Thomas Day, Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IL-7)

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Candidate Full Name: Thomas Day

Office: State Representative (IL-7)

Party: Democrat

Email Address:

Web Site:

Campaign Name: Thomas Day for Congress

Mailing Address: 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, PO Box 4069 Chicago, Ill. 60654


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 served five years in the U.S. Army, including one year in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. I was among the first U.S. Army troops sent across the Iraqi border during the March 2003 invasion. When I returned home, I published a book, "Along the Tigris," documenting the 101st Airborne Division's tour in Iraq. After my time in the military, I became a journalist. My career in journalism included a bureau assignment in Afghanistan for McClatchy Newspapers in 2009 and 2010. I hold degrees from Penn State University, the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

In 2014 I teamed up with two other Iraq war veterans to help build something called, "The Bunker." The Bunker is a nonprofit business incubator for veteran-owned startups, and is located at 1871. Since we launched, The Bunker has built chapters in Philadelphia, Texas, and Washington, D.C., among other cities.

I have not spent my career in politics - far from it. My qualifications come from my military service and my experience in the private sector. In the military I learned the value of public service above pettiness and personal ambition. At 1871 and The Bunker, I learned how entrepreneurs create jobs. And will seek to leverage all of these experiences in Washington for the 7th District.

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

I would be happy and eager to work with a President Hillary Clinton administration or a President Bernie Sanders administration. The Democratic Party's presidential debate, in sharp contrast to the other side, has been conducted with the highest level of respect toward the voters.

Secretary Clinton has presented sharp, substantive ideas on a range of challenges facing the country, from reducing the cost of higher education, to raising wages, to supporting small businesses - all ideas I agree with.

Senator Sanders has energized younger voters who feel as if the Washington establishment doesn't care much for them. He has fearlessly taken on the corrupt, undemocratic way we fund our elections.

I am focused on my campaign, and if elected, I will work with the incoming administration, whoever is leading it, to help grow jobs in the 7th Congressional District.

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?

As someone who served five years in the U.S. Army, including a year in Iraq, I would have no more important duty in Washington than keeping Americans safe.

First, Congress should vote on military action in Iraq and Syria. Congress has yet to vote on an Authorization on the Use of Military Force (AUMF). I would work with my House colleagues across party lines to demand the Speaker allowing a vote on the floor, and if it were to come to the floor, I would support it. I would support the creation of international command, unifying efforts (to the greatest extent possible) of our allies under one command. Right now, in the words of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, "everyone is doing their own thing."

To defeat ISIS, we need to lead a unified coalition to support Iraqi forces as they fight to retake Mosul, a city I where I spent nearly a year of my life, and continue to squeeze and eliminate ISIS-controlled territory. I do not support a large-scale deployment of U.S. ground troops, but I do support providing appropriate support to our Iraqi partners as they fight to retake their country.

After we have defeated ISIS, we need to support a stable transition of power from Bashar al Assad while keeping the government of Syria in place. I support a no-fly zone over strategic regions in Syria. We need to have total control over the skies of Syria, and gaining total control over the skies of Syria is well within our capability. This action would demonstrate to moderate communities that we are on their side, and stop further air attacks against allied rebel forces. A no-fly zone should be enforced concurrent with diplomacy with the Russians.

Finally, the United States should safely welcome 100,000 refugees into our country. Right now, too many of our European and Middle East allies are shouldering the burden of housing and caring for these refugees. Jordan, one of America's strongest allies in the Middle East, has taken in more than 1.4 million refugees over the past four years - well beyond their capacity to support these people. We have a responsibility to the Jordanians, the Turks, and our European partners to do our fair share to help solve this crisis.

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

More than 100 people were shot in the City of Chicago in just the first ten days of 2016. The "more guns, less crime" agenda of the hard core right wing of the Republican Party has been a nightmare for Chicago, and families across the country who are now sending their kids to school in fear. The single most important action we can take is ensure that anyone who takes ownership of a gun is required to first clear a federal background check. We should also force all gun manufacturers selling to use microstamping technology on each gun sold in the U.S. This would provide investigators with the gun's make, model, and serial number imprinted on the cartridge of every bullet fired, an invaluable tool for investigators.

I strongly support universal background checks on all firearm sales. If a person attempting to purchase a firearm is on the no-fly list (or their state has determined them to be a danger to themselves or others), I strongly support legislation to ensure that person is not permitted to purchase that firearm. I support the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act. The title of the bill is appropriate. This is about denying firearms and explosives to terrorists and keeping Americans safe.

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

Passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill is a national priority. I support a pathway to legalized citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in our country, I support streamlining the green card issuing process, and I strongly favor a startup visa program, which will allow entrepreneurs from foreign countries to come to the U.S. and develop new businesses, creating new jobs in the 7th District. A startup visa program would be especially beneficial to America's largest venture capital communities and help us to develop the Chicago area into a leading technical development center.

I strongly support legislation to prevent the deportations of DREAMers, and I strongly support a path to earned citizenship. On two occasions I have stood with the Ashley Project, demanding that the U.S. government stop the deportations of military family members. The Ashley Project is named after Spc. Ashley Sietsema, who we lost in 2007 while she was serving a deployment in the U.S. Army. Unconscionably, Ashley's family has faced deportation. The United States is and has for some time deported close family members of those serving in our military. No family who has served our country should ever face the prospect of deportation.

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