U.S. Representative - 14th District (Democratic)
Voting will take place Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Voters will be able to select 1 candidates in this race. The 1 candidates with the most votes will be elected.
Winner in this race will be elected for a term of 2 years.
Click a question below to display the candidates' answers to that question.
Why are you running to represent the 14th Congressional District?
I am running because I feel, as do most Americans, that our dysfunctional Congress is failing to acknowledge, and is incapable of addressing, the challenges burdening our communities. I believe that our current representative is, in fact, part of the problem. While our economy is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession that began in 2007, middle class wages have stagnated and job growth is mediocre at best, our current Congressman has embraced priorities that would do nothing to address these problems. He has sponsored legislation to fund abstinence-only sex education and supports reversing commonsense financial reforms designed to prevent another economic meltdown. He has joined the fringe wing of his party in refusing compromise, shutting down the government and even threatening default on our debt – all in pursuit of an agenda that is not reflective of the needs or interests of the majority of people in the District. He avoids contact with his constituents and avoids accountability for his record by reciting discredited talking points. Unlike Mr. Hultgren, I understand our District’s values and have spent my career producing results for those who count on me. I will bring that perspective and work ethic to Washington.
I am a business owner and I have seen and experienced firsthand, like myriads of business owners across the country, the direct result of our weak trade policies. Trade policies like Free Trade Act With Asia, the newly proposed Free Trade with China, NAFTA, and the newly proposed Transpacific Partnership have wiped out American manufacturing jobs. Quality manufacturing jobs have always been an economic foundation of our country and this is why the founding fathers and our leadership have always protected American Industries. Unfortunately, in recent years our leadership has embraced free trade with countries that exploit labor which has had a direct and serious impact on our economy. Weak foreign trade policies have increased government spending, decreased revenue and financially crushed middle class families. Our current political dissentions, increase spending, increase deficit, debt, and government shutdown are simply symptoms of our loss of quality jobs in the United States that have been exported to foreign competition. We need leadership that will steer our country back to the traditional economic policies American leadership has always embraced since the inception of The United States.
The Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, and the act's rollout continues to move forward. What – if anything – would you do as a congressman to make sure the act is successful?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) represents the first major change in the nation’s health care and health insurance systems in fifty years, but cannot fairly be described as “socialized medicine.” It leaves in place essentially the same mix of hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical providers and physicians as existed before its passage. Congress, and in particular the House, would have better served the public by working to improve the Act rather than staging dozens of doomed votes to indulge their desire to repeal it. Practically, speaking wasting time and money on “show votes” you know will fail is no different than allowing the law to go forward entirely unchanged. Drug prices remain a major driver of health care costs, and I would work to ensure that pharmaceutical prices are negotiated; that reimbursement rates for drugs are controlled; and that the “gray market” in scarce pharmaceuticals is regulated. The cost of drugs can vary widely, with some generics costing 40 times more at some pharmacies than at others. I would work with the insurance industry to increase participation in insurance exchanges, although reviving the public option would do more to increase competition in the insurance market.
I support the concept of the Affordable Care Act. There are many improvements that will take place over time and the goal of good leadership is to make this a better product. I do remember that Richard Nixon offered a very similar program during his campaign and so the model of the Affordable Care Act is not new. I do support stripping back some of the mandated “over” coverage in order to encourage insurance companies to offer additional policies with lower premiums. For example, catastrophic health care plans should be offered to individuals who want to pay for routine medical expenses rather than broad encompassing policies with higher premiums. By encouraging lower premiums this will encourage a “willing” public participation rather than mandating participation. We can also reduce premiums by moving “uninsurable’ people from the insurance exchanges into state programs. I am encouraged by the Republican proposals that also focus on reducing premiums. Their suggestion to lower premiums by eliminating taxes on pharmaceutical drug and medical device companies and capping tax exclusions is welcomed input. In order to make the ACA or the Republican HealthCare Program successful, leadership from both parties must work together. I am willing to support leadership from both parties.
The U.S. faces a $17 trillion debt burden. Can this debt be brought down without raising taxes? If not, where can spending be cut? Be specific in your answer.
Both spending cuts and increased revenues will be necessary to control the deficit. Defense spending grew from about $300 billion in 2000 to about $700 billion in 2011. It has begun to fall over the past couple of years, but remains unnecessarily high. We continue to maintain overseas bases that are little more than legacies of past conflicts. We continue to pay for weapons systems that the Pentagon doesn’t want, and that are in some cases already deemed obsolete. Subsidies for such immensely profitable industries as big oil and big agribusiness ought to be discontinued. As mentioned elsewhere, I would implement controls on drug costs for publicly-funded or subsidized health care programs. Finally, as in any large organization, public or private, there is always room for increased efficiencies aimed at reducing the incidence of waste. Serious effort must be focused on identifying and rectifying waste without regard to the program in question.
The key to balance federal spending and reduce the $17 trillion debt burden is managing the budget, incorporating beneficial cuts and constructive duty increases. First, cuts need to be implemented in programs that are not cost effective. Other expensive programs such as welfare, food stamps and Medicaid need to be reformed which can greatly reduce spending. Corporate welfare is another area where cuts and reform can be applied to save Billions. Strong cuts need to be executed in many government agencies that are outdated, or serve no real purpose. With this said, I know that welfare, food stamps and Medicaid can be reformed to save approximately 70 billion dollars based solely on the findings of the U.S Department of Justice. Many of the reforms are based on the very suggestions from the people that receive welfare, food stamps and Medicaid. The people that truly need these programs wish to protect these programs from misuse from individuals that should not qualify for the programs and are taking advantage of these programs. An additional 15 billion should be cut from corporate welfare; 6 billion cut from foreign aid and of course, the 7 billion that has recently been allocated to Iran. Federal agencies that are not beneficial and should be cut would reduce our spending by an additional 50 billion dollars. As far as revenue increases there are a few that are very attractive that would greatly benefit our country as a whole, but for the benefit of this short essay I would first propose a duty increase that matches Ronald Reagan’s numbers which could increase revenues as much as 275 billion dollars. This would encourage U.S. Industries, increase domestic income revenue and cut unemployment. This overall direction would have an immediate impact on balancing the budget, reduce the $17 trillion debt burden, and would significantly improve the real economy. I do not see a need to increase taxes at any level if our foreign trade policies are changed.
What would you do if elected to create more jobs in the 14th Congressional District?
Our national infrastructure is crumbling. We need to engage in transportation projects, school modernization, and the creation of an infrastructure bank. Those concerned about burdening future generations with debt ought to be supportive of this, as each year of delay results in massive increases in the projected costs of such projects. Transportation infrastructure is essential to a well-functioning and growing economy, a fact to which most business leaders attest. We need to support small business development. Small businesses need easier access to capital. We should continue streamlining federal regulations; decrease the amount of time in which government contractors are paid; and provide tax credits for small business hiring. We should provide incentives for small business development in economically stressed areas. I would work with local units of government and the private sector to foster the development of new technology industries, including green energy, and improve coordination between local businesses and community colleges to promote fields of study that are in high-demand. We need to consider policies that put more money into the pockets of consumers, such as temporary payroll tax cuts and permanent tax reform. We should also continue efforts to address the mortgage crisis that still affects so many.
A priority as your elected representative would be to protect and stimulate existing manufacturing in the 14th Congressional District as well as encourage new manufacturers to establish new manufacturing facilities. One company that I would immediately contact would be Whirlpool Corporation. Whirlpool Corporation is making a conscious effort to reestablish manufacturing facilities in the United States. I would offer tax and property incentives to bring manufacturing of appliances and other related parts to our district. This would bring millions of additional revenue to families in the area and bolster real estate values. Also, I would protect local businesses such as precision machine shops and other manufacturers that are located nearby. One manufacturer of industrial cutting knifes indicated to me that if imported knifes were reduce their company would hire an additional one hundred employees. This could bring in an additional three million dollars in revenue in our area and save potentially one million in government assistance programs. If we protect our industries in our district, other companies nationwide will benefit as well. I would use the Small Business Association (SBA) to stimulate local small businesses. SBA financial packages are available to businesses to encourage financial activity. I will make use of these funds. There is approximately $14 billion available to establish and expand businesses. Our local economy should be using some of these funds. The services of SBA should be made available to the 14th Congressional District to stimulate our local economy. I would approach businesses and entrepreneurs through local conferences to inform and instruct them of the programs that available to bring jobs into our communities. Also, business tax credit and tax cuts are going to be made available in the new Federal Budget and I will make every effort to advertise these programs. In addition, venture capitalists are looking for supplementary investments in new companies or expanding companies. I will bring these individuals to our area through incentives that already exist and connect these with business people in our district. I will set up help shops that give assistance to small business of less than 50 employee to receive Federal assistance with health insurance costs through the ACA. Also, I would encourage expansion of several of the main road arteries throughout the 14th Congressional District. My main objective would be to communicate all these programs with business people in our district and stimulate economic growth. Communication is key to our business people which will result in job growth and help struggling local families. I would set up my first business help shop within sixty days of being in office.
Where do you stand on immigration reform?
The immigration system should be updated and modernized through smart border technology; employment verification; the guarantee of worker protections; and an updating of immigration policies and visa processes, particularly where they threaten the cohesion of families. I believe that S 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”, represents the best alternative to address immigration reform that we have yet seen. Provisions of particular merit are the “W” worker program, the expansion of visa opportunities for those with plans and means to start businesses in the U.S., the inclusion of the “DREAM Act” in the bill, the inclusion of the AgJobs Act, and other provisions. The bill also demands huge investments in border fencing and patrol; and, while I am concerned about the considerable costs of these elements, their inclusion in the bill certainly undermines any opposition to its passage based on border security.
I support a broad, across-the-board immigration reform program. This would include securing our borders to insure safety from infiltration of individuals that threaten the security of the American people. This would also include eliminating the ability of employers exploiting illegal immigrates which reduces wages and disrupts legal U.S. labor markets. I support protecting current non-documented immigrates with broad labor laws to force employers from exploiting laborers. I support recognizing non-documented labors that have proven work employment records and would move to exclude immigrates that have exploited government programs, criminal records , or owe Federal taxes. Once full reform has been put in place, I would support strict enforcement of illegal labor activities at all levels.
If elected, what transportation projects in the 14th Congressional District would be a priority for you?
IDOT has identified more 70 “structurally insufficient” bridges in the 14th District. The needed upgrades ought to be undertaken as part of a wider infrastructure repair program, and the sooner it is done, the lower the costs. Identification of transportation priorities begins with the public and the County Boards’ response to public input. Some of the non-bridge priorities identified by the counties in the District include IL-47 improvements in the Woodstock area and rail improvements on the Metra Union Pacific North line in McHenry County; a Randall Road Pace Route 529 Study, a Randall/Orchard Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Study, and the Paratransit and Ride Programs in Kane Program; and extension of Metra commuter service in Kendall County. The population of the District is anticipated to increase significantly in coming years - a projected 2010-2040 growth of 81% in Kendall County, for example – and long-term plans must reflect the stresses of that growth. The District also faces a demographic shift that has resulted in poverty becoming more widespread in non-urban areas than in our cities. We need to improve public transportation in these areas to help alleviate the challenges faced by lower-income workers in simply getting to work.
The 14th Congressional District is experiencing a population growth that is greatly exceeds that in comparison to the State on Illinois as a whole. The state growth is approximately 3% as compared to the 25% of our district. My concern is that the main transportation flow of Route 47, Randall Road and Route 173 have been largely ignored and will shortly experience great congestion beyond what we are already experiencing. This congestion creates a great deal of waste to fuel, business time and business effectiveness, not just to our immediate area, but the outlaying regions that depends on the 14th Congressional District for quality transportation flow. Needless to say that many businesses as well as families have been frustrated with the current condition of the transportation in our area. Route 173 is a prime example of how our area’s transportation needs has been neglected by our governing leadership. We should be employing hundreds of people right now in our district to solve our transportation problems. We need the work, so let’s get people to work. The intersection of Wilmot Road and Route 173 is an intersection where literally hundreds of cars, trucks and work vehicles are jammed at peak seasonal times. This is just another example of where our leadership is simply out of touch with the middle class.
How are you different from your primary opponent in this race?
Based on my professional and campaign experience, I believe I am better suited to run against the current Congressman and represent our District in Congress. I oppose tax policies that burden middle class families, and I support an increase in the minimum wage. I also support a woman’s right to choose, and I recognize the need for government to stay out of such personal issues. And I am committed to getting things done for the people of the District. I have worked hard my whole life to make a difference in people’s lives, and the families of the 14th District can count on me stand up for them and fight for their interests in Washington.
It is time that we begin to reform the Federal programs that are currently in place. I have a strong management background which separates me from the other candidates. I have direct knowledge of how individuals exploit programs such as welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid. I also understand corporate tax loopholes as well the problems that surround corporate welfare. I am willing to make real changes because I do not represent any special interests. My opponent does not believe exploitation within government is a problem and is not willing to change it. We must improve our programs which helps the people that truly need assistance and cut costs to reduce spending. Management is the key to solving significant concerns within our government. My primary opponent also supports removing the debt ceiling. The purpose of a debt ceiling is to signal unreasonable spending which forces leadership to cut unnecessary spending. I will support economic changes that will reduce government spending and stimulate revenues without increasing taxes. I will bring direct, real changes in government that will strengthen our district.