Master's Degree, Social Work, Aurora University
Bachelor's Degree, Social Work, Aurora University
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?
Congress needs to accept that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been found constitutional and move forward. Continuing to hold votes in an attempt to repeal the ACA wastes valuable time and taxpayer dollars. Instead, Congress should work together in a joint effort to ensure people are receiving the healthcare they deserve. We must also make citizens aware of the ACA and educate them as to how the law benefits them. In addition, we must also hold non-compliant insurance companies accountable.
Unemployment across the U.S. remains above 8 percent. What should Congress be doing to spur job growth?
Congress needs to stop playing politics and get to work. Job proposal packages that have stalled for far too long need to be acted upon. We need to repair our infrastructure and doing so will create jobs for our citizens. Five years ago the U.S. was ranked 1st in infrastructure, we are now 15th. Fixing our deteriorating highways, bridges, will make us more globally competitive and strengthen our economy. We should also invest in our states and municipalities so that they can hire more workers such as teachers, firefighters, and police officers. This investment will only create a return for taxpayers.
Is it possible for Congress to stop deficit spending and start paying down the national debt without raising taxes? Be specific in your explanation.
Simply put, no. The irresponsibility of handing out two enormous tax cuts to the richest Americans while at the same time creating a brand new entitlement program that was a give-away to Big Pharma without paying for it in the budget, and starting two wars, also without paying for them, is one of the most shameful economic failures I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. As President Lincoln said, “Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” Republicans have turned it backwards in this country, giving higher consideration to capital in our tax code than labor, taxing it at 50 percent of what the working man must pay. I intend to rectify this injustice by restoring common sense to the tax structure so the wealthy CEO isn’t paying only 13 percent of his income in taxes while the working man or woman who needs more of his or her income to survive, is paying more than a quarter of their earnings to the government. Paul Ryan’s budget is just one more paving stone in the Path to Poverty for working Americans laid out by him and his colleagues in the previous Congress that will worsen the already weakened economy that his Congress saddled us with. By restoring tax fairness we will pay down our national debt far more quickly and that’s what I intend to see happen.
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. military intervention in Syria. While the current reprehensible situation certainly warrants a response, I believe it is up to the U.N. to fill that role. Strict sanctions should be imposed against Bashar al-Assad’s regime; however, the international community, and the United States, should be prepared to assist Syrian citizens if the government falls.
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.
Absolutely. America works best when we work together to move the country forward. Cap and Trade, full participation in the health insurance pool, and the DREAM Act are just a few things Republicans have endorsed that Democrats have embraced because they are good ideas. Unfortunately Congress has become gridlocked because of political opposition to our president, abandoning their duty to work for the people, putting party before country. There is no greater evidence of this than their 100 percent opposition to their own legislation now that President Obama is trying to get it passed. Many of us supported President Obama because of his legislative history of bi-partisanship, passing legislation such as the Lugar-Obama Nuclear Nonproliferation Initiative, the Obama-Coburn Transparency In Government Act that brought us usaspending.gov, and the sweeping Death Penalty reform bill right here in Illinois, that no one initially wanted, but in working with his colleagues he was able to improve it so that it passed both Houses unanimously with the full support of law enforcement. If I’m elected to represent this district in the House of Representatives I will strive for the highest level of bipartisanship.
With all the issues surrounding the economy, inmmigration reform has taken a back seat. What should the federal government be doing?
Of course those born outside our borders should only enter our country legally, but given the demand for their labor and services, it’s shameful that we still don’t hold Corporations responsible for following the law when it comes to our Guest Worker programs. Most Americans don’t realize how much they depend on the labor of immigrants in this country, but we cannot morally continue to exploit them for that labor and then villainize them in the next breath. Unscrupulous businesses that skirt our Employment Laws by enticing undocumented immigrants with the promise of jobs while paying those workers under the table and forcing them to work in illegal and hazardous conditions should be held accountable for their illegal actions. People will always naturally go where opportunity for their family can be found, and the United States has a long and rich history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world who want to share in the American Dream. Let’s keep that dream alive by focusing on the best solutions, not vitriolic hyperbole aimed at those who seek to live it. With better enforcement of our current laws and a Guest Worker program that holds employers responsible, we can build a future America that works for everyone who wants to be a part of it.
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?
Programs such as Medicare and Veteran’s Benefits are vital issues for the 16th district. We have a large population of citizens who are eligible for these earned benefits and we must ensure that they are not cut. People who have paid into social security and medicare their entire lives should not have to worry about suddenly losing the benefits that they worked so hard for. In addition, soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our freedom and security should be respected for the heroes that they are once they return home. As a wife and mother to members of our armed services, I cannot fathom the thought of sending our troops overseas and then leaving them to struggle without opportunity when they return home from war. They protect our freedoms and we must protect them when they get home. Allowing taxpayer money to be wasted on no-bid military contracts to giant corporations while cutting Veteran’s Benefits is simply unAmerican. We must also remember our district is heavily reliant on our farmers who are an essential and integral part of our economy. Congress should have moved forward in passing The Farm Bill and it is abhorrent that they allowed political gridlock and an extended vacation to prevent that from happening. I will stand up for our farmers and not be a part of this ineffective Congress.
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?
As a gun owner myself, I am, and will remain, a strong advocate for the rights and freedoms of gun owners under the 2nd Amendment. But I’m sure my fellow gun owners would agree that common sense gun responsibility laws save lives. We must ensure fewer guns fall into the hands of the irresponsible, law-breaking few while still affording responsible gun owners the freedom they enjoy under our Constitution, and these are the types of improvements I will fight for as your representative.
Can Social Security survive after the Baby Boom generation reaches retirement? How?
The next time someone tries to scare Americans into abandoning Social Security, the most important promise we make to seniors, generation after generation, ask yourself two questions. One, do they use any actual math? and Two, who is going to benefit from their scheme? I’ll tell you the truth: Social Security as we know it can last indefinitely, for decades, if we have the courage to make a few honest changes. They want you to think this is some crisis, some horrible socialist disaster. You know what it is? A math problem. The Baby Boom generation is already reaching retirement, and Social Security has enough surplus to get us through the next two decades without any changes. It’s not going to be bankrupt after that, it’s just going to be taking in less than it pays out. But if we start making the simple math adjustments now, it will survive forever. It’s not even difficult math -- it’s addition and subtraction. Take in a little more, pay out a little less, add up how much we need to adjust. Congress should have the courage to figure out the adjustments instead of scrapping the whole thing and turning it over to Wall Street. Who do you think comes out ahead on that deal?
Other Local Races
Bob Martens, Sr.
Mary Margaret Maule