JOHN'S 

 PRIORITIES 

 WATER 

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.

-  W. H. Auden, "First Things First" (1956)

Water is a precious resource. I believe each citizen should have a voice when it comes to their water. Residents should have a say in whether a village board or city council sells their water utility, because when boards privatize utilities, their residents are stuck with the deal for decades.

 

We trust our local officials to act in the best interest of the community, but we need to work together on decisions that have profound, lasting impacts on our communities.

 BROADBAND 

Fiber optic is becoming like electricity. If you look at how electricity spread around the globe 100 years ago, that's what's happening now.

- Reed Hastings (Netflix founder)

As one of the fastest growing counties in Illinois, we need to ensure that everyone has access to another precious resource: information. Whether its online education, entertainment, the growing gig-economy, working remotely and more, there is a demand for fast, affordable broadband access. Our world has become tech driven - and Will County needs to keep up to continue growing.

 

I believe Illinois should invest in internet technology infrastructure through smart, long-term planning and strategic public-private partnerships.

 INFRASTRUCTURE 

We didn't build the interstate system to connect New York to Los Angeles because the West Coast was a priority. No, we webbed the highways so people can go to multiple places and invent ways of doing things not thought of by the persons building the roads.

- Neil deGrasse Tyson

I support investing in infrastructure improvements that will help make Will County more livable and grow its robust business community.

Roads and Bridges:  Thousands of Will County residents and workers travel using the crumbling Interstate 80 and it’s long pass time Illinois invests in the construction jobs needed to repair this vital highway. I am an active member of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, which is focused on infrastructure improvements as an essential component of business development.

 

Modernizing the I-55 and Weber Road interchange will improve the safety, economy and quality of life for the district - but we can’t stop there. For too long we’ve been waiting for an additional bridge to be built across the canal between Lockport and Crest Hill.  The traffic congestion at the 159th Street bridge isn’t just aggravating, it’s slowing the economic growth of the district.

 

Specifically, I want to replace the I-80 bridge, expand and upgrade I-80 lanes and interchanges between I-55 and 355 using state money. I would also like to see "managed lanes" or toll lanes that do not permit trucks to fund the expansion and maintenance of I-55 and I-80.

Rail: Metra needs to improve its schedule along the Heritage Corridor, including increasing the number of trains serving Lockport and Romeoville.

Waterways:  The I&M canal is an important artery for refineries and industry in the area.  We need to be transporting as much material through the canal as possible to reduce the number of trucks on our highways.

Airports:  The Lewis University airport and Bolingbrook’s smaller Clow Airport provide air transport options in the district.  I’m an advocate for installing an air traffic control tower at the Lewis airport to improve the safety and capacity of the airport.

 SUPPORTING   SENIORS 

Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.

- Pearl S. Buck

Senior citizens deserve dignity, care and our respect. I will not support any attempt to cut services or increase the cost of utilities that impact seniors living on a fixed income.

 EDUCATION 

Nothing that you will learn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest possible use to you in after life, save only this, that if you work hard and intelligently you should be able to detect when someone is talking rot, and that, in my view, is the main, if not the sole, purpose of education.

- John Alexander Smith (1914)

I am committed to the recent Evidence-Based Model (“EBM”) for funding K-12 education statewide.  Both to relieve part of the education funding burden caused by regressive property taxes and to improve education funding per student in an equitable manner. Applying evidence-based solutions to help education statewide puts us on the path to a prosperous future for our children and grandchildren.

 

Illinois must also invest in its higher education. The 43rd District’s proximity to the Research Corridor, Chicago’s educational and economic centers make Will County a prime location to create a strong workforce. I want to work with local businesses to provide invaluable experiences for motivated students from Lewis University and Joliet Junior College.

 HEALTHCARE 

It is very expensive to give bad medical care to poor people in a rich country.

- Paul Farmer

Healthcare costs continue to rise and too many Illinois residents are just one illness away from financial disaster. I am determined to reduce the costs of healthcare and increase the number of Will County residents covered by affordable, quality health insurance. We must work with the stakeholders in the medical and insurance industries to find a better way.  

 VETERANS 

Our veterans who fall on hard times and find themselves without a home deserve more than just hand wringing or kind words. They deserve real help that gets them back on their feet.

- Michelle Obama

Veterans ask for very little in return for their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their families.  I am alarmed at the rising suicide rates among veterans. We must serve those who have served us.

 

Enough with the excuses: it’s time Illinois invests in mental health resources and programs tailored to the needs of our veterans. Our communities suffer when we fail to help veterans thrive after returning to civilian life.

 PENSION 

 REFORM 

Would a good friend, a smart friend, encourage you to do something as dishonorable as not pay a bill you're morally and legally obligated to pay? I don't think so.

- Dave Ramsey

Unfunded pension liabilities cloud Illinois’ present and future. The problem must be tackled now.  I believe that pensions are a promise, and instead of complaining and wringing our hands that we have to pay for the “pension holidays” and other bipartisan irresponsible budgeting over the last thirty years, we need to make the necessary payments to shore up the pension funds.  

 

We need to reform our pension system to prevent abuse and change our tax code to fund it - but we can’t use prior fiscal irresponsibility to justify shirking our responsibilities. Government workers weren’t angling to defraud taxpayers by relying on their pension to retire on - and they didn’t tell the state government not to make the pension payments.  

 

To be clear on the limits of removing Illinois’ constitutional amendment that prevents reducing pensions, even if we passed a constitutional amendment tomorrow that says that new hires must be in a different type of defined contribution system, that should not, and legally would not affect employees already in the system.  

 

So let’s keep our discussions in the realm of reality - will our pension liability issue improve if we don’t make our fund payments now, or will it get worse? We all know it will only get worse, so let’s abandon the delusion of a cuts-only solution free of any revenue (tax) discussions, and make the investment to shore up the system beginning now.  So let’s take our medicine quickly and let the healing begin.

 TAXES 

Of all debts men are least willing to pay the taxes. What a satire is this on government! Everywhere they think they get their money’s worth, except for these.  

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Politics: Essays” (1929)

Our tax system has not been updated in more than twenty years and needs to be reformed. As Illinois moves towards modernizing our tax structure, I want to ease the property tax burden on homeowners.

 

High property taxes also raises rents for those that don’t own property, making Illinois difficult to afford for too many residents.

 
 
 

 RESPONSIBLE 

 GUN LAWS 

This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety ... While we recognize that assault-weapon legislation will not stop all assault-weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals

- Ronald Reagan

I support lawful gun ownership protected by the 2nd Amendment, but that shouldn’t prevent Illinois from adopting common sense reforms to decrease gun violence.  While we pay for studies to reduce fatalities from disease, car accidents, and workplace safety, we have not adequately funded studies to determine the least restrictive firearm regulations that could save the most lives.  

 

This is an absurd failure to gather evidence to guide policy decisions. Let the research lead Illinois policy, not campaign donations from weapons manufacturers.

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Paid for by Citizens to Elect John Connor. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available on the Board's official website, www.elections.il.gov or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, IL.

Contributions are not tax deductible.

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