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November 8, 2016 — Illinois Elección General

Illinois State House of RepresentativesCandidato para Distrito 84

Photo de Stephanie A. Kifowit

Stephanie A. Kifowit

Demócrata
Full Time State Legislator
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Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • Responsible and Balanced budget
  • Properly Fund Education, both K-12 and Higher Education
  • Repair our Social Service Network to ensure vital services, like Early Intervention and Senior services are restored to those in need.

Experiencia

Experiencia

Profesión:Full Time State Legislator
Full Time legislator, State of Illinois (2013–current)
State Representative, 84th District, Illinois House of Representatives — Cargo elegido (2013–current)
Alderman, City of Aurora — Cargo elegido (2003–2012)

Educación

Northern Illinois University Master in Public Administration, Public Policy and Government (2004)

Preguntas y Respuestas

Preguntas de Chicago Sun-Times (15)

Do you support term limits for legislators? Do you support term limits for legislative leaders? Please explain.
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

I am open to considering proposals for term limits.  However, I believe that any proposal for term limits must ensure that the people of Illinois are fairly represented and the elected officials are able to represent constituents to the fullest of their abilities.  In the current roster of the General Assembly, only 17% of the Illinois House of Representatives has 12 years in office or more (13D and 8R by my calculation).  As a newer member of the General Assembly, given the complex nature of legislative initiatives, I have found advice from more experienced members of the General Assembly, from both sides of the aisle, beneficial to passing legislation important to my district.  It is important that any legislation does not empower the lobbyists.  Also, I am open to considering proposals for leadership term limits.

 

Who do you think bears responsibility for the budget stalemate? Do you have your own ideas on how to resolve it?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

The budget stalemate began with the veto of the appropriation bills by the Governor in 2015.  The appropriation bills gave spending authority approximately 10% above projected revenues.  The Governor has sole authority to administer this spending, which includes not spending these funds, and negated this responsiblity by the veto action.  Since this action, there have been subsequent bills presented, that ultimately failed due to the Governors objections, which would have mitigated the current situation while a solution could have been negotiated and would have sparred the State of Illinois being subject to continuing court orders.  I voted against the 2016 appropriation bills due to the lack of a balanced and responsible solution to the budget stalemate.  Unfortunately, the only resolve is a temporary stop-gap measure which I voted for in light of no other option, but am fundamentally against.  The state of Illinois needs a responsible and balanced budget.

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?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

I disagree to the drastic cuts the Governor insists on.  Higher education is the future of our state and our country.  It is contradictory to advocate for a strong K-12 educational system to then advocate to eliminate any chance of additional educaitonal attainment for these students once they graduate high school.  This position will set higher education back decades by losing talented professors and top students who are going to other states.

How should the state’s school funding formula be changed to give all children a better chance at a quality education?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

There needs to be a comprehensive analysis of school funding in Illinois, along with a comparison of what other states are doing with regards to school funding.  Due to financial constraints, school funding has relied on property taxes as its primary funding source for schools.  While property taxes are the most stable form of revenue for schools, it is also the most burdensome on the average homeowner.  This is why I have repeatedly voted to freeze property taxes.  Senator Manar is working closely with members of the General Assembly, including myself, on finding the best possible formula for funding our schools and providing the proper resources without raising property taxes or taking monies from other school districts.  Any proposal must hold harmless school districts who have been utilizing resources properly, in addition to assisting school districts with lower socio-economic demographics which need more services.  I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Manar to pass a comprehensive school funding reform package that is beneficial to all school districts.

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?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

I believe the State needs to re-evaluate its current revenue sources and compare our revenue structure in IL with our neighboring states.  I do not think there is an easy answer to this question.  One avenue I have been working on is the reimbursement rates IL receives from the Federal Government.  We have some of the lowest reimbursement rates compared to our neighboring states, from Medicaid to disaster funds.  In addition, I think internal processes should continue to be reviewed in order to capture new revenue.  A recent example of this is DCFS Director Greg Shelton who, by properly classifying cases, realized additional revenue of $21.5 million dollars in new reimbursements for FY16. There certainly needs to be a comprehensive discussion about all aspects of revenue and efficiencies to bring about a responsible and balanced budget that properly meets the needs of the residents of the state of Illinois.

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?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

I voted for the constitutional amendment, thus I support this concept.  We cannot have a thriving business community or safe travels by families with failing infrastructure, we need to continue to invest in maintaining safe roads and bridges in addition to providing mass transit options.  I believe the State needs to re-evaluate its current revenue sources and compare our revenue structure in IL with our neighboring states.  There needs to be a comprehensive discussion on properly funding our obligations and having a responsible and balanced budget.

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?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

As per the Supreme Court ruling, we are obligated to continue making the statutorily mandated pension payments.  This outstanding debt is the result of past administrations not properly funding the pensions, which by my analysis dates back to the 1950’s.  The outstanding debt payment has been steadily rising; however, it is my understanding that in the next few years it will normalize to a flat payment for the remainder of the term of amortization.  The pension reform committee met for three years prior to my election and advanced the proposal that was ultimately ruled unconstitutional by the courts — I voted in favor of the pension reform proposal.  I believe the Supreme Court left little room for other proposals; however, I do believe the pension reform committee should be re-instated to look at any option that might still be available which is fair to the state, the workers and the retirees.

Do you support measures to reduce Illinois’ prison population and divert more money into community-based services?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

I believe we need to commit to community-based services and preventative initiatives which have been proven to reduce crime.  I also support alternative courts to better evaluate diversionary paths from prison so that an individual can be a productive member of society.  I also believe that we need to evaluate the current prison population in order to properly treat inmates who have mental health conditions with services not available in the prison system.

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?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

I am currently researching this topic.

Do you support allowing transgender persons born in Illinois to change the gender marker on their birth certificate without undergoing surgery first?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

This bill has not been called for a vote and Iwill  continue to research this subject.

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.
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

I believe that this is a very sensitive subject; however, I do not believe any legislation has been filed on it.  While I understand the premise, I would have to research the subject matter more thoughly.  

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

I believe that youth employment, job skills and education are the three most effective programs to reduce gun violence.  I have supported funding for other programs as well, such as CeaseFire.  In Aurora, programs like "knock and talk" where community oriented police officers make house calls and talk to parents of kids who might be at risk to join gangs.  We also have to provide social services that will help individuals have the support they need to be drug and alcohol free, leave gangs and find gainful employment.  Many individuals who engage in violence were exposed to violence as a young child; we need more youth programs to show children a live outside of violence at a young age. 

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?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

I believe that the Federal Government should increase the minimum wage for the nation.  I also believe that in absence of action from the Federal Government, the State as a whole should have jurisdiction over the rate of a new minimum wage.  I believe that we should work towards a path to transition from a minimum wage job into a living wage job so that parents can properly support their families without stuggling or relying on government services.  We need to ensure there are adequate minimum wage jobs for youth employment.  There are various different proposals being discussed in Springfield and I will consider these proposals if they are filed.

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?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

At this time I do not support what was presented.

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?
Respuesta de Stephanie A. Kifowit:

I support renewable energy sources.

Videos (1)

Stephanie Kifowit tells why she should remain the state representative from the 84th district.

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