Geoffrey Petzel: Candidate Profile
6th District U.S. Representative
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Lake Zurich
Office sought: 6th District U.S. Representative
Occupation: Executive Director, Friends of the Fox River Small Business Owner, Union Property Group
Education: B.S. Public Administration, Indiana University, 2004
Civic involvement: Friends of the Fox River, Sierra Club, Equality Illinois, Schweitzer Environmental Education Center Board of Directors, Citizens Advocate Team, many others
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
The number one issue for our campaign is the economy. We must deal with the housing/foreclosure mess, banking regulations, job creation, taxes and government spending in a comprehensive manner if we are going to effectively deal with the significant economic issues this country faces.
Our campaign has put forth a series of comprehensive reforms that will create jobs, create a fairer tax system and create a sustainable future for our economy. Our plan includes the following highlights.
1. Over 23% of all homes in this country are underwater. In order to address the housing crisis and our nation's economic stability, we must deal with housing. One specific proposal offered by our campaign is to change the law and require banks to refinance underwater mortgages when the homeowners meet all qualifications for refinance except for the homes appraised value. The estimated 10 million homeowners that would benefit from refinancing their mortgages would see an average savings on their mortgage payment of $200 per month. This would give homeowners an additional $24 billion annually to spend on other goods or services and boost our economy.
2. We have proposed a series of job creation strategies. The simplest strategy is to spend money repairing our infrastructure. We have proposed a $150 billion infrastructure investment plan that by conservative estimates would create 2.3 million jobs. Such investments would be used to upgrade our power grid, repair our roads and bridges, build new high-speed commuter rail service and repair our public transit systems. Our jobs plan is aggressive and bold- just the kind of action needed to get the economy working again.
3. Individual tax rates must also be addressed in order to see sustainable economic benefits. Our plan supports an extension of middle class tax cuts and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. We must restore fundamental fairness to our tax system and this is a first step in that process.
4. Our plan for corporate tax rates includes a massive overhaul of the corporate tax system. First, we must close all loopholes. General Electric made $14 billion in profits last year and paid zero taxes. This must end. Once all loopholes and subsidies are eliminated, we should reduce the corporate tax rate to 27% to keep us competitive in a world economy when countries like Germany and China have cut tax rates to near 25%. After closing loopholes this reduced tax rate will still result in increased federal revenues but will create a level playing field for all businesses. We also propose reducing the tax rate for manufacturers that produce goods in America to 17%. All manufactured goods produced outside the United States should remain at a 35% tax rate to encourage reinvestment in American manufacturing and penalize manufacturers who ship jobs overseas. We believe America can once again have a strong manufacturing base.
5. We also suggest the passage of the Obama jobs plan which will provide important investments into public safety improvements, infrastructure, education and provide a wide range of tax cuts for employers who hire the long-term unemployed or veterans. The Obama jobs plan, combined with our infrastructure plan and tax reforms will create an estimated 5.9 million jobs.
Key Issue 2
Just as the economy is a key concern for our campaign, healthcare is a critical issue. Access to affordable health care is a top priority for our campaign. Access to health care should be a right, not a privilege. We have set forth a comprehensive health care plan that includes major reforms. These reforms are aimed at 1. Controlling the cost of health care for individuals, families and business, 2. Providing quality care to every American, 3. Controlling the cost of health care within our state and federal budgets.
First, we will control cost for families and businesses. The average employer pays 14% of its payroll towards health benefits and the average person pays 13% of their pay to cover health insurance premiums. Under our plan, the government would institute a payroll tax of 8.25% which would significantly reduce costs for employers and employees.
Second, our plan maintains the existing level of federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid. This current level of spending combined with the new payroll tax revenue would generate enough revenue to cover 100% of the medical costs for every American. Such a plan provides for certainty of cost for businesses and employees, prevents massive increases in future government spending, and provides quality health care to every American. Under our plan, every American would have health care.
Key Issue 3
We believe compromise and cooperation to be a critical issue as well. Massive economic reform and jobs creation cannot be accomplished without cooperation and compromise on both sides of the aisle. I will work to find solutions to the difficult issues facing our country regardless of who proposes a solution or who takes the credit.
What would you do to help ease partisan gridlock? Are you willing to compromise on sticking points including spending cuts and taxes to produce results' How can Congress move from being a "crisis-driven" institution?
The only way to ease partisan gridlock at this point is to elect new people to Congress who will be willing to work together to address the serious issues facing this country. I will gladly work with people on both sides of the aisle to deal with the important issues we face like healthcare costs, job creation and government spending. Just like when Bill Clinton was President we will need to make tough choices that must include a combination of revenue increases and spending cuts if we are to seek a balanced budget and reduction in the national debt.
Congress has become crisis-driven because the Republican leadership has refused to compromise on relatively uncontroversial issues like extending the payroll tax cut. This lack of compromise is due to a fundamental failure by our Congress to fulfill their most important purpose- looking out for us. When I am elected I will make decisions based on what is best for the people of the 6th District regardless of party, partisan rhetoric or what is best for re-election.
Should tax breaks be extended? Why or why not? If so, for whom? What should Congress do to improve unemployment? Why do you support or oppose President Obama's jobs plan? What cuts or revenue increases do you support for deficit reduction?
I support the extension of middle class tax cuts and allowing the Bush-era
tax-cuts for the rich to expire. We must focus on creating fairness in our tax system. The middle class should receive tax relief. We must also close massive tax breaks for corporations that allow corporations like General Electric to make $14 billion in profits and pay nothing in income tax.
The best way to create jobs and deal with unemployment is to create opportunity, that's why I fully support President Obama's jobs plan. The President's jobs plan includes funding to rebuild dilapidated schools, to repair failing roads and bridges, to rebuild our public transit systems and to continue the payroll tax cuts. It also provides tax credits for hiring the long-term unemployed and veterans. It provides significant incentives to businesses who hire workers and puts more money into the pockets of employees. There is nothing controversial about his jobs plan, yet Congress can't accomplish any pro-jobs legislation. I support the President's jobs plan and have proposed additional job creation measures beyond his plan. We must have a comprehensive job creation agenda if we are going to get this country back on the right track.
What steps should the country now be taking in the war on terrorism? What policy should the U.S. have toward Iran and North Korea? What is your view of terrorism policies that pit public safety against civil liberty?
The Obama Administration has done a good job dealing with the threat of terrorism. The Administration has killed Osama bin Laden and has killed or captured dozens of terrorist leaders. We also were able to remove Muammar Qaddafi from Libya without losing a single American. The United States must remain firm in our resolve to combat terrorism across the globe. Terror cells in Pakistan, Sudan and Yemen continue to threaten our safety and I believe the use of our intelligence resources and drone attacks are the most effective means of dealing with this threat.
I believe the United States and our allies must directly engage in negotiations with Iran and North Korea if we are going to effectively stop the nuclear threat these countries pose. While we have pursued strict sanctions in North Korea and Iranian sanctions have been in place since 1979, both countries continue to defy the world community in their development of nuclear weapons. Sanctions will not stop these programs, but will continue to hurt the citizens of these nations. Direct negotiations should be utilized to try to put a diplomatic end to these weapons programs. Should such negotiations fail, the United States and our allies will maintain the ability to pre-emptively strike weapons development facilities to prevent North Korea and Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
I oppose any attempt by our government to infringe on our civil liberties in the name of safety. While certain security protocols like airport screening are an acceptable form of providing security, wire taps without court orders or unlawful detention of citizens suspected of terror links should be prevented at all costs. Benjamin Franklin once said that "Those who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Our government must remain diligent in the pursuit of safety but must not infringe on our liberties in that pursuit.
How should Medicare and Medicaid be changed overall to fix fund gaps' How should Medicare be changed for those currently enrolled? How should it change for the Baby Boomer generation?
We must take a serious look at Medicare, Medicaid, VA Benefits and health insurance in one package because all of these programs are intertwined. If left as is, Medicare will result in the addition of $89 trillion to the national debt by 2050. The current system is not sustainable and neither is our current private insurance system where the average family pays $15,000 a year in premiums. I have proposed a comprehensive plan to create a universal single-payer health care system that would cover every single American including current Medicare and Medicaid consumers. Such a plan would increase the level of coverage that Medicaid and Medicare patients receive, maintain (not increase) existing federal health care expenditures, and reduce the cost for the average employer and employee while still reimbursing doctors and hospitals at a rate that is acceptable. I support working on comprehensive health care reforms, but I will not support a reduction in benefits or an extension of the eligibility age for Medicare under any circumstances. We must work toward a goal of health care for all because affordable health care should be considered a right, not a privilege.
What is your position on concealed carry gun laws' How do you believe marriage should be defined legally? What is your position on abortion? What, if any, abortion exceptions do you support? Should abortion clinics receive government funding?
Almost every state has some form of concealed carry gun laws. Concealed carry laws are primarily the responsibility of the state, not the federal government. The federal government should not interfere with the states authority on this issue.
I believe that marriage is both an institution of the church and an institution of the state. Churches should be free to define marriage in any way they choose fit. Our government, however, should allow any loving couple, gay or straight to be married. Because I believe in individual freedom and keeping government out of our lives, I strongly oppose any attempt to restrict marriage solely between a man and a woman. Just as our government should not restrict who can ride at the front of a bus or drink out of a water fountain, our government should not dictate who can or can't get married.
I will strongly support a woman's right to choose. One person's moral or religious beliefs should not infringe on someone else's freedom to make their own choice. I support the continued funding of organizations like Planned Parenthood because these organizations provide important health services to women and families. Federal funds that are given to organizations that provide health services currently are prohibited from using those funds for abortion services.
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