August 07, 2022
Election


Election

Joe West, Illinois House 84th District 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire

Illinois House of Representatives, District 84 candidate Joe West

Illinois House of Representatives, District 84 candidate Joe West 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: Joe West

What office are you seeking? Illinois House Representative, District 84

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Oswego Village Trustee

Oswego Township Supervisor

City: Oswego

Occupation: Oswego Township Supervisor

Education East Aurora High School Graduate, 1973

Various certifications through the US Marine Corps

Local Union 399 Stationary Engineer certifications

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

I think the top issues are the increasingly high taxes our residents are facing. Our high taxes are making it difficult for many to make ends meet and causing many to leave our State. I will work to control spending. The other issue facing is how to improve our standards of education in our schools. This has long-term consequences on our quality of living in the State. I will meet with local school boards and give equal voice to our parents, to find ways to keep our educational standards high.

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

We have learned a lot from what we have been through, collectively. I think a state response should include legislative involvement, restoration of checks and balances, and a collaborative approach between the legislature, public health officials, and the private sector.

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

We desperately need meaningful ethics reform in this state. We should prohibit lawmakers and their immediate family members from lobbying state and local officials and prevent lawmakers from becoming lobbyists for two years after they leave office. We also need to stop 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.

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

I would support a bill that is focused on giving parents back control to what’s taught to their children in their schools. The state and its public schools cannot be allowed to infringe on the fundamental rights of parents. It should also require schools to have procedures for notifying parents if there is a change in their students’ welfare and an option for parents to opt out of a curriculum.

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

I would repeal the SAFE-T Act and the cash bail prohibition. This bill creates a danger to our public safety and makes our streets less safe by protecting criminals at the expense of law enforcement officers and victims.

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

Yes. I think all of our Illinois legislators should be subject to term limits. Term limits will prevent an accumulation of power, which in Illinois has led to corrupt practices.

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 state should enact a freeze on the gas tax and also work to lower the gas tax as fuel prices go up. The state should also look for ways to reduce the overall tax burden on families, especially property taxes, which are the second-highest in the nation.

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

Illinois residents’ overall tax burden is sky-high, and the General Assembly should look for ways to consolidate layers of redundant government, lower costs, and attract new businesses to our state. When Illinois achieves a level playing ground for growing our economy, job creators will succeed, and our tax burden will be less oppressive to residents of our great state.

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

The state should focus on creating a business climate that entices entrepreneurs to do business in Illinois. The state should create a competitive tax structure and repeal costly local mandates. The state should also reduce its spending to reduce the burden on our residents.

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

Funding has not been the challenge with DCFS as much as failed leadership. Despite new funding, vulnerable children continue to be in harm’s way. We must continue to push accountability for this troubled agency by conducting a full audit of DCFS. Ensuring the safety of caseworkers is a key need, so it makes sense to dispatch an investigator co-response with law enforcement to homes with high risk factors and provide additional training measures to better prepare workers and investigators for violent situations. Additionally, we to need to create a statewide culture of non-tolerance for child abuse and neglect that includes a healing program for victims.

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

Illinois saw higher violent crime rates than seen nationwide. This is the second consecutive year violent crime rates have risen. We need to repeal the SAFE-T Act as a top priority. We should also bring back cash bail to ensure criminals are punished for crimes and not released before the crime scene is cleared. I would also make sure we support law enforcement by recruiting and retaining the very best officers.

Did Joe Biden win the 2020 election?

Yes.

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

Although peaceful assembly is an important right, the actions in the Capitol on January 6th were not peaceful . If laws were broken and violence ensues, we must prosecute it harshly. My prayers are with the families who were impacted by the tragic events that unfolded that day.

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

We have seen significant revenue growth from both marijuana sales and some forms of enhanced gambling, but much work remains to grow our state’s economy. I’m willing to work with Republicans and Democrats to support new industries, but we must also look at ways to reduce taxes and spending to get the state back on track.