About the Candidate
Name: Raja Krishnamoorthi
DOB: July 19, 1973
Occupation: Attorney and entrepreneur
Political Experience: U.S Representative for the Illinois 8th District (January 2017 to Present)
Hi. I’m Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. Thank you for the honor of representing the 8th Congressional District in Congress for the past three years.
I ran for office promising to work every day for middle-class families struggling with the cost of healthcare, retirement savings and paying for their children's education.
That's why I fought to protect Obamacare from all efforts to repeal it.
I also voted against President Trump's huge tax cut for big corporations and special interests.
That law also capped the deduction for state and property taxes, which hurt many families across our district. I recently voted to restore the full deduction, which passed the House.
I believe Social Security and Medicare are solemn promises to our senior citizens, and I oppose cutting those benefits or raising the retirement age.
I also co-authored the bipartisan law to increase federal support for skills-based education for the millions of Americans who do not attend a four-year college.
By providing the skills and training for good jobs with a future, we can help more Americans reach the middle class.
And this past Congress, I took up a NEW fight -- against the epidemic of teen vaping that is sweeping our nation.
Thanks to hearings I conducted, the biggest vaping company stopped marketing to young people and using flavors that appeal to children.
There is more we can do and I want to lead the fight.
During my time in Congress, I've worked hard to be open and accessible by holding many town hall meetings across the district. And I appreciate your continued calls, emails and letters that help me to represent your views.
I will also continue to pursue bipartisanship where possible.
Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you. I humbly ask for your vote to continue my work on your behalf in Congress. Thank you.
Why are you running?
I am running for re-election based on my record in Congress and my history of advocacy for the people and families of Illinois.
As someone who lives, works and is raising a family in the 8th District, I am running specifically to strengthen economic development, increase access to good-paying jobs, and lower healthcare costs for my neighbors and fellow Illinoisans. I have served as an Assistant Attorney General of Illinois in a special unit formed to root out political corruption. I was a member of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, working to expand the availability of affordable housing across our state. I served as the Deputy Treasurer of Illinois, helping, among other things, to make unclaimed property more accessible for thousands of Illinois residents. For the past three years, I have had the privilege to represent my neighbors in the U.S. Congress, working hard to expand opportunities for working families and to protect them from harmful products.
I have dedicated most of my professional life advocating for working families in Illinois, and we still have so much more to accomplish together.
What is your vision for this office?
While I have several responsibilities as your elected Representative in Congress, my job can be broken down into two main components:
1) On the one hand, it is imperative that I stand up to the Trump Administration and exercise Congressional Oversight to protect American families. As Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, this year I have helped shine a spotlight on some of the most pressing issues facing us as a nation, including predatory for-profit colleges, youth vaping, harmful consumer products, skyrocketing healthcare costs, and election security. This also means that when the President breaks the law, I must defend our constitution and speak out to protect our longstanding democratic institutions.
2) On the other hand, I know that my constituents expect me to walk and chew gum at the same time. In other words, the occupant of this office must work earnestly to implement legislative reforms that help more Americans get on the up-escalator of our economy, which includes often working in a bipartisan fashion to build consensus between Democrats and Republicans for the betterment of all Americans. For example, I successfully co-authored a rewrite of our nation’s career and technical education system last Congress, and am now working with Republicans and Democrats to increase transparency in the college application process to ensure more young Americans pursue educational pathways that prepare them for good-paying jobs. I brought together my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in forming the Congressional Solar Caucus, and secured robust funding for programs that lower the costs associated with implementing solar energy. I authored bipartisan legislation which was recently signed into law, the KREMLIN Act, with my Republican colleague on the House Intelligence Committee to limit Russian aggression toward our NATO allies and to limit Russian interference in democratic countries across the globe. And despite efforts by Big Tobacco, I brought together Republicans and Democrats to launch the first ever Caucus to End Youth Vaping, which put pressure on companies like JUUL to completely halt all domestic advertising which put our youth in harm’s way.
In conclusion, my vision for this office is one that balances the urgent need to hold the Trump Administration accountable while also working together with whoever will step up to protect American jobs, public health, and our economy.
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?
A few of the most pressing issues facing my constituents include jobs, healthcare, and fighting the epidemic of youth vaping.
Jobs: There is currently a skills gap of more than 7 million jobs: in other words, there are millions of good-paying jobs that are currently unfilled because employers can’t find workers with the skills and training necessary to fill them. There are also many excellent community colleges and other training centers in our district that can be better utilized to provide those employable skills. My overhaul and improvement of our career and technical education system with the enactment of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act has enabled those businesses and educational institutions to work together to provide the education and training that will result in available, goodpaying local jobs. As a result of my work to reform our nation’s career and technical education system, in tandem with my co-authorship of bipartisan legislation to bring transparency to the college application process (The College Transparency Act), I am proud to share that I am a recipient of the 2019 Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Policymaker of the Year Award.
Healthcare: The cost and availability of healthcare remains a huge concern for families throughout my district and across the country. I have fought to protect the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, from repeated efforts in Congress to repeal it. I support expanding coverage to more Americans by adding a public option to the insurance exchanges, which might also serve to push costs down for competing, private plans. And I am working hard to reduce the high cost of prescription drugs by facing down efforts by certain drug companies to restrict less-costly generics and by finally allowing the federal government to negotiate with drug companies on behalf of recipients of Medicare and Medicaid, as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs currently does.
Teen vaping: The explosive recent growth in the use of e-cigarettes by teens and even younger children is a direct threat to their health and brain development, yet it has gone completely unregulated by the FDA. I held the first congressional hearing investigating JUUL Labs, where we found that JUUL had targeted teens with their product design and advertising. I have called on JUUL and other vaping companies to end the use of flavored vapes that are particularly attractive to teens, which led to the FDA’s decision to ban flavored e-cigarette cartridges from the market. I have also sponsored legislation with Senator Durbin that would tax those products to provide $200 million annually for a school-based education program to stop kids from vaping, and I have another bill to cap the amount of the addictive drug nicotine that is delivered in each vaping capsule. Many European countries and Israel have such limits and do not have the kind of teen vaping epidemic that we have seen in the U.S.