14th Congressional District Republican nominee: Randall M. “Randy” Hultgren
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On Sept. 20, Republican incumbent Randall M. “Randy” Hultgren appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. Watch the video above to find out why he’s running for the 14th Congressional District seat in Illinois in the 2018 general election.
The Sun-Times also sent the candidates seeking the 14th Congressional District seat a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing their district and the country. Hultgren submitted the following responses:
As a member of the U.S. House, what are or would be your top cause or causes?
Hultgren: I have worked in a bipartisan, common sense way to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, reform health care, address the opioid overdose epidemic and improve the quality of life for the constituents of the 14th Congressional district.
Please list three highly specific needs of your district that you would make priorities.
Hultgren: Health care costs are too high, small businesses need a business climate that enables them to grow and create jobs, and job training should help workers gain skills that match the needs of 21st century employers.
Who is Randall M. “Randy” Hultgren?
He’s running for: U.S. House of Representatives, 14th District
His political/civic background:
- DuPage County Board, 1994-1998
- Illinois House of Representatives, 1999-2007
- Illinois Senate, 2007-2011
- U.S. House of Representatives, 2011-present
His occupation: Member of Congress
- Bethel College, B.A., 1988
- Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D., 1993.
His campaign website: randyhultgren.com
Bipartisanship is virtually non-existent in the House. What would you do about that?
Hultgren: I believe passionately in the need for working across the aisle to collaborate and help Congress work for people. I started a regular series of events called “Common Grounds” during which my staff and I have coffee and donuts with Democratic Members of Congress and their staff. These have been productive experiences that have enabled us to build relationships and explore areas where we could work together. One of the highlights of my career in Congress was hosting one of these sessions with civil rights pioneer and Georgia Congressman John Lewis. I also work closely and regularly with the Democratic Co-Chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
Are you convinced that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election in support of the candidacy of Donald Trump? Please explain.
Hultgren: It is undeniable that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Their continued goal has been achieved, namely to foment confusion and sow division in this country. Our task now needs to be to take steps to make sure it does not happen again.
Do you support the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller? Please explain.
Hultgren: I have supported the investigation into Russian meddling in our election and will continue to do so until the case is complete. I believe the quicker we as a nation get to the bottom of this intrusion the better.
If President Trump were to fire Mueller, directly or indirectly, what should Congress do?
Hultgren:Any removal of a special counsel would require an examination of the merits of that specific decision.
If Trump were to pardon his former campaign aide Paul Manafort, what should Congress do?
Hultgren: I do not believe Manafort should be pardoned for his crimes.
Which three actions taken so far by the Trump administration do you most strongly support?
Hultgren: Tax cuts and regulatory reform have helped spur robust economic growth and new jobs. And the Administration has appointed judges who will respect the rule of law.
Which three actions taken by the Trump administration do you most strongly disagree with?
Hultgren: I opposed the discussion of a religious test for immigrants, or banning anyone’s entry into the U.S. based on their religious belief. The trade tariffs, which represent a tax on consumers and businesses, will raise costs. And I am strongly against any practice of separating families at the border.
The Trump administration has taken action to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at curbing climate change and limiting environmental pollution. The administration has done 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 all this?
Hultgren: It was my belief that the Clean Power Plan, which was the basis for our entry into the Paris Climate Agreement, was unlawful. Furthermore, the EPA’s own assessment of this plan showed that it had no impact on global climate trends. If we were serious about improving low carbon energy solutions, we would bring the regulatory certainty necessary for new energy sources to flourish. There is a market for low carbon energy solutions.
To what extent is climate change a man-made phenomenon? How serious is the threat to our children’s future? What should be done?
Hultgren: As the National Climate Assessment pointed out, it is “extremely likely” that humans have had a dominant impact on climate change. As a senior member of the Science Committee, I have not contested that view. The question for policymakers is how we encourage bringing new energy solutions to consumers, to increase their clean energy choices. I have been focused on the R & D necessary to do that and the technology-transfer policies necessary to bring good ideas to market and allow the private sector to innovate and serve consumers.
What is the single most important action Congress can take to curb gun violence?
Hultgren: The federal government’s primary goal should be keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. Its core responsibility in this area is maintaining the background check system made available to all states and local jurisdictions. I voted for bipartisan legislation to improve this background check system and the sharing of information. Outside of regulations we place on licensed dealers, any additional background check requirements need to be at the state and local level.
Is the media the “enemy of the people”? Please explain.
Hultgren: No, it is not. In fact, I believe strongly that a free press is one of the bedrock freedoms upon which our democracy and all free societies are based.
As an editorial board, our core criticism of the tax overhaul legislation pushed through 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 the tax code? Would you push for further changes, or for the law’s repeal?
Hultgren: I supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The new law, in conjunction with other pro-growth policies like regulatory reform, have contributed to increased economic growth, lower unemployment, greater consumer confidence, improved retirement security and expanded opportunity for the people of Illinois.
More than a million new jobs have been created since passage of the new law. I have spoken to a number of business owners who have told me how the law has empowered them to invest in new equipment and hire new workers.
Prior to the new law, American businesses were taxed at the highest corporate rate in the industrialized world – 35%. The new law implemented a “territorial” system for U.S. global corporations that encourages them to reinvest their profits in the U.S. and discourages them from retaining their earnings overseas to avoid the high tax rate.
One important step we could take to expand on the law would be to increase certainty for job creators and other individuals by making the tax rates permanent.
And as I meet with employers across my district, they tell they are having a hard time finding qualified workers, so I believe we need to expand and enhance job training opportunities and programs to match employee skills with the needs of today’s employers.
Speaking of income inequality, top executives of America’s biggest companies saw their average annual pay surge to $18.9 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?
Hultgren: As President Kennedy said, a rising tide lifts all boats. I believe the more the economy grows and jobs are created, the more that demand for workers will increase. This demand will lead employers to continue to raise wages to hire workers.
Would it be appropriate at this time for President Trump to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the White House? Why so, or why not?
Hultgren: While it is always positive to talk to both friends and foes, I remain deeply skeptical of the leadership of Russia and believe we must remain prudent in our approach. I don’t think recent actions by Putin and Russia have shown they have changed enough where such a visit would be productive.
How would you assess and grade the Trump administration’s efforts to recalibrate our nation’s relationships with Korea, NATO and Russia?
Hultgren: There is no doubt both North Korea and Russia continue to represent a real threat to both the U.S. and our allies. I remain deeply skeptical of the leadership of both countries. And while I feel NATO should contribute more to its own defenses, I believe it provides a strong bulwark against Russian ambitions and should be supported.
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?
Hultgren: My great grandfather emigrated to this country in part for freedom of religion, and I was one of the first members of my party to come out against a religious test for immigrants or refugees. I have been a consistent and strong voice for all religious minorities in my role on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
What three major reforms should be made to United States immigration policy?
Hultgren: Our broken immigration system clearly needs to be fixed. If there is an immigration deal that includes funding for a wall, I would support it and have voted that way in the past. I also believe that something must be done to address the “DACA” population and other young people who were brought here by their parents at a young age. These kids contribute to our communities and should be allowed an opportunity to legally stay and work in the United States, and I have voted for legislation that would establish legal status for DACA recipients.
As a further part of immigration reform, in situations where American workers are not harmed, there ought to be an efficient legal process for temporary guest workers and others who bring valuable contributions to this nation.
And as co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, I believe the United States must remain a beacon of freedom and hope for refugees from around the world and that we have the capacity to accept more refugees than we are currently admitting into this country.
Do you support or oppose the family-based immigration policy sometimes called “chain migration”? Please explain.
Hultgren: So long as it is limited to immediate family members, I do support a process for citizens in the United States to sponsor family members wishing to live and contribute in the U.S.
What would you do, as a member of Congress, to improve race relations in the United States?
Hultgren: The poor state of race relations in this country is one of the most pressing issues facing us. All members of our society should be dedicated to racial reconciliation, and policymakers in particular should always be willing to listen to improve the dialogue we need. While we may not always agree on solutions, it is that respect for our fellow Americans and willingness to listen and have important conversations that can bring about needed change.
What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent?
Hultgren: Our views on the size, scope and cost of the federal government. My opponent helped engineer a federal takeover of the health care system in this country that left the people of the 14th Congressional District with higher health care costs, limited choice in their health care options and less control over their own health care.
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 of the PolitiFact Illinois stories we’ve reported together here.