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November 8, 2016 — Illinois General Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 7

Photo of Jeffrey A. Leef

Jeffrey A. Leef

Republican
Physician - Interventional Radiologist at the University of Chicago for 27 years
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • EDUCATION: The Chicago Public Schools are amongst the worst in the nation. After decades of failed Democratic policies and billions of wasted dollars , it is time for the free market and a voucher system to repair our national disgrace.
  • HEALTHCARE: The Affordable Care Act is the failure that it's own architects predicted. We need a 10 year plan to phase out the ACA and effectively address the problems that existed prior to Obamacare. Again, the answer lies in the freedom of choice.
  • FOREIGN POLICY: It is of utmost importance for th e safety of our citizens to recapture the mantle of world leader. We do not pursue such futile tasks as nation-building , but instead,establish a far-reaching plan to safeguard our citizens and allies

Experience

Experience

Profession:Physician - Interventional Radiologist at the University of Chicago for 27 years
Physician - Radiologist, The University of Chicago (1992–current)

Education

University of Chicago M.D., Board Certified Radiologist; Specialty trained in Interventional Radiology (current)

Community Activities

Little League'softball coach, RIver Forest Youth Baseball/Softball (2003–2014)

Questions & Answers

Questions from Chicago Sun-Times (18)

What is your biggest difference with your opponent(s)?
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

The major differences between myself and Rep. Davis are that I am not beholden to monied corporate interests , unions, or other special interest groups; that I know that the Affordable Care Act is an unmitigated failure; that I support our national defense; that I am not part of a political party whose policies have lead to increasing poverty, inequality, violence and horrible public schools in the most impoverished areas in the 7th District.

The other major difference is that the I do not shamelessly pander to the liberals of the Sun-Times Editorial Board. Despite Rep. Davis not giving a single cogent answer to the questions asked at our face-to-face interview, and having not completed a single answer to the Voters Edge questions up to the time at which the endorsement was doled out, the Sun-Times Editorial Board made the following statement:

Rep. Danny Davis, a Democrat, is extremely popular in his district, which is why he draws only token opposition in general elections. The Republican Party doesn’t waste its time. So it goes again. The congressman is opposed by a University of Chicago doctor of radiology, Jeffrey A. Leef, who admirably believes in public service but has no experience to recommend him; and he’s not well informed on the issues. Davis is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal who has focused on such issues as criminal justice reform and creating “a living wage.” He also is among the most globetrotting members of Congress, which is unfortunate. He might want to work a little harder here at home. We endorse Davis this year with the hope that he faces a more qualified opponent the next time around."

I only hope that , over time, the voters will become aware that 20 years is more than enough time to effect change , and that they should not look to the once respected Chicago Sun-times for unbiased jornalism.

Congress has declined to formally authorize America’s undeclared war against ISIS. Should Congress take a vote to authorize the use of military force against ISIS?
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

For at least 2 decades, over multiple administrations, the U.S. has been visionless in regards to its foreign policy. We have waited for catastrophe to strike before acting, then either over-reacted or undertook futile and naive ventures such as "nation-building".

For a brief moment in time, immediately post 9/11, the President and Congress functioned in the manner designed by our forefathers. The President declared war on terror after seeking congressional support and formed coalition forces with our allies. Congress passed the Patriot Act, to immediately strenghten the information gathering abilities of our intelligence community. And, initially, there was a focused goal: Find Al Qaida. Destroy Al Qaida.

Sadly, our leaders lost sight of the goal which our military largely achieved. In doing so, they lost the trust and support of the American people.

Now, again, we are in need of a President with a foreign policy vision. One who can act as a diplomat, not only with the leaders of the countries most affected by terrorism but with his own Congress. We also need a President with the courage to define the enemy. That enemy is radical Islamic jihadists whose sole goal is to kill those that do not ascribe to their twisted ideology. 

Congress can and should authorize war against ISIS. However, this would only be useful if the U.S. has a President who realizes the critical importance of resuming America's role as a global leader.

More generally, what should Congress do to reduce the threat of ISIS abroad and at home? 
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

Congress cannot act alone. A president must regain the confidence of his legislators, making them a part of the process specifically designed by our forefathers. The President must foster not hinder bipartisanship for the necessary steps to to be taken to make U.S. citizens and its allies safe.

I believe these steps are as follows:

1. Declare war on ISIS. As ISIS has already declared war on the United States, this does not seem so profound.

2. To do this, the President must forge a relationship with Congress, so that a bipartisan consensus agrees with a concise plan, the success of which is in keeping with a true foreign policy vision.

3. The President and Congress, through true diplomacy must create a coalition force, comprised of all countries whose way of life is also being threatened by this evil organization.

4. Authorize the unleashing of the overwhelming power of U.S. Air Force, followed by the dangerous but necesary " boots on the ground". These ground troops, however should be predominately comprised of Arab soldiers, who too are invested to join a world leader whose goal is to kill enemy that has slaughtered thousands of their innocents.

5. Allocate appropriate funding to rebuild our rapidly aging military arsenal.

6. Update our aging nuclear arsenal, which is our main deterent of further despicable and threatening actions by the other evil actors in the world, specifically Russia and Iran.

This is a good start.

Donald Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration. Do you support such action? What restrictions, if any, do you support on the admission of Muslims into the United States? 
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

Donald Trump's original call for a temporary ban on muslim immigration was one of countless nonsensical statements he has made. While presidential candidates are human and can misspeak, this statement revealed his complete lack of knowledge of foreign affairs, world history , the Muslim religion and of the very essence of what the United States represents to millions of people.

That said, should the United States have open borders? Absolutely not! The world in which we live is far different than that of 1940. When FDR chose to refuse visas to a million Jews trying to escape the Nazi's, the percentage of those Jews whoae sole intent was to kill American innocents was exactly ZERO. Sadly, although Islam is a religion of peace and while there are over one billion Muslims in the world who are faithful to this religion, it is indisputable fact that there is a small but dangerous percentage that are radical Islamic jihadists whose sick distortions of this religion has accounted for the loss of millions of Christian, Jewish and Muslim lives.

So first, we need a President with the courage to define this enemy. To defeat this enemy, and to develop a long-term plan to do so, we must understand the ideology behind it.

The answer is not the knee jerk response of " ban Muslims!". Instread, a thoughtful approach to strengthen the vetting process of ALL people entering the country is esential. Recently , the American people were asked to place faith in the decisions of President Obama's FBI Direstor James Comey. And yet, Mr. Comey's statement that the vetting process for Syrian refugees is inadequate is being ignored.

I will go back to my recurring theme: bipartisan Congresional approval of an efficient vetting process, lead by a President capable of such diplomacy.

The United States’ nuclear deal with Iran turned one year old on July 14, 2016. Should the deal be maintained as it is, revised or scrapped completely? What is right or wrong with the Iran deal? And should the next president feel bound by it?
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

There is nothing right about the Iran Deal. Why? Let me count the ways:

1. The deal was made as though the U.S. was negotiating from a position of weaknes. This was absolutely not the case. We did not HAVE to accept any deal; especially from a country that is the largest state sponsor of terror.

2. As expected, Iran broke portions of the deal the day after it was forged.

3. Even if Iran upheld the deal, the U.S. esentially agreed that within 10 years, the largest sponsor of terror in the world is entitled to nuclear weapons; the very country whose proxies are aiding Assad rain death on Aleppo.

4. This deal, created specifically without input from our only true democratic ally in the region, Israel, whose very existence is threatened by the country whose goal is to " wipe it off the face of the earth", is an outrage and a disgrace.

5. The deal has set the stage for a new nuclear arms race, with the Saudi's joining an already too crowded field.

6. The deal included releasing billions of dollars of frozen assets, which will, in short order be funnelled to other terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

Iran has already violated the terms of the deal. The next President will hopefully do what is best for our country and those of the Middle East and reject this deal on day one.

Should the United States build a physical wall along our nation’s entire border with Mexico? Should a “path to citizenship” be created for the millions of people already living here without proper documentation? Would you support legislation to prevent the deportations of so-called “Dreamers” — youth who came to the U.S. illegally as small children with their parents?
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

"Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" A wall is wrong on every imaginable level: morally, practically, financially, and allegorically.

That said, the world is a vastly different place then it was in 1903, when the plaque bearing this quote was placed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Our nation has suffered terrible tragedies on our shores. While on 9/11 we lost the greatest number of innocent souls, the toll has gradually been increasing , in large part due to radicalized Islamic jihadists hell-bent on killing Americans. Securing our borders , though , is a mult-faceted problem. The "immigration problem" has become a waste basket term to include the inadequate vetting of Middle East immigrants as well as the influx of illegal Mexican aliens.

I understand that we are a land of laws, and that these laws must be upheld for our society to remain intact. However, we cannot deport the illegal aliens already here who have been allowed to become an integral part of our economy, those without police records, or  the children of these individuals who were born here. An enforceable pathway to citizenship is essential. Concomitantly, our borders must be secured. As with so many of our governmentally supervised projects, the results do not justify the means. The budget for Homeland Security to secure our borders is $13 billion. The budget for the entire FBI is $6 billion. Competent individuls must be recruited to re-evaluate the processes and expenses, establish new plans, as well as be held accountable in a transparent fashion.

Federal judges in July ruled against voter identification laws in Wisconsin and Texas, concluding that they disproportionately impact minority voters and violate the U.S. Voting Rights Act. Should voters be required to show a photo ID when voting? And should the federal government have a say in this, or is it strictly a matter for the individual states to decide? 
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

Unfortunately, our justice system has become sadly partisan and political. This is yet another bipartisan sin created over decades. One must look no further than the flurry over the next Supreme Court appointment.

For this reason, this Federal ruling, while it is the law, doesn't necessarily reflect reality. Voter ID laws are essential and should be strengthened. Can we ignore the fact that history was altered in 1960 when voter fraud influenced the outcome of the presidential election?

While in general I believe that as many decisions as possible be made at the state level, I feel that the requirment to show a photo ID to vote, especially in a national election, is essential,  fair and appropriate.

Should all or certain federal public lands, including national parks, wildlife refuges and forests, be given to states to control? Do you support the opening of public lands and the outer continental shelf to exploration for oil and other fossil fuels, even if those resources are not immediately developed? 
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

This year, the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary. Surveys show great satisfaction amongst the parks visitors. While this is a great accomplishment, the average visitor doesn't realize that the park service's maintainance backlog is $11.5 billion, requiring begging Congress for money. Again, we find another governmentally run program in financial peril. 

I feel that national treasures should be under the purview of the Federal government. However, this does not mean Congress should stand idly by as yet another program or service is buried in the graveyard of failed government businesses. If Congress was capable of passing a budget , which incorporated , if nothing else, eliminating redundant entitilements, and with competent management and sound fiscal oversight, the National Park Service would flourish, be on sound financial footing and continue to provide American citizens with these natural wonders. 

 

What changes, if any, to the U.S. tax code do you support and why?
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

The tax code needs to be simplified. However, most importantly the debt must be controlled and controlled now. Americans haven’t as yet felt the true adverse effects of this debt as it has been hidden by the artificially low interest rates set by the Fed. Realize that from World War II to 2008 ( over sixty years), during which time we suffered recessions and other economic turmoil, the rate of growth of the economy averaged well above 3%. Yet for over a decade, the U.S. economy has not experienced 3 consecutive quarters of 3% growth, in fact averaging closer to 2%.

The answer is not as simple as “decrease spending” but rather focused decreases in areas of waste and in those which are not in keeping with our primary goal; specifically to increase productivity, spur job formation, improve healthcare, and , at the very least, to eliminate redundant entitlements. Again, since World War II, the increase in federal spending as a percentage of the GDP ( 15% to 20% ) is entirely due to expansion of existing and creation of new entitlements. Michael J. Boskin’s  statement in his chapter in BLUEPRINT OF AMERICA, edited by George Shultz, best describes how the best intentions to help the poor have resulted in an inefficient and unsustainable system:

“The General Accountability Office identified 162 areas where federal programs overlap or fragment. For example, the federal government has 92 programs designed to help low-income Americans, costing over $800 billion per year. Do we really need 46 job-training programs, sprawling over 9 agencies, costing $20 billion a year, many with no metrics, 17 federal food-aid programs across 3 agencies costing $100 billion per year, and 20 federal housing programs across 3 departments costing over $50 billion per year?”. All this and I haven’t yet introduced your readers to the twin 800 pound gorillas in the room- Social Security and Medicare. True reform of these governmental monstrosities will take years, the problem being it will span several presidencies, likely of differing parties. That said, here are several possible changes I feel that if implemented would drastically reduce our debt and in turn stimulate our economy:

1.         Increase retirement age but simultaneously eliminate payroll tax once the existing Social Security retirement age has been reached, giving elderly workers the incentive to continue working.

2.        Give workers the option to invest a percentage of their current payroll tax in stocks or bonds of their choosing.

3.        Gradually convert Medicare into a true insurance program, whereby it covers catastrophic illness, and not every check-up, procedure, lab test, etc. However, simultaneously, there has to be an expansion of low cost private insurance plans made available.

4.        I am in favor of vouchers, which are distributed to seniors and the most needy, allowing them to buy affordable private plans for non-catastrophic coverage.

Granted, these are lofty goals but essential for the U.S. to best serve it’s citizens and global partners.

What are the most important actions Congress can take to ensure the solvency of Social Security?
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

True reform of this governmental monstrosity will take years, the problem being it will span several presidencies, likely of differing parties. That said, here are 2 changes I feel that if implemented would drastically reduce our debt and in turn stimulate our economy:

1. Increase retirement age but simultaneously eliminate payroll tax once the existing Social Security retirement age has been reached, giving elderly workers the incentive to continue working.

2. Give workers the option to invest a percentage of their current payroll tax in stocks or bonds of their choosing.

3. At the same time , we must gradually convert Medicare into a true insurance program, whereby it covers catastrophic illness, and not every check-up, procedure, lab test, etc. However, simultaneously, there has to be an expansion of low cost private insurance plans made available.

4. I am in favor of vouchers, which are distributed to seniors and the most needy, allowing them to buy affordable private plans for non-catastrophic coverage.

Granted, these are lofty goals but essential for the U.S. to best serve it’s citizens and global partners.

The Republican Party platform defines marriage as between a man and a woman. What is your view? The Obama Administration has issued guidelines to schools, saying they must allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. What is your view? And do you believe parents of LGBT children should be allowed to force their children into conversion therapy?
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

I strongly believe in smaller government and freedom of choice. In keeping with these beliefs, the government has no right to dictate whom one marries.

Again, I don't look for the government to make decisions that they feel are best for me. The president and federal government should play no role in dictating who uses what bathroom. These decisions should be decided at as personal level as possible; At the very least at the state level. Better yet by the school and parents of the child. Ultimately, all of us who are parents should have the bulk of responsibility to do what is best for our children.

The last portion of this question is not only ridiculous but offensive and insulting to even ask.

What is the single most important action Congress can take to reduce U.S. gun violence?
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

The single most important action is for Congress to pass TERM LIMITS! We must rid our government of career politicians who are beholden to special interest groups. The easy answer in this regard is to blame Republicans. There is no doubt that they share significant blame with their blatant pandering to the NRA. But to say that this tragic problem is created by Republicans is patently false and simplistic. When the Democrats recently had their childish sit-in, they should have taken the time to ask themselves ," If gun control was such a passion of ours, what were we doing during the first 2 years of the Obama presidency when we had control of the House and Senate? What was Harry Reid doing in his tenure as Senate Majority leader that he failed to bring a single gun control bill the the Senate floor". Career politicians serve themselves, not their constituents.

The only way to reduce gun violence is to acknowledge that the solution will take a decade and will involve bipartisan agreement. This can only happen while jointly markedly improving education , opportunity, wages, healthcare; reducing poverty and segregation,; increasing personal responsibilty while reducing redundant entitlements; strengthening gun laws; and finally , getting guns off the street, possibly with the help of the National Guard.

The “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act” would give the Department of Justice authority to keep suspected terrorists on the federal “no fly” list from buying firearms. The bill was voted down in Congress late last year but pushed again in June after the Orlando massacre of 49 people. Do you support or oppose this bill, and why?
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

I , of course, support the portion of the bill that states that suspected terrorists on the no-fly list cannot buy firearms. However, to accurately answer the question, you should publish the entire bill. Yet another way that our elected officials attempt to manipulate and let us down is including unacceptable portions, unrelated to the subject in the bill. This blatant ploy to generate hostility towards the opposing party when they seemingly reject a morally good bill is one of the reasons for our ineffective government.

Should Obamacare be repealed, left intact, or changed — and if so, how? 
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

Unless a bipartisan plan going forward is created, and an honest assessment of our pre- and post ACA health insurance status is made, this too is doomed to fail. Those opposed, like myself, to the ACA, do not claim that the prior system was perfect. I feel it was a national disgrace that it was nearly impossible to obtain health insurance if you had a pre-existing condition. But if you have a fractured bone in your hand, you don’t amputate the arm. Instead of pointed corrections, a complete overhaul was made. One may wonder how the ACA , a plan based upon expanding already failing entitlements, could have ever been passed. Well it’s not demagoguery if I quote the architect of the ACA, MIT Professor Jonathon Gruber: “ Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass. “He went on to say : “ If you had a law that made it explicit that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people are going  to get the subsidies, it would not have passed."

 

Solutions exist if we have the fortitude to implement them and realize that bipartisan support of a 10-year plan is essential. While books can be written on the subject, I suggest the following:

1. Acknowledge that the ACA cannot be repealed tomorrow. That said, you cannot fine tune the monstrosity. Phase it out as you phase in a fiscally responsible, transparent plan, which is in keeping with providing the highest level of healthcare to the greatest number of people.

2. Slowly convert Medicare into a true insurance program, covering catastrophic illness.

3. Simultaneously create and expand low cost private insurance plans, generated by the same market competition that have brought us unparalleled advancements in countless products which also improve our daily lives.

4. Establish and make readily available Universal Healthcare accounts, allowing individuals to save tax-free money for uncovered expenses.

5. Reform the politically appointed, so-called Independent Advisory Board whose specific goal is to reduce payments to doctors and hospitals. This board has resulted in a rapidly increasing number of physicians who no longer take Medicare patients.

6. Start the slow and arduous journey of giving Medicaid patients the ability to drop their substandard coverage and care and obtain affordable private plans.

7. Create a voucher system in which the most needy can purchase plans which gives them access to the same type of medical care available to the more fortunate.

 

 

A plan to replace Obamacare, presented by House Speaker Paul Ryan in June, would gradually increase the eligibility age for Medicare, which is now 65. Starting in 2020, the Medicare age would rise along with the eligibility age for full Social Security benefits, eventually reaching 67. Do you support this change in the eligibility age for Medicare? 
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

Now before pictures of me pushing my parents off a cliff are posted on Facebook, lets examine some numbers. To do this , I provide an excerpt from Scott W. Atlaschapter on transformational healthcare reform, again from the Blueprint for America edited by George Shultz:

Americas national health expenditures now total over $3.1 trillion per year, or more than 17.4% of the GDP, and are projected to reach 19.6% of the GDP by 2024. Medicaid has expanded to cover over 70 million people at a cost of $500 billion per year. Medicare spends over $260 billion annually on hospital benefits alone and $615 billion in total for 52 million enrollees. Workers paying taxes for the program will decline to 2.3 per beneficiary by 2030, half of the number at Medicares inceptionMedicares hospitalization insurance trust fund will face depletion in 2030. Barring changes, by 2049, federal expenditures for health care and Social Security are projected to consume all federal revenues, eliminating capacity for national defense, interest on the debt, or any other domestic program.

It is unconscionable to ignore these indisputable facts . Of course I support the Paul Ryan plan. Like most parents, my wife and I live our lives to make life better for our children. To not only ignore but exacerabate this problem by expanding it, is to fail at the most important part of being a parent - to protect your children.

 

The GOP platform opposes the use of public funds for Planned Parenthood and other groups that “perform or advocate” abortion. It also opposes funding health care that includes abortion coverage. In contrast, the Democratic Party’s platform called for continued funding of Planned Parenthood and repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which bars the direct use of federal funds to pay for abortion. Where do you stand?  
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

As the reader can see, all my answers are based on 3 basic beliefs:  Freedom of Choice, Small government, and following my moral compass.

So consider the following :

1. Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right.

2. Throughout recent history, close to 70% of Catholics vote Democrat . 

3. The Catholic church does not support birth control or abortion

The 70% of Catholics that vote Democrat have been allowed to express their freedom of choice and vote contrary to their church's beliefs. Isn't the converse valid as well? If you follow religious doctrine and oppose birth control and abortion, should you be forced to pay for it? My answer is no.

Before the Left's chants of " Leef hates women!" begin, please read on.

I believe Planned Parenthood provides a tremendous health service to women in need. It is an essential part of our society. I also feel that we should look closer at how it is paid for and by whom. Our government allocates $524 million to Planned Parenthood each year. That means taxpayers pay a half a billion dollars to an organization whose practices may not be inkeeping with their religious beliefs. I believe Planned Parenthood should be funded in 2 ways. First, by private donations. This total could be collected from the hollywood elite alone. Second, we should have at least a small choice as to how our taxes are spent. For example, lets take an arbitrary 5%. As a law-abiding taxpayer, we should be able to allocate where 5% of our personal taxes are spent. I should have the option to send that 5% to Planned Parenthood or to whatever organization that best suits my beliefs. Freedom of choice.

 

President Obama has proposed making two years of community college free nationally. Do you support or oppose this proposal? If you support it, how would you have the nation pay for it? 
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

I am 100% opposed . I will support this when someone can provide me a single example of a successful, efficiently run and financially sound governmental program. I don't believe the government needs to explain what is best for us. One must look no further than the Chicago Public Schools or for that matter the results of the majority of governmentally supported schools in the country. Should taxpayers funnel more money into the vortex of fiscal waste, further increasing our unsustainable debt while producing poor results? I can only hope our next president answers this question with a resounding "no".

College costs have risen at twice the rate of inflation for about 30 years. What is driving this increase and what should be done about it?
Answer from Jeffrey A. Leef:

The cost is completely driven by waste and excess. The sad case of Chicago State University is a perfect example. Consider this:

1. The administrative fees of CSU students ( $3,600 ), are 80% higher than all other colleges and universities in Illinois.

2. The average MAP ( Monetary Award Program ) grant per CSU student is $2,600, which amounts to a taxpayer expense of $5.5 million. If 1/4 of administrative staff at CSU were cut, it would not only cover the $5.5 million, but it would leave CSU with an administrative staff number that would still rank first in the state.

3. CSU has nearly 1 administrator per faculty member.

4. There is one administrator per 17.7 students, compared with the state average of 1 per 45.

5. After an average 30 year career, an administrative retiree receives at least $71,000 a year for life.

And the most depressing statistic of all is that the garduation rate at Chicago State University is 11%.

The first step of the answer has already been taken, which is cutting staff. However, because of previously arranged deals, the severance pay alone has cost CSU over $2 million. As painful as this measure was, the next mountain to climb is restructuring pensions.

 

Videos (1)

— October 10, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times

Jeffrey Leef tells why he should be the congressman from the 7th district.

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