Brad Schneider is a Democrat running in the Congressional 10th District.
Position sought: U.S. Congress - 10th District of Illinois
Age and Birthdate: 51, August, 20, 1961
Family: Wife, Julie Dann. Two sons, Adam (18) and Daniel (17)
Education: 1979-1983: Northwestern University, McCormick School of Engineering. BS, Industrial Engineering.
1986-1988: Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School
Occupation: Management Consultant and Small Business Owner
Political Party: Democrat
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position? Like the diversity of our district, I bring a diversity of life and work experiences to this office. I am a father, a husband, brother and son. I’ve been an employee, a boss, a manager, successful business owner and consultant. Over the past 30 years I’ve worked for myself, for small and medium-sized family businesses, and Fortune 100 companies. At all levels of business I have personal experience with how the federal government can help create an economic environment where companies can prosper and grow. I also understand how government can sometimes unintentionally hinder and hold companies back with well meaning, but imperfect policies and regulations. I think the breadth and depth of my experience will help me to better craft effective policy decisions.
What would your priorities be if elected to office? As a member of Congress, I believe my first responsibility is to be a strong voice for restoring our middle class, while making sure we maintain robust safety nets such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It means working every day to promote common sense policy that creates jobs, improves educational opportunities, enhances health care, ensures clean air and water, and maintains the United States security and prosperity at home and abroad.
What sets you apart from the other candidates? I believe I am the only qualified, experienced candidate in this race who can beat Rep. Bob Dold this fall. We have a unique opportunity in the 10th district to make a major change in the ideals and beliefs of our representation in Congress.
All of the Democratic candidates in this race are solid progressive and we all share the same core values. What matters most is who can actually win in November and go to Washington to make the changes the working families and struggling businesses in the Tenth District need, not stick to a rigid partisan ideology like the Tea Party.
I’ve worked with companies big and small. I’ve owned my own business. I know what its like to make a payroll and the challenges families face as their children grow up. These experiences set me apart from my fellow candidates. I believe that’s what we need to get this country back on the right path we to work together.
Official Name of Your Campaign Committee: Schneider for Congress
How do you define a small business, and what can government do to support them that isn’t being done? “Small” is a broad definition, as much reflective of a company’s culture as the number of employees. If we simply use the number of employees, companies with under 100 employees represent 55% of the employment in this country. And it is exactly these companies that have been slower to recover from our most recent recession.
The federal government must do more to help them get back on their feet. I’ve spent my career helping small businesses grow, expand and hire more middle class workers. I support more funding for SBA loans and allowing companies to increase their tax deductions for growth and expansion. I believe small businesses can be the engine that helps our economy grow for the future.
What steps would you take to reduce the federal deficit? If it includes tax increases, what taxes? And if it involved federal service cuts, which? I believe one of the biggest restrictors on our economy is the failure of the current Congress to produce a coherent vision for our economic future, to convey a sense of confidence and direction where they would lead us as a nation, to pass any positive legislation that would produce jobs or create opportunities in our communities.
As a member of Congress, I will seek to intelligently, responsibly and fairly address both spending and revenues. We must do so methodically and in such a way that does not hamper economic growth and job creation. We must start by controlling spending, allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, ending our foreign wars and implementing PAYGO standards we can start to erase our budget deficits and get our economy back on track.
Finally, I will make sure that as a country, we continue to invest in people, technologies and infrastructure to create future opportunities and maintain our global leadership.
We need to stop kicking the can down the road and rethink our entire tax system towards long-term, comprehensive tax reform. I believe in a progressive tax structure that fairly distributes the costs of government in a way that those of us fortunate to have more, carry more of the burden. But at the same time, everyone must have a stake in setting our priorities as well as supporting the costs. We truly are all in the same boat together.
We must not balance the federal deficit on the backs of the working poor and struggling middle class families of this country. Cutting some programs may be penny wise, but pound foolish.
- What should the government do to create more jobs? Accelerate investments in infrastructure within the context of a long-term vision, and with the support of a national infrastructure bank.
- Provide tax incentives for small and medium-sized businesses to invest in new products, new processes, and new people.
- Develop new programs and incentives for small and medium-sized businesses to increase exports of American made products
I think the best way to speed our recovery is by replacing the Republicans Congress with new leaders and lawmakers who will collaborate in rebuilding our middle class through rebuilding our country so we can continue to lead the world in innovation, manufacturing, and services at home and around the globe.
I supported President Obama’s jobs plan because it was a positive step towards helping the economy create more jobs. It should have passed last fall. I hope that the 112th Congress will work together to come up with a jobs plan this year. If not, I expect that the 113th Congress, with a new Democratic majority, will finally take concrete steps to help the economy regain its footing and finally start growing again.
My strategy for growth includes five key elements and can also be found on my website at www.schneiderforcongress.com:
- Incentives for Jobs Now: While smart policy will help us grow long-term, I will also seek to provide immediate incentives for companies, states and local communities to invest in people and equipment today. We must emphasize existing programs and develop new, targeted tax incentives for companies to hire and train new workers, purchase new production equipment, and develop new products and processes. We must continue to invest at the local level to help cities, towns and villages retain teachers, police, firefighters and other community-enhancing service providers.
- Investment in Infrastructure: We must create many public/private partnerships to reinvest, rebuild, and reinvent our national infrastructure. We should start immediately rebuilding our national electrical grid to power both the homes and the cars of the future. We should accelerate reinforcing and rebuilding our bridges, highways, and streets. We should plan for, design and construct new high-speed rail networks, linked to modern mass transit systems that restore our world leadership in transportation. And we should start now, to produce good jobs today, and provide the framework for long-term growth and jobs for years to come.Towards this end, we need to create an infrastructure bank to accelerate investments in projects as soon as possible.
- Creation of Quality, Long-Term Jobs: We must create incentives for companies presently holding trillions of dollars in cash accounts to deploy that capital in people and long-term investment. We can do so with comprehensive, common sense laws and regulations that protect people and the environment, while at the same time providing entrepreneurs and managers the policy certainty they need in order to take prudent risks in their businesses.
- Investment in People Today and in the Future: Concurrently, we must invest in education and training programs for workers, young and old, to hone the skills necessary to compete in the 21st Century global economy. By reinforcing our workers skills, we create further incentives for companies to bring high quality, value-producing jobs back to America.
- Investment in New Technologies, Including Clean Energy, Health Care, and Information: We must create public/private partnerships in new technologies to develop and implement innovative solutions to many of the future challenges we can see facing us on the horizon, including energy security, environmental sustainability, and affordable health care.
These investments will not only create jobs today, they will create wealth for our nation long into the future.
Should there be repercussions for legislators who don’t read bills, and how do you enforce that? Yes, and enforced at the ballot box.
Should the “No Child Left Behind Act” set different measurements than now for economically disadvantaged students, special education students, students learning English as a second language, etc.? If you have heard me speak, you have likely heard me say: “if China and India educate only 10% of their children well, they will educate more kids well than we have kids to educate!” We cannot expect to compete in the 21st Century global economy if we don’t offer every young person in our country the best opportunities to learn and develop to their fullest potential. We cannot expect to compete in the 21st Century global economy if we fail to invest in education to ensure we always have the best educated, most motivated, most innovative, most productive workforce in the world.
We must also remember that great education starts with teachers. We owe it to our children to stop vilifying teachers and instead help them lead us to a prosperous and secure future. We owe it to our children, and to ourselves, to fill all of our schools with fully qualified and fairly compensated teachers. And we must strive to give all our teachers the best technologies, with the best available tools and resources.
To enjoy long-term prosperity and security we must provide world-class schools for all our young people. I believe we can make immediate progress by:
- Ending the unfair and unproductive attacks on teachers, and instead recognizing that they are the key to securing our national future through teaching and inspiring our greatest national treasure…our children.
- Increasing our investment in early learning programs.
- Helping states transform their most challenged schools to ensure every child has access to quality education.
- Developing shared educational standards that help ensure we provide all young people the lessons, skills and tools to succeed in a in an increasingly competitive and interconnected global economy.
- Identifying and developing effective measures of learning and academic performance to create high, and realistic, expectations and accountability for educating our children.
- Expanding programs, like “Race to the Top,” that allow states to opt in and compete for federal investment in innovative, transformative educational ideas.
- Refining “No Child Left Behind” to retain those aspects that are helpful and address the issues that create confusion or unnecessary burden.
- Developing affordable pathways to technical, undergraduate and graduate education, encompassing community colleges, colleges and universities.
Should federal immigration policy be changed, and if so how?From our earliest days, immigrants have been an essential part of the fabric of American society and our prosperity. We would not have, could not have achieved the great successes of the American story, here at home and throughout the world, without the continuous influx and influence of new citizens from around the world.
Still, our current immigration system needs comprehensive reform. We have a process that has unacceptably long wait times and often overwhelming bureaucratic challenges. Combined with imperfect border security and strong incentives to enter this country, we have had an unprecedented influx of undocumented immigrants. The result is over eleven million people living in the shadows of our economy, and often our communities.
As a member of Congress, I will support comprehensive immigration reform that effectively secures our borders, while at the same time creating a clear, fair and equitable path for legal residency, and ultimately citizenship, for those already living in the United States. People who are productively contributing to their communities and our country.
I will also strongly advocate for the DREAM Act. This important legislation will provide undocumented immigrant students who graduate from US high schools the opportunity to pursue university educations, to fully develop their talents and skills, and contribute throughout their lifetimes to their new country.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues? I 100% support marriage equality. I believe marriage, in the ideal, is a lifetime commitment. Life is full of ups and downs, opportunities and challenges. I believe the richness of my life is what it is because of the love and partnership I’ve shared with my wife for over 22 years. Two people that want to build a life together, create a home together, realize their dreams together, should be able to marry and enjoy all the associated rights, privileges and responsibilities.
I am 100% pro-choice. I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare.
Are there certain things you think could be reasonably taxed
(fuel, entertainment, luxuries, etc.)? We have a national fuel excise tax from which we fund our highways and transit systems. I think that makes sense. Cities have entertainment taxes from which they fund the infrastructure necessary to provide entertainment venues, which makes sense. So, yes, there are situations where it makes sense to match specific revenues with specific expenditures.
What should the minimum wage be and through what method should increases be determined? No Answer provided.
How would you find a better balance between relieving the
tax burden and funding services? In tough times like these, it is critical that we look for ways to tighten our belts. But not all cuts are wise, just, or advised. It makes no sense to save a dollar today only to spend two dollars tomorrow to restore the same program or repair the harm done by imprudent cuts.
Neither should we, in difficult times, mindlessly eliminate all investments in our future. There will be times when, even in a struggling economy, we borrow money to invest in projects such as education, infrastructure and medical research that will pay dividends down the road and help us out of these hard times more quickly, more completely, and more fairly.
Unfortunately, the debate in Washington seems to be completely removed from any responsible discussion of when and how control expenses, how to manage revenue streams, when to borrow, and how and where to invest. The failure of the Super Committee and the automatic cuts that will go into effect because of it are a prime example of Congress’s inability to lead.
We need to find a different path.
As a member of Congress, I will work to change the debate. I will seek to intelligently, responsibly and fairly address both spending and revenues. We must do so methodically and in such a way that does not hamper economic growth and job creation. But we must also do so in a way that distributes the burden, and the rewards, fairly and equitably to everyone, not just those at the top.
The Bush tax cuts will, and should, expire at the end of next year. We need to stop kicking the can down the road and rethink our entire tax system towards long-term, comprehensive tax reform. I believe in a progressive tax structure that fairly distributes the costs of government in a way that those of us fortunate to have more, carry more of the burden. But at the same time, everyone must have a stake in setting our priorities as well as supporting the costs. We truly are all in the same boat together.
I will also seek to match expenditures to revenues over time to reduce and ultimately eliminate deficits in our generation, so that our children’s generation can begin to pay down our debt and have a future of hope and promise that is our American tradition.
Finally, I will make sure that as a country, we continue to invest in people, technologies and infrastructure to create future opportunities and maintain our global leadership.
Bipartisanship is given a lot of lip service by congressional members. Tell us how you think you would work with members of the opposite party? Successful politics is achieving the art of the possible. If I am elected to Congress, I will work with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to find areas of common interest and common ground. I will first seek to find issues where our shared goals provide the opportunity to collaborate, without the need for either side to compromise. I believe early successes on such issues can then lead to growing confidence and trust between otherwise adversaries, and hopefully allow for compromise on broader issues. But I will not compromise my values and there are certain red lines that I will not cross.
Do you think, some or all of the health care bill should be repealed? What can the government do to provide more access and affordability to health care? I support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and I believe we need to continually work to reform our national health care system to achieve two broad goals.
1. First, we need to reduce the overall health care costs for the nation as a whole, while also continually improving the health and health care outcomes for each of us as individuals. We will do that, in part, through more effective emphasis on well care, preventative care, and curative care.
2. Second, we need to reformulate our health care payment model to provide access to good care for every citizen, regardless of job status, pre-existing condition, or age.
That said, I am not a health care expert and I don’t yet know precisely what the best long- term payment model is, whether it is more social insurance, more employer-linked insurance, broader access to private insurance plans, or, most likely a combination of these and other still to be considered models.
What should the government’s role be in private sector
finance? I think the government has a role to play ensuring confidence in the integrity of our financial system. When playing fields seem tilted, when rules appear to be biased towards the strong or the big at the expense of smaller participants, when consumers feel that they are left to fend for themselves and the cards are stacked against them, the entire financial system is weakened. Government involvement should be such that big and small institutions, corporations and individuals all feel that they are playing by the same rules, and believe that the outcomes will be fair and just.
Who are your political heroes and why? John Adams, for he committed his life’s work to his country, was willing to stand up for what he believed in, regardless of whether it made him popular or not, and through it all, created a wonderful relationship with his wife and children.
John Lewis because his principles and values have been consistent, and have determined his actions and decisions, regardless of the circumstances around him.
Robert Kennedy because he brought a magnificent voice, passion and dedication to his vision of a better world.
Following the troop withdrawal from Iraq, what do you think is the future of the war on terror? First, let me state that I don’t view terrorism as an ideology but rather a tactic against which we must be constantly diligent. And that diligence must always be an integral part of our overall national security and national foreign policy.
Our goal in foreign policy is to keep America safe today, as well as work to craft a sustainable, forward looking policy that can ensure our security and prosperity for years to come. Successful policy will, of necessity, combine the right balance of hard and soft power.
As a member of Congress I will support policies that preserve the United States’ positive influence and leadership in bilateral and multilateral relations with our allies, in addressing challenges with our adversaries, and in setting international policies in global forums.
What role should the United States play in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Here in the Tenth District, Israel is more than a foreign policy issue. Every year large numbers of our neighbors and friends, children, students, and young adults visit Israel. Many of us have family, friends and co-workers in Israel. Peace and security for Israel and her neighbors is not just politics, it’s personal.
I first visited Israel in 1983 and have been back to visit many times. I fully appreciate that there is no more important strategic partnership for the United States in the Middle East than Israel. It is a relationship based on shared values and shared aspirations for our children, our countries and our world. It is a relationship based on mutual, long-term strategic interests and full partnership in pursuing peace and security at our respective borders and around the world.
While our two countries are inextricably linked by values and tradition, we also share a disproportionate role in addressing the ominous threats of radical extremism, global terrorism, and a nuclear Iran. As well, we share a keen and hopeful interest in the dynamic and uncertain future for emerging democracies among Israel’s Arab neighbors.
For all these reasons, the United States Congress has and must continue to unequivocally support the Jewish state of Israel. As a member of Congress, I will strongly advocate for continued growth in the bilateral cooperation between our two countries, strategically, politically, economically, culturally and militarily.
I will also be a leading voice in Congress, strongly advocating for continued U.S. engagement in creating the opportunities for a true and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, living together as two free and secure states. In addition, I will focus on the need to maintain the durability and quality of peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and to pursue peace with Israel’s other Arab neighbors.
What should the United States do regarding Iran and nuclear power? As a state sponsor of global terrorism and supplier of weapons to terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons capabilities.
The United States has, and must continue to take the lead in working with the world community to isolate Iran diplomatically and to establish and enforce sustainable, increasingly tightening sanctions. Sanctions on the Iranian economy must be broad and deep, such as restrictions of gasoline imports and limitation on business transactions with Iran’s central bank, so as to persuade Iran’s people that their national interests are best served by abandoning their nuclear ambitions. At the same time, the U.S. should continue to employ cyber and other covert measures to delay Iranian progress towards nuclear technology milestones.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully
or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain. No. No. And, No.
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