Full Name: Bradley Fritts
What office are you seeking? State Representative of the 74th District
What offices, if any, have you previously held? Appointed Republican Precinct Committeeman: Amboy 1
Occupation: Farmer and Teacher
Education: Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Campaign Website: www.fritts4rep.com
What are the top issues facing your district and what would you like to do to address those issues?
The top issues facing the 74th representative district are roads, workforce shortage, and covid implications. Deteriorating roads is the most common complaint I hear from district voters. Not long ago, another 19 cent gas tax was imposed to help rebuild and maintain roads. Even with this new revenue, we still have roads in dire need of repair. I would work with IDOT to develop and fund a plan to resurface roads in a timely manner. Workforce shortages are a major issue particularly in trades, healthcare, and schools. I will work with our local community colleges to help create or build upon programs designed to address these shortages at low cost to the students. The third issue we face are the long term effects of covid particularly in school districts. I have seen first hand students who are multiple grade levels behind in their curriculum due to lost time in the classroom during covid. As a recent student and now an educator, I will work with teachers, administration, and parents to develop common sense solutions for moving forward from covid’s consequences.
If COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths rise again, what mitigations, if any, should the state pursue?
I believe that the role of the state is to provide accurate, up to date information about public risk. As the representative of the 74th district, I feel it is my responsibility to listen to public health experts and relay that information to my county health departments, hospitals, and constituents. I do not believe the state should make individual mandates. If people are properly informed by a source they trust, they are more likely to comply with health recommendations of their own free will.
In light of Michael Madigan’s indictment, what steps should the legislature take to address corruption and ethics concerns in the state?
The legislature must enact term limits in order to help end corruption and ethics concerns. Speaker Madigan had a foothold in the Illinois legislature and it led to one of the most corrupt regimes. When politicians like Madigan can hold office as long as they want, they begin to feel invincible and the corruption starts. We must have a fresh turnover of leadership and that starts with term limits.
If there was one bill that you could get through the legislature next year, what would it be?
I would work to create a budget that spends less than our tax revenue. I would also like to create a solid plan of cutting taxes and creating a taxing system which sparks opportunity and gives us the ability to grow ourselves out of debt. We can no longer afford to be a state that taxes more rather than spending less.
If there was one recently passed law you could repeal, what would it be?
In my first 3 months, I will visit all state government offices in my district to see what they are doing, what is working well, and what is not. I would work to repeal any funding to programs that are not working as they were designed. I would follow that up with creating new programs to fix the existing problems. As a legislator, I feel as though it is my job to not just create law, but to follow up existing law to ensure it is working effectively.
Do you support term limits? If yes, why and what would they look like? And if no, why not?
Absolutely! Turnover of fresh leadership is key to a successful democracy. I believe that all elected state offices should be capped at 12 years. This allows legislators enough time to gain the seniority needed to shape legislation while also giving them a deadline. Term limits are essential to making sure that one person does not have sole, unbeatable power in the state.
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 federal government shares the majority of the blame for inflation. The state needs to put pressure on our federal congressmen and senators to take action to raise interest rates in order to pull dollars out of circulation. As a consumer I don’t want interest rates to rise, however as an economist I understand that it is the only way to slow down inflation. On the state level, we can roll back regulation in order to make Illinois energy independent. This will help Illinois citizens feel less impact in the short term, however any long term solutions need to come from the federal government.
Taxes are a top concern of Illinois voters. What do you think the underlying issues are and how would you propose addressing them?
The main issue is that Illinois has a higher tax burden than any of its surrounding states at 12.9% (taxfoundation.org). High taxes put a strain on current local businesses and keep new businesses from coming into the state. As a legislator, I would advocate for cutting spending and taxes. If Illinois’s tax burden was in line or cheaper than its surrounding states, it would allow existing businesses to grow and attract new business. In the long term, the state would have more tax dollars coming in because of the new businesses and industry attracted. In doing this, Illinois has the ability to grow its way out of debt.
What are three things the state legislature could do to promote better fiscal responsibility within state government?
A balanced budget is the main way to be fiscally responsible. As a legislator I will not vote in favor of a budget where the expenses are more than tax revenue. The second way to be fiscally responsible comes after a balanced budget is passed. There needs to be rigorous auditing in every department to ensure that tax dollars are being spent wisely. The third way to be fiscally responsible is by giving legislators adequate time to read the bills they are voting on. When bills come out and are voted on in the middle of the night, there is no way that responsible decisions are being made. All financial decisions should be well thought out and professionally handled.
How would you propose addressing the problems with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services?
In speaking with a long term veteran of DCFS, the main problem is finding homes for children with developmental and behavioral issues. Average foster families are not able to handle these types of children and often send them back. DCFS workers struggle to find places for them to go. This makes it hard for foster families as well as the children because the children are often moved around. As a legislator, I would work with DCFS workers and those closest to these types of situations in order to create the best possible solutions for foster children.
What can be done at a state level to address crime?
Crime is a major problem in Illinois. We must support and fund our law enforcement and correctional officers. With this funding comes better training methods to ensure that all officers are equipped to handle any situation that comes their way. We must also properly investigate and hold accountable any officer who abuses their authority. Supporting the good officers and weeding out the bad ones will create a safer state and restore public trust in law enforcement. Creating a supportive environment for law enforcement will attract the best candidates to the state and in turn will create safer communities.
Did Joe Biden win the 2020 election?
President Biden has been clearly certified as the winner. However, over one-third of the country believes that there was some form of election fraud. To me, this is a serious concern. Voting is the key to democracy and any interference with that is unacceptable. Whether your candidate wins or loses, every American should rest easy knowing that the result is the true will of the people. In Illinois, I will advocate for stricter voting requirements. This is not to exclude anyone from voting, but rather to validate eligibility and results.
What is your position on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol?
Every American has the right to express their grievances through peaceful protest. I do not condone any form of violence regardless of the issue at hand. Anyone who attacks government buildings, private property, or citizens for any cause should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Illinois has seen significant revenue growth from marijuana sales and enhanced gambling. Are there other industries the state should consider to grow revenue?
Every source of revenue comes at some cost. I am open to any new source of revenue as long as it does not come at the expense of the health and safety of the general public. Looking at all of the facts and listening to the public will assist me in making the best possible decision regarding new revenue streams.