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Q&A: Sandack, Matune talk pensions, priorities

Published: Monday, March 10, 2014 2:31 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:40 p.m. CDT
(Photos provided)
Keith Matune and Ron Sandack are running against one another in the Republican primary race for Illinois House District 81.

In preparation for the March 18 Primary Election, Suburban Life Media contacted local candidates to gauge their views on various issues. Below are the responses received from Keith Matune and Ron Sandack, who are running against one another in the Republican race for Illinois House District 81. Some answers have been edited for length.


Keith R. Matune

Position: Republican primary candidate for Illinois House District 81

Age: 44

Residence: Downers Grove

Education: Bachelor's degree, political science, Purdue University; master's degree in education, Purdue University; masters degree in education administration, North Central College

Current employment: Waubonsie Valley High School social studies teacher


Opponent: Incumbent Ron Sandack

Why are you seeking this office?

The motivation to run was Mr. Sandack’s record. His positions and voting record resemble that of a Chicago Democrat. I am part of a middle class family that fully understands the burdens the Democrats in Springfield have placed on us, because we are painfully living under it. We cannot afford more taxation, more businesses leaving Illinois, more over-regulation, more pension debt crisis, more failing schools or further loss of our core values and principles. I believe I would give the strongest voice to what our fellow citizens in the 81st District are experiencing economically in Illinois, as well as credibility in solving the pension crisis and other critical issues.

Do you support the recent state pension reform bill and why?

I would not have voted for the latest pension ‘reform’ bill, because it maintains a failing pension model. Further, it provided continuing political cover for House Speaker Mike Madigan and Chicago Democrats who are causing families to flee our state. The new pension law is another in a long line of temporary fixes and soon-to-be-broken promises that hurts taxpayers and public employees. It protects neither the solvency of public sector pensions nor current retirees, and it guarantees a path to higher taxes.

Why should voters vote for you?

I have spent practically my entire life in the 81st District and know its people well. I was born and raised in Woodridge and have lived in Downers Grove since 2001, where my wife Dawn and I have raised our four children. I am a person others can trust. Parents have entrusted me with their children to educate and coach them to the best of my ability. It is a responsibility I take very seriously. People have also placed their trust in me as a (District 99) school board member. They know I have kept my promises to directly address issues surrounding transparency, accountability, increasing academic standards and reducing administrative costs and retirement/pension obligations, while voting against excessive tax levies.

My first loyalty is to the people of our district. I view myself as an independent conservative who will fight for Illinois families in Springfield. The (R) after my name will stand for reformer, because that is what is badly needed in the General Assembly. We need someone who will help reform, restore and renew Illinois, not be another ally for Mike Madigan.


Ron Sandack

Position: Republican incumbent primary candidate for Illinois House District 81

Age: 50

Residence: Downers Grove

Occupation: Attorney at Gaido & Fintzen

Education: Bachelor's degree, business administration, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Juris Doctor degree, DePaul University

Website: www.ron4illinois.com

Opponent: Keith Matune

Why are you seeking re-election?

State finances matter most and until we fix Illinois, our families and businesses will continue to struggle. As the State Representative for the 81st, I focus on the issues that matter to all Illinoisans – seeking to reduce the size, scope, expense and expanse of state government, utilizing sacred tax dollars in a responsible manner, reforming government and doing everything possible to promote jobs and sustainable economic opportunity … all with the aim to return Illinois to the great state it once was.

I am ready to continue to further advance good government reform, fiscally sound spending, lower taxes and a brighter jobs and business environment.

Do you support the recent state pension reform bill and why?

Yes, I voted in favor of the latest pension reform bill. Illinois has the worst pension crisis in America with over $100 billion in unfunded liabilities. With so much of every dollar consumed by pension obligations, this crisis has many ancillary negative effects, including neglected and deteriorating infrastructure, squeezed education resources, diminished public health conditions, less payments to human service providers and higher cost of borrowing. In fact, it is impossible to fix our state’s financial condition without first undertaking meaningful pension reform. We simply cannot revive Illinois’ economic future without fundamental reform to our pension system.

Why should voters vote for you?

As Mayor of Downers Grove, we reduced the size and scope of local government but still delivered services more efficiently and at a reduced cost. During my time in Springfield, we’ve taken decisive first steps to reform pensions, which have caused tremendous financial pressure to our budgets and services. I declined the offered legislative pension, voted against bad budgets and more spending. I know the issues, lead by example and am determined to reform our state.

I came to Springfield to address pension reform and fix the budget issues that have rendered our state the punching bag of late-night comedians. I am not a career politician; in fact, I submitted a term-limits bill precisely because we have seen what Illinois looks like without term limits. The fact is, indifference in Springfield has caused our financial crisis, which has lead to job losses and a sputtering state economy. I am fighting to reform our state and am always mindful of vigorously representing the people of the 81st District.

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