General Election 2016: Stephanie Kifowit, Candidate for the 84th State Rep. District
Oct 26, 2016 07:44AM ● Published by Steven Jack
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego
Name: Stephanie Kifowit
Employment: Full Time
Family: Married 20 years, three children, two grandchildren
Education: B.S. in Political Science, Masters in Public Administration
Previously elected office: Alderman – City of Aurora
Relevant community service: Stephanie is a member of the Greater Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce, Women in Government, Oswego Chamber of Commerce, United States Marine Corps League (life member), Fox Valley Marines, Women Marine Association (life member), American Legion – Aurora Post 84, Woman's Power Lunch Committee, and the Veteran’s Breakfast Group. She was a former Troop Leader for the Fox Valley Girl Scout Council and substitute teacher.
What makes you qualified to serve the people of the 84th District?
During my tenure as State Representative, I have introduced and supported legislation that would freeze property taxes, assist veterans, and help restore integrity to state government. As I finish my second term in office, I continue to fight for veterans, seniors and the most vulnerable in our community. I have passed laws to protect individuals from online ticket scams, raise awareness and the purchase age for harmful powdered caffeine, passed "Ann Marie's" law which allows schools to help prevent child suicide, protected seniors and individuals with disabilities for voting to maintain the DONs score, strengthened the DCFS Advisory Council to protect children, worked to provide an "Autism Awareness card" and continued to vote for a property tax freeze. I currently am coordinating the State of Illinois' task force to address Veteran suicide.
What are your plans to reach across the aisle in the House to help accomplish things for the people of the 84th District?
All my legislation during my tenure in the House has been bi-partisan and I will continue to work with all my colleagues in the future.
What are the 3 biggest problems facing the people of the 84th District, and what do you propose to help fix these problems?
1. Property Taxes: I have consistently voted to freeze property taxes to provide relief to homeowners. I will continue to work toward this goal.
2. Proper School Funding: All school districts in my district need a fair and equitable funding formula for schools, which does not result in the loss of revenue for our school districts, in addition to the payment of past due school construction grants, that have not been fully funded for about a decade.
3. Budget: All residents of the State of Illinois need to responsible and balanced budget. I will continue to work toward a balanced budget that meets the needs of the State of Illiniois, provides needed services to the frail elderly, disabled, children, veterans and institutions of higher education in addition to cutting out waste, fraud and abuse.
Where do you stand on how the state of Illinois should provide education funding for local school districts?
There needs to be a comprehensive analysis of school funding in Illinois, along with a comparison of what other states are doing with regards to school funding. Due to financial constraints, school funding has relied on property taxes as its primary funding source for schools without large amounts of low-income or impoverished students. While property taxes are the most stable form of revenue for schools, it is also the most burdensome on the average homeowner. This is why I have repeatedly voted to freeze property taxes. Senator Manar is working closely with members of the General Assembly, including myself, on finding the best possible formula for funding our schools and providing the proper resources without raising property taxes or taking monies from other school districts. Any proposal must hold harmless school districts that have been utilizing resources properly, in addition to assisting school districts with socio-economic demographics, which need more services. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Manar to pass a comprehensive school funding reform package that is beneficial to all school districts.
Do you support term limits?
I am open to considering proposals for term limits. However, I believe that any proposal for term limits must ensure that the people of Illinois are fairly represented and the elected officials are able to represent constituents to the fullest of their abilities. In the current roster of the General Assembly, only 17% of the Illinois House of Representatives has 12 years in office or more (13D and 8R by my calculation). As a newer member of the General Assembly, given the complex nature of legislative initiatives, I have found advice from more experienced members of the General Assembly, from both sides of the aisle, beneficial to passing legislation important to my district.
Should members of Illinois’ Legislature be paid while there is no state budget? Why or Why not.
Then Governor Pat Quinn also enacted the same theory when the legislature was still working toward a solution to pension reform, which was ultimately deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The fact is there have been spending proposals passed, and the Governor has vetoed them. Our founding fathers established a system of “checks and balances” for our government and in this situation the comptroller is trying to influence the legislative process through the extreme delay of income. Many legislators devote their time to be a full-time legislator, such as myself, and work to pass thoughtful legislation, be present in the community and help resolve problems residents may have with the State of Illinois. As we have seen, this delay in pay has triggered the exodus of many well respected legislators and in the end there might be less full-time legislators; and more representatives with outside sources of income such as lawyers, consultants, etc, who will not devote the time that I believe this position needs. Thus, residents will not be the primary focus; but the secondary focus of a representative with a full-time job commitment and will truly treat the position of an elected official as only a part-time job.
I will continue to devote all my time to the position of State Representative because I think that is what the people of the 84th District deserve to be the primary focus of my energy and time.