Joan McCarthy Lasonde, Candidate for U.S. Congress, Ninth District

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Candidate Full Name: Joan McCarthy Lasonde

Office: U.S. Congress, Ninth District

Party: Republican

Email Address:

Web Site:

Campaign Name: Joan McCarthy Lasonde For Congress

Mailing Address: 460 Winnetka Ave., Suite 1 Winnetka, IL 60093

Phone: 847-430-4590

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.

I'm a first-time candidate running because I'm terrified about the direction of the country under its current leadership and unhappy with how the Ninth District has been represented. I'm fiscally sensible social moderate. I believe in small but effective government. My priorities will be economic growth, individual opportunity and homeland security.

I've lived most of my life in the Ninth District. I was born in Rogers Park and grew up in Skokie, one of the most diverse communities in the District, in a close Irish family. Both my parents were Chicago Public School Teachers. After attending public grade school, I went to St. Scholastica High School in Rogers Park before going to the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

After earning my Bachelor's Degree at U of I, I joined the advance marketing team of Circus Vargas, the world's largest travelling big top circus. I travelled the country and worked with people from all walks of life. I later worked at various advertising agencies on accounts such as First American Bank, Illinois State Medical Insurance, Popeye's Chicken, St. Pauli Girl Beer, and Yamaha.

I'm a founding member of the Policy Circle, a women-run non-profit organization focused on educating everyday Americans on state and federal policy issues including education, healthcare, taxes, pensions and unfunded liabilities. I've been very active as an event coordinator for the New Trier Township Republican Organization, a Girl Scout Troop Leader, a teacher at St. Francis Xavier Parish, a board member with the Evanston School Children's Clothing Association (ESSCA), and a board member on the LWV (League of Women Voters) - Wilmette. I have been active in local politics, working with an advocacy group focused on Wilmette Parks, helping school board members and other local candidates get elected, and coordinating volunteers and events with the New Trier Township Republican Organization.

My husband and I are parents of two daughters and foster parents to a third for 2 years. We are licensed by DCFS, and I've become a strong advocate for all children.

2. With this being a presidential election year, who would you like to be elected President and why?

Marco Rubio. I have had the opportunity to see Senator Rubio speak in person. His personal story is inspiring, but even more impressive is his command of foreign policy. Senator Rubio deserves credit for working with Democrats on immigration reform in 2013. Finally, Sen. Rubio is unapologetic about the love he has for America and the promise he sees for us.

3. The fight against ISIS is on everyone's mind, especially after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. What would your plan be in the fight against ISIS and for the national security of the U.S?

We need to aggressively respond against ISIS but without significant numbers of American troops on the ground in Syria, Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East. Destroying ISIS as a nation state does require infantry in large numbers, but they must be supplied by neighboring Arab states - Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and others. It is essential that we obtain their full commitment to this effort because air strikes and other support by the U.S. and its allies will have little effect otherwise. With poor execution, we are at risk of merely dispersing ISIS fighters, not destroying them.

For far too long, the United States has paid an unfairly large portion of our allies' defense budget. We should limit on-the-ground troop deployments and avoid nation-building and involvement in disputes we cannot hope to resolve, many of which are growing in the Middle. East.

We must be mindful that the United States, together with our allies, faces a three-front war against terrorism emanating from the Middle East. In addition to the war against ISIS, Europe faces an existential threat from mass migration of refugees, and we all face home-grown acts of terrorism sponsored or inspired by ISIS and other terrorist groups. A genuine coalition must be maintained - the U.S. cannot dictate policy alone while Europe has so much at stake in its refugee crisis.

Finally, and most importantly, Israel remains the only reliable democracy and friend in the Middle East. Our relationship with it has primacy. Boycotting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's appearance before Congress by some members of Congress was profoundly wrong.

4. Do you support a federal assault weapons ban? Why or why not? What other federal gun control measures would you support?

I believe in universal background checks, and am open to limited restrictions on large magazines. I also support maintaining laws that are currently in place (including bans on fully automatic weapons), and enhancing the enforcement of them.

I also support mandatory minimum sentences for firearm crimes, including carrying a concealed firearm without a permit. I support the concept of President Obama's recent executive order on background checks, though I believe it should have been accomplished through legislation.

I oppose the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. The ban had a negligible effect, and focused on the cosmetic rather than underlying causes of gun crime.

5. What are your thoughts on what has been done so far with immigration reform?

I believe in comprehensive immigration reform including a path to normalization for those already here. Most of what President Obama did by executive order should have been done through legislation.

However, our border must be made absolutely secure. We can secure the border through a host of actions, including the use of unmanned aerial patrols, construction of a physical and virtual fences, and enhanced conventional patrolling.

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