Election 2012: U.S. House—14th District
Both incumbent, challenger focus on the economy
In the race for the representative from the 14th District of the U.S. House of Representatives, one-term incumbent Randy Hultgren faces challenger Dennis Anderson.
Randy Hultgren is looking to a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives to continue his work focusing on the nation’s struggling economy.
“We’ve got to get our nation’s spending under control and get the economy back on a road to growth,” Hultgren said. As a father of four, I’m truly concerned for the future of our nation.”
His level of concern has not changed during the past two years of his freshman term.
“My first vote as a Congressman was to repeal the president’s massive health care law in full, and I still believe the law must be repealed,” he said.
With unemployment still too high and federal spending still too high, he said much work remains to be done beyond the federal health care law.
“Unemployment is still far too high. We were promised an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent if the stimulus was passed. Instead, millions of Americans are still unemployed or underemployed (working part time when they would rather be working full time),” he said. “Federal spending is also far too high. Washington would like to treat the economy as a cash tree—a new tax for every program, chopping off as much as it wants, whenever it wants. What Washington doesn’t understand is that the best way to allow the tree to grow more jobs and tax revenue organically is to simply leave it alone.”
Unemployment must be addressed by working with small businesses, he said, explaining that two of every three new jobs is created by a small business. Hultgren has met more than 100 small business owners and job creators in his district in the past year alone, and he always asks the business owner the same question:
“During each storefront visit and factory tour, I ask what it would take for that employer to create just one more job,” he said. “There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the U.S., and 23 million people who are under employed. If every small business could create just one job, we would have overemployment.”
He personally introduced a regulatory sunset bill that would address outdated rules and regulations that he feels stifle business growth.
Debt needs a comprehensive approach, he said. The only way he feels the federal government can control its spending is with a Balanced Budget Amendment.
“We absolutely need a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Hultgren said. “Without structural change, it will be near impossible to reign in Washington spending. A constitutional amendment would force the government to spend only what it takes in.”
He said such an amendment is necessary because the scale of the problem is so large.
“If the U.S. were to eliminate all discretionary spending—all defense spending, all highway repair money, all federal courts and government operations, even the money spent taking care of our returning veterans—the budget would almost be balanced for a single year. What this tells me is that we can take nothing—not even defense or entitlements—off the table when it comes to cuts. It took years to reach this point, and it will take years to balance our budget again, but I believe it can be done.”
Dennis Anderson has spent a lifetime in community service, volunteering on the boards of directors for a number of service organizations, ranging from humane societies to food banks.
He wants to continue serving the public, but now he wants to do so by changing what he calls the dysfunctional state of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The House has been frozen by partisan gridlock, and the people of this district, of Illinois and of the nation as a whole are not being served,” Anderson said. “Honesty and truth no longer seem to be held to be of any value by too many in Congress, and the people deserve thoughtful, honest representation, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent.”
He said Congress needs non-career politicians in office.
“I am not a career politician,” Anderson said. “I owe no debts to party or to special interests and, at the age of 61, I am not planning on starting a new career. I am running because we need change in Washington.”
All aspects of that change relate to the economy, he said. He will focus on bringing jobs to the district, increasing access to education and serving the historically under-represented.
“Recovery from the economic downturn requires the cooperative efforts of both parties in Washington, and between the public and the private sectors,” Anderson said. “That the government has a role in the recovery is accepted by both parties, as demonstrated by the ‘jobs bills’ that each have introduced.”
He said that one of the best things the federal government can do to improve the economy is to repair and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, specifically pointing to schools, bridges and water systems.
“To do so will not only create good paying jobs, jobs that will result in a revived customer base for small business, but will also save future generations from having to bear the cost of our neglect, a cost that rose by roughly half a trillion dollars between 2004 and 2009, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers,” Anderson said.
Like Hultgren, Anderson believes there should be a new plan to address the nation’s health care system. However, Anderson’s plan goes in the opposite direction as Hultgren’s. He said the cost of health care is out of control, and pointed to health indicator world rankings—specifically relating to infant mortality, maternal mortality and deaths due to care not obtained because of cost—that he said “are terrible.”
“If we truly had the world’s best health care system, as some often claim, our health status indicators would reflect that,” Anderson said.
He also pointed to the rising costs of health care as a drag on the economy. If he had his way, he would pass one piece of legislation to address the problem.
“If I had one chance to pass and implement any law, with no opposition, it would be the creation of a single-payer health care insurance system in the U.S.,” Anderson said.
However, Anderson said he knows that when addressing problems in Washington, no one gets their own way and all sides must work together.
“I am committed to engaging in fact-based, honest exchanges with other members of Congress and with the people of the 14th District,” Anderson said. “I also believe my many years in the public sector and as a volunteer have been helpful in training me to work with highly diverse parties to gain consensus.”