Sue Rezin: Candidate profile
Office sought: U.S. Representative, 14th District
Family: Husband of 34 years, Keith. Together we have four children who are adults now.
Occupation: Illinois State Senator for the past nine years.
Education: Augustana College, dual majors with bachelor's degree in International Business and Political Science, and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Also a graduate of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government's Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.
Civic Involvement: Former school board member of the Nettle Creek School District. Leader of the Flood mitigation and prevention program. Member of the Executive Committee and the Energy Committee in the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Graduate and active member of the Illinois Lincoln Series of Excellence in Public Service for women in politics. Previous member and volunteer for the past 25 years for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern Illinois. Served for seven years as a board member and past Vice President for the Community Foundation of Greater Grundy County to help improve the lives of people in need, child care, workforce development and land use and preservation. Previous member for the Edgar Fellows Program. Past board member of the We Care of Grundy County, whose purpose is to provide temporary housing and food assistance. Fourteen-year board member of the Morris Hospital Foundation, served as Vice President while chairing the annual support committee, and presided over the Executive Committee.
Previous Elected Offices held: Nettle Creek School board member
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? I am an incumbent state senator. I was first elected as a state representative in 2010.
Questions and Answers
1. What have the past three years of Donald Trump's unconventional leadership taught us about politics in the United States? What is the best thing his presidency has done? What is the most significant criticism you have of it?
That more incentives to work, save, invest, take entrepreneurial risks, start and expand businesses through lower income tax incentives work to create economic growth.
People who have 401(k)s and mutual funds have benefited enormously from the steady rise in the stock market but so too have working people with pension plans because the investment value of stocks held by those pension funds have also steadily risen, strengthening pensions tremendously.
President Trump's out-of-the-box leadership has brought benefits to the American people from international trade. The president confronted head-on the unfairness by China in particular, and the President alone wanted to renegotiate NAFTA. Early on, many congressional leaders belittled President Trump's insistence on renegotiating NAFTA. With USMCA, the Phase One trade deal with China and a new trade deal with Japan, our nation is poised for even more economic growth. I now look forward to our speedy negotiations for a big trade deal with the United Kingdom.
The President's insistence on NATO allies boosting their military spending to levels they all agreed to in 2014 has also paid off with tens of billions more in spending on the NATO alliance. Multilateralism does not work if nations sign international agreements with no intention to living up to what they signed.
I do not speak the way the President does and do not like the tone.
2. What needs to be done to get Congress to work constructively, whether that be senators and representatives of both parties working with each other or Congress itself working with the president?
Congress is a reflection of the American people. If the people are divided, the Congress will be divided. If people are rightfully fed up with inaction and partisan posturing they can elect new representatives such as myself who have been able to pass legislation I sponsored even though there is a supermajority of Democrats in the Illinois House and Senate. While I disagree with much of what Illinois Democrats in state government do, and vote against most of their bills on principle, I always am having respectful conversations with my Democratic colleagues and searching for areas of possible agreement. It's that attitude to put the people we serve first that is essential in a senator or representative.
3. What do you see as the most important issues to address regarding immigration reform? If you oppose funding for a wall, what steps do you support to try to control illegal immigration?
As a nation we absolutely have to control our border and that doesn't make us a bad neighbor. Controlling immigration is one of a nation's first responsibilities -- to determine who comes in and for how long.
The wall between Israel and the West Bank works to provide Israeli citizens with security. Before it was completed there was a horrific saga of bus bombs or suicide bombers walking into crowds to blow themselves and as many Israeli's as possible. Once the wall was completed that stopped. The Israeli wall has watch towers, sensors and a service road in front of it. Troops speed to areas where sensors determine a breach occurring.
Pakistan is building a wall on its border with Afghanistan to keep out militants and drug smugglers. And it is being built up and down the rugged Hindu Kush Mountains. As of a year ago they constructed 560 miles of it.
We cannot allow a disorderly open borders policy whereby we implicitly encourage waves of people to make a treacherous journey to cross the border illegally with the notion that once across they will find "sanctuary" and be allowed to stay. To remove the danger and to be fair to the American people and fair to all people in the world who want to move to the U.S., our system has to be orderly and fair and based on controlled legal immigration.
4. Please define your position on health care reform, especially as it relates to the Affordable Care Act.
I sponsored a bill in the state senate a year ago to ensure all Illinoisans are protected from being denied health coverage if they having preexisting health conditions. I got that bill passed the Senate unanimously. In Congress, I will first work hard to have in permanent law that preexisting conditions will never again be able to be used to deny people health coverage.
I support efforts to stop "surprise billing" where people who have been treated find out that even though they made known which health insurance they have, they later received astounding bills for providers or services outside of what their insurance company covers. That has to be stopped.
Simple steps such as finally allowing people or industries to pool across state lines when negotiating for health insurance will make a big difference in costs. So too will enhanced Health Safety Accounts (HSAs). Everything to increase consumer shopping among providers and on cost monitoring for services provided will have beneficial effects.
With that said, I strongly oppose Medicare-for-All or single payer systems because either will damage the level of health care provided. We need to make relentless steps forward, not gigantic steps backward.
5. What is your position on federal funding for contraception, the Violence Against Women Act and reproductive rights?
I support funding for the Violence Against Women Act. I am pro-life with exceptions for rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake. I support the mission of community health centers with Title X funding, so long as there is no connection with the abortion industry.
6. What do you consider America's role in world affairs? What are we doing correctly to fill that role? What else should we be doing?
The world would be in chaos if not for the United States. While we cannot police every wrong in the world, we have been able to keep basic law and order in the world with help from our allies. That allows Americans to prosper by having unimpeded markets abroad for our products and services. And it keeps problems from building to proportions that would eventually affect us at home. Maintaining freedom of navigation in international waters, self-determination for peoples, freedom from aggression, and with an intolerance for genocide or chemical or biological weapons use anywhere in the world is a basic standard that we have maintained for decades and is in our national security interest.
It has been said that "the best sermon is a good example." In that regard we need to offer a good example to other nations. Our robust economy and the individual opportunity that comes with it, is a great example to the world.
We must also have an assertive public diplomacy policy where our government pays at least as much attention to communicating with the people of other countries that we do in communicating with their governments. While governments come and go, the people are always there. Their opinions matter.
7. Do you believe climate change is caused by human activity? What steps should government be taking to address the issue?
Yes, science proves some climate change is caused by human activity. As we use the next several decades to transition to a much greater reliance on renewable energy, we must also ensure our economy stays strong to be able to finance widespread use of green technology. It bears noting that poor countries tend to spend little on the environment because they just don't have the money to do it.
It is not enough for a politician to be against this or that energy source without having an overall plan to produce the overall energy our people need.
Last fall, Elizabeth Warren called for phasing out nuclear energy. That is on top of those on the left wanting to also eliminate natural gas fueled electricity generation because it is a fossil fuel, hydroelectric generation because it can disturb river ecosystems, windmill zoning permits because they can kill birds on migration, large solar farms in the Mojave Desert for the same reason, and of course they want to eliminate coal fueled electricity production. They even oppose zoning permits for geothermal installations. So what does that leave for electricity generation?
Something has to give.