Raja Krishnamoorthi: 2022 candidate for 8th Congressional District
Office sought: U.S. House, 8th District
Occupation: Member of Congress
Previous offices held: U.S. House of Representatives, 2017-present
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?
Too often today, our politics has become paralyzed through excessive partisanship and rancor. While the President and Members of Congress may disagree on certain issues, we must find areas where we can work together.
In Congress, I've worked across the aisle on important issues such as protecting our youth from the vaping industry, enhancing workforce development, and ending stock trading by Members of Congress. As Oversight Subcommittee Chairman, I have led bipartisan investigations into key public health issues. And in 2018, I led the bipartisan rewrite of our nation's technical education system, increasing investments in these programs by over 10%.
I've also tried to model civility and cooperation with Republican colleagues like Congressman Darin Lahood who represents my hometown of Peoria. While we disagree on many issues, Congressman Lahood and I have held a series of town halls in each other's districts to demonstrate that colleagues of different parties can work together.
What is your position on changing voter access?
Increasing access to the ballot box is necessary to achieving many other important changes in America. I am a proud original co-sponsor of H.R. 1, the For the People Act. This legislation will create automatic voter registration, expand early voting, simplify voting by mail, reduce long lines at the polls, increase investments in voting system security, and decrease the influence of money in politics by pushing back on the Supreme Court's misguided Citizens United Decision that allows unlimited "dark money" to infect our elections. This package of reforms includes a provision I authored called the Help Students Vote Act which will significantly strengthen civic engagement by young Americans.
We must also end voter suppression measures that are rapidly multiplying across the country. I am a proud co-sponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which establishes federal criteria to prevent state and local officials from engaging in racial discrimination against voters.
Do you recognize that the election of Joe Biden as president in 2020 was legitimate and fair? If not, why?
Yes, the election of Joe Biden was legitimate and fair. As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I participated in multiple election security briefings pertaining to the 2016, 2018, and 2020 elections. Due to concerns about various attempts to interfere in the 2016 election by Russia and other outside interests, protections were put in place that resulted in the most secure election in 2020 in the long history of our democracy. Despite numerous lawsuits and audits since that election, no evidence has emerged of widespread fraud or abuse.
We must continue to do everything we can to combat fraud in every election in the country, by investing in strong election infrastructure and penalizing all fraudulent behavior. But we must vigorously combat the misinformation and conspiracy theories about our elections (including the 2020 presidential election) that are dangerous to the health of our democracy.
What, if anything, should Congress do to prevent another violent attack such as the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol?
January 6th, 2021, will go down as one of the darkest days in our country's history. During the attack, 2,000 insurrectionists breached the Capitol and injured 150 law enforcement officers to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, leading to the death of five people. I remember this day vividly, as I was evacuated from my office by Capitol Police after a bomb was discovered 200 feet from my office window.
While our democracy prevailed on January 6th, we have considerable work ahead of us to prevent another deadly attack on the Capitol. First, Congress and the Justice Department must deploy all available resources to investigate, prosecute, and convict all those responsible for the insurrection to show that we will not tolerate attempts to subvert our democracy. Second, the bipartisan January 6th Committee must complete its investigation into who planned and ordered this attack. Finally, we must identify key contributors to the spread of extremist violence and stop it in its tracks.
What do you consider America's role in world affairs? In particular, what should our role be regarding current points of tension involving Russia/Ukraine, the future of Taiwan or other threats of Chinese expansionism and the Middle East?
While we cannot afford the human and financial toll caused by investing in endless wars, America plays a key role in preserving global stability. For example, we must help Ukraine fight Russia's vicious invasion, which has killed countless innocent civilians. In fact, one of the first bills I authored into law was the KREMLIN Act to counter Russian aggression towards our European allies.
In addition, as a Member of the Intelligence Committee, I recently authored two bipartisan bills into law- the Monitoring China-UAE Cooperation Act and the GRAY ZONE Act- which will help us defeat disinformation campaigns embraced by Russia and the Chinese Communist Party. Further, I am advocating for Taiwan to be added to the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) to enhance trade between the U.S. and Taiwan.
In addition, as founder of the Global Vaccination Caucus, I believe America must lead the fight to vaccinate the world to prevent new and deadly COVID-19 variants from invading our shores.
Do you acknowledge humans' role in causing climate change? What steps should government be taking to address the issue?
Climate change is real, it is significantly man-made, and it is one of the gravest threats to American health, safety, and prosperity. As co-founder of the Congressional Solar Caucus, I am working on initiatives to address climate change by investing in renewable energy development. For example, I am a proud co-sponsor of the 100% Clean Economy Act, which sets a nationwide goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. On a bipartisan basis, I passed legislation to invest millions of dollars to reduce solar soft costs, making it more affordable to "go solar" in residential, business, and commercial settings. Further, my bipartisan legislation expanded solar energy research on photovoltaic, heating and cooling, and grid integration.
In addition, I was recently appointed to serve as co-chair of the Sustainable Energy Power Task Force, where I will develop proposals to decarbonize the nation's power and transmission sector to create jobs while also fighting global warming.
Please define your position on health care reform, especially as it relates to the Affordable Care Act.
I strongly support the Affordable Care Act and consistently vote against Republican attempts to repeal it. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and I believe we must strive to attain universal coverage by adding a public option to the Obamacare health insurance exchanges so that families have an affordable alternative to private insurance. A public option would provide competition for private insurance and drive down overall costs.
We must also end the ban on the federal government's ability to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry for recipients of Medicare and Medicaid. This would utilize market forces to drive down prices and make prescription drugs more affordable.
Further, we have a mental health crisis in this country. I recently attended a bill signing with President Biden for the Dr. Lorna Breen Act, bipartisan legislation I led to expand mental health wellness services for front-line health care workers who have heroically helped America battle COVID-19.
What immigration policies do you support? Where, if at all, do you see room for compromise to produce an effective policy on immigration? Does the government have any responsibility toward Dreamers who were brought to the United States illegally as children and are now adults? How will these policies affect your district?
First, we must enhance border security, which may require more personnel and hi-tech surveillance equipment, but not a wall. At the same time, we should provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers -- many here on expired visas -- provided they pay the taxes and fines they owe and go to the back of the immigration line.
Second, we must provide a path to citizenship for DREAMers who were brought to this country as children and face deportation through no fault of their own. As the son of legal immigrants who was brought to this country as an infant, I closely identify with the 700,000 DREAMers who love this country and are contributing to its future.
Third, we must strengthen high-skilled immigration so that the U.S. can attract the world's talent, including foreign graduate students, to better compete with China. I am the proud co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation in Congress which will reform the H1B backlog and enhance the STEM talent pipeline in the U.S.