Amanda Howland: Candidate Profile
6th Congressional District (Democrat)
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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: Lake Zurich
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Family: Dr. Philip Lane - Husband
Occupation: Attorney, Mediator, Community College Trustee
Education: B.S. in Ed.
M.S. in Ed. Admin.
Civic involvement: High School Gymnastics Judge
Ela Township Precinct Committeeman
Community College Trustee at CLC
Member of the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce
Member of the Caring Women's Connection, 501(c)(3)
Member of the Illinois State Bar Association's Judicial Evaluation Committee
Trained CASA (court appointed special advocate) for children and a Guardian ad Litem.
3011 Graduate of the Illinois Women's Institute for Leadership
Elected offices held: College of Lake County, Trustee (2nd Term)
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?
Members of Congress, regardless of party, need to work together to come up with solutions that strengthen middle class families -- a seemingly simple idea that is lost on the current Congress. We live in an era of hyper-partisanship. I am running because we need more legislators who are willing to work together.
Our economic strength is driven by a strong middle class. Our federal budget priorities should reflect that with spending that is both responsible and effective. For too long the government has shamefully disregarded future generations - maintaining outdated programs, funding wars "off-budget" with hundreds of billions in deficit spending. Whatever progress has been made, more must be done.
Our federal tax code must prioritize strengthening the middle class, while minimizing the types of loopholes, tax havens and accounting gimmicks that allow wealthy special interests to avoid taxes. This includes solving the problem of excessive student debt. Students who graduate with massive debt cannot support the economy with purchases like houses and cars.
Another essential investment for long-term economic growth is transportation infrastructure. We will need to cut some expenditures to pay for it. For example, the recent omnibus bill included $950 million for planes the military did not request. Our national security challenges have evolved since the end of the Cold War, and certainly since 9/11. We need to calibrate our defense spending so it reflects the threats we face and phase out Cold War-era spending that contributes to our debt without improving our security.
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?
I support the premise of the DREAM Act, which permits the children of undocumented immigrants brought here in their youth to attend college. These young people did not choose to come to the United States illegally. The DREAM Act allows young people who are, in every respect but one, Americans to become a force for economic growth and innovation. For many of them, the U.S. is the only country they know, and it would be inhumane and impractical to deport them all, most to countries that are entirely foreign to them. As a trustee at the College of Lake County I have personally met some of our DACA students. They are working hard to lead productive lives and to contribute to the economy.
I also believe there can be a compromise on a path to citizenship for many. We cannot deport 11 million undocumented immigrants who already live here, many of whom have jobs and aspire only to support their families. I think there should be a reform of ICE, in which the priorities include a more compassionate process and stiff penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers in order to exploit them. Naturally, we must ensure we have a strong border, since we have every right and expectation that we will control who enters our country. At the same time, we need to be honest in this discussion and acknowledge that up to 40% of illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. arrived here legally and overstayed their visas.
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?
Eliminating the ACA is not the answer. It has many excellent provisions and has provided health care for millions who were previously uninsured. We can't take away this vital safety net now that we have it. Too many families will suffer. Inability to pay medical bills accounted for 60% of bankruptcies before the ACA was enacted. In addition, 17% of our economy is related to healthcare, so getting it right is vital.
However, the ACA also has caused some unintended problems that Congress needs to address. High costs, rising premiums and high deductibles for those who do not qualify for subsidies have occurred. We also need to find ways to get unrestrained prescription drug costs under control. And, we must address the fact that some providers have chosen to leave the exchange market after concluding they would not be sufficiently profitable. Competition is an important feature of the exchange element of the larger ACA, and ensuring healthy competition likely requires changes to the legislation as well as to the insurance companies' own approach. Clearly not every insurance company entered the market with a profit-losing model.
Every major piece of legislation, particularly those that regulate large industries or provide health care benefits, have required periodic changes to address issues that emerge during implementation. Congress still makes modifications to programs like Medicare to respond to changes in population and the evolution of the health care industry -- not because Medicare is a failed program, but because doing so represents common-sense, responsible legislating.
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?
The United States should lead diplomatic efforts to form a military coalition, comprised of soldiers from the region, to apply military pressure where needed to expel ISIS from its territory. The U.S. cannot continue to engage in military actions to police every part of the world, which burdens our nation and enflames anti-American sentiment (which in turn makes the effort even more difficult). At the same time, we should encourage our allies to work with us to economically isolate bad actors. The more we cut off their sources of funding, the less capable they will be of military and guerrilla action.
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?
Climate change is real and science shows that humans are at least partially responsible. I believe that the Paris climate change agreement is a solid step in the direction of reversing, or at least slowing -- human-caused climate change. We cannot afford to do nothing as the oceans rise and weather disasters become more and more common.
Since the Paris agreement merely proclaims that the U.S. will follow through on its own domestic policy, I am comfortable supporting it. The agreement itself is a step forward in that it is a global recognition that climate change is a problem and that each country intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the agreement is not binding and does not impose any specific requirements on how any country should reduce its carbon emissions. Each country presents its own plan based on its own circumstances, then countries report their data and find ways to collaborate to achieve their goals. The U.S. effort is based largely on the EPA's current plan to encourage states to move toward cleaner energy sources. I support implementing that plan as both a valuable domestic policy and as a way to meet our obligations under the accord.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
The high cost of post-secondary education and student loans.
Preserving Social Security and Medicare
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Joe Biden. He supports affordable secondary education Is a tireless supporter of cancer research and works to ensure the welfare of our middle-class isn't ignored.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
To work hard and help and support others. We rise together.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I would have started public service much earlier in my life.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Art/Music and languages. They gave me an appreciation for how people express themselves and an ability to communicate with people from all walks of life.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Always give your very best in whatever you do. Whether or not you ultimately succeed isn't as important as knowing that you did your best.