Nabeela Syed, Illinois House 51st District 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire

Election 2024
Illinois House District 51 candidate Nabeela Syed

Full Name: Nabeela Syed

What office are you seeking? State Representative 51st District

What offices, if any, have you previously held? None

City: Inverness

Occupation: Digital Strategist

Education: University of California, Berkeley Bachelor of Sciences in Business Administration

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Campaign Website: nabeelasyed.com

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

1. Property taxes continue to dominate the finances of suburban families. But, we have some of the best schools in the state as a result. I believe we must strike a balance between maintaining safe and effective public schools but find real solutions, not more broken promises, to the realities of high property taxes. One of my main concerns with the current system, among other issues, is that when politically connected insiders receive property tax breaks it gets passed on to the rest of us. In the most recent budget passed by the Illinois legislature, our current state representative voted against direct property tax relief for suburban families. If elected to serve as State Representative, the first thing I would do is vote to support measures like this in the future.

2. Public safety is vital to the vibrant communities we all call home. When children are able to walk home from school or play in their front yards without fear of violence, particularly gun violence, it just makes for a better community. Images like these are afforded to us because we have communities that support sensible and responsible public safety strategies. Communication between the police and those that are policed is vital and it’s why our communities continue to be sought-after destinations to raise a family.

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

I believe in science and listening to the data. I am not a doctor or a public health professional and it’s why I trust those who are to inform us how best to proceed with our lives within an active pandemic. The lives of so many families were uprooted and I feel we failed miserably when taking into account those parents that still had to work when their children were home from school due to mass closings. It’s very clear that childcare needs to be a focus moving forward. We can’t make our working moms and dads fend for themselves for childcare when they are expected to return to work. We can do better.

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

After former Speaker Michael Madigan was removed from his position by the House Democratic Caucus, a monumental ethics reform package passed the Illinois legislature. The bill, Senate Bill 539, was sponsored by State Senator Ann Gillespie, D-Mount Prospect, who has endorsed our campaign. I’m proud to have the support of the driver of the most consequential ethics reform bill in our state’s recent history. The legislation cracked down on loose lobbyist disclosure laws and expanded the definition of who must register as a lobbyist. By increasing transparency and requiring more information, not less, to be shared with the public we can continue taking steps in the right direction to restore the trust of Illinoisans in their state government.

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

The pandemic shined a light on what many of us already knew: our support for frontline healthcare workers is long overdue. We need to pass a package of bills to assist frontline healthcare workers. I believe healthcare is a human right and we need the state government to start treating it that way. This means increased funding for services and institutions that care for populations that have been told to wait their turn. People have poorer health outcomes and are dying earlier because politicians refuse to spend money on communities that desperately need it. We need to increase funding for institutions like safety-net hospitals that are expected to care for more with less. Additionally, while we must invest more in healthcare services in many areas, we must realize that there are actual people providing these services. Frontline workers are tired. They are emerging from a global pandemic and many of our frontline healthcare workers are underpaid, undervalued, and not respected for the work they do. I would like to pass a bill that would assist frontline healthcare workers better access mental health care, have more opportunities for student loan forgiveness, and ensure that RNs and CNAs are not being overworked and understaffed.

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

The redistricting legislation. I believe we need to have fair redistricting and that means truly representing communities in historically disenfranchised areas, not dividing them into several districts to dilute their ability to elect a representative that will advocate for the entire community. Whether this be racial or geographical, neighbors shouldn’t be represented by two entirely different legislators when living on the same street. There are better ways to reform the redistricting process. Unfortunately, the “reform” side of this conversation has been co-opted for partisan gain by one political party. We should all want good, honest, and fair government regardless of political party.

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

The House of Representatives put in place term limits for legislative leadership in the body’s rules in January 2021, which I support. This marks the first time in our state’s history that legislators imposed term limits on legislative leadership positions.

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

I support the legislature’s recently passed budget that addresses inflation and attempts to put more money back into the pockets of Illinois families. More than $1.8 billion in tax and inflation relief – one year freeze of the state’s sales tax on groceries; a sales tax holiday on back to school items; direct payments to individuals and increased payments for child dependents; a direct property tax rebate; and the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Unfortunately, my opponent voted against these common-sense measures. Just saying “no” is not a solution to the struggles of working families.

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

It’s clear that taxes were a top concern for the Illinois legislature, too. As I’ve talked about, the legislature took action to address taxes, especially during this uncertain economic time. However, I think the overall issue of “taxes” has been used as political fodder for quite some time now. For example, the current state representative talks about lowering taxes and fighting against tax increases but voted against a measure this year that lowered three different taxes and expanded a tax credit all while putting money back in the pockets of families via direct payments. So when we talk about taxation and what the underlying issues may be, I think we need legislators who are going to actually do what they say they will. In our district, there are corporations with large properties in the district, like UPS and Amazon, who are appealing their taxes and shifting the burden onto homeowners and small businesses – this appeals process for huge businesses hurts suburban families. We need to work to reduce their tax burden while maintaining the high quality of public services in our community.

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

1. We should adopt a revenue estimate before passing a budget, ensuring the budget we pass falls within the parameters of the revenue the state has available.

  1. The legislature should require a comprehensive review of state statutes, programs, and agencies to root out any duplicative efforts.
  2. My hope is that the budget process is more open and transparent for the public to view, rather than being voted on in the middle of the night. I feel as if this would go a long way in scrutinizing budget items. As it relates to access to this process, I also hope the legislature doesn’t end virtual witness participation for committee hearings. This offered more people the ability to participate in the process.

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

The Department is in clear need of not just changes or reforms but a complete rebuilding of the entire Department. My concern is that sometimes state government attempts to fix clear problems by implementing more red tape. I want to know what the case managers, counselors, and social workers think. I want to make the changes they, as professionals are recommending, be implemented. One thing is for sure, and that’s we need to prioritize this issue. The fact that we’ve had several media reports expose children sleeping on the floor of DCFS offices is appalling. We are supposed to be protecting these children and instead our government is putting them through experiences that only further add to trauma suffered. If elected, I look forward to working with the individuals doing the work on the ground and my colleagues to pass the formation of a completely new state agency.

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

The Illinois House of Representatives put forward a package of crime bills, supported by our state’s law enforcement agencies. These bills ranged from banning the sale of firearms that are manufactured to be untraceable to assistance for first responders to efforts designed to crack down on new technologies used by burglars and creating an organized retail theft crime offense to curb the widespread looting we’ve seen in Chicago and some suburbs. These seem to be common-sense solutions, again, supported by law enforcement agencies to root out this increase in crime directly correlated with the pandemic.

Did Joe Biden win the 2020 election?


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

A group of supporters of former President Trump illegally stormed the United States Capitol and as a result, there were several law enforcement officers who have since died. It was illegal and all of those responsible should be held accountable to the maximum extent under the law. Civility in political discourse is possible. What happened on January 6, 2021 isn’t what democracy looks like and I hope we’ll never see those actions on U.S. soil again.

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

I think we need to take a step back and evaluate the state of our economy. In November of just last year, we saw a massive investment by our state in the electric vehicle industry. We are bringing industry back to Illinois, building an economy that positions us to compete for good- paying jobs of the future. On top of that, we approved one of, if not the most, comprehensive energy packages in our state’s history. This energy package is already creating jobs as we see wind and solar farms go up across the state. I would also point out that this question implies we’ve received the full benefit from the cannabis and gaming industries – we haven’t. All of this being said, our state budget ended with a surplus of a billion dollars, the first budget surplus in over 20 years. So again, I believe we need to watch how our economy continues to grow and do more to create jobs that can support a family in the suburbs.