Illinois House of Representatives 63rd District candidate Brian Meyers 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: Brian Meyers
What office are you seeking? State representative district 63
What offices, if any, have you previously held? I have not previously held elective office.
City: I live in Ridgefield, with a Crystal Lake mailing address.
Occupation: Retired teacher
Education: AB, political science and Spanish, Indiana University, 1978
No graduate degrees, but 71 hours of graduate work at Indiana University, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Notre Dame, Northeastern Illinois University, and University of Phoenix
Campaign Website: Not yet, but there is a Brian Meyers for State Representative Facebook page
What are the top issues facing your district and what would you like to do to address those issues?
People are understandably and rightfully concerned about crime and taxes, and Democrats have a distinct approach to both. We need transparent disclosure of specific crime statistics and enforcement initiatives rather than scaremongering and a harmonious, all of the above approach that lets police work with the community and all public and mental health agencies to serve and protect everyone; all lives includes every kind of community and public resource instead of an us -and -them approach.
We need to govern in a fiscally responsible way instead of playing chicken with tax policy; more progressivity instead of the overreliance on property taxes that burdens and defunds landowners and the middle and working class.
I have a strong personal interest in policies that support public education, protect our local and global environment, stand up for voter rights, and continuing to deal with crisis situations in public health.
If COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths rise again, what mitigations, if any, should the state pursue?
We need to keep actions proportional. That is to say, we should not anticipate either a lack of public action or total shutdowns as likely public responses. Most midwestern state governments have tried to impose mitigation and mandates policies, and to ease them, as the current facts on the ground dictate.Local public health departments can help the public by being very transparent about the ongoing situation, as exemplified by the Lake County department.
In light of Michael Madigan’s indictment, what steps should the legislature take to address corruption and ethics concerns in the state?
I am proud of the new leadership on the Democratic side. Going forward, we may need to more to curb the influence and power of lobbyists.
If there was one bill that you could get through the legislature next year, what would it be?
We need property tax relief. What form that would take depends on our courage to overcome the Ken Griffins of this state who pawn off the budgets of public agencies including school districts on over 7000 entities that levy property taxes to compensate for the historic lack of funding and spending responsibility at the state level. The current legislature and governor have made strides, but the Republicans and their mega-rich donors have to stop playing political chicken with the Democrats.
If there was one recently passed law you could repeal, what would it be?
I think the 48-hour passes for the accused but not convicted in the new criminal justice reform law should not be automatic but subject to judicial discretion that can take into account the likelihood of further offenses. Fixes such as these will save the overall positive effect of the reform.
Do you support term limits? If yes, why and what would they look like? And if no, why not?
No. It is up to the voters to limit service through the ballot box. Legislatures are policy-making bodies and run largely on the expertise of lawmakers in particular policy ares.
Inflation across the country has greatly impacted the price of gasoline, food and other supplies. What should the legislature do to address these issues?
1. The current measures taken recently in the budget are a good step. 2. A freeze on the sales tax on gas so that the state does not unduly profit from or add to high gas prices. 3. Work with the federal government to resolve supply change problems.
Taxes are a top concern of Illinois voters. What do you think the underlying issues are and how would you propose addressing them?
I commented on this previously. We have an unsustainable reliance on taxes that are regressive and not based on the ability to pay. We need to have a grand bargain with Democrats and Republicans that will support some progressivity while dealing honestly with the objections many voters had to the Fair Tax.
What are three things the state legislature could do to promote better fiscal responsibility within state government?
1. Maintain and protect the rainy day fund. 2. Pay our bills, vendors, and caregivers on time. 2. Reduce borrowing to avoid the recent monstrous interest expenses.
How would you propose addressing the problems with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services?
I think the two main difficulties might be at the supervisory level, where professionals should feel empowered to take bold but appropriate action in a dangerous situation, and in clarification of where we stand on the sometimes conflicting situation where we balance the support for cohesive families and parental decisions with the overriding need to protect kids.
What can be done at a state level to address crime?
1. Sensible gun reform where there are no discrepancies at every city limit. 2. Evidence-based rules on criminal justice and law enforcement that reflect what works, not what looks good on a press release or flag. 3. Violence interruption programs and the provision of all appropriate services that can provided by social agencies, mental health professionals, substance abuse programs and so on instead of putting every burden on police.
Did Joe Biden win the 2020 election?
Yes, and if you don’t understand math, you shouldn’t hold office.
What is your position on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol?
It was an insurrection, and we have to investigate and prosecute.
Illinois has seen significant revenue growth from marijuana sales and enhanced gambling. Are there other industries the state should consider to grow revenue?
For now, we still are learning as we go in these areas. Reform was the right thing. Let’s continue to get it right.