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November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
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Illinois State House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 61

Photo of Nick Ciko

Nick Ciko

Democratic
Teacher
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Property Tax Relief
  • Quality Schools
  • Working with members of both parties to balance the budget responsibly

Experience

Experience

Profession:Teacher
Teacher, Mundelein School District 75 (1997–current)
School Board Member, Community High School District 117 — Elected position (2013–current)
Governing Board Member, Special Education District of Lake County — Appointed position (2013–current)
Realtor, ReMax Advantage (2003–2010)

Education

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign B.S. , Education (1997)

Community Activities

Member, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (1977–current)

Biography

Having lived in Lake County nearly all their lives, Nick and his wife Liz reside in Nick's hometown of Lindenhurst. Together they have two children: Andrew (7) and Caroline (4). Nick attended the University of Illinois where he received a Bachelor of Science in Education. Liz received a degree in education from Northwestern University. Both Nick and Liz have spent the past 15 years as public school teachers in Lake County. 

It is his deep roots in his community, and a belief in providing quality education for all children that led Nick to run and win a seat on the Antioch-Lakes High School Board. As a member of that board, Nick is proud of the excellent opportunities students are provided while the district has earned outstanding fiscal ratings from the State of Illinois. District 117 has been able to expand its programming, maintain a healthy fund balance, and issue tax abatements for two consecutive years. It's this type balance that Nick feels is desperately needed at the state level. 

While spending years working with families through the public education system, Nick also sold real estate out of ReMax Advantage, in Antioch. This was a powerful experience as it gave Nick the opportunity to help families in new ways and gain a greater insight into the hopes, concerns, and problems facing families in Lake County. Through his experiences as a teacher, a self-employed businessman, and public official, Nick has demonstrated the ability to act independently of political pressure, to view problems from multiple perspectives, and to advocate for others.
 

It's with a desire to serve, and the ability to work hard that Nick seeks to be an effective voice for the 61st District.

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 Nick Ciko:

I support term limits at every level of government.

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

It is difficult to find much reason to praise most officials in Springfield at all, regardless of position or party.  Looking forward, we need to elect representatives and senators who have the courage to vote independently from their leadership.  We need a willingness to work across the aisle.  We need to value common sense and compromise instead of demanding partisan purity.

More specifically speaking, there are countless areas of Illinois government that could benefit from reform. Digging in on a handful of issues then grandstanding is the surest way to obstruct progress. Issues like government consolidation, education, and property tax relief are potential opportunities for real reform with real results and could potentially set a positive tone for continued bipartisan legislation.

 

 

  

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 Nick Ciko:

Illinois has a long history of being a leader in education and innovation.  This is why Illinois is home to many corporations who are leaders in their industry.   The governor's plans to cut funding by 30 percent will have a devastating effect on this.  Illinois would be best served by keeping its talent pool here as this will also help keep businesses here.

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

I believe we need our state to make a greater commitment to education.  Illinois is near the bottom when it comes to state funding for education.  This is also why our property taxes are among the highest in the nation.  I would like to see our state increase its school funding, easing some of the pressure on property owners, and leveling some of the current inequalities that exist, but doing so in a manner that doesn't cut current funding levels for any district.

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 Nick Ciko:

The best way to increase revenue is by attracting, expanding, and retaining business.  We should reward businesses with investment tax credits and close revenue stripping tax loopholes.  At the same time, must reduce spending– cutting waste, improving inefficient programs, and eliminating fraud and abuse. We should also explore liquidating unnecessary or costly state assets. All of these options should be exhausted before considering any individual tax increase. 

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 Nick Ciko:

I do support a constitutional amendment that would require money raised for transportation to be spent on transportation.  In general, I oppose sweeping any funds designated for one purpose and using them for another.  This behavior is what has enabled our current legislators to avoid passing a balanced budget for two years.   

I support inceased funding for infastructure.  I believe funding can come from areas such as closing tax loopholes, and liquidating unnecessary or costly state assets.

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 Nick Ciko:

I am open to any proposal that responsibly addresses the problem, including plans that would adjust COLA increases or cap creditable earnings.  The challenge is devising a solution that is constitutional, though I believe it can be done. 

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

I do not support any plan that would put dangerous criminals back 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 Nick Ciko:

This is an issue that I would like to speak with police and local residents about.  

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

I am inclined to say no; however, debate on this issue has not fully occured in our state legislature, and I would like to see the specifics of any proposal regarding this.

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 Nick Ciko:

My view is that should this become an important issue to Illinoisans, legislators will need to give it serious consideration.  It is a complicated and personal issue and there are many questions that would have to be answered before giving one here.  I have not met anyone within my community who has brought this issue to my attention.  Voters in my district are primarily concerned with funding for education, and our current legislators' failure to establish a balanced budget and offer property tax relief to homeowners.

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Nick Ciko:

First of all, I would like to state that I support the Second Amendment and the right to own a gun.  That said, I do support measures that would keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists, the mentally ill, and people with a history of violent crimes.  

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 Nick Ciko:

Income inequality is growing in this country and that is because wages for too many working middle class families have been flat for too many years.  Statistics show that people working full time earning minimum wage still live in poverty.  Therefore, I do support an increase in minimum wage.  However, I think we need to be mindful of the impact this will have on businesses, particularly small businesses, and do this in a way that companies can remain profitable.    

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 Nick Ciko:

I do not support adding a 1 cent tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Illinois.

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 Nick Ciko:

I am absolutely in favor of renewable, cleaner energy sources and I think the Clean Jobs Bill (HB2607) is a good place to start.  My primary concern as we move in this direction will be watching for increased costs to taxpayers and helping workers transition to these new jobs.  

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I believe in democracy, our Constitution, and the separation of church and state.  

Videos (1)

— October 3, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times

Nick Ciko tells why he should be the state representative from the 61st district.

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