Illinois House of Representatives District 77 candidate Kathleen Willis answered Shaw Local’s election questionnaire for the 77th House District primary election.
Voting ends for the primary election on the evening of June 28.
Full Name: Kathleen Willis
What office are you seeking? Illinois House of Representative District 77
What offices, if any, have you previously held? Addison District 4 School Board 2001-2012
IL House of Representative 2013-Present
Occupation: Full time legislator
Education: Bachlors Degree in Human Service Administration from Elmhurst College
Masters Degree in Library Sciences from University of ILL
Campaign Website: not at this time
What are the top issues facing your district and what would you like to do to address those issues?
Property taxes, Education , and affordable Healthcare are all top issues in the district. The budget that I supported addressed all of these issues. Property tax rebates to save up to $300 each household. Increases in MAP of $122 million. An additional $350M for Evidence based funding to go to schools. $450 Million to go towards Health Care transformation and $150 million for mental health for those under 21.
If COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths rise again, what mitigations, if any, should the state pursue?
I would hope that we continue to follow the science and follow the recommendations of the CDC and IDPH.
In light of Michael Madigan’s indictment, what steps should the legislature take to address corruption and ethics concerns in the state?
Transparency and clarification of conflict of interest for legislators.
If there was one bill that you could get through the legislature next year, what would it be?
A bill that would require more transparency and accountability for DCFS.
Do you support term limits? If yes, why and what would they look like? And if no, why not?
I support term limits for leadership. But as for the general assembly we have election that take care of that. If we had term limits lobbyist and staff would become the decision makers. Elections hold us accountable to the public. The average term in the state house is something like 6 years.
Inflation across the country has greatly impacted the price of gasoline, food and other supplies. What should the legislature do to address these issues?
We did address this in the tax relief plan. Suspending the grocery tax for 1 year, freezing the gas tax for 6 months, increasing the teacher tax credit and creating a back to school tax holiday all will help Illinois families.
Taxes are a top concern of Illinois voters. What do you think the underlying issues are and how would you propose addressing them?
School Funding is the biggest line item on property tax bills. The only way to bring that down is to increase the state portion of funding for the schools. We are working toward that with evidence based funding but it will take time. We also need to look at ways to consolidate taxing bodies in the state. The are many ways we can become more efficient with our resources.
What are three things the state legislature could do to promote better fiscal responsibility within state government?
Better use of technology-- including updating our current technology
Look at ways to consolidate departments for more efficiency.
Reduce our backlog of bills.---- which we have done under this administration.
How would you propose addressing the problems with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services?
We need to have a complete forensic audit of the department be done. While we need to add additional financial support we need to be sure those resources are being put to the best use. We need to support and offer continual training for field personnel so they better prepared to do their jobs. And also we need to hire more front line personnel. Finally we need to develop more partnerships with other agencies so we have resources available for children and families in crisis.
What can be done at a state level to address crime?
We need to support local and state law enforcement agencies. We have done this by increasing by $200M. This includes funding for body cameras, ballistic testing and street cameras. We also have added funding for mental health for first responders. $70 million to go towards domestic violence prevention programs and $48 Million to go towards Carjacking prevention programs.
Did Joe Biden win the 2020 election?
What is your position on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol?
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 put support behind programs to build a skilled and highly paid workforce in the manufacturing, such as in the electric vehicle industry