Randy Hultgren: Candidate Profile
14th 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: St. Charles
Office sought: 14th District U.S. Representative
Family: Married, four children
Occupation: Investment advisor
Education: B.A., Bethel University (Minnesota), 1988 J.D., Chicago Kent College of Law, 1993
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: Milton Township Precinct Committeeman, DuPage County Board, State Representative, State Senator
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Candidate did not respond.
Key Issue 1
Jobs. We've got to get this economy growing again. We were promised unemployment under 6 percent by now, and it's been above 8 percent for more than 40 months- with Illinois even higher than the national average. Consistently, two of every three new jobs is created by a small business. In some years the percentage is even higher than that. With that in mind, I have met with more than 100 small business owners and job creators in the 14th district since last year. During each storefront visit and factory tour, I ask what it would take for that employer to create just one more job. There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the U.S., and 23 million people who are unemployed. If every small business could create just one job, we would have overemployment! What I hear over and over and over from these job creators is that small business owners want some certainty from their government. They want lower taxes, and government regulations are frustrating their ability to grow and hire. In June, taxes actually topped poor sales as the single most important concern of small business owners.
Key Issue 2
Size of federal government. Washington doesn't actually have a revenue problem- it has a spending problem, and both parties are to blame. Washington would like to treat the economy as a cash tree- a new tax for every program, chopping off as much as it wants, whenever it wants. What Washington doesn't understand is that the best way to allow the tree to grow more jobs and tax revenue organically is to simply leave it alone.
Key Issue 3
Affordability of basic costs- especially healthcare. This issue comes up again and again as I'm talking to both residents of the 14th district as well as small business owners. A recent NFIB survey of small business owners actually listed healthcare costs as their #1 concern (poor sales were #26). For people at home, losing or being unable to obtain health insurance is one of their greatest stressors. My goal for the 14th district is that everyone have a great job which provides great insurance, but there are also other steps we can take to help make healthcare more affordable.
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?
Again, Washington doesn't have a revenue problem- it has a spending problem. For the last ten years, as tax rates have not changed, Washington has increased spending by nearly 40 percent. The last time tax relief was provided, it helped stimulate job creation leading to 52 straight months of job growth between 2001 and 2007. The past three years have marked the weakest economic recovery our nation has seen since the Great Depression. This isn't the right time to raise taxes on anyone. However, this is an excellent time to reform the tax system and broaden the tax base. While it's impossible to offer specific numbers for the potential increase, it's fair to say that intelligent tax reform could remove the economic distortions in our existing system while raising overall tax revenue. The House has now passed more than 30 jobs bills- several of them with full support of the President. All can be tracked online at http://www.majorityleader.gov/jobstracker/. As some have pointed out, if the U.S. were to eliminate all discretionary spending ? all defense spending, all highway repair money, all federal courts and government operations, even the money spent taking care of our returning veterans- the budget would almost be balanced for a single year. What this tells me is that we can take nothing- not even defense or entitlements- off the table when it comes to cuts. It took years to reach this point, and it will take years to balance our budget again, but I believe it can be done. Veterans and seniors within 10 years of retirement should, in my opinion, receive the benefits they have been counting on. However, for those younger than 55, entitlements will look different. There is waste to be found in every agency. Like the Pentagon's $436 hammer, the Navy's $640 toilet seat, and the $7,000 coffee brewer purchased by the Air Force with taxpayer dollars, there is almost always a way to cut back. *One thing that would go a long way to identify waste is to finally start using zero-based budgeting. Hard as it is to believe, existing government programs perpetuate from one year to the next simply because they were there the year before, with their need and effectiveness seldom analyzed and underlying assumptions rarely questioned. Under zero-based budgeting, every program and expenditure is reviewed at the beginning of each budget cycle and must be justified in order to receive funding. No spending is taken for granted. Even if implemented on a staggered basis, with only one or two agency undergoing a thorough examination during every budget cycle, we could analyze the entire federal budget this way within just a few years.
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?
During my time as a state legislator, I was always in the minority caucus. For 12 years, if I wanted to get a bill passed, I had to have friends on the other side of the aisle willing to carry it for me. What people often don't see from the latest headlines is all of the mundane, non-controversial legislating that goes on in committee. Most of the bills passed by Congress are passed with a wide margin, with wide consensus. I have always believed that leaders have to treat each other with civility. It's not about who can yell the loudest. It's not a performance. The only way we're going to solve problems here in Illinois and in Washington is to listen to each other and find common ground. That's the only way we're going to reach actual change.
Do you agree with the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the health care law and why? Do you support or oppose repeal of the law? Which parts would you change and why? If you are elected, how, specifically, will you work to achieve those changes?
My first vote as a Congressman was to repeal the President's massive health care law in full, and I still believe the law must be repealed. There are a number of ways to expand access to health care without the President's law. Structural changes can be made to encourage preventive health care and also to separate health insurance from employment status, both of which will lower prices and will create stability for families (you don't worry about losing your car or home insurance when you lose your job). We can reform lawsuit abuse, which was a special pursuit of mine as a state legislator in Illinois. (The fear of lawsuits causes doctors to order all kinds of extra, preventive tests which may or may not be necessary for a patient, thus driving up costs for everyone.) Abuse of the system also drives up medical liability costs. I have met firsthand with hospital administrators who have had to pay hundreds of thousands a year in additional malpractice insurance for new physicians. We can especially encourage price disclosure. Can you think of any other sector where a customer can walk in and buy a 'product' without ever knowing its cost? Yet that's what happens every day in thousands of doctors' offices across the country. Patients (and even doctors!) may decide together on a test or prescription, but may never know the cost to the insurer or if there was a cheaper version available. Making prices publicly available will put patients back in control.
How do you believe marriage should be defined legally? Should the law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman be overturned or upheld? Why?
Marriage is already defined legally in the Defense of Marriage Act. Overturning it would obviously be a judicial action and not one by the legislative branch. However, I have always believed that marriage is between one man and one woman, and have run on that platform since my very first campaign.
The Latino population in the suburbs is growing. What is the biggest challenge created by that growth? Do you support or oppose President Obama's directive to stop deportation of undocumented immigrants who are in college or the military and why?
Encouraging legal immigration and discouraging illegal immigration is definitely the biggest challenge posed by that growth. Illegal immigration is an affront to both our existing laws and institutions, as well as to the legal immigrants who made the commitment to abide by our processes and respect our rules. Our porous border has also contributed to the high rates of violence in Mexico spilling over into the United States, the rampant growth of the drug trade and criminal enterprise, and ongoing human rights violations committed by human traffickers. Clearly, securing the border has to be our first priority. We also have to examine our visa system. Why limit visas for people seeking to tour and study in the U.S.? Why make it so difficult for agricultural workers to enter and exit the country in order to work jobs Americans are not taking anyway? I believe that if we encourage employers to hire legal workers and provide legal avenues for people to emigrate and bring their families to America, we will see a drop in illegal immigration. (Current wait times are 7-10 years for one immigrant and many more in order to bring a family member with them.) Unfortunately, I believe the President's announcement was an election year ploy. I believe the growing suburban immigrant community will see through it.
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