High School, , Marmion Military Academy
Bachelors Degree, , University of Illinois
Masters Degree, , MBA University of Chicago
State Senator & CEO, State of Illinois & Oberweis Dairy
Jim W. Oberweis,
On The Record
Why are you the best candidate for Senate?
Career politician Dick Durbin has been in Washington far too long. The reason he needs replacing is the utter failure of his policies. His heavy taxation, heavy regulation and heavy spending policies have led to the worst economic recovery in modern U.S. history and devastating results for poor and middle class families in Illinois. Since he last ran for re-election, the typical Illinois family is making $5,053 less per year while cost of living was rising.?We simply need to go in a different direction if we want different results.?As a successful entrepreneur and a non-politician, I know what it takes to encourage growth, jobs and prosperity. Unlike my opponent, I will encourage business and business growth instead of attacking it. I will work hard to reform our tax code to simplify returns for everyone, while lowering rates and encouraging growth.?I will also seek a better future for our youngsters by favoring school choice. We need to make sure all students and parents have access to good schools and a promising future. Dick Durbin opposes school choice.?We have tried Dick Durbin’s approach and it has failed Illinois families. It is time to go in a different direction.
The U.S. faces a $17 trillion (and rising) debt burden. Can this debt be paid down without raising taxes? Where can spending be cut?
There is no question that career politicians like Dick Durbin have an insatiable appetite to spend our money even though we clearly can’t afford it. During Durbin’s last term, we have averaged deficits of more than $1 trillion/year and the national debt has nearly doubled to $17.7 trillion. Our spending is clearly out of control and it is helping dull our economic growth and jobs and prosperity for the poor and middle class. The single best thing we can do is reform our individual and corporate tax codes by eliminating loopholes and special tax breaks and lowering rates for most individuals and companies. Doing so would unleash an economic revival in the U.S. that would help most Illinois families.
Where do you stand on immigration reform?
First, I believe the public demands that any solution to our immigration problem be negotiated in a bi-partisan fashion. Dick Durbin and his partisan colleagues passed another sweeping measure — Obamacare — without a single vote from Republicans and this partisan maneuver is a big reason the legislation never has had the support of the American people. President Obama is threatening to change our immigration laws by executive fiat — a move that Dick Durbin apparently supports. That would be another disaster for our country and would violate the spirit — if not the letter — of our Constitution. I am pro-immigrant and pro-legal immigration. We should allow children who were brought here illegally many years ago and who have grown up here to apply for citizenship. However, the parents who broke our laws should not be granted amnesty and should have to apply for citizenship in a way that doesn’t place them ahead of others who already have sought legal status. Further, we must secure our borders. We also have to be careful to craft our reform in such a way that we don’t further destroy the job prospects of poor and middle class Americans who already are suffering greatly under the policies of Dick Durbin and the Democrats in the weakest economic recovery in modern U.S. History. If I am elected I will work hard to find a consensus that is fair to everyone.
What can be changed or improved about the Affordable Care Act? If you favor its repeal, what yould you replace it with?
Obamacare is fatally flawed. We need to go back to the drawing board, preserving some of the positives of the program such as including young adults in parents’ plans until age 26, allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, and some type of acceptance of pre-existing conditions, but also returning to the free market so that we can buy the insurance we need, not the insurance the government says we need. The current law already is failing under its own weight. New health care reform must be bi-partisan — unlike the current law that was engineered by Dick Durbin and his allies without a single vote from the opposition party. We cannot make large changes to our economy in blatantly partisan fashion and expect public acceptance.
Approval ratings for Congress are far from ideal, and that's largely because of partisan rhetoric and the inability to compromise. If elected, will you be willing to reach across the aisle and work with members of the opposite party to resolve this country's many issues? Explain.
I believe that the public is fed up with career politicians. The problem with them is they tend to act not in the public interest but in the interest of their political futures. That is the problem with Washington — too many career politicians. If I am elected, I will only serve a maximum of two terms. My actions will be guided by the best interests of the people without regard to my political future. That is the model the Founding Fathers believed best and I intend to embody it.
No Child Left Behind and the Common Core State Standards are education initiatives that have – and will – dramatically impact students in this area. What specifically do you think those impacts should be? If not with Common Core, how do you propose improving U.S. education performance vs. foreign countries that are doing much better? How do you view the state of education in the U.S. and Illinois? And what if anything would you look to change?
Common Core has turned into a top down Washington solution to curriculum reform and I oppose it. I support all efforts to increase school choice for parents and children. Competition between schools makes all schools better and stronger just as it does in the private sector. Those schools that cannot compete will be forced out of existence and new schools with new and better ideas will emerge. It is a crucial issue for all of America and particularly in minority communities where students are sometimes trapped in bad schools. I’ve spent lots of time on the South and West Sides of Chicago during this campaign and that is one of the most frequently mentioned issues of concern. I differ sharply from my opponent in this race. Dick Durbin was among the Democrats in Congress who killed the DC Opportunity Grant program, a shameful display of putting the interests of union bosses over the interests of children.
What role should the U.S. play in regards to the ongoing conflicts throughout the Mideast, including conflicts instigated by terror groups?
Although it was inevitable that U.S. troops would be largely withdrawn from Iraq once Obama became president, the manner in which it was done was botched. First, the administration has a troubling habit of announcing its troop level intentions in advance, which is strategically unwise. In Iraq, it was a huge mistake not to forge a status of forces agreement that left a reasonable number of U.S. troops. Whatever one thinks of the Iraq War, when Obama took office he had a relatively stable Iraq. He said so himself. By pulling our troops out completely, we created the obvious void that led to ISIS overrunning large parts of the country. In general, in the Mideast, we are going to have to recalibrate our strategy to combat the growing ISIS threat. The administration has been slow to react to the threat and needs to step up its game. We need to put pressure on ISIS wherever they reside and prevent them from gaining the necessary strength to attack America. There appears no feasible strategy other than destroying ISIS.