Arad Boxenbaum, 83rd House District 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire

Illinois House of Representatives candidate Arad Boxenbaum

Illinois House of Representatives, 83rd District candidate Arad Boxenbaum answered Shaw Local’s election questionnaire for the Illinois House primary election.

Voting ends for the primary election on the evening of June 28.

Full Name: Arad Boxenbaum

What office are you seeking? State Representative in the New 83rd District

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Trustee of the Geneva Public Library Board

City: Geneva

Occupation: Recent graduate of DePaul, community organizer, campaign manager and consultant

Education: Undergraduate Degree from DePaul University in Political Science with a double minor in History and Public Policy Studies (2022)

Campaign Website: votearad.com

What are the top issues facing your district and what would you like to do to address those issues?

Recovering from the pandemic and strengthening our small businesses and community for the future. I believe that when our small businesses and workers are strong, our economy and our communities in general are strong. I have a unique position as a young Illinoisan in that the policies I stand for are centered towards the future, not maintaining the status quo. We need to address high taxation that hurts our economic development and prevents residents from putting food on the table and paying their bills. To fix this we first need to support the Workers’ Rights Amendment and then lower taxes on our small businesses while creating programs that fund their creation. We also need to address our climate where we need to take bold action and build on CEJA that put Illinois at the forefront of climate policy. Gun violence is also important to me as a candidate and as someone who grew up in the Chicago area, I’m proud to have the distinction of “Gun Sense Candidate” from Moms Demand Action and believe in enacting laws that respect the 2nd Amendment while ensuring that guns don’t get into the wrong hands.

If COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths rise again, what mitigations, if any, should the state pursue?

This is a big if and I have faith in our health experts when informing us on the best steps. What we’re seeing is that due to vaccination rates and what appears to be newer variants being less severe than previous ones, hospitalization rates are remaining pretty low. The metric we need to follow is hospitalization rates and we’ll likely find that we won’t need to enact further mitigation measures. If the time comes where something must be done, I’d defer to those who have the degrees and expertise on what to do.

In light of Michael Madigan’s indictment, what steps should the legislature take to address corruption and ethics concerns in the state?

We need to shorten the leash on our elected officials so we don’t have another politician abusing their power. We desperately need term limits and limits on the amount of corporate money in our politics as well as measures to prevent elected officials from taking on lobbying jobs and furthering a revolving door between our government and lobbyists. We can’t keep having politicians propped up by random billionaires and their interests especially when they drown out candidates who are truly backed by the people. Illinois passed an ethics overhaul recently, but we can’t stop there. We need to build upon current ethics laws to prevent politicians from abusing their power and corporate interests from drowning out the people.

If there was one bill that you could get through the legislature next year, what would it be?

A cap on monthly insulin costs at $35. There were efforts in Springfield this past session and Congress is currently working on a similar bill at the federal level, but both have been plagued by a lack of bipartisan support due to corporate interests. The cost of insulin is too high and too many Illinoisans are forced to decide whether to pay rent or pay for another month of insulin. People shouldn’t have to decide between having a roof over their head or having enough insulin to survive, and such a cap on costs doesn’t raise taxes nor harm our economy, so this is a no brainer.

If there was one recently passed law you could repeal, what would it be?

Nothing controversial was passed this past session due to the shortened session and election year coming up, so nothing comes to mind. Amending flawed bills is also a better tactic since there likely wouldn’t be support to repeal recently passed bills and if elected I will seek all options towards fixing flawed laws and building upon ones that I believe are sound.

Do you support term limits? If yes, why and what would they look like? And if no, why not?

Yes, there need to be term limits set for both houses as well as leadership positions. A bill setting a ten year limit on the Speaker of the House and Senate President passed the House but didn’t progress in the Senate. We need limits on leadership positions set at one decade and limits for membership set at 16 years for both the State House and State Senate.

Inflation across the country has greatly impacted the price of gasoline, food and other supplies. What should the legislature do to address these issues?

The suspension of the gas tax and grocery tax in addition to further tax relief for middle and lower-income Illinoisans is helpful. More must be done to keep money in the hands of residents while ensuring that essential state programs are properly funded. The expectation is that the global inflation we’re experiencing is temporary and should subside, what the state has to do is mitigate the impact felt by Illinoisans until we’re in the clear.

Taxes are a top concern of Illinois voters. What do you think the underlying issues are and how would you propose addressing them?

We need to ensure that middle and lower-income Illinoisans as well as small businesses are protected from high taxation. I support a graduated income tax system that was proposed as an amendment in 2020, but failed due to billionaires flooding our media with misinformation. This system has been enacted across the country, in both red and blue states, and ensures that the state receives enough funding while families are able to get by.

What are three things the state legislature could do to promote better fiscal responsibility within state government?

1. More oversight by journalists and constituents so people are more aware of what’s in our state budget and what it means for our communities. I fear that with our national politics getting so much attention, people are forgetting the work being done in Springfield.

2. Cracking down on corruption and special interests, so our budget reflects the needs of Illinoisans, not that of politicians and corporations.

3. Voting in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

How would you propose addressing the problems with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services?

We need better oversight of the DCFS and a better risk evaluation system so caseworkers aren’t sent to households where they’re put in direct physical danger. We also need to recognize that if a family situation is dangerous or neglectful enough for a caseworker to be called in, there shouldn’t be guns in that home. Violent and neglectful parents shouldn’t own guns and if we had gun laws that ensured responsible gun ownership, caseworkers and those aided by DCFS would be much safer.

What can be done at a state level to address crime?

We need to recognize that crime is directly linked to problems with housing and education, and minorities are disproportionately impacted. When our school systems aren’t properly funded and housing too expensive, crime rises. We need to pair crime bills with efforts to improve education and housing in Illinois and get real in dealing with crime, not resorting to fearmongering and lies. Partisan interests are spreading misinformation about the Safe-T act, and we need to recognize that much of this bill hasn’t even come into effect, so the bill isn’t the problem, rather the lack of the funding and reforms our system needs. We need to increase funding for community policing so officers are better integrated in their communities, and as was done in the Safe T act, we need to improve mental health resources for officers who are suffering from PTSD. We also need better recruitment of officers, more realistic training that recognizes that most of their duties don’t involve physical force, and we need better accountability when an officer abuses their power. Systemic injustice in our criminal justice system goes hand in hand with crime, so we need to empower our criminal justice system to lower the backlog in cases and ensure that cases actually go to trial.

Did Joe Biden win the 2020 election?

Yes, and anyone who denies this (or dodges the question) should never hold public office.

What is your position on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol?

An armed insurrectionist mob, aided by insurrectionists in Congress and the Trump Administration, attempted to end our democracy. Anyone who denies this, supported this, or fails to give a straight answer should never hold any public office.

We also need to recognize that this isn’t over, states across the country are putting forth laws that limit access to the ballot box. Even in this state, there are people who don’t want minorities to vote since they know they’ve veered to such an extreme, they can never win fairly. This midterm has major consequences for the future of our democracy, and if you think we’re not in any danger then I beg you to wake up.

Illinois has seen significant revenue growth from marijuana sales and enhanced gambling. Are there other industries the state should consider to grow revenue?

Clean energy and electric vehicles are the future and we must make investments to expand our clean energy sector and create good paying, union jobs here in Illinois. Electric vehicles are a booming industry, but more must be done to make them more affordable for middle income Illinoisans. Tax incentives to ease the free market in this direction is key, and hopefully in the near future we can have a majority of electric vehicles on the road with charging stations available everywhere. We should also keep expanding our solar, hydroelectric, and wind power sources so as to phase out our outdated fossil fuel sources. At any given moment, the earth is hit with around 174,000 terawatts of solar energy, this is a far better source of energy that doesn’t poison our planet and doesn’t fluctuate prices when crisis hits the Middle East and Europe.