Elected officials meet with local business leaders at SXU’s Sixth Annual “Breakfast With Your Legislators”

(From left) State Sen. Edward Maloney, State Rep. Kelly Burke, State Rep. Bill Cunningham, SXU President Christine M. Wiseman, J.D., Commissioner John Daley and Ald. Matt O’Shea.

Elected officials from the southern Chicago area answered questions from local business leaders about everything from ComEd rate increases to gaming in Chicago at the sixth annual “Breakfast With Your Legislators” event. The Beverly Area Planning Association and the Blue Island, Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn Chambers of Commerce presented the event and AT & T sponsored it. Saint Xavier University hosted the event at its Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.

Participants of the panel discussion included: State Sen. Edward Maloney (D-18th), State Rep. Kelly Burke (D-36th), State Rep. Bill Cunningham (D-35th), Cook County Commissioner John Daley (D-11th), and Chicago Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th).

State Sen. Edward Maloney (D-18th) on voting against the recent ComEd Smart Grid legislation: “There’s obviously a need for upgrading the service … but I just felt that ComEd needs more skin in the game. ComEd and Ameren, the two … that are looking for this automatic rate increase are currently making a profit. My sense is why wouldn’t you take part of that profit and begin your investment here to show consumers you’re serious about upgrading the system. … The timing is not good on this, we all know what happened during the storms this summer.”

State Rep. Bill Cunningham (D-35th) on education funding: “The budget is the overarching problem in the state budget and almost everything is related to it. Funding for education issues … has been a problem in the state government. I think we rely too much on local governments to fund education through property taxes. That’s something that would require major change in Springfield and I think it’s something we need to work on.”

State Rep. Kelly Burke (D-36th) on her top priority for her legislative district: “What businesses have said repeatedly is they want stability and they want to be able to plan. With uncertainty in the state budget and with the tax climate, they haven’t been able to. My priority is to help move along the budget process that will provide that stability and I think we’re moving in that direction in the state.”

Cook County Commissioner John Daley (D-11th) on gaming in Chicagoland: “I strongly support opening a casino in the city and in the suburbs. Revenues are dying… just go out to the Horseshoe Casino or Four Winds in New Buffalo… and you see license plates from Illinois. We are losing money and this money, if used correctly, could be going toward schools.”

Chicago Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) on longer school days in Chicago: To just add 90 minutes to the day doesn’t solve the problem. There needs to be more math, more reading, more science. I think we also need to talk about overcrowding and improvements to our schools. … I also believe that if we’re going to ask teachers to spend additional time in the classroom, they need to be fairly compensated and in my opinion right now, they’re not.