In the race for the 25th Illinois Senate District, Republican Jim Oberweis and Democrat Corinne Pierog have opposite views in the way they would approach the state’s financial problems. The two are on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
Oberweis, chairman of Oberweis Dairy, said his background and experience are what the state needs to become business-friendly.
“We have a very anti-business attitude from politicians in Springfield,” said Oberweis, 65, of Sugar Grove. “They are driving business out of Illinois, driving people out of Illinois, particularly people with wealth. That has got to stop.”
Pierog, 61, of St. Charles, a self-employed consultant and St. Charles School District 303 board member, said she would rely on her experience working for nonprofits to help the state.
“What I propose for fiscal integrity is budgeting for results,” Pierog said. “What the not-for-profit sector has done very successfully is being good stewards for their money. They quantify things, they have to find out the actual impact of dollars spent … so they spend 75 percent to 80 percent to provide service with very small administrative costs.”
Pierog said budgeting for results has begun in the state.
“The state cannot run like a business because we are not giving money back to shareholders,” Pierog said. “We are supposed to be taking care of Illinois and what Illinois’ needs are.”
Pierog also disputed Oberweis’ assertion that Illinois is anti-business.
“When asked [at a forum] if Illinois was impeding the growth of Mr. Oberweis’ business, he promptly said no,” Pierog said.
Oberweis also supports a voter identification card similar to what has been enacted in other sates, such as Florida. It would be a driver’s license, he said, or for those who don’t drive, a free state photo ID.
“My belief is that there is significant voter fraud that is dominated in Chicago,” Oberweis said. “There is no question about that … . People who are dead are still voting in Chicago.”
Oberweis said from personal experience with having his three kids grown and moved out for nine years, he still is asked about them when he votes.
“They moved out and are voting in other jurisdictions, and I had to make an issue out of it to get their names off,” Oberweis said.
Pierog said she did not believe voter fraud was an issue, but requiring people to have a photo ID could prevent them from being able to vote.
“It is not an issue; it’s simply a way of preventing fair and equitable voting,” Pierog said.
Oberweis also is a strong proponent of term limits, either two four-year terms or four two-year terms. His campaign website asks for feedback from the public on the issue.
“An election as a ‘term limit’ is a fallacy,” Oberweis said. “We have a system that allows the party in control to gerrymander districts to make them safe for incumbents as 96 percent of them get re-elected. I would have a situation where, if possible, to have a computer program that draws it or at least have a law not to favor the incumbent.”
Oberweis said other states, such as Ohio, draw districts to make them competitive for incumbents instead of safer for them to remain in office.
But Pierog said she would not support term limits because it would take power away from voters to choose to keep effective lawmakers. She said the Legislature needs new members to bring fresh ideas and experienced lawmakers with institutional knowledge.
From her experience with nonprofit boards, she said term limits are not effective for the same reason.
“You need a constant replenishment of old and new, and that is what makes it effective,” Pierog said.
Instead, she said she would propose a term limit for leadership of 12 years. Legislative leaders are chosen by the members.
“Institutionally, if you can’t get it done in 12 years, it’s time to step down,” Pierog said.