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Mike Fricilone, 3rd Congressional District Republican nominee profile

He wants additional federal, state and local funding for police training and their mental health care.

Mike Fricilone, 3rd Congressional District Republican nominee, 2020 election, candidate questionnaire
Mike Fricilone, 3rd Congressional District Republican nominee.
Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Candidate profile

Mike Fricilone

Political party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: https://mikefricilone.com/

The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees for the U.S. Congress a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois their districts and the country. Mike Fricilone submitted the following responses:

Are you satisfied with the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Why or why not? What grade would you give President Donald Trump for his handling of the pandemic, and why?

No, I am not satisfied with the response of the federal government. There have been some actions by the president that I approved of, such as closing down travel from China, promptly turning around the first-round stimulus package, issuing an Executive Order defining ventilators and PPE as essential to our national defense, and invoking the Defense Production Act to increase supplies of N95 respirators. But overall, the results have been very disappointing. While not 100% the president’s fault, the buck stops at the desk of the president. My preference would have been for the president to take the initiative and provide consistent national guidelines for reopening much earlier than he did, encourage social distancing and mask-wearing, and cease the nonstop talk about how the virus was not a serious threat and will just ‘go away.’

As a Will County Board Member, I am extremely pleased with the work of the Will County Health Department in their actions to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Locally, we’ve provided much of the leadership that was lacking on this issue in Washington.

What should the federal government do to stimulate economic recovery from the pandemic shutdowns?

I support strong and continued action by the federal government to help our families and economy recover from the pandemic. I strongly support the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program. Now I hope both sides of the aisle can come together for the HEALS Act which will continue to move our country in the right direction economically. Plus, I believe we should continue to provide student loan forgiveness and direct stimulus paychecks to help invigorate our local economies. Never in our post-World War II modern history have so many people had to make so many sacrifices. I am confident in the American spirit of ingenuity and believe that this is a temporary, though devastating, set back to our lives and our economy.

In the wake of the death of George Floyd, President Trump signed an executive order on police reform. It calls for the creation of a database to track police officers with multiple instances of misconduct, federal grants to encourage police departments to meet higher certification standards on use of force, and the greater involvement of social workers and mental health professionals when the police respond to calls dealing with homelessness, mental illness and addiction. The order also calls for police departments to ban the use of chokeholds except when an officer feels his or her life is endangered. Will this be enough to address concerns about police brutality? If not, what other steps should be taken?

As a Member of the Will County Board, I have always been a supporter of our local sheriffs and police officers as they are vital to keeping our communities, families, and children safe. Growing up in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge, many of my family’s neighbors and friends were Chicago Police officers.

In the wake of rioting, violence, and looting, we must keep in mind that our police officers are heroes in their local communities. The idea currently being floated around by my opponent to defund the police is dangerous to our communities and would allow crime to run rampant. I have called for additional federal, state, and local funding to ensure that our police on the front lines have the right training and tools to protect communities and themselves and to ensure that police, many of whom come to the police force after serving in the military, are given proper mental health care.

Specifically, to the question on chokeholds, I do not support them unless it is a life-threatening situation, and even then, there must be documented proof that the chokehold was warranted and justified.

We need to come together to keep our families and neighborhoods safe. Police are not our enemies; they are our neighbors who put their lives on the line to serve us. No, they aren’t perfect, and there are many areas that they must improve. While we support our police in their efforts to improve, we must also work to bring harmony back to our cities and brotherhood between all people.

Also in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the House passed the Justice in Policing Act, which would ban police departments from using chokeholds, develop a national standard for use of force, limit the transfer of military weapons to police departments, define lynching as a federal hate crime, establish a national police misconduct registry, and limit qualified immunity, which protects officers from lawsuits over alleged misconduct. Do you support this legislation? Why or why not? What other steps, if any, would you like to see the federal government take on police reform?

In Congress, I would have supported Senator Tim Scott’s JUSTICE Act, which would have completely reformed our law enforcement systems throughout the nation. The JUSTICE Act would have strengthened the training methods and tactics throughout all our law enforcement jurisdictions and would have provided specialized training to de-escalate confrontations before they could ever reach the level of lethal or even high levels of force. Also, this legislation would have ended the practice of chokeholds nationwide.

This innovative legislation also would have reformed hiring practices to ensure that the makeup of police forces more closely matches the communities in which they serve. Finally, the JUSTICE Act would have ensured when a law enforcement candidate is interviewed, the department looking to hire would have access to the candidate’s prior disciplinary records.

What’s your view on President Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone?

I disagree with the president’s decision to commute the sentence of Mr. Stone.

Mike Fricilone submitted the following responses before the March primary:

Please tell us about your civic work in the last two years, whether it’s legislation you have sponsored or other paid or volunteer work to improve your community.

I love giving back to the community, after all, it’s the community and the people in them that we are elected to serve. During my time on the WIll County Board, I was the Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Vice Chairman of the Capital Improvement Committee. During that time, we’ve built the county courthouse, a public safety complex, a health department building, an EMA building, and an animal control building. All of this was done without raising existing taxes or implementing new ones. Also, I am the president of the Lockport Township High School Charitable Foundation. In the last five years the foundation has given out over $500,000 in scholarships to deserving students.

What are your views on the decision by the U.S. House to impeach President Donald Trump? Has the impeachment process been fair or not? How so? If, in your view, the president should not have been impeached, would you have supported censure? Please explain.

The impeachment process has been politically motivated. It is a partisan scam, and designed to try and hide the corruption that exists in Washington. I helped send President Trump to Washington to do exactly what he is doing. Draining the swamp. I do not support impeachment, I would not support censure in the future. I stand by our president.

How would you reduce the federal budget deficit, which now stands at about $1 trillion for 2020? What changes, if any, to the U.S. tax code do you support and why?

Well, I’m a fiscal conservative so I support reducing the deficit. One trillion dollars is an absurd amount and hopefully in future budgets steps can be taken to reduce this. The economy is growing strongly, and continued growth will help pour dollars into our tax system thus shrinking the deficit. Economic growth is our best way of getting us in the black. As an Illinois representative, I would be in favor of increasing the SALT tax deduction to reduce the burden on residents of high tax states. I am also in favor of closing tax loopholes that corporations exploit in order to pay zero taxes.

What changes would you like to see made to our nation’s healthcare system? Would you shore up the Affordable Care Act or work to repeal it in full? What’s your view on Medicare for All? And what should be done, if anything, to bring down the cost of prescription drugs?

I would work to have a new, common sense plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. The ACA just quite frankly hasn’t worked, and needs to be repealed. Talking to constituents, I’ve listened to countless stories of premiums doubling, private insurance becoming prohibitively expensive, and they lose the ability to work with the doctor of their choice. We need a new healthcare plan. However, that new plan is not Medicare for All. I oppose Medicare For All as it is a socialistic program that will never work and is pure folly spouted by the hard left. I believe prescription drugs need to come down in pricing, especially for our seniors. Prescription drug pricing is going to be more important than ever, now that the Baby Boomers are entering retirement. A bipartisan, commonsense solution must be found now.

The Trump administration is awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court as to whether it can end the DACA program — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — which shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Do you support or oppose DACA and why? Should a path to citizenship be created for the so-called DREAMers? Please explain.

Our first mission is to secure our borders. We have 500,000 people coming here illegally each year. How can we talk about a plan for the people here if more keep coming? Turn off the tap, then we can work on a solution. I am in favor of finding a path that allows young people brought here as babies and young children to stay here.

What are the three most important issues in your district on which the federal government can and should act?

Number one would be reducing taxes. Number two is finding a reasonable health care plan for my constituents. Number three is job training and re-training.

What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent(s)?

Well the number one difference is that I’m not a Democrat or a Nazi. I am the only true Republican in the race, and the commonsense choice. I have real legislative experience. I’m currently the Minority Leader on the Will County Board, and have seven years of local government experience. During my tenure on the board; as Chairman of the Finance Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Capital Improvement committee, we’ve lowered the county tax rate for four consecutive years. I know how to find and reduce government waste, and I will do the same thing in Washington.

What action should Congress take, if any, to reduce gun violence?

Guns are a complex issue. I’m pro second amendment, as well as a gun owner. However, something must be done to combat this new wave of violence. I support federal legislation that would increase sentences of those that are caught with illegal guns. We also need to commit more resources to those that are struggling with mental health issues.

Is climate change real? Is it significantly man-made? Is it a threat to humankind? What if anything should Congress and the federal government do about it?

The future of the environment is very important to me. I am in favor of continuing research and development of new technologies in the private sector. The private sector is best positioned to come up with these new technologies, government interference would only slow them down. I proposed solar energy for the new county courthouse which will account for seven percent of the building’s energy. I also proposed we analyze all county buildings for their compatibility with solar, and that process is currently ongoing.

What should Congress do to ensure the solvency of Social Security and Medicare?

The seniors are being shortchanged when the COLA (cost of living adjustment) is tied to the CPI-E (Consumer Price Index for the Elderly) instead of the regular CPI. The CPI-E is lower than the CPI, and seniors are left covering costs or cutting corners due to the COLA’s not keeping up. Even though the difference between the CPI-E and CPI aren’t too far apart, you must remember that the numbers compound, so the cost to the seniors is far greater. To reach solvency, changes in income will have to be looked at, as well as the age requirements for the program. I am confident a bi-partisan solution can be found.

What should Congress do to address the student loan crisis? Would you use the word “crisis”?

I would support an across-the-board decrease in the interest rate students are charged for their loans. There are many ways to decrease costs at universities, including at our community colleges which I feel Illinois has the best in the nation. I think a turn towards vocational school would help address the crisis as well, as it is important that all job sectors have enough workers.

What should our nation’s relationship be with Russia?

As a global leader, I support the US working with all nations to increase our economy. However, our safety comes number one. We must put safeguards in place to protect the integrity of our elections. The US has to make sure that all nations work with us, not against us. Nations that pose a threat to us or impede on our election safety must have a strong response from the United States Government.

What’s your view on the use of tariffs in international commerce? Has President Trump imposed tariffs properly and effectively? Please explain.

To be a partner in the global economy, all nations must play by the rules. Unfortunately, not all nations play by the same rules. Under previous administrations, a blind eye was turned to this, especially when the infractor was China. President Trump has shown that it is not business as usual, and is forcing these rogue nations to conform to the global standard. Otherwise, why cripple ourselves and let China run free? Tariffs are the response to years of Chinese manipulation of the global economy.

Does the United States have a responsibility to promote democracy in other countries? Please explain.

The United States does have a responsibility to promote democracy in other countries. As a global leader, we must show these developing nations what a free beacon of democracy looks like. However, we cannot impose our will on them. Educate first, assist second.

What should Congress do to limit the proliferation of nuclear arms?

We should continue to be at the table with all nuclear nations to decrease nuclear arms and create treaties that will provide a safer globe. While we cannot have zero nuclear weapons, we do not need enough to destroy the entirety of the world 100 times over.

Please list all relatives on public or campaign payrolls and their jobs on those payrolls.

One of my children is the current Event and Communications Coordinator for the Village of Homer Glen.

What historical figure from Illinois, other than Abraham Lincoln (because everybody’s big on Abe), do you most admire or draw inspiration from? Please explain.

President Ronald Reagan. His ability to reach and speak to all members of the country gives me great inspiration. Of all the administrations I have been around for, his was the most honest and direct I felt. He didn’t have an ulterior motive or agenda, he just wanted what was best for the country. And that’s the same thing I want.

What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?

I only watch what my wife puts on (she controls the TV). However, I love when she puts Modern Family on. The family dynamic is hilarious, and I notice parallels to my own life, like when the children are bickering. Really any show that has the comedic family dynamic is one I’m a fan of.