Government Affairs Coordinator Reema Ahmad attended the Union League Club of Chicago’s Illinois Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on October 21st. The event provided an introspective observation of several leading contenders for Governor of Illinois. This particular forum exclusively featured the prominent Republican candidates, namely Adam Andrzejewki, Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, Dan Proft, and Bob Schillerstrom. An event featuring the Democratic candidates for Governor will follow at the same location in a couple of weeks.
One of the main topics addressed at the forum was the idea of “transparency of government” which stipulates openly displaying local and state finances for public scrutiny. This policy reform would allow taxpayers to view how much and where the bulk of the state’s resources are spent. While a few of the candidates touted having already exhibited their own finances on their campaign websites, others disagreed with the notion that their personal assets need to be publically disclosed in order to validate their candidacy.
The most significant issue debated was the enormous budget deficit of Illinois, which according to provisional Governor Pat Quinn’s website, currently stands at $11.6 billion for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. One of the questions asked during the Q/A session was how could any of the candidates even attempt to balance the budget without raising taxes? The subsequent answers encompassed several important policies in relation to balancing the budget, including education funding, changes in taxation, job creation and security, Medicaid and pensions.
The candidates showed disdain towards the idea of raising taxes while some even proposed cutting taxes, which would give businesses more incentive to come to Illinois and create jobs. The topic struck a chord with those in attendance who are struggling to pay bills and are fearful of losing their jobs, if they have not already lost them.
The candidates ranged in terms of age and experience, but all were fairly wealthy, middle-aged, Caucasian, males, not too unlike the audience. Every candidate proffered Republican style reformation to corruption, almost implicitly stating that those currently in power, namely Democrats, were to blame for Illinois’ current political humiliation and economic hardships. Overall, the event provided constituents the insight to discern which candidates will most effectively alleviate their political and financial woes. More importantly, the audience aimed to be vigilant as to not be duped into electing another corrupt Governor.