Education reform, ethics high priorities for 43rd Illinois Senate District race candidates

Diane Harris and Rachel Ventura want to see Illinois run more ethically.

Illinois State Senate District 43 candidate Rachel Ventura.

Both Diane Harris and Rachel Ventura want education reform in Illinois, but they differ on priorities for that reform.

Harris and Ventura are candidates for a seat in Illinois’ 43rd Senate District race.

Harris is a Republican, and Ventura is a Democrat.

Harris said parents are very concerned about the sex education their children are receiving, especially since statistics show many students are performing below grade level.

She said if Illinois is going to spend more money on education, especially in the area of sex education, then “parents should have a seat at the table,” especially since today’s children are tomorrow’s future.

“We need to focus on what children are taught,” Harris said.

Ventura said Illinois needs to find ways to reduce property taxes while also increasing public school funding. That’s why Ventura said she supports the LaSalle Street Tax.

She said in an email that the LaSalle Street Tax is a “financial transaction fee on stock trades” that “big banks, hedge funds and the super-wealthy will pay when they trade stocks and other assets.”

Ventura said the LaSalle Street Tax would bring $10 billion to $12 billion to Illinois.

“And we can make sure it all goes to education,” Ventura said in an email.

Harris agreed that property taxes need lowering – but so does the overall tax burden, which she said she feels is high. If elected, she’d like to find ways to reduce some of the taxing bodies within municipalities.

Ventura said in an email that she also supports “robust, high-speed public broadband that will provide stable support for technology companies that want to set up shop in Will County” and attracting local green-collar jobs as Illinois shifts away from fossil fuels.

Harris said residents also are very concerned about safety and will work to repeal the Safe-T Act if she’s elected.

But Harris and Ventura want to see Illinois run more ethically. Harris said Illinois needs a more rigorous ethics code that holds elected official accountable.

“People need to trust the people they elect,” Harris said.

Ventura said those coming into office should be experienced, compassionate, intelligent and “willing to think outside the box for those solutions.”

“At the end of the day, what I’d like to see is a government that is run by facts, honesty and a moral compass,” Ventura said.

More information about Harris and Ventura can be found in their responses to candidate questionnaires and in the election section on the Herald-News website.

Denise  Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for The Herald-News in Joliet. She covers a variety of human interest stories. She also writes the long-time weekly tribute feature “An Extraordinary Life about local people who have died. She studied journalism at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, now the University of St. Francis.