Politicians Tackle The Issues

By The Columbia Chronicle

Sheryl Tirol

Special Sections Editor

Timothy C. Lofgren

Graphic Design Editor

Carol Moseley-Braun, Senator

Improving Public Education

Fixing Schools:

As a result of her efforts, Congress enacted the first program to provide grants to school districts to repair dilapidated school buildings. Braun has formed the National Education Technology Funding Corporation to help modernize classrooms. She has created a zero interest bond program for local school districts to improve their schools. This program will provide more than $29 million for Illinois schools. She cut bureaucracy in federal-local school construction partnerships.

Making college affordable

College Costs: Braun commissioned a series of reports documenting the exploding cost of a college education. The reports revealed the college tuition has risen by 234% over the last 15 years.

Student loan incentives: She authored legislation restoring the tax deduction for student loan interest.

Pell Grants: Braun supported the largest federal Pell Grant increase in 20 years. This will help pay for the education of 152,000 Illinois college students this year alone.

Tax Incentives for Education: Braun helped to create the HOPE Scholarships and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits and middle class students.

Defending Public School:

Head Start: Senator Moseley-Braun has been a strong supporter and defender of this important program which provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, social and other services to low income preschool children and their families. She supports full funding of Head Start and has fought efforts to cut and eliminate this program.

Women Issues:

Women’s Pension Equity: Braun introduced the Comprehensive Women’s Pension Equity Act of 1996, a bill to reform current pension laws that were not written with women’s economic realities in mind. Three os the six provisions in the bill became law. Last year, Senator Moseley-Braun introduced the Comprehensive Women’s Pension Protection Act, to further protect women’s pensions.

Violence Against Women: Braun cosponsored the Violence Against Women Act and the follow-up bill of 1998 to strengthen laws to protecting women from domestic abuse, stalking and other violent crimes, and further protect women from sexual assault, insurance discrimination, and violence in the workplace and on college campuses.

Economic Development:

Braun sponsored section 941 of P.L. 105-34, which created 20 additional empowerment zones and 80 additional enterprise communities throughout the country.

Worked to enact sections 311-314 of P.L. 105-34, which increased the capital gains exemption for homeowners, generally lowered capital gains tax rates.

Balanced Budget and Tax Reform:

Braun also cosponsored the Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.

She also helped to enact the 1993 and 1997 budget bills that have reduced the federal budget deficit to its lowest level since 1974.

Braun also helped defeat efforts to cut the Earned Income Tax Credit that helps working, low-income families.

Jesse White

Candidate for Secretary of State

School Bus Safety:

White was the first candidate to offer a solution to the problem and now he’s the only candidate to devise a program to help our children get to and from school safely.

Improved Customer Service:

The main mission of the Secretary of the State’s office is to serve the citizen’s of the state of Illinois. White wants to extend the hours of operation at all state driver’s facilities to better meet the needs of Illinois’ working men and women. Jesse White also offer express lane service for senior citizens and the disabled at all Illinois Secretary of State facilities.

Youth Initiative Plan:

White has always been active in keeping our children off the streets and away from the influences of gangs and drugs. Project Next Generation would provide volunteer mentors and tutoring for children after school in our state’s library facilities. Let’s put books in our children’s hands.

Organ Donation:

Illinois currently has one of the nation’s best organ donor plans, but we need to do more. White wants to increase the drive to expand our state’s organ donor rolls. White wants to also examine ways of driving down the costs of anti-rejection medication to keep our state’s organ transplant recipients from needing second organ transplants.

Al Salvi

Candidate for Secretary of State

Strengthening DUI Laws:

As a state legislator, I consistently supported tough DUI laws to protect people on our roads from intoxicated motorists. As Secretary of State, I will work to close existing loopholes by requiring drivers in Illinois to comply with filed sobriety testing requests from police officers. I will also work to implement longer summary suspension periods for individuals that refuse Breathalyzer tests or field sobriety tests.

Literacy Programs:

I will be a leader in the fight to stamp out illiteracy. Literacy is the foundation that all other learning is based upon, so I will continue and expand programs aimed at meeting the literacy needs of Illinois citizens. I also recognize the growing importance of computers and new technology in the daily lives of most adults. I also recognize that many adults are feeling left behind by advances in computer technology. I do not want to leave anyone behind as we cross into the millenium. Accordingly, I will lead an effort to ensure that all adults develop an adequate level of computer proficiency.

Sex Offender Registration:

I have proposed a plan to assist state and local police officials in maintaining track of registered sex offenders. My plan requires a registered sex offender to renew his driver’s license annually and at the time of re-registration provide three pieces of information documenting his current address. Currently, sex offenders are required by law to register with their local police departments, but according to the Illinois State Police approximately 20% do not comply.