Name: Amy Grant
Facebook: elect amy grant
Office sought: State representative district 42
Family: Husband and two grown children
Occupation: county board member
Education: BA University of Pittsburgh
* DuPage County Historical Museum Board Member
* Glen Oaks Hospital Community Partnership Committee
* Marionjoy Auxiliary
* St. Michael’s ministry to PADS
* Missionaries of Charity soup kitchen
* Republican Women’s Club
* Milton Township Committeeman
Elected offices held: County Board Member two terms
Questions & Answers
Would you vote to approve a graduated income tax? If so, what qualifiers would you impose and where would you set the brackets? What would the top tax rate be?
I would not vote for a graduated income tax. Illinois residents are already over taxed and overburdened with fees and taxes. In the 42nd District, we have some of the highest local property taxes in the entire state. Sales taxes are high. Our residents need relief, not a vehicle to raise their taxes even more.
How big a problem is the level of property taxation in Illinois? If you view it as a problem, what should be done about it?
It’s a terrible problem! Specifically in the DuPage Communities I serve now and would serve even more of as State Representative. People are moving and many more are expressing their intention to move as I visit with residents of the district. They aren’t just angry about a ‘value proposition’ of taxation for services. Many cannot afford the taxes and it’s driving them to move away from a neighborhood, town, and faith community they truly love. Their children cannot afford to move to the community they were raised in and/or, parents and grandparents can no longer afford to live in those same communities. I am a sitting member of the DuPage County Board. We have reduced our budget every year I’ve been on the board. We have engaged in creative thinking, staffing and problem solving to remove redundancies. We have embraced technology to reduce our head counts on our payrolls throughout our entire areas of hiring. We have rejected a higher tax levy every year of my service. Every line item expenditure is examined for it’s return on investment. If the state managed business the way DuPage County does, we’d be in completely different shape. I must add that our services remain among the best anywhere in the country.
What is your evaluation of Gov. Rauner’s job performance? Please specify what you view as its highs and lows.
The Governor has been dealing with a lot of challenges and a lot of opposition to everything he’s tried to do. Working on the County Board, it’s inconceivable to me to be late on a budget, let alone not have one for years at a time. There is no efficiency in that and the damage is difficult to contain or remedy. That would be my “low”, and there’s blame to go around to more than the Governor. It’s hard to identify any particular “highs” in the past few years, but one would be that a number of bad government policies were prevented from becoming law. The Governor did take an active role in keeping many of those bad laws from passing by vetoing or threatening to veto them. In some cases, he was the only one standing in the way of Mike Madigan simply ramrodding more destructive policies through. The Governor gets a passing grade, but would do far better with more members of the General Assembly on the Republican side to help advance better policy. The biggest challenges are in front of us still. After raising taxes only a year ago, there has been little discipline shown and the plan on the other side is to raise them precipitously again. That is an alternative our residents simply cannot afford.
What is your evaluation of Speaker Michael Madigan’s (President John Cullerton’s) job performance? If you voted for him for speaker (president) in the last legislative session, please explain your vote.
His performance has been regressive in every way. I would never vote for him. Having that much authority in the hands of one person who is NOT elected by residents in the other 117 districts in the state. This was never meant to be. It’s been a disaster for our state! He is very likely my greatest motivation for running for this office. We must get past 40+ years of iron fist rule that violates the entire spirit of our democracy.
Should there be term limits for legislative leaders? If so, what would you do to make that happen? What other systemic changes should be made to strengthen the voice of individual legislators, limit the control of legislative leaders, encourage bipartisanship?
Yes. I’d vote for term limits every time I could. I’d sponsor or co-sponsor any bill that included term limits for Leaders and for Legislators in general. I can encourage bipartisanship myself by looking for and embracing ways to work with good people in the other party. That’s my nature, and I’ll do that. We need fair maps as well. As long as one party controls everything in both chambers, what incentive would people in that party to work collaboratively with sincere people on my side?
How concerned should we be about Illinois’ population loss? What needs to be done to reverse the trend?
If people aren’t concerned, they should become concerned very quickly. Despite many natural advantages we have in Illinois as a crossroads for transportation by rail, air, water, and great human resources, we have overwhelmed our residents. We’re seeing growing out-migration among our college students and every category of people beyond. My husband and I migrated TO Illinois for the opportunities this state offered, for a safe place to raise our family, educate our children and enjoy a beautiful community. As the taxes have spiraled upward, many neighbors have left for more economical places, or more opportunity. Reversing the trend means becoming more like the state I came to over 20 years ago. Govern responsibly. Allow companies to take advantage of our great and well educated work force with fewer over regulations, and greater incentives. What’s more, is to help them see a future in Illinois that shows promise and profitability rather than oppressive policies that make our existing businesses leave or not expand here. Our taxes at every level are a disincentive. If we stabilize our resident population, it will go a long way toward stabilizing our business environment.
Please provide one example that demonstrates your independence from your party.
I’ve worked on Social Services in DuPage County. I’ve worked on Opioid Addiction. I volunteer at PADS. I do a lot of things that people don’t necessarily consider to be Republican issues. I don’t do anything with the express purpose of “demonstrating my independence”. I prefer to work in a manner where I can build consensus and continue to gather partners in an effort to change things. On the County Board my colleagues know they can count on my support if they make the best case. They also know they if that doesn’t occur, they will experience my independence for the right reasons.
Better government is the biggest, and it will take time and perseverance. We simply need to stem the tide, turn this ship around and get it moving in the right direction making positive incremental progress with every action we take. I care deeply about strong social services, education and job creation. I believe I can focus on all of those things.
In addition, here a few questions meant to provide more personal insight into you as a person:
What’s the hardest decision you ever had to make?
Overall I am not a person to waiver on making decisions, I usually find a resolution quickly. With that said, I had a hard time coming to a decision when running for County Board my first time in 2012. I was stepping very much out of my comfort zone and people, in general, hesitate in those situations. I gathered my courage with support from my family and friends and decided to run for the seat.
Who is your hero?
I have two because they go together in unison. My parents. They were together on all matters rearing me and my 5 brothers. They raised me to be respectful, work hard, never quit, love and be loved, be polite, volunteer, help others in need, etc. Very good qualities to take with you through life, I luckily had two good parents to learn from and be my heroes
Each amendment in the Bill of Rights is important, but which one of those 10 is most precious to you?
What lesson of youth has been most important to you as an adult?
I had a girl cousin who lived up the street from me and we took flute lessons together starting at the age of 11. Every week her and I took lessons from the same instructor at the same time. We would learn our lesson together and go home and practice until our next lesson. My cousin was very competitive, but we were both equally good at the instrument. We were in the orchestra with many other flute players, but we were the best. My cousin was able to get first chair and I was relegated to second chair. A choice had to be made, and I would accept a second chair more easily than my cousin. The instructor knew this from observing us. While I knew I played equally to her, I found the humility to not hold a grudge. We played together, each doing our part.
Think back to a time you failed at something. What did you learn from it?
In high school, freshman year I did not prepare myself for a health test, thinking it would be easy. I failed miserably on the test and realized I didn’t like the feeling of not being prepared. It goes without saying I was prepared the next time.