Candidate Full Name:
5th Congressional District
Fritchey for Us
Campaign Office Mailing Address:
1511 W Barry Ave
Chicago IL 60657-3105
Please tell us about yourself, your background and why you believe you are qualified to hold this office.
I am running for Congress because I believe in the power and importance of public service. I grew up in Chicago and attended the University of Michigan and Northwestern Law School, both on a hardship scholarship. After law school I became an Illinois Assistant Attorney General, then won a seat to the General Assembly in 1996 at the age of 32. For the past 12 years I have been a leader in the fight to make government more open and accountable, to represent the citizens' voice in decisions that impact their jobs and pocketbooks and to expand access to affordable health care. Thanks to my efforts, the DLC has twice named me one of its nationwide 100 Rising Stars to Watch and in addition to endorsing my candidacy in this race, IVI-IPO has recognized me with its Best Legislative Voting Record award.
Please tell us your general views about the role of government and some of the most important things you would like to accomplish in office?
Right now, restarting the economy is the most important role of government, whether at the local, state or federal level. In Congress I will also focus on ensuring accountability and transparency in government, and enacting comprehensive health care reform so that all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care.
The current economic crisis is squeezing the middle class. What should Congress do about it? What specifically would you do if elected to Congress?
Two immediate priorities for the federal government are stimulating the economy and easing the pain of those suffering in this recession. I support stimulus through tax cuts, benefits expansion and infrastructure spending. We should expand protections like heating assistance and unemployment benefits to struggling Americans, but we must also spend to restart overall economic growth. I was disappointed to see that only 60% of the funding in the current bill will enter the economy within 18 months, and I would have worked to increase that percentage. With both the stimulus and TARP, I believe aggressive accountability measures must be much stronger priorities.
What are some of the main things you would do to help create jobs in Illinois?
What are some of the main things you would do to help create jobs in Illinois? I believe a major stimulus package represents the fastest path to new job creation in Illinois. Illinois mayors have already detailed $3B for "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects whose funding will lead to considerable new hiring. At the same time, the stimulus will establish new contracts for services and high-tech infrastructure that ensure new job creation throughout all sectors of the economy.
What do you think can be done to bring short-term stability to gas and energy prices? Also, what do you think is the best strategy - to both affordably and responsibly - provide for the nation's future energy needs?
In the short term, we must be vigilantly to prevent price gouging and ensure continued competition in the oil and gas industry. If elected, I intend to work in Congress to move the U.S. aggressively toward a path to energy independence focused on domestic, renewable fuel sources for long-term solvency. In Springfield I supported Illinois' Renewable Portfolio Standard and believe we can work nationally to achieve 25% renewable energy by 2025 or sooner.
Is there anything that can be done to make health care more accessible and affordable in Illinois? If so, what would you do?
For 12 years in Springfield I have fought to improve health care in Illinois. I worked to extend coverage through FamilyCare and Community Care, passed legislation mandating that insurance companies cover much needed cancer screenings and sponsored an expansion of the Circuit Breaker program, which provides pharmaceutical assistance to struggling seniors. I look forward to contributing as President Obama takes up the national issue of accessible, affordable health care and support comprehensive reform based on principles similar President's: broaden coverage by expanding the existing system with added quality assurance while using tax credits and cost containment to ensure all Americans have access to plans they can afford.
Please state your general views about the war in Iraq.
The time has come to responsibly withdraw our troops from Iraq and I support a phased redeployment that continues the first troop reduction initiated in September 2008. We must fully redeploy as soon as it is realistic, but as President Obama has said it is important that we are as careful coming out of Iraq as we were reckless going in.
What are your thoughts on how to deal with illegal immigration? Also, what do you think should be done about illegal immigrants who are already here in the U.S.?
As the son of an immigrant mother and a representative from one of Illinois' most diverse districts, I have been privileged to work in Springfield on legislation that eases the burdens caused by our country's broken immigration system. As a country, we must enact comprehensive immigration reform now. I support a plan that redevelops the application process and preference system to eliminate visa backlog, creates a responsible guest worker program, cracks down on abusive employers, strengthens our borders, includes the DREAM act and creates a fair, respectful path to citizenship for the undocumented individuals contributing in a positive way to our communities. I oppose enforcement-only legislation and legislation deputizes local officials to enforce federal immigration policy.
What ideas do you have for improving our education system and for making our colleges and universities more affordable?
I have long been a champion of smarter and more equitable school funding, primarily through my leadership on Tax Swap legislation that will end our funding reliance on property taxes. Nationally the federal government must invest to create universal early education access, and fund its mandates as it continues to foster innovation and demand accountability in K-12 schools. We can ensure much broader access to higher education by increasing the funding and scope of the Pell grant program, and offering tax credits that make the first year of college affordable for all families. In Illinois I worked on legislation that eliminates tax penalties for families establishing college savings plans out of state, and I championed a law that protects struggling families' college savings funds from creditors.
What are your highest priorities for protecting the environment in Illinois?
I am a passionate advocate for environmental protection and am proud of my 100% pro-environmental voting record. I have been a leader on the Great Lakes Compact which protects the water resources of the Great Lakes, and the Illinois Right-to- Know bill which keeps homeowners informed of toxin activity in their neighborhood. If elected to Congress I will continue to make environmental protection a priority through greater land preservation efforts, tougher emission standards and a comprehensive plan to move us toward energy independence.
American Academy of Ophthalmology OPHTHPAC
American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery EYEPAC