Raja Krishnamoorthi: 2022 candidate for 8th Congressional District
Office sought: 8th Congressional District
Occupation: United States congressman
Previous offices held:
Q: What is your reaction to the results so far presented by the committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol and what should Congress do next as a result of them?
A: I remember Jan. 6th vividly, as I was evacuated three separate times and a bomb was discovered 200 feet from my office window. Members of the Capitol Police were violently attacked, and some died, while protecting the Capitol.
The Jan. 6th Committee has proven that President Trump was advised repeatedly that he lost the election, yet he corruptly pressured state officials to change election results in his favor. Liz Cheney and others deserve enormous credit for putting the future of our democracy ahead of partisanship and their own careers.
Moving forward, Congress and the Justice Department must deploy all necessary resources to investigate, prosecute, and convict those responsible for the insurrection. We must also pass legislation to prevent future attempts to manipulate the counting of electoral votes.
Political leaders and candidates must avoid using inflammatory rhetoric, such as what has been directed at the FBI. If unchecked, such rhetoric can cause political violence.
Q: What is America's role in foreign affairs, particularly related to two separate crises: Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Israel's conflict with the Palestinians.
A: While we must avoid endless wars, we must also help our democratic allies defend themselves when they come under attack. For example, we must stand up for Ukraine, which is courageously fending off Russia's vicious invasion. We know from history that such aggression does not stop if it's not resisted, and we must stand up to autocrats by helping our democratic allies defend themselves.
As a member of the Intelligence Committee, I helped pass numerous bills to bolster Ukraine's defenses. I recently visited a number of our allied countries in Europe to assess their support for Ukraine's defense and to visit the U.S. troops serving there.
Israel is one of our strongest allies, and we should provide Israel with the support and assistance it needs to defend its borders. Ultimately, the best path to Israel's security, and to a more peaceful Middle East, is a two-state solution with the Palestinians. I proudly co-sponsor the resolution supporting a two-state solution that passed the House.
Q: Mass shootings at schools and public gatherings are generally a uniquely American phenomenon. What should Congress do to address the problem?
A: We recently witnessed the effects of a mass shooting when eight were killed and dozens more wounded during the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park. There is no reason that the military weapons used in these shootings are so easily accessible.
After Highland Park, I participated in an Oversight Committee hearing involving the CEOs of companies that manufacture these weapons. They've made over $1 billion in sales since 2009. Much of their marketing is focused on young men, and even babies and young children, including product placement in video games. This is simply wrong.
Unlike my opponent, who opposes any further gun safety legislation, I would ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles, such as the one used in Highland Park. I sponsor legislation to require a three-day waiting period for all handgun sales and co-sponsor a bill to outlaw the sale or transfer of a firearm without a background check. We owe it to our children and communities to offer more than hopes and prayers.
Q: The Supreme Court has made it clear it considers abortion a states' rights issue and has suggested it may rule similarly on same-sex marriage and other social issues. What should the response be from Congress? How do you define whether such issues should be governed by federal authority or state authority?
A: State and local authority is necessary for K-12 education, property taxes, and various criminal justice and public health programs, particularly when enforcement lies within state jurisdiction. Basic human rights, however, should not be subject to the whims of state governments.
The right to reproductive freedom enshrined in Roe v. Wade has been a constitutional right for 50 years. Similarly, the right to marry the person of one's choice has been settled law for decades. The recent Supreme Court "Dobbs" decision overturning Roe threatens to obliterate these basic rights.
I strongly support legislation codifying Roe and remain deeply opposed to the Dobbs decision. In this campaign, my opponent has described Roe as "bad law" and abortion rights as "a distraction." He celebrates the Dobbs decision and welcomes making reproductive rights subject to state law. He's even given $400 to Illinois Right to Life. He is significantly out-of-step with the vast majority of 8th District voters.
Q: Are you concerned about the impact of all the recent federal spending on inflation, and what is the role of Congress in managing the economy? If you favor spending cuts, where specifically would you want to see spending reduced?
A: I am very concerned about the impact of inflation on working families. While government spending on items like prescription drugs is a factor, the initial mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian attack on Ukraine, and corporate profit-taking are also factors.
Nevertheless, Congress can take action to hold down inflation. I supported the Inflation Reduction Act, which will lower prescription drug costs for millions of Americans on Medicare and cap their insulin costs at $35 a month. This law also achieves hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit reduction by ensuring that the wealthiest corporations pay a minimum 15% tax.
In Congress, I have been investigating industries -- such as meat processing, shipping, and rental cars -- engaged in what appears to be profiteering under the guise of inflation. For example, the four biggest meatpacking companies in the U.S. control 85% of the market, and their net profits have increased over 300% since the start of the pandemic.
Q: Are you confident that elections and voting access are free and fair in America? If not, why not and what should be done?
A: On the Intelligence Committee, I participated in multiple security briefings on the 2016, 2018, and 2020 elections. Due to concerns about Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election, protections were put in place that resulted in the most secure election in 2020 in the history of our democracy. Despite numerous audits since that election, no evidence has emerged of widespread fraud or abuse.
Yet, there are ongoing attempts to make it more difficult for citizens to participate in our elections. To fight these efforts, I am a proud co-sponsor of the For the People Act, which 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.
This legislation includes a provision I authored, the Help Students Vote Act, which significantly strengthens civic engagement and political participation by the next generation of Americans.
Q: Whether your party is in the majority or the minority, what is the key to being a successful congressman and what are the characteristics about you that would make you successful?
A: Our politics are riven by partisan actors who look for opportunities to divide people rather than search for common ground. To help repair this breach, I consistently seek opportunities to work with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to address our common challenges.
In my first term, when Republicans held the majority, I successfully reformed our nation's technical education system for the first time in decades. I also worked with Republican Ralph Norman to form the Congressional Solar Caucus. Together, we passed legislation to lower solar "soft costs" so more families can benefit from that clean energy source.
When it comes to helping our community, there is no place for partisanship. I've worked with many Republican, Democratic, and Independent mayors to deliver resources for projects to improve the health, safety, and economic prosperity of our community. That is why I was recently endorsed for reelection by a bipartisan group of 11 mayors from across the 8th District.