Position sought: State Senate, District 49
Campaign contact informatio.: www.bertinotarrant.com; 815-729-9917; www.Facebook.com/BertinoTarrant
Age and Birthdate: 43
Family Include as much info as you like (names, ages, number of children, etc.): I live in Shorewood with my husband Mike and two children, who currently attend Troy School District.
Education Include degree(s) and school(s):
- Illinois State University, B.S. in Criminal Justice Sciences, minor in Psychology
- University of St. Francis, M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction; Secondary teaching certificate in History/Social Sciences
- Lewis University, Type 75/Administration Certificate
- Loyola University, Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction; Superintendent's Endorsement
Occupation: Regional Superintendent for Will County Schools
Political Party: Democratic
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices: Will County Regional Superintendent of Schools, 2007-Present
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
I have been an educator for 18 years, and have worked as a teacher and administrator in both public and private schools. As an educator, I've had the privilege of talking to parents, students and community members about their thoughts and concerns.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
My first priorities will be finding solutions to the state's budget situation and finding ways to create jobs in the district and the state.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I have been a lifelong resident of Will County with deep roots in the area—my father operated a small business in Joliet, which the family still owns. In addition, most of my six brothers and sisters have chosen to make this area their homes. I have lived, worked and volunteered in this area and will always make it my first priority in Springfield.
What should first be done by the state to keep businesses that have strongly voiced the possibility of leaving, such as CME and Sears?
In Will County, we have seen evidence that some targeted tax initiatives can help create jobs and encourage positive development. However, the state cannot become over-reliant on these types of initiatives. The state should look for ways to level the playing field so that more businesses, not just the targeted few, can take advantage. We should do more to help the small businesses that employ a much higher percentage of our workforce.
To retain and attract businesses to Illinois—whether small businesses or corporations—we must start by restoring confidence that the state will fulfill its funding obligations, and provide a climate of stable services and fiscal responsibility. Dealing with the state's financial condition will help keep the state and district competitive for business.
What can be done to help College Illinois?
An audit conducted by the state earlier this year showed that the College Illinois program had been inefficiently managed. Cutting waste and mismanagement will help ensure that the program delivers on the promise of a secure investment for families. Ensuring that the commission sets realistic expectations for the costs of a college education and the rate of return will also help prevent risky investments that may jeopardize the program.
What should the government do to create more jobs?
The state should reform and streamline the regulatory process to ease the burden of over-regulation on our small businesses, and ensure regulations are as efficient and succinct as possible. The state can also work to provide small businesses with access to capital, by looking at ways to encourage or incentivize banks to provide loans with favorable terms for entrepreneurs who want to grow or expand their businesses. Education and access to career training is an important component. As the communities of the district have quickly grown, the economy has become extremely diverse—which has brought in employers that are looking for a variety of different skill sets. We need to make sure that individuals, especially our younger population, are equipped with the tools and skill necessary to prepare them for a changing and demanding workforce.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues?
I believe the government has a responsibility to allow individuals to live and make decisions with dignity and respect for their personal choices.
Do you support a gaming bill that would increase the number of casinos or other gambling venues in Illinois? Should a casino be built in Chicago?
No. The state cannot gamble its way out of the current fiscal situation, and I do not support an expansion of gaming.
What do you suggest for property tax relief?
As the state has cut funding to education and other key programs, local governments have been forced to pick up the burden of providing the essential services that residents need. The state must fix its budgetary problems so that it can continue to fulfill its core functions, or local governments will be left to foot the bill.
Attempts to haphazardly cut spending or withhold payments from state vendors only shift costs onto local governments already struggling to maintain fiscal health. Honoring the states commitments will allow these local bodies to maintain essential services without resorting to property tax increases.
Should the state consider consolidating school districts? What would be the best way to accomplish this in your legislative district?
While I believe that all options should be considered when finding ways to reduce duplicated services and spending, as an educator and school administrator, I know that no two school districts face precisely the same set of challenges. Local communities know best the needs of their students, and I would want any attempt to consolidate schools to defer to the needs of local education communities.
Should the state legalize marijuana?
No. Marijuana is classified as illegal by federal law, and I do not believe it is appropriate for the state to pass laws that directly contradict these federal policies.
Are there ways to reform the legislative scholarship program, or would you support calls to eliminate the program?
I supported HB 3810, and was pleased when the bill to abolish the tarnish legislative scholarship program was signed into law this summer. Abuse by legislators had undermined public confidence in the program, and the lack of legislative accountability for legislative scholarships was clearly unacceptable, especially in light of the state’s fiscal situation.
However, while I fully supported ending legislative scholarships, it remains important to provide support to help students attain higher education. I will protect funding for legitimate tuition assistance programs with strong accountability measures, to ensure that higher education is attainable for all residents in my district.
Who are your political heroes and why?
(No answer given)
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain.