State Senator & CEO, State of Illinois & Oberweis Dairy
On The Record
Why are you running for election to the U.S. Senate?
Walking away from the problems in this country would leave my nineteen grandchildren living in a state and a country swimming in what I call “generational debt” with a governmental financial structure designed for failure. Unless we change the way our government operates, they may not have the same opportunities I had growing up in Illinois. I believe it is time to work together to solve the structural financial problems of our government to preserve the American Dream for all future generations.
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 senator to make sure the act is successful?
There are some good parts to this legislation, such as allowing children to stay on their parents insurance until they are 26, allowing people to secure health insurance with pre-existing conditions and allowing the sale of insurance over state lines; these are all common sense reforms that needed to happen. The biggest issue with this legislation is the fact that it was based on a lie. A lie told by members of Congress, Senators, and our President. That lie has cost hundreds of millions in web site development costs, a website that barely works, tens of thousands losing their insurance or, even worse, losing their doctors. The Affordable Care Act is so badly conceived that I do not believe it can be fixed. The premise that government knows best about what insurance we should be allowed to buy is fatally flawed. Therefore, we have no choice but to work with reasonable Democrats to produce a workable compromise plan that makes sense for all.
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.
Since Dick Durbin went to Washington 32 years ago, our nation’s debt has grown relentlessly from about $1 trillion to about $17 trillion. We are placing an ever larger burden on future generations and that must stop. In addition, that enormous debt could create an environment for another financial disaster that could include runaway inflation. The solution toward solving the problem is to eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse so prevalent in some of our government programs and to adopt the budget fashioned by Paul Ryan and the House Republicans, which may be painful in the short term, but insures the financial sustainability of our nation and insures the solvency of important programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
What would you do if elected to create more jobs in Illinois?
As a an entrepreneur and businessman, I believe I understand what it takes to get other entrepreneurs to risk their time, energy and capital to create jobs and opportunities for people and to get the economy moving forward at a more healthy rate. Mr. Durbin has never worked in the private sector and clearly does not understand. Simplification of the tax code would help jump start the economy by giving employers a better understanding of the costs and opportunities of starting and expanding businesses. Lower marginal tax rates with fewer loopholes and deductions would also. I would support the complete overhaul and simplification of the United States tax code. Not only would we be able to significantly reduce the bureaucracy of the Internal Revenue Service, but we may also be able to prohibit the abuse of taxpayers based on their political beliefs. I recently learned that Senator Durbin pressured the Commissioner of the IRS in 2010 to investigate 501(c)4 organizations critical of Senate Democrats and the Obama administration, which I believe is an abuse of his office.
Where do you stand on immigration reform?
I believe the cornerstone of any immigration system reform is to first secure the borders of our country so that we can control, monitor and track exactly who is coming in and out of the United States on any given day. It is a matter of national security. I support legal immigration and believe it is unfair for others to enjoy the benefits of living in our nation without having been either properly vetted for entry or approved for residency. I also support reducing the number of legal immigrants to the immediate family members of current legal immigrants, and encouraging the immigration of people who have knowledge, skills, talents and resources currently unavailable or scarce in the United States. As a public policy goal, we should attract immigrants who will improve the quality of life in the United States for all of us. I do not support a general amnesty. I do not support the universal disbursement of government services to people who are here illegally. I do support a path to citizenship for the children who were brought here through no fault of their own, who have grown up here and who consider themselves Americans. In this country, we do not punish children for the sins of their parents. With the exception of criminal activity of a parent, the parent could also be allowed to remain with a non-immigrant visa, but be barred from government entitlements. This would make them legal in this country, allow them to work, pay taxes, and allow them to travel home and back legally. If they wish to seek citizenship, they should have to follow the same path as anyone else rather than cutting to the head of the line. I consider myself to be profamily in every respect and breaking up families under these circumstances would not be in the best interest of the children.
If you were elected, what transportation projects in Kane County would be a priority for you?
As a Kane County resident I am well aware of both the efficiencies and problems in the Kane County transportation system, but federal officials should not be deciding local transportations priorities in a top down system. Other than interstate air, rail, highway and waterway system decisions, the Federal government should allow local, regional and state officials to set their own transportation priorities and assist when asked. As a United States Senator, I will be glad to provide assistance to help fulfill the transportation needs of our state when asked and as appropriate.
How are you different from your primary opponent in this race?
I believe my overall experience in life, business, government and politics has prepared me to serve the people of Illinois better than my primary opponent Mr. Truax. We share more views than we differ on, I believe he has much to offer Illinois and wish him well in all his future endeavors.