2016 PLATFORM OF THE ILLINOIS REPUBLICAN PARTY

  1. PREAMBLE
    1. Our Party’s Philosophy
    2. The platform of the Illinois Republican Party
  2. RESTORING THE AMERICAN DREAM
    1. Restoring the Illinois Economy
    2. Meeting Energy Needs
    3. Protecting Our Transportation Advantage
    4. Promoting Illinois Agriculture
  3. REFORMING OUR GOVERNMENT
  4. ENHANCING NATIONAL SECURITY & PUBLIC SAFETY
    1. A Call to Remain Serious About National Security
    2. Reforming Our Civil Justice System
    3. Improving Public Safety for Our Citizens
  5. ADVOCATING A “FRONT DOOR” POLICY ON IMMIGRATION
  6. PROTECTING THE RIGHT TO LIFE
  7. EMBRACING THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY
  8. PROVIDING A HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION
  9. CONCLUSION

I. PREAMBLE

Illinois Republicans have had a special calling since our birth as a political party. Following in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Everett Dirksen, and Henry Hyde, these are the beliefs that unite us:

  • Advancing our founding father’s principles of freedom, opportunity, and limited government;
  • Caring for the dignity and value of every individual;
  • Providing strong leaders who serve both State and Country with honor and distinction.These principles form the foundation of both an agenda for America and the platform for our party. They point us toward reform of government, upholding timeless values, and a renewal of our national purpose.We commit ourselves to the values that strengthen our culture and sustain our nation: faith, family, personal responsibility, and the dignity of every human life. We believe in a welcoming society in which all who yearn for individual freedom have a place. We are the party of freedom and advancement for all.Our party welcomes individuals who share our common beliefs while having deeply held, yet differing views. Diversity brings strength. We commit to resolve our differences with civility, trust, and mutual respect.

    We celebrate our party’s best traditions; the end of slavery, homestead grants, land-grant colleges, civil rights and protecting life. We believe in service to the common good – and that good is not common unless shared.

A. OUR PARTY’S PHILOSOPHY

The Illinois Republican Party is unwavering in its commitment to our principles. We honor the United States Constitution and believe that neither the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government should diminish the rights enumerated therein. The cornerstone of our constitutional republic and the Republican Party is stated in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

From this doctrine flows our commitment to our core ideals of Freedom, Equality, Opportunity, Limited Government, Low Taxes, Strong National Security, and The Right to Life.

We embrace our party’s proud legacy of supporting civil rights. From abolition to Reconstruction, to the Civil Rights Acts of 1875, 1957, 1960, and 1964, to today’s fights for equal opportunity, education reform, religious liberty, and safer neighborhoods, we trace a thread from the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, to the efforts of our party today. Where the other major party sews division and dependence, we will continue to sew hope, opportunity, and an independence that empowers every individual to achieve his or her God-given potential. Let it be known that this is the Republican Party. We proudly reclaim our history so that we may advance the ideal of all freedoms for all people—regardless of race, color or creed into the future.

B. PLATFORM OF THE ILLINOIS REPUBLICAN PARTY

In order to realize our philosophy and to promote uniform, cohesive efforts to accomplish the same, we hereafter set forth our party’s platform.

II. RESTORING THE AMERICAN DREAM

A. RESTORING THE ILLINOIS ECONOMY

We believe in American exceptionalism. We are the party of optimism and opportunity. We believe individual freedom and opportunity are maximized when the size and intervention of government is limited. We know Americans accomplish great things when the government does not interfere with their creativity and work ethic.

We believe the best way to help the majority of the people is by having a robust, growing economy that provides jobs and the opportunity. It is best for individuals’ self-respect and for society’s costs to keep the number of people on public assistance as low as practical. People truly in need of assistance should get it, but public assistance should not be viewed as an alternative way of earning a living.

We support strong economic policy for Illinois businesses and workers. We believe tort liability and workers compensation reforms will make Illinois more competitive and dramatically reduce business costs.

We advocate a pro-growth orientation for our state’s economic policies, subjecting proposed legislation or regulation to analysis as to its impact on economic growth for Illinois and rejecting any proposals which would impose a negative impact.

We understand taxing businesses translates into fewer jobs, less investment and higher consumer prices. Therefore, we oppose increases in taxes, fees, and mandates at all levels.

We believe that taxes on families make Illinois and the United States less competitive. We, therefore, support the elimination of the capital gains tax. We further recognize the unique burden the death tax imposes on Illinoisans, from family farms to small businesses. We call for the repeal of the state death tax and urge the repeal of the federal estate tax.

B. MEETING ENERGY NEEDS

We believe in an all of the above energy policy that invests in new technology while encouraging our traditional energy resources. We believe clean coal, natural gas, and biofuels will strengthen the Illinois economy while securing an energy independent America.

We reject any tax increase on gasoline and further reject any plan to tax drivers by the mile, as it would infringe on the privacy of our citizens. We appeal to the federal Environmental Protection Agency for sensible changes in the EPA’s gasoline formulary rules and further support the expansion of our U.S. refinery capacity.

We call on the Governor and General Assembly to take all steps necessary to add to Illinois’ nuclear power capacity.

C. PROTECTING OUR TRANSPORTATION ADVANTAGE

We recognize one of the critical advantages Illinois enjoys is our heartland location, making our transportation facilities especially vital to our economy as well as to the daily lives of our citizens. We, therefore, support full utilization of our air, water, rail and road infrastructure for the benefit of our state citizens and to promote commerce and recreation.

We oppose the sale of transportation infrastructure to foreign interests.

We oppose the actions of any government body which chooses to divert designated road-fund dollars to purposes other than the construction and maintenance of our critical network of roads and bridges.

D. PROMOTING ILLINOIS AGRICULTURE

We recognize Agriculture remains Illinois’ core industry. Agriculture built the state, and the state’s growth and success continue to depend upon farm families. We know that Illinois farmers feed the nation, create thousands of jobs, provide vital raw materials and drive hundreds of local economies.

We believe in free-and-fair trade. We support efforts to expand foreign markets for the goods produced by Illinois farmers as well as other Illinois businesses.

We understand our state is a global leader in finance, futures, and derivatives, and therefore, oppose any financial transaction tax.

III. REFORMING OUR GOVERNMENT

We declare that it is the highest obligation of all elected and/or appointed officials to discharge the powers and duties their offices and to conduct their personal affairs honestly, ethically, and with integrity. This fosters good government and enhances public trust.

We believe that the current federal income tax regime should be replaced with a simpler, fairer, and more affordable alternative.

We believe that reforms are required to the Social Security system in order to ensure that Social Security funds are available to all who have paid into that system and for generations to come.

We support replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” with alternative reforms built on the principles of maintaining patient and provider control of healthcare decisions, creating incentives for competition—including the ability to purchase insurance across state lines—innovation, portability, and adaptability, equalizing the tax treatment of individuals and organizations, restoring states’ abilities to control health insurance regulations within their own jurisdictions, promoting health savings accounts, and reforming state medical malpractice laws.

We oppose the ratification of treaties that cede the powers and rights of the American people to the United Nations or other international or multi-national organizations.

We oppose a progressive state income tax in Illinois. We recognize that a flat state income tax is protected by the Illinois Constitution and that a progressive state income tax would hurt middle-class families, small businesses, and the state economy generally.

We recognize that the Illinois Constitution provides that state appropriations for a fiscal year may not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that fiscal year. We call on the General Assembly to satisfy its constitutional obligation and pass a true, balanced budget every fiscal year. Failure to satisfy this obligation threatens our state’s economic performance and the provision of critical government services, including education.

We support term limit reforms that limit the terms of office of statewide officers, state legislators, and state legislative caucus leaders.

We support legislative redistricting reforms that remove from politicians the ability to select their own constituents.

We support common-sense ballot integrity efforts, including photo-identification requirements.

We support the election or appointment of judges who understand that the role of judges is to apply faithfully the law as written and not to impose their political opinions through judicial fiat.

We oppose the abuse of eminent domain and support public policies that protect private property rights and ensure that eminent domain is exercised only where there is just compensation and a clear public—not private—purpose.

IV. ENHANCING NATIONAL SECURITY & PUBLIC SAFETY

A. REMAINING STEADFAST IN OUR NATIONAL SECURITY

We believe our government’s paramount responsibility is to protect American citizens.
We believe it is critical to retain our military superiority in order to deter potential adversaries.

We believe elected officials should support and adequately fund agencies that protect Americans and ensure strong security at our ports of entry and borders.

We call upon elected officials to adequately secure our country’s borders.

We call upon elected officials to pause their efforts or incentives to settle foreign refugees in Illinois unless there are adequate assurances they pose no threats upon our citizens.

B. REFORMING OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM

We support continued efforts to reform our civil and criminal courts and create a balanced judicial system. In this regard, we support limitations on non-economic damages in personal injury, products liability and professional malpractice lawsuits which will result in fair and just compensation for real harms. In addition, we support workers compensation reforms that encourage business development and/or expansion in Illinois.

C. ENHANCING PUBLIC SAFETY FOR OUR CITIZENS

We believe that day-to-day safety and security in our local communities is critical. Therefore, we strongly endorse and support the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states, in part, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” As a result, we oppose any efforts by the state or municipalities to impede the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.

We believe in the use of criminal background checks by licensed firearms dealers. We oppose any effort to make public any personal information from FOID cards. We support the statutory repeal of the FOID Act.

We support continued enactment of “Concealed Carry” legislation.

Because of the rise in crime by repeat offenders, we support efforts to aggressively prosecute criminal offenders.

We call on elected officials to remain steadfast in ensuring Illinois citizens can feel safe in their neighborhoods, homes, and businesses.

We believe the rights of crime victims are essential and there is a just criminal process. As a result, we support the rights of crime victims to give statements, to be heard by the court and other agencies at sentencing and in “sentence-reduction” proceedings and to be given notification upon the release of prisoners.

We call upon the legislature to develop a comprehensive and strategic economic impact plan (e.g., 5, 10 and 20 years) for Illinois’ prison closure, construction, and usage policy.

V. ADVOCATING A ‘FRONT DOOR’ POLICY ON IMMIGRATION

We are a nation of immigrants, and the Republican Party welcomes those who respect our laws and seek freedom and opportunity in our great country. We believe it is only right to expect that our new residents come in through the front door and join us in society as fellow Americans.

We call on the Federal Government to streamline the task of citizenship for legal immigrants to assimilate and complete the process of becoming Americans.

We support American workers and believe the government should ensure businesses only hire legal workers. We oppose the abuse of the worker visa program that puts Americans out of work.

We call for the consideration of full citizenship rights to be granted to any legal immigrant who has shown their willingness to embrace and defend American values upon the honorable completion of service in the armed forces of the United States.

We strongly believe that those who have been deported for violating our laws by their conduct as residents of the United States should not be granted a second opportunity to take their place among us; this is a matter of both self-protection and of upholding the public trust.

We call on the Illinois government to assist our federal government in the mission of protecting our homeland. We, therefore, urge reversal of “sanctuary city” policies, which bar our law enforcement officers from aiding Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents. Border control is a national security and public safety issue. We further call on the federal government to secure and protect our borders and vigorously enforce the law of the land.

We further call on the federal and Illinois government to abandon all incentives that encourage illegal immigrants to settle in Illinois, as these incentives put a strain on our already struggling economy and are insulting to those who immigrated here legally.

VI. PROTECTING THE RIGHT TO LIFE

We believe that our natural rights, as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, begin at conception and continue until natural death. We believe that these rights include the fundamental right to life of unborn children, and we support the appointment or election of judges who share that belief.

We support a human life amendment to the federal and Illinois constitutions affirming the right to life of unborn children, and we support making clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.

We advocate the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

We oppose the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions or to support organizations that perform abortions, that participate in the purchase or sale of fetal tissue or organs, or that create and destroy human embryos for the harvesting of stem cells for research or treatment purposes.

We believe that the practices of partial-birth and late-term abortion are so morally repugnant that we specifically, and strongly, affirm our opposition to those practices.

We believe that physicians should be required to notify a minor child’s parents or guardians prior to the performance of an abortion.

We applaud the work of pregnancy care centers in reducing abortions. We support public policies that encourage adoption—by reducing costs and streamlining processes—as an alternative to abortion.

In order to protect women’s health, we believe facilities in which abortions are performed should be required to meet the same medical operating standards as other outpatient surgery centers, including undergoing periodic health and safety inspections.

We support enactment of the Illinois Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which guarantees appropriate medical care for babies whose birth is incidental to abortion.

VII. EMBRACING THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY

The family is society’s central building block. Thus, efforts to strengthen family life are efforts to improve life for everyone.

Our children need secure and nurturing environments, which are best found in the traditional family. No law should be enacted nor policy implemented without fully contemplating the effect it would have on children and their families.

While not universally achievable, the ideal environment for children is within a two-parent family based on the principle of marriage between one man and one woman. The Republican Party endorses a constitutional amendment protecting our Defense of Marriage Act and enshrining in constitutional law marriage as it is defined in our “DOMA.”

Our laws should strongly support and celebrate the loving commitment a man and a woman make to each other in marriage. Our laws should strongly support and celebrate a loving, married couple bringing new life into the world and rearing their children in a secure and nurturing environment from conception to adulthood. No law should undermine the importance of that union, divide that union nor unduly burden the efforts of parents to rear a family in a safe and nurturing environment.

Those persons in our society best equipped and motivated to protect and nurture children are their parents, not government bureaucrats, teachers, counselors or social workers. The Republican Party endorses legislation to re-establish the right of parents to consent to health care involving their minor children, regardless of whether such care entails diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted disease, alcoholism, drug abuse or mental illness, and particularly in the consequential arena of abortion and contraception.

VIII. PROVIDING A HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION

We call our state to deliver results for the vast sums of taxpayer dollars annually invested in the schools from the federal, state and local levels. All children in our educational system should have access to a quality education which puts them first and no child should be forced to attend schools that are failing.

Children should follow a system of gradual language immersion from the earliest days of their formal schooling. This is not only a cultural issue but an economic one as English is the business language of the world. We want all of our children to have the opportunity to succeed in the economy.

A basic foundation of our education system for more than a century has been that communities are in the best position to make decisions regarding their school districts. We embrace local control of public schools. We believe states should be empowered through the Tenth Amendment to control education. Therefore, we call for the elimination of the Federal Department of Education.

We strongly support the rights of parents to direct the education of their children which they believe will best further their children’s future prospects. Non-public schools should be unregulated by the state. In regards to special education in public school, we affirm parents’ rights in their child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and they should have the right in Illinois to not consent to parts of the IEP while accepting the rest. We note with concern the increasing tendency of school officials to advocate for placing children on medication to control their behavior. It remains the responsibility of the schools to abide by the parental wishes for the administration of medication in the school setting.

IX. CONCLUSION

This Platform represents the majority opinion of the members of the Illinois Republican Party’s 2016 Platform Committee. The Committee acknowledges and respects reasonable differences in opinion among Illinois Republicans on the issues contained herein. As Ronald Reagan said, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor.”

Therefore, we accept that good Republicans do not have to agree on all the issues contained in this Platform and that this Platform shall not be used as an instrument of division or attack on others within the party who hold opposing views. We must unite as a party behind those items on which we agree.


Adopted May 21, 2016

Illinois Republican State Convention Peoria, Illinois

(For a PDF copy click here)