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Q&A: Breen, Pihos talk pensions, business as election approaches

State Rep. Sandra Pihos, R - Glen Ellyn, will run in the March 2014 primary election against Peter Breen, R - Lombard.
State Rep. Sandra Pihos, R - Glen Ellyn, will run in the March 2014 primary election against Peter Breen, R - Lombard.

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 Peter Breen and Sandra Pihos, who are running against one another in the Republican race for Illinois House District 48. Some answers have been edited for length.


Peter Breen

Position: Republican primary candidate for Illinois House District 48

Age: 37

Town: Lombard

Employment: Vice president and senior counsel, Thomas More Society

Education: Juris Doctor, Notre Dame Law School; bachelor’s in electrical engineering, Vanderbilt University


Opponent: Incumbent Sandra Pihos

Why do you think you are suited for this office?

I have a strong understanding of the issues facing Illinois and a proven record of reducing spending and returning savings to taxpayers. In Lombard, we eliminated our vehicle sticker, froze property taxes, and were rated the only 100 percent financially transparent municipality in DuPage County. I have the time, energy and understanding of the issues to be a citizen legislator who truly acts in the best interests of the taxpayers of the district.

What experiences do you have that lend themselves to serving this position?

I’m a village trustee in Lombard, and when our longtime mayor passed away, I was chosen to serve as acting village president. I’ve served in executive positions in the private sector, including strong experience in nonprofit agencies, two of which I founded. I believe strongly in a citizen legislature and term limits.

Why are you seeking this office?

Our state is on the brink of economic disaster. The people of this district and of this state have put up with incompetent government at nearly all levels for long enough. They can deal with the truth and are willing to work with sincere legislators to turn things around.

What is the biggest challenge facing Springfield and what would you do to address it?

We must reform Medicaid and make sure that the folks not entitled to Medicaid – by some reports, up to 40 percent of participants – stop crowding out those who are truly needy.

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

This bill saves at least $145 billion for taxpayers, and I support it. The bill is step one, and Republicans need to lead the way toward a permanent, sustainable solution in the years to come.

How would you improve the business climate in Illinois?

We have way too many onerous regulations on business that kill jobs. We need to continue to repeal and modify those regulations, including reforming worker’s compensation. If the business community sees a change in mindset in Illinois, they will take a chance on the positives catching up to the negatives.

Why should voters vote for you?

Because it’s time for a change of philosophy and time for an energetic thinker who’s willing to lead this effort. You can’t expect the legislators who got us into this mess in order to get us out of it. It’s time for new leadership. That’s what I’m offering.


Sandra Pihos

Position: Republican incumbent primary candidate for Illinois House District 48

Age: 67

Town: Glen Ellyn

Education: Bachelor of arts degree in history, Mount Union College (Alliance, Ohio), 1968; master of science in secondary education, Northern Illinois University, 1971

Current Employment: Fulltime legislator, state representative, 48th District

Why are you seeking re-election?

Illinois government is not working and must get leaner. I support term limits, independent redistricting and rolling back the temporary tax increase. I will continue to give strong constituent services, only vote for a balanced budget and spur job creation.

What do you count as your biggest accomplishment in Springfield?

I am an advocate for providing quality education and have an inside perspective on the problems and solutions. I have focused on stopping unfunded mandates that burden our schools. I know school districts are under immense pressure to achieve academic excellence; even more daunting, taxpayers know what is at stake and want positive results as education costs escalate.

What is the biggest challenge facing Springfield and what would you do to address it?

Illinois has a serious spending problem. Our state’s long term fiscal stability will be linked to budgeting for better results and operating more efficiently. As a member of the Legislative Audit Commission, I have filed legislation that will link the findings of inefficiencies of agencies directly to their appropriation in the future.

Do you support the recent state pension bill and why?

I have sponsored and supported numerous pension reform bills in the past. Unfortunately, state lawmakers and the public were not given the legislation until two days before vote, making it difficult to vet the bill. As financial experts begin to see if the dollars add up, they are finding shortfalls. Lawsuits are also being filed to test the constitutionality of the bill. If the bill is tossed out or put on hold by the courts, we will be further in debt. I do not think this bill got the job done.

How would you improve the business climate in Illinois?

High taxes, over regulation and instability of our finances are barriers for growing business. As a former small business owner, I know it is critical to roll back taxes and regulations on business. Illinois should focus on job creation, not job retention.

Why should voters vote for you?

I am hard working and accountable to my constituents. I am a vocal opponent to the Quinn-Madigan 67 percent tax increase, which should be rolled back as promised. I have sponsored and passed legislation to lower property taxes. I am a strong advocate of small businesses and job creation. I believe we should strengthen our education system and provide our residents with safe communities in which to live.

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