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Dennis Anderson

Demographics

Democrat

Gurnee IL

Bachelors Degree, Economics and Political Science, University of Wisconsin

Retired, Retired

Married, Susan Glad-Anderson

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On The Record

Why are you the best candidate for Congress?

I am a citizen candidate, raised by two Republicans who, were they still alive, would not recognize their Party. I am running to represent people like them, people who believe that we Americans are all in this together. While we may disagree about some issues, we all want the same things – good jobs, reasonable hope of a comfortable retirement, safe neighborhoods and good schools for our children. I will work with anyone, regardless of party, who is willing to sit down and have serious, fact-based discussions. I carry no political debts or obligations; I am not seeking to begin a new career. Like most Americans, I am simply frustrated with Congressional gridlock and believe that the voices of average Americans are not being heard in Washington.

The U.S. faces a $17 trillion (and rising) debt burden. Can this debt be paid down without raising taxes? Where can spending be cut?

Cutting the debt and deficit should be viewed not as ends, but as means. If cutting does not stimulate the economy, and there is no evidence that it has, then perhaps we ought to rethink our approach. During the last Administration, Congress by and large had no problem running up huge deficits and adding to the debt with income tax cuts not paid for and two unfunded wars. During this Administration, many of those same people have focused on cutting programs that support the least well-off of our fellow citizens while continuing to cut taxes for the most well off. There is no large organization, public or private, that does not suffer inefficiencies, and government should seek to reduce spending wherever returns do not merit existing levels of spending. If we can save by negotiating Medicare drug prices, by reducing tax privileges and subsidies for massively profitable corporations, cutting expenditures on weapons systems that no one wants (or that don’t work), let’s do it. One thing is certain – we should take care that whatever cuts we make do not make life more difficult for average and poor Americans who have not benefitted from the current recovery nearly so much as corporations and the wealthiest among us.

Where do you stand on immigration reform?

We need comprehensive immigration reform; something that some public polling has consistently shown is popular with the American people. The Senate’s 2013 bill, supported by both Illinois Senators Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Mark Kirk, met the requirements set by the Republican majority in both the Senate and the House. I am generally supportive of the bill, although I feel that it spends too much on militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. Since 1993, the budget of the U.S. Border Patrol has increased nearly 10-fold. The number of Border Patrol agents has doubled since 2003. Benchmarks set in previous bills for border control personnel, fencing, and surveillance have been met, and yet the undocumented population has grown to an estimated 11 million. While it may appeal to those who want to “get tough”, the “enforcement-first” immigration control strategy, like the “War on Drugs”, has been a failure. We need a comprehensive approach, the American people want a comprehensive approach, and I support a comprehensive approach.

What can be changed or improved about the Affordable Care Act? If you favor its repeal, what yould you replace it with?

I would not vote to repeal the ACA. Some 8 million people have signed up under the ACA, and the number of uninsured Americans is at the lowest level since Gallup began tracking it. The percentage of uninsured poor has dropped from 28% to 17% in Medicaid expansion states. These numbers would be even better if all of the Nation’s governors had embraced the expansion, and had there not been efforts by many members of Congress to discourage people from enrolling. The private sector, which has fewer uninsured people, is a good thing for American families, for business, and for health care costs. Clearly, the ACA can be improved, and Congress should focus on improvement. Control of pharmaceutical prices is critical to control of health care costs. Increasing evidence exists that insurers, now unable to deny insurance due to preexisting conditions, are changing their plans to discourage people on high-cost drug regimens (e.g. HIV, cancer and hepatitis C patients) from enrolling in their plans. We need to look at the effects of the ACA on such preexisting health insurance schemes as multiemployer plans to ensure that good plans that meet ACA requirements are not penalized.

Approval ratings for Congress are far from ideal, and that's largely because of partisan rhetoric and the inability to compromise. If elected, will you be willing to reach across the aisle and work with members of the opposite party to resolve this country's many issues? Explain.

I am absolutely ready to work across the aisle in the House. Americans are united in wanting the same things: secure jobs, faith that we will be able to retire without sinking into poverty, good schools, a clean environment, and the hope that our children will do better than we did. While there may be differences of opinion as to how our shared goals can be achieved, we absolutely will not arrive at solutions unless there is meaningful debate of the possible alternative courses we might take. It is in the almost complete lack of such debate that the current Congress, and in particular the House, is failing. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent or other, the House has done nothing for you in recent years, focused as they have been on multiple and redundant investigations, suing the President, or voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act in excess of 50 times. Meanwhile, the economic recovery has barely reached Middle America, with middle class salaries and wages continuing their decades-long stagnation. I am running to represent all of the people of the 14th District, not just Democrats, Republicans, Independents or others, but all the people. Governing requires compromise.

No Child Left Behind and the Common Core State Standards are education initiatives that have – and will – dramatically impact students in this area. What specifically do you think those impacts should be? If not with Common Core, how do you propose improving U.S. education performance vs. foreign countries that are doing much better? How do you view the state of education in the U.S. and Illinois? And what if anything would you look to change?

Quality public education ought to be the right of all American children, and our public schools ought to be the very best schools available anywhere. When I was in grade school, the Nation committed itself to improve science and mathematics education in response to the challenges of the then-young space exploration race. We need to commit as a Nation to another such effort. The challenges now are even greater, given our international standings and the stakes in an increasingly competitive world. We need to be concerned about the cost of post-secondary education, given the mounting debts with which so many students are faced. We need to recognize that education is an investment in the future not only of our students, but also of the Nation itself. Teaching should be treated as the vital activity it is, and our teachers ought to well trained, well paid and respected for the work they do. Standards ought to be high, and the public ought to be concerned about the adoption of curricula that fail to adequately train their children. We must ensure that all students have access to the latest educational technology. It is a truism that ignorance will cost us far more than will education.

What role should the U.S. play in regards to the ongoing conflicts throughout the Mideast, including conflicts instigated by terror groups?

When deciding upon our policy course in the Mideast – or elsewhere – we must ask “What is the long-term outcome we hope for, and is that outcome likely to be achieved by our proposed policy?” The disintegration of Iraq following our withdrawal was predictable in February of 2003. We took apart two governments, both highly objectionable, apparently in the belief that we could replace them with a form of governance highly foreign to those nations. No one will benefit by doubling down on an ill-conceived policy and the sacrifice more mothers’ sons and daughters to a military venture that is unlikely to bring about a stable and democratic Middle East unless we and/or our allies are committed to staying on, possibly for decades, to foster the growth of democracy. Our role should be to engage in meaningful dialogue with nations in the region, along with others in the international community, with the goal of stabilizing the region. We can also play a limited role in containing the terrorist groups that continue to threated regional stability.

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