Candidate Full Name: Robert J. Dold
Office: U.S. Congress, 10th District
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site: www.doldforcongress.com
Campaign Name: Dold for Congress
Campaign Office Mailing Address: 326 S. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, IL 60048
Survey Questions (Character limit of 2,000 per response)
1. Please tell us about yourself, your background and why you believe you are qualified to hold this office.
My roots in our community run deep. I was born at Evanston Hospital and grew up with my three sisters in the same house in where our parents still reside. I graduated from New Trier High School and went on to earn a BA from Denison University, a law degree from Indiana University, and an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. I currently own and operate a small business in our community.
As a husband and father of three young children, I am running for Congress because I believe we need committed leaders and problem solvers in Washington who will put families and people ahead of partisan politics. I believe that through bipartisanship and consensus building we can move the country forward, reform our tax code so that our businesses can hire more of our neighbors, reduce our national debt to avoid passing this growing burden on to our children, and improve our healthcare system in a way that expands access to quality care without depriving patients of their personal relationships with their physicians.
Listening to people from Round Lake Beach and Waukegan to Wheeling and Zion, the same themes are repeated time and again - politicians in Washington are making it harder and harder to make a living and raise a family, and that uncertainty at home and rampant instability abroad are threatening both our economy and our security.
I am also running because I believe in peace through strength and that when America fails to lead in the world, the vacuum of power will continued to be filled by extremists who seek to destroy us, and our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel.
When I served as the Congressman of the 10th District from 2010-2012, I was proud to have been rated as one of the most independent, bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives and that approach helped me amass a record as one of the most effective freshman legislators. By restoring the 10th District's long tradition of serious, effective leadership, I can not only help end the gridlock but also forge bipartisan support for the policy reforms we so badly need to help revive our stalled economy.
My campaign is about solving the big problems by working together regardless of political party to get the job done, and my track record proves that if elected I will work tirelessly to make government more efficient and responsible, and work again for the American people, rather than our current leaders who seem to work against us.
2. What are your thoughts on President Obama's plan for military action in Iraq and Syria?
In recent months, we've witnessed large segments of the Middle East collapse into violence, chaos and ruthless acts of terrorism. While America cannot and should not police the world, we also must not continue to abdicate our leadership role on the world stage. When America fails to lead, others rush to fill the void left by our absence, which we are now witnessing unfold throughout the world.
In 2012, the President stated that he did not want a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq when we withdrew most of our troops in 2011 and opposed leaving a relatively small, residual force in place to continue training Iraqi forces. While the people of Iraq and its government ultimately are responsible for governing and securing their nation, the failure to secure a Status of Forces Agreement created a power and security vacuum that has since been filled by arguably the most ruthless terrorist organization in modern history-ISIS. Since ISIS's emergence in Iraq and Syria, we've witnessed the slaughter of thousands of men, women and children-including innocent Americans, and territories throughout Iraq have become a breeding ground for a growing and extremely dangerous terrorist operation.
This serious lack of leadership on the foreign stage has left both the United States and our allies with limited options on how to handle the safety and security threats by ISIS and other terrorist organizations. I believe ISIS terrorists pose a grave and direct threat to the United States and that we cannot ignore the imperative to destroy these breeding grounds of terrorist activity. However, I believe that the President and Congress must present the American people with a more clearly defined strategy, with a clear objective and plan for success, before engaging in any prolonged military operations.
As the American people looked to their leaders for answers, Congress instead left Washington to engage in election-year politics rather than working together as Americans first to address one of the greatest threats we have seen to our national security in over a decade. Political gain should never be put before effective leadership.
3. Several major retailers recently disclosed they experienced data breaches. What can Congress do to help prevent this?
Congress has been trying to deal with data breach since the ChoicePoint breach nearly a decade ago. And since then, we have seen several major breaches, including TJ Maxx, Target and, more recently, Home Depot. Due to the rapid evolution of e-commerce, federal policies have not been able to catch up to the changing world, and, as a result, no legislation has been passed to address data breach.
My position focuses more on the expectation of privacy of consumers, and the consequences to those who violate that privacy. I believe that general consumer information that is available in the public realm may be collected by businesses for the purpose of marketing and customer service ease to the consumer. This collection for marketing purposes is a huge part of our global economy and something that in many ways makes commerce much easier for consumers. Whereas, personally-identifiable information of consumers, e.g., Social Security numbers, healthcare information, financial information, etc., should only be collected with complete and transparent knowledge and consent of the consumer.
But whether the information is public or more personal, I support strong breach notification requirements to enable consumers the advance warning to protect themselves, and believe that failure to provide swift and effective breach notification, or any intentional effort to conceal the breach, should be met with strong penalties. I support ensuring that businesses are held sufficiently legally accountable for any harm to consumers that result from data breaches. This accountability should serve as an incentive to ensure that data breach protections are put in place.
4. Can the budget deficit be controlled only by spending cuts or does the federal government need to raise more revenue? If you favor more revenue, should there be a general tax hike?
By continuing to ignore our deficit and spending problems, we are rapidly approaching the most predictable economic crisis in our nation's history. As a pragmatic fiscal conservative, I look at Washington's perpetual lack of spending discipline and reckless habit of following the path of least resistance, and see that our leaders are not being honest with themselves or the American people. With a $17 trillion national debt and massive deficits adding to the problem each year, it's also clear that we cannot simply cut our way out of this problem. Growth-based revenues must be part of the solution and it's critical that, in addition to spending reductions, Washington advance policies that will address the stagnant growth rates that are weighing down our economy and adding to the deficit.
To address the debt crisis in a meaningful way, we need a big, bold bipartisan plan to bring our debt and deficits under control. Aside from simply recognizing the political realities and what is possible in divided government, I believe that the "big things" need bipartisan support in order to be sustainable and accepted by the American people. That's why during my term in Congress I was proud to sponsor the first bipartisan budget in a generation, which was based upon recommendations made by the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction committee.
While we obviously must focus on reducing waste and redundancy on the discretionary side of our budget, it's critical that we recognize the fact that discretionary spending only constitutes roughly 34 percent of our total budget (and that figure comes down to 17 percent if you remove defense spending). Consequently, leaders in Washington should not make the mistake of thinking that we can balance our budget by making cuts only to discretionary spending.
Instead, I believe the proper framework for a big bipartisan debt reduction agreement is to: (1) remain committed to spending discipline by honoring the existing caps on discretionary spending; (2) advancing pro-growth policies to expanding the economy and deliver more revenue; (3) target waste, fraud and abuse in programs on the discretionary and mandatory spending sides of the budget; and (4) craft a bipartisan plan to address some of the drivers of our long term debt.
As a father, I refuse to tell our children's generation that they will face diminished expectations and less economic opportunities due to legacy debt burdens that we passed along to them. I believe we have a real opportunity in the next Congress to reach a big bipartisan deal that finally tackles the drivers of our long-term debt and puts us on a path towards a balanced budget. However, it is going to take real, bipartisan leadership, which is something I know how to do, and to which I am committed.
5. What are your thoughts on immigration reform?
Washington's failure to fix our immigration system has left us with broken borders, broken families and a wholly dysfunctional legal immigration process. For the sake of our communities, our security and our economy, it's critical that Washington pass practical, bipartisan immigration reform now.
In addition to ensuring that immigrants who are already here and who seek nothing more than to come out of the shadows and contribute to our society are afforded a reasonable path to do so, we must also end the practice of educating the best and brightest from around the world at our universities, only to force them from our shores upon graduation to compete against us. Drastically limiting the number of work visas for highly skilled workers while preventing low-skilled workers who are already here from paying into our tax system is not only illogical but also severely hamstrings our economy.
In addition, I am a supporter of the DREAM Act and support the Startup 2.0 program, which creates a new STEM visa so that U.S.-educated students who graduate with a masters or Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering or math can receive a green card to stay in country.
Had I been in office and had the chance to cast a vote on the 2013 U.S. Senate immigration bill, I would have supported it. However, what's critical now is that Democrats and Republicans come together and craft a bipartisan bill that can pass both houses and receive the President's signature.