ALTON – Republican lieutenant governor candidate Evelyn Sanguinetti says she and her running mate, gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, will bring a much-needed outsiders' perspective to the state capital.
Sanguinetti, of Wheaton, came to Alton Wednesday to talk about their plans for education reform, job creation, term limits and lower taxes.
She said companies are leaving Illinois because of punitive regulations and high workers' compensation insurance costs.
“Employers are paying far too much in the way of workers' compensation insurance premiums,” she said. “All they need to is go next door to a neighboring state.”
Another plan to generate economic growth is to repeal a 2011 income tax increase intended to pay billions in back-due state bills and shore up the public pension system.
“We need to have a complete overhaul of our tax code and develop one that is fair to all taxpayers, not just a select few,” she said.
Sanguinetti said she views the state's pension reform law, now tied up in the courts by a public union-led legal challenge, as a “mere Band Aid on a huge open wound.” Their administration would honor pension obligations to state retirees but move to a 401-k defined contribution system for state workers.
Tort reform is a key component to restoring economic health because businesses are spending too much on insurance to account for high jury verdicts, she said.
On the education front, Sanguinetti said they support vouchers, charter schools and abolishing the tenure system, which she said rewards bad teachers and doesn't provide incentives for innovation.
Sanguinetti said education helped her escape a life of poverty growing up in Miami as the daughter of a teenage mother, a refugee from Fidel Castro's Cuba; and an immigrant father from Ecuador. Her piano-playing talents got her into a magnet school and she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Florida International University. She went on to graduate from the John Marshall Law School and launched a career as an attorney. She is a member of the Wheaton, Ill., City Council, and adjunct law professor at the John Marshall Law School. She also served as an assistant attorney general under former Attorney General Jim Ryan.
“I'm well aware that the safety net is needed, but the message that Bruce and I are sending to the people of Illinois is that we could be so much more than just a safety net,” she said. “What we have to offer are jobs and opportunities … so that people like me can rise out of the safety net and be all they can be.”
She said the Rauner administration will adopt ideas from other states' leaders who they admire such as Mitch Daniels, Indiana's former Republican governor; and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Fellow Republicans running in the March 18 primary include Bill Brady for governor and running mate Maria Rodriguez, Dan Rutherford for governor and running mate Steve Kim, and Kirk Dillard for governor and running mate Jil Tracy. Democratic tickets include Tio Hardiman and Brunell Donald; and Gov. Pat Quinn and Paul Vallas. The general election is Nov. 4.