IL State Rep 18th District
Campaign contact information. Please include any or all of the following: website, email address, phone number, Facebook page, Twitter account, mailing address, etc.
Friends of Robyn Gabel
Evanston, IL 60204-6453
Age and Birthdate:
Family Include as much info as you like:
Husband Ivan Handler and daughter Lilah
Education Include degree(s) and school(s):
BA major Anthropology, Beloit College, Wisconsin
M.S.P.H. In Public Health from UIC, School of Public Health
M.J. in Health Law from Loyola University Law School, Chicago
Official name of your campaign committee:
Friends of Robyn Gabel
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices:
This is the only elective office I have held.
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
My experience as the Executive Director of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition for 20 years continues to provide insight into the health care issues facing Illinois. Additionally, that experience taught me how to manage a budget and build coalitions.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
Resolving the budget crisis and job creation are the two top priorities for the next term. I am also working hard to improve health care in Illinois by helping to implement the Affordable Care Act. Another project I have taken the lead on is bringing renewable energy to the north shore. During the current term, I convened a commission that proposed a legal framework for bringing offshore wind energy to Evanston. In the next session, I hope to pass legislation that will allow wind turbines to be placed in Lake Michigan, producing clean, renewable energy for our homes and businesses.
Illinois’ unfunded pension liability is $83 billion. The state’s inability to address the issue recently led Moody’s to downgrade Illinois’ credit rating. What should be done to address the state’s rising pension obligations?
It is clear that if nothing is done, pension payments will require using more and more state revenue that is currently allocated for education and human services.We need to stabilize our pension system otherwise we risk a time where current employees who have contributed into the system may not be paid their benefits. In order to negotiate a solution, all interested parties must be at the table. I support a new hybrid plan that some industries have already adopted. This hybrid plan would combine aspects of a 401k program and a defined benefit plan resulting in shared risk. The most important pension reform must be to legally require Illinois to pay it's pension obligation each year on time. Otherwise, any pension reforms will not provide the stability for a long term solution.
What are the most important issues facing your district and what would you do as a legislator to address them?
As I noted above, health care, job creation, education, the environment, and the budget deficits are all important issues facing the 18th District.
Illinois’ state government has a terrible reputation in terms of corruption. What would you do to change the culture of state government that has seen recent governors from both political parties convicted of felonies?
"I proposed legislation with my colleague Daniel Biss that would limit the number of years that a legislator can serve as Speaker of the House, State Senate President, or as a Minority Leader. Corruption flows from the concentration of unaccountable power and I will continue to fight for more transparency.
Also, I believe that too much money is spent on campaigns in this country. I would like to see campaigns publicly financed and more limits on spending. However, this must be done in a manner that will not create an unfair playing field and allow unspecified private funding to be used without transparency and limitations."
Education in Illinois is funded primarily through local property taxes. What changes, if any, would make to that funding system?
Currently, the local school districts negotiate benefit packages for teachers but the state is responsible for paying the retirement costs. If the local school districts were responsible for paying the costs, the contracts may be negotiated differently. However, transferring the cost to local school districts should not be done at once but gradually over time so the local systems can plan for increased costs.
Illinois recently passed a significant increase in its income tax, yet the state continues to run a deficit. What specifically should be done to reduce the deficit?
"First, we need to cut the budget where we can. Over the past two years, I have worked as Vice-Chair of Appropriations for Human Services to cut the budget by almost $1 billion in 2011 and another $300 million in 2012. Also, this year I sponsored legislation to require the General Assembly to cut legislator’s pay by taking ten furlough days and not allowing increases in per diem or mileage allotments. Other ways to reduce the budget include consolidating the office of Comptroller and Treasurer, reducing the state vehicle fleet and eliminating the Lieutenant Governor's office.
We also need to look at the revenue side. I supported raising the income and corporate tax rates temporarily in order to cover the state's past due bills. Over the longer term, a graduated income tax could be considered that would provide tax relief for working families. This would allow the state to receive necessary revenue and reduce the tax burden on working families."
Why would you do a better job representing the district than your opponent? If you are running unopposed, please just share why you are qualified for the position.
I believe that my experience as a legislator and as an advocate for women and children makes me the candidate best able to represent the values of this district effectively in Springfield.