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November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
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Illinois State House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 15

Photo of Jonathan Edelman

Jonathan Edelman

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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Open up the political system to more participation by 1) imposing term limits, 2) ending gerrymandering, 3) reducing barriers to running for office. .
  • Impose fiscal discipline by 1) balancing the budget 2) increasing revenue by implementing unified and progressive tax rates for businss and individuals, 3) Reducing future pension and health care obligations and funding vested obligations.
  • Only after implementing the above priorities can we 1) enact education reform for unified treatment of all Illinois public school districts, 2) Reduce crime by enabling local police forces to deputize citizens, 3) Reduce the cost of public colleges.



Attorney, The Edelman Law Firm, P. C. (2008–current)


Washington University in St. Louis LLM (Tax), Tax Law (1994)
University of Missouri - Columbia School of Law JD, Law (1990)
University of Missouri - Columbia BS, Business Administration - Concentrations in Economics and French (1985)

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 Jonathan Edelman:

Yes and yes.

Though I recognize that term limits are in some way anti-democratic. nearly five decades of accumulated power in the hands of a small group is even more undemocratic and so term limits are the only way to break up that power.

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

Responsiblity for the stalemate rests evenly with Republicans and Democrats.  Responsibility for our enormous budget problems rests almost exclusively with Democrats who have had veto-proof majorities for a very long time. To resolve the stalemate, the Governor should use his executive veto and stand behind his decisions as the force to bring fiscal responsibilty back to the state.

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 Jonathan Edelman:

Higher education is a black hole of ever-increasing administrative budgets, which have nothing to do with teaching students. If I'm elected I will spearhead an effort to reduce the tuition at Illinois' public colleges and universities.

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

There should be a minimum amount understood to be requried for effective primary and secondary education and the state should provide that amount if a local tax base is not capable of generating that amount (note, "not capable of" is not the same as "unwilling").

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 Jonathan Edelman:

We need to grow revenue, not seek "new revenue sources."  Accordingly, we need to overhaul our tax code to make it friendlier for business and individuals. We also need to bring our state's profligate spending and borrowing under control so that business will again look to Illinois as a place to grow jobs.

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 Jonathan Edelman:

Money raised ostensibly for a certain purpose must be spent on that purpose.  However, as you know, money is fungible.  New funds can be spent on an enumerated purpose while old funds can be redirected. Solving this problem does not require more laws, but rather ethical legislators.

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 Jonathan Edelman:

1) Lifetime payout limits for prospective participants. 2) Dollar-for-Dollar penalties for public pension double-dipping. 3) reduction in the size and scope of government to make pensions again a feasible and sensible way to care for our state workers.


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

Absolutely yes.

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 Jonathan Edelman:

I support property rights and oppose civil asset forfeiture. 

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

I have no idea. I honestly don't consider this a major issue.  I'm inclined to make things as easy as possible for transgendered persons because i sympathize with their difficulties, but this seems an odd question to me.

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 Jonathan Edelman:

I think that terminally ill people should be allowed to choose the time and manner of their own death if that is their wish. I also think appropriate safeguards must be implemented to make sure the request is genuinely that of the terminally ill person.

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Jonathan Edelman:

We need significantly more police patrols and also strong neighborhood patrols in conjunction with local police. We also need to reinstill a respect for life and implement policies that strengthen all families, with an encouragement toward strong two-parent families.

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 Jonathan Edelman:

I do not support statewide increase in the minimum wage because I believe that such government-directed wages end up taking jobs from low- and no-skilled workers.  Local jurisdictions can do what they want, in my opinion.

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 Jonathan Edelman:

No. I don't believe in "sin taxes" or a "nanny state."  If the real reason is revenue, then our legislators need to get serious about spending and borrowing and not taxing citizens for every little thing.

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 Jonathan Edelman:

Yes I do support alternative energy, but it should be developed by private enterprise and not government, and it should be allowed to fail if a market will not accept the idea.

Videos (3)

— October 3, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times

Jonathan Edelman tells why he should be the state representative from the 15th district.

— November 4, 2016 Voters for Jonathan Edelman

In this video I discuss my budget priorities.

— November 4, 2016 Democrats and Republicans should jointly remove Michael Madigan as Speaker of the Illinois House.

Short speech at press conference regarding the reasons to unseat Michael Madigan as Speaker of the Illinois House.

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