11th District GOP candidates discuss jobs, taxes
Each candidate vying for the Republican party nomination in the 11th U.S. Congressional District primary has different priorities and approaches when it comes to improving the economy, creating more jobs and keeping taxes low.
Herman White, a Naperville physicist, said he thinks the economy would benefit from the use of more innovation by state and local governments, which in turn would help them be more efficient with government spending.
"I would like to make a case for solving a number of problems in our country by reinvigorating the innovation that we've always had, to support new ideas," he said.
White feels federal spending overall remains a major challenge, as well as the slow budgetary process. He said he would agree to an on-time, fair and balanced budget and would mandate forensic audits to stop "fraud, waste and abuse."
Additionally, he wants to make sure enough people are being trained with the right skills to fill jobs that the U.S. wants to create.
"Right now, we're not creating those," he said, adding that the issues of more skilled workers and jobs need more attention, and even legislative guidance.
Tonia Khouri of Aurora believes her experience as a small-business owner and DuPage County Board member have prepared her to take a "responsible and pragmatic approach" to the national budget process.
"When I was campaigning for county board I said I would fight to keep our taxes low and I have done that," she said. "I said I would fight for the small businesses and hardworking taxpayers and I have fulfilled that promise."
Khouri said she also has fought against proposals to change the state's flat tax rate to a progressive rate, voted to keep the county's tax levy flat and opposed salary increases for county elected officials. She also started an initiative through the county board's economic development committee to help the unemployed and underemployed find manufacturing jobs.
"We partnered with other organizations to recruit and train people in two tracks of manufacturing -- welding or CNC (computer numerical controlled) operating -- and then we place them in jobs in manufacturing," she said. "The first two graduates ... were homeless a year ago and now are fully employed in the manufacturing field. That's how I see the role of government."
Nick Stella, a cardiologist from Darien, said he would work to prevent any more manufacturing jobs from moving out of Aurora and Joliet.
"These are very serious concerns that need to be addressed," he said.
In addition, Stella said he would introduce a simplified tax code that would be applied more justly across the population. He would work to repeal the death tax and the 16th amendment -- which allows taxes to be collected on incomes -- and move toward a flat tax process.
"We need representatives in Washington who realize that they need to be fiscally responsible with the taxpayers' money," he said. "It's the money of the taxpayers."
The winner of the GOP nomination during the March 15 primary election will face incumbent Bill Foster in the November general election. The 11th Congressional District covers parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties, including Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge and Joliet.