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United States
November 8, 2016 —Illinois General Election

U.S. House of Representatives — ” Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren, Candidate for District 14

Photo of Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren

Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren

Republican
Elected Official
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Fighting for jobs and opportunity for Illinois individuals and families.
  • Reducing the national debt on the next generation by stopping overspending of tax dollars, holding government accountable and growing our economy.
  • Breaking down walls to work across the aisle to find solutions to American problems by finding areas of agreement.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Elected Official
Member of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives — Elected position (2011–current)
Senator, Illinois General Assembly — Elected position (2007–2011)
Member of the House, Illinois General Assembly — Elected position (1999–2007)
Board Member, DuPage County Board and County Forest Preserve Board — Elected position (1994–1999)

Education

Chicago-Kent College of Law J.D., Law (1993)
Bethel College B.S. (1988)

Questions & Answers

Questions from Chicago Sun-Times (18)

What is your biggest difference with your opponent(s)?
Answer from Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

I have a clear record of achieving legislative victories—in many cases across the aisle—for the benefit of the 14th District. I know how to preserve core conservative principles while also setting aside differences to get the job done for my constituents. I secured more equitable transportation funding between city, suburban and rural areas. I exposed government abuse and unaccountability by shedding light on the FAA’s discredited hiring process of air traffic controllers, and included my own legislation in a transportation bill to ensure our skies are safe and our towers are staffed by highly qualified controllers and experienced military veterans. I have exposed the plague of human trafficking to Congress, and have ensured several pieces of legislation—including my bill to reduce demand for sex trafficking—have gathered support on both sides of the aisle. I have a strong bipartisan record in Congress. I have worked with Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat from Maryland, to protect tax-exempt municipal bonds, a lifeline for local communities looking to improve their infrastructure. One of my good friends is Rep. Dan Lipinski from Illinois who serves with me on the Science Committee. We’ve worked extensively promoting basic scientific research at national labs like Fermilab and Argonne.

 

I have cut down on unnecessary and outdated federal regulations that Illinois businesses large and small tell me stifle their economic growth and hurt their ability to expand and hire. Since its introduction in Congress, I have pushed forward my legislation to put these old regulations on a path to elimination. My bill has passed the House and a companion bill has been introduced in the Senate. Similarly, I have introduced H.R. 5374, the Bring Small Businesses Back Tax Reform Act, which provides immediate tax relief and reduces administrative burdens for small businesses. It is gaining steady support in the House.

 

 

My bill to improve scientific research into low-dose radiation was the first bill passed in the House—by anyone, Republican or Democrat—in the 114th Congress. A few weeks later, I passed another bill. As China builds ever-faster supercomputers and we fall behind, my bill H.R. 874 jumpstarts research into high-performance computing technologies at facilities like Argonne in Lemont to ensure continued American leadership. Research produced at Illinois’ own Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratories has enormous economic potential. But their discoveries cannot remain stuck in the labs. I worked alongside Rep. Derek Kilmer, a Democrat from Washington State, on H.R.1158—the third bill I passed out of the House this Congress—which modernizes our national lab system and helps small businesses and manufacturers in Illinois and nationwide work with the labs through public-private partnerships to help bring the discoveries they make into the marketplace, creating local jobs and solving 21st century problems. This bill includes support from the right-leaning Heritage Foundation and the left-leaning Center for American Progress. This isn’t just about science—this is about the thousands of jobs Fermilab and Argonne combined provide for families and businesses in Illinois.

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

Much of the debate surrounding the basis for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) resolution is due to the fact that the current administration has not provided the public with a clear, comprehensive legal analysis of its power to use military force against the Islamic State, nor has it laid out a cohesive strategy to defeat it. Although the President has submitted language for an authorization request, these basic issues need to be resolved.

 

An AUMF is not a substitute for a comprehensive strategy to defeat an enemy. In August of 2014, the President said, "We don't have a strategy yet" to defeat the Islamic State. Since then, the President has dispatched military advisors and launched an aerial bombing campaign, the goals and results of which are decidedly unclear. We need a strong and robust strategy to defeat the Islamic State, so it would seem to me we would also require a strong and robust authorization in the event U.S. troops are sent into harm's way. Yet, the President's AUMF submission is more restrictive than the legal authority he currently relies upon (the AUMF from 2001 following 9/11). We should give our military commanders the flexibility and authority they need to defeat an enemy, not tie their hands. We should also not overly restrict the President as Commander-in-Chief to carry out a victorious campaign.

 

 

Any AUMF should only be voted on after thorough and transparent debate by the Congress. It is Congress's duty to have this debate with the President. Congress will certainly modify the AUMF request the President sent up or may come up with one of its own as it moves through rigorous hearings and oversight on this matter. Ultimately, the President needs to outline how we are going to confront the global terrorist threat and the Islamic State specifically and ensure he has the authorization to deal with it effectively.

More generally, what should Congress do to reduce the threat of ISIS abroad and at home? 
Answer from Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

We need to act boldly and decisively to stop the advance of ISIS without empowering Iran or pulling ourselves into yet another conflict overseas. This must include a concerted overall strategy to defeat ISIS, not a reactive, piecemeal, half-hearted effort. Action in Iraq must work to empower moderate Sunnis and Shias without taking sectarian sides, and empower the Iraqi government to take charge over its internal security. We can’t keep propping up struggling governments. Iraq must step up and show it’s ready to defend its country without our help.

 

We need a workable military strategy beyond air strikes to dislodge and ultimately defeat ISIS in the region it currently occupies in Syria and Iraq. This may entail ground troops composed of a coalition of neighboring countries that have the greatest stake in seeing ISIS crushed. Part of any comprehensive strategy needs to address the murderous regime of Syrian strongman Bashir al-Assad.

 

Abroad we need better intelligence gathering and information sharing with our allies to thwart ISIS attacks. Unfortunately, it may have taken the Paris, Brussels, and San Bernardino attacks to make this happen. We shouldn’t let the fear of further attack paralyze us—we should take smart steps to secure our nation. This includes better-funded national security efforts, which I have supported.

 

 

At home, we need to take a serious look at how ISIS increasingly takes advantage of and manipulates digital platforms and social media where it spreads propaganda and recruits extremists for its cause. We need to take steps to counter this and ultimately shut it down. This includes developing a counter-message to its ideology of glorified violence and joining a common cause which has been attractive to many. Increased direct military involvement might offer short-term solution, but we need to address the root causes of Islamic militancy. This will not be easy. Among other actions, we need to urge countries like Saudi Arabia to combat radical indoctrination wherever it occurs. We need to offer a hopeful alternative in the Middle East and rely on steady allies in the region to show hopeless young men that there is another way.

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

Since the Paris attacks last year, legitimate fears of national security have strayed into proposals that violate one of our most fundamental constitutional principles: freedom of religion. This foundational freedom protected by our Constitution is the basis of our society and inherent to human dignity. Singling out any faith community for the actions of extremists is not conservative, it is hostile to our founding, it would never pass Congress and it is a distraction from our efforts to truly increase the security of our nation. We need to take aggressive, constitutional action to keep out radical Islamic extremists who are intent on entering our country to harm us, and to stop lone-wolf extremists who are already here.

 

The United States has long been a beacon of hope for those in distress seeking refuge. It is clear many innocent people are fleeing horrific conflicts. Persecutors such as ISIS are specifically targeting religious and ethnic minorities such as Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims. We cannot turn a blind eye to their plight, and I have sponsored a series of bills aiding their flight out of harm’s way.

 

Refugees are the most security-vetted population that arrives in the United States and the path to gain asylum here is rigorous, difficult and lengthy. Unfortunately, as we have seen in attacks on our soil, terrorists come from all over—not just Syria—and have focused on quicker, more effective means and ways to develop radicalized sympathizers within our border. As a commissioner on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), I pressed administration officials to ensure they are putting our safety first when determining who comes to our shores. I have continued to work closely without our federal agencies to ensure Illinois is protected from additional attacks, and I am closely re-evaluating the security measures in place for our refugee process.

 

 

Terrorism must be fought head-on with strong but smart and constitutional methods. We must refocus our efforts on finding and plugging the gaps in our security measures to ensure we keep out radical extremists who want to harm our citizens.

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

I voted against the Iran nuclear deal by voting to pass a House resolution which rejected the Iran deal and affirmed that the President did not comply with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act by withholding key, confidential side agreements from Congress between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency. I continue to have grave concerns with the agreement.

 

I am not opposed to diplomatic solutions—just bad diplomacy. I still believe the deal falls far short of what we as the world’s most established superpower should have negotiated or ever agreed to. Intent on cutting a deal with Iran at any cost, the President came to the table bargaining from a position of weakness. The President’s agreement makes the development of Iran’s ballistic missile program an even greater threat. This deal ignores Iran’s human rights abuses. This deal doesn’t include ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections. This deal gives immediate cash to a dangerous adversary.

 

Iran is already flaunting its new-found flexibility, launching illegal ballistic missile tests and smuggling illicit arms. Yet the White House refuses to recognize their brazen actions, instead delivering $400 million in cash for an outdated dispute.

 

Two summers ago, I traveled with a bipartisan group of Members of Congress to Israel and saw firsthand the existential threats it faces every day. But at the top of Israel’s list—above Hamas, above Hezbollah and any other threats—lay Iran. Barely larger than New Jersey, Israel must always be vigilant as Iran, which has called for its complete elimination, threatens nuclear and conventional warfare. Israel is the only truly free democracy in the region, and relies on our friendship as a bulwark against an aggressive Iran bent on regional supremacy. We must show Israel clearly that we are a trusted friend and ally as they seek to protect themselves from these existential threats. Holding Iran in check is central to this goal.

 

As we remember the terrorist attack on our own nation 15 years ago and the many lives that were lost, it is imperative we oppose any deal which would empower Iran—the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism—to fund further terrorist acts and pursue its clear nuclear ambitions. Iran must be prevented from enriching uranium—and I believe we must do everything in our power to stop them. Iran continues to fund and support the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Houthi rebels in Yemen. In a time where we remain steadfast in fight against terror, lifting sanctions on Iran is inconceivable and detrimental to the defense and protection of the United States.

 

This deal fails to prevent Iran from getting the bomb, potentially sets off an arms race in the region and encourages further brazen action by a country all-too-happy to flaunt violations of the deal and international law.

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

Since its founding, our country has welcomed immigrants in search of better opportunities and a better life. My great-grandfather sailed from Sweden and began his pursuit of the American Dream as a doorman at Marshall Field’s in Chicago. Little did he know the opportunities he would provide for his great-grandson just three generations later! The immigration system then was not perfect, but it opened up the way for many who sought a better life in America.

 

Unfortunately, the system which gave my great-grandfather and others like him such opportunity is in disarray. Our borders are porous and criminals are passing through undeterred. Families are being broken up by bureaucratic inconsistency and ineptitude. Scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs from other countries who could be creating jobs and opportunities for other Americans are being sent back home. Immigrants in search of the opportunities America has to offer are languishing for years in long lines, never knowing if they’ll be able to make the journey here.

 

Fixing our immigration system requires a careful and measured approach. This problem requires multiple targeted pieces of legislation to fix it. For too long, Congress has tried to throw in the kitchen sink, making it too large and complex to pass and leading to delayed action year after year.

 

In order to address these important issues, we should:

 

1.      Secure the border by ensuring our law enforcement forces have the latest technologies and officers available. We must learn from the mistakes of neglecting to properly implement a biometric entry-exit system.

2.      Enforce immigration law at home by ensuring businesses use electronic systems to verify legal status of potential hires. American businesses should respect our nation’s laws and American workers.

3.      Update our visa system to address agricultural and high-skilled workers, and ensure we support the family as the best social safety net. Breaking down the family creates dependents of the federal government. I cannot and will not accept amnesty. We must ensure all immigrants declare themselves before entering into our society. The undocumented must get right with the law, admit their guilt and pay necessary fines and back taxes. But doing this will not ensure they can stay. Productive members of society must go through the legal process to obtain proper status.

 

There are many trouble stops on the border where strengthened walls are necessary. We must use measures physical and electronic to make sure our borders are no longer porous.

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

As a proud member of the Party of Lincoln from the Land of Lincoln, I take great pride—and responsibility—in promoting a strong republic where all women and men are equal and a part of the system that chooses our leaders and promotes a more just society.

 

That’s why I am a proud to cosponsor H.R. 885, the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015, bipartisan civil rights legislation to update key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, which were struck down by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v Holder.

 

 

In regards to voter ID laws for elections, I do think there can be common sense ways to properly ensure the accuracy and validity of our elections. If a state implements a requirement to show a government ID to vote, they should have measures in place to get an ID without an undue burden. States implementing these laws may need to provide a voting ID at no cost. States are responsible for holding elections as laid out in the Constitution.

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

The federal government has a long history of protecting our national treasures and I support this. As a former board member of the DuPage County Forest Preserve, I have also seen how local efforts that engage the community are the best way to protect our open spaces. In working with my colleagues in the House, I have learned about the problems many farmers and landowners are facing dealing with the federal government, especially in the western states where many are more than 50 percent federal lands. Due to federal mismanagement, many farmers are facing destruction by wildfires and pests. I trust the fifth generation family farmer wants to pass along a healthy environment to their children, but they are too often shut out by federal bureaucrats. There has to be a better way.

 

I believe that federal lands should be open for some development consistent with the state laws and regulations already in place. However, there must be careful balance. There are too many examples of federal lands being handed over to the states and the states selling that land off to the highest bidder to meet state budget shortfalls. That is no way to responsibly manage federal lands.

 

 

Through my time on the Subcommittee on Energy in Congress, I have been struck by the vast amount of natural energy resources we have right here America. With responsible regulation and free markets working together, I believe America can be self-reliant. No longer do we need be subject to the whims of unpredictable and unstable leadership and events in the Middle East. We should celebrate our resources and access them in a responsible way.

What changes, if any, to the U.S. tax code do you support and why?
Answer from Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

Almost everyone agrees America’s current tax code is far too complex, costly and time consuming. We need real reforms that simplify the tax code, make it fairer for everyone and lower taxes on working Americans and their families. We shouldn’t be prioritizing tax breaks for special interests and big businesses—we should be removing burdens on small businesses who want to expand, and making sure middle class Americans can take home more of their own money to keep up with rising healthcare, housing, education and grocery prices. I have introduced legislation, the Bring Small Businesses Back Tax Reform Act (H.R. 5374) to give the nation’s largest job creators the freedom, means, and flexibility to expand and create jobs. More employed workers means more taxpayers. We have too many unemployed people in a stagnant economy that does no favors to government or its citizens. Our country’s deficit has again exploded and our debt has grown out of control—not because taxpayers don’t pay enough taxes, but because Washington spends too much. My constituents are more capable of deciding how to spend their own money than the federal government.

 

But there’s a careful balance we need to pursue. Creating jobs and economic growth must be our top priority. Municipal bonds and their tax exemption have been indispensable in Illinois and across America in financing infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, schools and hospitals—projects that create jobs and sustain economic growth. As founder of the Municipal Finance Caucus, I have led the charge in the House to preserve the municipal bond exemption which safeguards this key lifeline for our local communities who want to improve their infrastructure. Maintaining the tax exemption and preserving local governments’ access to funding is one of the best ways to ensure that necessary programs and improvements continue. We have to recognize the importance of these bonds to our counties and towns.

 

A new tax code shouldn’t hurt the creation of new jobs, or home ownership, or the opportunity for churches and community organizations to benefit from charitable contributions. I have fought to repeal the onerous “death tax” which hurts family farms and small businesses, and to repeal the marriage penalty as the cost of raising a child goes up every year. We also need to look at tax structures that can help vulnerable older Americans keep more of what they earn. I respect the efforts of the House Republican Conference in our plan to pursue a more confident America entitled, “A Better Way.”

 

 

We need a tax code that encourages hard work and savings and that no longer punishes productivity. I encourage Congress and the President to seriously take up tax reform, and look forward to incorporating many of these ideas and working with my colleagues to produce a simpler, fairer tax code.

What are the most important actions Congress can take to ensure the solvency of Social Security?
Answer from Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

Social Security and Medicare are vital safety net programs that our seniors count on, and I will continue to uphold my promise to oppose any cuts to Social Security or Medicare for those 55 and older. I fought against the Affordable Care Act’s drastic gutting of Medicare by $700 billion.

 

However, it is no secret that Medicare costs are still growing and Social Security is projected to be bankrupt by 2033. We must look to long-term reforms that will protect these programs for our seniors and preserve them for future generations. In the House, I have advocated for measures that would require the President to submit a plan for restoring fiscal balance to the Social Security Trust Fund. While I don’t serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, I know there are multiple plans already up for debate and discussion. Our seniors continue to live fulfilling lives and for years paid into the social safety net system. We should uphold our promises to them while helping ensure their children and grandchildren are put on solid financial footing.  In order to save this program that our seniors cannot live without, we must put aside “gotcha” politics and take a serious look at what has already been proposed. It won’t be easy. But putting the program in peril is not an option.

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

Like many Americans, I believe marriage to be a committed religious union between a man and a woman. I was disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate many state laws which defined marriage as such. As the Constitution is silent on marriage, for years the American people decided the issue for themselves through the ballot box or through their elected state representatives. Instead, five unelected judges enacted their vision of what marriage should be, invalidating the democratic will of millions of Americans. As a member of a separate and co-equal branch of government, I remain committed to the right of Americans to decide the issue of marriage for themselves, and I am committed to protecting and preserving religious liberties.

 

I was disturbed by the White House’s May 2016 directive informing every public school that they are required to provide students access to bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities on the basis of their gender identity or risk losing federal education funding.

 

Safety and privacy are significant issues here. Everyone, especially our children, deserves to feel safe and a school bathroom should not become a hostile and intimidating territory for any child. The directive doesn't pass the common sense test. In order to accommodate a small portion of the population, the administration's solution is to sacrifice the right to privacy and safety of the vast majority of children. The government should not be acting as the morality police here, but rather encourage schools to devise and implement no exception anti-bullying policies.

 

Further, the White House has again overstepped its constitutional boundary. Education policy is a state and local matter. The federal government has no business inserting itself in local education policies—this should be a matter for local officials at the local level to decide held accountable by their own voters. I will continue to oppose this ill-conceived directive. In the same way that local school districts should be free from government mandates that violate their ability to serve their communities well, mothers and fathers should be free to raise their children with love and care as they see fit in accordance with their values.

What is the single most important action Congress can take to reduce U.S. gun violence?
Answer from Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

We have become accustomed to waking up to hear about another night of brutality and violence, and the tragic aftermath. As a nation we must continue to stand with the police officers and their families, we must stand with the peaceful protesters who reject such violence, we must stand with the victims of all tragic killings in this country, and we must stand with communities everywhere who are working hard to combat violence with peace. It is our shared responsibility as Americans to work together stop this cycle of violence begetting violence. Violence against another person denies their humanity and it tears families and communities apart. Instead we must instill a respect for the value of human life at all levels of society.

 

I support the reasonable restrictions already in place for backgrounds checks from federally-licensed dealers. Anything more than this should happen at the state level. If we are focusing on new measures to keep us safe, they should target the places criminals are actually getting illegal firearms: straw purchasers and other, already illegal means.

 

Americans shouldn’t have to bring their lawyer to a gun show, nor should they fear a knock at the door because they sold or traded legal firearms to their relatives or other gun collectors. We already know how the IRS has used its immense authority to abuse American citizens. There’s no reason the administration’s activists can be trusted with that power to enforce an arbitrary redefinition of Firearms Dealer.

 

I support the Supreme Court's decision in Heller, which Democrats like Hillary Clinton want to see overturned. This decision made clear that it is an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, and the government's ability to restrict firearms did not extend to commonly-used firearms for self-defense purposes. To overturn this decision would fundamentally alter any reasonable reading of the 2nd Amendment. 

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

I strongly believe that suspected terrorists on the federal No Fly list should be restricted from buying firearms.  Republicans and Democrats agreed on restricting suspected terrorists, but we don’t agree who should decide and place suspected terrorists on the No Fly list. The debate comes down to who should have the ability to deny U.S. citizens their constitutionally-protected right to buy a firearm—an unelected bureaucrat or a judge. 

 

Democrats want to vote on an unconstitutional bill that violates due process rights of all American citizens. Republicans believe all Americans are innocent until proven guilty. There must be due process before someone is labeled a suspected terrorist. The government must bear the burden of proof before someone’s rights are taken away, and the ultimate decision must fall to a judge.

 

Democrats played the “gotcha card” and purposefully devised a solution that they knew wouldn’t pass muster for the sole purpose of scoring political points. That is no way govern. We don’t need a situation where random lawyers and law enforcement with axes to grind place innocent Americans on the No Fly list. 

 

I support legislation that would protect Americans and our Constitution. I urge Democrats in both chambers to set petty politics aside and vote for a constitutional solution.

Should Obamacare be repealed, left intact, or changed — and if so, how? 
Answer from Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

Americans consistently rank health care as one of the top issues that concerns them, and for good reason. Too many consumers who were promised a plan they could keep, more choices, and more affordable health care are being offered unreachable deductibles compounded by rising premiums and notices from their insurance company that their plan has been cancelled. I’ve heard too many stories from my constituents who have received letters terminating their coverage, or of employers who have had to eliminate health benefits, or of workers and teachers whose hours have been reduced because employers can’t afford the higher premiums, or of families losing doctors they’ve known for decades.

I have consistently supported efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including certain initiatives included in the House Republicans’ plan, "A Better Way." I support the expansion of health savings accounts to encourage personal responsibility and increase individual flexibility. I agree that we should reform the way medical malpractice works, do what we can to prevent plan cancellations, protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, rein in runaway prescription drug costs, prevent the government from intruding on the religious freedom of providers, and give states more flexibility when it comes to Medicaid. The bottom line is that ACA is broken and in need of serious fixes.

 

Simultaneously, I have supported changes to the ACA in the immediate term and introduced ideas of my own. The President has signed into law several changes to the ACA to give consumers some relief. We were able to delay some of the ACA's most onerous tax provisions and give back flexibility to states to define a small business for the purpose of employer-sponsored health insurance.

 

Additionally, I have introduced my own alternative, the State Health Care Options Act, which would reform and expand the ACA's existing state innovation waiver to give states like Illinois an "off-ramp" from the law and an “on-ramp” to lower costs, more options and higher quality care. The administration made the current waiver functionally impossible for states to get and use. My bill would simplify and streamline the law's waiver requirements and allow states to opt out of certain ACA plan requirement and exchange provisions, while maintaining coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions and for young people under the age of 26. After the liquidation of the Land of Lincoln insurance co-op, Illinois is left with a market where consumers have one or two plan choices and no affordable options. As we develop full replacement legislation, we cannot allow this system to continue, and so I hope to see action on the State Health Care Options Act in the House soon.

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

Medicare and Medicaid are vital safety net programs that our seniors count on, and I will continue to uphold my promise to oppose any cuts to Social Security or Medicare for those 55 and older. I fought against the Affordable Care Act’s drastic gutting of Medicare by $700 billion.


For years, Washington has mismanaged the money American workers have paid into Medicare. Any long-term reforms Congress considers must not only protect these programs for our seniors and preserve them for future generations, while prioritizing high-quality health care, a high standard of living for this country's aging population and a concerted effort to keep these individuals in their homes with their caregivers and loved ones. Our country will have to be accepting of older Americans remaining in the workforce longer, thus requiring increased job creation for younger people entering the marketplace.


America's seniors continue to live fulfilling lives and for years paid into a system designed to allow them to enjoy their retirement and receive the health care they need from the providers they want. We should uphold our promises to them while seeking to ensure their children and grandchildren are put on solid financial footing.


I believe in a Medicare program that accounts for the fact that Americans are living longer, and most health care dollars are spent at the end of an individual's life. I think the key objective for seniors, their doctors and their families is to allow their loved ones to age at home. Properly reimbursed home health care services and better training for providers for older Americans will go a long way to improve the lives of our aging population. Above all, we must create a system for aging that prioritizes and provides dignity for the individual.

 

I think we can look at programs like Medicare Advantage as a model for future Medicare reforms. Cutting costs and ensuring solvency of the program are important, but so are coordinating health care services, allowing seniors to keep their preferred providers and prioritizing medication adherence and other measures to prevent hospitalizations. Medicare for future Americans can be both efficient and compassionate.

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

As I wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times op-ed page, women and children deserve better than Planned Parenthood. The video investigation caught several of Planned Parenthood’s top officials eagerly promoting the harvesting of the lungs, livers, heads and hearts of aborted babies, purportedly for research but likely for profit. Over lunch and red wine, the so-called doctors talk about a daily “huddle” to determine what body parts are in demand and how to obtain them by strategically “crushing” the children’s bodies.

 

According to Planned Parenthood’s own 2012-2013 annual report, they received more than half a billion dollars from taxpayers. That same year, they performed 327,653 abortions — more than 1.5 times the population of Aurora. For every adoption referral, they performed 174 abortions (for which they charge several hundred dollars).

 

Forcing someone to pay for someone else’s abortion is an extreme position which falls well outside of mainstream America. In poll after poll Americans overwhelmingly agree they should not be forced to pay for someone else’s abortion through their tax dollars. I agree and continue to support the long-standing Hyde Amendment—named after Illinois’ own former Congressman Henry Hyde—which prevents tax dollars from being spent on abortion. In Congress, I have called for a stop to Planned Parenthood’s inhumane practices and have cosponsored and voted for legislation to defund them of taxpayer dollars and instead make those $500 million available to comprehensive health centers that provide whole-woman care, not abortions.

 

There are 13 times more Federally Qualified Health Centers (9,170) than Planned Parenthood facilities (700) nationwide, serving low income populations in rural and urban areas. In Illinois, 540 health care sites serve 1.1 million individuals a year, versus 18 Planned Parenthood clinics.

 

Women need more than Planned Parenthood can provide. We should direct taxpayer dollars where they can do the most good.

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

Ensuring our students and experience employees alike have the proper education, skills and experience to succeed in a career is a top priority of mine in Congress. In the 14th District, I rely on my Higher Education Advisory Committee of community college presidents to develop workforce and training solutions for high school students and beyond. These vital institutions provide excellent education and training for our current and future computer engineers, medical professionals, teachers, apprentices, accountants, automotive technicians, realtors, graphic designers and much more.

 

We all agree we want to build a brighter future for our college-seeking students and families. But when the average student loan debt is $28,400 and tuition costs rise each year, it's no wonder nearly 12 million American families—the vast majority of which are middle class—have turned to 529 plans to prepare for their children's education. But the President proposed a flawed plan to tax and essentially eliminate 529 plans in an attempt to create “free” college education for anyone. I disagreed with his plan to eliminate this key incentive for students and families to pay for college. Fortunately, parents made it clear they wanted to be able to plan ahead for their children's future. The President dropped his plan.

Studies show that college savings accounts, even with mere hundreds of dollars deposited, greatly encourage children to enroll and graduate from college. That's why I supported House passage of H.R. 529, a bill which promotes saving for college by protecting, modernizing and expanding 529s. Among other provisions, the bill clarifies that computers—essential tools for 21st century students--are qualified expenses. Further, it removes unnecessary paperwork for the administrators of these plans.

The legislation also allows families to redeposit refunds from colleges back into their 529s without taxes or penalties. If a student has to withdraw early for an illness, for example, this allows the family to retain those tax-free funds that would otherwise be lost. We should be promoting a "culture of saving" that helps parents plan for their children's future and ensure children succeed in education. Another issue to be addressed would be the portability of 529 savings. Currently students must attend institutions of higher education only in the state in which they invested in their 529 plan. That locks students into making college choices when they are too young to know what they want to study. Students should be able to take those funds out of state. 

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 Randall M. "Randy" Hultgren:

I believe there a number of factors contributing to the increase in college costs. My work has focused on Title IV loan programs administered by the Education Department. Since the expansion of the Department’s loan program in 2009, nearly $100 billion in student loans is originated by the federal government each year. This explosive growth of available capital at below market prices is an improper incentive that pushes college costs higher. We saw this with the housing crisis. But in this case, student loans are not secured. Paying them back is dependent on income the graduate hopes to earn post-college.

 

Further, I am concerned that as total outstanding student loan debt exceeds $1.3 trillion dollars, there is not enough attention on ensuring borrowers are taking on debt that they will be able to repay. Federal loans now make up about 90 percent of the $110 billion in loans issued each year, and about 90 percent of all outstanding student loans. Last month I introduced bipartisan legislation to help students and families better understand the terms of student loan obligations. The Transparency in Student Lending Act requires that the Annual Percentage Rate, which includes costs and fees in addition to the simple interest rate, be provided to borrowers of federal loans at the time of application. This commonsense protection is required for every other consumer loan in the United States under the Truth in Lending Act.

 

At private universities, and some public institutions, I am concerned with a change in focus and priorities in education. Student comfort takes precedence of over education. The party culture engulfing students exercising their independence is an issue, but so are the choices of schools to construct lavish facilities that have little to do with ensuring students perform well in the classroom: extravagant swimming pools, dorms that resemble 4-star hotels, and dining options that the average American family would rarely indulge.

 

 

Finally, it shouldn't be overlooked that states are bearing less of the share of education than they have in the past. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most obvious is that their budgets are getting tighter and tighter. Federal mandates on schools don't help, whether it is increasing the minimum wage or new regulatory costs. Unfortunately, students are left paying the increased costs.

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $1,182,173

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Exelon and employees
$19,000
2
Ernst & Young and employees
$11,000
3
Employees of Citadel LLC
$10,800
4
AGL Resources
$10,000
4
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
$10,000
4
American Resort Development Association
$10,000
4
Boeing
$10,000
4
Caterpillar
$10,000
4
CME Group
$10,000
4
Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers
$10,000
4
Deere & Company
$10,000
4
Farm Credit Council
$10,000
4
Honeywell International
$10,000
4
Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America
$10,000
4
Majority Committee PAC (MCPAC)
$10,000
4
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
$10,000
4
National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
$10,000
4
National Automobile Dealers Association
$10,000
4
National Multifamily Housing Council
$10,000
4
UBS
$10,000

More information about contributions

By State:

Illinois 35.60%
District of Columbia 32.72%
Virginia 10.43%
California 2.72%
Other 18.53%
35.60%32.72%10.43%18.53%

By Size:

Large contributions (97.20%)
Small contributions (2.80%)
97.20%

By Type:

From organizations (76.47%)
From individuals (23.53%)
76.47%23.53%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

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