U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, voiced his thoughts on taxes, President Donald Trump’s “2 a.m. tweets” and the key differences between himself and opponent Lauren Underwood on Wednesday.
Hultgren has been representing the 14th Congressional District – which covers parts of DeKalb, McHenry, Kendall, Lake, DuPage and Will counties – since 2011. He will face Democratic candidate Underwood in November’s general election.
Hultgren’s campaign has raised more than $1.4 million since January, and Underwood isn’t far behind, with receipts totaling $1.1 million since April 2017, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.
Hultgren said he could see the race coming to a close finish, and he said a main difference between himself and Underwood – a Naperville nurse – is their views on the role of government.
Overreach into things such as health care and overregulation for small businesses and manufacturers could cause more harm than good, Hultgren said.
“The government does have a role to go after bad actors – people that are trying to harm the economy or environment, or other things like that,” he said. “But when you have micromanagement coming from Washington to the 14th District, it isn’t good. I want individuals to have more opportunity to make choices that are good for their family and future.”
On Trump, Hultgren praised lowered unemployment rates and a boosted economy, but said he disagreed with the president’s tone, habit of issuing personal attacks and the “significant” reduction of refugee programs that started during former President Barack Obama’s term.
“The screening process that someone has to go through has made it almost impossible to come to America as a refugee,” he said. “We have got to simplify this process. ... I want to make sure we are safe and identify someone who is coming here to do harm, but I think we can do that in a reasonable way that doesn’t require 300 background checks.”
He said any lasting changes or reform would require cooperation between parties.
“There is no president that I have served under or been represented by that I have agreed with 100 percent of the time,” he said. “But my hope is we can change some of the tone, and I am doing what I can in Congress to reach out, build friendships, build relationships and recognize that long-lasting solutions are going to require bipartisan work.”
Hultgren also spoke about the benefit that the controversial Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would have on District 14. He said he would like to continue to ensure municipalities could access municipal bonds and reintroduce advanced refunding.
“There are a few things we can do to make it better, but it has had a big impact,” he said.
The state and local tax deduction cap put into effect by the bill has sparked ire from some taxpayers, but Hultgren said 9 out of 10 District 14 residents would see a benefit from the bill.
“We had a high number of people who itemized, and that is going to go significantly down because of the doubling of the standard deduction. That is a huge deal,” Hultgren said.
He said the business economy also will benefit from the bill.
“Individuals and companies are seeing great savings,” Hultgren said. “This is a huge benefit for us to keep companies in America.”