Several candidates unopposed on November 6 electoral ballot
November 1, 2012

By William S. Bike

Several candidates in our community are unopposed on the Nov. 6 ballot and therefore are guaranteed to be elected on that date. All are Democrats.

Antonio Munoz.

STATE SENATE

Antonio Munoz has been State Senator for the 1st District since 1999 and now is Assistant Majority Leader. His top issue is crime prevention. One of Munoz’s career highlights as Senator was his push for a $30 million construction bill, which eventually passed. He also pushed for Senate Bill 7, reform legislation that would keep excellent teachers from being laid off just because they have low seniority and that promotes a longer school day for children.

“For higher education, I continue to work to get the MAP [Monetary Award Program] grant for our students who want to go to college, and we’re working hard to enable more students to be participants in the MAP grant program,” he said.

About State workers’ pensions, he said, “Everyone needs to come together to come up with pension reform. A lot of changes need to be made, we need to put more money into the pensions, but that can’t happen overnight.” See www.senatedem.ilga.gov/index.php/about-me-munoz.

Mattie Hunter.
Mattie Hunter has been State Senator of the third District for ten years.

Ticket for the Cure, a scratchoff lottery ticket that funds breast cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment, is among the programs she has backed.

She also is working on legislation to create jobs. A 2009 Illinois Capital Plan she worked on remains in force, helping build roads and bridges and resurfacing streets, resulting in “many construction projects, which create jobs,” she said. She was one of the Senators who successfully worked to restore MAP funds after they were eliminated from last year’s budget.

Because State pension funds are underfunded, Hunter wants “to change the pension of current employees and retirees,” she said, and Hunter does not favor new State employees receiving the same benefits as current employees, saying the State “cannot afford that.” See www.senatorhunter.com.

Patricia Van Pelt Watkins
Patricia Van Pelt Watkins defeated incumbent 5th District Senator Annazette Collins in the Democratic Primary. She holds a doctorate in non-profit agency management and founded the Target Area Development Corp., an organization that leads community-driven initiatives to solve problems through research and education.

To alleviate the budget crisis, Watkins proposes social impact municipal bonds sold online.

Funds gained from the sales can be used to improve social conditions, Watkins said. Concerning pensions, Watkins said, “I think we have to be fair with the people [who] are due their pensions, and we have to be sure to use the more equitable ideas to resolve this problem. But it’s not going to be easy, and it is going to hurt.”

A proponent of railroads, Watkins believes improved rail “will cause manufacturing companies to come to Illinois and set up business and create more jobs.” See www.patriciaforchicago.com.

Edward Acevedo.

STATE HOUSE

Eight-term incumbent Edward “Eddie” Acevedo said if re-elected he will “continue to ensure that the 2nd District will receive its fair share of State funding.”

About the State’s budget mess, Acevedo said Illinois must “make sure we’re not spending more than we’re bringing in” by implementing “zero-based budgeting so that we can review each line item, such as the State’s vehicle fleet. Though these items alone won’t solve the State’s financial issues, they’re an example of the types of strides we could make if we put our minds to it.”

Acevedo also suggested eliminating loopholes so corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

He backed the Safe Neighbor Act to prevent crime and the Arnold Morales Bill to prevent children’s access to guns. See www.housedem.state.il.us/members/acevedoe.

Cynthia Soto.
Running for her seventh term in the 4th district is Cynthia Soto. Among her accomplishments are a moratorium on school closings in her district and creating an educational task force, which works with independent experts on Chicago’s education system to apply best practices for school facility issues and costs. Soto encourages parents, students, teachers, and other community members to attend task force meetings to provide insight into Chicago Public Schools decisions.

Also, Soto secured $12 million for the Erie Elementary Charter School and helped form a partnership with Wright Community College for job training and placement.

“Education is the key, not only to a strong economy but to provide a stable foundation for the future,” she said. See www.housedem.state.il.us/members/sotoc.

Kenneth Dunkin.
Since 2002, Kenneth “Ken” Dunkin has been the 5th District’s State Representative. As chair of the House Appropriations Committee, he said Illinois must “get the economy back on track,” which will be the “single biggest catalyst” to balance the State budget.

About State pensions, Dunkin has no problem giving new State employees options such as a 401(k) defined contribution plan. He would like to see interested parties “go back to the bargaining table,” Dunkin said. “Why not skip the fighting and instead focus on the bargaining?”

A strong advocate of community colleges, Dunkin wants to use them for worker retraining programs. Dunkin also has boosted Illinois’s economy by strengthening tourism and the film industry. He said he will continue to advocate for entertainment industry tax credits to help create jobs. See www.repkendunkin.com.

Esther Golar.
First elected in 2006, Sixth District Representative Esther Golar citers her top issues as housing, education, healthcare, jobs, and public safety. “To address and resolve the first three issues would lead to a natural improvement in public safety, and not the other way around,” she said. State tax increases have helped the budget, she said, but “it is important to look for increased revenue streams into the area as well as revising the pension system.” Golar does not oppose raising taxes again to help address the debt.

Golar wants to revise the education system, “which is not presently preparing teachers to work with the students.” She supported legislation that increased the minimum wage and worked with schools to allow students with breathing difficulties to bring and use their inhalers in the classrooms.

“We have to look for opportunities to create an environment that will support small businesses,” she said. See www.housedem.state.il.us/members/golare/index.htm.

Arthur Turner II.
Ninth District incumbent Arthur Turner II, who took office in 2010, sees consumer protection, education, small business development, foreclosures, and bank loans as among his top issues. He supports hiking the income tax to close the State’s budget deficit but does not believe a service tax would be effective. Turner also would consolidate agencies and make administrative cuts to help balance the budget.

Regarding pensions, Turner opposes benefit reductions for new employees “but might look for greater contributions from current employees,” he said.

He favors campaign contribution limits and said he promotes “an open door policy” and is “willing to speak with anyone from the 9th District in order to create positive change.”

Turner is proud that he was part of the process of creating Lawndale Christian Development Corp.’s Dr. Martin Luther King Legacy Apartments, 45 affordably priced apartments in new buildings at Hamilton Avenue and 16th Street. See www.ilga.gov/house/rep.asp?MemberID=1764.

Christian Mitchell.
Christian Mitchell won the hotly contested 26th District Democratic primary in March. The seat now is held by Kimberly du Buclet, who did not run in the primary. As a community organizer, Mitchell drafted State legislation that became the Urban Weatherization Initiative. This $425 million State jobs program focuses on insulating, weatherproofing, and upgrading housing in low and moderate-income areas, with a requirement to hire workers from those communities.

The law allowing transfers between Metra, Chicago Transit Authority, and Pace was drafted in part by Mitchell.

The candidate said he “will fight to create jobs and a better climate for small businesses, to improve our schools, to keep our streets safe, and do so in a way that’s fiscally responsible.”

Mitchell has worked on the political campaigns of Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns. See www.friendsofchristianmitchell.com.

SUBCIRCUITS

There are 15 judicial subcircuits in Cook County, and four of them — the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 14th — are part of this community.

All candidates are attorneys and all are Democrats, as no Republicans have filed in these subcircuits.

6TH SUBCIRCUIT

The 6th Subcirucit touches this community in the West Loop/ Grand Avenue area. Running to fill the vacancy of David Delgado is Beatriz Santiago, who works for the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. See www.beatrizsantiagoforjudge.com.

7TH SUBCIRCUIT

The Near West Side, Pilsen, South Loop, West Loop, West Haven, and West Side all are part of the 7th Subcircuit.

Running to fill the vacancy of Dorothy F. Jones is Aicha Marie MacCarthy, who is in private practice. See www.avvo.com/attorneys/60305-il-aicha-maccarthy-1124135.html.

Tommy Brewer.
On the ballot to fill the vacancy of Cheryl A. Starks is Tommy Brewer, a Cook County Circuit Court judge. See www.citizenstoelectjudgetommybrewer.com.

To fill the vacancy of Lawrence W. Terrell, the candidate is William G. Gamboney, Jr., who is in private practice. See www.avvo.com/attorneys/60302-il-william-gamboney-1102181.html.

Running for the Amanda Toney seat is Kimberly D. Lewis, who is in private practice. See http://kimberlydlewis.com.

Cecilia G. Gamrath.

8TH SUBCIRCUIT

South Loop and Chinatown residents will vote in the 8th Subcircuit. On the ballot for Thomas R. Chiola’s seat is Celia L. Gamrath, currently an incumbent 8th Subcircuit judge. See http://judgegamrath.com.

Running to fill the vacancy of Melvin J. Cole is John H. Ehrlich, who is with the City’s Law Department. See http://ehrlichforjudge.com.

Seeking to fill the vacancy of Maureen Durkin Roy is Deborah J. Gubin, presently a Cook County Circuit Court judge. See www.luc.edu/law/faculty/parttime/gubin.html.

Running for Seat A is incumbent judge Laura Cha-ya Liu. See www.judgelauraliu.com.

14TH SUBCIRCUIT

Included in the 14th Subcircuit are the Near West Side, Pilsen, and Bridgeport. Running is incumbent judge Regina Ann Scannicchio. See www.avvo.com/attorneys/60602-il-regina-scannicchio-
1106630.html.

Jesse G. Reyes.

APPELLATE COURT

The 1st District of the Illinois Appellate Court also is pertinent to this community. The candidate is Jesse G. Reyes, currently a Cook County Circuit Court Judge. See http://reyesforappellatecourt.com.

Mike Cabonargi.

BOARD OF REVIEW

The Board of Review listens to real estate tax appeals. Mike Cabonargi is the candidate in the 2nd District. An incumbent, Cabonargi since taking office has focused on making the board more accessible and easier to use for taxpayers. He has hosted more than 35 property tax seminars in conjunction with aldermen, State representatives, and county commissioners. They have helped more than 2,400 property owners file tax appeals.

Cabonargi pushed for tax appeal forms to be translated into Spanish, Polish, and Chinese. He also voted for online filing for appeals. See http://michaelcabonargi.com/issues.html.

Larry Rogers Jr.
Larry Rogers Jr. was first elected to represent the 3rd District on the Board of Review in 2004. He has worked to educate property owners of their right to appeal property tax assessments and to make the process more understandable.

Rogers stresses there is no fee to appeal a property tax assessment and that assessments will not be raised because of an appeal.

Rogers also is an attorney at the law firm of Power, Rogers, and Smith, where he has advocated for victims’ rights and represented people who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones due to negligence by others. See www.cookcountyboardofreview.com/html/commissioners_r.html.