David F. Black
Running for: United States Senate
Political party affiliation: Illinois Green Party
Occupation: Retired attorney, pro bono authorized
Education: BA, MA, Ph.D, JD
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The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent the nominees for U.S. Senate a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois and the country. David F. Black 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?
I am completed dissatisfied with the response. We failed to act quickly enough and then reopened too quickly. President Trump has consistently provided false information in contradiction to this own experts. With respect to the aid for those economically affected, we excluded vulnerable immigrants, and gave PPP loans to large profitable entities.
What should the federal government do to stimulate economic recovery from the pandemic shutdowns?
We need to continue with large unemployment compensation supplements, aid struggling local and state governments, and continue moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
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?
These are token steps. We need to end the militarization of police forces and redirect resources to the sources of crime such as racism, poverty and mental illness.
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?
I support these steps, but we need to go further. The federal government must stop supplying surplus military hardware to local police. Federal resources need to be redirected from increasing police funding to funding the root causes of crime.
What’s your view on President Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone?
Presidents, of both major parties, have used the pardon/commutation power to favor the rich and their friends. This must cease.
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 serve on the board of Habitat for Humanity. I provide pro bono legal services to those seeking to seal or expunge their criminal records so they can find gainful employment.
What are your views on the decision by the U.S. House to impeach President Donald Trump? Was the impeachment process fair or not? How so? If, in your view, the president should not have been impeached, would you have supported censure? Please explain.
The President should have been impeached for more than just the charges that were brought. Politically, however, since it was clear the Senate wouldn’t convict, impeachment may have served to strengthen his political base.
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?
We need to undo the Trump tax cuts for the rich. Indeed if we went back to the Eisenhower ear tax rates for the wealthy, we could have a balanced budget.
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 not shore up the failing Affordable Care Act. I favor improved Medicare for all which should include controls on drug costs.
Do you support or oppose DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and why? Should a path to citizenship be created for the so-called DREAMers? Please explain.
I have personally assisted DREAMers in completing DACA applications and renewals. They are incredibly deserving and well integrated into our society. They deserve a long term legal solution that includes a path to citizenship.
What are the three most important issues in your district on which the federal government can and should act?
Aid to local and state governments that have had increased expenses and loss of revenue due to the virus. This and other actions are in answers to other questions.
What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent(s)?
The Democratic incumbent has supported increased defense spending, while I favor drastic cuts. He supports the illegal coup in Venezuela, while I support the popularly elected government. He is not even handed in his support for Israel and the Palestinians, which I am opposed to the American embassy being moved to Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.
What action should Congress take, if any, to reduce gun violence?
There is popular support for banning assault weapons and universal background checks. This would be a start.
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?
Climate change is real, significantly man-made, and the greatest threat we face. We need to join with other nations to set polution limits and not withdraw from present treaties.
What should Congress do to ensure the solvency of Social Security and Medicare?
Social security and Medicare can be made solvent by eliminating the high income threshold, excusing the rich from paying their fair share.
What should Congress do to address the student loan crisis? Would you use the word “crisis”?
The government is currently trying to turn a profit on student loans to the disadvantage of your younger generation. I favor loan forgiveness and making higher education free.
What should our nation’s relationship be with Russia?
We should try to have good relations with all countries, but cannot tolerate Russian interference in our elections.
What’s your view on the use of tariffs in international commerce? Has President Trump imposed tariffs properly and effectively? Please explain.
Tariffs should not be a political tool. Trump’s tarriffs have hurt US farmers and consumers.
Does the United States have a responsibility to promote democracy in other countries? Please explain.
Our currently policy is to prop up “friendly” dictators. We need to let the peoples of all nations decide for themselves what type of government they wish to have.
What should Congress do to limit the proliferation of nuclear arms?
We need to strengthen and not withdraw from existing treaties. The United States should work toward a totally nuclear free world instead of upgrading our existing weapons stockpile.
Please list all relatives on public or campaign payrolls and their jobs on those payrolls.
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.
Mother Jones. She fought tirelessly for the rights of working people and their unions.
What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I find it entertaining and I’m always up for a good laugh.
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