Full Name: Arin Thrower
What office are you seeking? Illinois State House Representative - District 66
What offices, if any, have you previously held? Dundee Township Supervisor (elected in 2021)
City: West Dundee
Occupation: Township Supervisor
Education: 1993 Dundee Crown High School
1997 Eastern Illinois University (B.A., Communications)
Campaign Website: www.throwerforrep.com
What are the top issues facing your district and what would you like to do to address those issues?
The top issues are the economy, our education system, and public safety.
Economy: A competitive tax environment and sensible regulations are necessary to create a prosperous state. Unfortunately, Illinois falls short in both categories. Endless tax increases hurt working families and mandates force family-owned shops and restaurants to close while national chains remain open. We must support taxpayers by keeping taxes low and allowing all businesses to flourish.
Education: Raising taxes does not equate to a better education. All too often, politics has taken priority over improving educational standards. Students deserve every opportunity to succeed and gain the skills they need to become tomorrow’s leaders. To accomplish this, schools must remain open, and parents must have a voice in their children’s curriculum. Illinois is facing a worsening teacher shortage, and we need to ensure our children have high-quality teachers in their classrooms.
Public Safety: An effective government keeps communities safe. However, Chicago politicians have loosened provisions that keep criminals off the streets and tied the hands of law enforcement and first responders. We must provide law enforcement with training and resources necessary to ensure our neighborhoods continue to be the safest places to operate a business and raise a family.
If COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths rise again, what mitigations, if any, should the state pursue?
When the pandemic first hit our state, it was a scary time for everyone. But as we learned more about how COVID was spread, and the effects it had on people of different ages and different medical conditions, the restrictions on our small businesses, our schools, our churches should have been driven by data and transparent metrics so we could all understand the rules put in place by our Governor.
In addition, elected officials from the General Assembly and local governments including mayors should have been part of the conversation regarding closing businesses and schools.
In light of Michael Madigan’s indictment, what steps should the legislature take to address corruption and ethics concerns in the state?
Unfortunately, Illinois politics has been plagued by a culture of corruption for decades. The need for ethics reform is at an all-time high and should include provisions to prohibit lawmakers and their family members from lobbying state and local officials, require levels of local government to publicly post a detailed list of monthly expenses, and should prohibit the use of campaign funds to pay for a defense in any criminal case or a defense in a civil case pertaining to corruption, sexual harassment claims, or discrimination claims. In addition, the Legislative Inspector General should be given more autonomy to pursue wrongdoing.
If there was one bill that you could get through the legislature next year, what would it be?
Currently, Dundee Township owns and is responsible for maintaining 1,000 acres of open space land in District 66. While the land was purchased via a referendum more than 20+ years ago, there was no plan on how to sustain it. In an effort to prevent new tax proposals for the maintenance of this property, I would like to see a law passed that allows a small percentage of open space land to be used for environmentally-friendly projects that are allowed to generate revenue through organic farming, solar fields, and other means. Then, the revenue would be reinvested in the properties for community good.
If there was one recently passed law you could repeal, what would it be?
One of the major issues residents have shared with me is their concern for the safety of their families and businesses. While attempts at trailer bills have been made to address major flaws over the past year, the ‘SAFE-T Act’ needs to be repealed as soon as possible. Since its passage, there has been an uptick in crime and murders not only in downtown Chicago but across the suburbs. If the law still stands next year, cash bail will be eliminated, almost guaranteeing a tax increase for Illinois residents. We need legislation that supports law enforcement’s role in keeping our neighborhoods a safe place for residents and businesses.
Do you support term limits? If yes, why and what would they look like? And if no, why not?
Setting term limits is a good first step in ending decades of corruption and allows for new ideas and fresh perspectives while diluting the unchecked power of legislative leaders, regardless of political party.
I fully support term limits at all levels of government. From a county school board member to a village or city mayor, county board member, state legislator, and all the way to the Governor’s office, I believe serving 8 years in any one position is appropriate.
Inflation across the country has greatly impacted the price of gasoline, food and other supplies. What should the legislature do to address these issues?
With prices on the commodities we use every day increasing, big challenges still exist to our wallets in the form of the state income tax and high property taxes.
Residents and businesses are being driven out of Illinois because we have the nation’s highest tax rates, the second-highest property taxes, the second-highest gas tax, and massive pension debt. Lawmakers must provide substantial relief when it comes to our overall tax burden so we can attract new businesses and grow our economy.
Taxes are a top concern of Illinois voters. What do you think the underlying issues are and how would you propose addressing them?
Illinoisans pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. High personal income taxes, high sales tax, and high corporate taxes only add to the problem. Yet, instead of reining in spending and reforming programs, Springfield politicians like my opponent voted to hike their own pay and increase spending.
Illinois has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. The solution is a state government that lives within its means and is supported by a growing economy. We need to ensure government agencies work more efficiently, which I’ve done in local government. Taxpayers should see a positive return on their investment and know that their dollars are being spent to the highest and best use and not simply spent on one-time election-year gimmicks. And we need to encourage job growth and investments so taxpaying families can find good-paying careers and live and grow here.
What are three things the state legislature could do to promote better fiscal responsibility within state government?
Through my work in local government at the city, county, and township levels, I’ve found there are always items in the budget that can be cut and programs and services that can be run more efficiently. Workers entrusted with spending taxpayer dollars must be held accountable for evaluating and streamlining levels of redundancy.
Just this month, Illinois Democrats in the General Assembly passed a 3,500-page budget no one had the time to completely read or properly review. It contains billions of dollars in new state spending, which will most certainly lead to higher taxes for our residents. The budgeting process is clearly broken here when bills of this magnitude can be passed in the wee hours of the morning while taxpayers sleep. We must demand transparency in the overall budgeting process and require more structure and time for public review when it comes to passing spending bills.
How would you propose addressing the problems with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services?
As a mother of a 9-year-old girl who brings such joy to my life, it is absolutely heartbreaking to hear stories of neglect and abuse of young children. It is imperative that we do all we can to protect these innocent kids.
Recently, DCFS has been granted hundreds of millions in new funding, only to fail those who need our help, including young AJ Freund in Crystal Lake. New leadership is needed within DCFS and we demand a full audit of this organization. The state must provide additional protection and training measures to better prepare front-line workers and investigators to intervene in violent homes. We also need an urgent push for more quality foster homes, including those willing and able to care for children with special needs.
What can be done at a state level to address crime?
We’re losing a record number of officers across the state due to efforts of those calling to defund the police. We must support those who are on the front line and ensure they have the resources they need along with the appropriate policies in place to properly protect us. We will no longer compromise the safety of our families and our businesses and must repeal the SAFE-T Act.
Did Joe Biden win the 2020 election?
What is your position on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol?
The activities that took place on January 6, 2021, are unacceptable. Participants in those illegal activities should be punished according to our laws and Constitution.
Illinois has seen significant revenue growth from marijuana sales and enhanced gambling. Are there other industries the state should consider to grow revenue?
We need to grow and retain our employer base in Illinois. In order to recruit new employers to invest in Illinois and grow our tax base, we must work to retain our highly skilled workforce, improve our education system, and protect and promote a high quality of life. I’m ready and willing to work with industries and government officials to expand innovation and provide more opportunities for Illinois workers.