Bachelor's Degree, Political Science, Illinois State University
United States Congressman; Pilot in the Air National Guard
On the Record
Now that the Supreme Court has OK’d most of President Obama’s health care reform act, what should Congress’ next steps be to make sure as many citizens as possible have access to more affordable health care?
The President’s health care legislation simply writes a blank government check instead of working on controlling rising health care costs. We must focus on both short term costs to long term costs through preventative care. Seventy-five percent of our nation’s health care spending is tied to the treatment of chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Some treatment that is excluded from coverage now should be covered because it shifts the focus to disease prevention, leading to cost reductions through the management of chronic diseases. Secondly, I support the creation of Association or Small Business Health Plans - allowing groups of small employers to band together to increase purchasing power for their employees’ health insurance thereby receiving a more affordable rate. This would be a major step for people in small businesses or self-employed people to obtain affordable health coverage. Additionally, I fully support federal income tax deductibility for health insurance premiums, uniform medical records and reimbursement forms will also streamline the system and reduce administrative costs and I’d like to see Congress extend and expand individual Health Savings Accounts and enact tort reform. By implementing these types of reforms, we will see the cost of health costs decline.
Unemployment across the U.S. remains above 8 percent. What should Congress be doing to spur job growth?
In order to turn our economy around, we need to listen to those who know best: the job creators. Over the last year, I’ve held small business roundtables all throughout my current district to hear their thoughts, concerns about what is hampering their business. The majority of these businesses tell me that tax reform would help their business to grow and thrive, and overregulation is a deterrent to job growth. The House has passed several bills addressing tax reform and rolling back burdensome and unnecessary regulations however, the U.S. Senate has refused to take up America’s pressing issues to help spur job growth. I believe becoming more energy secure is an untapped opportunity to expand employment opportunities right here in the U.S. The newly drawn 16th District of Illinois will be one of the most energy intensive districts in the country, if not the most. From nuclear to hydropower, the 16th District will produce much of the energy that powers the Midwest, particularly the large manufacturers here. I’m proud to be a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee where we are working to find solutions that increase the supply of American made energy in all forms, reduce prices for Americans, and provide high paying jobs here at home.
Is it possible for Congress to stop deficit spending and start paying down the national debt without raising taxes? Be specific in your explanation.
I supported House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget resolution, which tackled our national debt in a responsible way by reforming the tax code, repealing President Obama’s health care law and restructuring entitlement programs while keeping promises to current seniors and those nearing retirement age. This budget puts our country on a pathway toward prosperity by reining in government spending while encouraging growth through overhauling our tax code, which will increase tax revenue through economic growth, not by tax increases.
Should the U.S. be involved in trying to stabilize the situation in Syria? If so, what should we do?
I do not support U.S. intervention in Syria however, this is an opportunity for the United Nations Security Council to serve its purpose, impose necessary sanctions and build the international community against the Bashar al-Assads regime’s inexcusable actions against its people. The international community, including the United States, should be ready to offer assistance in the event of a regime collapse.
Congress’ approval ratings are abysmal. If elected, will you be willing to work on compromise with members of the opposite party to resolve this country’s many issues? Explain.
With all the partisanship in Washington, I wasn’t elected to Congress to add to the gridlock. Instead, I have made it my top priority to reach across the aisle by working with Democrats on legislation to benefit my constituents. In my first term, I have worked with Illinois Democrat Congressman Dan Lipinski on revitalizing American manufacturing, with Democrat Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin on improving employment and job training programs for returning service members and Democrat Congressman Lois Capps on streamlining requirements and procedures for veterans with military emergency training to become civilian emergency medical technicians. The only way for our country to move forward is for our leaders to have a mutual respect for one another and to focus on what unites, not divides us. We must not forget that the founding of our country was based on compromise and unfortunately, that word has been demonized by both sides. You can hold onto your principles while also compromising with members of the other side. We were sent to Washington to solve our country’s pressing issues, not to score political points.
With all the issues surrounding the economy, inmmigration reform has taken a back seat. What should the federal government be doing?
There is a legal way to come to America and we must not demonize immigrants who come to our country by following the rules. Illegal immigration places an extreme burden on our public services and our communities – a burden that is not sustainable. Too often in government, they discuss steps two, three and four before step one is resolved. In my role with the Air National Guard, I have seen firsthand the importance of the National Guard’s role in securing the border. In a post 9/11 world, an open border creates an opportunity for terrorists to cross into our nation undetected. Border security is step one and Congress has not committed to fully addressing the issue yet. After that, we can take the next steps to solving this complex issue.
Jobs and the federal deficit aside, what are the one or two most important issues in your district, and how do you plan to address them?
The 16th District of Illinois is one of the most energy intensive districts in the country, if not the most. From nuclear to hydropower, the 16th District produces much of the energy that powers the Midwest, particularly the large manufacturers here. I’m proud to be a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee where we are working to find solutions that increase the supply of American made energy in all forms and reduce prices for Americans. America can become more energy independent and the area can help play a vital role in that and benefit by the high paying jobs it would create. Secondly, the 16th District is also home to one of the largest manufacturing areas in the country. I’m excited to work with a Democrat member in the Illinois delegation on a manufacturing reform proposal that would develop a national strategy to promote growth and competitiveness in American manufacturing. This is an opportunity to drive Republicans and Democrats together while benefiting the manufacturing sectors within the district.
The recent spate of mass shootings has led to renewed calls from some quarters for stricter gun regulations. Are additional federal gun control measures needed?
We need to ensure that we enforce the laws already on the books. I am a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment and do not support measures that would infringe on that right.
Can Social Security survive after the Baby Boom generation reaches retirement? How?
The government made a promise to our nation’s seniors and that promise should be kept. I do not believe it is fair to change the rules for those currently receiving Social Security benefits or nearing retirement as some members propose. It is necessary, however, to modify Social Security for younger generations, like myself, if we are to ensure the program’s long-term viability. I think many people in my generation do not expect Social Security to be available to them when they reach retirement. Before we can begin discussing how to save Social Security, we all must agree that there is a problem. It will be much easier to discuss the various proposals that have been floated when both sides decide to set aside the opportunity to score political points and work toward solving the problems we were elected to do.
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