1) What is the No. 1 issue in your district and how would you address it?
The biggest issue facing the 1st Congressional District is the creation of jobs via economic development. With more than 25 years experience in local government, I have the knowledge and ability to interact successfully with all governing bodies and agencies to create the economic opportunities that will propel forward the 1st Congressional District.
I will work tirelessly to provide greater economic opportunities, and to create an environment that will allow small businesses to flourish and create jobs. I support tax breaks for “insourcing”; I believe companies that profit from Americans need to create jobs for Americans. Tax breaks should be given to businesses that bring jobs back to the U.S.
I also am a strong advocate for transportation improvements, which will create corridor development -- and along with that, jobs -- and return the district to the major national hub it once was. I envision the southern end of the district, bounded by three major expressways, to be revitalized as a major national and international cargo transportation center.
I believe small businesses are the backbone of America and the solution to reviving our economy, and I will work to create a climate of support for these businesses. The American manufacturing era may be over but the age of technology is booming. I will push to provide retraining for our unemployed citizens in areas of technology, and help create job opportunities through innovation: seeking alternative energy sources, recycling and re-using waste streams, and reclaiming vacant industrial sites for such things as vertical farming or as intermodal hubs for shipping.
I am a huge proponent of retraining. We need to get Americans back to work, to offer greater opportunities to the unemployed of all professional and skill levels in emerging areas of growth in our economy: technology and solar, wind and bio-energy.
2) How would you promote job growth in your district?
3) Should the federal government cut spending and where?
I believe Congress needs to reign in the rampant overspending that is taking place in our country today. Each dollar that is spent in the U.S. budget should be accounted for, and only those programs that are critical to the day-to-day operation, safety and security of our country or have a proven return on investment should be included in the budget until our deficit is under control. Revenue increases should be a last resort only after significant spending cuts in wasteful programs have been made. It does not make sense to continue to invest American taxpayers’ money in a system that is too large in scale and wasteful of the revenue it currently manages. Why would you invest more money in a company that is in serious financial trouble?
It is difficult to say which specific programs should be cut or decreased without examining the U.S. budget line by line. However, each program should be evaluated by considering: 1.) Is it necessary for the operation of our government; and 2.) Does it provide a return on investment -- which can be defined as revenue or jobs created. No program should be considered off limits in this evaluation. I propose that 100 percent of the deficit reduction should come from cutting waste before a single tax is raised.
4) Give an example of something you’ve done that is bipartisanship in nature.
Not in recent memory has our nation been so divided. I run respectfully as a Republican but I understand that we must find common ground in order to address the historic challenges that we are facing in our country today. I am committed to simplifying and demystifying government and to seeking common ground over partisan politics. I will strive to ensure that all citizens, city and suburban, have a voice in this sprawling, diverse district, which stretches from the lakefront through Will County.
During my tenure as mayor of Blue Island, we faced the prospect of our main employer, our local hospital, shutting down. I worked with both sides of the aisle and with the public and private sectors to make sure that those hospital doors stayed open not only for the employees who depended on their jobs for a paycheck, but for the community that benefited by having such close proximity to medical treatment. As a result, more than 1,000 jobs were saved.
It’s time that we “Get to Work.” We need to roll up our sleeves, acknowledge our differences, and find a way to get our problems resolved. No political party will ever be 100 percent satisfied, but it can no longer be about politics. It’s about your next door neighbor; it’s about your grandchildren. It’s about putting our country first.
5) Name one good policy idea that comes from the opposing party.
As Mr. Rush himself said in July at a meeting of the Energy and Power Subcommittee Hearing on Alternative Fuels and Vehicles, we need to “move away from holding partisan, doomed-to-fail political messaging votes, and get on with the business of working together to actually enact policies that will help move this country’s energy policies forward.” I wholeheartedly agree.
6) How do you define family values?
The term “family values” is ridiculously overused; buzz words that both parties interpret and define to suit their own needs. I am Catholic, have been married for many years to the same woman, and have four fabulous children, one of whom is severely physically and mentally handicapped, so you can extrapolate from that what values about family I hold. However, I respect the rights of adults to create “family” units in manners that may be different from my own.
7) What are your thoughts on the healthcare law?
In its current state I cannot support a law that is so enormous that even the lawmakers cannot understand it. I do not think it is a good policy to try and pass a law to see what is in it. How can a law that was only able to garner enough support to pass because it was not a tax increase, and then only be found constitutional because it was a tax increase, be a good law.
That being said I believe that repealing “Obamacare” would be a large waste of time and resources. I think what we need to do is learn what impact the law is having on insurance premiums and the overall quality of healthcare that patients are receiving. Given the growing issues we have with Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, we cannot afford to operate another program at a huge loss.
We need to keep those pieces of the bill that are working and eliminate those that are not working or are adding cost/waste. We cannot allow some of the poorer qualities of other federal agencies to enter into the healthcare industry and the personal choices and relationships between patient and doctor.
8) Who is your political role model?
I’ve always admired our founding fathers, and find these quotations by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, respectively, to be guiding: "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have,” and “The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.”