Democratic incumbent Mike Quigley is the Sun-Times’ endorsed candidate in the 5th Congressional District race.
On Sept. 20, Quigley appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. Watch the video above to find out why he’s running for re-election to the 5th District Congressional seat in Illinois in the 2018 general election.
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board also sent the nominees for Illinois’ 5th Congressional District a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the country. Democratic nominee Mike Quigley 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?
1) Promote efforts to reform government, increase transparency, and promote accountability to restore the public’s trust in government including passage of legislation to overturn Citizens United and get dark money out of politics, as well as conduct proper oversight over the Trump Administration.
2) Fight for the federal funding Chicago and Illinois needs to remain a safe, competitive place for families to live and work by directing federal funds to local infrastructure improvement projects and public safety initiatives.
3) End the gun violence epidemic gripping the streets of Chicago and the rest of the country by supporting the reinstatement of the Assault Weapons Ban and universal background checks.
4) Protect the integrity of our elections to ensure that all Americans can exercise their right to vote without foreign interference by helping states replace outdated voting equipment, hire experienced cybersecurity experts, and establish new cybersecurity best practices.
Who is Mike Quigley?
He’s running for: U.S. Congress, 5th District
His background: 35 years of community engagement including successful election to the Cook County Board of Commissioners (3 times) and U.S. House of Representatives (5 times)
His occupation: Member of Congress; lawyer
His education: Roosevelt University (B.A.); University of Chicago (M.P.P.); Loyola School of Law (J.D.)
Campaign website: www.quigleyforcongress.com
Recent news: Mike Quigley
Please list three highly specific needs of your district that you would make priorities.
1) Local Infrastructure in Chicago
CTA carries more passengers in a month in Chicago than Amtrak does nationwide in a year. It’s vital to the residents of IL-05 and Chicago as a whole that our local transit services like CTA and Metra are safe, efficient, and reliable. That means station improvements that make platforms more accessible for Americans with disabilities and easier for commuters to navigate, as well as hard infrastructure improvements like installing positive train control to make trips safer, and track work to reduce train congestion to make travel more efficient.
Additionally, Chicagoans know that our city is the most important freight hub in the country but what many may not know is that of all the time it takes for cargo shipped by rail to get from the East Coast the West Coast, nearly half of it is spent within our city limits. This impacts residents in a variety of ways, from limiting the economic growth driven by the freight industry to creating traffic jams at railway crossings. Flyovers, simple bridges which separate rail and automobile traffic, are a key tool to help alleviate much of the rail traffic. Federal grants, which the Trump Administration has moved to reduce or eliminate all together, are instrumental in creating these types of grade separations and I will continue to work in congress to protect those programs and the funding available to Chicago infrastructure improvement projects.
Finally, as one of the busiest airports in the world, O’Hare is an economic driver for our region. Nearly all of the airports in the U.S. that approach O’Hare’s size and importance have undergone major terminal renovations since O’Hare’s last refurbishment more than two decades ago. We need to bring the passenger-facing portion of the airport into the 21st century by updating terminals and concourse areas to continue to make flying to and through Chicago attractive to passengers from across the nation and the globe.
At the same time, living near an airport like O’Hare should not subject residents to relentless, disruptive noise. I’ve worked with the FAA and Chicago Department of Aviation to pioneer a unique runway rotation system to further limit the noise impact on residents. We need to continue to think outside the box and find novel ways to provide relief for Chicagoland residents exposed to airport noise without compromising the safety or efficiency of operations at the airport.
2) Election Integrity
We know that Russia targeted up to 39 state election systems, including Illinois’, during the 2016 election. We also know, through the confirmation of 17 intelligence agencies, that Russia successfully hacked our democratic process to encourage voters to elect President Trump. However, the President not only continues to ignore these facts, but he has also attempted to undermine the various investigations being conducted to discover the full extent of Russia’s influence. While the outcomes of these investigations remain to be seen, we must prepare for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections and the potential for additional attacks, because the Russians will continue to target our electoral process.
That is why I have made it a priority to harden our cybersecurity protections at the state and local level to ensure our election system can withstand similar attempts of interference by foreign entities. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am doing everything I can to understand exactly how the Russians are attempting to infiltrate our election infrastructure and to address vulnerabilities exposed in 2016. I’m also proud to have used my role as the only Illinois Member of the House Appropriations Committee to secure $380 million in in Fiscal Year 2018 for new grants to help States fortify and protect election systems from cyber-hacking. We must empower local election officials to prevent the failings of 2016 and that requires giving them the tools necessary to adequately defend the security of our election system.
3) Homeland security grants
Following the events of September 11, 2001, the United States made significant changes to intelligence and law enforcement programs in an effort to adapt and evolve with the changes in enemy tactics and capabilities. These changes help save countless American lives, however the threats currently facing our country differ drastically from those that we faced 16 years ago. Specifically, we’ve seen an increase in attacks on soft targets like concerts, sports venues, shopping malls, and crowded streets. Attacks in London, Paris, Brussels, and at home in Orlando, Las Vegas, and Parkland confirm that soft targets are today’s largest security vulnerabilities because they are easy to attack and difficult to defend.
In order to remain proactive in the fight against terrorism and a constantly evolving threat environment, it is imperative we continue to prioritize grant programs within the Department of Homeland Security that develop new strategies to keep our communities safe. That’s why I offered an amendment to this year’s Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would have increased funding for programs like Transit Security Program grants and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants which are designed to help cities like Chicago better secure soft targets. Adapting to and protecting against these evolving threats will help ensure the safety of our communities.
Bipartisanship is virtually non-existent in the House. What would you do about that?
Quigley: Americans are facing real problems that can only be solved when we are willing to work across the aisle with colleagues who are serious about getting things done. While having healthy debates with opposing points of view is good for the country, much too often in Congress they devolve into partisan gamesmanship. Real legislative accomplishments don’t come from partisan bickering, they’re a result of hard work and honest, bipartisan compromise.
However, True bipartisanship isn’t just about talk, it’s about results. I’ve been proud to put bipartisan cooperation into practice here in Congress. I’ve partnered with my Republican colleagues on a wide range of issues. I co-founded the bipartisan Transparency Caucus, which brings together Democrats and Republicans to find ways and promote policies to make government more transparent and accountable to the people. This Congress alone, I’ve introduced legislation with my Republican colleagues on a range of issues from promoting election cybersecurity and improving urban flood mapping to incentivizing tourism from abroad and empowering local law enforcement to arrest those who illegally purchase firearms. Finding common ground on issues the American people care about is what our constituents sent us to Congress to do. While there will always be things we disagree about, and for good reason, that doesn’t mean we can’t find a way to work together to solve this country’s great problems.
Are you convinced that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election in support of the candidacy of Donald Trump? Please explain.
Quigley: Yes. There is no doubt in my mind, and the intelligence community agrees. In January of 2017, all 17 of our intelligence agencies unanimously concluded that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” with “a clear preference” for candidate Donald Trump. We also know that Russian operatives targeted as many as 39 state election systems, including Illinois, in the lead-up to the 2016 elections. The Russians infiltrated our election infrastructure then, and the truth is they never left. Even President Trump’s own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, recently confirmed that the Russians continue to target our elections. They will be back again with the same tactics and same mission: to undermine our democratic process and way of life.
Do you support the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller? Please explain.
Quigley: I was pleased by the appointment of Mr. Mueller as Special Counsel for the Russia investigation, following strong bipartisan demand from both the House and Senate. Mr. Mueller is a highly respected public servant who has committed much of his public life to protecting this country and he is conducting his investigation with the same integrity displayed during his time with the FBI. I believe this investigation is one of the most important in American history and we must uncover the truth, not only because it is what the American people deserve, but because if we cannot defend our elections from foreign meddling we risk the degradation of our democracy. However, increased efforts to undermine the Mueller investigation, and more broadly our Justice Department, from both the President and Republican Members of Congress are nothing short of alarming. Some things are bigger than politics, and this investigation at its core is not a partisan exercise. It is about protecting the most sacred American virtue–a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Should the President take any actions to undermine the integrity of the Mueller investigation and move to have him fired, I believe it would trigger a constitutional crisis and truly test the mettle and character of Congress.
If President Trump were to fire Mueller, directly or indirectly, what should Congress do?
Quigley: The firing of Special Counsel Mueller would be the final act in a long line of actions taken by President Trump, which includes the firing of former-FBI Director James Comey, continued attempts to discredit FBI and Justice Department officials associated with the Russia investigation, and attempts to force Attorney General Session to undo his recusal from the Russia investigation, to obstruct the ongoing Mueller investigation. Such a decision would leave Congress no choice but to initiate impeachment proceedings.
- U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., speaks at the headquarters of SEIU Healthcare Illinois on Sunday. He told the crowd that 1.2 million people will lose their health insurance in Illinois if President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is repealed. “That’s roughly 10 percent of our state’s population,” Durbin said. Behind him are U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley (left), Jan Schakowsky (third from left), and Raja Krishnamoorthi. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times
- Rep. Mike Quigley talks with Alcott Elementary School students about their trip to Washington D.C. for the Trump inauguration. | Lauren FitzPatrick/Sun-Times
- Rep. Mike Quigley visits a zebra named after him at Lincoln Park Zoo. | Veronika Hernandez/Lincoln Park Zoo
- President Barack Obama, right, talks with Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, center, and Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., left, after he arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. Obama is spending the weekend in Chicago. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
- Steve Macko; Peter Bencak, National Commander, Ukrainian American Veterans; U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill.; U.S. Sen Richard Durbin; George Horbenko, Commander, Ukrainian American Veterans Post 32 Chicago; and George Diachenko at a town hall forum on Sunday in Ukrainian Village on Sunday. | Dan Mihalopoulos/Sun-Times
- U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois, holding the Cubs “W” flag, with his staff on the steps of the Capitol. | Provided photo
- U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley speaks at a press conference on funding for commuter rail safety along with, from left, Metra Chairman Martin Oberman, Rep. Dan Lipinski and Sen. Dick Durbin at the LaSalle Metra Station on July 6. | Saiyna Bashir/Sun-Times
If Trump were to pardon his former campaign aide Paul Manafort, what should Congress do?
Quigley: The pardoning of Paul Manafort would serve as additional evidence that must be taken into serious consideration, along with the eventual findings of the Mueller investigation, in what would fit into an obvious pattern of obstruction. By pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio and, more recently, former Bush Administration official Scooter Libby, this President has been sending clear and unmistakable signals to potential witnesses in the Russia investigation that he may protect them through the use of the pardon. Considering how far President Trump and his allies are willing to go to impede a thorough investigation of Russian interference into our election, Congress must use its authority to prevent this President or any other from abusing the pardon power for their own personal benefit or to obstruct justice. That’s why I support legislation to require that if the President pardons someone in connection with an investigation in which the President or one of his family members is a target, subject, or witness, the evidence against the recipient of the pardon must be preserved and shared by the Department of Justice with Congress.
Which three actions taken so far by the Trump administration do you most strongly support?
Quigley: During his first year in office, President Trump has staked out extreme positions on nearly every significant policy issue we face. His harmful policies and inflammatory rhetoric have created one of the most divisive political climates in recent memory. Such an environment does not lend itself to bipartisanship or collaboration. The President has done nothing to mend these divisions, nor has he shown any of the goodwill needed for Democrats to trust that they can work in good faith with this administration. The impact of President Trump’s dangerous policies are far reaching and in some cases irreversible. However, if there are three actions this administration has taken that deserve some level of recognition, they are (1) calling for a $1 trillion infrastructure package, although I don’t support the Administration’s initial proposals to achieve this goal; (2) signing legislation limiting the President’s ability to lift sanctions on Russia despite personal opposition; and (3) approving the export of lethal arms from U.S. manufacturers to Ukraine to help counter Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.
Which three actions taken by the Trump administration do you most strongly disagree with?
Quigley: President Trump has undertaken numerous actions that are completely unacceptable. In a variety of cases, the President has taken steps that are misguided, short-sighted and cold hearted. For instance, imposing a blanket ban on immigration from Muslim majority countries simply because of the religion of their inhabitants is as unconscionable as it is unconstitutional. America is a nation that prides itself on religious freedom and opportunity for all, and to restrict entry to an entire group of people drips of xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and racism. Similarly, President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program did nothing to improve our national security or the sanctity of our borders. Instead it simply turned the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people, who came to this country before they could choose to for themselves, upside down. DACA recipients abide by strict rules to maintain their status and our country is better for their presence and hard work. Pulling the rug out from under them is cruel.
Finally, the President’s decision to remove the United States from the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change was a decision that will have long-lasting consequences. Not only does pulling out of the Paris Agreement do nothing for domestic fossil fuel producers who still need to compete in a global market committed to addressing greenhouse gas emissions, it completely isolated the U.S in the global community and ceded leadership to countries like China who do not have our best interests at heart. In addition, as the climate continues to change, every nation must do what science demands to address the causes of global warming. We are already beginning to see the consequences a warming world and without urgent action, severe storms, droughts, wildfires, changing weather patterns, and the social and economic impacts they produce will only continue to worsen.
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?
Quigley: The Trump administration has demonstrated pretty clearly that it prioritizes the financial well-being of polluters and fossil energy companies over clean air, clean water, and a stable climate. The administration has proposed a replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan under the auspices of ending the so-called ‘war on coal’ and lifting an imaginary regulatory burden off of coal producers, but the real reason that coal-fired energy generation is down across the country is the dramatic increase in natural gas production we’ve seen over the past decade or so. Natural gas is simply cheaper than coal, and it’s pushing coal producers out of the market. Trump’s dirty power plan will prop up struggling coal mines that the market has determined should close for a few more months or years – delaying the necessary economic transition of America’s coal communities and allowing them to further degrade the surrounding environment and spew more toxins into our atmosphere.
The Trump administration’s attempt to weaken auto fuel-economy standards is perhaps even more egregious. Increasing vehicle fuel economy will not only help to cut dangerous carbon pollution, it will reduce costs for consumers who would spend less time and money at the pump. Further, pushing automakers to meet ambitious but achievable miles-per-gallon goals will help drive innovation in the industry, something vehicle manufacturers were fully aware of when they worked with the Obama administration to help set the current efficiency targets in 2012. Thanks in large part to the reduction of coal in our energy mix, transportation has surpassed power generation as the largest driver of climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions in America. Increasing fuel economy is the best and most cost effective way to reduce these gases.
It is almost insulting to our collective intelligence that the Trump administration justified this rollback by claiming that it would save American lives thanks to bigger- and therefore safer- less-efficient vehicles. Even the Trump EPA, led by people who care more about reducing regulation than protecting the environment, rebuked this justification in internal memos. Instead, this rollback will cost consumers thousands of dollars and eviscerate one of the most important tools we have to combat climate change.
These actions, taken collectively with the President’s decision to remove the U.S. from the Paris Agreement reveal a disturbing truth- President Trump is all too willing to walk away from the benefits of a low carbon economy and to subject Americans to the predictable but deadly impacts of a changing climate and polluted environment in order to help increase the short term profits of corporate polluters. It’s a position as irresponsible as it is galling and it needs to change.
To what extent is climate change a man-made phenomenon? How serious is the threat to our children’s future? What should be done?
Quigley: That climate change is occurring and is principally driven by man-made greenhouse gas emissions is an empirical and verifiable fact. The increase in carbon dioxide that scientists have observed and recorded over the last few decades is unprecedented in the last tens of thousands of years. Similarly, global temperatures, which respond to increases in the presence of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, have risen precipitously and at a speed which cannot be accounted for by the natural variations of earth’s climate and weather- systems that typically take hundreds or even thousands of years to perceptibly change. Sixteen of the seventeen hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000 and every single month for the past 33 years has been warmer than its 20th century average.
We are already beginning to see the consequences of this unabated and human-driven warming. Severe storms like hurricanes are becoming more frequent and more powerful, droughts are becoming deeper and more common, leading to an increased prevalence of deadly wildfires like those we’ve seen across the West the past two years, and changing temperature and weather patterns are wreaking havoc on habitats and ecosystems that are both intrinsically valuable and important to economic production. Even the Pentagon considers climate change a ‘threat multiplier’ in conflicts across the globe.
Climate change is an economy-wide threat, potentially impacting our food production, transportation, housing, and even immigration and our national security. Long term, there is no greater threat to future generations. Fortunately, we now know that taking the urgent action needed to meet the challenge of climate change and transition to a resilient low-carbon future can be a major driver of economic growth. There are more than 3 million jobs in the US in the clean energy and energy efficiency industries and that number will only grow as more renewables are included in our power generation mix. In 2017, the US invested $57 billion in new energy investment and as a result of continued efforts to become cleaner and more efficient in our energy use, over the last decade, USD GDP is up more than 15% while our energy use is down 2% and our total greenhouse gas emissions are at their lowest levels in more than 20 years.
However, there is much more that we must do, starting with reversing President Trump’s disastrous decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. That agreement represents the marshalling of global will to confront a truly global problem and, as the world’s richest and most powerful country, we must be at the forefront of those efforts, not shrinking from the challenge. Additionally, we must invest in the research and development of the new and improved technologies that will be needed to reduce emissions in line with what science demands to avoid the worst impacts of a changing climate. We need to continue the decarbonization of our energy and transportation sectors and start accounting for the astronomical costs of carbon pollution on society, possibly by instituting an economy wide price on carbon. Most importantly, we need to stop wasting time relitigating the very existence of this problem. It is our moral and ethical obligation to act, if we continue to allow our own intransigence to stand in the way of protecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans and billions around the world, we will have failed our children and handicapped their potential prosperity.
What is the single most important action Congress can take to curb gun violence?
Quigley: The most important action Congress could take to curb gun violence in the United States would be to expand background checks to all firearm transfers. When it comes to preventing gun violence, the status quo is no longer acceptable. Elected officials must stop cowering to the gun lobby and address the gun violence epidemic our country is facing. Whether a sale is online, at a gun show, between neighbors, or at a licensed dealer, the process to purchase a firearm should not differ. I experienced this first hand when I visited a gun show in Indiana. The ability to purchase a semi-automatic rifle with no questions asked is not only disturbing, it is nonsensical. Lax gun laws in Indiana drive much of the unprecedented violence we see in Chicago. According to the Chicago Police Department, 20 percent of all crime guns come from Indiana. Requiring mandatory background checks and providing adequate funding for the National Instant Background Check System is just one step to address these loopholes that plague our gun laws.
Additionally, we should reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban that lapsed in 2004. Mass shootings in Newtown, Parkland, Aurora, Tucson, Orlando and Las Vegas — just to name a few — have demonstrated all too clearly the need to regulate this style of weapon. The type of firearms that fall into this category are not used for hunting or sport, they are weapons of war. The original ban included certain types of ammunition that I believe should be banned again. A magazine capable of holding 100 rounds far exceeds everyday use. To put this in perspective, the military only uses 30-round magazines with their semi-automatic M16 issued rifles. As Anthony Scalia stated in his opinion of the District of Columbia et al. v. Heller case, “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” I do not disagree that Americans have the right to bear arms, but weapons used on the battlefield should not be among them.
There is no one size fits all solution to the gun violence epidemic, it will take a combination of small pragmatic measures. I look forward to continuing the fight for gun violence prevention and finding ways to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who wish to do us harm.
Is the media the “enemy of the people”? Please explain.
Quigley: Far from the ‘enemy of the people,’ a free and vibrant press is necessary to the functioning of a democracy, that’s why the Founding Fathers enshrined the guarantee of a free press into the first amendment of the Bill of Rights. When President Trump denigrates the press as ‘fake news’ or as the enemy of the people he’s trying to cast them as outsiders out to get him and override the will of the people. But the press is the people- reporters, editors, and journalists are valued members of our communities. An important part of their job, which is indispensable in our society, is to shine a light on the actions of our government. Today, that means uncovering the truth behind this president’s repeated lies and misleading statements. The press has done an admirable job to expose the administration’s deceit on issues of such consequence as the government’s inadequate response in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and the subsequent death toll there, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s misuse of government funds, and the repeated, almost mundane lies that are are the sad hallmark of this administration.
Over the last two years, many of our most important institutions have been tested like never before and in some unfortunate cases they have proved unable to meet these new challenges. But the press corps has largely risen to meet our need for reliable information. While there are some unsavory outlets that really do peddle false stories meant to inflame, the political press has proven their value and their ability to share the vital information the American people need to make informed decisions and hold their elected officials accountable. They are not the enemy of the people.
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?
Quigley: Tax reform that simplifies the code, while making it fairer and more competitive plays an important role in expanding growth opportunities. Any serious tax proposal must be enacted through a bipartisan process to provide businesses and families with certainty that the code will not drastically change depending on which party is in power. In addition, tax reform should be revenue-neutral, meaning that it should not increase deficits by ensuring that every tax cut be replaced with an equivalent offset. Unfortunately, the tax bill passed into law late last year, which I opposed, fails these basic requirements. It was forced through Congress on a party-line vote, adds at least $1.5 trillion to our debt over the next ten years, and will fail to produce the levels of growth promised by President Trump. In fact, some analysts estimate that the tax bill will add as little as 0.3 percent to GDP over the next two years and may reduce growth beginning in 2020. To make matters worse, over 80 percent of the tax cuts in the Republican tax law goes to the top 1 percent while taxes go up for 86 million middle-class families. Although tax cuts for corporations are made permanent, the comparatively minor benefit provided to the middle class expires. This redistribution of wealth from the least fortunate to those at the top puts downward pressure on demand and significantly slows economic growth.
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?
Quigley: Thanks in large part to the leadership of President Obama, the U.S. economy is better off now than it was in 2009 when our country was at the height of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. However, too many hard working Americans are struggling to climb the economic ladder as wealth continues to accumulate in the hands of the wealthiest among us. Despite low unemployment, wage growth is barely keeping up with inflation, job creation has been geographically uneven, healthcare remains unaffordable for too many, and young workers starting their careers are burdened by unsustainable student loan debt.
In addition to reconsidering tax reform, Congress can help create the conditions necessary to accelerate growth through a number policies, such as increasing investment in areas we know will deliver long-term value like research and development, infrastructure, and education; expanding exports though 21st century trade agreements that protect American workers; and passing comprehensive immigration reform that could help to boost GDP growth by over 3 percent in less than a decade.
To level the playing field, tackle income inequality, and expand opportunities, I’ve supported legislation to raise the federal minimum wage, require paid family and sick leave, and strengthen protections for women and minorities who suffer from wage discrimination. I’ve also been an outspoken advocate for the expansion of unionization and strongly oppose any attempts to weaken the right to organize at both the federal and state level. These policies will give working Americans the tools they need to compete fairly in today’s economy.
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?
Quigley: I will always support diplomacy first and remain open to engaging with our adversaries and our enemies alike. Talks must be done in a responsible way through good faith, accountability, and transparency. However, the announcement of a proposed meeting this fall between President Trump and President Putin was both shocking and appalling. Until the President fully acknowledges Russia’s actions and holds it accountable for its attempts to influence our elections, and until we receive verifiable assurances that Russia is no longer targeting the U.S., we should not dignify President Putin with a visit to our White House. Moscow must understand that there are consequences for their actions. If President Trump is not prepared or willing to punish them, then no talks should take place.
How would you assess and grade the Trump administration’s efforts to recalibrate our nation’s relationships with Korea, NATO and Russia?
Korea: While it’s true that North Korea’s nuclear ambitions continue to provoke and destabilize the Asia-Pacific region, President Trump’s inability to refrain from immature name calling and saber-rattling has undermined our efforts to bring stability to the Korean peninsula. I have been to the fragile demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea, and received classified briefings from top military and intelligence officials on the ground. Those meetings confirmed my belief that any loose talk of military action by the Trump Administration risks a confrontation that would ignite another devastating war in the region and lead to the deaths of millions of innocent civilians and our service members stationed there.
Instead, I have urged and supported the hardening of economic sanctions against North Korea, particularly on the country’s energy sector, and continue to push for greater cooperation from China, which is essential for creating the economic pressure needed to fully isolate North Korea and force Kim Jong Un to the negotiating table. At the same time these sanctions are only as effective as our ability to lead a united effort to crack down on violators, as was recently the case with the seizing of ships attempting to transport oil to North Korea. As we exploit North Korea’s growing reliance on international trade, the cost of Pyongyang’s actions will continue to increase.
Furthermore, the U.S. must continue to reassure our allies through coordinated policy and messaging, as well as an acceleration of missile defense deployment in the region. That requires consideration of additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) units to support South Korea and Japan, as well as a strengthening of existing Ground-Based Interceptors to shore up the defense of the U.S. homeland. In the end, a diplomatic route is the only practical option to avoid a catastrophic confrontation.
NATO: The United States assumes a unique and important role in world affairs. Winston Churchill may have said it best when he recognized that “the people of the United States cannot escape world responsibility.” The absence of U.S. leadership on the world’s stage creates a vacuum of power, which can breed violence and discontent. And while we can’t be the world’s policeman, the U.S. must lead in concert with the international community. That is why I support our continued participation and investment in international alliances like NATO. The maintenance of a strong, smart, 21st century military aids in our leadership goals abroad. Responsible defense spending that demonstrates the best return on investment should be a central goal of our national security policy. That will require us to continue encouraging our NATO allies to contribute additional resources to meet their defense spending obligations, without threatening to dismantle the alliance and abandoning our European partners. However, President Trump continues to scold our NATO allies for not contributing more to their defense spending, even though our European partners have served side by side our troops since 9/11. Furthermore, as British Prime Minister Theresa May recently reminded us, NATO continues to share critical intelligence with the United States. Unsurprisingly, this president fails to understand the important role that intelligence gathering and sharing has played in every major post-9/11 victory in the fight against terrorism. The more cracks President Trump creates in this fragile partnership, the greater the chance that another country that does not share our democratic values will come in to fill the void.
Russia: Our Intelligence Community, which is comprised of 17 individual intelligence agencies throughout the federal government, has confirmed that the Russian government mounted an influence campaign to intervene in the 2016 presidential election. This type of action by a foreign government is unprecedented in American history and threatens our national security as well as the integrity of our democracy. Equally troubling is the possibility this interference was aided by members of the Trump campaign and administration. I know that I share this concern not only with my constituents, but also with most of the American public. As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I am committed to protecting our country, and its institutions, from all threats, both foreign and domestic. It is no secret that Moscow has a longstanding desire to undermine the liberal democratic order led by the United States. Vladimir Putin’s goal to erode public trust in the democratic process is evident by his intrusion in our election, but also by his willingness to disrupt the electoral process across Europe. That’s why I’m so concerned by President Trump’s refusal to hold Russian President Putin accountable for his actions. In fact, when President Trump was given the opportunity to challenge Putin in Helsinki this July, he instead condemned his own intelligence agencies while praising the Russian President without reservation. It was embarrassing, it was un-American, and it was a clear sign from the President that he will continue to stand by as Putin orchestrates additional attacks on our democracy.
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?
Quigley: The Trump Administration’s travel ban, in any form, undermines American values and has severe national security implications. I stand by the lower court’s ruling that each iteration of the travel ban is unconstitutional, and I’m disappointed that the Supreme Court chose to allow President Trump’s third version of the ban can go into effect. The idea that our government should favor or penalize certain individuals based on religion is unacceptable and disrespects the legacy of our nation’s founders. Past generations have fought to ensure religious freedom for all and any ban that predominantly affects those from Muslim countries is a direct affront to the liberties and freedoms we hold dear. I’m often reminded of the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.” The United States has always been a gateway for millions of immigrants from all religions and ethnic backgrounds. These words take on a new urgency in the face of the immoral actions by the Trump Administration.
That’s why I was proud to lead legislation that would revoke and defund the travel ban, as well as file an Amicus brief for the court proceedings detailing the flawed and unconstitutional nature of each iteration of the travel ban. Moving forward, I will continue to fight the travel ban in the House and the courts.
What three major reforms should be made to United States immigration policy?
Quigley: Immigrants enrich our country and embody the ideals this nation was founded on. They come from every corner of the world searching for freedom and prosperity they believe the United States can provide. To me, the threat to the American way of life is when we embrace anti-immigrant and isolationist policies. Immigrants have and always will be the fabric that binds our country. But our immigration system is broken and needs comprehensive immigration reform. That means addressing the failures of our legal immigration system which have resulted in millions of undocumented immigrants in this country living in the shadows. Fixing our broken immigration system will only be accomplished through comprehensive reform that provides an earned pathway to citizenship, giving undocumented immigrants the chance to get in line, pay fines and back taxes, earn legal status, and become productive members of our society.
We must also address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to ensure we do not subject innocent young people to deportation. It was a reprehensible decision by Trump Administration to end the DACA program without a reasonable solution already negotiated. When left to Congress to find a solution, Republican leadership failed to bring clean solution to a vote in either Chamber. Should Democrats win back the House of Representatives in November, it is my sincere hope that one of the first things we do is vote on legislation like the DREAM Act.
Furthermore, the Trump Administration’s push to fulfill hardline campaign promises on immigration continue to harm American citizens and immigrants alike. That’s why I support efforts to codify the policy that prohibits separating families at the border. Children, the most innocent and vulnerable among us, should not be used as political leverage or as a deterrent for undocumented immigration. I proudly joined over 190 of my Democratic colleagues to introduce the Keep Families Together Act, which stipulates that no child is to be removed from their parent’s custody except under the most extreme of circumstances such, as abuse or risk of being trafficked. Immigration reform should not be a partisan issue. It is time for Congress to put politics aside and allow a vote on these necessary reforms.
Do you support or oppose the family-based immigration policy sometimes called “chain migration”? Please explain.
Quigley: Since our founding the United States has always been a nation of immigrants. Whether they come from Ireland, like my ancestors, Mexico, Nigeria, or India, immigrants have come for generations all looking for the same thing: to make a better life for themselves and for their families. That’s why I strongly support family-based immigration, a policy that allows legal U.S. residents to sponsor relatives to them in the United States. Not only does the policy help bring families together, it also helps build stronger communities. Nowhere is that more evident than in Chicago where immigrants helped build our skyscrapers, contributed the hard work necessary for our industries to prosper, and established vibrant civic and religious organizations.
For decades this family-based immigration has helped America prosper by bringing hardworking, tax-paying immigrants from every corner of the world. To me, the debate on this issue is settled and we cannot allow harmful, prejudiced rhetoric from the Trump Administration to erode an effective, legal program. The family-based immigration process is an arduous one that can take anywhere from months to years, with caps on the number of immigrants that can be sponsored. This program, like many others in our immigration system, are the very things that make America, America.
What would you do, as a member of Congress, to improve race relations in the United States?
Quigley: In the 54 years since the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act our country has yet to reconcile deep-seated issues with race, inequality, and injustice. And with the profane language from President Trump that often inflames racial tensions, it may seem like improving race relations in the United States is an impossible task. But it is a task that I embrace fully. However, it’s important to understand that there isn’t one perfect solution to this issue. We must take practical steps to bridge the racial divide in Chicago and communities around the country. Many of these steps depends on everyday Americans working at the local level as the catalyst for positive change nationally. That begins with a focus on our youth and the best way to reach them is through improving and providing equal educational opportunities for everyone, regardless of race.
That also means better training for local law enforcement to understand the communities they take an oath to protect, as well as cultural education for youth to gain a better understanding of diversity that they may not see in their current classroom, but will see in the future. And it means reforming institutional inequities that remain pervasive throughout our criminal justice system, healthcare system, and housing. However, as long as President Trump remains in office, any significant progress will remain out of reach. Since his presidential campaign the President has regularly defended the words and actions of numerous bigots, racists, and white supremacists: groups that only perpetuate fear and encourage violence against minorities. That includes his steadfast failure to condemn white supremacy in the tragic aftermath of the Charlottesville protest, and his three iterations of a bigoted Muslim travel ban.
Time and time again, this president has shown the American people he is not a president of everyone, but a selected few who have his loyalty.
What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent?
Quigley: The American people need answers about not only what occurred in 2016 when the Russians attacked our election, but what we’re going to do next to make sure it never happens again. My opponent has demonstrated no willingness to investigate this president, oppose his political party, or fight for the priorities of the 5th district. We cannot have a Congress that checks this president if it is not lead by people willing to oppose him and the Republican majority has completely failed to provide a constitutional check to Donald Trump.
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.