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November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
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Illinois State House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 18

Photo of Robyn Gabel

Robyn Gabel

Elected Official, I am currently the Illinois State Representative for the 18th District
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Passing a fully balanced budget and restoring Illinois to long-term fiscal stability
  • Reducing the level of gun violence in Illinois
  • Creating an equitable funding formula for school districts across the state.



Profession:Elected Official, I am currently the Illinois State Representative for the 18th District
Illinois State Representative, 18th District, Illinois House of Representatives — Elected position (2010–current)
Executive Director, Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition (1988–2010)


Beloit College B.A, Anthropology (current)
Loyola University Law School, Chicago MJ, Health Law, Health Law (1998)
The University of Illinois Chicago, School of Public Health M.S.P.H., Public Health (1979)

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 Robyn Gabel:

I do not support term limits for legislators. It deprives voters of choices, increases the power of lobbyists and unelected bureaucrats, and hasn’t been shown to increase fiscal stability or legislative performance where it has been implemented. Some research indicates that term limits increase the number of professional politicians and decreases time devoted to communicating with constituents.


I support term limits for legislative leaders and was a co-sponsor of legislation to that effect in 2011.

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

I believe that Governor Rauner bears the bulk of the blame for the recent budget stalemate. In the three years prior to election, Illinois had substantially cut the amount owed on outstanding bills while making its required payments to the pension funds.

Had we continued on that track, almost the entire backlog of unpaid bills would be settled by now. Instead, the amount owed has ballooned to approximately $10 billion and many crucial services have been compromised.. This has been a travesty for the citizens of Illinois.


Budget negotiations should not be held hostage to the Governor’s “Turnaround Agenda” which has no fiscal impact. These items should be discussed and voted on separately.

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 Robyn Gabel:

Without a serious commitment from the Governor to work with the legislature, large budget cuts will be necessary for higher education and many other services. I encourage the Governor to negotiate in good faith with legislators starting today.

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

School districts with a low property tax base and/or a high percentage of poor or disadvantaged children need more support from the state. I support moving Illinois toward a funding system that supports evidence-based best practices for all schools districts across the state.


However, we must hold harmless more affluent districts that have built budgets around the current levels of support.

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 Robyn Gabel:

I support a graduated income tax to generate the additional funds we need.

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 Robyn Gabel:

I support this proposed constitutional amendment.  Protecting the dedicated funding for transportation should ensure adequate revenues.

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 Robyn Gabel:

The Illinois Supreme Court has tied our hands regarding any changes to current pensioners and employees. The 2010 pension reform has already created a new tier of pensions that are less expensive to the state.


One thing we can do is reamortize the debt. This will give us a stable and predictable annual payment into the pension funds. I am also willing to consider a pension buy-out program as suggested by Senator Daniel Biss.

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


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 Robyn Gabel:

Our civil asset forfeiture system needs to be overhauled. People are innocent until proven guilty. Losing property through confiscation is a penalty innocent people should not have to pay.

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

Yes. Respecting the rights of transgendered people is an important value to me and voters in my district.

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 Robyn Gabel:

I am supportive of the general principle of “death with dignity.” The General Assembly has only begun to consider this issue and has not yet developed a full-fledged proposal. I look forward to more productive dialogue about this in the near future.

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Robyn Gabel:

All of them. I am one of the loudest voices for reducing gun violence in Springfield today. The current strategy is to focus on two bills, both of which I co-sponsor. The first would regulate gun dealers, the second would allow judges to issue temporary court orders barring people with mental illness from possessing guns on the recommendation of law enforcement officers or close relatives.

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 Robyn Gabel:

I strongly support the $15 an  hour minimum wage. Municipalities should be allowed to enact minimum wage laws in accord with the values of their citizens provided they meet or exceed the state minimum 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 Robyn Gabel:

I am the chief House sponsor of this measure. We are facing a crisis of chronic health conditions even among children in Illinois. This bill would both discourage the excessive consumption of sugary beverages and give the state $600 million a year in revenue to address these health concerns.

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 Robyn Gabel:

As chief co-sponsor of the Clean Energy Jobs Bill I strongly support increasing our investments in clean energy. This bill will create 32,000 jobs in Illinois, many in the energy efficiency sector.

Videos (1)

Robyn Gabel tells why she should remain the state representative from the 18th district.

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