presents
Voter’s Edge Illinois
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
MapLight
November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
We depend on your support.
Share your knowledge

Text VOTE to 52000 to donate $10.

Do you feel better informed having used Voter's Edge?

Help us inform other voters.

Illinois State House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 56

Photo of Michelle Mussman

Michelle Mussman

Democratic
Full-time legislator
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.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • I will work to be a strong voice for women, to protect critical women’s health services, like life-saving breast cancer screenings, from devastating cuts.
  • I will push to ensure law enforcement has enough resources to do their jobs and protect our communities. That includes making sure we are funding resources like the sex offender registry and individual departments to process untested rape kits.
  • I want to strengthen support for mental health treatment and prevent the severely mentally ill from obtaining guns and also require background checks for any individual purchasing a firearm in Illinois.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Full-time legislator
State Representative of the 56th District, State of Illinois (2011–current)
State Representative of the 56th District, Illinois House of Representatives — Elected position (2011–current)

Education

University of Cincinnati Bachelor of Science in Design, Graphic Design (1995)

Community Activities

Board Member, WINGS (2012–current)
Board Member , Children’s Advocacy Center of Illinois (2012–current)
Chair , Northwest Suburban Alliance on Domestic Violence (2015–current)
Member , Communities for Positive Youth Development (2014–current)
Member , Roosevelt Schaumburg Advisory Council (2016–current)

Biography

I am the full-time State Representative of the 56th District. Prior to being elected as State Representative, I served as president and treasurer of my local Parent Teacher Association and as a member of the Schaumburg Township Council of Parent Teacher Associations.  Since taking office, I have pushed to make Illinois more fiscally responsible, backing measures to cut millions in wasteful government spending to provide tax relief and to protect vital services for vulnerable residents like seniors and people with disabilities.  As a mother of three and a wife of a local school teacher, I know the importance of protecting our children’s education.  That is why I am standing against proposals in Springfield that would divert millions of dollars away from local schools.  I also believe working families deserve property tax relief.  That is why I am supporting a measure that freezes local property taxes from automatically increasing and to require approval from voters before taxes can go up again. In addition to strengthening schools and freezing property taxes, my priorities include growing the local economy by attracting stable middle-class jobs and new businesses to the region.  I also support eliminating perks for current and retired politicians, like free taxpayer-funded health care and making it easier to revoke lucrative government pensions for politicians who commit felonies.

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 Michelle Mussman:

Yes, I support term limits.  I would like to see the specifics of any proposed legislation before throwing my full support behind it.  The governor’s plan for term limits has gone through various changes since he began talking about the issue.  If term limits were to become the law in Illinois, I would like to see that it applies equally to all members, including constitutional officers.  Further, I think other options should be explored by those who are financing the public media campaign for term limits, such as automatic voter registration.

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

If politicians focused half as much on solving the budget stalemate as much as they do on placing blame, we would be much closer to a solution. Politicians on both sides of the aisle, past and present, bear responsibility for the budget stalemate.  The people of Illinois elected a Republican governor and a Democratic General Assembly, and they did it expecting us to work together to find a common-sense solution.  We must resolve the budget stalemate by focusing on the budget, plain and simple.  Instead of cutting education, public safety, and other essential services that middle class families depend on, I believe we should balance the budget by closing corporate tax loopholes and raising tax rates on multi-millionaires so they pay their fair share.

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 Michelle Mussman:

The thought of eliminating support for higher education, and making it more difficult for our young people to go to college is wrong.  Many students struggle to get into school, and upon graduation are faced with a mountain of debt that often takes over a decade to pay off.  The students in my district deserve an affordable, quality college education.  They come from hard-working middle-class families and rightfully expect the state to support higher education.  That is why I will continue to fight to support higher education on their behalf.  I have consistently stood against the governor’s plan to slash higher education by 30% and have also voted to increase funding for the Monetary Award Program to help needy students get an education and enter the workforce prepared.

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

I stood against a bailout of CPS that would have robbed schools in our community of millions of dollars in funding.  Under no circumstances should our local schools be expected to do with less funding to bail out the mismanagement of other politicians’ schools.  I am also against attempts to slash state education funding that would force local schools to eliminate classroom programs and lay off teachers.   I will continue to fight to increase state resources that our children deserve.  I voted for House Bill 3763 to increase funding for our schools and feel there is no greater investment our state can make than in our children’s futures.

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 Michelle Mussman:

Instead of cutting education, public safety, and other essential services that middle-class families depend on, I believe we should balance the budget by closing corporate tax loopholes and raising tax rates on multi-millionaires so they pay their fair share, an initiative that received support at the ballot from over 60% of my district.  I will not support a tax on the middle-class, which will only serve to place a greater financial burden on already struggling families.  Other items I am open to review to save money include rolling back pay for certain state boards and commissions, consolidating duplicative government services, and eliminating the lieutenant governor’s office as well as consolidating the offices of state comptroller and treasurer.  Further, as a legislator that has voted six times to cut my own pay since taking office, I feel we need a 10% pay reduction for legislators and constitutional officers and a deferment of the cost of living adjustments for members of the general assembly.  I would also support requiring approval of a voter referendum before any legislative salaries are increased.  We work for the voters and are accountable to them to keep our jobs.  Our pay should be treated the same.

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 Michelle Mussman:

Yes, I support protecting funding for our transportation infrastructure.  I have serious reservations about taking funds earmarked for transportation projects to instead balance the state’s budget.  Dipping into dedicated funds to pay for non-related items is partly what got our state into the financial mess it’s in right now.  One way to start protecting our infrastructure investments is by closing corporate tax loopholes and raising tax rates on multi-millionaires so they pay their fair share.

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 Michelle Mussman:

As laid out in the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision on Senate Bill 1, public pensions constitute a contractual relationship that cannot be diminished or impaired.  However, we need to make sure that those who are receiving their pensions are fully entitled to them, as there have been instances in local governments where elected officials are receiving taxpayer funded pensions but could not show documentation proving they were legally entitled to them.  Taxpayers should not be on the hook for funding pensions for politicians who should not be getting them in the first place.  Many months of negotiations went into the crafting of Senate Bill 1.  Any new proposal will most likely require a more rigorous drafting process, but we must remain committed to solving this issue no matter how long it takes.

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

The best way to lower the prison population is by lowering crime, and that is done buy growing jobs, spurring economic development, and creating opportunity.  I do not support letting dangerous criminals out of prison and back on the streets as a means to cut costs.

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 Michelle Mussman:

As I go door to door throughout my district to talk about the issues facing our state, this is not a topic that typically is brought up.  Residents are concerned about the state budget and how they’re going to make ends meet.  They want to know that we are going to pass a budget that supports the middle-class by closing corporate tax loopholes and making millionaires pay their fair share.  They want to know that we are going to do all we can to protect our state’s most vulnerable residents, like those with disabilities, and senior citizens, and homeless veterans.  They want to know if their child will be able to attend a high-preforming school with all the resources they deserve in the classroom.  My residents want to know their police departments have all the resources they need to keep our communities safe and to respond to crimes quickly to make sure dangerous criminals are brought to justice swiftly.

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

I think this is an issue worthy of discussion.  As a supporter of Senate Bill 10 in the 98th General Assembly, I supported same sex marriage and civil unions.  As with any piece of legislation, I would first like to review the specifics of any proposed language and hear the arguments as to why the new law would be needed in Illinois. 


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 Michelle Mussman:

This issue relies on many unanswered questions that would need to be addressed before I would decide upon my vote on this hypothetical piece of legislation.  This is not an issue that has been brought up as a major concern from my constituents, many of whom would rather focus on the issue of passing a balanced state budget that protects the middle-class and our most vulnerable residents from reckless cuts and dangerous agendas that will hurt working families.

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Michelle Mussman:

I am a proud to have co-sponsored many pieces of legislation aimed at curbing gun violence.  These bills include House Bill 6303 which will help to put an end to gun traffickers in Illinois, House Bill 6588 which will keep people on the terrorist watch list from obtaining dangerous firearms, House Bill 1016 which is backed by Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and would require gun dealers to be licensed in Illinois, and House Bill 3160 which creates a process by which a court can take away a person’s firearms if sufficient evidence is presented that the individual is a danger to him or herself and others.  I am not afraid to stand up to the National Rifle Association and feel common-sense should drive our public safety policies, not major special interest groups.

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 Michelle Mussman:

I support legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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 Michelle Mussman:

I am opposed to a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. While I’d like to see people, especially children, drink less sugar-sweetened drinks, this tax is not the answer.  Such a tax would only add to the tax burden so many families are struggling to overcome to make ends meet. 

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 Michelle Mussman:

Investing in clean energy jobs is a win-win for our environment and our economy.  By moving our industry into the clean energy field, we will be creating more jobs that will support middle-class families and help rejuvenate our economy.  I co-sponsored House Bill 2607, the Illinois “Clean Jobs Bill” because we need to make sure that we are protecting the environment for generations to come, and help to grow a new industry to create local jobs.  The “Clean Jobs Bill” can lower electricity costs, meet and exceed proposed EPA carbon pollution goals, and leave Illinois a better place for our children and grandchildren.  At the same time, the Clean Jobs Bill can generate an estimated 32,000 new jobs in Illinois. That’s on top of the 100,000 clean energy jobs in Illinois today.  But changes will not happen overnight, and we need to make sure that future plans do not place a greater burden on middle-class families by creating new fee or tax increases.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

My political philosophy is about putting my district first and being the most accessible and responsive member of the General Assembly in the state.  My focus is about bringing state government to my constituents’ doorsteps and being proactive about the questions and concerns my residents have.  As a parent and a homeowner, I understand the need to invest in our local schools.  That is why I fought so the children of the 56th District are not shortchanged and receive their fair share from the state.  I am standing up against attempts to slash education funding that would force local schools to eliminate classroom programs and lay off teachers.  Further, I have a consistent record of voting for property tax relief.  Illinois has the highest property taxes in the country and it is placing a major financial burden on many middle-class families.  I will continue to fight to freeze property taxes and give homeowners needed relief.

Videos (1)

— October 17, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times

Candidate Contact Info

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

PUBLISHING:PRODUCTION SERVER:PRODUCTION