1) What is the No. 1 issue in your district and how would you address it?
Like the rest of the nation and throughout Illinois, Lake and Cook counties have been hit hard by three plus years of recession, economic turmoil, and of late, Republican indifference and/or unwillingness to compromise in Congress.
As a member of Congress, I believe my first responsibility is to be a strong voice for restoring our middle class, while making sure we maintain robust safety nets such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It means working every day to promote common sense policy that creates jobs, improves educational opportunities, enhances health care, ensures clean air and water, and maintains the United States security and prosperity at home and abroad.
2) How would you promote job growth in your district?
- Accelerate investments in infrastructure within the context of a long-term vision, and with the support of a national infrastructure bank.
- Provide tax incentives for small and medium-sized businesses to invest in new products, new processes, and new people.
- Develop new programs and incentives for small and medium-sized businesses to increase exports of American made product
I believe one of the biggest restrictors on our economy is the failure of the current Congress to produce a coherent vision for our economic future, to convey a sense of confidence and direction where they would lead us as a nation, or to pass any positive legislation that would produce jobs or create opportunities in our communities.
I think the best way to speed our recovery is by replacing the current Congress with new leaders and lawmakers who will collaborate in rebuilding our middle class through rebuilding our country so we can continue to lead the world in innovation, manufacturing, and services at home and around the globe. My plan involves five key initiatives:
- Re-envision, Reinvent and Rebuild our National Infrastructure, including but not limited to modern transportation networks, dynamic and efficient public spaces, and safer and greener energy sources and distribution.
- Redevelop our Global Manufacturing Leadership including the creation of high value, high skilled manufacturing jobs. We must continue being the most innovative, the most skilled, and the most productive work force in the world.
- Create an Innovation Culture with investment incentives, updated protections of intellectual property, including patent system modernization, and educational emphases on both STEM curriculum and the Arts and Humanities.
- Make Sure Our Financial Services Sector Works for Working Families by providing businesses and individuals access to capital to fund growth and development within a financial system that is open, efficient, and secure.
- Achieve Growth and Prosperity For Working, Middle Class Families with Smart, Fair and Effective Trade Policy by promoting American exports, reduce trading barriers for American companies, and providing assistance and support to small and medium sized businesses seeking to enter and develop new markets.
3) Should the federal government cut spending and where?
We cannot sustain our long-term prosperity and security if we do not immediately begin to address our budget deficits and growing debt. We must match expenditures to revenues over time to reduce and ultimately eliminate deficits in our generation, so that our children’s generation can begin to pay down our debt and have a future of hope and promise that is our American tradition.
While it is critical that we look for ways to tighten our belts, not all cuts are wise, just, or advised. It makes no sense to save a dollar today only to spend two dollars tomorrow to restore the same program or repair the harm done by imprudent cuts.
Neither should we, in difficult times, mindlessly eliminate all investments in our future. There will be times when, even in a struggling economy, we borrow money to invest in projects such as education, infrastructure and medical research that will pay dividends down the road and help us out of these hard times more quickly, more completely, and more fairly.
We need to look for ways to reduce spending across the board, including defense, discretionary spending, and even within our safety-net programs. I am confident we will find substantial savings in hunting out and eliminating wasteful spending. But I also know that those savings alone will not be enough.
Whatever we do, on both the spending and the revenue side of the ledger, we must do so in such a way that does not hamper economic growth and job creation. And we must also do so in a way that distributes the burden, and the benefits, fairly and equitably to everyone, not just those at the top.
4) If Republican, which GOP presidential candidate do you support?
5) Give an example of something you’ve done that is bipartisanship in nature.
I have been involved in many different organizations throughout my life, and virtually all of them have been bipartisan, or at least nonpartisan. Whether as a member of Leadership Greater Chicago, or Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, I have worked with people, to help make our community stronger. It is because of almost 25 years of bipartisan efforts that I believe I can effectively help change the discourse in Congress to get our country moving forward again.
6) Name one good policy idea that comes from the opposing party.
I can name several. For example: The Clean Water Act, The Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act, all signed into law by President Nixon.
I think the greatest failure of our current Congress is the failure to collaborate on those ideas, irrespective of which side they originate, that will help people, preserve our environment, and enhance our security. For example, I think both parties can agree that we need to do more to help small businesses in this country. I’ve spent my career helping small businesses grow and expand and hire more middle class workers. Washington needs to work together on this important issue to get small businesses more funding for SBA loans and allow companies to increase their tax deductions for growing their company. We can get both parties to agree that small businesses can be the engine that helps our economy grow for the future.
7) How do you define family values?
My wife and kids have always been my number one priority. I think I can show them how much I value them by working hard every day to improve their world. It means thinking globally and acting locally. It means being involved in their everyday lives. It means volunteering at their schools. It means being a role model for my kids in everything I do. For my kids, I think the most important thing I can do is the show them in my actions and my words that I love them.
8) What are your thoughts on the healthcare law?
I support the overall direction of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and I believe we need to continually work to reform our national health care system to achieve two broad goals.
- First, we need to reduce the overall health care costs for the nation as a whole, while also continually improving the health and health care outcomes for each of us as individuals. We will do that, in part, through more effective emphasis on well care, preventative care, and curative care.
- Second, we need to reformulate our health care payment model to provide access to good care for every citizen, regardless of job status, pre-existing condition, or age
9) Who is your political role model?
I don’t have one single role model but some of the people on my list are John Adams who fought tirelessly for what he believed in.
10) What’s on your iPod?
A rather eclectic collection of music including rock, folk, reggae, jazz and classical. Some of my favorites are
- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
- Steely Dan
- Indigo Girls
- Dave Matthews
- Dave Brubeck
- Chick Corea
- Pat Matheny
- Meg Hutchinson
- Leo Kotke
- Arlo Guthrie
Also, a monthly subscription to Audible Books, mostly nonfiction, I listen to while working out.