Joseph Walsh: Candidate Profile
8th 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.
Office sought: 8th District U.S. Representative_(2-year term)
Family: Married, five children combined.
Occupation: Current: House of Representatives, (Previous: Teacher)
Education: BA in English from the University of Iowa and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.
Civic involvement: Congressman Walsh made his civic passion his profession for years having worked for not-for-profits focused on education reform.
Elected offices held: U.S. House of Representatives 2011-2013
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Americans are talking about two issues today and two issues only: jobs and the economy. How candidates plan to improve both will be the sole determinant of this election, and since they go hand-in-hand, those two issues are my number one focus.
Key Issue 2
Congress must reduce government spending and allow small businesses - the number one job creator in America - to flourish. Those measures would include removing the regulation red tape that strangles businesses and ensuring tax relief for all. Government should get out of the way and let small businesses do what they do best: create jobs.
Key Issue 3
Congress needs to ensure that programs like Social Security and Medicare are there to support those who have paid into them and have counted on them to be there all their lives. Seniors on fixed incomes are entitled to these benefits and rely upon them; however, if Congress continues on their current spending path, the programs will be insolvent. How we fix that is the stark difference between Tammy Duckworth and I. It will take creative solutions and tough decisions making, but avoiding the problem will not make it go away.
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?
Everyone from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to academics on both sides of the aisle have warned the US that we are headed towards a fiscal cliff. If current tax cuts are allowed to expire, the average family can expect to see its taxes increase by $2200 per year.
Because small businesses file as individuals and not corporations, they would be hit by this tax increase as well, especially successful ones. I am keenly aware of this because I not only sit on the Small Business Committee, but I am also the Subcommittee Chair on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access. Small businesses create 64% of the jobs in America and employ almost half of all workers. If Congress extends the Bush tax cuts for all, it will save up to 30,000 jobs in Illinois alone. I think the choice is clear.
Furthermore, if there is one thing the past four years have taught Americans is that we cannot spend our way out of this economic mess. President Obama's Economic Stimulus plan that he sold to Congress and America has been a failure. Unemployment remains above 8%, and we are not better off -- we're just $800 billion more in the hole. Instead Congress should continue to look for responsible ways to cut spending and pay down the debt.
One such example is my Balanced Budget Amendment that became part of the Cut, Cap, and Balance legislation that passed the House. This was one of the first bills I introduced when I was elected, and will be one of the first I reintroduce next Congress. American families work towards balancing their income against their expenditures -- why wouldn't Congress be required to do the same? This is the type of common-sense, simple measures Congress needs to adopt; not tax increases on job creators.
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?
We live in the greatest country in the world. We live in a place where freedom of speech is protected in the Constitution. I respect the right to disagree and I respect those who disagree with me. I came to Congress as an American, not a Republican or Democrat, and I represent all constituents of the 8th District, regardless of party. I wasn't hand-picked to run in this district the way my opponent Tammy Duckworth was. I chose to run of my own accord, and I did it with the help of my supporters in the district, not rich donors with partisan agendas from across the country. For those reasons, I am committed to working in a bi-partisan manner on the important issues that face us today, and I refuse to be a rubber-stamp for my political party.
One of the ways I am working to end partisan gridlock in Congress is by being part of the Fix Congress Now Caucus, which is comprised of members from both parties. Our main priority right now is the passage of the No Budget No Pay Act. This is a bill that says if Congress doesn't pass a budget -- one of our inherent duties -- we don't get paid. And why should we if we don't do our job? It's a simple issue that both sides can agree on because it's something all Americans can agree on.
But I've also reached across the aisle on some other issues too. I recently passed the Government Spending Accountability Act with bipartisan support. This bill limits agency conferences to $500,000. I introduced this legislation to end the out of control bureaucratic waste in the wake of the GSA boondoggle.
I also recently passed the bipartisan No-Hassle Flying Act, which would make travel to and from the United States much easier. As a member on the Committee on Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), I am all too aware of the delicate balance that must be struck between passenger safety and travel considerations. I also know that Chicago O'Hare International Airport is one of the major job providers in our district so I was happy to work with colleagues at TSA to pass this bill. It even earned the praise of the Democratic Ranking Member on the House floor. The path towards bi-partisanship starts with small steps like these, and I'm proud to be one of those at the head.
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?
The Supreme Court ruled that the portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires everyone to purchase health insurance is a tax -- and thus it has become the largest tax increase in history. President Obama's signature piece of legislation will levy 21 new taxes on the American people and will cost an unsustainable $2.6 trillion dollars. Its burdensome taxes, regulations, and mandates unfairly target the middle class and because of that I have been a staunch opponent to the law. In acknowledgment of this legislation's failings and the need for real health care reform, I along with 243 other members voted in favor of H.R.6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act on July 11, 2012.
Our health care system does need real reform. I do not support the President's massive one-size-fits-all health care bill. Instead, I support smaller, more targeted solutions that give patients and Americans more choice, are patient-centered, and are based on free-market solutions. This includes allowing Americans to put away money in Health Savings Accounts, purchasing insurance from any state in the Union instead of limiting patients to their home state, and putting real tort reform in place that reduces costly and frivolous law suits.
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?
I believe that marriage should be defined as one man and one woman. However, I do not believe this issue is central to the 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?
Like all Americans, I am proud of our country's diverse background and heritage. We owe a debt of thanks to our ancestors who bravely left their country and set out to build better lives for themselves and future generations, like my family. I continue to support that dream of a better life, and welcome those who come here legally, with good intentions and can offer skills and services we are lacking here in the United States.
One of the biggest challenges facing the Latino population is that many of them are stuck in failing schools. This is why I support voucher programs that would allow parents to send children to the best schools available.
However, I do not support rewarding those who sneak into America illegally. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that there are 500,000 illegal and undocumented workers in Illinois alone. We are the state with the fourth highest number of illegal workers in the United States, and the number of illegal immigrants has grown by 25% over the past decade. This is unacceptable.
Congress does not need more laws to fight illegal immigration; the Department of Justice needs to enforce those already on the books rather than picking and choosing which laws they want to enforce. We also need to stop funding "sanctuary cities" that harbor known illegal immigrants and refuse to work with law enforcement. In fact, the House of Representatives passed an amendment I introduced that did just that. Allowing any kind of immigration amnesty is not the right direction for the United States.
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