presents
Voter’s Edge Illinois
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
MapLight
November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
We depend on your support.
Share your knowledge

Text VOTE to 52000 to donate $10.

Do you feel better informed having used Voter's Edge?

Help us inform other voters.

Illinois State SenateCandidate for District 22

Photo of Cristina Castro

Cristina Castro

Democratic
Marketing and Communications Manager
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.
Thank candidate for sharing their information on Voter's Edge.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Balancing our budget
  • Investing in education
  • Growing our economy

Experience

Experience

Profession:Marketing and Communications Manager
Commissioner, 20th District, Kane County Board — Elected position (2008–current)

Education

Northern Illinois University Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) (2009)
Northern Illinois University Bachelor of Science, Marketing (2001)

Community Activities

Board Member, Black History Family Festival (2011–current)
Board Member, Illinois Housing Development Authority (2013–current)
Board Member, Centro de Informacion (2013–2016)
Fellow, Governor James Edgar Fellowship Program (2014–2014)
Commissioner, City of Elgin, Zoning and Subdivision Hearing Board (2005–2008)

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 Cristina Castro:

Allowing power to be in the hands of one or two legislative leaders, no matter what party they are from, for long periods of time only encourages partisanship versus doing whats right for the people. That is why I support term limits on legislative leaders. I would also support having a rotating leadership post to allow other legislators to have the opportunity to be considered from either downstate or the suburbs so that the leader doesn’t solely come from one area of the state.

 

Term limits can work, but consideration needs to be made to avoid empowering special interest groups or lobbyists from controlling the state and legislative process. I fully support nonpartisan redistricting efforts like the Independent Map Amendment. Politics should have no place in the drawing of legislative maps. Less partisan, more competitive districts and allow for voters to hold their elected officials accountable for the decisions they make.

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

All sides share the blame for the budget stalemate. Strong political positions and rhetoric are standing in the way of progress. The legislature needs to be more open and willing to work together if they hope to move this state in the right direction. As a lawmaker, I will be open-minded and look at all proposals and ideas on how to improve our state. I will work in a bipartisan manner, as I currently do on the county board, because it should about be about issues and people first. We need to work together and reach fair compromises, if we can do that at the county board level, I know we can do that in Springfield.

 

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 Cristina Castro:

A strong economy is dependent on a well-educated and well-trained workforce. We cannot continue to cut funding for higher education. As a proud product of the states higher education system, I know we need to find a way to fund our institutions so they can continue to prepare our future workforce. Our community colleges are our best kept secret and help those who cannot afford to go to a four year institution an option to start their collegiate career locally. They also train workers in fields that dont necessarily require a four year degree such as in the area of manufacturing. The state already doesnt pay its fair share, which puts pressure on community colleges and public universities to raise tuition and to pass referendums (community colleges) to pay for operational and capital expenses. With the rising costs, students are going elsewhere, mostly out of state, or not going at all. We need to stop taking money from higher ed to plug holes elsewhere.

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

SB318 was and SB1 are a good start to a conversation on addressing school funding reform. What I do not like about this bill is that it seems like we are robbing Peter to pay Paul and I do not support the shifting of large amounts of funding from one school district to another because in the end we will be right where we started. We as a legislature need to work together to modernize the school funding formula to give our children the best and equitable education they deserve.

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 Cristina Castro:

We need to take a balanced approach to addressing these issues. First and foremost we need to repair our financial and pension problems to improve our stability in order to make the state attractive to businesses.  With over 7,000 units of local government, we can reduce state spending by streamlining government services. With so many levels of government there is always red tape and similar processes that hinder businesses, streamlining those processes would make it much more user friendly.

Illinois should play to its strengths, including its educated and skilled workforce. We should show a commitment in investing in green energy and high tech manufacturing, including solar wind power that utilizes which would utilize that workforce. We should also be investing in small/midsize businesses and workers to create more good-paying jobs that will naturally expand the tax base without raising taxes.

 

In terms of generating new revenues, we cannot keep asking families to pay more while others have not paid their fair share. One idea I suggest is eliminating the tax loop holes that allow 2/3 of Illinois' largest corporation to get away without paying any state tax of any kind. When corporations don’t pay their fair share working families have to pay higher taxes and bear the burden of costs to vital services like education and healthcare.

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 Cristina Castro:

A strong transportation system is key in helping improve our economy. Why? Potential new businesses look at a states transportation system to see how it will work in transporting their goods and services throughout the state and throughout the country. Transportation is also key in regards to getting employees to and from their locations. We need a strong transportation system and we need to invest in it. We need to minimize the consumer cost of updating our transportation system by getting our fiscal house in order and solving our pension issues to make sure those funds meant for infrastructure goes where it is supposed to.  

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 Cristina Castro:

We need to address the pension issue. We need to work with urgency across the aisle to pass efficient, sustainable, and legal reform. The state has continued to kick the can down the road and in doing so it has placed added pressure to the state budget, limiting the legislatures ability to place funds in areas that need funding the most (i.e. education, mental Health, etc.). I am interested in re-examining SB 2404, initially proposed in 2013. The bill brought all parties to the table, and would have held up during a legal challenge. It is important that any proposal we consider passes constitutional muster

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

As chairwoman of the Judicial and Public Safety committee on the Kane County board, I support these reforms. In Kane County, the judicial system, states attorney, sheriff all work together to find ways to improve our judicial process. Kane County was selected as one of three judicial circuits for a pilot program in which it prepares a Public Safety Assessment for people arrested on felony charges. The tool is used by judges in determining bond, with the goals of reducing recidivism, controlling the jail population, and keeping the public safe. Illinois’ failure to properly fund mental health programs places added pressure to service providers limiting the services it can provide to those who need it. The lack of those types of programs or services increases a persons chance to reoffend. For example, a nonviolent drug offender could be diverted into a mental health or drug rehab program while being monitored through electronic monitoring and home confinement versus being placed in a jail cell. This would allow them to get the treatment they need, reducing the likelihood of them reoffending. We also need to invest in post-incarceration programs so that prisoners who are released are partnered with a program that will help them reintegrate into society and even provide the skills and tools for them to obtain employment. The cycle has to stop somewhere.

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 Cristina Castro:

Innocent until proven guilty. When it comes to the civil asset forfeiture system, we should apply the same statement. It is troubling that a person who has never been convicted of a crime can have their personal possessions and property permanently seized without due process. Federal and state laws need to be reviewed and revised to allow for due process. I recognize civil forfeiture can be an important tool to fight the major drug trade and crime and I would welcome feedback from police on how to enact reform that will still allow them to fight the major drug trades while still allowing citizens their due process in a court of law.  

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

I support HB 6073, which would eliminate the state's current requirement that transgender people in Illinois provide proof of transition-related surgery in order to obtain a new birth certificate matching their lived gender. This reform is not new - it has already been adopted by the federal government and 12 states. Giving transgender individuals ID documents that reflect their identity will prevent discrimination, harassment, and embarrassment.

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 Cristina Castro:

It is important for those who are terminally ill to have choices, to be comfortable, and to die with dignity. Assisted suicide is already legal in four states, with California being the latest. It something for Illinois to explore to give people who are terminally ill options so they can determine with guidance from family and their physician what path they would want to choose.

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Cristina Castro:

We need more common-sense laws to help prevent gun violence and to get guns out of the hands of violent offenders. We need to support community initiatives that unite people and work with them to help end violence. I support both tighter gun background check laws and limiting straw purchases. Another approach I support is state licensing for all firearms dealers. Firearms dealers have a responsibility to keep the public safe by maintaining and reporting records of hand gun purchases, especially if someone has had their privileges revoked due to mental illness or a violent past tries to purchase a gun. I also support stricter penalties for people who bring guns into Illinois from another state to avoid waiting periods and tougher background checks. These laws, while some may view as inconvenient, are critical in helping address the problem of illegal hand guns in the hands of those who should not have them.

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 Cristina Castro:

No one who works full-time should live in poverty. We should look to increase the minimum wage because a higher wage puts more money in peoples pockets who then spend the money in the local economy. People spend more when they have more which results in a strong economy and more jobs.

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 Cristina Castro:

I oppose this tax. This would be burdensome to business and families. Working families need tax relief, not more taxes.

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 Cristina Castro:

I strongly support these initiatives. I also support the Illinois Clean Jobs bill which by 2030 would increase Illinois commitment to 35 percent share of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, in the state. Our current commitment is at least 25 percent by 2025. We would also be updating and strengthening our energy efficiency and infrastructure which will lower electricity costs and generate an estimated 32,000 new jobs per year. This is another great way to boost our economy.

Videos (1)

— October 3, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times

Cristina Castro tells why she should be the state senator from the 22nd district.

Who else is running?

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.

PUBLISHING:PRODUCTION SERVER:PRODUCTION