Incumbent vs. newcomer in 57th House District
Married to: Barry Nekritz
Occupation: State representative
Education: Economics degree from Trinity University; J.D. from University of Michigan Law School
Married to: Sharone Greenberg
Children: Jaron, 5; Adam, 18 months
Occupation: Works for nonprofit agency
Education: Degree in political science from Indiana University; master’s degree in public affairs from Indiana; also an ordained rabbi of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati
Updated: October 26, 2012 8:56AM
The two candidates in the 57th District state House race have vastly different reasons for running.
With two young boys already and a daughter due two weeks after the election, the timing of a political run is not ideal for Jonathan Greenberg, the Republican challenger said.
“I think the only reason it is a good time is because the state requires it. The state needs people now to make tough decisions, people to come in and shake things up, to move in a positive direction,” Greenberg said. “We have put down roots here. We love it here. It makes me sad what’s happened. … I can be part of fixing the state.”
Democratic incumbent Elaine Nekritz said there are too many important issues on the state’s table to be turning the House seat over to a political newcomer. The 57th House District includes parts of Buffalo Grove, Glenview and Northbrook.
“My experience and the gains in leadership that I’ve had have positioned me to really address the issues the state faces,” Nekritz said. “The most important thing the state can do to attract and retain business is provide a stable and predictable environment. In some areas, we still have a long way to go. I am immersed in the pension issue. I am chair of the House Pension Committee.”
Calling pension reform the biggest issue facing the state, Nekritz noted that the Legislature was close to having a pension solution at the end of last year. She said she introduced pension-reform legislation in August and pensions continue to be the biggest expense in the state budget.
Noting that teachers do not receive Social Security, Nekritz said some form of pensions need to remain in place for state employees.
“I don’t think we can take (pensions) away, but we can make them affordable,” Nekritz said.
Greenberg said in order to get his support, pension reform must: be comprehensive, including judges; stop accruing new unfunded debt; not raise taxes; introduce accurial honesty; and require saving money.
“I would love to move to a 401(k)-style system and end this ridiculous pension charade,” Greenberg said. Most of corporate America went to 401(k)s. I want to help address that and go forward.”
Greenberg was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind., always wanting to move to Chicago. He has spent several years in nonprofit work, including five years with the bipartisan American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Nekritz is finishing her 10th year in the Illinois House. Before being elected to the House, Nekritz was a member of the Altheimer & Gray law firm, working as a real estate attorney and later becoming a partner.
“I really have worked and been successful in changing things, and I have moved things forward,” Nekritz said. “I was the architect of the state’s first spending cap. I am willing to stand up and address things and not kick the can down the road.”
“You can’t send the people who dug a hole to dig you out,” Greenberg said. “I want to turn the state around and cut taxes. And I have not spent the last 10 years doing the opposite of those things. I fit the district really well. I am socially moderate and fiscally conservative.”