Larry Kaifesh: Candidate Profile
8th District U.S. Representative (Republican)
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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.
Age: Candidate did not respond.
Occupation: Colonel, United States Marine Corps Reserves
Education: B.A., Psychology, Indiana University; M.A., National Security and Strategic Studies, United States Naval War College
Civic involvement: American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Knights of Columbus, Indiana University Alumni Association, Indiana University Varsity Club
Elected offices held: None
Many Americans see gridlock as the greatest problem facing Washington today, and public opinions are at historic lows regarding the job their Senators and congressmen are doing. Specifically, what will you do to make Congress more productive and effective?
We have too many people in Congress who are in Washington just for themselves and not their constituents. As a Marine officer, my entire career has been built on the principle of ductus exemplo, Latin for lead by example. It is by demonstrating my commitment to truth and transparency that we will be able to turn things around in our nation's capital. I am committed to having the most transparent office in the entire Congress and world-class constituent services. If the American people know the truth about the plans Washington has for the country, they will make the right decisions. In Afghanistan, it was my job to unite different factions and coordinate peace negotiations. When it comes to working with who disagree with me on policy, I can think of no better experience to have taught me the virtues of tact, compromise, honesty, and selflessness.
What immigration policies do you support? Where, if at all, do you see room for compromise to produce an effective policy on immigration? How will these policies have an impact in your district?
I believe in an incremental approach to immigration reform. My four phased plan starts with securing all of our borders against criminal threats. Although I oppose blanket amnesty, I support a pragmatic and reasonable pathway to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants already in the country. Furthermore, immigrants who wish to come to the United States should have access to a guest worker program adapted to twenty-first century realities and open to all sectors of the economy. Finally, it is imperative to retain those who come to the U.S. to acquire an education or start a business. We need to significantly reduce barriers to entry for skilled and educated immigrants. There are incredible opportunities for bipartisanship on this issue. I look forward to working with Democrats to enact these proposals that balance upholding the rule of law with the humane treatment of those seeking a better life in the United States.
How do you assess the state of the federal budget? Do you see a need for changes in how revenue is produced or in spending priorities? What specific changes do you consider necessary regarding federal tax policy and practice?
In 2008, President Obama said reckless spending was unpatriotic, however since then the President has added over $7 trillion to our debt. I agree with what the President said in 2008: out-of-control spending is unpatriotic and the greatest threat to our national security today. It is important to remember that the United States does not have a revenue problem, but a spending problem. We can turn around our fiscal crisis by eliminating redundant programs, streamlining bureaucratic processes, and turning over more programming to state and local governments who have the best sense of their community's needs. Moreover, we can bolster our economy by simplifying the tax code, reforming economic regulations, and eliminating corporate welfare. If we want sustainable prosperity we need to stop degrading the spending power of the American consumer and work to put more money in the pockets of regular people.
How would you work to produce a stable, affordable, effective federal health care policy? What shortcomings do you see in the Affordable Care Act, and how do you propose addressing them? If you favor scrapping the Act altogether, what do you propose as an alternative?
The Affordable Care Act has proven to be anything but affordable. It has increased premiums to over $600 on American families and has reduced consumer choice. I believe replacing the ACA with legislation that would promote competition in the healthcare marketplace. By allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, repealing onerous burdens like the medical device tax, and instituting tort reform to cut down on frivolous lawsuits we can create a path to truly affordable healthcare for all Americans. I believe that individuals should make their own choices about healthcare, not bureaucrats. For example, women make 80% of family health decisions. I trust our nation's moms to know what is best for their health and their family's health, not bureaucrats in Washington.
What can be done at the federal level to aid Illinois' economy and your district in particular?
America knows better than anyone how to grow a thriving economy, yet leadership in Illinois has been ignoring what we know works. Illinois is at the bottom of the barrel in job creation, credit rating, and unemployment. The only way to get out of this downward spiral is to do the opposite, and I am the exact opposite of the status quo. We know things like smaller government, lower taxes, less redundant regulations, and freer markets are guaranteed pathways to prosperity. We can make choices today, like pursuing energy independence and market-based healthcare reform, and start seeing results tomorrow. I am running to fight for the exceptionalism of regular people, something that is a foreign concept to our state's political leaders. As your next Congressman, I want to make sure that Washington does not recreate the failings in Illinois at a national level.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
Two other issues that are particularly important for me are education and same-sex rights. On the issue of same-sex relationships, I am a supporter of civil unions. As a Catholic, I hold special regard for the sacred term "marriage", but I find it unacceptable to deprive gays and lesbians of equal protection under the law. This is the United States; there are no second-class citizens here. On education, we are in desperate need of an upgrade. I oppose bulky, federal solutions that largely eliminate the role that innovative teachers and involved parents play in the educational process. I want our children to be the brightest in the world, and we can achieve that by expanding school choice to allow everyone to attend whatever school they believe to be best for them. Parents and students are smart; they really do not need Washington dictating what their educational options should be.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Love thy neighbor as thy self.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
To re-do 7 February 2011. That day Lance Corporal Aaron Swanson, one of my youngest and most promising Marines, was killed in Afghanistan.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Psychology. Knowing human nature is absolutely essential in dealing with people, problems and politics.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do the right thing.