The Chicago Sun-Times sent the candidates seeking the 3rd Congressional District seat a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing their district and the country. Kenneth Yerkes submitted the following answers to our questionnaire:
As a member of the U.S. House, what are or would be your top cause or causes?
Yerkes: I am “The UNIFYING Candidate,” “The REALRepublican,” “The Write in Candidate.” I believe in Freedom, Liberty, Justice for All, and honoring the Human Rights of All Developing Human Beings, and putting my faith, in trusting God while Loving Unconditionally. “In God We Trust.”
There are many issues that need to be addressed; however, for the purpose of this questionnaire, I will list just three, not necessarily my top three, but three issues that come to mind, and these three issues, I definitely feel need to be addressed.
1. Stop Illegal Immigration
I support Legal Immigration. The Part of Illegal Immigration that I oppose is the “Illegal Part.”
We are a Nation of Laws. As a Legislator, I expect to enact legislation, and if passed, I expect that legislation, and all passed legislation to be enforced, followed, and penalties imposed on those who do not follow our laws.
What is the consequence of breaking our current Laws on Immigration? Do Illegal Immigrants go back to the end of the line? Do people who break laws get away with it? Are they rewarded? Are they given Sanctuaries where they can feel safe and secure? Are they given monetary resources from the backs of the middle class taxpayer? And how do Immigrants feel who have followed our Laws?
All of our laws need to be honored. If a law is thought to be unjust, then it is up to our legislature to enact legislation which either repeals or replaces said law. Until said law is changed, I expect all citizens to uphold our current laws, including our laws on immigration.
With that said, America welcomes over one million legal immigrants each year who go through a long vetting process, and with good reason. Our current immigration system needs to be changed. We need to reform legal immigration to include a rational skill-based migration system, addressing family separation, and ending chain migration, and the visa lottery system. We also need to E-Verify at the workplace, and hold accountable employers who hire illegal immigrants who have cheated our country, by illegally entering our country, The United States of America.
Who is Kenneth Yerkes?
He is running for: Illinois 3rd Congressional District
His political/civic background:
- Heritage Foundation
- Heritage Action For America
- American Dental Association
- Chicago Dental Society
- Illinois State Dental Society
- Volunteer Dental Serivices at Chicago Dental Society Foundation
- St. Vincent de Paul Organization
His occupation: Dentist, High School Teacher
- Loyola University of Chicago – Bachelor of Science
- Loyola Dental School – D.D.S.
- St. Xavier University – M.A.
Campaign website: dryerkesforcongress.com
We must ask ourselves a question, “Are We a Country of Laws, or a Country who protects Lawlessness? For if we are the latter, our cities, and our states will, no doubt, become Sanctuary Cities, and Sanctuary States for illegals who do not respect what the United States of America Stands for and what “WeThePeople” live for, Freedom and Justice for all.
We need to secure our borders and enforce our current immigration laws providing for necessary funding of the Southern border, while providing Border Patrol, and ICE, all of the resources necessary to enforce our laws.
I Oppose Amnesty. Allowing Amnesty to continue allows for future amnesties and encourages lawlessness.
I Oppose Asylum Expansion, and any expanding definition of asylum which includes “credible fear.” This would open our borders to any foreigners living in an area with high crime rates. Asylum is for those suffering from targeted persecution, quite different than having “credible fear.”
Summing my position on Immigration, I would agree with the position that supports immigration-related legislation that addressed four principles: enforcing U.S. Immigration law, securing our border, opposing amnesty, and implementing merit-base LEGAL IMMIGRATION REFORM.
DACA must be addressed and for purposes here, I will restate my aforementioned position, but add, we must not punish or reward people who came into this country as children illegally. Instead, they must earn their keep, earn an income, and their actions must prove worthy of becoming citizens. For “We The People” should not tolerate any such position of lawlessness.
Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy that allows SOME individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in Our United States of America. To be eligible for the program, recipients cannot have felonies or serious misdemeanors on their records. I agree with this policy, and, at this time, I do not support to expand DACA to cover additional illegal foreigners.
I also do not support any employer who takes advantage of people who work hard for a living, regardless of immigration status. If an adult, they should be paid as an adult, and paid a living wage.
2. Expand The Middle Class
“Socialism” will never work and will destroy America and Our Middle Class. “America is Middle Class.” What I will strive for as a Congressman is to EXPAND THE MIDDLE CLASS by getting rid of Spendthrift policies, Government Corruption, and Wasteful Spending.
In its place, I will try my best to enact legislation to give opportunity to all who are willing to find a job on their own, work hard, and earn an income. Continuing Middle Tax Cuts, are a Start, Balancing Our Budget is Good, and decreasing our deficit is even better.
In order to EXPAND THE MIDDLE CLASS, both from above and below, we must hold accountable those who try to avoid, ignore, and find “Loopholes” in order to NOT pay their fair share of taxes. On a bi-partisan basis, we need to point to situations where “Loopholes” are allowed to exist. Once identified, we need to close those “Loopholes.”
From Below, We need to identify who is not willing to work, but who are able. Those who are unable and disabled, need to be helped out. Our Tax money, which is earned income, needs to be spent on priorities, and among those top priorities are the disabled and unabled. Yet, many of the disabled, and unabled, are not being taken care of, and this has to change.
Medicaid should be used for unabled and disabled only. Ideally, Social Security and Medicare should be used only for Seniors. We need to stop stealing and borrowing from Social Security and Medicare, which should be a Closed System, in which one should ideally, take out of the system, no more than one puts in. Employers are also funding Social Security and Medicare, matching the amounts that are are taken out for their employees in many cases. There should never be a shortage of funds for Seniors, who have earned an income, and deserve to rely on the security of Medicare and Social Security.
There is only a finite amount of middle class tax money available, and these tax resources must be used wisely and judiciously.
3. Repeal and Replace Obamacare
My 2017 Obamacare Healthcare Premium for just my wife and I was $21,000.00. with a Combined Deductible of $13,000.00. That is NOT Affordable Healthcare!
I am a Middle Class American, and Obamacare is NOT only unsustainable, Obamacare can’t be fixed! Obamacare is destroying and will continue to destroy America’s Middle Class.
Please list three highly specific needs of your district that you would make priorities.
Yerkes: 1. We need a Railroad Overpass or an Underpass around 63rd and 65th Street just west of Harlem. I have received several complaints of trains just sitting at the railroad crossing, not allowing emergency vehicles no recourse other than to wait or go a mile out of its way. This may lead to an unsafe situation, which must be addressed. I was told that Congressman Dan Lipinski had enough Federal Funds to complete the project years ago, but failed to do anything about it. I will look into this further, and do some research.
2. We need to see if we can better utilize Toyota Park.
3. We need Quarterly Town Halls, which I have committed to if elected.
I need to find out the needs from My Constituents, and invite Mayors, Clergy, Community Organizers and find out from all of them what they perceive as being the needs of the District.
Bipartisanship is virtually non-existent in the House. What would you do about that?
Yerkes: I am an Independent thinker, and I was born a Democrat. This race is really between Dan Lipinski, a “Moderate Democrat,” and me, “A Moderate Republican.”
Being a Moderate Republican, I would try my best to Reach Across the aisle, to enact legislation through compromise.
I am a Republican who supports Unions, and the Supreme Court decision on Janus, which does not allow Owners to take out Union dues to support Candidates that the Union chooses.
I also a Republican who wants to eliminate bump stocks. We need Arsenal Weapons off our Streets, unless a special permit is issued. I do agree with “Conceal And Carry.”
Are you convinced that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election in support of the candidacy of Donald Trump? Please explain.
Yerkes: No, I’m not sure, and there is no substantial evidence indicating that President Trump colluded with Russia.
Do you support the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller? Please explain.
Yerkes: Yes, However, due to the length of the investigation, I’m concerned about Mueller being Neutral.
If President Trump were to fire Mueller, directly or indirectly, what should Congress do?
Yerkes: The President can Fire anyone he wants to. However, if he fired Mueller, I would want to know why.
If Trump were to pardon his former campaign aide Paul Manafort, what should Congress do?
Yerkes: I know that Obama pardoned criminals, and President Trump might pardon criminals as well. #WeThePeopleOfIllinois might want to limit the power of the Presidency so they cannot easily pardon criminals. I also might want to consider legislation that limit the power of the President by limiting the number of Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda, which is the same thing.
Which three actions taken so far by the Trump administration do you most strongly support?
Yerkes: 1. Immigration Reform that would secure our borders, oppose amnesty, while implementing a merit-based legal immigration system.
2. Constitutionalist Judges and Supreme Court Judges who will not legislate from the bench, but instead, interpret the law, as intended by our Founding Fathers, while honoring the separation of powers, and uphold and protect individual rights including the right to life for all developing human beings.
3. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Our Economy is doing very well under President Trump and the Republicans. Consumer Confidence is doing very well. GDP is up 4.1%
Which three actions taken by the Trump administration do you most strongly disagree with?
Yerkes: 1. President Trump sometimes Insults people.
2. I’m not sure about President Trump’s Tariff
3. President Trump brags a bit sometimes.
The Trump administration has taken action to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at curbing climate change and limiting environmental pollution. The administration has done so in the name of supporting business growth and making the United States more energy self-sufficient. Most notably, the administration has begun to dismantle Obama’s federal rules over American coal plants, weakened automobile fuel-economy standards and ended American participation in the Paris climate agreement. What is your take on all this?
Yerkes: Climate Change is Not a Big Issue; There are so many other Big Issues. More Research has to be done on Climate Change. We need to be “More Green,” however, We Need Jobs as well. We needed to get out of the Paris Climate Agreement; We cannot continue to be “The Sugar Daddy” to all of the world.
To what extent is climate change a man-made phenomenon? How serious is the threat to our children’s future? What should be done?
Yerkes: We need to make reasonable changes. Hold our carbon emissions down, Keep or water and air clean.
More importantly, We have to try to prevent Nuclear War, because that will be a threat to Our Children’s Future.
Thank goodness we backed out of The Iran Deal.
What is the single most important action Congress can take to curb gun violence?
Yerkes: Go to the Root of the Problem and We Need Strong Families with a good dad and a good mom. That is where we learn Respect, Kindness, and Learn how to Love.
Communities centered around Church Activities. The Degradation of Family is at the root of many social ills.
Enact Legislation with Mandatory Minimums, and no parole for all Violent Crimes. Go after the Drugs, Thugs, and Gangs.
Is the media the “enemy of the people”? Please explain.
Yerkes: It can be sometimes. The Media has an Obligation to present the Facts, be Unbiased, and Professional. I hope that the Sun-Times treat all the candidates the same, giving each of them an equal opportunity to present themselves, and giving them equal amount of print.
As an editorial board, our core criticism of the tax overhaul legislation pushed through Congress last December is that it lowers taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans at a time of historic inequalities of wealth and income in the United States. We believe in free markets, but the ‘silent hand’ of the market does not seem to be rewarding merit fairly. What’s your position on last December’s rewrite of the tax code? Would you push for further changes, or for the law’s repeal?
Yerkes: The Middle Tax Cuts And Jobs Act are Working.
Less Restrictions by the Government.
Most of Corporate America will share their wealth, and give raises in salary. You can’t take away money from someone who has earned it. If the elite rich are not paying their fair taxes, Let’s Close the Loopholes. Also, give the Real Rich a tax incentive to give to Charitable Causes.
Speaking of income inequality, top executives of America’s biggest companies saw their average annual pay surge to $18.9 million in 2017, even as the pay of ordinary workers has remained flat for a decade. What, if anything, should be done to address the growing gap in wealth and income?
Yerkes: Work Harder; Don’t be Jealous. I am Middle Class; I’m happy being Middle Class! “Close Loopholes”
Would it be appropriate at this time for President Trump to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the White House? Why so, or why not?
Yerkes: Yes, Invite Putin, #FingerprintAllVoters to validate election. While he is here; Fingerprint Putin! “Keep Your Friends Close, Keep your Enemies Closer.”
How would you assess and grade the Trump administration’s efforts to recalibrate our nation’s relationships with Korea, NATO and Russia?
Yerkes: “Keep your Friends Close; Keep your Enemies Closer.”
NATO, make sure that “America, is not the World’s SugarDaddy!”
In late June, the Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration’s travel ban on visitors and immigrants from seven countries, five of which have Muslim majorities. What is your view on this ban?
Yerkes: President Obama and President Trump banned visitors and immigrants from those aforementioned Countries to lessen the probability of an Islamic Terrorist Attack on Our Soil. At the same time, I could understand why some Muslims may have felt singled out, and I understand that as well. I would not have done it, but it is The President’s Call.
What three major reforms should be made to United States immigration policy?
Yerkes: 1. Enforce U.S. Immigration Law
2. Secure Our Border, E-Verify, No Chained Migration, No Visa Lottery
3. Oppose Amnesty, and Implement a Merit-Based LEGAL Immigration Reform
Do you support or oppose the family-based immigration policy sometimes called “chain migration”? Please explain.
Yerkes: I oppose Chain Migration, but I might support a different type of family immigration policy. I prefer a Merit-Based Legal Immigration
What would you do, as a member of Congress, to improve race relations in the United States?
Yerkes: At a Townhall, I would invite everyone, Religious Leaders, Community Organizers, and encourage everyone to be
“Color Blind.” If we were all color blind, we wouldn’t see color, we’d see that we are all one race, “The Human Race.”
What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent?
Yerkes: #PeopleAndPrinciplesOverMoneyAndPower is My Campaign Slogan.
I come from humble beginnings, I’m just a “Regular Joe” who became a Dentist, a High School Teacher, a Singer-Songwriter, and now a Politician, with a Departed Mom, “Grandma Joanie” who is my hero, and my dad, my other hero, a 90 year old plumber, who currently works a 50 hour workweek for over 70 years. “He’s a Real Slacker.” Love You, Dad!
I am a “Mover and Shaker,” with a very strong Work Ethic, a Principled Man, with a passion to help people. I hope to bring my talents as a Small Business Owner, a High School Teacher, and a Healthcare Provider to Washington D. C.
One more thing, “I’m good at Math.”
Ahead of the historic 2018 elections, the Sun-Times is teaming up weekly with the Better Government Association, in print and online, to fact-check the truthfulness of the candidates. You can find all of the PolitiFact Illinois stories we’ve reported together here.