Friday, October 07, 2005

Gidwitz: The tax pledge? "Stand on my Record."

This week's and next week's suburban edition of "Public Affairs," features Ron Gidwitz, one of the four announced candidates for Governor in the Republican Primary. The "Public Affairs," program with Ron Gidwitz also will air through-out the City of Chicago on this coming Monday night, Oct. 10 at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21, and it will air again next week in the suburbs. See, below, for a detailed suburban airing schedule for Public Affairs.

In addition to Gidwitz, the other announced Republican gubernatorial candidates are State Senators Brady, Rauschenberger and Dairyman, money manager and entrepreneur Jim Oberweis. In the wings, still playing Hamlet are State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and DuPage State’s Attorney Joe Birkett, and just standing in the weeds, if not in the wings, would be former State Senator and 2002 Republican Gubernatorial Primary Candidate Pat O’Malley. Sneed tells us today that former Cook County State’s Attorney and now Appellate Justice Smiling Jack O’Malley is giving thought to running. Indeed, Rauschenberger joked on my show that there was talk of Ryne Sandberg giving it a go, and if so, why not Winnetkan and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed, herself. How’s that for a Sneedling?

On a more serious note, Gidwitz [who majored in economics at Brown University] has had an extensive public and private sector career, heading up large scale government and private sector organizations. He grew his family’s cosmetics business, Helene Curtis, about sixteen fold in sales to a 1.6 billion dollar revenue company during his seventeen year tenure as its CEO. The business had been started with his father investing about $5000, which 70 years later turned into about 200 million dollars, which was the Gidwitz family portion of the billion dollars that the then public company was sold for to Unilever in 1996. What did Ron Gidwitz get from the 200 million dollars received by the Gidwitz family? As Ron tells us, he has a large family.

On the Public Sector Side, Gitwitz [who grew up in Lake County but is a long time Chicago resident] was Chairman of the Economic Development Commission in the City of Chicago [a Mayor Harold Washington Appointment]; Chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago for about seven years [1991-98], a Mayor Daley Appointment; and chairman of the State Board of Education for about five years [1998-2003].

Gitwitz, married to Christina Kemper Gidwitz for the last thirty years and with two kids currently in college, debates and discusses public corruption and “Pay to Play,” issues and solutions to same in Illinois and Chicago; some of Cook County GOP Chairman Gary Skoien’s more celebrated recent actions; state taxes, fees, and tax pledges; partial birth abortion; pension raids and budget issues; gun owners possessing guns in their homes and concealed carry; state subsidies to embryonic stem cell research; jobs and economic development in the State of Illinois and much, much more with show host Jeff Berkowitz.
A partial transcript of the show with Ron Gidwitz is included, below.
Jeff Berkowitz: For 37 of the last 50 years, or so, we have had a Daley in the Office of Mayor [in Chicago], too much monopoly? Too much corruption? Would you think it is time to have someone other than a Daley as Mayor?

Ron Gidwitz: You know, Jeff, it gets to the same issue as term limits. The public is the ultimate arbiter. The public is the—

Jeff Berkowitz: So you are not critical of that. You could have another Daley there for another 50 years, and it wouldn’t phase you.

Ron Gidwitz: You know, if the people keep electing folks to office—

Jeff Berkowitz: You’re OK with that?

Ron Gidwitz: That’s what they do. We call this a democracy. If I don’t get elected, it’s because the public doesn’t believe I made the best case.

Jeff Berkowitz: Did you support Cook County GOP Chairman Gary Skoien when he posted [offered] a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Mayor Daley for public corruption? Did you support that?

Ron Gidwitz: No, I did not.

Jeff Berkowitz: How come?

Ron Gidwitz: I didn’t know about it in advance.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, would you support it now? Is that the right kind of thing to do?

Ron Gidwitz: I don’t think that’s the way you behave in a public environment
Jeff Berkowitz: He [Governor Blagojevich] took a pledge and he said he wouldn’t raise the income tax [if he came in for four years], wouldn’t raise the general sales tax, wouldn’t increase the sales tax base. [He] hasn’t done that [raised those taxes] for 2 ½ years. Would you take that pledge. Because last time [you were on the show], you said you didn’t know [if you would take the pledge] but now you are running, so what’s the answer?

Ron Gidwitz: Jeff, the interesting thing is, as you said, he increased fees and taxes on business, so people are paying more money for goods and services indirectly as opposed to directly. My record on tax increases is pretty clear. I opposed House Bill 750 and 755 last year. Remember, massive- massive tax increases, would you not agree? Would you not agree? Would you not agree?

Jeff Berkowitz: Would I not agree to what?

Ron Gidwitz: That [House Bill] 750 and 755 were massive tax increases.

Jeff Berkowitz: I would say that was about a [net] three billion dollar tax increase, two billion alone for education.

Ron Gidwitz: 1997-- when Jim Edgar was attempting to raise income taxes, I opposed them. [I] worked very hard to oppose tax increases. It’s awfully easy for politicians to come and make promises they aren’t going to do something.

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, would you take a pledge?

Ron Gidwitz: My record is very clear. I opposed tax increases last year. I opposed tax increases in 1997. I opposed tax increases in 1992. I think its more important for people to take a look at folks record as opposed to listening to a politician say—

Jeff Berkowitz: But, people want to know the future, too. Would you take the pledge not to raise…the state income tax or the general sales tax?

Ron Gidwitz: Jeff, I think that I stand on my record.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you are not going to—

Ron Gidwitz: I stand on my record, Jeff.

Jeff Berkowitz: That means you are not taking that pledge?

Ron Gidwitz: I stand on my record.
Ron Gidwitz, candidate for Guv in the Republican Primary, recorded on September 25, 2005, and as the program will air on the suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” tonight and next week and on the City of Chicago edition of “Public Affairs,” this coming Monday night, October 10 at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at
The suburban edition of Public Affairs regularly airs in ten North Shore suburbs three times each week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Winnetka, Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire and Riverwoods. The Gidwitz show aired this week and will air this coming week at those times.

In twenty-four North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs, the Gidwitz show aired once this past Tuesday and will air once this coming week in its regular time slot: Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on either Comcast Cable Channel 19 or Channel 35, depending on the suburb. The show airs this coming Tuesday night [Oct. 11] at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Ch. 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette. Also, the show airs Tuesday night [Oct. 11] at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Ch. 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.
The "Public Affairs," program with Ron Gidwitz also will air through-out the City of Chicago this coming Monday night, Oct. 10 at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21.