Candidate Full Name: Randy Hultgren
Office: U.S. Congress, 14th District
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site: http://hultgrenforcongress.com/
Campaign Name: Hultgren for Congress
Campaign Office Mailing Address: PO Box 717 St. Charles, IL 60174
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.
As an Illinois native and father of four representing the 14th District, I have put families and small businesses first, and intensely focused on getting Illinoisans back to work. I pursued legislative solutions to create opportunities for job growth and hope for those facing rising food, transportation and healthcare costs. Locally, I convened community leaders to combat heroin and painkiller abuse, resolve healthcare challenges for our veterans and get qualified specialists into air traffic controller jobs. I worked with schools and parents to keep a close eye on the roll out of the Common Core Standards and called on the state to "pause" the effort until local education leaders could fully understand the impact. I have consistently said "no" to policies that grow the size of government and burden our children with more debt; and "yes" to legislation that helps them prosper. I have steadfastly fought to ensure Americans can practice what they believe, regardless of faith, as our forefathers intended. I have fought to preserve families-the backbone of our country.
In the current 113th Congress, I serve on the Financial Services Committee, where I have worked to protect our community banks from crippling regulation and tax-exempt municipal bonds from being eliminated because our communities rely on this financial tool for updating their infrastructure. I also on serve on the Science, Space and Technology Committee where I have made it a priority to support and modernize our national lab system, which includes Fermilab in Batavia. I founded the bipartisan House Science & National Labs Caucus, the Congressional Friends of Sweden Caucus and I am a co-chair of the STEM Education Caucus because I believe we should be getting kids excited about the opportunities available in STEM career fields.
I was born and raised in Illinois, and previously served in county government and in the State House and Senate before being elected to Congress in 2010. My wife Christy and I have four beautiful children and live in Plano.
My Swedish great-grandfather began his pursuit of the American Dream as a doorman at Marshall Field's in Chicago. I still believe America can be a land of opportunity for honest and hardworking citizens. I want to continue to serve the people of the 14th District so that I can keep fighting for jobs, families, and limited government.
2. What are your thoughts on President Obama's plan for military action in Iraq and Syria?
When America is strong abroad, we are kept secure at home. When our leadership wavers, rogue elements and terrorist organizations seize the opportunity and assert themselves. Bullies like Russia, and terrorist organizations like ISIS/ISIL, thrive on uncertainty and weakness. In August, I traveled with a bipartisan congressional group to Israel and saw firsthand the existential threats it faces every day. This tiny nation isn't looking to expand - just to survive. We must strengthen our friendship with the only truly free democracy in the Middle East. Above all, we must protect American interests in the Middle East. The President claimed that the "the tide of war is receding" when pulling out the troops from Iraq, but it's grown only more intense as ISIL carries out its bloodthirsty mission. Iraq is home to some of the oldest religious communities in the world, and ISIS is killing them indiscriminately. We are at risk of undoing the hard-fought victories won by thousands of our courageous men and women in uniform.
The United States must project its power and authority in the region, or else the vacuum will be quickly filled by Iran or someone else. Ideally, we need our allies to come together to deal with the threat. Until then, our Commander-in-Chief and our generals have developed a plan as the best course of action without involving our ground troops in another conflict overseas, and I supported their decision to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, and sustainment, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition as they struggle against ISIL expansion. The hope is that ISIL will be stopped in its tracks, and that conditions in Syria will promote an end to the conflict. I still have concerns about the risks associated with arming rebel groups, but to do nothing allows ISIL to become further entrenched, expand its control and continue its atrocities. We must be vigilant to ensure these weapons are not turned against us in the future.
Further, we must work to empower moderate Sunnis and Shias without taking sectarian sides, and empowering the Iraqi government to take charge over its internal security. We can't keep propping up struggling governments. Iraq must step in and show it's ready to defend its country without our help.
3. Several major retailers recently disclosed they experienced data breaches. What can Congress do to help prevent this?
American consumers are increasingly shopping online and expect their personal and financial data to be reasonably protected from hackers and identity thieves. When security breaches occur, like that of the data of millions of Target and Home Depot, customers must be notified immediately in order to avert identity theft. That is the law.
One important step Congress can take is to make sure consumers are well aware of federal laws that are in place to protect them in the case of security breaches. Providing proper oversight over the execution of these laws helps ensure American consumers have proper relief when breaches do occur. Consumers must do their part to protect themselves from identity theft. They must proactively practice good security hygiene by frequently changing passwords, using at least a two step verification that is now routine with most banking institutions. A new effort being shared with consumers by security software maker Tripwire is to "Sign it, Don't Pin it." Don't use your debit card at the register and risk exposing your PIN to hackers. More damage can be done when hackers have both your credit card numbers and PIN numbers in hand.
The federal government must make sure it's own house is in order and security measures properly put into place.
As a result of the president's health care law, many Americans are forced to shop through the government-run exchanges, and the personal information passing through Healthcare.gov is now one of the largest collections ever assembled. Health consumers must input birth dates and social security numbers, as well as income and other financial information.
I have been seriously concerned about the government's website security ever since I participated in the House Science, Space and Technology Committee hosted several online security experts who testified to the website's risks. One of the so-called "white hat hackers" testified that there are "clear indicators that even basic security was not built into the Healthcare.gov website."
My colleagues and I wrote to President Obama in December 2013 detailing the risks and expressing our concerns. But because the administration has not acted to address these concerns on behalf of American consumers and has only paid lip service to the threats of identity theft, I voted for the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act (HR 3811), which requires HHS to notify individuals of any breach on the exchanges within two business days.
The administration can't have it both ways. If they enforce federal laws that require companies like Target to notify their consumers when personal data is compromised, they must also hold president's Healthcare.gov website to the same standard.
It's bad enough to force Americans to buy a product. It's even worse to endanger their online identity. We must do better for American consumers.
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?
Washington doesn't have a revenue problem-it has a spending problem, and both parties are to blame. Americans have no other option than to follow a budget every month, but like a frequent gambler running out his credit line, the federal government spends more than it takes in, and borrows even more to pay its obligations. Our debt $17.6 trillion now exceeds $55,000 per person, plus another $25,000 for those of us who live in Illinois.
I have pushed for serious budget constraint tools, such as "zero-based" and biennial budgeting which frees legislators to eliminate costly and outdated programs through more oversight.
The best way to grow jobs and tax revenue is reducing bloated government and letting people keep more of what they earn. It's the wrong time to raise taxes after the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression. Instead, intelligent tax reform could fix existing economic distortions while raising overall tax revenue by broadening the base.
The budget proposal the House passed in April outlines meaningful spending cuts while strengthening social safety net programs which are on an unsustainable path. It reduces spending by $5.1 trillion and balances in 10 years, lowers tax rates for individuals, businesses and families, reduces the size of government to 18.9% of GDP by 2017, and offers Medicare beneficiaries a premium support program.
It maintains my promise to preserve Social Security and Medicare for those 55 and older, ensuring they experience no changes or benefits cuts.
5. What are your thoughts on immigration reform?
Our country has always welcomed immigrants in search of better opportunities. My grandfather sailed from Sweden and began his pursuit of the American Dream as a doorman at Marshall Field's in Chicago. The immigration system then was not perfect, but it opened up the way for many who sought a better life in America.
Unfortunately, the current system is so flawed that fixing it requires a careful and measured approach. I believe the Senate bill falls into the same trap of the 1986 bill, throwing money at the problem without actually fixing it.
1. Secure the border by providing our law enforcement forces with officers and the latest technologies available, and a proper biometric entry-exit system.
2. Ensure businesses respect our nation's laws and American workers by using electronic systems to verify legal status of potential hires.
3. Update our visa system to address necessary agricultural and high-skilled workers, and ensure we support the family as the best social safety net. While I cannot accept amnesty as a viable path forward, all undocumented immigrants must get right with the law, admit their guilt, and pay necessary fines and back taxes. We should welcome productive members of society who go through the legal process to obtain proper status.