- Position being sought: State Senate, 19th District
- Phone number: 708-966-9038
- Home address: 8872 W. 159th St., Orland Park, IL
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Website: www.hastings2012.com or visit his page on Facebook or his feed on Twitter.
- Age: 32
- Family: Son of Kyle and Mary Hastings; brother of Kyle, Kimberly, Patrick, Kate and Molly.
- Education: Bachelor's degree in leadership and management from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Master's degree in leadership and finance from the University of Illinois, also attended John Marshall Law School.
- Occupation: Sales and marketing professional.
- Political party: Democrat.
- Previous elected or appointed offices: Vice-President of Consolidated High School District 230 and chairman, Orland Hills Veterans Commission.
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
I'm a former U.S. Army captain and Bronze Star Recipient who led combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2006 to 2007. I also spearheaded the turnaround of a division of a Fortune 500 company (Johnson & Johnson) during the economic recession.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
- Restore fiscal responsibility to the State of Illinois.
- Foster a healthy business environment to bring back jobs to Illinois and the southwest suburbs.
- Pension Reform.
- Education Reform
- Taking care of Illinois' veterans.
- Restore the trust between elected officials and the citizens who elected them.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I believe in values and servant-based leadership. My diverse experience serving in the military, a Fortune 500 Company, and on the board of education at one of the largest area high school districts has provided me with the tools necessary to begin rebuilding Illinois. My combat experience has taught me how to lead in the most hostile of situations and has provided me innovative solutions to complex problems. My corporate experience allows me to look at our state's issues from a strategic level. My board of education experience allows me to reach a majority of the voters and their children, providing a positive future for Illinois.
If Illinois is looking for "24 years of experienced leaders," I urge them to look at what that experience has gotten them. We have had the "experience" of seeing the State of Illinois fail for the past decade. We are bankrupt and close to collapse. I believe it is time for a new experience. That's why the voters of the 19th District should send me to Springfield.
What should first be done by the state to keep businesses that have strongly voiced the possibility of leaving, such as CME and Sears?
The key to retaining businesses in Illinois is maintaining a level of taxation and regulatory oversight that will 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 and live up to their full potential if we allow them to in a free market.
Increasing taxes, fees and regulations on Illinois businesses and individuals will ultimately drive them out of Illinois. Our total tax burdens (income/sales/excise/property/estate) are among the highest in the U.S. and are not conducive to economic growth. For every business that leaves, there are more taxes for the rest of us to pay.
I do not support large incentives to private companies and would prefer that those same funds be used to retain and attract small businesses, which make up the bulk of the business revenue to the state.
What can be done to help College Illinois?
First, reduce the amount of exposure to risk that the funds are currently invested in. Our state-selected investors have placed the money in high risk investment vehicles. We need to select conservative funds and vehicles that are geared toward growth for periods greater than 15 years. Second, when selecting investment firms that deal with taxpayers' money, we have to subject them to strict scrutiny. The financing of Illinois and the country’s educational future should not be something we are willing to gamble away. The state of Illinois failed to do so regarding previous firms. Last, let's avoid send a marketing message to parents depicting "College Illinois" as a program that is close to fail-safe and not exposed to market fluctuation. Tell th investors the truth — a lot of parents who have invested in this program were drastically misled.
What should the government do to create more jobs?
First of all, businesses are the ones that create jobs. That said, the government should create policies that foster a healthy business environment to allow for job creation and job growth in the private sector. With the 19th District between the Interstate-80 and Interstate-57 corridor, there is no excuse for why it's not at the epicenter of job creation and job growth. I support the construction of a third airport and the expansion of the Illiana corridor.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues?
Regarding same-sex 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 their country, we should not prevent him or her from having a civil union with their life partner. Regarding abortion, I am pro-choice.
Do you support a gaming bill that would increase the number of casinos or othergambling venues in Illinois? Should a casino be built in Chicago?
I support the limited expansion of gambling in Illinois and the building of a Chicago 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.
What do you suggest for property tax relief?
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 costs. 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. We also need to educate members of the community on the property tax appeals process and the services offered through organizations like the Orland Township Tax Assessor's office.
Should the state consider consolidating school districts? What would be the best way to accomplish this in your legislative district?
I support the call to consolidate the nearly 870 Illinois school districts, but I do so with the utmost caution. This is a delicate process and has to be executed correctly. There are some schools where this can be done immediately (i.e. rural community school districts). However, there are other districts with multiple feeder schools which could create problems during consolidation. The legislature has to understand that the consolidation of school districts must be done with the best interest of the students in mind, not just the state budget.
Consolidating schools will allow the district to track the progress of students from kindergarten through their high school graduation. It will ensure that students do not fall through the cracks between grade school and high school. It also removes another elected entity, another layer of bureaucracy and allows for single entity operation costs. It will be a complicated merger, but in the long run will pay off for the children and the taxpayers.
Should the state legalize marijuana?
For medicinal purposes only.
Are there ways to reform the legislative scholarship program, or would you support calls to eliminate the program?
Unless the legislature agrees to impose objective guidelines on its members to award the scholarships instead of handing them out as political favors, I will vote to abolish the program.
Who are your political heroes and why?
I have several heroes, many of whom are not political. I choose my political heroes (in no particular order) based on how they led during difficult situations.
John F. Kennedy: Although considered by many as "young & inexperienced," President Kennedy gave America hope that the United States would lead the global community in the future. He instilled the belief in the country that service and giving back was what everyone should do. He also guided the country through the Cuban Missile Crisis and Cold War and was accountable for his actions.
Abraham Lincoln: Preserved the Union through one of our country's worst conflicts to date, led with courage by ending slavery and battled adversity through his values and beliefs. George Washington: Provided visionary leadership against the worst of odds and participated in the creation of the U.S. Constitution which has been tried and tested for the past 200 + years.