The Chicago Sun-Times sent the candidates seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois.
David Merkle submitted the following responses Oct. 8. In addition, watch the video above to find out why Merkle is seeking the office.
As a member of the U.S. House, what are or would be your top cause or causes?
Merkle:My top cause is to provide an opportunity for 720,000 of my voters in Illinois district-2, to improve their lives, by providing them with life changing programs, which have never been offered. This life-changing program is a timeless presentation of how people become more valuable to themselves, their families, and communities and for future generations, at all age levels.
This would elevate “personal responsibilities” by offering the opportunity for each of the 720,000 citizens to be able to increase their intelligence, eliminate excuses for past life and to create new opportunities for financial gain for themselves and for their future. Ways to increase income & business opportunities by 10% with a goal-setting blueprint.
Please list three highly specific needs of your district that you would make priorities.
Merkle: As noted above.
Who is David E. Merkle?
He’s running for: Congress, 2nd District His political/civic background: Elected Kankakee County Board 1990-1999 His occupation: Master Professional Photographer 43 years, owned & operated my own business. Managed all aspects of a successful small business, which included the creation of amazing & priceless portraits. My professional photography work is still being requested by appointment only. His education:
- Gilman High School< Gilman IL
- Associates from KCC, Kankakee, IL
- BS. University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
- Numerous Business Courses on Photography, Professional Picture Framing, Dale Carnegie Courses, Personal, Sales & Management, Marketing.
Campaign website: DavidMerkleMindset.com
Bipartisanship is virtually non-existent in the house. What would you do about that?
Merkle: If every member in Congress was as focused on getting to know each other member in Congress as they are about getting elected that would be a major start.
I know one thing for sure, if all 535 members of Congress took the Dale Carnegie Personal Development course that small investment would create a bigger investment in America. We would surly get a lot more bang for our buck and the gridlock would cease. We all live on this small planet, we need to work together.
Are you convinced that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election in support of the candidacy of Donald Trump? Please explain.
Merkle:This is not an issue. All this time has passed since 2016 and no evidence has been brought to the table. The distractions have done nothing but impede the daily activities of running America. I do not know the facts and I am not privy to that information.
Regardless, President Trump has done more in 18 months to bridge the gap with foreign leaders than the last six living Presidents & their Congresses. The FBI and the President will take further action if required.
Do you support the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller? Please explain.
Merkle:Yes, I support any investigations to expose corruption in our government. We need continued action to correct all long-standing illegal activities, which impacts America.
Congress has been dormant way too long, now President Trump is and has been making changes to move our country forward.
If President Trump were to fire Mueller, directly or indirectly, what should Congress do?
Merkle:Congress will do nothing. have done, blame it on someone else. There is neither responsibility nor accountability in Congress. This too must be changed. Another great reason for term limits.
If Trump were to pardon former campaign Paul Manafort, what should Congress do?
Merkle:Paul Manaforts problems were created long before he went to work for the President’s campaign.
Which three actions taken so far by the Trump administration do you most strongly support?
Merkle:President Trump has followed thru on every promise he has made to the American people. He has addressed economy issues, collected monies due us from foreign countries, as well as immigration issues.
Which three actions taken by the Trump administration do you most strongly disagree with?
Merkle:Currently nothing. For the first time in my life I have seen more investment in time, work, energy, positive communications to and for all American people. He has been the most unconditional-giving President I have ever witnessed. By the word unconditional I mean, “The secret to giving is living, unconditionally.”
The Trump administration has taken action to rollback Obama-era policies aimed at curbing climate change and limiting environmental pollution. The administration has 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 this?
Merkle:So far to date everything President Trump has changed has been to benefit the American people. He is working towards predetermined goals to make the USA and the world a better place. He has addressed healthcare, veteran affairs, economy issues, tariff concerns, education, criminal justice, etc.
To what extent is climate change a man-made phenomenon? How serious is the threat to our children’s future? What should be done?
Merkle:Do you remember the first photograph, It was called “EARTHRISE” it was the first photograph taken by our astronauts coming from the backside of the moon. The foreground was of the Moon’s white surface, far off in the distance was a blue marble looking sphere. It had a neon blue gas surrounding it. Then you could see the green looking growth and there was a sandy area and lots of water surrounding this marble looking planet called earth. The earth has existed for millions of years. As a photographer I wished I had been the photographer who had taken the picture, it was magnificent.
At that moment it occurred to me that someone had the perfect opportunity to say:
“Do you see the neon blue ring that surrounds the earth? That is the atmosphere we breathe. Do you see the blue water? That is the water we drink and water for the sea creatures. Do you see the green area that is where we grow our food.
The entire world needs to address the pollution issue. Pollution and pesticides coming from our homes, industrial sites, landfills, farmlands, space and man made materials and pharmaceuticals.
The world must take ownership immediately, otherwise there will be no future for our children.
What is the single most important action Congress can do to curb gun violence?
Merkle:This is not a Congress issue.
Congress has police protection.
There is no one single action and answer.
This is what doesn’t work: no family unit, corrupt lawyers, judges and police. It is also politicians, our failing court systems, incarceration and repetitive incarceration.
First we need to address personal responsibility then mental issues, drug issues, and gang issues. This is only the beginning, “CHICAGO”.
Is the media the “enemy of the people”? Please explain.
Merkle:No, the media is not the enemy of the people. However, it is the medias interpretation of issues that is causing so much misunderstanding and therefore fuels the fire. This continually confuses people so no one can work together to solve the problem.
Journalism in my day was taught on the principles of WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY & HOW The EDITORIAL part was left for the Editorial Page. NOW it’s all-EDITORIAL.
The media’s initial purpose was to let people know what was going on.
Today’s media is so politically motivated and dividing our country. Even flashing sex in our faces, little kids are being exposed to the media antics.
As an editorial board, our core criticism of the tax overhaul legislation pushed thru 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 tax code? Would you push for further changes, or for the law’s repeal?
Merkle:Judge Rehnquist (sp) was on a WGN late night talk show the evening show was on the tax code. His answer was perfect. He said the tax system is such that it works for everyone to the best of their ability. There are people who use it to the maximum of what they can and there are people who do not take advantage of it at all. As to the wealthiest Americans they are wealthy because they hustle, they work they want more out of life. Its been said if you want to make a living work your 8 hours if you want to make a fortune work another 8 hrs. the only person in control of you and your future and fortune is you. America was built on free enterprise not handouts and entitlements.
Speaking of income inequality, top executives of America’s biggest companies saw their average pay surge to $17.9 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?
Merkle:Same as above.
People make the decisions, make the choices, they are in control of their lives. Better choices equal better results. Education is the ticket for success.
When elected to Congress, my goal is to work with local politicians, unions and educators to allow the people the opportunity bring more and better paying jobs to the region. We need to open more paths to train people in the business and labor force.
Chicago politicians have neglected the south and west sides and have not invested in these areas for decades. All improvements have been directed to higher end communities and Chicago Loop proper. Because of this lack of concern for these areas we are now experiencing high crime rate, thus leading to unlawful action by the constituents.
Would it be appropriate at this time for President Trump to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the White House? Why so, why not?
Merkle:Certainly, we are probably on better terms with Russia than we have ever been. I believe President Trump wants a peaceful world. Small steps can lead to great success.
How would you assess and grade the Trump administration’s efforts to recalibrate our nation’s relationships with Korea, NATO and Russia?
Merkle:Time has come for a major change in how we deal with other countries. President Trump’s administration is opening new doors to allow America to be great again.
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?
Merkle:President Trump banned questionable immigrants from entering our country without reference to their race, religion or country of origin but with the goal to protect the United States of America from harm.
What three major reforms should be made to United States immigration policy?
Merkle:First. and most important we must enforce current immigration laws.
Second, we need to review current standards as they relate to changing times.
Third, we need to modify and or adjust our policies and reduce of illegals coming into the USA. We are a nation of laws and therefore immigrants must adhere to our laws and standards.
Do you support or oppose the family-based immigration policy sometimes called “chain migration”?
Merkle:I cannot answer this with a yes or a no answer at this time.
This is part of the review process, which is required as noted above.
What would you do, as a member of Congress, to improve race relations in the United States?
Merkle:As an elected member of Congress I would establish monthly town hall meetings with my constituents so I could fully understand their needs and the areas of limitations. Once again, I would stress the need for current laws to be enforced. When these ground rules have been established, improvements will follow.
What’s the biggest difference between you and your opponent?
Merkle:In recent months during this campaigning process I have had numerous people tell me that they felt they had no representation from their current Congressperson, Robin Kelly. She has been in Congress representing the 2nd district in Illinois for six years and the voters didn’t even know her name.
I will make every effort to be in touch with my constituents via email, twitter electronic media as well as personal meetings.
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 ofthe PolitiFact Illinois stories we’ve reported togetherhere.