Rick Laib: Candidate profile, U.S. House, 11th District
Republican Rick Laib of Joliet, a sergeant in the Will County Sheriff's Department, is challenging incumbent Democrat Bill Foster of Naperville in the race for the 11th Congressional District, which includes all or parts of Aurora, Naperville, Lisle, Bolingbrook, Plainfield and Joliet.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates a series of questions. Here are some of their responses.
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Q. What next steps should Congress take regarding the COVID-19 pandemic?
A. Like most diseases, identification and treatment will be effective paths to pursue. We must be able to test individuals quickly, and we must work to identify locations where individuals can receive treatment.
Q. What has 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?
A. President Trump has reduced taxes, reduced regulation, appointed conservative judges, advanced protection of the unborn, and supported religious freedom. His style may be deemed unconventional but it has proven to be effective in protecting our inalienable rights.
Q. Many critics of governmental process complain that both Barack Obama and Donald Trump governed too much through executive orders rather than in collaboration with Congress. Is our system in danger of veering toward authoritarianism? From a structural standpoint, does Congress need to place stronger limits on the power of the presidency? If so, be specific on what some of those limits might be. If not, please explain your view.
A. I'm not persuaded to believe that limitations are necessary. If limitations should be considered, it would be to reduce the reach of the President simply by reducing the size of government.
Q. Please define your position on health care reform, especially as it relates to the Affordable Care Act.
A. The government should get out of the health care business. Attractive health care programs have been developed, and can continue to be developed and fostered, solely between private citizens and providers. The government need not involve itself in order for the public to have better and more attractive health care options.
Q. Protesters have massed in the streets throughout America calling for greater social justice. How significant a role does systemic racism play in limiting equal opportunity in America? To the degree that it exists, what should be done about it? Do you favor reparations? Should police be "defunded"?
A. The police should not be defunded. I am in favor of legislation that provides transparency and helps establish professional police standards, defunding the police is not a serious fix.
What I would like to see is more advocation for religious freedom. Virtue and morality can be taught far easier when we are free to teach where virtue and morality are objectively anchored. Even allowing instruction of the Ten Commandments in public classrooms would go a long way in terms of reforming the police and fighting racism.
Q. Does today's climate of polarization reflect a natural and necessary ebb and flow in the tone of civic debate? Or does it reflect a dangerous divide? What, if anything, should be done about it?
A. The polarized climate of today's debates are the natural tone when rational discourse, over time, is not employed. A long-term strategy to resolving how different sides interact would be to return to teaching logic and critical thinking to students. With these tools we can become better at reasoning and move away from emotionalism.
Q. What role does Congress play with regards to the growth of conspiracy theory groups like QAnon?
A. Congress can respond to any conspiracy theory group through engagement and education.
Q. 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?
A. We must protect the border and I support construction of the wall. We must fund staffing the protection of the border. We must discourage illegal immigration and strengthen immigration enforcement. Future legal immigration reform should include provisions for embracing American patriotism.
Q. Should everyone wear a mask? Should our schools be open? What has the country done right about the pandemic? What has it done wrong? How optimistic are you that we'll ever get back to "normal"?
A. In the early days of COVID-19 our government acted swiftly and the lockdowns seemed appropriate. But now we know too much about the disease to continue living in the same fashion as we now see restaurants and churches are being punished if they fully open. I do not support, nor do I think the science supports, mandatory mask legislation as a way of protecting ourselves. We must be open to treatments like hydroxychloroquine which has shown promising health recovery for those with the coronavirus.
Q. 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?
A. It is attractive to the goals of the U.S. to work with other nations and develop strategic alliances, but we must do so in a manner that would protect our freedom, security, and prosperity. What Congress should do is keep its focus on restraining evil and providing for true freedom for America. Ultimately we will become natural ambassadors of promoting good democracy.
Q. Do you believe climate change is caused by human activity? What steps should government be taking to address the issue?
A. There is an absence of consensus among industry experts as to the threat of climate change. There are, however, a number of ways that private industry has developed different technologies that can help care for the planet. What is incumbent on the federal government, then, is to reduce taxes so that private industry will be free to continue to develop helpful practices and technologies.