Ilya Sheyman Q & A

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

As I talk to voters in the 10th District each day, it’s clear that their number one concern is job creation. That is why I have called for a comprehensive federal bill to create millions of new jobs around the country. We need to put people back to work rebuilding and repairing our infrastructure, teaching our kids, and protecting our neighborhoods as police and firefighters. In order to achieve this, my top priority as a member of Congress from the 10th District will be revitalizing the economy by pushing for a federal jobs bill that will:

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  • put millions of Americans back to work–in classrooms, on police forces, repairing our roads and bridges, and building high speed rail lines that will bring us up to speed with Europe and China,
  • stimulate private sector job creation through the creation of a national green jobs bank that will offer loans directly to small businesses and by providing tax credits for those small businesses already looking to hire,
  • provide a life vest of continued unemployment assistance to those drowning without work,
  • and guarantee state and local aid, so that communities can stop letting go of cops, sanitation workers, firefighters and teachers.

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

First and foremost, I have called for a comprehensive jobs bill to be passed on a federal level that would put millions of Americans back to work. Some communities in my district are facing double-digit unemployment levels--and there is no sign of relief in sight.

As I’ve said, families in my district want and need the opportunity to get back to work. But they also need the assurance that the safety net they rely on, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, are not put on the chopping block. I’m committed to defending those programs and promoting real economic growth through job creation, the development of a green economy, and a focus on bringing a manufacturing sector back to the district.

3) Should the federal government cut spending and where?

To understand how we get out of our debt and deficit crisis, we need to look at the past decade of policies that got us into this mess: two wars fought without any payment mechanism, the unaffordable Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, and the worst economic recession in generations.

To deal with this long-term challenge, I support a balanced and comprehensive approach that includes: rolling back the Bush tax cuts which overwhelmingly favor the wealthiest 2% of Americans to the levels we had under President Clinton; bringing the war in Afghanistan to a speedy and responsible end; making sensible cuts in programs without reducing the benefits seniors and working people depend on (for example, by allowing Medicare to negotiate bulk rates for prescription drugs that would save $90 billion annually); and passing federal jobs legislation that would put millions of people back to work and increase revenue coming in to the federal government.

We cannot afford to try to balance the budget on the backs of working Americans by cutting Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits that millions of people depend on. The effects of those cuts would be devastating to American families, and to our economy.

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


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

As a community organizer at A+ Illinois working to improve the quality of public schools across Illinois, I built local coalitions of educators, parents, students, small business owners, and local elected officials who may not have seen eye to eye on lots of political issues but could agree that every student deserved access to a quality, public education.

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

I support former Utah Gov. John Huntsman’s proposal to bring the war in Afghanistan to a speedy and responsible end on a more rapid timetable than currently planned by our President.

I also share many Republicans’ belief that must restore integrity to our broken electoral system, and make sure  campaigns are not for sale to the highest bidder. The McCain-Feingold Act is a great example of such bipartisan legislation--but in the age of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, it is only the beginning.

A Washington Post‐ABC poll from this past week found the 80 percent of those queried, including 76 percent of Republicans, oppose the opinion on Citizens United. In Congress, I will co-sponsor and aggressively advocate for full public financing of elections, so that Americans have a fair stake in the process.

7) How do you define family values?

My parents brought my family to the United States because they dreamed of a better, freer life for our family. In Buffalo Grove, they raised us in a loving, stable, and safe environment, where through hard work, and the support of a community and government meant we had a shot at fulfilling our dreams. Those are the values my family taught me--hard work, fairness and respect--and I believe that our community government has a responsibility to support this environment by providing a quality public education, affordable health care, the promise of a secure retirement, a safe community, and a clean environment.

I believe love is what makes a family, and that’s why I’ll work for full equality for all Americans, regardless of their gender and sexual orientation. I’ll work with allies in our community and in Congress to introduce a Civil Rights Act for the 21st Century that guarantees the full spectrum of over one thousand rights, responsibilities and privileges that come with equal citizenship to all our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

I will also work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, pass full federal marriage equality and to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to provide protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

8) What are your thoughts on the health care law?

In my capacity as national Mobilization Director at, I organized around and advocated for the creation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, with the hope that it would include a public health insurance option that would cover millions of Americans. I worked alongside hundreds of doctors, nurses, patients and families all across the country, listening to their stories and helping to build a movement of millions of people, advocating for the urgent reforms that would improve access to quality care for every American.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a historic first step towards meaningful health care reform--but it must go further. As I mentioned, I support and have been a vocal advocate for “Medicare for All” as the only path to ultimately provide quality, affordable health care for every American--while reducing costs for individuals, small businesses and the federal government.

9) Who is your political role model?

I have been most inspired by Governor Howard Dean and Paul Wellstone.   Governor Dean firmly believes that political power can and must rest at the grassroots, and has built organizations guided by that value.  And I look up to Senator Wellstone because of his commitment to standing up and fighting fearlessly for what he believed in. Wellstone once said, “Politics is not just about power and money games. Politics can be about the improvement of peoples lives, about lessening human suffering in our world and bringing about more peace and more justice.” That’s what politics can and should be in our country, and I am willing to fight tirelessly to make it so.

10) What’s on your iPod?

I don’t have much time to listen to it nowadays, thanks to the rigors of the campaign trail, but I’m a big fan of Bob Dylan and Nirvana.

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