We must provide tax relief to homeowners. Illinois is among the worst states in the nation in the share of K-12 education revenues coming from state funds. We are far too heavily reliant on local property taxes to fund our schools. Illinois must continue to step up its investment in adopting a state centralized K-12 funding system to improve schools and remove that burden from families.
Access to quality and affordable health care is a human right. We must take steps to control skyrocketing costs and protect Illinoisans. Understanding that prescription drugs are necessary for a safe and healthy life, I support the creation of a state board to review costs of certain prescription drugs to ensure that they remain affordable to the public. I also support legislation that would provide a mechanism for providing oversight for escalating health insurance rates. Finally, I support efforts to explore the creation of a public health insurance option for the people of Illinois.
Our state has one of the most unfair tax systems in the United States. Working and middle-class families pay a greater share of their income in taxes than wealthy households. This generally leads to rising income inequality in the state. Illinois should join the 33 other states with a progressive income tax system that promotes fairness, cuts taxes for middle and working-class families, provides tax relief to homeowners, helps produce budget stability, and boosts the economy.
Every woman deserves the right to access the full range of reproductive health care services. The government should never deny women control over their own bodies. I support every woman's ability to make personal choices right for herself and her family.
The average cost of in-state tuition and fees at a four-year public university in Illinois is among the highest in the nation. More students than ever are leaving Illinois for higher education. We must increase our investment into higher education so that we may make it more affordable, expand the Monetary Award Program (MAP), and improve the quality of our programs. This will help our universities curb the loss of students to other states, be more attractive to students nationally and globally, and develop the most well prepared workforce for the jobs of tomorrow.
I will fight for the expansion of youth apprenticeship programs developed in coordination with high schools, community colleges, employers, and labor unions. Through a combination of classroom learning, paid-on-the-job training, and mentorship, young people will be able to build their skills, develop their professional networks, and create pathways to well-paying careers in growing industries.
The current White House administration has taken steps to restrict and cut the US EPA’s ability to protect our environment. It is now up to the states to ensure the protection of our nation’s environment. Unfortunately, the Illinois EPA has seen a massive reduction of resources over the last decade. I support stronger environmental protections. In order to achieve that we must increase the resources available to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to allow it to more effectively protect the environment and public health. I support job placement and training for green energy jobs that will help us to increase our use of solar technology and other renewable sources of energy.
The General Assembly should prohibit former lawmakers and executives of State agencies from acting as lobbyists for two years after they leave office. There must also be a ban on lobbying for current members of the General Assembly. We must also give more independence and strength to the office of the Legislative Inspector General in order to further root out corruption or conflicts of interest.
I support an amendment that would prevent politicians and sitting legislators from drawing their own districts by establishing an independent redistricting commission to draw our General Assembly maps. We must promote a transparent redistricting process that ensures communities are fully and fairly represented protecting the integrity of the democratic process.