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George Barber

Republican candidate for Illinois Senate (54th district)

George Barber

George Barber

Republican candidate for Illinois Senate (54th district)

Person Senior HS, Roxboro, NC 1982 Asbury University, Wilmore, KY, BS Physical Education,1986 University of Kentucky, Lexington, MS Sports Adm. 1989 University of Kentucky, Lexington, EdD Adapted PE, Kinesiology 1995
Head Mens Basketball Coach/Professor Greenville University
Past Political/Civic Experience

Responses to our questions

Why do you think it has been so difficult for Springfield to get a balanced budget passed and signed?

Special interest groups

Do you believe the state budget can be balanced going forward without new sources of revenue?


What new sources, if any, would you support? Please be specific.

See above.

Do you support a constitutional amendment favoring a graduated income tax? Please explain.

No. We do need tax reform, so I need to learn more. I am not for tax increases to balance a budget, not for a tax increase for a government that has proven to not be responsible with the money.

Please list five areas where you would cut spending.

The number one thing we need to do is a debt affordability study. We have two choices: 1) Trim our current budget, or go broke. The debt affordability study will help us identify areas, potentially things like reforming healthcare for state employee's, reforming pensions (moving forward) for state employees, consolidating school administration and physical structures, consolidating municipalities, and ditching political pensions.

Since the Illinois Supreme Court's 2015 decision tossing bipartisan pension reform, what can and should the legislature do to control pension costs, if anything?

Pay it! Then start over with a more affordable plan. The 401K plans gets what the market is paying.

Should all new state workers be moved into defined contribution plans?

That would be an option.

What should the governor do to control pension costs during union contract talks? What would you do?

Pay it! Then determine what reforms need to take place.

Illinois lost more residents than any other state in 2016 and the trend appears to be holding for 2017. What is the No. 1 reason, in your opinion, for the exodus?

We have great workers, but our infrastructure is being neglected, small business struggle with start-up cost, fuel and licensing taxes, LLC, and workers compensation taxes, and loosely controlled causation laws. Businesses are going to nearby (or other) states and taking our workers.

What should Illinois do — via tax policy, spending or other policy means — to keep residents from leaving?

Make it easier for business to do business and stay or relocate to Illinois, thus giving residents jobs and keeping residents in the state.

What should Illinois do to promote job creation?

Better and more understandable small business tax laws and regulations.

Did you support the education funding reform bill that the governor signed in 2017?

Yes. I don't like that the State still has to fund a certain %age of CPS pensions, and would rather see that be a total function of that district and it's property tax payers, however, the scholarships (if used correctly to help the poor and those in under performing schools) can be good. Also, a higher paying scholarships for the most vulnerable persons with disabilities could be good.

What, if anything, should the legislature do to help Chicago Public Schools?

They should function like the rest of the state (except in statistically proven poverty areas) and fund their own schools.

Do you support opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill? Or will you try, if elected, to eliminate that program?

Yes, I support them.

Should Illinois do more to regulate campaign fundraising? If so, what?

Yes. Off the record - I was told by IOP "Do not run! We have $37 million and we are trying to get to $50 million. Your opponent has a million, and if he needs more we will give it to him". I was told to run for the House and I would have a punchers chance. I said, why can't a guy pick a lane and run, and "It does come down to a vote you know". On the record - I was told I need $400K to run a campaign to defeat my opponent. I am a DIII University Men's Basketball Coach, and Professor, and my wife is a part time children's and family minister at our church. We have raised 5 children in our district. In her staff meeting the other day it was brought up that there are people in our church that are going without basic needs this holiday (food, shelter, and transportation). Collectively my wife and I agreed that raising and spending $400K on a primary is wrong when there are those who don't have basic needs met in our community. Our conscience would not allow us to ask for, or spend that kind of money on a political campaign w those kinds of needs in our community.

If we don't have campaign finance reform, the little guy, who may be the best voice for the people, may get boxed out (sorry for using a basketball rebounding term). I am running to give the people a choice and a voice. We should set limits on campaign finance fundraising and spending. It keeps the process of running for office a democratic exercise.

What help, if any, are you receiving from your party and its leaders, including staff help, advice, legal assistance, money and resources? Be specific.

None. No financial assistance. I have been able to get moral support and advice, but only if I ask for it.

If you are an incumbent, give an example of a time you worked across the aisle on an important issue.

I am not an incumbent.

If you are an incumbent, give at least one example of a time you did not vote with your party on a significant issue.

See above.

Do you support term limits? If so, will you commit to sponsoring legislation and/or lobbying your colleagues on behalf of a constitutional change?

Yes. This is a tricky question, because I do believe you learn and can be a more effective legislator w time. However, I believe you can also become jaded with time. It is an inverted "U". You get better up to a point, then become jaded thereafter, so term limits are necessary. I will propose legislation on term limits, and will term limit myself to a cycle of 4, 4, and 2 in the senate. Five terms in the house, and three in the senate I believe would be best.

Do you support changes to the redistricting process? If so, will you commit to sponsoring legislation and/or lobbying your colleagues on behalf of a constitutional change?

I need to be educated on this, but it seems to drive higher campaign financing, higher stakes in elections, and needs to be changed.

Tell us a little about your family.

My wife Lisa and I have been married for 29 years. We have raised five children (ages 17-25). My wife gave our middle daughter a kidney last year and both are doing well. We have lived in our district for 19 years where I have coached the same team for that same time period. My wife was an elementary school teacher, then a stay at home mom, and now a children's and family life minister at our church. My mother lives next door (dad is deceased) part of the year (the warm months) and in FL where she taught school for 25 years in the winter.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

Parachuted (tandem) twice with my children when the boys turned 18.

Candidates for Illinois Senate (54th district)