Candidate Full Name: Michelle Smith
Office: Illinois State Senate 49th District
Email Address: MichelleSmith4Senate@gmail.com
Web Site: http://ms4senated49.nationbuilder.com/
Campaign Name: Citizens to Elect Michelle Smith for Illinois Senate
Mailing Address: 24855 Ambrose Rd. Plainfield, Illinois 60585
Survey Questions (Character limit of 2,000 per response)
1. Please tell us about yourself, your background and why you believe you are qualified to hold this office.
I am a mother of four children and a wife of twenty-six years. I believe I am qualified to hold this office because I understand the values and wants of the members of my community. I am a concerned citizen who is stepping up and trying to make a difference in Springfield for all the citizens of Illinois.
I currently hold office as the President of the Board of Education in District 202, which is the 4th largest school district in the state of Illinois. I have served on the Board of Education since 2009 and serve as a leader in other various capacities. As the President of the Board of Education I deal with finding ways to save money for our taxpayers, negotiating with the two different unions in our district, working with over 3000 employees while finding ways to support them in these uncertain times.
My husband and I have been small business owners in Illinois since 1990. We survived the economic crash because of hard work and perseverance. I understand the importance of hard work and dedication.
I will not be just another politician. When elected, I will refuse the state funded pension. I will work with anyone who is serious about serious change in Springfield. The people are tired of politics as usual. They want real leadership. I am a leader in my community. I have the experience. On day one I am ready to work for the people.
2. Governor Bruce Rauner and other politicians are pushing for term limits for Illinois legislators. Do you favor term limits? Why or why not? If yes, what type of term limits do you favor?
I am completely in favor of term limits, especially for legislative leaders. It is truly unfortunate that legislators who are working hard and trying to make a difference would be affected. However, all too often we see politicians who have become complacent and have become too ingrained in the political power complex. Those two characterizations are a huge part of the dysfunction that goes on in Springfield. I am open to any and all proposals concerning limiting the time a politician remains in office.
3. What solution would you propose to get a budget passed in the State of Illinois?
It is paramount both sides put their egos to the side and work together to pass a budget, just as we did here in Plainfield. We worked in a bipartisan way. We compromised and made tough decisions. Some cuts were unpopular, but it what was best in the long run for the school district and the tax payers. Because of the plan we put together years ago, we now have a balanced budget and are being more fiscally responsible. Springfield needs the same type of conversations and discipline. If they could stop the politicking and worrying about being reelected they would accomplish so much more. The state of Illinois is in such despair and the legislators don't seem to care what they are doing to their state and people of Illinois.
4. Chicago is the only city in Illinois with an appointed school board. Other large American cities, including San Francisco, elect their school board members. Would you favor changing Illinois law to provide Chicago with an elected school board? Why or why not?
I currently sit as the President of the Board of Education in District 202 - one of the largest school districts in the state. While I believe that the Illinois law must be changed so the people of Chicago can have a say in who represents them and their children, my fear is that given the political power structure currently in the city; school board elections may not have the desired outcome for the students and parents. There would be too much money for those who are politically connected rather than for those who are simply trying to make a difference. In short I am in favor but without something in the proposed law to make such an election fair, I do not foresee it being much different than an appointment.
5. Voters say they are turned off by the negative and misleading TV ads that dominate the air waves. However, campaign and election experts say candidates rely on them because "they work." Will you and your campaign agree to refrain from running negative ads from now until the election?
Yes, I agree not to run any negative personal attack ads from now until the end of the election. I will only focus on the differences between myself and the candidate that relate to the issues going on in our state and Springfield.