- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - Four candidates are running for Illinois comptroller, the person who controls the state’s checkbook.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed business executive Leslie Munger to the post last year after the death of Judy Baar Topinka, who died shortly after winning re-election in 2014.

The winner of next Tuesday’s special election, coinciding with the presidential contest, will fill the remainder of the term expiring in 2019. Munger is running, along with Democrat Susana Mendoza, Libertarian Claire Ball and Green Party candidate Tim Curtin.

Here’s a closer look at the candidates:


Leslie Geissler Munger, 60, Lincolnshire

Family: Married, two sons

Education: University of Illinois, B.A.; Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, M.B.A.

Occupation and experience: After making an unsuccessful bid for the Illinois House in 2014, she was appointed Illinois comptroller, her first public office. Worked as a brand management executive with Unilever Helene Curtis, for Procter and Gamble and McKinsey and Company Inc.

Illinois’ top issues: Debt, growing pension and Medicaid costs, and outdated technology.

On prioritizing bills: “As a rule of thumb: Those suffering the greatest hardship, and our most vulnerable, should always take precedence.”

On term limits: “Term limits and redistricting reform are essential for ensuring more accountable government in Springfield.”

On the budget gridlock: “We can’t just cut our way to a balanced budget - we also need new revenue. I believe that can best be achieved through expanding our tax base by making Illinois a place where employers want to locate, expand and create new jobs.”


Susana Mendoza, 44, Chicago

Family: Married, one son

Education: Truman State University, B.A.

Occupation and experience: Elected Chicago’s city clerk in 2011. Served as Illinois state representative from 2001 to 2011. Worked as an advertising account executive and in Chicago’s planning department.

Illinois’ top issues: Lack of a budget, erosion of middle class and increased poverty, and gun violence.

On prioritizing bills: “I will continually serve and protect the most vulnerable populations of this state and not allow myself to be party to a political agenda that, for all intent and purposes, holds payments to the most vulnerable in our state hostage.”

On term limits: “Term limits already exist in the form of elections where voters get to choose who they want to represent them.”

On the budget gridlock: “It is imperative that all legislative and statewide leadership put partisan politics aside to examine the most comprehensive and effective fiscal strategies to bring about a financial recovery across the state.”


Claire Ball, 34, Addison

Family: Married

Education: DeVry University B.A.; Keller Graduate School of Management, M.A.

Occupation and experience: Works as an accountant at U.S. Cellular. First time seeking public office.

Illinois’ top issues: Partisan politics, unfunded pension liabilities and transparency.

On prioritizing bills: “I will publish a table of categories that details the payment priority order. The top of that list will be mandatory and court-ordered payments followed by service providers, such as mental health facilities, veteran services and elderly care.”

On term limits: “Term limits are necessary and I support them and would commit to a term limit.”

On the budget gridlock: “The politics being played on both sides has caused severe damage to Illinois, and further stop gap budgets will only prolong it.”


Tim Curtin, 67, Hillside

Family: Married, two children

Education: Attended University of Wisconsin-Madison and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Occupation and experience: Union organizer with United Electrical Workers. Served as a union trustee, Oak Park committeeman and chairman of a Green Party committee.

Illinois’ top issues: A balanced budget, restoring social service funding and raising revenue, like taxing financial transactions at exchanges and boards of trade.

On prioritizing bills: “I would pay for education and social services first, since they are a necessity for the well-being of the people of Illinois.”

On term limits: “We do not need term limits. What is needed is an informed public. If the public understood the positions that these elected officials are taking, maybe they would settle and get something accomplished.”

On the budget gridlock: “We need a balanced budget so we can stop borrowing heavily as a state.”


Follow Sophia Tareen at https://twitter.com/sophiatareen.

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