Congressman Robert J. Dold (IL-10)
Position sought: Re-election to Illinois’ 10th Congressional District
Age and Birthdate: 42, June 23, 1969
Wife--Danielle, Three children
Education: New Trier High School,
Denison University (BA), Indiana University (JD), and Northwestern University (MBA)
Occupation: U.S. Congressman for Illinois’ 10th Congressional District, Small Business Owner
Political Party: Republican
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
Before being elected to Congress in 2010, I owned and operated a small business in Northfield, IL, employing just under 100 individuals. I understand the pressures and challenges facing small businesses: Pressure to meet payroll, to provide health benefits for employees and their families, and to invest in equipment and technology to continue being competitive. I also understand the pressures on our working families to work hard and succeed, and to save money for the future and for our children’s education. Fundamentally, American families want a stable job in a steady economy. But we also want more. We want innovation and we want new and better ideas about how to deliver goods and services. We need an environment that encourages and fosters ideas, entrepreneurship and economic opportunity for
What would your priorities be if elected to office?
My priorities are to putAmerica back to work, rein in wasteful Washington spending, and provideindepndent leadership focused on serving the 10th District of Illinois.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
My record of thoughtful, independent leadership speaks for itself. Several non-partisan publications have consistently ranked me as an independent moderate leader in the United States House of Representatives who seeks to end the gridlock by working with both
sides of the aisle. I also was the first freshman to have a bill passed. I am committed to putting our district and our nation back to work and go to Washington to get things done.
Official Name of Your Campaign Committee: Dold for Congress
How do you define a small business, and what can government do to support them that isn’t being done?
As a small business owner when I look at my employees I see 100 families that are relying on steady employment, health benefits and more. My plan to help small businesses grow and compete is by reforming and simplifying the tax code, promoting access to capital forsmall businesses, increasing access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to prepare students for jobs going unfilled right here in our communities, investing in transportation and infrastructure, maximizing North American energy production to lower fuel prices, and reducing excessive regulations that are hindering job growth.
Following this path will put our country back on track to prosperity and put America back to work.
What steps would you take to reduce the federal deficit?
To put our country back on firm financial ground we must cut wasteful spending. Federal spending levels should return to 20% of Gross Domestic Product, the historical average, instead of letting it balloon to nearly 25% as currently proposed. We need a government that is efficient and effective, not wasteful.
In Congress, I am working to lead us out of our spending addiction and get our country back on track. I was the first freshman this year to pass a bill, H.R. 830, bipartisan legislation which terminated an ineffective government program and would save the hardworking taxpayers over $8 billion.
The House passed a comprehensive budget, which I supported, to significantly drive down government spending over the next ten years. It has been over 1000 days since the United States Senate last passed a budget and my legislation to save taxpayers $8 billion has been sitting at the Senate’s doorstep for almost a year. We need Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to join us in passing common sense legislation to put America on a fiscally sustainable course.
After years of runaway, wasteful spending in Washington, I am pleased that we have finally managed to shift the focus to fiscal responsibility. However, there is much more work that needs to be done.
I will continue to push for a serious bipartisan deficit reduction package that honestly and effectively confronts the size and nature of our crushing debt burden.
If it includes tax increases, what taxes?
I was one of 100 Members of Congress who signed a bipartisan letter to the Super Committee telling them to go big and put everything on the table. While I do not believe hardworking families should be burdened with a tax increase, I do believe that we need to close special interest loopholes in our tax code. Our government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers and that is why we need broad tax reform which makes it more fair and simple for everyone.
And if it involved federal service cuts, which?
I have consistently stated that everything must be on the table. Last year, my bill which would eliminate an ineffective government program and save the taxpayer $8 billion a year passed the House with bipartisan support. I also led the effort in the House to terminate a $3 billion wasteful Defense Department program because I believe that every department can find ways to rein in spending and stay on a budget. This is not too much to ask.
What should the government do to create more jobs?
I do not believe the government creates jobs but what it can do is help small businesses grow and compete by reforming and simplifying the tax code, promoting access to capital for small businesses, increasing access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to prepare students for jobs going
unfilled, investing in transportation and infrastructure, fixing the FDA
approval process that threatens thousands of pharmaceutical jobs here in the Chicago-land area, maximizing North American energy production to lower fuel prices, reducing excessive regulations that are hindering job growth, and helping domestic manufacturers compete around the globe.
Should there be repercussions for legislators who don’t read bills, and how do you enforce that?
Ultimately, it is up to the constituents and the voters to hold their Representatives in Congress accountable. I take pride in my record as a thoughtful, independent member of Congress, who carefully analyzes legislation and talks frequently with constituents in order to ensure that I understand how my votes will impact us here in the 10th District.
For the first time ever, the United States House of Representatives passed a rule that bills must be posted online at least 72 hours prior to a vote. This allows an open, transparent light in which Members of Congress and the public can review all legislation that is up for a vote.
I believe that this is step in the right direction and believe that we
need to continue to shine a light on the legislative process so that trust and accountability can be restored to Washington.
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.?
“No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) is not working for our students, schools and community, and I strongly support efforts to replace that law. The bipartisan NCLB legislation had some positive results, such as encouraging schools to recognize whether some groups of students were falling through the cracks of our educational system, but it also created several critical problems that have only gotten worse since Congress initially failed to replace the law in 2008.
Fortunately, there appears to be new interest in both Congressional chambers and in both political parties to write a new Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) law that will replace NCLB. I support this long overdue replacement as soon as possible. Critically, NCLB fails to provide meaningful assessment of how individual students are progressing, and it does not provide educators with any timely or useful information they can use to improve their teaching.
A new law should permit states to adopt growth-model assessments that would measure individual students’ improvements during the schools year. Instead of assessing improvement of this year’s third grade math scores over last year’s third grade math scores, we should measure whether the students in this year’s third grade class improved in math during the year. This more rational assessment model would give better information about the growth of their child and where he or she needs greater support. Permitting growth-model assessments will also be more rational for assessing how a school or school district is educating sub-categories of students such as ‘economically disadvantaged, special education, etc.’
Current assessments require aggregate improvement of each sub-category year after year. For example, this year’s special education third graders must score higher than last year’s special education third graders.
This often leads to perverse results, because the composition of students within the category is often dramatically different year-to-year permitting for too many factors unrelated to the quality of education to skew the assessment. A growth-model assessment
system would measure whether individual students within a sub-category have improved throughout the year. From those with the most severe learning disabilities to the highest performing AP students, individualized growth-model assessments would permit educators, parents and policy makers to better understand
if and how individual and sub-categories of students are improving throughout the year.
Furthermore, we need to rethink the purpose of assessments. Educator and school accountability is important, but our focus should also be about how our educators can improve. Current assessment models under NCLB provide almost no useful feedback for educators and the results usually come after the school year is over. A new education law should permit states to adopt assessment models that give educators immediate and useful information about the information about the individual strengths and deficiencies of their students.
An assessment model that is in the best interest of our students should be able to inform a teach that a significant percentage of his or her class is deficient in a critical skill in time for him or her to fix the problem.
Lastly, one of the biggest failures of NCLB is that it created a one-size fits all federal assessment system. Federal education law should permit states and local school districts greater flexibility in developing their assessment models and then facilitate sharing of best practices throughout the country.
Should federal immigration policy be changed, and if so how?
America should always be a country that welcomes immigrants from other countries and treats hardworking immigrant families with respect and dignity.
Throughout the course of our nation’s history, immigrants have made significant contributions that enhance our culture and economy, and helped make this the greatest country on Earth. This is why we should continue to look for ways to reform and improve our legal immigration process. Our country will benefit from a system that is fairer, more efficient and more secure. Foreign visitors, students and workers provide many benefits to our economy and society.
We need to make sure that is doesn’t take four months for a tourist to get a visa to come to the United States to visit and spend money at our hotels and restaurants, and I am a cosponsor of legislation that will fix this.
Further, we should fix our laws that force foreign students to go home after graduating from college to start applying for citizenship in our country. I support legislation to provide a green card to foreign students who graduate with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields from American universities.
This will ultimately help the American economy by retaining those foreign students who come here to get educated, yet now take their valuable skill set back to their home country or other nations and create jobs there. Reducing barriers that otherwise remove these foreign graduates in the U.S. would be a net positive for the American economy, and would help our American businesses better compete and grow.
America is a land of laws and everyone in the United States should be here legally. The federal government has struggled to adequately deal with immigration and the 12 million immigrants who are here illegally. We have found that comprehensive immigration reform has been
impossible to pass no matter which party is in control in Washington. I believe we should attempt a different route and address immigration reform in a step-by-step process, in ways that have bipartisan support.
First, we must control our borders and ensure that illegal immigration can be reduced dramatically. This should entail more border patrol staff, building a fence where possible, and using new technologies to monitor the border.
Further, we need to address the millions of people who entered this country illegally. I support allowing children who were brought to our country illegally by their parents to earn a path to permanent residency by either serving in our military or serving in an organization such as AmeriCorps.
The issue of the remaining illegal residents can only be addressed once we have adequately secured the border and fixed our legal immigration process. Deporting 12 million people is simply not a reasonable option. Our country deserves such a commonsense solution to our broken immigration system that strengthens the rule of law and treats hardworking immigrant families with respect and dignity.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues?
While my focus has been, and will always be, on improving the economy, I have established myself in this Congress as a centrist on social issues. As a social moderate, I have shown a continued willingness and ability to break from my party and work to bridge the gap between the social conservative right and the progressive left. I have been a very active in this Congress working to protect the environment and specifically Lake Michigan.
My work has earned me praise and special recognition from multiple
pro-environment groups. I know how important community safety and gun control is to the 10th District, which is why I opposed H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act. I voted against this legislation because forcing state to recognize each other’s concealed carry permits would eliminate the ability of individual states to
craft gun control laws that match the specific need and concerns of their local communities.
On the issues of same-sex marriage, like President Obama, I feel
marriage should be between a man and a woman. However, I support civil unions for same-sex couples and I do looks for ways to work with the LGBT community and listen to their ideas and concerns. As such, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 2088, which treats equitably employer-provided health care benefits for domestic partners.
On this issue of abortion, I am one of the current 7 pro-choice
Republicans in Congress. I support a woman’s fundamental right to choose on this very difficult, personal decision, and I have been upfront in my view--which many on both sides of this issue share- that this private decision should be paid for with private dollars.
I believe clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, which provide a wide-range of health care services including for abortion, should not be barred from receiving generally available health care funds like for the Title X program, so long as those funds are not used to provide abortions.
As such, I was the only Republican to speak out on the House
floor to oppose an amendment targeting Planned Parenthood and defunding it from the Title X health program. Overall, I am proud to be viewed as a Member of Congress who can work with all sides to find and promote common ground in these areas.
Are there certain things you think could be reasonably taxed
(fuel, entertainment, luxuries, etc.)?
I agree with President Obama when he said raising taxes in an economic downturn is the wrong thing to do. The effect of taking more money from the taxpayers would be extremely harmful to the small businesses we are counting on to get us out of this recession.
My number one focus since coming to Congress has been to promote an environment that fosters job creation in the private sector. We must eliminate special corporate tax loopholes, eliminate special interest subsidies, and lower overall tax rates so that we are most competitive globally. We need to create an environment that levels the playing field and ensures that everyone follows the rules and everyone benefits, as opposed to one or two large corporations.
What should the minimum wage be and through what method should increases be determined?
I support the minimum wage. As a small business owner, I understand how important it is that individuals be treated with respect and an opportunity to earn a living. Any changes to the federal minimum wage should be determined through Congressional authorization.
I believe that we can best address this issue by getting more people back to work. Last year, I introduced a bill targeted at incentivizing employers to hire unemployed workers through a payroll tax cut. I
was pleased to see that President Obama adopted a similar proposal as part of his jobs plan. I supported the President’s call for passage of trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea and urged my colleagues to pass these important job creating bills, which we did and the President signed into law last year. I am committed to working with the President and members of both parties to take meaningful action that helps get our country back to work.
How would you find a better balance between relieving the
tax burden and funding services?
I remain disappointed in the inability of the Super Committee to “go big” and put forward a bold, bipartisan plan that addresses our nation’s crushing $15 trillion debt. At this time, we must focus
on putting our country first and making the tough decisions needed to get our nation back on track- we must strive to rise above another round of partisan bickering and political games. We must address the true drivers of our debt, which is the unchecked growth in government programs, and maximize revenues by growing our economy and giving the millions of people who are out of work the opportunity to earn a paycheck in the career they want.
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?
As evidence of my consistent commitment to bipartisanship and independence, Congressional Quarterly, after taking a comprehensive look at the voting record of all Members of Congress, determined that I am ranked the #1 House Republican most willing to work with the President.
Last week, National Journal ranked me as one of the most independent Members of Congress. This analysis is consistent with the findings of multiple organizations, which have looked at my voting record and ranked me as one of the most centrist Members of Congress.
My willingness to do what is best and break from my party is what the people of the 10th District deserve, it is what I promised when I first ran for
Congress in 2010, and it is what I will continue to bring to Washington in the year ahead. Nearly every piece of legislation I have introduced has been bipartisan because I truly believe the only way we can move our country forward is by working together. I recently joined the No Labels movement, a group of bipartisan lawmakers that is calling
for an end to the gridlock in Washington. And this year I will sat with my Democrat colleague, Representative John Carney from Delaware, during the State of the Union to show our willingness to work in a bipartisan manner.
In recognition of the need to honestly confront our nation’s crushing and growing debt burden, I have consistently called for a bold, bipartisan plan. This past October, I joined a bipartisan group of Members who stepped forward and reached across party lines urging the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee, or Super Committee, to “go big” and put forward a proposal that would reduce our deficit
by at least $4 trillion.
To achieve this, I called for all options to be on the table for discussion -- including spending cuts, entitlement reforms and
revenues. Congress could move from being a “crisis-driven” institution if we sent to Washington more leaders who are willing to look beyond the party labels, reach across the aisle, and make the extra effort to find common ground. Governing in a democracy requires compromise, and we need leaders who understand that -- America can’t be run in any other way.
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?
Washington missed a golden opportunity when it passed health care reform because the legislation focused more on access to insurance rather than dealing with the major problems of cost or quality of health care. What is certain is that small businesses--the backbone of our economy--are saddled with higher health care costs for employees along with costly new regulatory mandates. I am deeply concerned that the new health care law will hurt American seniors.
It cut $500 billion in Medicare benefits and transferred that money to pay for new federal health care bureaucracies. According to Medicare’s Chief Actuary, more than seven million Americans will lose their current Medicare Advantage plans, and other provisions will result in less generous benefit packages. The legislation was much too expensive and will steadily increase taxes on hard working taxpayers, while adding to an already unsustainable federal debt. I oppose the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) because it allows 15 unelected bureaucrats to come between a patient and their health care provider.
IPAB members have the power to decide on Medicare spending cuts, even to the point of revising laws passed by Congress. Furthermore, I am concerned that IPAB will restrict access to doctors in the Medicare program. It could also decide that a particular treatment a patient needs, isn’t covered. I believe that control over health care decisions
lies with a patient and the doctor- not an independent group of unelected people. A key component of my plan for health care reform in implementing tort reform. My plan also offers choice across state lines. Real reform also requires greater transparency of pricing
and outcomes data. Ultimately, I believe we must empower individuals by giving them the ability to make their own personal decisions on health care. As a small business owner I know firsthand the pressure to provide affordable care for employees and have seen health care costs rise year after year. I am committed to implementing a plan that will address cost, quality and access to health care for all Americans.
What should the government’s role be in private sector
As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, I believe it is
vitally important that we implement smart regulations. Currently, we have passed laws that require hundreds of new rules and regulations to be written in less than a year. This is impossible for any business to effectively operate under and understand what is and is not permitted.
That is why we need smart regulations, not more regulations. We need regulations that are clear, consistent and can be enforced.
This will go a long way towards ensuring that our private sector
financial system is being operated in a fair, transparent way that protects the hardworking citizens who use it.
Who are your political heroes and why?
Former 10th District Congressmen John Porter and Mark Kirk have been tremendous role models in the manner which they governed from the center and gave the 10th District an independent voice in Congress. Ronald Reagan has also been an influential political role model due to his work tearing down the Berlin Wall and growing a prosperous free enterprise system in the United States.
Following the troop withdrawal from Iraq, what do you think is the future of the war on terror?
We must continue to remain vigilant against Al Qaeda, and be aware of new regions in the world where the terrorist network is growing in strength. In the summer of 2011, I joined with other Members of Congress to send a letter to Secretary Clinton, urging the U.S. Department of State to develop a strategic plan that confronts the threat of Al Qaeda’s expansion in Yemen.
As U.S. security officials and law enforcement officers continue to work to prevent new terror attacks on our homeland, I do believe that we must always keep an eye on protecting and striking an appropriate balance between civil liberties and security. It is important to recognize that we cannot afford to just ignore or minimize one side of the equation, for the sake of the other -- rather, part of the strength of this country lies in the healthy respect we have for both our security and our Constitutionally-protected civil liberties.
What role should the United States play in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
I have worked hard to actively promote a strong U.S.-Israel relationship in Congress, and to stand strongly with the democratically-elected government of Israel. I traveled to Israel in 2010 and 2011, and have seen the threats Israel faces to its security on a daily basis -- something which should never be minimized by the United States. The proper role for the United States is to support direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves.
I have cosponsored and voted for legislation which affirms this critical principle, because direct negotiations is the only acceptable way that peace could be achieved in the region. Israel is a democratic nation and a trusted ally, and the United States should never dictate or pressure Israel to jeopardize its security. Instead, the U.S. must remain committed to Israel’s long-term security and its right to secure, defensible borders. I have introduced a bipartisan resolution which affirms this fundamental principle.
What should the United States do regarding Iran and nuclear power?
I believe that the current regime in Iran and its pursuit of a nuclear weapon poses a historic national security threat to the United States and our allies, and an existential threat to our ally Israel. A nuclear-armed Iran is simply unacceptable, and we must press ahead with urgency and firmness until this threat is affirmatively dismantled.
I have introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at promoting human rights and democracy inside Iran. I have cosponsored and voted for comprehensive Iran sanctions legislation, and I have worked in the House to support Senator Kirk’s efforts to sanction the Central Bank of Iran. Going forward, I will continue to hold the Administration accountable by ensuring that these sanctions are implemented aggressively. Additionally, we cannot lose sight of the fact that Iran is thelargest state-sponsor of terror in the world, with proxies all around the Middle East.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully
or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain.
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