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November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
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Illinois State SenateCandidate for District 26

Photo of Kelly Mazeski

Kelly Mazeski

Former Financial Planner, Stay-At-Home Mom
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Passing the Budget
  • Education Funding Reform
  • Pension Reform



Profession:Former Financial Planner, Stay-At-Home Mom
Commissioner, Barrington Hill's Plan Commission — Appointed position (2010–current)
Trustee, North Barrington Village Board — Appointed position (2004–2005)
Vice Chairman/Board Member, North Barrington Zoning Board of Appeals — Appointed position (1994–2004)


St Mary's College Bachelors of Science, Biology Major Chemistry and Business Minor (1981)

Community Activities

Board Member, Illinois Environmental Council (2014–current)
President , Northern Door Neighbors Association (2012–2013)
Graduate, Illinois Women's Institute for Leadership (2013–2013)

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (2)

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 Kelly Mazeski:

I support term limits for leadership which can lead to fresh ideas, discourage partisanship and encourage coalition building. I support the democratic process which allows voters to impose term limits on their elected officials by voting them out of office in elections. A fairer redistricting process like that proposed by Independent Maps would ensure these elections are competitive and fair.

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

Its not acceptable to not pass a budget, especially when schools, social services and residents suffer from it. Both sides of leadership need to stop the rhetoric and become the leaders we need and expect. The lack of compromise in state and federal government has lead to gridlock and deep frustration by voters. I hear it from them every day while campaigning. I am someone who is willing to make compromise a positive word again, working side by side with Republicans to find solutions to the problems in our state. I have done this in my own community and will do it again in Springfield.


Pension reform would help our state gain some much-needed respect. I firmly believe that reducing redundant, wasteful government in Illinois is paramount to getting it fiscally back on track, reducing the tax burden on residents and increasing efficiency. The consolidation of townships, school districts and other entities must be considered without reducing the level of services provided to residents. I also do not support providing pensions and lifetime health insurance access for legislators.

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 Kelly Mazeski:

I disagree. As the first in my family to graduate from college, I know firsthand how a strong education is the path to employment and a better quality of life. Community colleges provide much-needed job training while state universities provide companies of all sizes with white-collar workers. We need to look at funding education as an investment in Illinois future since a strong economy runs on a well-educated workforce. Money for education should not be used to meet budget needs elsewhere. I also support creating a state fund that universities can access, dollar for dollar, as a reward for cutting unnecessary administrative costs and being efficient with taxpayer money. This is something that makes more sense versus cutting off much needed funding.

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

Education is the path to employment and a better quality of life. We need to update the school funding formula, making it more equitable so that good schools are present in communities of all income levels. The current system relies too much on property taxes, making funding even more unbalanced depending on where schools are located. However, I will not support funding decreased for schools in my district, which would cause skyrocketing property taxes to go even higher.

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 Kelly Mazeski:

Families in my district need relief, not more taxes. The repeated practice of increasing taxes without a well-defined, comprehensive goal has been irresponsible, placing an unfair burden on taxpayers. Growing our state economy, investing in both businesses and workers should be the priority, resulting in a more attractive state for business and reducing concerns about instability. Illinois should play to our strengths, including a highly educated workforce. Committing to high tech manufacturing and green energy, including solar wind power that employs a highly educated and specialized work force, would be a step in that direction. Pension reform would also help our state gain some much-needed stability. I also firmly believe that reducing the 7000 units of redundant, wasteful government in Illinois is paramount to getting it fiscally back on track, reducing the tax burden on residents and increasing efficiency. The consolidation of townships, school districts and other entities must be considered without reducing the level of services provided to residents. I also do not support providing pensions and lifetime access to health insurance for legislatures.

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 Kelly Mazeski:

Yes, a strong, safe and modern transit system is key to having a healthy state economy so sweeping funds meant to pay for infrastructure upgrades should not be allowed. We need to raise revenue by getting our budgetary house in order, fixing our pension problem, cutting redundant spending through the consolidation of government and eliminating pensions and lifetime access to healthcare for legislatures.

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 Kelly Mazeski:

Illinois has over $100 billion in pension debt that must be dealt with right now, not later. We need timely and sustainable reform that brings all parties to the table. Revisiting the compromise pension bill negotiated with labor unions (SB 2404) that gives employees a choice between pay or COLA increases is the most practical, efficient place to start. As stated before, in order to ensure success, this cannot be a unilateral effort. I would lead and invite all parties to the table.

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

Yes, this is an important bipartisan effort that can stop the cycle of jail and joblessness. We need to provide better programs that help integrate released prisoners into their communities as almost half of ex-offenders return to prison within three years. Non-violent drug offenders can be diverted into mental health or drug rehab programs while using electronic monitoring, home confinement and strict enforcement of probation requirements. As long as we keep focus on public safety, reducing the prison population can help rehabilitate prisoners and save Illinois money.

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 Kelly Mazeski:

It makes sense that the government should be able free to seize assets used by proven criminals to commit crimes. However, its very disturbing to think that a person who is never convicted of a crime can have their possessions and property permanently seized. The state laws need to be reformed and made fairer to citizens.

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

Yes. I believe transgender individuals should be able to have ID documents that accurately reflect their identity. Otherwise, they are vulnerable to harassment or embarrassment.

Once a physician has declared that an individual has undergone treatment that is clinically appropriate for the purpose of gender transition, then they could correct their birth certificate.

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 Kelly Mazeski:

I was able to witness my own mothers death from a terminal brain tumor and fortunately, her final suffering was relatively brief. However, it gave me a better understanding of what its truly like to suffer while waiting to die and how agonizing it must be for those who suffer months or years without relief. Minimally, terminal patients should have access to quality palliative care. I have mixed feelings about physician assisted suicide but am becoming open to it.

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Answer from Kelly Mazeski:

The level of gun violence in Chicago is unacceptable and tearing communities apart. It is so rampant and overwhelming that I fear indifference to it it will become the normal reaction. I support both tighter gun laws for background checks and limiting straw gun purchases. We also need better enforcement and ways to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people. I would  like to see AR-15 assault rifles and high capacity magazines banned. The recently passed Illinois law that punishes firearm traffickers in Illinois with sentences of 4 to 20 years in prison is a good start to rein in violence. Nearly 60% of the guns used in Chicago crimes were purchased from states with weaker gun laws.

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 Kelly Mazeski:

I support raising the minimum wage to $12 hour over a period of time so business can adapt. People working full-time should earn enough to live on without being on the edge of poverty. Two-thirds of minimum wage earners are women, who deserve to be paid fairly. A higher minimum wage puts more money into the pockets of workers who will spend it in the local economy, resulting in businesses hiring more employees. Local jurisdictions should be able to pass their own minimum wage laws as long as the wage is equal to or higher than the state minimum wage.

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 Kelly Mazeski:

I oppose a tax increase on sweetened beverages in Illinois. Residents need relief, not more taxes. Health benefits from this would be minimal at best.

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 Kelly Mazeski:

I strongly support the use of renewable energy sources. I support the Clean Jobs initiative which would increase our share of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, to at least 25% by 2025 and 35% by 2030. This will lower electricity costs and generate approximately 32,000 new jobs per year in Illinois, and leave Illinois safer and healthier for future generations.

Videos (1)

— September 30, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times

Kelly Mazeski tells why she should be the state senator from the 26th district.

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