Candidate Statements

Note to All Candidates: All candidates wishing to have a position statement published must submit it to The Rock River Times by Friday, Oct. 25, 2002. Statements will be published on a first-come, first-served basis. Any statements received after the deadline will not be published.

United States

U.S. Senate

Steven Burgauer – Libertarian

If elected, the first bill I will introduce will be one to cut taxes across the board, including an income tax cut, a cut in corporate taxes, and a reduction in the capital gains tax. We need a Reagan-style tax cut with a maximum rate set no higher than 20 percent. This is in sharp contrast to what my opponent wants to do. Our tax system is a pocket of tyranny in an otherwise free society. If our country is to prosper, we have to forget about balancing the budget and go back and rethink our entire philosophy regarding

taxes. We have to cut taxes and make them simple and fair. A tax on capital—whether in the form of a tax on dividends, or corporate income, or capital gains, or inheritance—is not just equivalent to a tax on labor, it is a highly discriminatory tax on labor. And who does it discriminate against most?—the young.

U.S. Congress 16th District

John Kutsch – Democrat

Illinois lost over 100,000 manufacturing jobs recently because of Mr. Manzullo’s support of free trade. He promised self-imposed term limits to get elected, and is now breaking his promise. Most importantly, he has not exercised effective leadership in Congress in fighting for our jobs. It is hypocritical and wrong for him to accept a $5,000 pay raise when he opposes an increase in minimum wages, and his constituents have lost thousands of jobs. I am a leader with many ideas to stop the job losses. I am running because I will provide effective leadership. Vote for change. Vote for John Kutsch.

U.S. Congress 16th District

Rep. Don Manzullo – Republican

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in Congress. Last year, my colleagues voted for me to serve as chairman of the Small Business Committee, which means I am one of 17 leaders in the House. The most fulfilling aspect of my job continues to be the work we can do for the people in this district. I will continue to fight for area manufacturers, to work to make health care more affordable, to provide help with prescription drugs’ costs and to lighten the burden of taxes. I would appreciate your vote on November 5.

State of Illinois

Illinois Secretary of State

Jesse White – Democrat

It is my great honor to have served the people of Illinois as their Secretary of State for the past four years. We have made great strides in reforming the office and in bringing more services in faster time than ever before.

I created a strong, independent Inspector General’s office to root out corruption, and am the first Secretary of State to have a specific policy in which employees are not to be solicited for campaign contributions or to do political work. This has been a big problem in the past, leading to the federal investigation of the office under my predecessor.

We passed extremely important legislation to fight drunk driving and to eliminate the abuse of disability stickers for automobiles. We produced the first new license plates in Illinois in almost 20 years and created a temporary registration permit, which is the best in the country.

I believe strongly in commitment to public service and ask the people of Illinois to support me for a second term.

State of Illinois Comptroller

Thomas Jefferson Ramsdell – Republican

Our campaign is based on the principle that to fulfill its constitutional mission, the office of Comptroller should be held by a genuine, objective fiscal conservative—not the privileged children of Chicago’s Democratic elite. It is imperative that the Comptroller comes with “no strings attached.” The Comptroller must consistently advocate budget trimming and increased efficiency. If elected, I will serve out my term in its entirety and work every day as an advocate for the people who elected me. My opponent refuses to make this basic promise, and I think the people deserve it.

State of Illinois Treasurer

Rhys Read – Libertarian

I have worked over 25 years in public accounting and financial management. I am the only candidate for Treasurer with a financial background. I will use all my training and experience to uncover any fraud or misuse of taxpayer funds. I will publicly identify any expenditure that I consider wasteful. I will bring to the state the same level of responsibility as I have as a Des Plaines Library trustee, two straight years of 0% tax increase. For these reasons, I, Rhys Read, Libertarian, am the best candidate for State Treasurer.

State of Illinois Treasurer

Judy Baar Topinka – Republican

Over the past eight years, I have improved the Treasurer’s Office to benefit all citizens of Illinois by:

l Earning nearly $3 billion in investment income for state and local taxpayers through prudent investments.

l Receiving Standard and Poor’s highest AAAm rating for the first time, bolstering the Treasurer’s local government investment pool from $2.1 billion to $5.7 billion.

l Creating the Bright Start College Savings Program to help hard-working families send their children to college. Performing as good, or better, than any other college savings plan, its fees are among the lowest in the nation.

l Reuniting thousands of Illinoisans with more than $120 million through the Treasurer’s Cash Dash Program.

We have found innovative and creative ways to make things happen with a commitment to the belief that the most important work government can do—is for the people.

Illinois State Senate 35th District

Sen. Bradley J. Burzynski – Republican

Burzynski is chairman of the Senate Licensed Activities Committee and a member of the Appropriations, Education and Revenue committees. He also serves on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The state’s budget is the most pressing concern at this time. We need to restore integrity in state government and regain the trust of Illinois citizens. He led the effort to expand health care options in rural areas by licensing advanced practice nurses in Illinois, allowing rural communities with limited

access to doctors to get quality health care from qualified nursing professionals. Burzynski also fought to improve the overall

quality of education, relieve the property tax burden and protect Illinois families. He also helped pass legislation to establish separate governing boards for state universities.

Winnebago County

17th Judicial Circuit Circuit Judge Ronald L. Pirrello

The learning curve for a Circuit Judge is a steady climb. I now have the advantage of 12 years climbing. As Presiding Judge, I have guided the Civil Division to close more than 100 percent of cases filed for the past three successive years. The actual number of jury trials has decreased or remained steady with decreasing personnel. This indicates that we are working smarter. My ratings from the attorneys, half of whom are receiving adverse decisions at any given time, range from a low rating of 85 percent approval to a high of 97 percent, suggesting that my passion for doing this well does not go unappreciated.

Winnebago County Clerk

Mike Daniel Hughes – Democrat

As a small businessman, I understand one thing that all business people understand: If you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will. That is the kind of attitude I want to bring to the office of County Clerk. I understand what good customer service is.

I also understand the mechanism for voting in Winnebago County is outdated and needs to be changed. I have proposed a county-wide “board of elections” made up of clerks from every township, village and municipality, including the city of Rockford… This organization can serve as a lobbying force for state and federal funds to update the election system. It can also apply pressure to the Winnebago County Board to prioritize the election process in its budget. In a democracy, government should have two basic priorities: (1) public safety and (2) handling elections accurately and fairly. This election system needs to be updated, and it should be a priority… I also bring new ideas and not the same tired promises to old problems.

Winnebago County Clerk

David F. Johnson – Republican

As a Rockford alderman for nearly 30 years and four years as Rockford’s last City Clerk, my previous hands-on experience with public records keeping processes will be a clear asset in ensuring that the office of Winnebago County Clerk is managed in an effective and cost-efficient manner.

Vital records, including birth, marriage and death certificates, are maintained by the County Clerk. Because of the growing risk of identity theft, it will be my responsibility to make sure that safeguards are continually updated to protect these records from unauthorized access.

The Winnebago County Clerk also manages the official voting process for Winnebago County outside the city of Rockford. Within the limitations of available funding, one of my major challenges will be continuing to update and automate this function to ensure accurate vote counts.

Winnebago County Board – District 1

Randal Olson – Republican

Occupation: Businessman, investment and real estate. Education: Attended Rock Valley College and various advanced educational programs. I’ve been involved in many political campaigns since 1982—Congressmen, governors, state senators, state representatives and local races. I attend and donate to numerous charitable functions. Political experience: Republican Party candidate for sheriff of Winnebago County, 1998; Illinois State Senate race in 1992.

Issues: Considering that 85 percent of the Winnebago County budget is earmarked for the Criminal Justice system, public safety becomes an issue. After the Sept. 11th attacks, public safety has become more of an everyday concern. The improvement of existing roads, farmland preservation, and tax relief will be other priorities. Overcrowding of the Winnebago Co. Jail has been a long-time concern. In the 1998 county sheriff election, the jail overcrowding was a major issue. Expansion of the jail is inevitable. However, we need alternatives to incarceration for the non-violent offenders. Programs such as day reporting, work release, and electronic monitoring will help ease overcrowding.

Winnebago County Board – District 3

Douglas R. Aurand – Democrat

I have been honored to serve the citizens for over three decades. I served as Winnebago County Treasurer for 28 1/2 years, was a township trustee for two years, and am in my second year of a four-year term as Harlem Township Supervisor. I am a lifetime resident of northern Illinois, a Vietnam-era veteran and a Boy Scout leader for over 40 years.

Major issues I support: Public safety, holding the line on taxes, intergovernmental cooperation, protecting our environment, maintaining our infrastructure.

If elected, my goals are: 1) Ensure that the residents of District Three have a solid voice representing them within the Winnebago County Board; 2) To use my 30-plus years experience in government to cut through the red tape to get the job done; 3) Insure tax dollars are spent wisely and not foolishly wasted.

Winnebago County Board – District 7

William C. “Bill” Peterson – Republican

I am a lifelong Rockford resident, served our country in Korea and attended both Bradley and Marquette Universities. I have been married to my wife Loretto, 51 years. We have 9 children, 15 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Active member of Cathedral of St. Peter, presently an usher. Active in Boy Scouting for 32 years, with Troop 37 and Blackhawk Area Council Executive Board. I taught Transportation and Traffic Management for 13 years at Rock Valley College. I am retired and president of the YMCA Retired Men’s Club.

Common-sense fiscal responsibility, public safety and controlled economic growth in northwest Rockford and near-northwest Winnebago County are issues. I have been walking this district, talking with many residents and providing information about my values, qualifications and me. I relay my commitment of serving you.

Winnebago County Board – District 7

Polly Berg – Democrat

Much has been accomplished in District 7 since I was first elected 11 years ago: the new Juvenile Detention Center in North Rock,

the Bauer bridge, the new Post Office on Kilburn, and new sewers in a northwest neighborhood. I was personally responsible for the latter two projects.

Five years ago, I successfully put a stop to the spraying of weed-killing chemicals along our county roads. Since then, we have seen wildflowers growing along the roads, and our environment has become a little better. I will keep a close watch on our environment and fight for the preservation of natural areas and habitat. I will also encourage a closer rein on zoning in order to discourage urban sprawl and destruction of prime farmland.

For the past five years, I have served on the Finance Committee. This has given me an opportunity to help prevent over-spending by departments, but much more must be done in fiscal management. We are facing some tough times economically, and I will search for areas to cut back.

I am also opposed to an extension of Perryville Road through Roscoe Township. There are other options for improving the intersection of 173 and Perryville, such as Perryville joining Mitchell Road to the northeast. I will continue to urge the Public Works Committee and the county engineer to go back to the drawing board. As a county board member, I listen to the wishes of the residents.

Winnebago County Board – District 8

John M. Elliott – Republican

I am in my 10th year on the county board. I am chairman of the Public Works Committee and a member of the Zoning Committee. I also served on the Finance and Operations committees. Jail Referendum—Public safety and jail overcrowding must be addressed. I support the 1 cent sales tax increase for paying for a jail facility, additional personnel and rehabilitative programs. However, I don’t feel we need to build the facility proposed. Additional alternatives need further consideration.

Perryville Extension—Revenues for Winnebago County are down significantly; however, the need for services has increased. The northeastern section of the county is our fastest-growing area and will likely continue. However, we must be prudent and responsible with this development. That is why we need to acquire all the necessary right of way for the Perryville extension now, before more development occurs.

Burning of Yard Waste—Health risk associated with the burning of yard waste in populated areas is a concern. And though the county passed an ordinance banning open burning of yard waste in residential areas, much more needs to be done. We need to assist in the offering of alternatives to burning.

Winnebago County Board District 10

John Ekberg – Republican

Since my appointment to the board in December of 1999, I have strived to do two things: represent the taxpayers and to tackle the long-range challenges our region faces. I was not afraid to be outspoken and voted against the Springfield-Harrison extension. Also, the county board has not raised their rate in the three budget cycles I have been part of despite extreme pressure to increase. Here are some other issues I have supported: banning yard waste burning with alternatives, expanding our manufacturing sector through my time on the Economic Development Committee, and “smart” growth in my time on the Zoning Committee. Please allow me to continue serving the 10th District and the taxpayers of this county with your vote for me on Nov. 5th.

Winnebago County Board District 11

Bill Neblock – Republican

Running for the Winnebago County Board in District 11 is important for the following reasons: I believe that asking department heads to make cuts, while giving board members a raise, is an insult to those people who dedicate themselves to our community. I believe we must solve the overcrowding in our jail facilities now. I believe we must add new judges to expedite those waiting for their day in court. I believe we must provide resources necessary for our law enforcement to avoid cuts in their manpower and service. I believe “Quick Take” should be quickly taken out of the county vocabulary. I believe we must build more community support and trust in our elected officials. I believe I should be available to my constituents every day, not just Election Day.

Winnebago County Board – District 13

James Peterson – Democrat

I support the jail referendum, as public safety is one of the most important issues facing our community today. We need a new jail for a safer community. Local taxpayers should not have to pay the entire burden of this cost. We need to seek state and federal support through our state and federally elected officials.

I support the ban on leaf burning. This is a public health issue. The public health of our community is vital, and a ban on leaf burning is a step in the right direction.

I believe in a fiscally responsible budget as we are in tough economic times. We all must tighten our belts, including county government.

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