Okay folks, here we go... starting in a few minutes.
6:30: Intro by Dr. Michael Menis. Welcome to new members and guests, and all 7 candidates.
6:40: Introducing candidates present- Mark Kirk, Dan Sugrue, lots of precinct committeemen.
6:42: Mark Kirk has been asked to speak. Mark is talking about the notion of moving terrorists from Gitmo to a prison here in Illinois. (we'll have more on this another day) Kirk says that the terrorists that may be moved here are some of the most dangerous of all. In a federal facility in the U.S., these individuals will have a right to vistors- that means that 1000 Al Queda followers and family members could be coming in Illinois to visit with and interact with these prisions, not to mention moving through O' Hare airport. look at http://www.noterroristsinillinois.com/
6:45: Kirk says that due to a change in the law to strip the governor of his power to lease state-owned land, this may need a vote of the General Assembly. (imagine that).
6:47: Kirk touches on his work for the Jewish community.
Bob Dold: Strength of US lies with businessmen and women and not the federal government. He’s a small biz owner; he knows what you need to do to meet a payroll.
Beth Coulson: Experience over last 25 years- gov’t spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much. Washington seeks to exercise too much control over us. Businesses are pusnished. Policy choices- reduce property taxes, reduce state spending. It all begins with reforming our tax and spending policies. Would extend income tax credits, oppose bailouts. Has a legislative record to back up her comments and has health care credentials and experience.
Bill Cadigan: Worst economic downturn in 80 years; Israel faces gravest threat in its history. Invokes the name of Mark Kirk and mentions like Kirk, he worked for John Porter. We all remember Porter’s passion and commitment to Israel. Republicans are now the party of reform; people like Steve Raschuenbeger and Patrick Collins are supporting his campaign.
Dick Green: President of his bond firm in California at age 24 and grew rapidly; 1993 started his own business and funded it. Briefing.com. Has been quoted in publications including the WSJ.. Has been a committeeman in CA and done the door knocking and envelope stuffing.
Dr. Ari Friedman: The goal of what we’re doing here is to pick someone who not only can win, but will make the best representative. Background as a naval officer and currently a pediatrican. Built a business from scratch in a difficult economic environment. Was a naval aviator. Important to him as a naval officer that the military be used properly. Looks forward to being one of the few physicians on Capitol Hill.
Paul Hamann: Licensed electrical engineer. Would be second licensed engineer in Congress. Registered energy professional; lifetime resident of Lake Forest. Problem solver; fiscal conservative. I’m a thoughtful leader and consensus builder.
Patricia Bird: Resident of Mount Prospect. Currently owns her own company. Raised Episcopalian; currently Catholic like her husband. There’s a lack of accountability; need an increased Republican voice; need to get them in and back to communicating with the public.
Question #1: How to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb?
Dold: Need tougher sanctions, do what is necessary. Iran’s prez has to be stopped. If Israel stikes, we’ll be with them shoulder to shoulder.
Coulson: Do whatever it takes; maybe add resources to certain federal agencies; cut off funding from U.S. that ends up in hands of terrorists. Israel is the only democracy in the ME; we must not appease terrorism.
Question #2: What should be the U.S. Policy on the Palestinian issue and peace process?
Cadigan: Administration needs to insist that negotiations are fair and even between both sides. Should go back to not imposing conditions on Israel before they undertake the next round of the peace process.
Green: US should have an Unbalanced approach; need to stand by Israel; they are our allies; that’s the best way to achieve peace. We need to stand by Israel or it will energize their opponents.
Questions #3: Do you believe there is a possibility for a two-state solution?
Friedman: Two-state solution won’t work; puts a enemy in heart of Israel. Prime reason for Israel is survival of the Jewish people; the mindset of the Palestinian people must change for there to be a peace.
Hamann: Wants to work with Isralies: Palestinians use terror against Israel as a fundraising effort; part of peace is predicated on making it a win-win situations for each side to
Question #4: If you could design a health care reform bill, what would it contain?
Bird: We should have been addressing this a long time ago; we need to fix the existing issue. Can’t do public option because the economy is in the dumper. Remove fraud from agencies like medicare; working on insurance for victims of the economy.
Dold: No question that the health care system is broken; so what do we do about it? Can’t scrap the current system; should be able to purchase plans across state lines and plans should be portable. Tax breaks to go out and purchase your own plan; have government stay out of the way between you and your doctor.
Question #5: Does congress must address the issue of pre-existing conditions?
Coulson: Yes; need to do that and more. Need to have access to quality health care but you must do it incrementally. We passed a young adult heath care bill; need to do things like that.
Cadigan: Dems got it wrong by denying choice and denying competition in marketplace; new bill would hurt health care providers especially those that provide services to medicare patients.
Question #6: What’s the best way to bring down the cost of health care administration?
Green: Lot of the increase in health care spending reflects the choice of a healthy nation. Two choices; either government mandates it, or you let the consumer choose. Green goes with the second. It’s not a national crisis as the administration would like you to believe.
Friedman: Only two ways you can change how you reduce costs; relationship with your physician should be sacrosanct and not in the role of a “gatekeeper” – otherwise you can never trust that they are making a decision based on your needs, not some other incentive.
Question #7: What are the best approaches to addressing nation’s future energy needs?
Hamann: Nuclear. Would have voted against cap and trade. Solar is a no; costs are too prohibitive compared to cost recoupment.
Bird: Nuclear is an excellent option. Grew up downstate in Peoria and Rockford, we had a nuclear plant. Hybrid cars; hard time to buy them due to the economy but we need to concentrate on transportation costs; big booster of public transportation.
Question #8: Are we experiencing man-made global warming; if so, how do we reduce it?
Dold: Lots of studies out there on both sides, so he can’t answer that question. Warming is occurring, but the amount due to humans is very small. We do need to be talking about conservation and energy reduction. Would have voted against cap and trade. Everything needs to be on the table, especially nuclear. We need to act quickly on nuclear.
Cardigan: Irresponsible for congress to consider something like cap and trade when the science isn’t proven yet. Agrees nuclear is the way to go.
Question #9: How can US best reduce its independence on oil?
Coulson: Must have a holistic energy policy that looks at everything, nuclear, solar, etc. Also have to be conservationists. We get a fair amount of our power from nuclear already; we need to find a way to dispose of the waste.
Friedman: Energy is freedom. That’s why we are the most prosperous people on the earth. Decreasing our dependence on foreign oil is important.
Question #10: What steps would you do to increase long-term growth?
Green: Need to put free market principles to work; if you empower entrepreneurs, you will increases growth. Stimulus bill did nothing but created government spending; need to empower people to create jobs and growth.
Hamann: Infrastructure spending is needed to put people to work. Also the National Science Foundation would help long-term growth. Would like to move funding “upstream”
Question #11: With deficit out of control, what steps do you take to avoid being at the mercy of foreign investors?
Cadigan: Must have balanced budgets and need to start now. Can’t rely on tax increases. First response of people like Cook County Democrats is how do we tax people.
Bird: Need to get job market going and stop deficit dpending.
Question #12: Is the US overextended aboad?
Friedman: Close, but not yet. Iraq is starting to wind down, but we’ve planned for a long time to fight two wars at the same time anyway. When he was on active duty, we had a great military but it’s even better now. But we need to have a clear mission and that’s to fight the enemy where we find them.
Dold: We’re not overextended in Afghanistan but close; having people do several tours of duty is a problem. It’s been over two months since there was a request for more troops, why haven’t we acted? We need to give men and women in harm’s way everything they need to do the job.
Question #13: Do you support immigration reform?
Hamann: Immigration is touchy with engineers because of H1-B. He’s content with current programs that we have. 12 million illegal aliens now; can’t do anything radical. Small steps to allow them to follow the normal law.
Coulson: A proponent of protecting the boarders; it’s an economic issue as well as security issue. Federal government should strandline process to become legal citizens. Following the rules take time and we need to continue to allow them to come, but the rules must be followede:
Question #14: What role should Congress play to improve education?
Bird: Need more incentives for higher education. Lots of potential out there.
Green: Strong supporter of school choice; we spend as much on Children in Chicago as Naperville, but they don’t get the same education. Need more charter schools. The Obama admin has shown some courage in supporting charter schools but need more.
Constitutional term limits for members of Congress?
Dold: Would look at legislation to limit terms; 8 to 10 years ought to be enough.
Green: Support term limits; 8 for congressman, 12 for senator. Problem is federal government has so much control over so much money, it’s a big problem.
If health care reform passes before you get to congress, how do you reverse it?
Green: Not just health care; need to put back in Bush tax cuts if they expire. Need to get people to stand up and say, enough government.
Coulson: Depends on what’s in health care, eventually. The house bill was huge, was passed just to have something. What comes out of the senate is much more important. If this bill goes on the backs of seniors, we’ll do what we did in the 1980s, and that was to get rid of it because it was done on the backs of seniors. How we pay for all of this is kety; we need small incremental changes, not government takeover.
GOP’s greatest strength and weakness in upcoming elections?
Hamann: Obama’s weakness is Iraq and Afghanistan. He would pull out of both. He doesn’t want to spend another trillion dollars over the next eight years. Obama will increase strength in Afghanistan which is the wrong move.
Dold: America has taken a look at Obama and decided that this is not the hope and change people wanted. Obama believe that government has the answer to all of our problems. We can pick up seats because we believe that we don’t need large and overreaching government.
Does it make a difference as to who the Dem nominee is?
Bird: Everyone has a right to run. Don’t know much about either candidate. Impartiant as to either one.
Friedman: Both are dangerous. A speech from Julie Hamos a few months ago was part of the reason I entered this race. Predicts that Hamos will win and will be extremely well funded and organized. Need someone who will interest voters in the district.
Bird: She’s reading. There is lax leadership in Congress. Best candidate because she’s the only person with banking experience.
Hamann: He got in because of energy issues. Loves the National Science Foundation. Would pull out of wars; not defending much. Considers himself the anti-war candidate.
Friedman: Not the candidate to end war. Agrees with a lot of the statements of the other candidates. Believes he has moral authority on war issues and health care. He’s not a politician. This is key district. Need someone who has commitment. Believes what they are saying, and has moral authority.
Green: Budget deficit- one month was 176 billion. Larger than the entire annual deficit before. It’s going to go on and on unless we stop it. Stop stimulus and TARP spending. Dems want to increase discretionary spending 12%. Need to change culture in Washington. Can’t tax and spend our way to prosperity. Change the culture and change the policies and that’s what he wants to go to Washington to do.
Cadigan: Agrees that Hamos will be the nominee. So, who presents the greatest contrast to Julie Hamos. She’s a product of the Chicago machine. We don’t like Chicago-style politics. People like Patrick Collins will stand with him to present the contrast to Julie Hamos. Need to hold her accountable for everything that democrats have done in Springfield.
Coulson: Has been a legislator for many years; always listens and gathers the evidence. I don’t represent special interests, I represent you, I work seven days a week as a legislator; I will work seven days as your congresswoman. You may not agree with everything in my record, but I will always come back and listen to you. I would never have voted for cap and trade.
Dold: I believe that our best days are yet to come. 3.4 million dollars a minute in deficit spending, forgone investment is a security problem. If you’d told me what was happening in this country a year a go, he would have said it was a different country you were talking about. Need a small business owner to go to Washington. Scoutmaster who knows that integrity is the key attribute. Need your help and support.