78th District candidates set priorities at Oak Park forum
Updated: April 2, 2012 8:39AM
Camille Lilly and Michael Nardello, candidates for the 78th District state representative seat, spoke at the Oak Park and River Forest League of Women Voters candidate fair Saturday at the Dole Library in Oak Park.
The event allowed just five minutes per candidate to outline their campaign platforms, but equally as important, allowed them serious meet-and-greet time with a large crowd of interested and engaged people certain to vote in the March 20 primary.
Lilly touted her not-for-profit background and said she had a “passion to help people.”
Saying she “was not a career politician,” she told the packed room that she wanted to return to Springfield “to be part of the solution.”
She called for more transparency in government, as well as greater fairness and citizen participation.
Addressing the state’s finances, Lilly argued that the solution was “stronger legislation (targeting) big businesses that aren’t paying taxes.”
“We want dollars to remain in Illinois,” she said. “We need to stop big business from taking dollars away.”
The former head of the Austin Chamber of Commerce also called for helping small business cope with the current economy.
“If we can give incentives to big businesses, we can give them to small businesses,” she said.
Nardello touted his 15 years as finance director for the Chicago Department of Aging, during which time he’s balanced $30 million budgets. He’s also worked in private business.
“My mom grew up in Cabrini-Green,” he told his audience. With his mix of Italian, Filpino, German, Irish and “a bit of American Indian,” he said, “I always see a little bit of good in everyone.”
Pointing to his professional background in assessing and crafting budgets, Nardello said he wanted to go to Springfield to bring a fresh perspective and a new voice to the process of solving the state’s systemic financial problems.
He criticized the decades-long deficit spending by state lawmakers.
“The problem is, we have a lot of baggage behind us. We have to look at how pensions are delivered and who participates in those pensions,” Nardello said.
“I want to help Illinois get back on track,” he said. “You spend what you make.”
He also mentioned his support of gay rights, noting he attended a recent Equality Illinois gathering.
Nardello called for more transparency and accountability by lawmakers as key to good governance.
“There’s always a solution,” he said of the state’s challenges. “But more importantly, I believe in accountability and transparency. If you know what we’re doing down in Springfield, we may not do things you don’t like.”