Bachelors Degree, Economics and Political Science, University of Wisconsin
Married, Susan Glad-Anderson
On The Record
Why are you running to represent the 14th Congressional District?
I am running because I feel, as do most Americans, that our dysfunctional Congress is failing to acknowledge, and is incapable of addressing, the challenges burdening our communities. I believe that our current representative is, in fact, part of the problem. While our economy is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession that began in 2007, middle class wages have stagnated and job growth is mediocre at best, our current Congressman has embraced priorities that would do nothing to address these problems. He has sponsored legislation to fund abstinence-only sex education and supports reversing commonsense financial reforms designed to prevent another economic meltdown. He has joined the fringe wing of his party in refusing compromise, shutting down the government and even threatening default on our debt – all in pursuit of an agenda that is not reflective of the needs or interests of the majority of people in the District. He avoids contact with his constituents and avoids accountability for his record by reciting discredited talking points. Unlike Mr. Hultgren, I understand our District’s values and have spent my career producing results for those who count on me. I will bring that perspective and work ethic to Washington.
The Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, and the act's rollout continues to move forward. What – if anything – would you do as a congressman to make sure the act is successful?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) represents the first major change in the nation’s health care and health insurance systems in fifty years, but cannot fairly be described as “socialized medicine.” It leaves in place essentially the same mix of hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical providers and physicians as existed before its passage. Congress, and in particular the House, would have better served the public by working to improve the Act rather than staging dozens of doomed votes to indulge their desire to repeal it. Practically, speaking wasting time and money on “show votes” you know will fail is no different than allowing the law to go forward entirely unchanged. Drug prices remain a major driver of health care costs, and I would work to ensure that pharmaceutical prices are negotiated; that reimbursement rates for drugs are controlled; and that the “gray market” in scarce pharmaceuticals is regulated. The cost of drugs can vary widely, with some generics costing 40 times more at some pharmacies than at others. I would work with the insurance industry to increase participation in insurance exchanges, although reviving the public option would do more to increase competition in the insurance market.
The U.S. faces a $17 trillion debt burden. Can this debt be brought down without raising taxes? If not, where can spending be cut? Be specific in your answer.
Both spending cuts and increased revenues will be necessary to control the deficit. Defense spending grew from about $300 billion in 2000 to about $700 billion in 2011. It has begun to fall over the past couple of years, but remains unnecessarily high. We continue to maintain overseas bases that are little more than legacies of past conflicts. We continue to pay for weapons systems that the Pentagon doesn’t want, and that are in some cases already deemed obsolete. Subsidies for such immensely profitable industries as big oil and big agribusiness ought to be discontinued. As mentioned elsewhere, I would implement controls on drug costs for publicly-funded or subsidized health care programs. Finally, as in any large organization, public or private, there is always room for increased efficiencies aimed at reducing the incidence of waste. Serious effort must be focused on identifying and rectifying waste without regard to the program in question.
What would you do if elected to create more jobs in the 14th Congressional District?
Our national infrastructure is crumbling. We need to engage in transportation projects, school modernization, and the creation of an infrastructure bank. Those concerned about burdening future generations with debt ought to be supportive of this, as each year of delay results in massive increases in the projected costs of such projects. Transportation infrastructure is essential to a well-functioning and growing economy, a fact to which most business leaders attest. We need to support small business development. Small businesses need easier access to capital. We should continue streamlining federal regulations; decrease the amount of time in which government contractors are paid; and provide tax credits for small business hiring. We should provide incentives for small business development in economically stressed areas. I would work with local units of government and the private sector to foster the development of new technology industries, including green energy, and improve coordination between local businesses and community colleges to promote fields of study that are in high-demand. We need to consider policies that put more money into the pockets of consumers, such as temporary payroll tax cuts and permanent tax reform. We should also continue efforts to address the mortgage crisis that still affects so many.
Where do you stand on immigration reform?
The immigration system should be updated and modernized through smart border technology; employment verification; the guarantee of worker protections; and an updating of immigration policies and visa processes, particularly where they threaten the cohesion of families. I believe that S 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”, represents the best alternative to address immigration reform that we have yet seen. Provisions of particular merit are the “W” worker program, the expansion of visa opportunities for those with plans and means to start businesses in the U.S., the inclusion of the “DREAM Act” in the bill, the inclusion of the AgJobs Act, and other provisions. The bill also demands huge investments in border fencing and patrol; and, while I am concerned about the considerable costs of these elements, their inclusion in the bill certainly undermines any opposition to its passage based on border security.
If elected, what transportation projects in the 14th Congressional District would be a priority for you?
IDOT has identified more 70 “structurally insufficient” bridges in the 14th District. The needed upgrades ought to be undertaken as part of a wider infrastructure repair program, and the sooner it is done, the lower the costs. Identification of transportation priorities begins with the public and the County Boards’ response to public input. Some of the non-bridge priorities identified by the counties in the District include IL-47 improvements in the Woodstock area and rail improvements on the Metra Union Pacific North line in McHenry County; a Randall Road Pace Route 529 Study, a Randall/Orchard Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Study, and the Paratransit and Ride Programs in Kane Program; and extension of Metra commuter service in Kendall County. The population of the District is anticipated to increase significantly in coming years - a projected 2010-2040 growth of 81% in Kendall County, for example – and long-term plans must reflect the stresses of that growth. The District also faces a demographic shift that has resulted in poverty becoming more widespread in non-urban areas than in our cities. We need to improve public transportation in these areas to help alleviate the challenges faced by lower-income workers in simply getting to work.
How are you different from your primary opponent in this race?
Based on my professional and campaign experience, I believe I am better suited to run against the current Congressman and represent our District in Congress. I oppose tax policies that burden middle class families, and I support an increase in the minimum wage. I also support a woman’s right to choose, and I recognize the need for government to stay out of such personal issues. And I am committed to getting things done for the people of the District. I have worked hard my whole life to make a difference in people’s lives, and the families of the 14th District can count on me stand up for them and fight for their interests in Washington.