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EDITORIAL BOARD QUESTIONNAIRES

Matthew Brolley

Democratic candidate for U.S. House (14th district)

Matthew Brolley

Matthew Brolley

Democratic candidate for U.S. House (14th district)

Education
Bachelors Degrees in Civil Engineering (UIC) and Physics (North Central College)
Occupation
Civil Engineering, V3 Companies.
Home
Sugar Grove
Past Political/Civic Experience
Village President, Village of Montgomery (May 2013 - Present) Serving 2nd Four Year Term Village Trustee, Village of Montgomery (May 2011 - May 2013) Village Plan Commission / Zoning Board of Appeals ( 2008 - May 2011) - Chairman in 2011 Board Member for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) - Representing Kane and Kendall Counties

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?

The debt is a critical issue, and one in which my opponent abdicated responsibility by voting for the Republican tax bill that adds $1.5 trillion to our debt. This is an issue we can address on the revenue and the spending side. On the revenue side, we need to make sure the wealthiest among us and corporations are paying their fair share. Because when they don't pay their fair share, the burden falls on already over-taxed middle class families. On the spending side, we need to end unneeded spending, like subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

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

The first federal expenditures I would eliminate are subsidies to the oil and gas industries. Collectively, we give billions of dollars every year to these industries while they're making record profits. If we're going to spend billions of dollars a years on energy companies, the least we can do is invest that money in renewable energy sources.

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.

Medicare and Medicaid costs continue to increase because healthcare costs in general continue to increase. The Affordable Care Act was actually working toward bending the cost curve on healthcare costs by moving providers from a fee-for-service to a fee-for-outcomes-based model. My opponent has undermined this program at every turn, meaning these gains will be lost. To help reduce costs even further, I would advocate for the government to negotiate drug prices, like the Veteran's Administration already does. We should allow people to buy-in to Medicare at age 55. Doing so would not only reduce healthcare burdens on the middle class, it would also inject younger people into the program.

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

First, we have to recognize that everyone has the right to quality health coverage. The Affordable Health Care Act was a step in the right direction, but we need to go further. If elected, I will look to strengthen and secure the Affordable Care Act while building a more sustainable healthcare system beyond Obamacare through a public option.

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?

No, I am not content with the state of the economy. We're constantly hearing about a growing economy, but the middle class isn't seeing that in their paychecks. Congressman Hultgren's answer to this problem is to continue to give away billions to the richest Americans and their corporations and hope that will trickle down. But trickle-down does not work. And the middle class will continue to struggle as long as we structure our economy to benefit the richest at the expense to the rest.

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?

There are steps we can take to secure our borders and punish employers who take advantage of undocumented immigrants. But the most important step we need to take is passing comprehensive immigration reform through Congress. Comprehensive reform would give those who are living here undocumented the opportunity to come out of the shadows and become citizens.

DACA needs to be fixed by Congress immediately. It is immoral to leave the future of these people in doubt, especially because they have done nothing wrong. Punishing children for the sins of their parents is a stain on the best qualities of America.

One final thing I would fix is President Trump and many Republicans' effort to demonize immigrants and cast them as criminals. It is sick and un-American. We are a country that is stronger when we are welcoming of those who are looking for a better life. The Trump Administration is breaking up families and deporting law-abiding immigrants everyday. This creates a culture of fear in the Latino community and it needs to stop.

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?

Every military officer I've heard from say the same thing: there are no good options for North Korea. Military options don't only put American soldiers into harm's way, they threaten millions of South Koreans who live near the demilitarized zone. If we're going to solve this nuclear crisis without a massive loss of life, we need to be working with our allies to negotiate nuclear weaponry away from North Korea.

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

The Obama Administration went a long way in pressuring terrorist groups by cracking down on their financial transactions and taking out their leadership, namely by bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. In Congress, I would continue to support this work by supporting similar policies. I would only add that we do more in the way of funding public diplomacy at the State Department. Public diplomacy programs build relationships between our next generation of leaders worldwide and go a long way in winning hearts and minds.

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

Yes, the United States should uphold and protect the Iran nuclear deal. The goal of the deal was to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and the deal is working. If we don't abide by our word with Iran, countries like North Korea will have no good reason to trust us as we negotiate ourselves out of that nuclear crisis. I rely heavily on Congressman Bill Foster on this issue. He has the background and technical expertise to understand the issues involved and he supports the agreement as well.

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

I really don't see a plan for victory, or a plan to get out. It's hard to commit American ground troops and put them in harms way when we don't know what we're trying to accomplish or how we are going to win. I think we should phase into a non-combat role as soon as possible.

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.

Yes, I support both. Everyone I speak with seems to understand how to balance safety with the Second Amendment. The only people who don't are in Washington. Balancing safety with the Second Amendment is common sense and 90 percent of the public supports it. Hunters and sportsmen should always be able to lawfully use their firearms. But we ought to close the gun show loophole and pass universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of the violent and mentally unstable.

More immediately, Congress should be banning bump stocks which can turn semi-automatic weapons into into automatic weapons. Passing these reforms won't stop every single shooting, but they promise to stop many shootings. If we can save lives by passing laws that properly balance safety with the Second Amendment, we should.

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

The American government should absolutely take steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The best first step we can take is to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement which set out ambitious goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions. After President Trump removed the United States from the Paris Agreement, I decided to become a Climate Mayor to ensure Montgomery would continue to live up to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Last year, I also signed onto the Chicago Charter in my capacity as Mayor of Montgomery. Another great step the American government can take to curb greenhouse gas emissions would be to include meaningful renewable energy investments in an infrastructure overhaul.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

After I graduated from college with my degree in engineering, I called every single engineering firm in the phone book to find a job. I was hired by the first firm that called me back and served there for 10 years.

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

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Candidates for U.S. House (14th district)

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