19th District residents 'not ATMs for reckless politicians,' Laporte says
Chicago Police Officer Jeffrey Laporte, who is running in the Democratic primary in the 19th House District, hopes to bring a fresh face to the state Capitol as the political newcomer sets his sights on reining in spending and showing residents "they are not just ATMs for reckless politicians."
Laporte, who holds a master's degree in public safety from Lewis University and is running against Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) in the primary, said some of the most critical issues he hopes to tackle if elected are a balanced budget and bringing forward policies to keep residents from wanting to flee the state because of high taxes.
"We need to show them (residents) they are not just ATMs for reckless politicians," Laporte said. "We need to hold the line on any more tax increases, get Medicaid under control and eliminate pensions for elected officials," he recently told the Chicago Tribune in its editorial board questionnaires.
As to why Laporte thinks it has been so difficult for lawmakers in Springfield to pass a balanced budget, he blames what he says is the state's dysfunctional government.
"We have a dysfunctional government that is more worried about getting re-elected than doing the job they were elected to do," Laporte said. "Our elected officials continue to cave to special interests instead of working for the people who elected them."
Laporte, who is calling for a complete elimination of pensions for elected officials, has said if elected, he will not accept a pension for the office of state representative.
"How can Illinois politicians ask working families to come to the table to renegotiate their pensions when they are collecting hefty pensions for what is essentially considered a part-time job," Laporte said. "The system needs to be reformed, but it needs to be reformed in the right places."
"Most if not all of them (elected officials) have full-time jobs and can invest as they wish to plan for their retirement," he said. "The complete elimination of pensions for elected officials must be the first step toward a good faith negotiation to reform the system.
"Elected officials should not be retiring on the backs of taxpayers and should not collect a pension at all," Laporte said.
"I am not a career politician, I am not from a family of career politicians, I am not a property tax attorney and I am not a yes man," he said.
The 19th District includes parts of Dunning, Gladstone Park, Jefferson Park and Portage Park neighborhoods as wells as portions of Elmwood Park, Harwood Heights, Norridge and River Grove.