Running for: U.S. House of Representatives (IL-04)
Political party affiliation: Republican Party
23rd Ward Republican Committeeman
2nd Vice-Chair, Chicago Republican Party
Member, NXTGen IL
Chairman, Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Illinois
Occupation: President, Solorio Strategies, LLC
Education: Associate’s Degree in Business Administration, Maccormac College
Campaign website: www.solorioforcongress.com
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board sent nominees for the U.S. House of Representatives a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing their districts and the country. Jesus Solorio 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?
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been overtly politized by both parties and that has caused a disservice to Americans. At the outset of the pandemic, conflicting messages were given to the American people. Although our national emergency supplies were depleted, the Administration worked closely with governors across the country to provide them with medical supplies and personal protective equipment. More collaboration between federal and local government is needed to ensure that proper information and supplies are properly distributed.
What should the federal government do to stimulate economic recovery from the pandemic shutdowns?
In addition to the closure of our economy, we are now reeling from a spike in crime that has destroyed hundreds of businesses and displaced thousands of workers. Locally, elected officials need to focus on passing pro-business regulations that will help job creators rebound and rehire workers. We must strengthen our immigration laws and bring back manufacturing into our district.
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?
Every unnecessary loss of life is tragic, and What happened to George Floyd should have never happened and those individuals should be held accountable. Additionally, there is no doubt that our communities continue to distrust the brave members of the police department and most of the distrust has been because of the partisan rhetoric from elected officials. In order to fix our communities, we must regain the trust of law enforcement officers. President Trump took a major step in regaining that trust when he signed an executive order on police reform.
Furthermore, bad actors who abuse their authority must be disciplined and removed from police departments and defunding the police will further increase crime rates, which have seen a massive increase across our communities in Chicago.
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?
The Justice in Policing Act is too broad and will ultimately handicap the ability of cops to do their job – for the most part, cops are making split-second decisions and the distrust permeating through public opinion only leads to more harm to officers because of their hesitation to act. Doing away with qualified immunity will cause law enforcement officials to not do their job because of fear losing those protections.
What’s your view on President Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone?
The President has the authority to commute and pardon individuals and gives him the discretion as to who gets their sentences commuted.
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.
2020 Fellow at the Chicago City Council Latino Caucus Foundation; as state chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Illinois (RNHA of Illinois), I organized our members to speak with Illinois Congressional Delegation to support legislation on immigration; personally advocated for a legislative solution to DACA; and recruited hundreds of new election judges for the 2018 midterm election.
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.
It’s clear the impeachment of President Trump was politically motivated and a distraction to the work Congress is tasked with doing.
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?
No other topic in today’s political arena is as misunderstood as the national debt and monetary policy. But perhaps no other topic is as important. We recognize that the problem with the federal budget deficit has less to do with the (profound) lack of fiscal discipline of either Democrats or Republicans, and more to do with the nature of modern money – which is quite literally printed from trees, and monetary policy – which is inflationary by design.
Rather than focus on the federal budget deficit, we are committed to addressing monetary policy – which enables the profligate spending by Congress, and is itself responsible for significant wealth inequality in America.
My policy proposal calls for an overhaul to the tax code and regulatory changes to allow for the use of alternative currencies to the US dollar. We recommend eliminating both the individual and corporate income tax, and replacing those with tariffs and a Value Added Tax (VAT). These measures will have the following effects:
- Increase the number of Main Street jobs in manufacturing and decrease the demand for Wall Street jobs in financial services.
- Shrink the trade deficit.
- Incentivize savings and discourage the corporate practice of boosting stock price by repurchasing shares.
- Impose fiscal discipline on politicians.
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?
It is the responsibility of every voter to take notice that with every election cycle politicians make new promises to deliver quality, affordable healthcare to every American, yet healthcare costs continue to rise substantially faster than inflation, while approximately 30 million Americans are still uninsured.
The problem is that elected officials continue to ignore fundamental economics: with every new government mandate and regulation, demand for health care services expands, but the supply of professionals and hospitals does not. This Supply vs. Demand mismatch not only balloons the costs of healthcare, but leaves too many healthcare providers overworked, and overstressed.
We recognize that in order for Quality Health Care to be Affordable, the balance of Supply & Demand must be restored.
- Expand the Supply of health care professionals by ending regulatory bottlenecks & implementing innovative apprenticeship programs.
- Reduce the Demand for services by offering every American access to no frills insurance plans, streamlining prescription refills, requiring copay for Medicare & Medicaid, and eliminating redundant distribution channels.
- Update the tax code to facilitate individual policies.
- Ensure that persons w/ pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage while economic balance is restored to the system.
- Lowering the price of pharmaceuticals should be addressed in a way that respects market forces, and does not deter the research and development of new life saving drugs. We need to allow insurance providers – including Medicare – to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies, and give people greater autonomy in choosing their insurance. Further, we can lower the cost of these drugs to American citizens by ensuring, through bilateral trade agreements, that other nations pay more for American prescription drugs.
- We oppose ‘Medicare for All’ as this is not a solution to the underlying problems of Supply & Demand that exist today. In fact, this type of universal tax payer funded program will only cause the mismatch to deteriorate further. Those politicians who are proponents of ‘Medicare for All’ will promise High Quality Healthcare for All, but in reality the voters will only receive free access to a failing system. Medicare for All will either require a 3rd party rationing of services, or the import of hundreds of thousands of foreign health care workers (or both) – thus depriving those nations of the doctors and nurses they trained.
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.
The failure by congress to act on a permanent legislative solution has caused uncertainty for over 800,000 DREAMers that were brought here as children. I support a solution that will allow these individuals to apply for citizenship if they don’t have a criminal background other than being here unlawfully. This legislation needs be coupled with a robust immigration reform package that includes securing our southern border, additional resources for enforcement, and having state and local governments work with federal agencies to secure our communities.
What are the three most important issues in your district on which the federal government can and should act?
As I talk to voters across the district, the economy, education, and health care are at the top of the list of concerns.
What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent(s)?
Simple. I’m running to represent every voter in my district and not the special interests that have destroyed our political process. We need effective representation in Congress, and I will work hard to bring back jobs into our district, improve educational opportunities for every student, and deliver quality and affordable health care.
What action should Congress take, if any, to reduce gun violence?
The main reason we are seeing a spike in crime is because individuals are desperate for economic opportunities. We must bring quality jobs to our district, in addition, elected officials must enforce current gun laws on the books. I will fight to protect and uphold our second amendment right.
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?
While human activity does contribute to the buildup of atmospheric CO2, and while the climate is changing, there is no global warming crisis or existential threat to humankind. Unfortunately, over the past generation, environmentalism has been dominated by the misguided notion that Mankind is dangerously heating the planet through unchecked generation of carbon dioxide (CO2), and only by aggressively replacing fossil fuels w/ windmills and solar panels can the Earth be saved.
We support the use of renewable energy technologies when these solutions are practical. And we do recognize that fossil fuels are ultimately a finite resource, so we encourage long term investments in alternative energy technology. But we’re opposed to ‘Green New Deal’ mandates that are forced on the public and that will only results in turmoil, financial hardship, and counterproductive environmental disruption.
Tragically, there is an opportunity cost to these misguided efforts – as the true threats to wild animal life take a backseat to the exaggerated war against carbon dioxide: Poaching, Habitat Destruction, and Overfishing. These should be the principal focus of 21st Century conservationists, and are central to our environmental proposals.
- Increased R&D funding for advanced nuclear fission & fusion technology.
- Reform patent law to incentivize long term private industrial R&D in energy technology.
- Exert diplomatic pressure on the EU to end the disastrous Palm Oil biofuel mandates to help preserve Indonesian rainforests and orangutan habitat.
- Exert diplomatic pressure on nations to terminate all harvesting dolphins and whales.
- Provide greater assistance to African nations struggling to contain illegal poaching – including the use of drone technology and AI to track offenders and alert local authorities.
- Explore options for endangered species alternative habits in wealthy, politically stable nations.
What should Congress do to ensure the solvency of Social Security and Medicare?
We need to acknowledge that previous generations made promises to future generations that will cause significant socioeconomic disruption if not upheld. But we also need to understand that in order for these programs to remain solvent, significant changes must be made. We will ensure the solvency of Medicare through measures to significantly reduce health care costs, as addressed earlier. We also need to understand that when Social Security was enacted, the average life expectancy at birth was 65 years. Today, it is 78.5 years. Congress and voters need to acknowledge that it is only fair to the younger generations – who are trying to save and raise their own families while supporting retirees – to gradually adjust the retirement age upwards until it again matches the average life expectancy in the US. However, those who choose to take an early retirement at 65 should be able to do so with reduced payments and with no penalties if they choose to pursue work to supplement their social security check.
What should Congress do to address the student loan crisis? Would you use the word “crisis”?
Outstanding student debt now stands at $1.7 trillion. Yes, this is a crisis. It’s a crisis that has been created over generations of bad policy and young adults are now forced to choose between taking on extreme levels of college debt, or enter skilled professions such as construction, manufacturing, and information technology where their jobs are at the whim of special interest lobbyists who control trade and immigration policy.
Higher education is complicit in this crisis, as they have been the beneficiary of considerable state and federal subsidies ($200 billion per year by some estimates) while making no efforts to contain the cost of tuition. In fact, the cost of tuition has been growing at twice the rate of inflation for decades.
In the short term, we propose reducing the interest rates of the outstanding $1.7T in student debt, and shifting the burden of interest payments from the students to the universities. The students will still be responsible for repaying the principal.
In the long term, we propose the following as a solution:
- Phased in termination of the federal student loan program.
- Reducing the demand for a college education by replacing regulatory mandates for advanced degrees with market based apprenticeships starting as early as HS.
- Correcting poor immigration policies that result in job losses in professions such as construction, manufacturing, IT, and enginerering.
What should our nation’s relationship be with Russia?
We must hold Russia accountable for their blatant attempt to undermine our electoral process.
What’s your view on the use of tariffs in international commerce? Has President Trump imposed tariffs properly and effectively? Please explain.
The US trade balance for manufactured goods was nearly a $900 billion in 2019. In other words, last year Americans consumed $900 billion more in goods than they produced.
Due to the status of the dollar as the world reserve currency, the US has been running a consistent trade deficit for decades. But the deficit for manufactured goods began to skyrocket after China was admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. In the 1960s, manufacturing made up 25% of U.S. gross domestic product. It’s barely 11% today, and more than five million well paying manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000.
Advocates for free trade need to understand that this trade deficit is not caused by free market forces, but instead by significant distortions. Along with the substantial upset created by global currency policies, the Chinese have adopted a neo-mercantile trade policy where they effectively rob their own citizens of the product of their labor in order to purchase global influence by subsidizing exports.
It is not by “free market dynamics” that 97% of our supply of anti-biotics, 70% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients, and nearly all of our rare earth materials are sourced from China. The tragic irony of 2020 should not be lost on us – that the nation upon which we depend on so much for medicine and supplies critical for National Defense, is the same nation whose poor health standards, adversarial nature, and lack of moral clarity has triggered a global pandemic that will kill millions of persons and destroy tens of thousands of American businesses.
We strongly support President Trump’s strategy to reshore critical manufacturing industries and to confront China.
And we propose a policy of ‘Reciprocal Trade’ that encourages access to the variety of a global marketplace while balancing the trade deficit through the tariffs so as to discourage the practices of mercantilism and labor arbitrage.
Does the United States have a responsibility to promote democracy in other countries? Please explain.
In Congress, I will advocate to end costly wars and bring back our troops home. We have the responsibility of pushing diplomacy and hold countries accountable to ensure that there are no human rights being violated. However, that does not mean that the U.S. needs to police the world.
What should Congress do to limit the proliferation of nuclear arms?
Work with nations across the world to ensure that bad actors are not developing nuclear arms. Rescinding the Iran Deal was a step in the right direction.
Please list all relatives on public or campaign payrolls and their jobs on those payrolls.
None. I’ve also been outspoken against patronage and nepotism. We need stronger ethics and accountability across our government to ensure that only qualified individuals are hired to fill public positions.
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.
I admire President Ronald Reagan for his willingness to take on the status quo and promote the American Dream.
What’s your favorite TV, streaming or web-based show of all time. Why?
Shark Tank by far is my favorite show of all time. It showcases the ingenuity of Americans and the entrepreneurial spirit. Watching the hundreds of stories of entrepreneurs from diverse walks of life underscores how important it is that we must protect the American Dream from radical socialists policies.