On Jan. 5, D. Vincent Thomas Jr. appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. We asked him why he’s running for the GOP seat in the 9th Congressional district of Illinois in the March 2018 primary:
My name is D. Vincent Thomas Jr, originally from the South Side of Chicago. I left the South Side and went on to undergrad, double majored, theology, philosophy. Got my masters in theological studies from a seminary. Joined the Coast Guard after that, counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism, where I also started my PhD in public policy. As of now, I teach political science at DePaul University, American government, international relations and comparative politics. So, that’s my background in a nutshell. But, been in Chicago most of my life. Moved up north to Evanston when I got into Northwestern for grad school and stayed.
My top priorities are student loans for starters. Seeing as I how I’ve recently finished my PhD and I’m a professor I see the impact that it’s having on future generations in regards to their personal income and the overall economy as a whole. Consumer spending and whatnot is going to be a problem so we need to do something to deal with the student loan crisis. The other issue is of course the military, seeing as how I am in the military, improving quality of life, improving funding for the military, training, improving education spending for the military is a necessity so that our military stays strong and has prospects if they decide to leave the military. So those are the top two. And lastly, the partisanship. Working to, I’m reluctant to say get say get rid of it, but severely, severely, weaken it. The partisanship is pulling the country apart. It’s not helpful. It’s not productive to governing. So that is a very important priority of mine. We have to learn how to actually work together as Americans first instead of our separate camps of republican, democrat.
The Chicago Sun-Times sent the candidates seeking nominations for Congress a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois. D. Vincent Thomas submitted the following answers to our questionnaire:
QUESTION: As a member of the House from Illinois, please explain what your specific cause or causes will be. Please avoid a generic topic or issue in your answer.
- Military and Veterans Issues
- Education Funding
- Suicide Prevention
- Term Limits for elected officials
- Student Loan Debt
- Funding for Public Education
- Race and gender diversity within the House Representatives (both amongst elected officials and staff)
D. Vincent Thomas Jr.
District running for: 9th Congressional district (Illinois)
Political/civic background: Maritime Law Enforcement Specialist U.S. Coast Guard, Board of Ethics-City of Evanston, Civilian Police Complaint Review Commission-City of Evanston, Associate Board- AIDS Foundation Chicago, Board Director- Friends of the Forest, American Legion Post 758
Occupation: Maritime Law Enforcement Specialist U.S. Coast Guard, Professor DePaul University (Political Science Department)
Education: B.A. Theology, B.A. Philosophy, Masters Theological Studies (M.T.S.), Ph.D Public Policy and Administration
Campaign website: thomasforil9.com
QUESTION: Please list three district-specific needs that will be your priorities. This could be a project that is needed in your district, or a rule that needs to be changed, or some federal matter that has been ignored.
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TOPIC: President Donald Trump
QUESTION: What do you make of President Trump?
ANSWER: The President needs to accept and adhere to the decorum the position demands. The President needs to do more to reach out to the minority and LGBTQ population.
QUESTION: Which three actions by the Trump administration do you support the most? Which three do you oppose the most?
ANSWER: Support: Expanding the Post 9-11 G.I. Bill I.e. The Forever G.I. Bill, Maintaining current economic policies allowing for the economy to continue in a positive direction, Lifetime ban on former White House officials lobbying for foreign governments.
Oppose: Tweeting, Charlottesville, the high staff turnover in the first year.
QUESTION: What is your view of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian tampering in the 2016 election, including possible collusion by the Trump campaign. Does Mueller have your support?
ANSWER: The investigation is needed to determine the extent to which a foreign adversary interfered with our election process. Yes, I support Mueller and the investigation.
QUESTION: What should Congress do to reduce the threat of terrorism at home, either from ISIS or from others?
ANSWER: There is no single action, or series of actions in any particular order that can be taken by either party to prevent domestic terrorism, home grown radicalization (by either domestic or foreign groups), or loan wolf attacks. If it were that simple we would have done it already.
TOPIC: Guns and violence
QUESTION: What is the single most important action Congress can take to curb gun violence in the United States?
ANSWER: There is no single action Congress can take. The issue of gun violence is complex in that it involves economics, political lobbying, campaign contributions, the 2nd Amendment, tradition, economic insecurity, narcotics, and access to adequate education.
QUESTION: Do you favor a law banning the sale and use of “bump stocks” that increase the firing speed of semi-automatic weapons?
ANSWER: Yes. Why? This add-on is not necessary for the proper and safe operation of the fire arm.
TOPIC: America’s growing wealth gap
QUESTION: As an editorial board, our core criticism of the tax overhaul legislation supported by the Republican majorities in the House and Senate 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 it does not look to us like the “silent hand” of the market is functioning properly, rewarding merit fairly. We are troubled that the top 1 percent of Americans own 38.6 percent of the nation’s wealth and the bottom 90 percent own just 22.8 percent of the wealth. Tell us how we are right or wrong about this. Does the growing income and wealth gap trouble you?
ANSWER: It absolutely troubles me. The Middle Class is critical to our economy. If the wealth gap continues the Middle Class will be non-existent and that will be detrimental to the overall economic stability of the United States. We must also seriously tend to the growing student loan debt which will only exacerbate the growing wealth gap because it will prevent millions from investing in the market, building equity in a home, saving for the future, or starting a business.