Jesse Jackson, Jr. Q & A

1) What is the No. 1 issue in your district and how would you address it?

Jobs, Jobs and more jobs.  I have proposed a 6-year, $2.4 trillion investment in infrastructure and in education, housing and health care ($600 - 1st year, $500 - 2nd year, $400 - 3rd year, $300, $200, $100 billion), plus in the first year $200 billion to eliminate state debts and another $100 billion to eliminate most county and local government debts, with the Federal Government directly hiring 15 million workers at $40,000 average salary to do the work that needs to be done to make America the most modern economy in the world and competitive in the 21st Century world economy.

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2) How would you promote job growth in your district?

In 1995 when I first ran for Congress I was the only candidate who supported building the Abraham Lincoln National Airport and I have stayed steadfast in my support for it.  I put together the legal authority to build it; put out a worldwide search for world class companies to build it - and brought two into the process; convinced them to spend $700 million of their own money to build it; and I did all of this against both Democratic (Daley) and Republican opposition.  We are closer to building it now than ever before.  When built out completely, it will be four times the size of O'Hare.  It will create 1,000 jobs to build the first phase and add 15,000 jobs on the day it opens.

3) Should the federal government cut spending and where?

Conservatives - Republicans and some Democrats - want to make deficit reduction and budget cuts the number one priority over jobs.  Creating jobs is the best way to reduce deficits and debt over time.  We don't have a current "deficits crisis," but we do have a current "jobs crisis."  In times of economic downturn, slow growth and high unemployment we need increased spending by the Federal Government to create jobs, aggregate demand and consumer spending.  My conservative colleagues in both parties are like the man whose house caught on fire and he tried to put it out with his garden hose - and it didn't work.  You know what he concluded?  Water doesn't put out fire.  But that was the wrong conclusion.  He should have concluded that he needed more water and a bigger hose.

4) If Republican, which GOP presidential candidate do you support?

I'm a Democrat and I enthusiastically support President Barack Obama for re-election.

5) Give an example of something you’ve done that is bipartisanship in nature.

I passed the "National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Act" with bipartisan support.

6) Name one good policy idea that comes from the opposing party.

My colleague from across the aisle, Texas Republican Congressman Ted Poe, recently acknowledged the need for government to create jobs in a backhanded kind of way, when he said - with respect to extending unemployment benefits - "Congress ought to concentrate on paying people to work, not paying people not to work.”  I couldn't agree more.  Newt Gingrich says he wants to replace "Food Stamps" with "jobs."  Again, I couldn't agree more.  Yet the Republican controlled House and the filibuster-proof Republicans in the Senate have offered no real jobs policy, program or plan, only the kind of rhetoric cited above.  I agree with their rhetoric but they offer no policy or legislation.

7) How do you define family values?

I define family values in two ways:  (a) personal family values; and (b) public family values that include having a job, a good education, health care, a house, a clean environment and more that reflects the ability of someone who can provide a decent and livable standard of living for a family.  Both reflect family values.

8) What are your thoughts on the healthcare law?

I support all progressive incremental legislation that will eventually lead to every American having access to high quality and affordable health care.  But what I really want is a single payer health care system or a "Medicare-for-all" system.   I believe that health care is a human right and I want to add a health care amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees the "right" to health care for all Americans so such a "program" can never be ruled unconstitutional.  I've introduced such an amendment, H.J. Res. 30 and it currently has 28 co-sponsors.

9) Who is your political role model?

I wish I had the cool "style" of President Barack Obama with my own political agenda.  No one else has my same agenda or approach, which, of course, I think is the best.  But I believe I could potentially sell it better to the public with his more moderate approach.

10) What’s on your iPod?

I have a Blackberry, but in my MP3 player the music ranges from Hhip-Hop to rhythm and blues, to Gospel.  I have everything Michael Jackson has ever done, plus the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Pink, Usher and the Black Eyed Peas.

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