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November 8, 2016 — Illinois Elección General

Illinois State SenateCandidato para Distrito 28

Photo de Mel Thillens

Mel Thillens

Thillens, Inc. Vice-President of Sales and Operations
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Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • Property Tax Relief
  • Term Limits and Fair Maps
  • Business Reforms

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 Mel Thillens:

Yes. I support term limits for all legislators as well as for legislative leaders.  Mike Madigan first took office the year I was born.  I’m 44 years old.  Mike Madigan and John Cullerton combined have been in office for more than 80 years.  Term limits have bipartisan support, but the career politicians in Springfield continue to oppose it.   I recently pledged to serve a maximum of 10 years in office once elected and will support term limit legislation once I’m elected.


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

There is plenty of blame to go around in Springfield.  There are 118 representatives and 59 senators that were elected and sent to Springfield.  All we talk about is the fight between two men, Speaker Madigan and Governor Rauner. What are all the other legislators doing?  They are supposed to be representing the people of their districts.


The next step towards a solution is to send people to Springfield that are more concerned with representing their constituents than doing the bidding of the party bosses and political insiders.    


We need to end the gridlock and bring balance back to state government.  Right now, the Democrats hold supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature and have been unwilling to compromise with Governor Rauner on even common sense reforms with bipartisan support.  It’s impossible to move forward if we keep sending the same people to Springfield and expect different results.  

I think voters are beginning to see through these advantages and are going to reject the establishment politicians come November in favor of independent reformers like myself.

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 Mel Thillens:

Last year, eight times more Illinois resident college students left the state for school than other came to Illinois from other states.  It is often less expensive for Illinois residents to go to an out-of-state school than it is to go in-state, even with the Illinois residency discount.  Our school costs are out of control, largely because of state mandates put on the universities.  We need to get these costs under control. 

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

We need to fund schools properly.  The current school funding formula is out of date and I would like to see it changed to make sure every student in Illinois gets a quality education.  The current system is funded with property taxes, and the General State Aid formula is not the best way forward.  We should look at reforming the school funding formula, but we should not do so at the expense of schools that are doing well.  We can't take money from some school districts and redistribute it to others.  The Democrats in the Illinois State Senate have proposed legislation to take tens of millions of dollars from our local schools.  I would not support such legislation under any circumstances.



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 se proporcionó respuesta.
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 Mel Thillens:

We need a consistent and reliable budget for infrastructure projects.  Running a business, I understand that builders can't efficiently handle drastic peaks and valleys in infrastructure project spending.  Therefore, we need to ensure that transportation revenue is used for transportation. 

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 Mel Thillens:

I support a pension reform proposal to move government employees away from defined benefits and towards a 401(k) style plan.  This is necessary to improve the finances in our state.  This type of proposal would also give more control to retirees by taking it out of the hands of the politicians that have bankrupted the pension fund.


We need to pay the pensions of existing state employees, but we must do something regarding pensions moving forward, and we need to do it soon.  State workers deserve to have control over their pensions.  We can’t continue making promises to workers without actually knowing if their checks will clear.  


Democrats in Illinois claim they are all about fairness and representing the middle class.  To those politicians, I ask, is it fair to ask middle class families to pay Pat Quinn’s $3 million pension while Quinn himself paid in less than $200,000?  Is it fair that many people receive multiple government pensions, while middle class families, on an income of $50,000 a year, pay for it?


To show my commitment to pension reform and getting our state moving in the right direction, I will refuse a pension as a state senator.

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

As a state senator, I would support legislation to reduce Illinois' prison population.  Reducing the prison population makes sense for several reasons.  First, the annual costs of prisons in Illnois is $1.4 billion.  Additionally, it was reported in 2014 that Illinois has the most overcrowded prisons in the United States.  Third, many of Illinois' prison admissions are low-level, nonviolent offenders.  It is possible to be tough on crime while reforming our criminal justice 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 Mel Thillens:

I believe citizens have a right not to be aggressed upon by government.  I reject the unchecked power of government to do this.  Government must not violate the rights of individuals. 

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

I have solid understanding of the privacy and security concerns facing the transgender community.  I recognize that our nation is in a time of transition, and issues such as this must protect all involved.  As a state senator, I will treat LGBTQ issues with compassion, understanding, and independence. 

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 Mel Thillens:

End of life decisions should be made by an individual in consultation with the doctors, clergy and loved ones of their choice.  

What measures do you support to reduce levels of gun violence?
Respuesta de Mel Thillens:

There are common sense steps that should be taken to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.  These things can be done without infringing on the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.  Closing background check loopholes, better enforcement of gun trafficking laws, expanding mental health services, limiting clip size, and anti-terrorism initiatives are all things that need to be done now.

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 Mel Thillens:

There is room to incrementally increase the minimum wage, and local jurisdictions should be allowed to create their own wage laws.  However, we should be focusing on expanding the economy and creating new opportunities for people.  

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 Mel Thillens:

I oppose a "soda tax" or "sin tax" of any kind.  Proponents of such taxes do so on the basis that they are looking out for our health when in reality they have already spent the money the taxes would generate.  This is just another way for tax-and-spend politicians to take more from us.  Springfield needs to change the way it does business before considering any new 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?
Respuesta de Mel Thillens:

I am in favor of increasing the development and use of renewable energy sources, but government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy.  I am opposed to government control in the pricing and production of energy sources.  I support market-based solution to drive the expansion of renewable energy.

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