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

Photo of Jim Oberweis

Jim Oberweis

Republican
Founder - Oberweis Asset Management and The Oberweis Funds. Currently Chairman of Oberweis Dairy.
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Pass a common sense balanced budget
  • Enact the necessary reforms to keep and grow jobs in Illinois
  • Establish defined contribution plan (instead of current budget busting defined benefit plan) for new hires and get necessary funding in place for the current retirement plans to ensure that current employees receive the retirement benefits they are e

Experience

Experience

Profession:Founder - Oberweis Asset Management and The Oberweis Funds. Currently Chairman of Oberweis Dairy.
Chairman, Oberweis Dairy (1986–current)
State Senator, Illinois (2013–current)
State Senator, Illinois Senate — Elected position (2013–current)
President, Oberweis Securities and Oberweis Asset Management (1994–2006)

Education

University of Chicago MBA, Business (1980)
University of Illinois - Urbana B/A, Political Science and Economics (1968)
Marmion Military Academy High School (1964)

Community Activities

Trustee, Northern Illinois Food Bank (2011–current)
President, Oberweis Foundation (1985–current)
Past President, the Illinois Chess Association (1987–1988)
Past President , University of Chicago Executive Program Alumni Association (1986–1987)

Biography

Jim is an entrepreneur. After starting his career as a math and science teacher at Waldo Jr. High in Aurora, he entered the financial services industry where he started three mutual funds, two stockbrokerage firms and an asset management company that today manages approximately $2.5 billion in growth stock assets. In 1986 he purchased the then 60 year old family business, Oberweis Dairy, a processor of the finest milk and ice cream produced anywhere in the world. In the last 30 years the company has grown from 50 employees to over 1200 today and from $5 million in sales when Jim bought it to $80 million today. The company had one ice cream store in 1990. Today it has 40 with several more under consideration. Jim is Chairman of the Board of Oberweis Dairy. He has been interviewed on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg TV and many other television stations.

In the 1980s Jim sponsored and directed many chess tournament s for kids in Illinois. Jim's daughter, Julie, became the first female statewide chess champion in Illinois history when she won the state Jr. High Chess Championship in 1991.

In the late 1980's Jim started the Oberweis Foundation, a charitable trust set up to sponsor kid's activities like chess-in-the-schools and to help children and adults in the most difficult economic circumstances, such as those served by Hesed House and Northern Illinois Food Bank.

The Oberweis companies have received numerous awards for outstanding achievement and community service including the 2007 Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Corporate Award for Outstanding Leadership in Helping Build a Better American Community, the Lipper Fund award for Best Mutual Fund over the Last Three Years, Small-Cap Growth Funds, and the Loyola University Family Business Center award for the 2004 Best Large Business in Illinois and, in addition, its Community Service award. According to Morningstar, the Oberweis China Opportunities Fund was the second best performing mutual fund in the country in 2006 out of over 20,000 mutual funds, up an impressive 81% for the year, and has had a 12% compound return since its inception 10 years ago. Jim was selected to receive the Leadership Award from the UIC Family Business Council presented by Crain's.

Mr. Oberweis has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. He has five children, ranging in age from 46 to 35, two step children, and twenty grandchildren. His wife, Julie, works with him at Oberweis Dairy. Jim is past President of the University of Chicago Executive Program Alumni Association and the Illinois Chess Association and has served as a trustee of The Compassion Foundation, the American Chess Foundation, the U.S. Chess Trust, The Oberweis Family of Mutual Funds, Colborne Foodbotics, The Oberweis Foundation, Diamond Marketing, the United Republican Fund, the Prestbury Citizens Association, and the Illinois Republican State Central Committee. He has served as a director of both public and private corporations and the Chicago Presidents' Organization. He has served in the Illinois Senate since 2012 and was also the Republican nominee for the United States Senate in 2014 and defeated Dick Durbin in 88 of the 102 Illinois counties but lost Cook County and the election. In addition to serving in the Illinois Senate, Jim is the Chairman of Oberweis Dairy, Inc.. He is also a FINRA arbitrator and serves on the board of the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

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 Jim Oberweis:

Absolutely!  I was the number one volunteer circulator of the term limits petition.  Term limited legislators tend to vote in ways they believe are good for the country and our state whereas career politicians tend to vote in ways they believe are good for their own reelection.  I also support term limits for legislative leaders but that is not a sufficient solution to our problems.  Term limits for all is.

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

MIKE MADIGAN and his minions.  Illinois is a financial disaster.  We have the largest unfunded pension liability of any state in the nation and the lowest bond credit rating.  We have one of the highest tax burdens of any state in the nation.  Our unemployment rate is among the highest.  We are losing jobs and people to surrounding states because we have one of the most business unfriendly states in the nation.  We must pass the common sense reforms proposed by Governor Rauner or we will continue to lose people and jobs to other states, eventually resulting in a collapse of our financial structure.  With those reforms, we could again begin to expand our economy and grow our way out of this mess.

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 Jim Oberweis:

No one wants to cut aid to Higher Education or social services or anywhere else.  But we have been overspending for years.  The Governor has put people in place to begin to operate our state agencies in a more efficicient manor but that is not enough to balance our budget.  Some spending cuts are necessary to reach a balance.  That may mean that cuts are required in many areas.

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

First of all, I believe we need to make our formula more understandable.  We should fully fund our foundation level (which we are doing this year for the first time in seven years) and add specific grants for poverty levels and special needs.  Illinois Vision 20/20 is attempting to identify the most effective ways to spend taxpayer dollars to produce a quality education for all.

Question 5

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?

No answer provided.
Question 6

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?

No answer provided.
Question 7

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?

No answer provided.
Question 8

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

No answer provided.
Question 9

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?

No answer provided.
Do you support allowing transgender persons born in Illinois to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery first?
Answer from Jim Oberweis:

no 

Question 11

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.

No answer provided.
What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Jim Oberweis:

We must get the Illinois economy growing again to create more job opportunities. Good jobs keep kids out of gangs, drugs, and violence. 

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 Jim Oberweis:

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that a $10.10 national minimum wage would bring about 900,000 people from below the poverty line to above the poverty line.  That would be great.  But they also estimated that the increased minimum wage would mean the loss of about 500,000 jobs.  Unfortunately our teenagers entering the work force, especially minorities, would be greatly hurt by this.  I believe I have an answer.  I filed legislation to increase the Illinois minimum wage to $10 over three years but it would only apply to those 26 and older (the age at which kids have to pay for their own healthcare plans since they can no longer be on parents' healthcare plans).  My bill offered the best of both worlds, providing an increase to those workers with a little experience while not causing a substantial loss of jobs for younger workers entering the workforce.  Unfortunately, the Democrat majority would not even allow a committee hearing on my bill.  In a spirit of compromise, I was able to get the Illinois Retail Merchants Association to agree to not oppose my bill. I would have been happy to discuss further compromise as to the age levels.

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 Jim Oberweis:

Oppose.   At some point, we must take resonsibilty for our own actions.  Singling out soft drinks for special taxes is not an appropriate government action in my opinion.

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 Jim Oberweis:

Support, but ultimately the market must determine which sources we choose.  If we can reasonably determine the environmental cost of one source over another, it makes sense to make an adjustment for that environmental cost, but that is not easy to do.

Videos (1)

Jim Oberweis tells why he should remain the state senator from the 25th district.

Candidate Contact Info

Email joberweis@oberweis.net
Phone: 630-801-6072

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