Republican candidate for U.S. House (8th district)
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?
I believe in the basic fiscal principle — the government should not spend more than the revenue it brings in. I am also a firm believer in a constitutional amendment to balance budget. We must greatly reduce spending, with a goal of 10% per year, until we eliminate the deficit. This would be accomplished by reducing the size and scope of government, eliminating programs and departments, and consolidating delivery of services with state and local providers, both public and private. The new tax plan will stimulate growth and investment in the economy, and that will help us reduce the deficit. We must also stop raising the debt ceiling, however, that will only push our problems further down the road.
The size of the Federal bureaucracy is too large. As the recent report of the watchdog group "Open the Books" discovered, we are paying a million dollars per minute in federal salaries and pension obligations to these workers will be unsustainable. To combat this, we need to have a defined benefit system in place. As people holding federal positions retire, we should not replace non-essential positions with new people.
Can you identify any major federal expenditures or programs that you would eliminate?
The Trump Administration identified eliminating 66 programs in their 2018 budget that would save $26.7 billion. That is a very good start. We also need to re-evaluate our spending on programs and aids provided by United States globally, this will bring in significant savings. The Heritage Foundation has found a total of $42 billion in wasteful and ineffective programs that should be eliminated (some overlap with the Trump list).
Eliminating the Department of Education would save as much as $68 billion and $28 billion by eliminating the Department of Energy. State agencies, already in existence, could absorb Federal duties that are not ended altogether. State and local controls over government functions will always operate closer to the people and more efficiently than far away bureaucrats in DC.
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 has been a popular and well-run program for Seniors and certain severely ill individuals. The 80/20 benefit pay out process encourages people to be conservative with their health care expenditures and to purchase supplemental private insurance to fill the gap. I would not make major changes in Medicare.
Medicaid, however, is broken. There needs to be more managed care and preventative care components because too many people are using expensive emergency room services for their health care.
The biggest problem with Medicaid is the number of illegal immigrants on it and the amount of ineligible, fraudulent people who do not qualify income wise, or via residency, to get the benefits. We must clean the rolls. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that illegal immigrants currently receive $4.3 billion a year in unearned Medicaid benefits.
Medicaid payments to providers must increase and not be so late. Those are the reasons why more and more providers refuse Medicaid, leaving access to good healthcare and the doctors of their choice out of the reach of Medicaid patients.
What if anything should be the federal government's role in helping Americans obtain health insurance coverage?
The Federal role should be limited. It should only be involved to the point of making sure that the playing field is fair and level for competition between providers. Selling policies across state lines should be legalized and the more providers encouraged to get into the marketplace, the more that costs will be driven down and choices for consumers will increase. We need better solutions for special needs and disabled persons who often rely on Medicaid and other programs because they cannot afford private insurance. These vulnerable populations need and deserve compassionate and effective care from our country. But even these populations can benefit from state programs delivering services in place of Federal solutions.
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 am pleased with the trend of economic indicators like unemployment and the stocks and bonds markets.
I am certain that tax reform package will provide the needed boost and we will see a high rate of growth like not seen in decades. This reform of lowering Taxes will spur our Economy making our corporations more competitive throughout the world and will bring manufacturing businesses back into US, creating millions of jobs so that middle class could prosper. I agree with President Trump's narrative that this Tax Bill will allow people to keep more of their money with them rather than send it to Washington where 2/3 of money we give gets wasted. Wage growth is still lagging but signs are looking up with the tax reform package that has encouraged many major businesses to increase their pay rates and offer employee bonuses.
We need to reduce the regulatory burden and the startup costs of launching businesses. This is not always a Federal issue. Illinois reduced the LLC filing fee from $500 to $125 to encourage more small businesses to get off the ground. Another way to help the economy would be to reduce the government paperwork and red tape that follows job creators. Let the free market do more self-regulating. The president is already removing one regulation a day and I will push for removal of two a day.
I am fully supportive of President Trump dealing with trade imbalance while renegotiating NAFTA and other trade deals, particularly with China, as this will bring in more jobs and economic boost to our country. Also, outstanding issues such as repeal and replace Obama Care which has been so intrusive for 1/5 of our economy and streamline legal immigration allowing qualified high tech/high skilled individuals to come here with a focus on small businesses will further improve our economy.
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 am a first-generation immigrant and understand the value of immigration well. When I came to United States, over 20 years ago, it was the culmination of the American Dream. But I waited in line and followed all the rules. Many immigrants do the same and should be rewarded for following the rules by having a process that is more streamlined and fair, with less waiting times.
Our immigration system is in need of a complete overhaul. We need to remove the chain migration and lottery based system and replace it with point based system. This will bring in the immigrant that will add tremendous value to American system. Regarding any individual here illegally, who commits a violent crime, must be incarcerated and returned to their home country. No exceptions.
Second, the borders should be better protected and security should be enhanced to restrict the flow of illegals coming to this country. We should encourage and streamline legal immigration to make it quicker to process and allow qualified students and high tech/high skilled individuals to come here, by invitation, and work and learn.
Before looking at DACA we need to look at DALCA — the dreamers who came here legally. I am strongly in favor of providing a path to these 200,000 dreamers who came here legally. They currently are out of status or are separated from their families' due to long wait for their parents to get green cards while they crossed the age of 21 and cannot continue to be on a dependent visa. The issue with DACA and Dreamers is that it encourages their parents to break the law and come here illegally. Perhaps a compromise bill that allows certain high performing (education or work) illegal immigrants to stay, if they pay a fine and get in line for legal immigration.
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?
We need to continue to isolate North Korea and strictly enforce sanctions. If all other efforts fail, and intelligence is able to locate nuclear powered weapons in North Korea, we should consider preventative striking and disabling those targets before they can be turned on South Korea or other countries. The North Korean leader is too unstable to be allowed to have working ICBM weapons. Ramping up the rhetoric between our President and theirs is probably not wise, but it is certainly good to put a deal in place that includes monitoring and penalties for non-compliance.
ISIS is contained in Syria and Iraq but terrorism remains a threat. What are your priorities in keeping the country safe?
Terrorism is an infestation like termites that must be completely eradicated or it will destroy our society. To effectively deal with terrorism we need to do more that increase our military budget. We need to allocate some of those resources into an increase in human intelligence, on the ground, and through technology, to track their movements and prevent attacks before they happen.
Tremendous progress has been made in last one year with fighting ISIS, but we must make sure they are not in hiding and retooling for more vicious attacks. We also need to closely monitor situation in Iraq, Syria and in the countries providing cover / safe heaven / sponsorship to terrorists and take strict measures to stop them including cutting aid and imposing sanctions to the fullest extent.
Should the U.S. continue to abide by the terms of the nuclear agreement with Iran?
That agreement does not have the teeth and strength that is needed. This situation should be very closely monitored and perhaps it should be scrapped and rewritten to allow more careful and thorough inspections by the US. Iran continues to operate a rogue regime and we need to continue to be vigilant in dealing with them.
What is your position on the continued presence of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan?
US has been fighting the war in Afghanistan against terrorism for almost 16 years. The region is still infested with terrorism and if left behind unresolved could become bigger issue for our country in future. I stand by with our President and Military Generals to increase the troops and fight to win.
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.
Most countries with stringent gun control laws have been facing more gun violence. Our laws allow law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from criminals. An instant federal background check on gun purchasers to make sure they do not have a criminal history or adverse mental health background, is wise. We do not need more gun laws. We need to enforce the ones we have.
Conceal and carry has done great things for safety of citizens being able to self-protect. Reciprocal conceal and carry laws, across state lines, would make sense. Many mass shootings have been prevented by a citizen who intervened with a legal and concealed weapon before the massacre could start or be fully executed.
Gun control advocates who use tragedies of mass casualties to try and score political points are doing damage to serious discussions about keeping guns from the mentally ill or those with criminal records.
Should the U.S. government take steps to curb emissions of greenhouse gas? If so, what steps? If not, why not?
Alternative energy sources like wind and solar should be encouraged but there is still a need for clean coal technology and even nuclear power plants. An all the above approach is better than ending some and favoring others through subsidy schemes that prop up inefficient energy delivery systems. Illinois has done good things in this area, with 14 ethanol plants in the state and significant investments in wind energy farms.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
I hold 4 Master Degrees, taught Yoga to Inmates and have received numerous public service awards.
If you are an incumbent, tell us the most significant accomplishment of your current term.
Candidates for U.S. House (8th district)
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