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November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
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Illinois State SenateCandidate for District 25

Photo of Corinne M. Pierog

Corinne M. Pierog

Democratic
Consultant
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Lowering property taxes for Illinois’ homeowners
  • Supporting strong public education from pre-school to university
  • Helping Illinois small business and communities grow

Experience

Experience

Profession:Consultant
Owner and Principal, Sustainable Leadership Solutions - small business owner for 10 years. (2006–current)
Member of the Board of Education, St. Charles Unit School District D303 — Elected position (2009–current)
Council Member, St. Charles Housing Commision — Appointed position (2010–current)
Council Member, Business Enterprise Program, State of Illinois — Appointed position (2012–2015)

Education

Roosevelt University Master of Business Administration, Leadership - Management (2005)
San Francisco State University Master of Arts, Arts Administration, (1978)
University of California, irvine Bachelor of Arts, Theatre (1975)

Community Activities

Board Member, Dance Heritage Collation (2015–current)
Board Member , United Way of Central Kane County (2014–2016)

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 Corinne M. Pierog:

I fully support term limits for legislators and legislative leaders.  Giving a few elite individuals indefinite control of a legislative agenda creates an increasingly partisan atmosphere.  We need ethics and redistricting reform that would allow equitable representation rather than a hand-picked constituency. Fair maps will bring true structural reforms and needs to be our first step.

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

While both sides need to turn down the rhetoric and start focusing on fiscal stewardship and not political rhetoric, I believe that the lion’s share of the blame belongs to Governor Rauner.  By tying his Turnaround Agenda to the FY2016 budget, Rauner played a very dangerous game with the most vulnerable people in our state.  Holding vital services hostage to accomplish a political goal is not leadership.  Both sides need to come together and craft a real solution.  With over $100 billion in unfunded debt and vital nonprofits struggling to provide basic levels of service to our most vulnerable populations, continued gridlock is simply unacceptable.

We are going to have to make tough decisions and cut spending--closing corporate tax loopholes would be a good start--and we are going to have to start spending the money we do have more wisely.  Too much power lies in the hands of legislative leaders and it leads to the sort of intense partisanship that has compounded our state’s budget woes.  Perhaps most importantly, legislators need to focus solely on our state’s financial situation and refrain from tacking partisan items onto bipartisan budget negotiations.

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 Corinne M. Pierog:

I strongly disagree with Governor Rauner.  We need to understand that funding education is an investment in our state’s future.  The 21st century economy runs on a well-educated workforce and our state’s higher education system is the best vehicle we have to educate the next generation of Illinois workers.

We need to stop taking money out of higher education to meet budget shortfalls elsewhere. We need to properly fund education at every level, from early childhood to state universities, if we hope to have a competitive workforce in the coming years.  We especially need to support MAP grants and support a reasonable tuition for working and middle-class families who struggle to trying to pay for their children’s education.

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

Illinois has fallen short of its constitutional obligation to fund education, largely because our current system is too heavily reliant on property taxes.  We need to modernize the school funding formula to make our school system fairer and more effective for all of our students.  However, we must ensure that schools in middle-class areas, like many in my district, do not suffer reduced funding. This is unfair, and would place a greater property tax burden on suburban families. Ultimately we need to invest more funding into education.

Modernizing our state school funding formula and investing in education will not only provide a better and fairer educational system, it could also reduce this property tax burden.  I successfully fought to lower property taxes in St. Charles because Ive seen the hardship that high property tax burdens have had on working families, seniors, and people on a fixed income. 

 

 

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 Corinne M. Pierog:

Illinois has to work toward a sensible budget balanced with judicious spending of Illinois tax money including pension reform and the refinancing the state’s pension obligation by extending the period required to full funding.

 

Illinois tax payers need property tax relief, an issue which I advocated for three years ago on the St. Charles D303 school board. As a result of this effort, St. Charles now has the lowest property tax in Kane County. The impact can be seen around the community: new housing developments are popping up, existing homes within downtown neighborhoods are being renovated, new factories are being built and industries are relocating into the district.  This growth, if extended throughout the state will create revenue without further burdening Illinois’ taxpayers.

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 Corinne M. Pierog:

A safe, clean, modern transit system is key to our state economy.  Transportation infrastructure is essential to attracting and retaining businesses, while also reducing traffic and environmental degradation.  In order to afford necessary investments, we need to get our budgetary obligations in order by putting an end to the practice of sweeping transportation funds for other purposes.  

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 Corinne M. Pierog:

With an over $111 billion unfunded pension debt and the 2013 pension reform efforts being struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois needs a viable solution to the pension crisis that is constitutional and fair to all parties.  We need to bring all parties to the table in good faith negotiation. We should look at reviewing elements of the compromise pension bill (SB 2404) that was agreed upon by labor organizations as well as lawmakers. There are also smaller steps that can be taken immediately, including curbing the spiking of pensions, and educating local school boards on their contract decisions.

Do you support measures to reduce Illinois’ prison population and divert more money into community-based services?
Answer from Corinne M. Pierog:

Safely reducing our prison population is an important bipartisan effort that will benefit taxpayers and communities across the state.  Creating alternatives for nonviolent drug offenders, like drug rehabilitation, home monitoring, and strict enforcement of probation requirements saves tax dollars and provides better chances of reintegration.  It is important to remember that almost half of all ex-offenders return to prison within three years. The costs incurred by recidivism on our state’s budgets and on the families and communities plagued by crime are too high to tolerate.

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 Corinne M. Pierog:

It is very troubling that someone who hasn’t been convicted of a crime is subject to their property being permanently seized by governmental agencies Laws at the local and state level need to be reformed and we need to create a fair process for citizens who have not been convicted of a crime.  I also, however, recognize that asset forfeiture can be an important tool in the fight against major drug traffickers who bring guns and violence to our communities.  I see the need to reform these laws with input from police representatives to ensure that cartels and other criminal organizations can’t take advantage of laws designed to protect law-abiding citizens while protecting civil rights.

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

If a physician states that a person has undergone treatment for the purpose of gender transition, that person should be able to obtain a new birth certificate matching their lived gender without proving they’ve undergone surgery.  Sex-reassignment surgery is not always medically or financially possible.  Transgender individuals are marginalized population and denying them appropriate legal identification is discriminatory and makes these individuals vulnerable to mistreatment and discrimination.

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 Corinne M. Pierog:

Terminally ill individuals face a very personal struggle and at this stage of their life I believe that a person has a right to make a decision on their own terms.  Whenever possible, it is important for a person with an advanced terminal illness to be comfortable and not suffer a prolonged period of time.

 

 

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Corinne M. Pierog:

Gun violence is a devastating problem that tears apart too many communities with fear and violence. We need smart gun control laws, including better background checks and efforts to curb straw gun purchases.  But that alone isn’t enough.  Sixty percent of guns recovered from crimes in Chicago originate from another state. We need stricter penalties for people who bring guns in from out of state to avoid our laws.  We also need to support community initiatives like Ceasefire that haven proven successful in reducing gun crime along with supporting strong schools and job training opportunities.

 

 

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 Corinne M. Pierog:

I support an increase in the state minimum wage because people who work full-time jobs should be earning enough to feed, clothe, and house their families. Individuals who work full time should have an income that is not below the poverty line.  A higher minimum wage puts more money into the pockets of working families who will spend that money in their communities, which will drive employers to hire more workers.  Additionally, achieving wage equality for women requires a fair minimum wage.  Two out of three minimum wage workers are women, who are also disproportionately likely to be single parents. 

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 Corinne M. Pierog:

I support healthy lifestyles but I think that this tax is misguided.  This would be a burden on business and low-income families and won’t improve the lives of Illinois families who need relief from this sort of taxation.

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 Corinne M. Pierog:

I strongly support the push to increase the development and use of renewable energy sources.  Updating and strengthening our renewable energy and energy efficiency laws will lower electricity costs for families and businesses, create over 30,000 new jobs per year, and make our state a cleaner, better place for future generations.

 

I also support the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, which would increase the share of renewable energy in Illinois by 35% by focusing on wind and solar power.  The current commitment, 25% by 2025, is a step in the right direction but we can do more to protect our environment and create jobs in Illinois.

Videos (1)

— October 3, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times

Corinne Pierog tells why she should be the state senator from the 25th district.

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