Kessem: Tax reform, strong leadership lacking in Springfield
Ammie Kessem, a Republican state House candidate, says Tuesday's election is about leadership, or lack thereof, in Springfield. She’s running against incumbent state Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) in District 19.
“Robert Martwick has proven that he is not a leader,” she told Chicago City Wire in an interview Tuesday, just one week ahead of the election.
Kessem outlined several issues where she says Martwick stumbled: failing to stand against sexual harassment during a recent House scandal, pledging to vote to re-elect House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and allegedly failing to report income earned as a political consultant.
One of the most telling issues, Kessem says, concerns Martwick’s role as a consultant for the Cook County assessor, which may be a conflict of interest since he is a property tax attorney.
“He behaves in an unethical manner when he represents his politically connected clients to get tax appeals on their commercial properties, all the while being paid as a political consultant by the county assessor, the very person responsible for these property tax assessments,” she said in the interview.
One of the biggest issues facing Illinois is the “huge fiscal disaster” of unfunded pensions and rising property and income taxes, which Kessem said her opponent has avoided – other than to prescribe more taxes.
My opponent’s answer has been to borrow money to pay off debt, which has been proven to be a very risky plan,” she said. “My answer to fixing this disaster revolves around lowering the tax burden on our taxpayers, which will help to keep Illinoisans from leaving the state.”
Kessem recommends reform of the EDGE credit “to make it more fair and equitable for small businesses” as well as transitioning the pension system to a 401(k) system for new hires. The state EDGE (Economic Development for a Growing Economy) credit program is designed to incentivize firms to relocate or expand in Illinois.
“When I am elected as the state representative for House District 19, voters here can count on me to be a true representative of our community, not an absentee career politician who is going to give them lip service,” she added.
The 19th District includes Chicago, Leyden and Norwood Park townships, and the villages of Elmwood Park, Harwood Heights, Norridge and River Grove.