The Scout sits down with Republican Joan Krupa to get to the bottom of the issues in Illinois
Editor’s note: The Scout sat down with Republican Joan Krupa. Below is a transcription of the interview. Democrat Jehan Gordan did not respond before press time.
Joan Krupa is from Decatur and is running on the Republican ticket for state representative.
Krupa received her bachelor’s degree from Bradley in education. She went on to teach first grade while working on her master’s degree in guidance and counseling, also at Bradley.
In 1988 Krupa won a seat on the Peoria County Board, where she served until 1994. She serves as the CEO of the Heartland Community Health Clinic.
Scout: How do you plan to fix Springfield?
Krupa: We are in very, very serious trouble in terms of the budget and having the resources to cover essential services. We’re going into this year at least two billion in debt. We have Medicaid payments to providers who are behind as much as two or three months, or even longer. People are experiencing cash flow problems and [the government] can’t provide services for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
We have the most under funded pension system in the United States.
We have a governor who, in my estimation, if he shouldn’t be impeached he should be disciplined.
And so all those kinds of budgetary problems are what I think give my rise to wanting to go and fix things in Springfield.
Other than that, the two issues that I feel most passionate about are health care and education.
We need reform and funding in areas for education.
In health care, we have a system that’s broken where people who need help can’t get it. For the last six years I’ve been working very hard to provide that in our community, so I’d like to see that replicate across the state.
S: What do you bring to the table, and why is it important?
K: If you look at the Illinois budget, 80 percent of the budget is spent in the area of education and social services and health care and that’s where my whole career has been.
I had 20 years in the field of education, teaching everything from college-age kids to preschool. I’ve been a director of adult education at the county jail.
I’ve been a parent coordinator for 13 school districts, an elementary teacher, guidance counselor and I’ve taught English as a second language over seas.
I have a broad background in education. When people talk about education reform, I’ve actually lived in the field so I have an insight that you don’t get by reading books or hypothesizing things.
I’ve also worked heavily in social services. I worked as a director of a program in children’s homes called Good Beginnings, which works with pregnant and parenting teens.
I was president of the Heart of Illinois United Way, so I have a lot of experience in social services and providing resources to social service programs.
For six years, I’ve been working in health care at Heartland and at that program we grew from under a thousand patients to over 18,000 today. So I think you could say I have some experience on the ground in these areas.
I ran two terms as a county board member and was unopposed in my third term. So I do have a history in public service.
S: What is your stance on gay marriage?
K: I’m for traditional marriage. I am a traditionalist in that regard.
I am against civil unions also, and I believe that we only have about 10 states that have civil unions and we have a lot to learn from them. I’m not opposed to them because of the homosexuality necessarily. What I am opposed to is the possible misuse [of the system].
So I’ll come down on the conservative side on that.
S: What is your stance on abortion rights?
K: I am pro-choice.
However, I am very conservative on the spectrum in terms of being a pro-choice candidate. For example, I obviously believe that women should have the right to a safe and legal abortion, but that it should be extraordinarily rare. And it shouldn’t be used as a form of birth control.
I’m totally against partial birth abortions. My position is that the state should stay out of it. This is a very personal decision between a woman, her doctor and her creator. And let’s keep the state out of it.
S: What is your stance on energy policies, and how do you plan to make Illinois less dependent on oil?
K: I am very pro looking at alternative resources, especially wind energy, which we have an abundance of in parts of the state.
And I also like the idea of using fuels that are renewable. And we’re just on the beginning of knowing how to use our great soil and resources to provide that kind of thing.
S: Would you support an amendment to the Illinois Constitution allow citizens to recall elected officials?
K: I believe that we have a governor who deserves a recall, but I think that can come from a constitutional amendment. I don’t support throwing out the baby with the bath water, so to speak. I think we have a pretty decent constitution, but more than that the reason why I’m not in favor of a constitutional convention is because I think we can add provisions like recall.
S: If elected, you’ll be a junior member of the Illinois House of Representatives. Do you already have contacts and relationships with those who you’ll be working with?
K: First of all, as CEO of Heartland Community Health Clinic, I have developed very close relationships with people who are already there on both sides of the aisle. (State) Sen. Dave Kahler, for example, was part of my board and he was one of the ones we worked with to bring a federally qualified health center like Heartland to Peoria. So I already have a very close relationship with Kahler.
So already I have a close connection with a central Illinois block. And in Springfield, people that live below I-80 have to work together because there’s such a confluence of power and clout above I-80, so we need collaborative association.
S: What would you like to accomplish that Aaron Schock as a representative hasn’t?
K: I think he represented this district extraordinarily well. I can’t think of anything that he didn’t try for the district that I would disagree with.
In particular, he did a great deal for Heartland Community Health Clinic, and that serves 16,000 people that live in this district. He did a lot in terms of working for educational reform, particularly in special education, and I’d want to continue that.
Jehan Gordon is from Peoria County and is running on the Democratic ticket.
Gordon attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she majored in speech communication.
Gordon also serves on the Pleasant Hills School District #69 School Board.
Gordon has worked at Illinois Central College, coordinating retention programs. She also served as chairwoman at Peoria’s Promise, which is an initiative that encourages Peoria District 150 students to go to college.