Mike Quigley: Candidate profile
Name; Mike Quigley
Office sought: U.S. representative, 5th congressional district
Family: Wife and two daughters.
Occupation: Member of Congress
Education: Roosevelt University (B.A.); University of Chicago (M.P.P.); Loyola School of Law (J.D.)
Civic involvement: Sierra Club
Elected offices held: Member of Congress since April 2009; Cook County Board of Commissioners, 1998-2009
Questions & Answers
Q. Did you support or oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017? Why or why not? Please outline your basic view of what the national economic policy should be?
Tax reform that simplifies the code, while making it fairer and more competitive plays an important role in expanding growth opportunities. Any serious tax proposal must be enacted through a bipartisan process to provide businesses and families with certainty that the code will not drastically change depending on which party is in power. In addition, tax reform should be revenue-neutral, meaning it should not increase deficits by ensuring that every tax cut be replaced with an equivalent offset. Unfortunately, the tax bill passed into law late last year, which I opposed, fails these basic requirements. It was forced through Congress on a party-line vote, adds at least $1.5 trillion to our debt over the next ten years, and will fail to produce the levels of growth promised by President Trump.
In addition to reconsidering tax reform, Congress can help create the conditions necessary to accelerate growth through a number of policies, such as increasing investment in areas we know will deliver long-term value like research and development, infrastructure and education; expanding exports though 21st century trade agreements that protect American workers; and passing comprehensive immigration reform that could help to boost GDP growth by over 3 percent in less than a decade.
To level the playing field, tackle income inequality, and expand opportunities, I've supported legislation to raise the federal minimum wage, require paid family and sick leave, and strengthen protections for women and minorities who suffer from wage discrimination.
Q. How strong is the threat of so-called cyberwarfare? What should the U.S. be doing in response to that threat in addition to what is now being done?
Cyberwarfare is the new national security frontier and we are falling behind our adversaries. We know that Russia targeted up to 39 state election systems, including Illinois', during the 2016 election. We also know, through the confirmation of the 17 agencies that comprise our U.S. Intelligence Community, that Russia successfully hacked our democratic process in support of Donald Trump. However, the President not only continues to ignore these facts, but he has also attempted to undermine the various investigations being conducted to discover the full extent of Russia's influence. While the outcomes of these investigations remain to be seen, we must prepare for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections and the potential for additional attacks, because the Russians will continue to target our electoral process.
That's why I made it a priority to harden our cybersecurity protections at the state and local level to ensure our election system can withstand similar attempts of interference by foreign actors. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am investigating exactly how the Russians and others are attempting to infiltrate our election infrastructure and to address vulnerabilities exposed in 2016. I'm also proud to have used my role as the only Illinois member of the House Appropriations Committee to secure $380 million in Fiscal Year 2018 for new grants to help states protect election systems from cyberhacking. We must empower election officials to prevent the failings of 2016 and that requires giving them the tools to adequately defend tour election system.
Q. Please outline your position on immigration. What should the nation's philosophy be on the issue? Should there be a wall along most of the country's southern border? What should the nation's philosophy be on how the government treats and responds to undocumented immigrants?
Immigrants enrich our country and embody the ideals this nation was founded on. They come from every corner of the world searching for the freedom and prosperity they believe the United States can provide. To me, the threat to the American way of life is when we embrace anti-immigrant and isolationist policies. Immigrants have and always will be the fabric that binds our country. But our immigration system is broken and needs comprehensive reform. That means addressing the failures of our legal immigration system which have resulted in millions of undocumented immigrants in this country living in the shadows. Fixing our broken immigration system will only be accomplished through comprehensive reform that provides an earned pathway to citizenship, giving undocumented immigrants the chance to get in line, pay fines and back taxes, earn legal status, and become productive members of our society.
Furthermore, the Trump Administration's push to fulfill hard line campaign promises on immigration continue to harm American citizens and immigrants alike. This includes the pursuit of an ineffective border wall, an immoral travel ban to predominantly Muslim countries, the zero-tolerance policy that shamelessly separates families, and the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. These policies are not only un-American, but they undermine our homeland security priorities and inhibit the ability of those protecting us to do their job. Immigration reform should not be a partisan issue. It is time for Congress to put politics aside and allow a vote on these necessary reforms.
Q. What is your evaluation of President Trump's job performance? Please specify what you view as its highs and lows.
At every turn, President Trump has taken actions that undermine our core values and our long-held leadership around the world. His misguided, shortsighted, and coldhearted decisions to tear apart families, strip access to health care, mistreat seniors and women, irreversibly harm the environment, attack the media and first amendment, alienate trusted allies, weaken our democracy, and perpetuate hate and discrimination will be felt for a very, very, very long time to come. President Trump's two years in office have erased decades of progress and have put our nation's future in jeopardy.
Instead of working on behalf of the American people, he time and time again proves to us that he only works on behalf of himself. He prioritizes his political and legal protection above all else, especially above the protection of the most vulnerable.
Q. How important is Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation? What's your assessment of its fairness and professionalism?
As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I was pleased by the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel for the Russia investigation, following strong bipartisan demand from both the House and Senate. Mr. Mueller is a highly respected public servant who has committed much of his public life to protecting this country and he is conducting his investigation with the same integrity displayed during his time with the FBI. I believe this investigation is one of the most important in American history and we must uncover the truth, not only because it is what the American people deserve, but because if we cannot defend our elections from foreign meddling we risk the degradation of our democracy.
However, increased efforts to undermine the Mueller investigation, and more broadly our Justice Department, from both the President and Republican Members of Congress are nothing short of shameful. Some things are bigger than politics, and this investigation at its core is not a partisan exercise. It is about protecting the most sacred American virtue -- a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Should the President take any actions to undermine the integrity of the Mueller investigation and move to have him fired, I believe it would trigger a constitutional crisis and truly test the mettle and character of Congress.
Q. Do you support Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court? Please explain.
Judge Kavanaugh is facing multiple credible allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. His testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to these allegations was shameful, and a stain on both the Senate and the Supreme Court. His aggressive and belligerent behavior, matched with his questionable character, showed an obvious lack of the type of temperament required to serve on the highest court in our country. Judge Kavanaugh is not entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court and I believe he should immediately withdraw from consideration.
The American people deserve a Supreme Court nominee who will faithfully and ethically uphold the rule of law. In addition to the sexual assault allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh, it's important to note that he was selected from a list of far-right conservatives chosen for their support of overturning Roe v. Wade. In addition, he has shown every indication of welcoming the Republican-led efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and attack patient protections, threatening the affordable coverage of 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
I continue to call on the President to withdraw Judge Kavanaugh from consideration and select a new candidate who exhibits competency, character, and integrity, without threatening to drag our nation backward and set back women's rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, civil rights, workers' rights and health care for decades.
Q. Would you vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Should there be a penalty for those who do not comply with the individual mandate?
In one of my earliest votes in Congress, I voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act and against the over 60 Republican attempts to repeal the law since. I was proud of that vote then and am proud of it now. The ACA is not perfect, but it has been incredibly successful in expanding coverage for tens of millions of Americans, slowing down the growth of health care costs and ensuring people with pre-existing conditions are protected. While there's no denying the very polarizing nature of the broader "Obamacare" debate, many of its central tenants have emerged as hugely popular.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling in favor of its constitutionality, the Republicans' push to scrap the individual mandate has negatively impacted the insurance market, making it harder for insurers to cover costs for beneficiaries with pre-existing conditions. In order for the law to work, Americans need to have insurance and the individual mandate is one tool to help ensure a healthy risk pool.
As the only member of the Appropriations Committee from Illinois, I have worked for years to oppose harmful policy riders on funding bills related to ACA and to ensure that the law was funded. Preventive medicine is fiscally smart and insurance helps patients take personal responsibility, get on treatment plans and preserve their health. That's good for everyone. Now that the dust has settled, the American people have come to see that protecting pre-existing conditions is the right and smart thing to do.
Q. What other issues are important to you as a candidate for this office?
• Promoting efforts to reform government, increase transparency, and promote accountability to restore the public's trust in government including passage of legislation to overturn Citizens United and get dark money out of politics, as well as conducting proper oversight over the Trump Administration.
• Fighting for the federal funding Chicago and Illinois needs to remain a safe, competitive place for families to live and work by directing federal funds to local infrastructure improvement projects and public safety initiatives.
• Ending the gun violence epidemic gripping the streets of Chicago and the rest of the country by supporting the reinstatement of the Assault Weapons Ban and universal background checks.
• Protecting the integrity of our elections to ensure that all Americans can exercise their right to vote without foreign interference by helping states replace outdated voting equipment, hire experienced cybersecurity experts, and establish new cybersecurity best practices.
In addition, here a few questions meant to provide more personal insight into you as a person:
Q. What's the hardest decision you ever had to make?
We are elected to Congress to make tough choices. I've had to make hard decisions on serious issues like the deficit, trade and health care but I always make them with the best of interests of my constituents in mind.
Q. Who is your hero?
My father is my hero. He was orphaned shortly after birth and didn't finish high school but through hard work and determination he became successful and gave his children more opportunities than he had in life.
Q. Each amendment in the Bill of Rights is important, but which one of those 10 is most precious to you?
The First Amendment of our Constitution provides all those within our shores with the foundational rights that define who we are as a nation. Freedom of religion, speech, press and peaceful assembly, empower every citizen to express themselves as they see fit and protect the right of free thought, both popular and unpopular, from those in power.
What lesson of youth has been most important to you as an adult?
I read "To Kill a Mockingbird" in school and it had a big impact on me. When considering important issues, I have always tried to apply this lesson from Atticus Finch: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view."
Q. Think back to a time you failed at something? What did you learn from it?
I lost my first race for Chicago's City Council in 1991 but I didn't let that discourage me from pursuing a career in public service. It was also a personal reminder of a lesson I often share with student groups: You are more likely to be defined more by the way you respond to your failures than by your successes.