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John D. Elleson

Republican candidate for U.S. House (9th district)

John D. Elleson

John D. Elleson

Republican candidate for U.S. House (9th district)

Morris Community High School, Morris, IL Undergraduate: Pastoral Theology Degree from Christian Life College, Mt. Prospect, IL Supplement courses from Trinity University, Deerfield, IL
Pastor, Lakewood Chapel
Arlington Heights
Past Political/Civic Experience
None, other than working in the community for the last 35 years.

Responses to our questions

The U.S. government is now $20 trillion in debt. To address that historic level of public indebtedness, the country would need to raise revenue and/or decrease spending. What is your position on the budget and debt?

Being this far in debt is a crisis looming over us today, as well as the next generation. We need to balance the books, like most families, businesses, and States. I think we need to cut spending and grow the economy. Additional revenue will be generated and paid into the treasury, by a growing economy. If we raise taxes to 90 percent, it still won't get us out of our debt problem. Slowing the growth of all outgoing government expenditures, would be a good place to start, that could make a dent.

Can you identify any major federal expenditures or programs that you would eliminate?

No- not off the top of my head. But I know there are some. There are redundant programs that could be consolidated or illuminated throughout the government. I do think slowing the growth of all federal expenditures needs to be a priority to get our house in order, especially until we reach a balanced budget. I am in favor of a balanced federal budget.

Medicare and Medicaid costs continue to spiral. How can these programs be restructured to control costs and avoid collapse? Be specific about your willingness to change or reduce future benefits.

I understand this is a tough subject for many people, but the fact is from what I can see, we need to get a handle on this, especially if we want to see these programs viable for the coming generations. The easiest way to keep them viable is to slow the growth.

I probably don't agree with privatization of Medicare or Medicaid (some aspects of Medicaid maybe), but we do need to be responsible, while holding to our pledge to those who have paid in and who need it. Everyone is going to have to bend a little to save these good programs. If the economy is doing good, it will make it easier, in which it's then we need to slow the growth, so they could be saved and remain insolvent.

What if anything should be the federal government's role in helping Americans obtain health insurance coverage?

If you can't afford health care, the government should help you obtain it. We should keep the insurance companies honest, along with the pharmaceuticals, but healthcare is better left in the private sector. Government does have a role in helping those who are struggling, but it should not take over the whole industry. Competition, transparency, innovation, need to be at the heart of health insurance.

Economic growth has been steady but wage growth is slow. Are you content with the state of the economy? What is your recipe for enhancing American prosperity?

I'm glad we are not in recession, but I am not happy with the state of the economy. I don't like seeing vacant buildings and people struggling from pay check to pay check. Something is wrong when 30 years ago you could get a $25.00 job at Caterpillar if you didn't want to go to college, but today you get out of college and you maybe get offered $15.00 an hr, with limited benefits (some get lucky and do better).

But the point is, we need to create high paying jobs in our communities. We should be on a job revolution and all do what we can to have a decade of job creation to make up for the lost years. We need to take extreme measures, cut regulation for a time, infrastructure building and rebuilding, tax credits for job creators. From the local city hall, to State Government, to the Federal level, everyone with power, needs to do all they can to create an environment for higher wages. A good high paying job (with benefits), home ownership, lower taxes, still needs to be the ideal.

If you could fix longstanding problems with this country's immigration system tomorrow, what would you do? What is your position on the future of DACA and the Dreamers?

I think our laws on the books need to be enforced. We also need to have compassion and be realistic when dealing with people. The border needs to be enforced, lawful hiring practices need to be followed, and we need a tracking system for those who overstay their visas. I spent a few years in China, and their visa system is adhered to 100%. E-verify should be enforced. Once we get the border enforced, a handle on the overstaying of visas (people coming into the country and not going back to their place of origin), we then should be compassionate with DACA recipients and the Dreamers. I would even say they should or could have a path to citizenship, so long as we correct the nations prior enforcement issues.

North Korea's nuclear weapons program represents a direct threat to the security of the United States and its Pacific allies. How should the U.S. confront or contain Kim Jong Un's regime?

I'm ok with playing tough, as long as we're smart. We shouldn't provoke, but we should push back and keep him from being a menace to the world, as well as not allowing him nuclear proliferation to rouge nations and terrorist. We should build consensus with our friends, be engaged in cyber when possible, and be ready at a moments notice for the military option. It may come down to containment, which I maybe able to live with, as long as he is marginalized, with heavy consistent economic sanctions. We should always be ready for the unthinkable, if it ever becomes necessary. If we could eliminate the threat (him) or his nuclear capability, without a full military war, that would be my preference.

ISIS is contained in Syria and Iraq but terrorism remains a threat. What are your priorities in keeping the country safe?

Staying on it, without it getting out of hand. Do not allow the threat to grow. Cut off, and keep off, the flow of money to finance their activities. Deny them complete access to oil and the banking system. Extreme vetting from unstable countries should be the norm. We should encourage the good guys, good behavior, and reward the right thing, with zero tolerance for terrorism. Protection for shipping and containers should be large. Coastal container inspection should be at its best. Who comes in the country should always be looked at. If they want to do bad, and don't want to be apart of the fabric, we shouldn't allow them access.

Should the U.S. continue to abide by the terms of the nuclear agreement with Iran?

I'd go along with it today, but I wouldn't recertify as called for every 90 days in the agreement. Eventually I would rework it (especially after known violations). Since the upfront benefits have already been received by Iran, we should get our benefits (our interests), and more. If we play the cards right we could get a better long term deal, denying them of a nuclear arsenal, for generations.

What is your position on the continued presence of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan?

I don't like it, but it's probably a necessity today. It's better to be there in today's capacity, than have to go back and start all over down the road. Having some stand up bases across the country is an insurance policy. Training and some aid is positive, but doing their job for them isn't good policy. As long as we have bases around the world, it makes sense to have some there, as well as Iraq. Once stabilization is achieved, foot patrols, etc, should not be part of the plan.

Do you support a unified, federal background check system for gun sales? Do you support magazine limits or a ban on certain rifles? Describe, briefly, your position on how to balance safety with the Second Amendment.

I'm probably not against a national unified federal background system. I would need to learn more and hear the arguments, but it seems practical and wise. Yes- I could support magazine limits and a ban on certain assault rifles.

The second amendment is a big thing in our nation. It should not be a basis to run amuck and harm society. We should respect the amendment, but have common sense laws to protect societies members. We are not doing the best, but we're not doing terrible also. We should keep trying to improve and update the laws and regulations, with an eye on people's constitutional rights.

Should the U.S. government take steps to curb emissions of greenhouse gas? If so, what steps? If not, why not?

Yes, clean air is big. All in society ought to do right by our planet. But we also should be pushing the big polluters, ie. China, and other like nations. We have to do our part, but we live in a global world, the winds blow, and every creature on this earth is effected by dirty air. We should curb emissions and bring down greenhouse gas, not radically to the appoint of ruining the economy, but sensibly as stewards of the earth.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

Not the smartest cookie in the cookie jar, but I love our nation and it's people, and believe anyone can serve if they have a heart and the will to. Grew up in the small town family Bakery business. My Dad owned small bakeries and we started our day at 2:00 in the morning before school and sometimes worked after. Many times went to school in "our whites" as working was always apart of our growing up. Went through tough times as a youth and been through many others, but thankful for how far we've come. Sue and I had 7 kids (5 adult ones who all graduated from college) and 2 younger ones still in school. Try to do our best and learn from our mistakes.

If you are an incumbent, tell us the most significant accomplishment of your current term.

Not an incumbent.

Candidates for U.S. House (9th district)