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updated: 2/23/2012 1:30 PM

Judy Biggert: Candidate Profile

11th District U.S. Representative (Republican)

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  • Judy Biggert, running for 11th District U.S. Representative

    Judy Biggert, running for 11th District U.S. Representative




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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A


City: Hinsdale


Office sought: 11th District U.S. Representative

Age: 74

Family: Married, four children, nine grandchildren

Occupation: Member, U.S. House of Representatives

Education: Northwestern University School of Law, JD, 1963 (Member, Board of Editors, Law Review) Stanford University, BA (International Relations), 1959 New Trier High School, 1955

Civic involvement: Chairman, Village of Hinsdale Plan Commission, 1989-1993 Chairman, Visiting Nurse Association of Chicago, 1989-1991 President, Board of Education, Hinsdale Township High School District 86, 1983-1985; Member, 1978-1985 Chairman, Hinsdale Assembly of the Hinsdale Hospital, 1987-1988 President, Junior League of Chicago, 1976-1978 Treasurer, Women's Board of Brookfield Zoo, 1970-1971 President, Chicago Junior Board of Travelers Aid Society, 1969 Board of Directors, Salt Creek Ballet, 1990-1999 Chairman, Hinsdale Antiques Show, 1980 Board of Governors, Illinois Lincoln Series, 1994-1996 President, Oak School PTA, 1974-1976 Sunday School Teacher, Grace Episcopal Church, 1974-1984 Assistant Soccer Coach, American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), 1983

Elected offices held: Political Experience: Member, U.S. House of Representatives, 1999-Present Member, Illinois House of Representatives, 1993-1999 President, Hinsdale Board of Education, Hinsdale Township High School District 86, 1983-1985 Member, Hinsdale Board of Education, Hinsdale Township High School District 86, 1978-1985 Chairman, Village of Hinsdale Plan Commission, 1989-1993

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Jobs: To help job-creators put more people back to work, we should enact broad-based, permanent tax reform that will simplify the tax code, close loopholes, lower and make permanent the tax rates and create a pro-growth environment that rewards innovation and encourages job creation.

At the same time, we must reduce government regulations that are placing billions of dollars of new burdens and uncertainty on job-creators.

Key Issue 2

Jobs: Businesses cannot grow and hire more people if they are competing with a government that spends too much and borrows too much.

We must rein in out-of-control spending that has led to our nation's $15 trillion debt, and enact a Balanced Budget Amendment so that Washington cannot spend more money than it takes in.

Key Issue 3

Jobs - Nowhere is the need for infrastructure improvements as apparent as here in the new 11th CD, where population growth has been explosive.

That is why one of my top local priorities is to pass a long-term transportation reauthorization bill so we can give our communities the resources they need to provide a modern, safe and efficient transportation system.

Questions & Answers

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?

I do not believe that compromise is a bad word.

After all, the alternative is 'my way or the highway,? and that's why too little is being accomplished in Washington.

When facing a problem, Congress has an unfortunate tendency to do one of two things: nothing or overreact.

The result, as with the nation's out-of-control debt, is that reasonable solutions are too often neglected while the problem continues to grow into a crisis.

In other areas, as with the Administration's health care overhaul, a Democrat-dominated Congress threw caution to the wind and adopted a policy driven by politics rather than common sense.

Now patients, doctors, small business owners, and taxpayers are suffering the unintended consequences of new taxes, burdensome regulations, and higher costs.

The American people deserve better, and that is why I continue to push my colleagues to remember that the voters sent them there to solve problems -- not just to get re-elected or make the opposition look bad.

As a former school board president and long-time community volunteer, I have a proven track record of listening to constituents and bringing people together to find solutions that work.

I approach my work in Congress with the same spirit, which is why I was honored when my peers on the other side of the aisle elected me one of the "Ten Most Bipartisan" members of the House.

This past year, I put that philosophy to work as Chairman of the House Insurance and Housing Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the nation's flood insurance program.

Working with every group -- from insurers to consumers to environmentalists, realtors and others -- and every member of Congress, representing diverse areas across the nation, we crafted compromise legislation to finally revamp and reauthorize our nation's outdated flood insurance program.

Starting with a working draft (instead of a bill), and taking input from all sides, we addressed everyone's concerns; no one got everything but everyone was satisfied.

Passed out of committee by a vote of 54-0 and by the full House by a vote of 406-22, the bill became one of a handful of major reform packages passed by the House in 2011.

In short, Americans have had enough of "my way or the highway" governing.

They want solutions.

And whether it's cutting waste, creating jobs, or reforming the tax code, I'll continue to put results over politics.

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?

TAXES: Seniors and families working to make ends meet don't deserve tax increases; they deserve tax relief.

At the same time, raising taxes on our nation's job creators now would make it even more difficult for them to hire new workers, much less keep their doors open.

Raising taxes during a recession will not help the economy rebound.

That is especially true in a high cost-of-living area like suburban Chicago, where even those who some politicians in Washington might call ?rich? are still working hard to pay tuition, make mortgage payments, and pay for health insurance and other necessities.

That is why I support extending for a full year the payroll tax cut to give individuals and businesses the certainty they need to plan for their economic futures, invest, and create jobs.

This is an outcome that both the President and Congress want, and we should act immediately to make it happen.

I also support extending the 2003 tax cuts for all individuals and small businesses.

75% of small businesses are taxed as individuals, and allowing the tax cuts to expire would subject nearly 50% of small business income to a tax increase.

Failure to extend the cuts also would result in a return of the marriage penalty and death tax; individual, capital gains, and dividend rates would increase; the childcare tax credit would decline, and millions of seniors and low-income Americans who now pay no taxes would be back on the tax rolls.

American consumers already are being squeezed by high unemployment and high energy, food, tuition and other bills.

The last thing that the government should do during a recession is add to their burdens.

JOBS: One area that holds enormous potential to create jobs and boost U.S. competitiveness is broad-based tax reform.

By simplifying the tax code, closing loopholes, lowering tax rates, and giving taxpayers some certainty, we can create a pro-growth environment that rewards innovation and job creation. But to accomplish these goals, we have to enact a tax policy guided by sound economic principles, and not simply increase taxes on job creators and investors.

Secondly, we need to end the regulatory nightmare.

In 2011 alone, the Administration proposed over 400 new regulations that have the potential to burden job creators with more than $70 billion in new compliance costs.

Businesses cannot grow and invest when they face that kind of uncertainty and red tape.

That's why we need to review and de-fund economically significant regulations that will stifle the ability of businesses to produce more goods and put people back to work.

Third, Congress must avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, including the kind of wasteful spending on political pet projects that were enacted under the first stimulus, which has clearly failed to stem the rise of unemployment.

A second round of stimulus spending, as the President proposed last year, is a recipe for deficit explosion and a double-dip recession.

Parts of the Administration's proposal -- including certain tax cuts, deductions on new equipment, and tearing down trade barriers to U.S. exports -- were greeted with bipartisan support, including my own.

Unfortunately, the bulk of the plan consisted of new spending priorities that mirrored the failed policies of 2009.

Disappointingly, the President also left the task of paying for his spending to the 'super committee,? which has since disbanded.

Subsequently, Democrat leaders advocated paying for the President's jobs bill with massive tax increases that threaten to halt -- not encourage -- job creation.

DEBT REDUCTION: The national debt now has surpassed $15 trillion -- larger than our entire economy. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate continues to hover near double digits.

We cannot afford to sit idly by while out-of-control federal spending and ever-growing debt continue to drive down economic growth and paralyze job creators.

To restore our Triple-A economy, I've voted to cut more than $6 trillion in spending from the federal budget, cap future spending near 2008 levels, and enact a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution.

The BBA, which I cosponsored, would require Congress and the President to spend within our means and make the same hard financial choices that all Americans face each day.

I've also worked with my colleagues in the House to secure -- for the first time in modern history -- two years in a row of discretionary spending reductions, despite intense opposition from the White House and the Senate.

These cuts should be at the core of any deficit reduction efforts.

However, revenues can be part of the solution.

During negotiations last year, I wrote to members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction encouraging them to seek revenue increases as the natural byproduct of effective broad-based tax reform and pro-growth financial policies.

As outlined above, commonsense tax reform would generate revenues through economic growth, eliminate shelters used predominantly by upper-income taxpayers, and yield lower rates on wage earners.

The result is a stronger, more competitive economy.

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?

1. What steps should the country now be taking in the war on terrorism?

One important step the United States should take to combat terrorism is to sustain the progress being made against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and to ensure that Afghanistan does not again become a safe haven for terrorists bent on destroying the U.S.

But there is so much more to combating terrorism.

I support: tough, anti-money laundering laws to cut off terrorist funding; Patriot Act provisions that have helped foil terrorist plots; improved intelligence capabilities; and increased security of our borders and ports of entry.

2. What policy should the U.S. have toward Iran and North Korea?

While these anti-terrorism activities have helped keep Americans safe since the 9/11 attacks, emerging nuclear threats from rogue nations like Iran and North Korea dictate that the United States remain vigilant in its opposition to terrorist activities.

And above all, Iran and North Korea simply cannot be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.

That's why I have repeatedly supported legislation that expands sanctions on those assisting Iran and North Korea in the development of their dangerous weapons programs, including their nuclear programs.

But thwarting the nuclear ambitions of these rogue nations requires a unified front on the part of the international community, and China and Russia have emerged as increasingly important economic partners for Iran.

China's support in dealing with several rising threats to peace abroad -- most notably Iran and North Korea -- is key to neutralizing these threats without using military force.

That's why we must endeavor to pressure China diplomatically against actions that embolden unstable regimes towards military escalation, while at the same time, strengthening our own economic and political ties to China to ensure that we hold the leverage needed to discourage behavior that undercuts international efforts to isolate rogue nations.

3. What is your view of terrorism policies that pit public safety against civil liberty?

The failed 2009 Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound flight and the attempted 2010 car bombing in Times Square have proven that the threat of terrorism clearly has not subsided since September 11, 2001.

Every day, our nation is threatened by the leaders of al Qaeda, who have pledged repeatedly to attack the United States again at a time of their choosing.

Fortunately, reports of thwarted terrorist attacks demonstrate the effectiveness of our nation's efforts to combat terrorism, such as through international electronic surveillance.

However, I do not believe measures to protect national security and keep Americans safe must necessarily come at the expense of our civil liberties.

Take for example the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

This important intelligence tool has given U.S. agents the authority to listen in on conversations between those foreign nationals who represent a threat, while providing the necessary judicial oversight to protect the rights of American citizens.

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?

The first thing that must be done to address Medicare and Medicaid spending is to repeal ObamaCare, which diverts $500 billion away from Medicare to establish a new government entitlement and forces an additional 16 million individuals on to already cash-strapped state Medicaid budgets.

If that weren't enough, the law has actually led to higher health care spending than if nothing had been done at all.

Without addressing the explosive inflation in the health care sector, any structural changes to programs like Medicare and Medicaid will be less effective.

Unfortunately, Medicare and Medicaid spending are not programs that suffer simply as a result of uncontrolled health care costs.

These programs also drive health costs higher through bureaucratic delivery systems and poorly structured incentives for participants, and are in need of reform.

With regard to Medicaid, states need to be given the flexibility they need to contour the details of their program to their respective state priorities, but must do so within the bounds of the cost sharing parameters set forth by statute.

The federal government must not be an automatic guarantor of failed promises made by state authorities.

Medicare spending has been subject to another major cost driver: Demographics.

When Medicare was first created in 1965, roughly 8 workers were employed for each Medicare recipient.

Today, that ratio is closer to 3 workers per beneficiary.

And with 80 million baby boomers becoming Medicare-eligible, it's no surprise that the 2011 report of the Medicare Board of Trustees estimates that the Medicare trust fund will become insolvent in 2024, five years earlier than it had predicted in the 2010 report. That's why we should look at Medicare reform as part of a retirement security package that addresses the changing nature of our workforce and our expectations -- Americans are living longer, working longer, investing more for their own retirement, and relying less on traditional pensions provided by their former, life-long employers. We can't continue to expect a system created for our world in 1965 to work the same way for our world in 2012 and beyond.

The silver lining to our problem is that if we act now, we can avoid any changes to the benefits of those 55 and older.

Current seniors would see no change in their Medicare plan.

Starting in 2022, new beneficiaries would receive guaranteed coverage options and premium support through a restructured model that promotes competition among insurers.

Those who are sick or cannot afford care would receive more help, and savings would be reinvested into Medicare -- not siphoned off for government-run healthcare.

Conversely, the longer we wait, and the longer we allow rhetoric to kill constructive proposals, the more painful will be the solution when the crisis finally commands everyone's attention.

Seniors who paid in to the system deserve a safety net that works and provides quality care -- without breaking the bank.

Ignoring the problem, as some suggest, would mean that current and future retirees could face dramatic and harmful changes in as few as ten years.

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?

I am a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights.

I have a Firearm Owners Identification card, I own guns, and I believe all law-abiding citizens should be able to carry concealed guns in states and localities where it is legal to do so. The right to keep and bear arms for self defense is a right granted in the Constitution and affirmed by the Supreme Court.

That's why I voted for H.R. 822, recent legislation that would grant carry permit holders reciprocity in other states where similar conceal carry laws exist.

Laws governing marriage, including legal benefits and rights, traditionally have been left to the states, which is where I think they belong.

Nothing related to marriage -- not even the prohibition on bigamy or polygamy -- is addressed in the Constitution. Marriage should be kept out of the Constitution and the states should continue to exercise what is best left to the states.

Lastly, I am pro-choice. I support the Supreme Court's decision in Roe versus Wade. I also believe in a woman's right to decide what will be in her best interest. This is a deeply personal issue that should stay between a woman, her doctor, her conscience, and her God.

Like most Americans, I oppose late-term abortions and I support parental notification, so long is there is a grandparental or judicial option.

Since 1976, Congress has consistently approved -- with my support during my tenure - annual restrictions on the expenditure of federal dollars for abortion by including language in annual government funding bills.

Known as the Hyde amendment, this statutory restriction prohibits the use of federal funding for abortion except in the case of rape, incest, or life of the mother. Unless otherwise restricted by a state, I believe abortion is a private decision and should be paid for with private dollars.