Jim Walz: Candidate Profile
14th Congressional District (Democrat)
Back to 14th Congressional District
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.
Twitter: Candidate did not respond.
Facebook: Candidate did not respond.
Family: Wife- Rhonda (married 30 years)
Son- Steven (26)
Daughter- Rachel (22)
Occupation: Outside Sales Representative
Education: Loyola Academy (1980)
Western Illinois University, December 1984- B.S. Marketing
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: School Board member- Warren Township High School District 121
Democratic Precinct committeeman- Warren Township #303
How will you work to make Congress more productive and effective? What actions are needed to produce a healthy federal budget? Specifically, what changes do you advocate regarding how revenue is produced or what our spending priorities are? In particular, what effect does current policy have on your district and what changes, if any, are needed?
All too often, the word government is seen as a four-letter word. We have to push past our differences and do the work that is in the best interests of everybody (of, by and for the people).
Progressive taxation will raise revenue for the budget while limiting income inequality. Increase taxes on the wealthiest individuals- tax capital gains the same as ordinary income. Stop the practice of corporate inversions that allow for the offshoring of headquarters. Eliminating this practice would close loopholes that allow corporations to avoid their fair share of taxes.
Invest (spend) in our infrastructure. Rebuilding our roads, bridges, water treatment centers, electrical grids, railways and phone/internet lines adds to our efficiencies and safety while creating good-paying, middle class jobs. Studies show that every dollar invested in infrastructure returns up to three times in economic impact. That would get people in the 14th District working again and put money into the pockets of the middle class- the real job creators.
Higher wages creates higher demand. Higher demand creates more good paying jobs. In turn, more revenue would be generated. Higher wages push people over the poverty line thereby reducing the size of government- meaning people would not have to rely on social programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.
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 affect your district?
We are a nation of immigrants. I support the DREAM Act that would allow a pathway to legal citizenship for law-abiding and hardworking young people who want to call America their home. We should address the exploitation of cheap, foreign labor thru work visa reform. Bringing these people out of the shadows would be a benefit to all. In the 14th District, undocumented workers harvest our crops, build our homes, cook our meals and care for our children. It's not that we have a problem with illegal immigrants- it's that we have a problem with illegal immigrant employment. Allowing for citizenship would make it difficult for employers to undercut wages and benefits. Higher wages generates additional revenue that would benefit the economy as a whole and create more demand for jobs. In a rare act of bipartisanship, Senate Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement on a comprehensive immigration bill. But, then Speaker of the House John Boehner, refused to bring to the floor due to the "Hastert Rule" (named after now imprisoned Dennis Hastert). The "Hastert Rule" refers to the necessity of the majority of the majority agreeing on legislation.
What should be the top priorities in Congress related to the Affordable Care Act? If you want changes, what specifically do you recommend? If you want the act entirely eliminated, please address these questions: Is that politically feasible? If it proves infeasible, where do you see the potential for compromise? If it is eliminated, what would you replace it with, if anything?
I would recommend that Congress revisit the provision in Medicare Part D (passed in 2004 under President George W. Bush) to allow for the negotiation of drug prices on behalf of Medicare (just as we do with Medicaid and the Veterans administration) and allow for the re-importation of drugs from other countries. This would drastically reduce the cost of prescription drugs.
Ultimately, I believe in single-payer, universal healthcare. We are the only industrialized country in the world the does not offer this. Healthcare should be considered a right- not a privilege.
The only healthcare that insurance companies provide is stress. It's unconscionable that there is a profit motive for denying people health coverage. Nobody should have to choose between taking the medication they need to survive and whether they pay their rent or put food on the table. And nobody should go into personal bankruptcy for falling ill.
Expanding and improving Medicaid and addressing our mental health services is essential.
What military or diplomatic roles should the United States play to promote peace and stability in the Mideast? Under what circumstances should we have military forces actively operating?
Always work towards diplomatic ends. It was our involvement/invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan that destabilized the entire region. The Iraq bombings created a refugee crisis by displacing millions of Iraqis that fled to neighboring Syria.
Build a coalition of allies in the region and offer support, but no deployment of troops other than special-ops. The only troops on the ground should come from the region. We have to put our geo-political differences aside and destroy any terrorist organization.
And finally, confirm President Obama's nominee for undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, Adam Szubin, to cut funding to terrorist organizations like ISIS and the governments that sponsor them. While he is "acting" undersecretary, the Senate should provide certainty to the position.
Will you uphold the international climate change treaty? If not, what alternative steps would you advocate? If so, what steps will you take to meet U.S. obligations under the accord?
I support the international climate change treaty. As stewards of the earth, it is our morla responsibility to do all that we can to decrease our use of fossil fuels and transition to renewable sources of energy. By doing this, we would create millions of good-paying, middle class jobs and address the man-made contribution to global climate change. The externalities generated by fossil fuel extraction create untold costs for the American public in the form of climate change related disasters, poorer air quality, heat related deaths and hospitalizations, oil spills, and so much more. The only financially sensible path forward is to address these issues head on, and stem the tide of human and financial destruction now. We must not allow campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry to cloud our judgement as has happened for too long under the leadership of my opponent, Rep. Hultgren.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
Strengthen Medicare- I would support a reduction in FICA payroll taxes across the board, while eliminating the tax cap, resulting in a lower tax burden for the vast majority of working Americans. We have to do whatever we can to put more money in the pockets of the middle and working classes- the real job creators.
Trade policies- The only thing our trade policies have succeeded in doing is exporting jobs and importing unemployment and lower wages. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will do nothing but would undercut workers rights; attack our middle class; our environment; our health; food safety; our family farmers and our national sovereignty. I call on my opponent to reject any attempt to advance this treaty.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Elizabeth Warren- a true champion of the middle class
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
I was born with two eyes; two ears and one mouth. Use them in the same proportion. You learn more that way.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I would have gotten more civically/politically active earlier in life. Democracy is not a spectator sport- it starts with each one of us.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Marketing has had the largest impact. Whether it has been in sales or retail, interaction with others is key to compromise and consensus.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
You have a lot less to remember if you always tell the truth.