Candidate Full Name: Martin McLaughlin
Office: State Senate (26th District)
Email Address: martin@MartinMcLaughlin.com
Web Site: FixOurState.com
Campaign Name: Friends of Martin McLaughlin
Mailing Address: PO Box 947 Barrington, IL 60010
Phone: (847) 633-3082
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 running for office because I want the state of Illinois to be a place where I can affordably raise my family, continue to grow my business, and retire.
While many candidates talk about the conservative reforms that Governor Rauner has proposed for Illinois, I have actually implemented many of them in my volunteer position as Village President of Barrington Hills.
In the years prior, our Village had spent recklessly, increasing expenditures 83.5% and hiking taxes a whopping 177%. Despite a 5-1 board opposed to my reform agenda, I successfully reduced spending, cut taxes, resolved previous legal disputes, consolidated departments, and put the village back on a path towards fiscal responsibility. In my 3 years in office, I have cut spending every year, held the line on taxes my first year, and lowered taxes each of the past two years.
I know we face a difficult task fixing our beloved state of Illinois. But I am an optimist that welcomes a challenge. I came from humble beginnings, and my wife and I have worked tirelessly to earn every penny we have and provide for our children. I was told I would never defeat the entrenched powers when I ran for Village President, yet despite being outspent 5-to-1 by the incumbent I won by nearly 20%. I was told I couldn't use my common sense private sector experience to clean up my bloated local government rife with cronyism, yet I have successfully reduced spending, cut taxes, and put the village on a path towards fiscal responsibility.
I am not interested in politics but solutions. I have extensive financial management experience, and have directed pension plans through some of the most turbulent times in history. My experience is exactly what the Governor and state needs right now.
We can fix our state, but it will require bold measures. I have led by example, and that has prepared me to serve as your State Senator. I am ready to go to Springfield to fight the entrenched powers on behalf of my neighbors in the 26th District.
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?
We need term limits, both legislative and for leadership positions. We need to identify and elect candidates that are from outside the Springfield political system who have professional expertise, strong leadership qualities, and are unafraid to make difficult decisions that benefit their constituents instead of themselves. The status quo is not serving the state, or the taxpayers, well. Holding office is a public service, and by limiting terms in office we ensure a steady supply of leaders with fresh perspectives and the energy to continue working in the best interest of the voters and taxpayers.
As I have done in my unpaid volunteer capacity as Village President of Barrington Hills, I will lead by example. As the term that I am running for is a two year term, followed by two four year terms, I would limit myself to no more than 10 years as State Senator should the public see fit to continue to elect me.
3. What solution would you propose to get a budget passed in the State of Illinois?
A problem created by years of fiscal mismanagement will not be solved overnight. But there are certain key steps we must take to resolve our fiscal crisis and balance the budget.
I believe that government needs to follow the lead of the private sector and become more efficient. It is incomprehensible that we continue adding employees while our state is losing residents and our government is serving fewer people. By better utilizing technology, we can reduce our government workforce while providing expanded services. I would advocate a hiring freeze at the state and then work to reduce all departments through attrition.
In addition, pension reform is needed now. The objective is to extend and protect the pension payments promised to employees, while at the same time protecting the taxpayers of the state, who are being driven out of Illinois by an ever-growing tax burden. We need to bring everyone to the negotiating table, including taxpayers, and finally resolve this problem. I support a defined contribution plan program for new state employees, moving the state closer to the federal actuarial standard, removing the "pension clause" from the Constitution, and addressing guaranteed compounded cost of living increases needs review and consideration.
Finally, we need to make Illinois business-friendly again so that our current businesses remain and thrive, growing businesses relocate to Illinois, and entrepreneurs begin new successful ventures within our borders. To accomplish this, we must make our state competitive by reducing the cost of doing business in Illinois and streamlining the regulatory burden on businesses.
Considering where we stand today, this all seems like an impossible dream. But I'm just nave enough to believe that we can fix our state if we remove politicians from the room and have honest, face-to-face conversations about what is best for 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 support any effort to make public officials more accountable to those they are supposed to serve. This includes supporting an elected school board in Chicago, and it also includes the move to institute fair maps in Illinois.
I am strongly in favor of redistricting reform, as currently the politicians pick their voters rather than the voters picking their politicians. I believe that districts should be drawn based upon geography and population rather than on special interests and partisan bias.
I am supporting the petition effort to get it on the 2016 ballot as much as possible, including having supporters of the effort pass petitions at my events. We must do everything we can to get it on the ballot and allow this decision to be made by the voters, because the politicians in Springfield are never going to move forward on a good government reform that they perceive could harm their re-election prospects.
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?
I will not be running negative ads as part of my campaign. I did not run negative ads when I ran for village president in 2013. I won't in this campaign either. In 2013 I defined myself as an alternative to the former incumbent. My wife and I and our family and friends live in the 26th district and I pledge to contact voters in a respectful and dignified manner. Voters deserve alternatives and choices. They deserve qualified candidates, leaders with a proven record of results, and professional backgrounds from outside the political system. They want candidates who will inspire them with ideas and solutions.