Candidate Full Name: Andrea Zopp
Office: US Senate
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.
Andrea has a strong record of delivering results on the issues that voters care about and has been consistent in her positions throughout her career. She has spent her life being an agent of change - fighting for stronger communities, better schools, and safer streets.
As a former federal and state prosecutor, one who has fought to protect our most vulnerable citizens from violence, abuse and fraud - including prosecuting a US Congressman for sexual abuse of a teenager - and who took on violent drug organizations, Andrea is uniquely qualified to address the issues of gun violence and gun trafficking police relations in urban communities, and criminal justice reform.
As a former business executive, she understands how businesses make decisions to on how and where to invest, and she knows how to effectively hold them accountable to be good corporate citizens.
As CEO of the Chicago Urban League, she built strategic relationships and fought for educational and economic change that led to job creation and helped students stay on track to reach college or start a career.
Andrea has also held numerous public appointments and served on the Cook County Board of Hospitals, the Chicago Board of Education, the Governor's Commission to Review the Death Penalty, and Chicago Area Project.
We need leadership that is grounded in experience, has a demonstrated commitment to taking on the tough issues, and has a track record of success. Andrea will bring to Washington not only a commitment to take on the difficult challenges, but also a perspective from her experience working in the community.
Too often the stepping-stones of critical support from effective government are kicked out from under people, because of ineffective and uninformed leadership. This election is about giving Illinois the best, most effective voice in Washington. We are facing real challenges in our state and across our country: an economy that is not fully recovered; a growing wage disparity; a declining middle class; communities awash in violence; limited access to critically important early childhood education; and spiraling college costs. We need new leadership to drive change and have an impact in Washington. We need leadership that appreciates and represents all the people of Illinois. Everyone's voice matters. Andrea will represent every voice in D.C.
2. With this being a presidential election year, who would you like to be elected President and why?
Andrea believes that a strong primary is what brings voters out to the polls and that the electorate and democracy win when all of our voices are heard. As the grand-daughter of a man who was denied the right to vote, Andrea believes that voters have the right to determine who best represents their interests, whether that is in a primary or general election.
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?
Andrea believes the U.S. should continue to strengthen ties with our allies to target ISIL leadership, heavy weaponry, and infrastructure in Syria and Iraq. We should continue to support indigenous forces fighting ISIL, but continue to press for a cease-fire in the Syrian civil war. U.S. forces should be a part of a global coalition with our allies, and our support should include capabilities such as, airstrikes, increased intelligence sharing, training advice and assistance, equipment, and logistics support.
Andrea would not support large-scale deployment of military forces, but would support deployment of small numbers of U.S. forces to close down ISIL safe havens, such as those in Mosul, Iraq. Andrea would have significant concerns if a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) were passed in this session, as it could give a new, yet undetermined, president sweeping authority to enter into a broad-based and costly war. Andrea believes that the provisions under the current AUMF give President Obama the appropriate authority to take the actions he and Secretary Carter have outlined.
Andrea would also support increased intelligence sharing with our European and other allies to discover and disrupt ISIL/terrorist plots abroad, such as in Southern Europe, parts of Africa, and other locations in the Middle East. Andrea would also support strong communication channels between federal and state law enforcement agencies that would facilitate disruption of domestic activity.
4. Should there be limits on the number and type of refugees who should be allowed to move to and live in Illinois? Why or why not? If you believe there should be limits, what limits would you favor? Should refugees and other immigrants from Muslim countries be banned entirely?
Andrea believes that any attempt to restrict who may move to or reside in Illinois would be unconstitutional. Andrea will not support any form of ban on immigrant admissions that is based on religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation.
We have a global refugee crisis, whether it is families fleeing war in Syria or increasing violence in Central America, but we also have an opportunity to show the true nature of our national character by welcoming refugees into our communities in their most dire time of need. By doing so, we welcome those who seek to become part of the fabric of our society.
Additionally, Andrea believes that when we address the refugee crisis in Syria, we must also address the immigration reforms that we so desperately need here.
Andrea supports pathways to citizenship, which would provide an estimated contribution of $606.4 billion over the next 36 years to Social Security. Comprehensive reform legislation that permits pathways to citizenship would also reduce the federal budget - by $135 billion in the first decade.
Andrea believes that a viable plan for immigration reform must include 1) comprehensive reform measures that include a pathway to citizenship, such as those proposed in Senate bill 744 from 2013 - but without the unnecessary militarization of U.S. borders and 2) better and more humane enforcement of existing laws.
5. For every $1 a man earns, on average, a woman makes about 79 cents. Based on that gender pay gap, Illinois ranks No. 35 out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., according to an analysis by Expert Market. Can Illinois do better? What specific federal policies would you propose and support to bring working women on par with men?
Andrea believes that we must take direct action to end the gender pay gap. As a working mother of three children who also broke glass ceilings to become the first woman and African American to serve as the First Assistant State's Attorney and the first African American to report to the CEO of a Fortune 200 company, she understands first-hand the impact of the gender wage gap and its disproportionate impact on women of color.
Andrea would support legislation that directly addresses gender wage disparity, such as the Paycheck Fairness Act that would improve the Equal Pay Act. This legislation would make it easier to prove gender wage disparity and make it harder for employers to retaliate against employees who raise wage disparity claims. Additionally, it would require employers to report data on women workers and make such data available to the public.