O. Patrick Brutus, Candidate for U.S. Representative of the 1st Congressional District of Illinois

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Candidate Full Name: O. Patrick Brutus

Office: U.S. Representative of the 1st Congressional District of Illinois

Party: Democrat

Email Address: info@brutusforcongress.net

Web Site: brutusforcongress.com

Campaign Name: The People to Elect Patrick Brutus

Mailing Address: 1938 East 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60617

Phone: 1-888-500-8709, 773-319-4330

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 lifelong Illinois resident born in the city of Chicago, yet raised in the south suburbs. Growing up in University Park, attending schools in District 201-U, attending college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and returning home to work afterwards gave me a wonderful experience of life outside of a big city urban environment. In my professional career, I've worked in Economic Development, starting with the Illinois Department of Transportation. During my tenure at IDOT, I worked for 8 years in the Division of Highways where I worked on many projects that rebuilt or solidified our infrastructure in the Southland and South suburbs. Afterwards, I took a position in the Division of Aeronautics where I served as the Land Acquisition Coordinator for the South Suburban Airport (SSA). There I worked to acquire the land necessary for the state of Illinois' number 1 economic development project where a projected 15,000+ jobs would be created via the construction of this facility and the ancillary jobs that are created as a result. Over the last 9 years, I've served as a Coordinator of Economic Development for the City of Chicago in the Department of Planning and Development. There, I've held multiple positions in Neighborhood planning, Affordable Housing, Workforce Training and Small business development. Previously running for Congress has provided me with additional experience in being ready to be Congressman and the qualifications and credibility to launch a formidable campaign. I sincerely believe that these are among many of the central quality of life issues facing the people in our region and therefore, I have concluded that this campaign is about the future of the District, who has a vision for the 21st century and who, as our next Congressman, has a professional background in the area that matters the most to our community.

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

It is too early to decide on who I believe should be President as the debates are ongoing and we are still learning new things about all of the candidates. However, I want to be clear in that I will support whoever is the Democratic nominee. Furthermore, whoever is elected President must be a champion for small business development that create sustainable jobs for the under-employed, hard-to-employ and the unemployed so that they can raise themselves out of poverty and improve their quality of life. Also, we need a strong foreign policy where we are subject to be the main international keepers of peace in the world, because our military personnel have been through so much being involved in conflict during the nearly last two decades. And finally, we need a President who will have a progressive agenda in that we establish a sound domestic agenda that restores our economy, stabilizes our Social Security protections, maintains a responsible level of funding for our Veterans' benefits and keeps healthcare on the horizon for Americans.

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?

The reality that ISIS and terrorism are everywhere and can strike at any moment is very real. We should be concerned about that stateside as we have now been victimized by ISIS directly! However, to destroy ISIS, the US has to commit to levying sanctions against countries that we can identify that are harboring ISIS leaders. Secondly, once we identify those ISIS safe havens, we need to send in troops to root them out and take the fight to them in the theater of operations. This military deployment must have a clearly defined mission and timeline in order to be successful and not commit to a long-term engagement. Thirdly, our borders must be secured. Any part of our future immigration policies must include a focus on how it affects our national security. We must be measured in our approach to being sensitive to legitimate immigrants entering our country legally while seeking the American Dream, while being very aware of those seeking to cause America harm. Any/all protocols must have this in mind as we strengthen our application and screening processes.

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

What I support is common sense legislation that doesn't put guns into the hands of people who should not have them. The ban on assault weapons is not a primary issue in the 1st Congressional District. What we do have in our District is a strong need to enforce the existing handgun laws that we already have. Furthermore, we need increased collaboration with our neighboring states (Wisconsin, Indiana and Mississippi) that are a pipeline for illegal guns sales into our region. I believe that supporting an outright ban on assault weapons would have undue harm on legal gun owners who do not have any intent on committing violent acts. Finally, I continue to advocate for strong mental health legislation as a part of any federal gun legislation. I do support Congressman Schiff (D-CA) Bill (HR 4399) that seeks equal access to Justice for victims of gun violence AND Congressman Kelly (D-IL) Bill (HR 226) that seeks to keep guns away from high risk individuals.

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

As a proud Haitian-American whose parents came to America in 1964, I am very close to this issue as I have been an advocate for Haitian immigration reform. I am pleased with the DREAM Act and the positives of that program for individuals coming to this country that provides a pathway to citizenship. I am also looking for continued reforms in the way America regards our Caribbean neighbors to make sure that their human rights are secured as they literally suffer from atrocities on their shores. I believe that we are on the right path to allowing a measureable and sustainable path for immigrants to become citizens, but we are going to be obligated to strengthen future reforms with a focus on national security as we enter the era of borderless terrorism and how that threatens our culture, value system in how we deal with terrorists and American lives.

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