to hold rapists accountable for their crimes, which was why I supported a budget that provided that needed funding. The residents want more common-sense gun laws, banning assult weapons, and background checks for all gun purchasers - measures that I support. They also want to make sure funding is secured for programs that track sex offenders, while letting us know when predators are in our neighborhoods. That is why I supported a budget plan that provided needed funding.

Do you support allowing transgender persons born in Illinois to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery first?
Answer from John C. D'Amico:

I am proud to have supported legislation and laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, as well as allowing civil unions and allowing gay marriages in Illinois. I support efforts that would bring greater equality to Illinois residents. As of late, the General Assembly has not had a thorough discussion regarding changing transgender gender markers on birth certificates. These types of proposals deserve debate and discussion, and I would like to see the specifics to address concerns that may rise.

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 John C. D'Amico:

There are many questions that would need to be addressed on "death with dignity". These would include who would have the final authority to make decisions in such situations. This is not a simple iussue, and currently it has not been discussed in Illinois; nor is this an issue that residents that I speak with have brought up. I find that we need to be addressing issues that are being discussed by my constituents including funding for breast cancer screenings, domestic violence shelters, meals for the elderly, and education.

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from John C. D'Amico:

We have seen too many tragedies and lives lost caused by people with deadly firearms who should not have had the ability to posses these deadly weapons in the first place. Following the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the Illinois House of Representatives took an important step in establishing a task force to hear from experts on how to keep the mentally ill from obtaining deadly firearms. Sadly, we don't need to read the national news to learn about gun violence and tragedies when so many happen in our own town every year. We need to work harder to increase a sense of security for families in our neighborhoods and in our schools. I support common-sense measures to prevent these deadly tragedies. I will work to strenghen mental health treatment and prevent the mentally ill from obtaining guns, I support a ban on assault weapons, and I support requiring background checks on anyone purchasing a firearm. I support HB 1060, a bill the NRA called "outrageous," but is supported by shooting survivor, former Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, and requires gun dealers to be licensed; HB 6588, which I co-sponsor, would prevent suspected terrorists from obtaining gun permits; and I voted Yes on HB 3603, which is intended to help crack down on gun trafficking in Illinois.

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 John C. D'Amico:

I support increasing the minimum wage. We need to do more to help working families that struggle to get onto the path to making a living wage. Despite statewide support among Illinois voters for an increase in the minimum wage, it has been difficult to find consensus on what that wage should be raised to and what the specifics of the increase should be, such as whether it should happen all at once, or gradually be increased over time. These are discussions that should continue with the goal of finally increasing the minimum wage in Illinois. Unforunately, statistics have shown that more than 100,000 people in Illinois work full-time at minimum wage, $8.25 per hour, and a 40 hour work week means they make only $16,500 a year. This is nowhere close to an adequate wage, especially for those who are trying to support a family. Congressional Research Service shows the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, making it harder for those trying to support a family.  We need to do more to help put struggling families on the path to a living wage.

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 John C. D'Amico:

i understand the intention of tax proposals, such as this one, however I do not support this at this time.

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 John C. D'Amico:

I co-sponsor HB 2607, the Clean Jobs bill. Not only does this bill establish a long-term renewable resource procurment plan, it also creates jobs in the long run. I also voted Yes on HB 1326 to protect the Mahomet Aquafier from manufactured gas plant waste.

For the future of our children and grandchildren, we need to help create a sustainable environemnt. By taking action now, we can prevent extreme weather events and variations that cause an array of issues for agriculture such as droughts, or flooding that may increase the introduction of diseases, while having agriculture workers lose their jobs. Investing in clean energy will create a better living environment, as well as maintain and create new jobs all across the state.

Videos (1)

John D'Amico tells why he should remain the representative from the 15th district.

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