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Hastings, Montalvo square off to succeed Crotty in new-look 19th

Edgar Montalvo. | Supplied photo

Edgar Montalvo. | Supplied photo

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HASTINGS

Name: Michael Hastings

DOB: Oct. 6, 1980

Office seeking: 19th Senate District

Political affiliation: Democrat

Home address: Orland Hills

Marital status: Single

Education:

United States Military Academy at West Point, B.S., Leadership and Management

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, M.B.A.

The John Marshall Law School, JD — expected 2013

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Beta Gamma Sigma - Business Honors Fraternity

Phi Alpha Delta — professional legal fraternity

West Point Society of Chicago - former member of Board of Directors

VFW Post #2791 - Lifetime member

University of Illinois Alumni Association

West Point Association of Graduates

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

Vice-President, Consolidated High School District #230 School Board - Andrew, Sandburg, & Stagg High Schools (elected)

Chairman of the Orland Hills Veterans Committee (appointed)

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

Kyle R. Hastings, Sr. — Mayor of Village of Orland Hills

Kyle R. Hastings, Jr. - Trustee, Village of Orland Hills

Mary C. Hastings — Executive Administrative Assistant, Orland Township

Campaign information

Campaign headquarters: 8760 W. 159th St., Orland Park

Website: www.hastings2012.com

Campaign manager: Danielle LeMonnier

Campaign budget: $100,000

Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

Myself - $12,646.10

United Association - $2,500

Illinois Trial Lawyers Assn. - $2,500

Illinois Federation of Teachers - $2,500

Illinois Pipe Trades - $2,500

For incumbents: In either the fall veto session or in January, will you support a bill like SB1673? That bill cuts pension costs for four of five state pension systems by making state workers and retirees choose between keeping state-subsidized health insurance or an automatic 3 percent annual pension hike during retirement. Do you support the element of the bill that shifts employer pension costs from the state to local school districts?

NA

If you don’t support a bill like SB1673, what is your plan for rescuing the state’s pension systems?

Did not respond

For challengers or candidates for an open seat: If there is no action on pension reform in the fall veto session or in early January, would you support a bill like SB1673 in the next legislative session? That bill cuts pension costs for four of five state pension systems by making state workers and retirees choose between keeping state-subsidized health insurance or an automatic 3 percent annual pension hike during retirement. Do you support the element of the bill that shifts employer pension costs from the state to local school districts?

As a school board member, I know firsthand that local school districts outside of the city of Chicago already pay a portion of teacher’s retirement agreed upon through collective bargaining. I am against the initial proposal regarding the shift of pension costs from the state to local school districts.

The plan would have created a financial nightmare for local school district and to the taxpayer. It would have caused the increase in property taxes that would crush our already struggling communities. The answer to the question is NO; I do not support the current proposal of cost shift. If they are to pass a cost shift in the fall veto session or early January, I hope the legislature would have the foresight to create a long term plan for a phased in cost shift over expanded period of time to allow for municipalities and school districts to forecast and budget accordingly. The legislature should also educate and inform their community of what is to come in terms of a cost shift, and not just implement it at the last minute. Regarding SB1673, I will wait to see what is produced during the fall veto session and in January.

For all candidates: Do you support the Medicaid reform package passed last spring, including $1.6 billion in cuts and rate reductions and an increase in the cigarette tax? What else, if anything, needs to done to ensure the health of the state’s Medicaid system?

Healthcare costs and pension reform are two issues that go hand in hand. Health care costs are expected to rise exponentially over the course of the next ten to fifteen years. The state has to do a better job of providing savings in order to ensure the health of the state’s Medicaid system. My plan would include reducing wasteful administrative expenses. The lack of system-wide IT leads to enormous administrative expenses, from wasted time to excessive personnel. We could take ten percent or more out of the health care budget simply by streamlining the administrative system. When you talk to facilities that take payments via these systems they will tell you that the reason why payments are delayed is due in part to an aged infrastructure & incompatible systems. My plan would also include exploring how to reducing marketing and underwriting costs. Insurance administration averages twelve percent of costs overall, but only half that in large firms. Moving individuals and small firms into larger exchanges would save tens of billions of dollars annually. Last, as a health care professional, we devote far too little attention to prevention, and when acute episodes occur, they are more expensive than need be. The best health care systems, from the Mayo Clinic to Group Health Cooperative, save up to 10 percent while delivering higher care quality.

Healthcare costs are expected to increase exponentially over the next ten years and this has to be just as much of a priority to get in line

Do you support letting the 2 percent point income tax increase expire in 2014 as planned, or would you like to see the tax increase extended beyond 2014?

I would let the 2% income tax increase to expire in 2014. The State of Illinois cannot pass off their financial mismanagement onto the taxpayer of Illinois. As a business professional who has managed budgets in excess of $130 million dollars, I would force a discussion on how to properly balance a budget. Every time Springfield is given more money to manage, it expands. The days of expansion are over.

Do you support any changes to the corporate income tax rate? Do you support any other changes to the state’s business tax structure? What should the state government do to create a more favorable business climate and to promote job growth?

First, businesses create jobs; the government should create policies that foster a healthy business environment to allow for job creation and job growth in the private sector.

The 19th District is at the center of the I-80 & I-57 corridor, there is no excuse to why we are not at the epicenter of job creation and job growth. I support numerous reform efforts that will create a favorable business environment that will retain major corporations and invite small business owners to come to the Southland. I support the construction of the third airport, pension reform, expanding tax credits/incentives, among many more. I will spearhead legislation that will hold corporations feet to the fire if they accept various incentives by penalizing them if they move jobs out of the state. Last, I will push to eliminate the unnecessary hurdles and red tape that directly affects potential small business owners from opening businesses.

The key to retaining businesses in Illinois is to maintain a level of taxation and regulatory oversight to fund governmental operations. We need to ensure that we take care of the core mission of state government while providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in our society — children, the elderly, the disabled and the indigent. Other than that, businesses and individuals can flourish to their full potential if we let them operate to their highest ability in a free market.

Increasing taxes, fees and regulations on Illinois businesses and individuals will ultimately drive them out of Illinois. Our total tax burden (income / sales / excise / property / estate taxes) are among the highest in the U.S. and are not conducive to economic growth. For every business that leaves, that leaves more taxes for the rest of us to pay.

Do you support the gambling package Gov. Quinn vetoed at the end of August? If not, how could it be improved?

Yes. I support the limited expansion of gambling in Illinois and the building of a casino. Socially conservative and liberal states alike are far ahead of Illinois and realize the economic impact it could have on the state. Although casinos and gambling are not the answer to our financial troubles, it would prevent Illinois from losing millions of dollars in tax revenue it has already lost to states like Wisconsin and Indiana.

Over the last few years, the state Legislature has begun to bring spending in line with revenues by cutting spending in education, health care, social services and other areas. Has the state Legislature done enough to reduce spending and run government more efficiently? What more could be done? Are there any areas where you would like to see greater state investment?

After serving in the military for eleven years and as a member of the local school board, I know that there is always more to be done to reduce wasteful spending. Our state government should scrutinize every dollar that is being spent to ensure that it is spent properly. We do this as one of the largest school districts in the state. The state Legislature can definitely do more to reduce spending and run the government more efficiently. As stated in a previous question above, we need to ensure that we reduce wasteful administrative expenses and invest to upgrade our aging infrastructure. Working with a Fortune 500 company that operates at the cutting edge of technology and with a local government entity, it is evident that we need to bring the State of Illinois into the 21st century.

Would you seek any changes to the state ethics and campaign finance laws? Would you support capping what state party leaders can donate during a general election?

The campaign finance laws that were passed in 2009 were very well thought out. The transparency to obtain who donated to a particular candidate has greatly improved over the past few years with the help of technology. There is improvement that can be made in regards to the oversight of legislative PACs. However, instead of creating more laws restricting campaign finance law, we should do a better job of enforcing the ones we already have.

Would you back a constitutional amendment to shift from a flat income tax to a progressive income tax system?

No. I believe that this issue needs to be brought to the citizens of Illinois by vote and should be provided the opportunity to choose whether or not it becomes a constitutional amendment.

Do you have a plan to reform Illinois’ school finance system so that it no longer produces inequities in school funding across the state?

The State of Illinois is not in any financial position to be funding any inequities in school funding. Through poor financial management, past legislatures have mortgaged the futures of our children for years to come. The interest on our debt is growing at an increasing pace and eventually there will be residual effects to this in the form of services suffering.

This problem is going to take some time to remedy. My temporary solution is for both the House and the Senate create a formula which would establish a baseline tax revenue for the funding education. This formula would be applied to residential, commercial, and industry alike.

For the long haul, this is not something that the House and Senate alone cannot establish a solution to. We need to collaborate and reach out to business leaders and our brilliant economic minds to establish a permanent solution to this daunting problem.

We also need to encourage members of the community to get involved in their local governments. Many citizens do not understand who the taxing bodies are that have a direct impact on their property tax. Through their involvement they too can run for elected office (school boards, college boards, fire protection districts, etc.) and have a significant impact on whether their community’s property taxes are increased.

What is your view on gay marriage?

I believe that the institution of marriage is between a man and a woman. However, I believe in civil unions that are regulated at a state level. If an individual with a gay sexual orientation is able to serve in the military and possibly die for his country, we should not prevent them from a civil union with their life partner.

MONTALVO

Name: Edgar Montalvo

DOB: Jan. 10, 1961

Office seeking: 19th Senate District

Political affiliation: Republican

Occupation/Name of employer: Co-owner, Kirkuk Global LLC

Home address: 8719 Timbers Pointe Drive, Tinley Park

Marital status: Married 27 years to high school sweetheart (met/dated since 1978)

Spouse’s name: Cecilia Montalvo

Children: Daughter: Elizabeth (16), attends the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) Son: Matthew (14), attends Lincoln-Way North High School

Please list civic, professional, fraternal or other organizations to which you belong:

VFW Post 2791 - Life member American Legion Post #0336 - PUFL member Reserve Officers Association - Life membership

Boy Scouts of America adult volunteer – Currently Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 385, Calumet Area Council / formerly District Commissioner (1982-1984), Scoutmaster, Troop 8, Chicago Area Council (1984-1994), and Eagle Scout (1978).

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

In 1989, I was elected and served a four-year term as a commissioner for the Frankfort Square Park District. I served as the chairman of both the maintenance and long-range planning subcommittees, working with officials from the Frankfort Plan Commission and Frankfort Township as well as local homeowners’ associations. In this capacity, I provided leadership and direction that resulted in the expansion of recreational programs and facilities available to local residents.

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government?

I recently retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 30-plus years (Oct 1981 – Jan 2012) with the United States Army Reserves. I also returned to Iraq after my second tour as a soldier there in order to work temporarily (Feb 2010 – Aug 2011) as a civilian engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I served in exactly the same capacity as a soldier – I was the Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team Engineer.

Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

I am the largest contributor to my campaign.

What is your estimated campaign budget?

$25,000

Please describe your educational background.

MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago (2001), graduate certificate in communications from the University of Oklahoma (2004), bachelor of science from the University of the State of New York (1997).

Additionally, my military education and training includes: the Engineer Officers Advance & Basic Courses, Combating Terrorism on Military Installations, the Nuclear Target Analysis Course, the Combined Arms Services and Staff School, and the Command and General Staff College.

For incumbents: In either the fall veto session or in January, will you support a bill like SB1673? That bill cuts pension costs for four of five state pension systems by making state workers and retirees choose between keeping state-subsidized health insurance or an automatic 3 percent annual pension hike during retirement. Do you support the element of the bill that shifts employer pension costs from the state to local school districts?

n/a – not an incumbent

If you don’t support a bill like SB1673, what is your plan for rescuing the state’s pension systems?

I support SB1673, but I do not believe SB1673 goes far enough to rescue the pension system.

More than anything else, the state needs to re-evaluate and adjust how we administer and deliver a quality deferred compensation system to public employees in Illinois. The current system, even with these proposed changes, is not sustainable and we risk breaking our financial commitment to the many hard-working public servants that have placed their trust on the promises made to them and who now plan to receive the benefits they’ve earned as a government employee.

Whatever options are adopted, to include a possible transition to a defined contribution-type plan (i.e., a 403b or a 401k-like plan), all stakeholders need to be represented, and need to understand that we cannot continue on the current path. The sooner the changes are made, the less severe they will need to be.

For challengers or candidates for an open seat: If there is no action on pension reform in the fall veto session or in early January, would you support a bill like SB1673 in the next legislative session? That bill cuts pension costs for four of five state pension systems by making state workers and retirees choose between keeping state-subsidized health insurance or an automatic 3 percent annual pension hike during retirement. Do you support the element of the bill that shifts employer pension costs from the state to local school districts?

I support efforts to reduce future pension obligations such as those that would make retirees choose between keeping state-subsidized health insurance or an automatic 3 percent annual COLA.

I do not support efforts to shift current unfunded employer costs from the state to local taxing districts. Shifting this burden does nothing to “solve” the current situation, but rather merely transfers the problem. Yes, future obligations need to be tied to those responsible for making compensation decisions, but even then, this “transfer” of obligations needs to occur in a phased, pre-planned manner that allows local districts the opportunity to properly prepare for this additional expense.

For all candidates: Do you support the Medicaid reform package passed last spring, including $1.6 billion in cuts and rate reductions and an increase in the cigarette tax? What else, if anything, needs to done to ensure the health of the state’s Medicaid system?

Yes, I support the Medicaid reform package passed last spring. That said, we need to continue to evaluate what health care spending can be made more efficient, reduced or eliminated.

Do you support letting the 2 percent point income tax increase expire in 2014 as planned, or would you like to see the tax increase extended beyond 2014?

Illinois needs to phase out the current income tax increase recently enacted. Increasing taxes and fees on individuals and businesses has raised additional revenue for the state, but has also simultaneously driven out jobs and resulted in a contraction of our state’s economy. This additional revenue is short- lived, as the tax increases become an increasing drag on job growth and economic expansion. Bottom line - our combined tax burden in Illinois (income / sales / excise / property / estate) is among the highest in the nation, and is having a real and sustained negative impact on our economy. Consequently, I would vote to repeal the tax increase, and if not successful, then at least allow the rate to phase down as scheduled.

Do you support any changes to the corporate income tax rate? Do you support any other changes to the state’s business tax structure? What should the state government do to create a more favorable business climate and to promote job growth?

There are many things that the state government can do now to help create a more favorable business climate and to promote job growth. I make the following suggestions in addition to allowing the current income tax surcharge to expire as currently scheduled.

Roll back the extension of the prevailing wage in TIF districts. Organized labor continues to expand the prevailing wage and is trying to require it in Enterprise Zones. TIFs and EZs are economic development tools designed to help businesses grow and expand. What’s better, 10 employees making $18 an hour or 15 employees making $12 an hour? Of course, if you’re one of the lucky 10 making $18, you would say the former, but what if you’re one of the five who would be otherwise unemployed? How about the employer -- would the labor provided by 10 be as productive as that performed by 15? Would they be more competitive in today’s marketplace? Increasing the minimum wage kills jobs at the margins, where many today find themselves.

Advance workers’ compensation reform. Illinois has among the highest rates in the nation, in part because our system fails to adequately address standards that determine whether a workplace actually caused or aggravated a worker’s condition, as well as objective standards to determine disability.

Do you support the gambling package Gov. Quinn vetoed at the end of August? If not, how could it be improved?

Normally, I do not favor the expansion of gambling, especially as a source of government revenue, but under the current economic conditions, I would be willing to consider it if it can be demonstrated to help create jobs.

Over the last few years, the state legislature has begun to bring spending in line with revenues by cutting spending in education, health care, social services and other areas. Has the state legislature done enough to reduce spending and run government more efficiently? What more could be done? Are there any areas where you would like to see greater state investment?

No, the state legislature has not done enough to reduce spending and run government more efficiently.

For example, I can also list several specific areas in which I would seek to reduce state spending. For starters, I would recommend consolidation of the state comptroller’s and state treasurer’s offices (yes, it requires a constitutional amendment). We should also limit the growth of any department’s budget to no greater than the rate of inflation.

School mandates should be reviewed with a possible goal of eliminating some to allow local districts additional flexibility to manage resources more effectively at the local level. Consolidate some school districts to eliminate duplication of administrative services and expenses. Determine if certain townships can be eliminated and/or consolidated as well -- not all counties even have township governments. Disband the Civil Service Commission. Eliminate stipends for local officials’ salaries for Treasurers, Assessors, Sheriffs, Coroners and Auditors.

Would you seek any changes to the state ethics and campaign finance laws? Would you support capping what state party leaders can donate during a general election?

The current campaign finance regulations are weak and need strengthening, with real penalties for violations. Incidents of pay-to-play should be fully investigated. For example, I would be very interested in knowing exactly who paid for the attorneys who challenged my nominating petitions. They knew that we had more than enough good signatures, but their primary objective wasn’t to throw me off the ballot (that would have been an unexpected bonus if they had); rather, it was to burn up our resources (both financial and time). The lead law firm was hired by the same school board my opponent sits on literally the week before the objection was filed -- coincidence indeed.

Would you back a constitutional amendment to shift from a flat income tax to a progressive income tax system?

The proposal has both pros and cons, but I would not support it unless it could be shown to be revenue neutral and demonstrate that the expected benefits outweigh the negatives.

Do you have a plan to reform Illinois’ school finance system so that it no longer produces inequities in school funding across the state?

The state isn’t exactly in a position to provide additional funding to education in an effort to address inequities. Besides, can we honestly say that all the money spent on education in Illinois is money well spent? My daughter attends the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, so I have a direct personal incentive to ensure that Illinois continues to adequately support education. But throwing more money into education doesn’t automatically translate into better education any more than spending additional money on defense results in increased national defense.

I know this first hand as I have witnessed enormous waste while managing projects in Iraq. The best example I know was the construction of a U.S. taxpayer funded $3 million dollar helicopter hangar in Kirkuk that I managed -- only to watch us begin dismantling it immediately upon finishing its construction.

That said, the state should provide a critical oversight role to ensure local school districts deliver on providing quality education. Another important consideration is the consolidation of some school districts. There are almost 900 school districts in Illinois, so there appears to be some room for cost savings through consolidation. Charter schools are another potential education reform that should be expanded. The recent teacher strike in Chicago illustrated the benefit of greater choices and provides another reason for the expansion of charter schools — as those students continued to attend classes while approximately 350,000 public school students missed over a week of essential classroom instruction.

Bottom line, there are many issues that need to be addressed regarding education, including the state’s funding of education so as to minimize existing inequities between districts. Perhaps they can be addressed as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s funding formula/consolidation of school districts/pension reform package.

What is your view on gay marriage?

Loving, committed relationships must be supported and recognized. A compassionate society should do no less. However, I do not believe that the union between gay or lesbian couples should be called a marriage, as I feel that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Updated: December 5, 2012 6:05AM



After easily dispatching a longtime Tinley Park trustee in the primary, Michael Hastings faces a Republican challenger in a redrawn 19th State Senate District where the longtime incumbent isn’t seeking re-election.

Hastings, a 32-year-old West Point graduate and military veteran who served in Iraq in the U.S. Army, is going up against Edgar Montalvo, who co-owns, with his wife, an engineering and project management business. Montalvo, 52, retired in January as a lieutenant colonel after more than 30 years with the Army Reserve.

Hastings, of Orland Hills, has served on the Consolidated High School District 230 Board since April 2009. He formerly worked in sales and marketing for a unit of Johnson & Johnson, but left the firm more than a year ago to focus on his campaign.

Hastings announced his candidacy in December, just weeks before current Sen. Maggie Crotty (D-Oak Forest) announced she’d leave Springfield after completing her term next January. Crotty has represented the 19th District for the past decade.

Last year’s reconfiguration of the district stretches it to take in more of Tinley Park and Orland Park, as well as Mokena and New Lenox.

Montalvo, of Tinley Park, served a four-year term on the Frankfort Square Park District board. His business, Kirkuk Global, primarily serves the oil and gas industry, with a special emphasis on northern Iraq. While in the Reserves, Montalvo was in Iraq as a soldier, then later as a civilian engineer, working in the Kirkuk province.

He is running a largely self-financed campaign, while Hastings — although a contributor to his own campaign — has benefitted from donations by unions representing firefighters, teachers and the building trades.

Hastings has identified shoring up the state’s financial position, education and improving Illinois’ business climate among his priorities if elected.

On the issue of the state’s unfunded pensions liability, he said that he’s opposed to a measure being considered by the Legislature that would shift pension obligations to local school districts, saying it would be a “financial nightmare” for districts and taxpayers. Should such legislation be approved it should include a “long-term plan for a phased-in cost shift” to allow for districts to budget accordingly, Hastings said.

Montalvo said that while he supports efforts to reduce the state’s future pension obligations, he also opposes a quick shift of current pension costs to school districts.

While “future obligations need to be tied to those responsible for making compensation decisions,” the transfer “needs to occur in a phased, pre-planned manner that allows local districts the opportunity to properly prepare for this additional expense,” Montalvo said in his questionnaire.

He said he would like to see more transparency in state spending, and a “full and complete audit of spending to determine the effectiveness of programs funded by the state.”



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