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10th Congressional District, Democratic Primary

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The questions

All candidates were invited to respond to questionnaires, although not all chose to participate. Click on a candidate's name to see the unedited response to each question.

Biographical information & experience
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    ALL
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    Bavda
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    Rutagwibira
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    Schneider
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    Sheyman
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    Tree
Bavda
Birthdate: 7/18/1977
Occupation: Attorney/ Self-employed
Marital status: Single
Spouse: Not Applicable

Education:

I grew up in my district at Winkleman Elementary in Glenview, IL, Hawthorn Schools in Vernon Hills, IL, and Libertyville High School in Libertyville, IL.

In 1999, I received a BA in Political Science and Economics at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. In political science, I focused on the Political Economy of International Relations with a C95 paper on the Asian Financial Crisis of the 1990's. In Economics, I focused on macroeconomic and microeconomic theory.

In 2004, I received a MPA in Public Management and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI. I focused on No Child Left Behind policy. I was a recipient of the Fellowship in Public Affairs.

In 2009, I received a JD from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL. While I focused on general practice, I did enjoy international and tax law. I was a recipient of the Dean's Scholarship.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

As an attorney, I belong to the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Lake County Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Indian-American Bar Association, and the Asian-American Bar Association. I also belong to the John Marshall Law School Alumni Association, University of Wisconsin Alumni Association, and the Northwestern Club of Chicago. In addition, I belong to the Coro National Alumni Association. I am a member of the Tenth District Democrats organization.

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

I've worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and was a teacher at the Compton Unified School District. I also interned with then-Senator Barack Obama's office.

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

I was a consultant with Munifinancial, which provided public finance consulting services to local governments in northern California.

Rutagwibira
Birthdate: 10/7/1958
Occupation: Mathematical Statistician / Consultant
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Marie Jeanne Uwera

Education:

MS Mathematical Sciences, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago IL
BS Accounting, Indiana Univesity South Bend, Indiana

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

N/A

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

None

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

None

Schneider
Birthdate: 8/20/1961
Occupation: Management Consultant/ Cadence Consulting Group, LLC
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Julie Dann

Education:

1976-1979: Cherry Creek High School, Englewood, CO.
College preparatory public high school.

1979-1983: Northwestern University, McCormick School of Engineering.
BS, Industrial Engineering.

1986-1988: Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management. MBA with concentrations in Strategy, Finance and Marketing.

1996-1997: The American College.
Chartered Life Underwriter.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Current:
- Leadership Greater Chicago Alumni (Class of 2003)
- Chicago Council on Global Affairs, President's Circle Member
- Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
- American Jewish Committee
- American Israel Public Affairs Committee
- Alliance of Latinos & Jews
- Moriah Congregation
- Illinois Tenth Congressional District Democrats
- Moraine Township Democratic Organization

Recent:
- Family Firm Institute
- Vistage International
- Association of Mergers and Acquisition Advisors
- Interm CEO
- PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

No.

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

None.

Sheyman
Birthdate: 6/1/1986
Occupation: Community Organizer
Marital status: Single
Spouse:

Education:

I am a product of quality public schools across Chicago's northern suburbs, from Jane Stenson Elementary in Skokie through Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. I graduated from McGill University with a joint bachelor's degree in Political Science and U.S. History.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

I co-founded the Community Connection Center in Waukegan, where community members can be matched up with the governmental resources they need. Whether people need help or information about food stamps, jobs skills training, loan applications, or medical services, the Center connects individuals with the non-profit and local government who can make concrete improvements in the lives.

I've been a longtime volunteer with the Illinois Tenth District Democrats, where I helped bring together the 12 township chairs to implement plans to become more effective in promoting an agenda for progressive change in Illinois.

I am a proud member of the NAACP of Lake County. I'm also a member and volunteer jobs trainer with the Lake County Coalition to Reduce Recidivism, where I co-launched a job skills program for ex-offenders, helping them find the opportunity and support they'll need to get back on their feet.

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

I interned for Sen. Barack Obama in Constituent Services on Veterans and Military Affairs in 2006. I have also spent my career advocating on issues that affected both the state and federal government.

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

In the early 1990s, my mother was an employee of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. My father briefly worked for National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago which had some government contracts.

Tree
Birthdate: 5/7/1966
Occupation: Colonel, U.S. Air Force Reserve
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Michelle Tree

Education:

I graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1990 with a B.S. in Political Science.
I also hold an MBA from Chaminade University in Hawaii (1994) and a Masters in Economics from the University of Oklahoma. (1998)

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

Lifetime Member, National Eagle Scout Association
Lifetime Member, Reserve Officers Association

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government?

Yes, as an Officer in the United States Air Force (active duty and reserve) for the past 21.5 years. I am currently a full Colonel in the United State Air Force Reserve, assigned to the Pentagon.

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government.

I am a Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve. In addition, my father was a 24 year veteran (active duty career) of the U.S. Air Force. He was a fighter pilot, flying the F-106.

One of my younger brothers also attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, graduating two years after me, and he is a fighter pilot (F-15E) in the Air Force Reserve. He also flies for UPS as a civilian pilot.

Another younger brother works for the U.S. State Department.

Campaign information
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    ALL
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    Bavda
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    Rutagwibira
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    Schneider
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    Sheyman
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    Tree
Bavda

Campaign headquarters: 1278 Huntington Dr. Mundelein, IL 60060
Website: www.bavdaforcongress.com
Campaign manager: Lalit Bavda
Campaign budget: By November 2012, 2 million dollars
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Lalit Bavda $2500
Bharti Bavda $2500
Rajendra Bavada $2000
Kalpana Bavada $2000
Richard Lee $1263

Rutagwibira

Campaign headquarters: 308 Christine Ln, Hainesville IL 60030
Website: www.rutagwibiraforcongress.com
Campaign manager: Larissa Mukundwa
Campaign budget: TBD
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
TBD

Schneider

Campaign headquarters: 3000 Dundee Road #413, Northbrook, IL 60062
Website: www.schneiderforcongress.com
Campaign manager: Jarrod Backous
Campaign budget: $1 million for the primary
$3 million for the general
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
AmeriPAC: The Fund for a Greater America, $5,000
DLA Piper, LLP (US) PAC, $5,000
Numerous individuals have contributed the maximum $2,500 for the primary and $2,500 for the general elections ($5,000 total)

Sheyman

Campaign headquarters: 1146 Waukegan Rd, Suite 185; Waukegan, IL 60085
Website: www.SheymanForCongress.com
Campaign manager: Annie Weinberg
Campaign budget: Over a half-million dollars.
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Our campaign has received support from over 11,000 individual donors - one of the largest networks of any Congressional campaign in the country. Among the individual contributors who gave the maximum $5000.00 allowed per cycle are:

Lake Forest attorney Peter Lawson; Patrick Kane, CEO of online advocacy and fundraising company ActionKit.com; Chicago entrepreneur John Hedges; and William Connell of Lake Forest, a trader with Allston Trading LLC. Nobel Prize winning economist Walter Gilbert of Harvard University also contributed nearly $5000.00 to our campaign.

We have also earned support from $10,000 from Democracy for America, the million-member PAC founded by former Democratic National Committee Chair Gov. Howard Dean and $5,000 from AFSCME.

Tree

Campaign headquarters: 318 W. Half Day Rd, Suite 309, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
Website: JohnTree.com
Campaign manager: Stacy Raker
Campaign budget: $450,000K
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
Gaye Hill - $2,500
Rick McCombs - $2,500
David R. Scherer - $2,500
Jeffrey Urbina - $2,500
William Weiland - $2,500

What are your top priorities for the nation?
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Bavda

1. Creating Jobs in both the short term and long term. I support going beyond the President's job program with expanded stimulus and investment in infrastructure and innovation

2. Reforming No Child Left Behind to not only close the achievement gap, but to make our public education system the best in the world. No Child Left Behind needs to be reformed by creating tests worth teaching to, incentivizing learning through a growth model for adequate yearly progress, and making sure that we have well trained, well funded, and accountable teachers, principals, and districts. Greater federal funding is required to bring spending on education in middle and low income areas up to high income districts.

3. Making Too Big to Fail financial institutions Too Big to Exist through an antitrust-like department in the Department of Justice that breaks apart these financial institutions. Dodd-Frank's attempt to use resolution authority to prevent bailouts will fail. If the haircuts, the amount that debts are reduced, are too small, you have a backdoor bailout. If the haircuts are too big, you have a severe recession due to a cascading set of payment failures. The best way to minimize bailouts it to break apart these financial institutions.

Rutagwibira

Economy:
Bring unemployment rate below 5%
Stabilizing the housing market
Closing the budget deficit
Reducing the National debtt

Schneider

1. Economic opportunity and security, not just for some but for all Americans.

2. World class education opportunities for every American child.

3. Securing safety-net programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for this generation and future generations.

4. Developing sustainable environmental and energy policies to ensure clean air and water, promote economic development, and enhance our national security.

Sheyman

My three top priorities for the nation are:

1. Putting Americans Back to Work

Politicians in Washington D.C. should be fighting to create jobs, rebuild the middle class, and restore the American Dream. Instead, too many of them are busy giving tax breaks to billionaires and waging a direct assault on Social Security, Medicare, health care, and the core services our communities depend on.

2. Restoring Fairness to Our Tax System
I will work to restore fairness to our tax code by rolling back the Bush Tax Cuts that overwhelmingly favor the wealthiest 2% of Americans - so that Washington stops attempting to balance the budget on the backs of seniors and working families.

A former member of the United Food and Commercial Workers (Local 881) and a community organizer alongside teachers and other public sector workers, I am committed to defending and expanding the rights of working people to bargain collectively for fair wages and good working conditions.

3. Investing in America Again; and Defending the Social Safety Net
Families in the 10th District want and need the opportunity to get back to work. But they also need the assurance that the safety net they rely on, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, are not put on the chopping block. I'm committed to defending those programs and promoting real economic growth through job creation, the development of a green economy, and a focus on bringing a manufacturing sector back to the district.

Tree

My #1 priority for the nation is to fix our ailing economy. A strong economy will give us the ability to maintain a strong defense and national security and allow us to invest in education, infrastructure, and social programs. One way we must improve our economy is by helping small business get access to credit so they can invest in the people, equipment and tools they need to succeed. I've worked as a marketing executive in Fortune 500 companies such as Procter & Gamble and Kellogg's. I've also served as the President of a small granola company that employed just twenty people and I can tell you first hand that small businesses comparatively enjoy very few advantages in our tax code and it is extremely difficult, especially today, for small businesses to get loans necessary to open, hire and grow. I'm the only candidate running in the 10th Congressional District who hasn't simply provided business strategy consulting to businesses, which I have, but also actually had to lay in bed at night worrying how to meet payroll, etc. The giant corporations have plenty of advantages, lobbyists and friends in Congress. It's time the middle class had someone fighting for them as well!

Another top priority for me is education. My mom was a public grade school teacher and my father, a former fighter pilot, taught for three years at the U.S. Air Force Academy. My parents also taught my five brothers and sisters to value and embrace learning as a pathway to our future. I believe that a country that fails to invest in its education system is like a farmer who eats his own seed corn, because it is like robbing from the future. I want every school to succeed. I see a direct line between a well educated workforce and a thriving economy. In fact I don't believe we can truly have one without the other.

I also believe we need to protect Medicare and Social Security so it is viable for future generations — but we absolutely cannot break our promise to those who now depend or will soon be depending on these programs to simply get by. I want to see the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy expire so we can reduce our deficit and shore up these safety net programs for seniors.

Having grown up in a military family, graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and served on both active duty and in the Air Force Reserve my entire adult life, I can certainly relate to our men and women in uniform. They are hardworking, trained and disciplined and by and large make tremendous employees. Our veterans went to bat for us; let's go to bat for them. They are our new “greatest generation,” so let's give them a chance to build our future.

Finally, having served for over twenty one years as an officer in the Air Force, I have spent considerable time on the ground working directly with Israeli Defense Forces. Serving our nation in the Mediterranean gave me a deep appreciation for the security challenges facing both Israel and the United States. That experience will make me a staunch supporter in Congress of America's most important ally in the Middle East. I support a Two State Solution for lasting peace that is a result of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority must recognize Israel's right to exist with safe and secure borders and renounce Right of Return to lands in the State of Israel. I will advocate for U.S. policy to recognize Jerusalem today and in the future as the undivided capital of Israel.

What are your top priorities for your congressional district?
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    Schneider
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    Tree
Bavda

1. Create Jobs through a Regional Jobs program for the 10th District and the Chicagoland area

This includes a doubling of the number of lanes of 90 and 94 from the Loop to the airport and Tower Rd., respectively, with 94 being key to the 10th District economy. This is a both a short and long term investment that can be expedited to create jobs during the first term all the way to completion. Every highway construction firm in the region will be used. Housing construction workers can be retrained to work on highway construction. In addition, this will also have a stimulative effect on the local economy magnifying the billions of dollar spent on this construction project.

In addition, I propose using the federal government's money to create our smart-grid. By providing federal funds, we can eliminate the utility tax increase, while maintaining the stimulative effect. Moreover, we should provide state and local governments aid.

The benefit of a regional jobs program is that it isn't a national jobs plan that Republicans can block through filibusters in the Senate or their majority in the House. These projects can be negotiated through logrolling and put into appropriations bills through a careful trading of votes for district money. It also won't capture national attention that my competitors' ideas will, which will be batted down by the Republicans in Congress. Passing state and loca aid would be addressed in the context of preventing future need for aid. By requiring state governments in good times to deposit a certain percentage of state tax revenue with the federal government, the federal government would have money to provide back in bad times. The growth level would be negotiated by states and the federal government. The Federal Reserve would report the state growth levels. By exchanging federal funds for this requirement, the law would pass constitutional muster.

If we do all three things, my method will bring the unemployment rate down to 2004 levels.

2. Reforming No Child Left Behind and College Affordability

The 10th District is extraordinary diverse economically. The reality is that Glencoe residents' education priorities differ signficantly from Waukegan residents. I address both the ends and middle of the spectrum. No Child Left Behind needs to be reformed by creating tests worth teaching to, incentivizing learning through a growth model for adequate yearly progress, and making sure that we have well trained, well funded, and accountable teachers, principals, and districts. As a Teach For America teacher, I know what we need to do to make sure all kids get a good education including the middle class. People often forget that 60 to 80 percent of schools will fail if No Child Left Behind is allowed to continue. These reforms will help the silent majority and close the achievement gap.

Moreover, making college more affordable for everyone is critical. I propose taking all the current college tax credits and transforming them into one credit worth up to 10,000 dollars and up to 50% of college tuition and books. This will make it just a little bit easier for everyone to afford a college education from both community and four year colleges.

3. Immigration
We need comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the Dream Act in the interim, and an essential worker visa program. After the pathway time period is over, we need to crackdown on overstayed visas, greater enforcement on the borders, and enforcement of greater sanctions for employers who hire post-pathway undocumented immigrants

Rutagwibira

Bringing the unemployment rate below 5%
Revitalizing business in depressed areas of the district, north east and northwest of the district.
Waukegan Waterfront development. Weighing foregoing 200 jobs against developing the area with high value development.
Creating more jobs out of dismantling the Zion decommissioned nuclear plant. Providing that a dumping site becomes available.
Promoting Biotech start ups in the area

Schneider

My priorities for my district are consistent with my priorities for the nation. Like the rest of the nation and throughout Illinois, Lake and Cook counties have been hit hard by three plus years of recession, economic turmoil, and of late, Republican indifference and/or unwillingness to compromise in Congress.

I believe that good government, including strong leadership and bold action from our Congress, can make a positive difference in the everyday lives of the families and workers of the Tenth District.

As a member of Congress, I believe my first responsibility is to be a strong voice for restoring our middle class, while making sure we maintain robust safety nets such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It means working every day to promote common sense policy that creates jobs, improves educational opportunities, enhances health care, ensures clean air and water, and maintains the United States security and prosperity at home and abroad.

Sheyman

As I talk to voters each day, it's clear that, with an unemployment rate between 8% and 19% in the District, their number-one concern is putting people back to work. That is why I have called for the immediate passage of a job-creation bill.

We need to put people back to work rebuilding and repairing our infrastructure, teaching our kids, and protecting our neighborhoods as police and firefighters.

We must revitalize the economy with a federal jobs bill that will:

* put millions of Americans back to work–in classrooms, on police forces, repairing our roads and bridges, and building high speed rail lines that will bring us up to speed with Europe and China;

* stimulate private sector job creation through the creation of a national green jobs bank that will offer loans directly to small businesses, and by providing tax credits for those small businesses already looking to hire;

* provide a life vest of continued unemployment assistance to those drowning without work, and

* guarantee state and local aid, so that communities can stop letting go of cops, sanitation workers, firefighters and teachers.

Tree

My top priorities for the district include those things mentioned above, with a strong focus on job creation for the middle class.

Additionally, the 10th Congressional District also includes many lakes, large and small. I love our lakes and our natural resources. I became an Eagle Scout because of my love of the outdoors. I'm still involved in the Boy Scouts as an Assistant Scout Master in Buffalo Grove, and love camping, hiking and being on the water. In Congress I will fight to protect our environment, and stand up for our lakes. It is unacceptable that our current Congressman Robert Dold can represent a district full of lakes ranging from our small finger lakes to our Great Lake, yet support a practice called “hydraulic fracking.” Fracking threatens the quality of drinking water by using chemicals to extract natural gas. I will not back down to special interest groups who would endanger our health by hurting our environment.

The nation's economy has yet to recover. What are the causes of the weak economy, and what should be done to speed its recovery?
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Bavda

On a macroeconomic level, there is a lack of aggregate demand due to radical decline in the supply of money that began with the fall of Lehman Brothers. Together, the loss of liquidity, wealth, and changed expectations reduce aggregate demand. Currently, there is not enough consumption, investment, and export demand to match our productive capacity. Without this aggregate demand, employers layoff or don't hire employees because there is less consumption. Businesses' full productive capacity isn't being used so they see no reason to invest in increasing their capacity. As this is a global recession, exports aren't as high as they used to be. Typically, there are two options, fiscal and monetary policy. The Federal Reserve has used up most of its ammunition in terms of monetary policy by addressing the decline in money supply. However, the lack of monetary velocity, which is how fast money moves from one person or business to the next, among others thing complicated the ability of monetary policy to affect aggregate demand. This leaves the neo-Keynesian response, which is for government to increase spending and lower taxes to make up for aggregate demand. Now the reason that this is the correct response rather than supply-side analysis is that the supply curve is elastic (sensitive to demand). We know it is elastic because inflation is minimal when oil is not considered. While the supply curve eventually becomes inelastic if aggregate demand continually increases, we haven't reached that level nor are we close to it.

Having addressed the supply-side argument, we know that we have increase aggregate demand through federal stimulus. While the stimulus can be anything, ideally, we should invest the money in best interests of the nation. This would be infrastructure projects like transportation projects, green energy, and research and development to name a few things. Aid to state and local governments is also a way to help increase aggregate demand.

State and local governments are required to balance their budgets, and thus, they are making this recession worse by reducing spending. The federal government should provide state and local aid to help states and increase aggregate demand. However, to prevent a repeat of this need in the future, the federal government should condition future aid on a requirement for states to save a certain percentage of their revenue with the federal government in prosperous times as determined by a federal-state negotiated local growth level as reported by the Federal Reserve system. In future recessions as determined by the Federal Reserve, state and local governments will have their own money to spend, preventing the current cyclical policy that has happened thus far. By trading federal funds in exchange for participation in this savings fund, this will be held constitutional by the Supreme Court.

Rutagwibira

Unemployment continues to be a major hurdle
Housing market is limiting individual mobility to relocate in areas where jobs are available.
Small entrepreneurs not having access to capitals
What should be done is to incentivise the private sector to increase capital and payroll spending, a recent extension of payroll tax cut. Forge alliances and partnerships between corporations and small entrepreneurs. Identify strutures of national importance which need repairs.

Schneider

There are many different downward pressures on our economy including financial insecurity in Europe, tight capital for small businesses, and personal financial pressures on our middle class.

That said, I believe one of the biggest restrictors on our economy is the failure of the current Congress to produce a coherent vision for our economic future, to convey a sense of confidence and direction where they would lead us as a nation, to pass any positive legislation that would produce jobs or create opportunities in our communities.

I think the best way to speed our recovery is by replacing the current Congress with new leaders and lawmakers who will communicate with each other and will collaborate in rebuilding our middle class through rebuilding our country so we can continue to lead the world in innovation, manufacturing, and services at home and around the globe.

My plan involves five key initiatives:

I. Re-envision, Reinvent and Rebuild our National Infrastructure, including but not limited to modern transportation networks, dynamic and efficient public spaces, and safer and greener energy sources and distribution.

II. Redevelop our Global Manufacturing Leadership including the creation of high value, high skilled manufacturing jobs. We must continue being the most innovative, the most skilled, and the most productive work force in the world.

III. Create an Innovation Culture with investment incentives, updated protections of intellectual property, including patent system modernization, and educational emphases on both STEM curriculum and the Arts and Humanities.

IV. Make Sure Our Financial Services Sector Works for Working Families by providing businesses and individuals access to capital to fund growth and development within a financial system that is open, efficient, and secure.

V. Achieve Growth and Prosperity For Working, Middle Class Families with Smart, Fair and Effective Trade Policy by promoting American exports, reduce trading barriers for American companies, and providing assistance and support to small and medium sized businesses seeking to enter and develop new markets.

Sheyman

In order to get the economy back on track, we must restore fairness to our tax code by rolling back the Bush era tax cuts that overwhelmingly favored the wealthiest 2% of the population. We must also recommit ourselves to improved regulations, so that we do not see false growth on the unchecked housing and stock market bubble, as before, while millions of good paying middle-class jobs were shipped overseas.

The largest challenge before our economy right now is unemployment. Until we can control the unemployment rate, we cannot expect the economy to become strong again.

To stimulate our economy and ensure that the American people are able to keep their homes and buy the things they need, the federal government needs to be doing more to help create jobs and reinforce the safety net that millions of Americans depend on.

The vital first step towards recovery is passing a comprehensive federal jobs bill that will put millions of Americans back to work, stimulate private sector job creation, provide a life vest of continued unemployment assistance, and guarantee the state and local aid that allows communities to keep police officers, sanitation workers, firefighters, and teachers employed.

Tree

As the U.S. Congressman from the Illinois Tenth Congressional District, I will fight for my Win-Win Jobs Agenda. Our economy is weak, and is the result of multiple factors, including the Bush era tax cuts coupled with two un-budgeted wars, and the fact that Congress took its eye off the ball and let Wall Street run wild with greed in a dangerously deregulated environment. Big Corporations, especially mortgage lenders played a rigged game that took advantage of the working and middle class families, and as a result our economy crashed.

Partisan shouting matches in Washington and the extreme agenda of the Tea Party have distracted our current Congress from addressing what matters most: creating new jobs and lasting economic growth. They are pitting small business, large businesses and their employees against each other, but we all know that we need all types of clean, modern and efficient businesses to grow our economy. We need employers and their employees to be successful in order to create lasting economic growth.

Growing up, my family of eight often lived month to month on just my father's military paycheck. I'm the only candidate running who has actually run a small business and spent sleepless nights worrying about meeting my payroll and providing health benefits to my employees. I'm the only candidate running to have actually worked as a marketing executive at Fortune 500 companies such as Procter & Gamble and Kellogg's. I was the brand manager and then marketing director of Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats, NutriGrain, and Special-K bars, responsible for $400 million a year in gross sales. I've even run a small business from my home with my wife.

I am the only candidate running in the 10th Congressional District to have engaged the American economy from every angle, from the world's biggest companies down to the smallest. I know what we must do as a country to get us back on our feet, while creating new jobs and improving our country in a variety of critical areas. It's a win-win. In Congress I will work to support and work to create:

Small Business Incentives: I will push for tax credits and low interest loans for small business to open and expand. R&D: I will push for R & D incentives so all businesses, large and small, have an opportunity to be leaders in innovation.
Transportation and Communications Infrastructure: I want America to begin rebuilding our transportation and communications infrastructure — which will make us safer, more modern and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. This includes developing high-speed rail, increasing federal support for mass transit, upgrading the Internet and making it more accessible, and building a modernized electric grid.
Alternative Energy: I want our district to attract more green manufacturing businesses than any other district in the country. We have an historic opportunity to reduce our dependence on foreign oil while creating good jobs making parts for solar panals, wind turbines, and high efficiency housing to name a few. The green energy sector will provide jobs for high tech workers, tradesman and plant workers.

Should revenue increases, in the form of new taxes, higher taxes or more broadly imposed taxes, be part of the solution to crafting a more balanced federal budget and reducing the national debt?
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    Tree
Bavda

In the middle of a recession, the short term response to the question of revenue increases and spending decreases should be "no." However, in the future during more prosperous times, both will be necessary. While the debt is about 100% of GDP, it is important to remember that the government owes itself about 30% of the debt. This makes the immediate concern of lowering the deficit, balancing the budget, and decreasing the debt misplaced. At 120% of Debt to GDP rather than 70% is when a sovereign debt crisis becomes likely. Furthermore, given the U.S. is the biggest economy in the world, the dollar is the reserve currency of the world, and U.S. debt is the most safe investment in the world, the percentage is likely higher.

When we do increase taxes, it should be done in a progressive fashion, and when we cut spending or slow its increase, it should be done on entitlements including health care spending. Health care is the biggest driver of deficits and debts. While the Affordable Care Act starts this work, we need to go further. I offer one idea of the many it will take below in a separate question.

Lastly, many measures cited to reduce non-defense discretionary spend are more attempts at implementing an anti-government ideology rather than legitimate measures to control spending.

Rutagwibira

Yes, increase tax to increase revenue, curbing tax deductions afforded some type of incomes and not others

Schneider

As a member of Congress, I will seek to intelligently, responsibly and fairly address both spending and revenues. We must do so methodically and in such a way that does not hamper economic growth and job creation.

We need to stop kicking the can down the road and rethink our entire tax system towards long-term, comprehensive tax reform. I believe in a progressive tax structure that fairly distributes the costs of government in a way that those of us fortunate to have more, carry more of the burden. But at the same time, everyone must have a stake in setting our priorities as well as supporting the costs. We truly are all in the same boat together.

To achieve a more balanced federal budget, I will also seek to match expenditures to revenues over time to reduce and ultimately eliminate deficits in our generation, so that our children's generation can begin to pay down our debt and have a future of hope and promise that is our American tradition.

Finally, I will make sure that as a country, we continue to invest in people, technologies and infrastructure to create future opportunities and maintain our global leadership.

Sheyman

Yes. I have called for a roll-back of the Bush Tax Cuts, which overwhelmingly favor the wealthiest 2% of Americans, to help deal with our deficit and make sure that core programs millions of Americans rely on, like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, are preserved.

We also need to make sure the biggest and wealthiest corporations, like GE, are paying their fair share.

We can't deal seriously with the budget deficit until we close the loopholes that are allowing some companies to avoid paying millions in taxes that are desperately needed to make our government run smoothly.

Tree

Yes, revenue increases need to be considered as part of a comprehensive budget solution.

That said, I don't know what could be more insulting to working and middle class families then to smack them in the eyes with more broadly imposed taxes while the wealthiest Americans are still enjoying wildly unaffordable tax cuts, and some of the biggest corporations get special breaks and are allowed to dodge taxes completely- costing the country trillions of dollars. I would also oppose the imposition of new taxes on middle class families before Congress has demonstrated a genuine willingness to cut waste and inefficiency, as well as cutting spending on obsolete military projects.

Congress needs to allow the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy to expire, and focus on eliminating all the special-interest tax loopholes.

Many Republican members of Congress have signed the Grover Norquist pledge not to support a tax increase of any kind at any time. Have you, or would you, sign this pledge? Why or why not?
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I wouldn't sign this pledge for many reasons. First, policymakers need flexibility that this pledge doesn't allow for. Second, taxes are not the most important policy goal for government. Taxes are one goal of many important drivers of decisions. Third, revenue will be needed to pay for spending that most Americans want including retirement, health care, and a strong military.

Rutagwibira

I will not sign any such pledge. Most of our national debt rose out of unforeseen circumstances. Funding wars, fighting terrorism, natural disasters, unexpected disruption in our financial systems. Increasing equitably taxes to fund these obligations is not only a good policy but a responsible fiscal way to increase revenues.

Schneider

I have not, and will not sign the Norquist pledge or any other such pledge. I believe we elect our representatives to exercise judgment and make difficult decisions about our national priorities, and how we should best address them. I think it is a dereliction of duty to surrender this responsibility to an unelected, unaccountable individual or organization.

Members of Congress should be required to think about and decide what programs and initiatives are most important to the nation and to their constituents. They must decide what we can afford, and what we must delay or eliminate. And they must be held accountable, by the electoral process, for the decisions they make on our behalf.

Sheyman

No, I would not sign this outlandish pledge. We need to approach this deficit with a combination of cuts (like allowing Medicare to negotiate bulk rates for prescription drugs like Walmart does) and new revenues (like allowing the rollback of the Bush tax cuts that overwhelmingly favor the wealthiest Americans. Rep. Dold's decision to sign this pledge and take half the solution off the table makes him unable to be part of any meaningful public policy discussion.

Tree

No, I have not, nor would I ever sign Grover Norquist's no-tax pledge! It is completely irresponsible to do so and is one of the reasons the Republican-controlled Congress cannot get anything done -- the Republicans have painted themselves into a corner with this Norquist pledge. America is at war and we have so many challenges at home. I would not agree to an arbitrary special interest stunt such as this one. I have already expressed my believe above that Congress should let the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans - including billionaires – expire.

What is the role of compromise in ending the political deadlock on fundamental goals such as entitlement reform and deficit reduction? When and how would you compromise?
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Compromise is critical to ending political deadlock. However, both sides have to give and take. I'm committed to deficit reduction and entitlement reform, but this is politically risky for progressives like me. This is my give, and I expect Republican to take a risk as well with revenue. If Republicans refuse to break the Norquist pledge, then I would suggest that they're not serious about any compromise.

Rutagwibira

Compromise should be sought to serve the interest of the people and the country first, and go beyond partisanship or trade of political influence.

Schneider

I believe the current Republican Congress has moved beyond deadlock, to ossification, not just refusing to compromise, but punishing their colleagues who seek to do so. I believe the Republican party has established within itself a structural inability to compromise.

To paraphrase Bismarck, successful politics is achieving the art of the possible. If I am elected to Congress, I will work with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to find areas of common interest and common ground. I will first seek to find issues where our shared goals provide the opportunity to collaborate, without the need for either side to compromise. I believe early successes on such issues can then lead to growing confidence and trust between otherwise adversaries, and hopefully allow for compromise on broader issues.

While I am willing to compromise on process, or on programs, I will not compromise my principles, nor would I expect those I work with to do so. It is in these areas where the hardest debates will take place. But I am confident that people working together with respect and honest dialogue will be able to find “third ways” to allow for national progress on even the most difficult of challenges.

Sheyman

Hypothetical questions like this one are difficult, because there have been plenty of times over the past two decades when the majority of Washington politicians have been out of touch with the will of the American people.

In general, I would accept compromise to the extent that it is necessary or useful in getting a piece of legislation passed that will help working families - and am open to a package that includes a mixture of both cuts and revenue increases.

However, I would not pursue compromise just for the sake of compromise. We often must negotiate in good faith on legislation, but this doesn't mean negotiating away our core values, or giving up our responsibility to communicate those values clearly and effectively. There are some issues on which we must draw bright lines and stick to them - such as opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits that working families and seniors depend on in this rough economy.

Tree

I value collaboration and working to find the common ground. Congress was meant to be a place where you can disagree and find the common ground for the American people. I don't believe there is common ground when it comes to eliminating the Bush era tax cuts because the people supporting them were driven to run by partisanship. Over the past several years, we have seen what rigid partisanship gets you from the threat of government shut down to the Republicans voting against payroll tax cuts for the middle class.

This summer, when I was out working as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve at the Pentagon, the Congress was debating over raising the debt ceiling. The senior leadership at the Pentagon was preparing to have to tell our men and women on active duty that they would not receive their pay because of the partisan, political fighting going on in Washington. As someone who grew up in a military family and knows what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck, this scenario was unthinkable to me. That was when I decided to get into this race for Congress. Then, this past month when the Republicans voted against the payroll tax cuts to help the middle class, it reaffirmed that the extremists in Congress are willing to do anything to promote their agenda and that confirmed my decision to run in this race.

Does the Social Security program need reform? What exactly should be done?
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Yes, two things need to be done. First, I would eliminate the cap on payroll taxes. Second, the current cost of living adjustment is growing faster than the cost of living. The adjustment measurement must be corrected. If we do these two things, Social Security will be viable for medium term. Any further reform will be a mistake as there is no way to predict what the situation will be decades from now.

Rutagwibira

Social Security needs reform to prevent any possible insolvency, that is total contributions into the fund exceeding total obligations. In the wake of recent financial institutions meltdown, it would be reckless to privatize and gamble away the only source of income for many of our seniors in high risk securities.

Schneider

As with any long-term, large-scale program, Social Security needs to evolve over time. I am committed to making sure that the promises made under current law are fulfilled, while at the same time I recognize that we will need to consider long-term changes to address our long-term needs.

In the years since Ida May Fuller received the very first Social Security check on January 31, 1940, the generational promise of security and dignity for our senior citizens has been a foundation of our social contract. In no small part, the promise of Social Security has been a source of our economic growth and development. I believe this must continue. Social Security has helped us dramatically reduce the percent of seniors living below the poverty line. This is a goal started, but not yet completed.

Sheyman

Social Security is running a $2.4 billion surplus. Unlike the stock market and 401(k)s, when the economy went belly up in 2008, Social Security paid out every penny that it owed. We must make sure it can continue to do so after 2036.

We must eliminate the cap on wages that applies to Social Security, as to do so would allow the program to pay out full benefits for generations to come.

As I have said throughout this campaign, I will oppose any cuts to Social Security benefits – including means testing, raising the retirement age, or reducing cost-of-living increases. Social Security is a core piece of the American safety net and I will defend it relentlessly in Congress.

Tree

The current demographics of our country suggest that at some point the Social Security trust fund is due to run out of money, so any candidate who says reform is not necessary either 1) does not understand how the program works, or 2) is trying to mislead. There are many ways to make palatable changes to the program, but there is not one silver bullet solution. The answer will be a mix of small ideas that happen very gradually and does not affect either current recipients of social security or those set to receive social security soon. While I am capable of working across the aisle on a solution, I do oppose privatization schemes and I believe we must ask the wealthiest Americans to give up Bush era tax breaks before we ask working and middle class families to do more.

How would you reform Medicare? Be as specific as possible.
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There are two things I would do. I would address the lack of access to care as well as a way slow health care costs. The lack of medical professionals in rural and inner-city areas for Medicare patients can be mitigated effectively through a reverse Dutch auction payment system that will also save money.

Currently, many health care professionals are highly concentrated in suburban and/or affluent areas. The shortage in rural and inner-city areas means that low-income people have to wait longer for services and travel further to get to services. Medicare is paying a higher rate than it should because it supports the fixed costs of the professionals in high concentration areas even though there are fewer patients than optimal. Medicare would look at its population data and determine the optimal level of services in each geographical area.

Using internet software to implement a reverse Dutch auction, Medicare would list each geographical area, the number of each type of professional needed, and the bid (pay). As the bid increases for each area, more professionals would take the bid on each geographical area that they would like to live and work. Presumably, the popular geographical areas would be chosen first at a lower cost. Meanwhile, other professionals would wait for the current shortage area prices to be increased until the pay is worth practicing there and the need is met. A limited number of positions would create market discipline, ensuring that people don't wait for obscene prices. Moreover, anti-trust laws could be used to prevent collusion. This concept could save money and remove a barrier to health care for low-income people.

I would also let Medicare negotiate drug prices to lower costs.

Rutagwibira

Did not respond

Schneider

Medicare, per se, is not the most critical issue with respect to our national health care challenges. Rather, I think we need to address the absolute cost of delivering quality health care to all Americans. Between 1980 and 2008, health care spending as a share of GDP grew from 9% to 16%. According to the OECD, the U.S. spends on average 50% more per capita than other industrialized nations, without necessarily better health outcomes.

As a nation, we need to focus more on well care, preventative care, and curative care. We need to work to reduce our reliance on emergency care and defensive care. We can invest more in technologies and demonstrably effective standards of care that lead to demonstrably better outcomes. And we can continue to invest in better information technologies to bring greater efficiency to our health delivery systems.

Sheyman

I support and have been a vocal advocate for “Medicare for All” as the only path to ultimately provide quality, affordable health care for every American – while reducing costs for individuals, small businesses and the federal government.

In the meantime, cost-saving reforms like allowing Medicare to negotiate bulk purchasing rates for prescription drugs would provide significant cost savings without hurting seniors .

I have said throughout my campaign that I oppose any measure that would cut Medicare benefits, raise the eligibility age or attempt to privatize Medicare or replace it with block grants or vouchers for states.

Tree

I believe we need to protect Medicare so it is viable for future generations — but we absolutely cannot break our promise to those who now depend or will soon be depending on these programs to simply get by. I want to see the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy expire so we can reduce our deficit and shore up safety net programs for seniors such as Medicare.

As a military veteran and a senior Air Force Reservist at the Pentagon, I will be listened to in Washington when I call for cuts to the Pentagon budget and an end to wasteful defense contracts. This is money that must be invested in reducing our debt and in protecting our current and future seniors. I also think it is ridiculous that Medicare, which is the single largest purchaser of prescription drugs in the world, still pays the retail price for medicines.

The answer is simple. I will fight for Medicare to do exactly as the VA has done: use their purchasing power to lower the cost of prescription drugs. I want to end special interest protections for the big drug companies that come at the expense of our seniors. Why hasn't our current Congressman Robert Dold done anything about this? Instead House Republicans support a plan to turn Medicare into a voucher scheme that will end guaranteed benefits for seniors and put them at the mercy of big insurance. I haven't seen many seniors take on insurance companies and win and we shouldn't force them to try.

Is there a problem of a growing income and wealth gap in the United States? Is there a problem of unequal opportunity? What, if anything, should government do about this?
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There is a problem of inequality in the U.S., and in my district. If one compares Lake Forest, Glencoe, and Highland Park to North Chicago and Waukegan, it is readily visible. If everyone started at the same starting line, we wouldn't mind different results in a capitalist society. However, the next generation no longer starts at the same starting line if their parents have unequal wealth. Wealth brings a better public education as people self-segregate based on income and spend more money on their kids' school districts. There is also greater cultural capital, meaning that wealthier kids know better how to achieve their parents' jobs which are usually higher paying. Inequality in outcome and opportunity go together. However, to the extent that we create diverse income communities, we minimize both gaps as kids have the opportunity to pick up from their neighbors and friends the cultural capital they need. In addition, a mixed income community has a tax base to teach all kids. While creating mixed income communities through zoning and land use policy is more a state and local issue, the federal government has a responsibility to help those who start behind the starting line because states don't have the resources nor the ability to highlight this issue. This also means poor schools have to think of themselves as poverty fighters, not just teachers, providing the opportunity to disadvantaged kids to achieve their God-given potential. This includes providing education well before kindergarten to make up for what can be a million word deficit between a well-off child and a poor one entering kindergarten. Moreover, it means reforming public education. It means teaching to tests worth teaching to, incentivizing learning through a growth model in No Child Left Behind adequate yearly progress calculations, and making sure there are well trained, well funded, and accountable teachers, principals, and districts. The federal government can provide this money through an estate tax that reaches into the middle class. In order to provide equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged, this requires funds, and inheritances, by their very nature, give the affluent a tremendous advantage that they didn't earn. And with the level of inequality currently in our society, a more progressive taxation system is necessary as well.

Rutagwibira

Absolutely, a disproportionate income and wealth gap may cause our society to degenerate into a class warfare, no one can anticipate what the consequences might be on the fabric of our society. If anything unusual is that some corporations create values for top executives not for average investors or average employees of the corporation. The government should use its regulatory powers to curb abusive board decisions such as limit the number of boards of public companies an individual can sit on, stop board members from approving executive salaries but rather determine compensation based on the balance sheet of the corporation. It is absurd for a Corporation to go under and having executives walk out with millions of dollars in their pockets.

Schneider

Absolutely. No nation can sustain domestic tranquility when the gulf between those with the most and those with the least is so vast that society splits in two. I believe that our greatest challenge going forward in the country is addressing the shrinking “middle” that has forever been the bridge of opportunity for all Americans.

Throughout my life, the “American Dream” has been a middle class reality. In fact, I think most people throughout the country consider themselves “middle class.”

So what exactly does it mean to be middle class? To me, it is the ability to create a safe home for our family, with healthy food on the table, and room to play and grow for our kids. It is the ability to give our children quality educational opportunities. It means securing good health care, while at the same time being able to save for a secure retirement. At its root, it is waking up every day with a level of confidence, believing that today is gift and that tomorrow is full of promise.

Government can help support and rebuild the middle class by helping spur the economy with policies that promote the creation of quality, permanent jobs. We can work to rebuild our manufacturing base in cutting edge production at the frontiers of new and green energy, better and more efficient health care, advanced transportation, and other life enhancing technologies. We can continue to promote policies that will restore our education systems in all communities to world-class status. And at the same time, we must rework and refine our fiscal policies, addressing both government expenditures and government revenues to bring both in line with historical standards and responsible balance.

Sheyman

When the wealthiest 400 Americans possess as much wealth as the bottom 150 million, I believe the wealth gap has become a serious problem facing our country, and in many respects, our politicians who are overwhelmingly millionaires themselves reinforce that disparity. Politicians in Washington, D.C. should be fighting to create jobs, restore fairness to our tax system and invest in America so we can rebuild the middle class, and restore the American Dream. Instead, too many of them are busy giving tax breaks to billionaires and waging a direct assault on Social Security, Medicare, health care, and the core services our communities depend on.

Tree

I don't think there is any question that there is a problem of a growing income and wealth gap in our country. Yes, there is a problem of unequal opportunity as well. In fact, the playing field has never been more unequal.

As I mentioned above, if you are a small businessman trying to add just ten new jobs it is extremely difficult to get a loan. The big banks are sitting on trillions of dollars in cash reserves but not spending and investing. But States like Illinois are falling all over themselves to throw hundreds of millions in tax breaks to big corporations who threaten to move their headquarters out of state. We need to refocus our priorities and make access to capital easier for small business men and women. Also, as a father who is facing the prospect of having 5 children in college all within a ten year time frame, I know that we must address the issue of student lending. We must work with banks to make students loans easier to get and easier to repay or we will quickly return to a time in America when college was reserved for the upper class.

Who is to blame for the home mortgages collapse?
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There are many factors in the housing collapse. Most of them have nothing to do with housing per se. What follows is a list of factors that lead to the financial crisis that lead to the home mortgage collapse.

The Federal Reserve's easy monetary policy in the early 2000's battled the tech bust, but it laid the seeds' for the housing bubble. Record low interest rates convinced many to enter the housing market, inflating the housing bubble. And every bubble pops, leading to collapse. Moreover, poor regulation due to the faith in the infallibility of new financial products to account for risk was another misstep at the Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies. There was too much faith in unfettered markets. No one had checked to see if people could pay their mortgages.

Derivatives including credit default swaps created great profits in good times,but it put financial institutions at great risk should the black swan of home prices going down and mortgage default appear. And the black swan did appear, putting firms like AIG on life support. In addition, there were all sorts of off-balance sheet housing investments that no one knew about due to legal chicanery known as the shadow banking system . And while most of these investments were sold to others, there were enough hidden assets in financial institutions that had to be acknowledged during the crisis to create uncertainty about solvency and liquidity when the crisis hit.

The more dangerous problem was the compensation system on Wall St and other financial capitals. Their salaries were a small part of their compensation. Employees received huge bonus checks if their banks sold services and products. They took wild risk knowing that was the best way for them to make money. They had nothing at-stake with the services they performed and the assets they created.

This included securitization, the bundling of loans into one security. Loans were given to everyone without checking risk because the financial institutions didn't keep most of these securities. Instead, they were packaged in opaque bundled securities and sold all over the world. There also was a glut of savings from the world investors looking for investments. Investors were looking to find ways to profit, and the banks had the incentive to provide securities. Investors bought plenty of mortgage-backed securities that they thought were AAA.

The ratings agencies deserve blame as well. Their job was to prevent these home mortgage based assets from being given AAA ratings. They were suppose to check the risk level. However, they were paid to do their job by the banks that created the securities. This gave them little incentive to rate the securities poorly, or risk banks going to other rating agencies.

Home owners deserve some blame as well. They should have known that some things are too good to be true. Mortgage originators committed fraud, but the public was willing to believe in something for nothing. And like every other financial crisis, human nature bears some of the burden.

Politicians also deserve blame for overaggressively encouraging home ownership through the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. However, this is one of many issues that lead to the collapse. And by no means is this the most significant.

Rutagwibira

Mortgage Companies and Financial institutions are to blame. The utopia of bundling mortgages into risk free derivatives has pushed homeowners to take on loans that they could not afford

Schneider

There is plenty of blame to go around among the banks, the regulators, and, let's be honest, people who purchased homes that were more than they could afford.

But rather than focusing on blame, I think we need to focus on how to get people buying homes again, and yes, building homes again.

Sheyman

While there are many causes, the housing bubble was in large part caused by 1) unscrupulous lenders who provided loans to people they knew would never be able to afford them (including through clearly illegal and now well-documented practices like robo-signing). 2) Rampant securitization and Wall Street speculation artificially increased prices; and some 3) homeowners made unwise decisions in their quest for home ownership.

Tree

Nearly a quarter of all homeowners have struggled in the past few years with foreclosure because of divorce, unexpected health issues or job loss. It's an issue that has touched many families including my own. The blame falls overwhelmingly on under-regulated and irresponsible bankers who issued loans to people who had little or no ability to pay them back. Sometimes foreclosure occurs because banks have pulled the trigger too fast instead of working harder with homeowners to reach accommodations that could have kept families in their homes. And sometimes foreclosure has occurred simply because the real estate value of one's home during the economic crisis dropped below the value of the mortgage at just the wrong time, such as when the homeowner was moving for personal reasons such as divorce. Congress also deserves blame for failing to hold mortgage regulators accountable. These conditions created a weak economy, which caused more people to lose their jobs - now the number one reason for foreclosure.

What, if anything, should be done to assist Americans whose homes are financially "under water" and face foreclosure?
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For the benefit of all Americans, we need to reset the housing market. The market is illiquid given the glut of homes, the inability of under water Americans to sell their home without realizing a loss, and underwater Americans who are simply walking away from paying their mortgages. If we reduce the principal of homes to 120% of fair market value as Martin Feldstein has proposed, we can reset the housing market. While this will be difficult for banks to write off, the banks and the public including under water Americans will benefit. More people will pay their mortgages, meaning banks will be more likely get more of their money back and sooner than foreclosing on a huge number of homes. The housing market will become liquid. There will be more buying and selling of homes and a return to a normal housing market faster than letting the debt overhang unwind itself over a period of years.

Rutagwibira

The sensible thing to do is helping individuals secure an income which could help them make regular payments. Adjusting mortgages for individuals without any source of income is kicking the can downstreet. If a mortage is underwater and there is no income to make payments after adjusting the mortgage, it doesn't make sense to try to rescue the mortgage. Civil societies should be encouraged to be involved and negotiate with Banks on terms to make these homes availabel for use.

Schneider

There is no easy answer here.

I believe that home ownership leads to strong communities, better schools, and ultimately a better country. It is therefore in our national interest to help people find a way to weather this financial storm and stay in their homes to raise their families, build their careers, and secure their futures.

For some, the need is simply to buy time to restore the value in their home, or to stabilize their work situation. With time, they will be able to pay their mortgage and fulfill their dreams. For these people, federally supported programs to restructure their mortgage may be the answer.

For others, the need is to start fresh. In such cases, the government can help distribute the burden of lost value with long-term tax incentives for both the financial institutions holding the mortgage and the homeowner force into the short sale.

Finally, we need to make sure that we don't repeat the mistakes of the recent past. While homeownership is a part of the American dream for many of us, it may not be the right dream for all of us. And the dream is not always realized today, but takes patience, perseverance and time.

Sheyman

Thousands of homes across the 10th District are in foreclosure, and too many residents are left wondering if their's will be next. To maintain the stability of neighborhoods, health of families and welfare of the community, one of my key priorities is helping families stay in their homes.

As a first step, I support a proposal from Sen. Durbin that would allow homeowners in bankruptcy to renegotiate the principle of their mortgages with banks. I will also push for the reforms to the banking and mortgage industries that are necessary to prevent future housing crises.

Tree

Even John McCain believes that the only way forward is for the banks to write down underwater mortgages to market values. Underwater mortgage debt is one of the primary drags on the economy. American taxpayers handed out nearly a trillion dollars to banks in bailout money – some of it has been paid back but most of it is probably gone forever. Still, last year banking institutions gave out hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation and bonuses. Banks are sitting on more than 1.5 trillion in capital reserves. It would take roughly 700 billion dollars for banks to write down underwater mortgages that they are largely responsible for creating. I agree with a report written by one housing policy group who says that banks should simply subtract this 700 billion from the trillions they still owe us. I think the Government would consider that a good deal for taxpayers. With homeowners now able to afford and rebuild wealth in their homes, they can start spending money in small businesses, which will begin to hire more workers.

Is global warming real? Is it man-made? What, if anything, should be done about it?
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Global warming is real and man-made, and a comprehensive approach to curbing greenhouse gases is required as soon as possible. I support a cap and trade policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, we should put in place a 20% nation renewable energy standard on all utilities to curb greenhouse gases. Moreover, we should implement decoupling plus where utilities are not paid to maximize energy use. Instead, they will be paid by how much is saved. Furthermore, we need to encourage the use of electric vehicles and development of the infrastructure to sustain electric vehicles. There should also be tax credits to encourage conservation.

Rutagwibira

Global warming is real and our Country should make all efforts to participate and ratify international treaties on environmental issues.

Schneider

I think that we have enough observed experience to sense that climate change is real. More importantly, the scientific community has the hard evidence to support it.

As for whether or not the climate change we are experiencing is driven by natural cycles or by human activity, I believe that human impact on the pace and intensity of global warming is real and significant, irrespective of other influences on climatic cycles.

We must recognize our impact on our environment and take sensible actions to ensure our future national prosperity and security. I was raised on the principal of “leave no trace” camping, and I believe the same principal can be applied to our every day lives. In that vein, I will support programs that reduce the “human footprint” while at the same time allowing for continued economic growth and development. Furthermore, I don't believe we have to chose between environmentally sound practice and modern convenience.

Furthermore, while there are some who would debate whether or not such the observed change is man-made or part of a natural cycle, to those likely to be impacted by changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, more truculent storms, the debate is moot. We need to act today to mitigate the impact of these changes. Recalling the maxim of Benjamin Franklin, “a stitch in time saves nine.” While it may be a hard pill to swallow, we are going to have to allocate money today to mitigate and reduce the impact of natural disasters in the future.

Sheyman

As the threat of global climate change and instability worsens, we can no longer afford complacency and inaction. The United States must combat climate change and build a new, green economy to put Americans back to work.

We must work to increase our use of alternative energy sources like wind, solar, and next-generation sustainable biofuels, thereby reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil. We must also protect the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act against right-wing efforts to undermine those critical institutions.

The 10th District lies alongside one of our most precious national treasures, the Great Lakes. I will work closely with community leaders to protect the invaluable environmental and economic resources of the Great Lakes, championing the cleanup of toxic waste, and encouraging sustainable development along Lake Michigan, and throughout the exceptionally bio-diverse Lake County area.

Tree

Yes, I believe that global warming is real and that it is man-made. We need to take active steps to reduce the effects of global warming through a comprehensive plan. The first step, however, is recognizing that global warming is a problem. First and foremost, I want to focus on bringing an awareness to people to show that it is a real issue that we all need to come together to solve.

What is the role of the federal government in promoting "green" alternatives to fossil fuels? What are those alternatives?
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Bavda

The role of the federal government is to set a national commitment to green alternatives in terms of percent usage, provide incentives such as taxes, tax credits, and tax deductions to promote green alternatives, and fund research for green alternatives. Green alternatives to fossil fuels are solar, wind, hydrogen fuel cell, geothermal, and hydroelectric sources.

Rutagwibira

When it comes to the role of the Government in green Energy, the case of Solyndra comes to mind. The product was a great product but the inability of the management to deal with a competitive cost of manufacturing the product caused the company to go under. Alternatives of fossil fuels include wind energy farms like the one we have in Normal, Illinois. Solar energy, biodiesel fuels as seen in many city Buses around the country

Schneider

I believe the federal government can effectively create incentives for research and development of alternative energy sources, including renewable energy technologies, as well as demand reducing technologies.

Some “green” alternatives that I think offer promise include electric, hybrid, and compressed natural gas vehicles . I think we need to continue to develop wind, solar, and geothermal energy technologies. We must also remain open to nuclear energy. But, as it has always been, the greatest potential impact will be on reducing our overall demand for energy with new product design, smart community design, and general conservation awareness.

I also know that scale is critical for long-term viability of any technology. I therefore see a role for government in creating mechanisms to accelerate innovation, allow for testing of new ideas, and support bringing successful ideas to market.

Sheyman

The federal government must increase use of alternative energy sources like wind, solar, and next-generation sustainable biofuels.

The federal government should stimulate private sector job creation through the creation of a national green jobs bank that will offer loans directly to small businesses.

Tree

I'm a big believer in investing in alternative energy. Let's use our own wind, sun and water to generate clean power while creating jobs right here that can never be outsourced. Solar panels require electricians, high efficiency windows are installed by carpenters, and thermal water heating technology requires trained plumbers. I want our district to have as many of these employers as any other in the nation.

Additionally, I love our lakes and our natural resources. I spent several years growing up on a very small farm outside Colorado Springs while my father taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy. I remember milking our cow, feeding the chickens, and getting lost for hours on end with my brothers and sisters in the surrounding woods. I became an Eagle Scout because of my love of the outdoors. I'm still involved in the Boy Scouts as an Assistant Scout Master in Buffalo Grove, and love camping, hiking and being on the water.

In Congress I will fight to protect our environment, and stand up for our lakes. It is unacceptable that our current Congressman Robert Dold can represent a district full of lakes ranging from our small finger lakes to our Great Lake, yet support a practice called “hydraulic fracking.” Fracking threatens the quality of drinking water by using chemicals to extract natural gas. I will not back down to special interest groups who would endanger our health by hurting our environment.

Is waterboarding a form of torture? On what basis do you make this assertion? Should the United States engage in waterboarding under any circumstances?
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Bavda

Waterboarding is a form of torture because it physically affects the body negatively beyond mild discomfort. In addition, the U.S. punished Japanese soldiers for the use of waterboarding as torture after World War II.

The U.S. should never sanction waterboarding under any circumstances. If a President believes it is necessary and engages in it, the President should be punished in a court of law regardless of the result. This is the rule of law, not men. While many Americans think of the television series 24 in this context, the reality of procuring information from terrorists is quite different than television. As any FBI interrogator will tell you, more information comes from identifying with suspects, making them comfortable, and psychologically persuading them to help. It takes time, and it produces reliable intelligence. On the other hand, most people faced with waterboarding will say anything to make it stop or become psychologically resolute against providing any information. More important than torture effectiveness are our ideals. What makes America great and different is that we believe in due process and the rule of law, not men. We should be judged on how we treat the worst, not the best. If we start down the path of torture, each procedure becomes not so different from waterboarding or the next "persuasive method."

Rutagwibira

Yes waterboading is Torture, the pain an individual is subject to doesn't warranty good responses to interrogation objectives. The United States should not use these techniques , first they are inhumane and they achieve little results and they may be used on our own captured soldiers.

Schneider

Absolutely. Let's start with the Merriam-Webster definition of the word “torture”: the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure. Waterboarding has one purpose, to coerce an individual to do something they are otherwise be disinclined to do Waterboarding is applied to create both intense pain and fear. It is, BY DEFINITION, torture.

Common sense tells me that torture is not likely achieve the “intended” result of gaining useful information. It is as likely, even more likely, to induce the individual being interrogated to provide any answer, true or otherwise, to end the pain. Numerous studies, from around the world in a variety of circumstances, have proven what I intuitively believe, torture does not work.

But, even more importantly, I believe torture is immoral. Torture is wrong. Torture is unconstitutional.

Sheyman

Yes. This is understood in both domestic and international legal circles as torture - and after WWII, there were Japanese military members who were executed for waterboarding.

I oppose the use of torture under any circumstances. We can and must maintain America's security without sacrificing our moral leadership in the world.

Tree

It is torture. I am a full Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and it is on that basis that I make my assertion. The United States should end this practice and publicly renounce it.

Do you support the legalization or de-criminalization of marijuana, either on a state or national level? Have you ever personally smoked marijuana?
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Bavda

I have neither smoked marijuana nor do I support legalization on a state or national level. I do believe that the danger of marijuana is limited. We ought to consider lowering the penalties of personal marijuana use.

Rutagwibira

Let us treat Marijuana as any other drug. Let us conduct clinical trials to determine its medical benefits and its side effects. As it is consumed like tobacco, it should have a proper labeling like tobacco products.

Schneider

Yes to the first question. No to the second.

Sheyman

In an age of skyrocketing federal debt, incarceration rates and international drug crime fueled by U.S. demand, our current approach to the costly and ineffective War on Drugs and its affect on the criminal justice system are no longer sustainable.

We need to explore reforming the criminal justice system so that we provide alternate sentencing options like drug courts, treatment and community service; and shift our focus when it comes to non-violent drug offenders towards substance abuse treatment.

Yes.

Tree

I would not vote in Congress to legalize marijuana nationally. I believe decisions for how local governments handle low-level or small amount possession cases should remain local. I know that elected officials and some law enforcement officials in Chicago and Cook County have made the argument that they are wasting millions of dollars arresting and holding non-violent low-level offenders in their jails, while judges in these jurisdictions almost routinely dismiss the cases when they reach the court room. I know that the District Attorney in Philadelphia, PA is no longer prosecuting possession of small amounts of marijuana. What make sense for municipalities like Chicago or Philadelphia may not make sense for Lake Forrest or Waukegan. As a member of Congress I would support legislation to leave these decisions up to local governments.

No, I have never tried marijuana or any other illegal substance. As a Colonel in the Air Force all the way back to my days as a Cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy, I have never done any of these things.

Iran, according to a new United Nations report, is covertly at work building a nuclear bomb. Should Iran be stopped, and how? Please explain the merits of international sanctions versus military action.
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Bavda

Yes, Iran should be stopped for many reasons. First, a nuclear Iran represents an existential threat to Israel. Second, a nuclear Iran becomes the hegemon of the Middle East. Its expanded influence would be contrary to American interests such as democratization of the Middle East. Moreover, Iran's theocracy will become a more persuasive model for Arab governments. Furthermore, Iran's support for terrorists such as Hezbollah would become more prominent. Third, as many Middle East regimes are Sunni, Iran's bomb will start a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.

The U.S. in concert with its allies must persuade Iran to halt its program. This can be done by progressively tightening the economic net through greater and greater sanctions. This is where we are currently, and the Obama administration policy is sound. However, the point where a military air strike becomes necessary is the nuclear bomb's completion. And it should be done by the U.S., rather than Israel to prevent blowback against Israel.

While I listed the reasons to stop Iran, the military approach has negatives. It would isolate us with Israel. Even Arab countries that privately would be happy would publicly condemn military action. It would be another military intervention in a Muslim country that would stoke anti-American sentiment in a part of the world that already doesn't trust us. This would fit the message that terrorist groups like Al Qaeda use to recruit. It might also cause a counter punch by terrorist who feel they need to respond in kind.

There is also the chance that the military air strike will fail. Not only could Iran have the bomb, it might decide to retaliate. While it is unlikely they would use nuclear weapons for anything other than an existential threat, Iran may react by a conventional missile assault on Israel. They also could use their oil leverage to threaten the global supply chain. While this would be temporary given Iran's need to sell oil for survival, it would make life difficult for allies like Japan who rely on Iranian oil exports.

Having said that this is worth military action, sanctions are likely to work. The benefit of sanctions is that we would have the moral weight of the international community. While many Americans scoff at the persuasiveness of the international community, there is a consistent and proven record of countries coming into compliance with international norms. However, the most glaring examples of evidence contrary include the Indian subcontinent and North Korea. Unlike these countries, Iran doesn't have a neighbor it fears as an existential threat like North Korea against the U.S. and South Korea or India and Pakistan. This bomb will eventually be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with U.S. and the international community. They will ask for and need help with peaceful nuclear power generation. The downside of sanctions is that at some point it becomes accepted that a country is committed to the particular goal. At that point like with India, sanctions are lifted with an unfortunate acceptance of nuclear weapons.

Rutagwibira

Iran must be stopped by any means approved by the International community. International sanctions will give Iran the opportunity to reconsider its actions and choose the kind of nation Iranians want to be on the international stage. Military action should be on the table as well. Reminiscent of the treatment of Kurdish people by Saddam Hussein regime in the nineties, constant atrocities committed by radical leaders in the region on their own people, with the Iranian leader denying the holaust , Iran can live without a nuclear Bomb, but Israel even Palestine cannot live with a nuclear Iran. It is not enough for Elected members of Congress to merely state that they are pro Israel, they must spell out that they are committed to the security of Israelis and shielded from any imminent or potential threat.

Schneider

As a state sponsor of global terrorism and supplier of weapons to terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons capabilities.

The United States has, and must continue to take the lead in working with the world community to isolate Iran diplomatically and to establish and enforce sustainable, increasingly tightening sanctions. Sanctions on the Iranian economy must be broad and deep, such as restrictions of gasoline imports and limitation on business transactions with Iran's central bank, so as to persuade Iran's people that their national interests are best served by abandoning their nuclear ambitions.

At the same time, the U.S. should continue to employ cyber and other covert measures to delay Iranian progress towards nuclear technology milestones.

And while I believe it is important for all options to remain credibly on the table, including military intervention, I remain cautiously optimistic that harsh sanctions, can lead to diplomatic progress.

Sheyman

The Iranian state's support for Hezbollah and Hamas, on-going Holocaust denials, and threats toward Israel pose a threat to both Israel and the stability of the broader Middle East.

The United States must continue to lead the international community in aggressive, purposeful diplomacy to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to hold Iran accountable for its belligerent and dangerous behavior.

I applaud President Obama's leadership in securing global support for a tough sanctions regime on Iran's access to gasoline and diesel products from multinational corporations.

I also support supported and would have voted in favor of the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act and the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. After the long and costly conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, I believe we should work towards a diplomatic resolution with Iran as opposed to a military solution.

Tree

Iran is the #1 threat that the United States needs to worry about in terms of global stability and democracy. The leadership of Iran is aggressively pursuing weapons of mass destruction and they have publicly stated that the Holocaust didn't happen and that Israel needs to be wiped off the map.

Iran absolutely needs to be stopped, but this needs to be accomplished using all of the national and international instruments of power, not just the military. For too many years the military has seemed to be the option of first choice when it should be the option of last resort. The military option needs to be on the table, but a whole host of other instruments of power need to be worked first. This includes diplomatic options, economic sanctions, legal and financial.

Working together as an international coalition is the most effective way of bringing about the desired changes in Iran. Of course if all other options fail, then we must once again rely on our military to get the job done.

How would you define "success" for the United States in the war in Afghanistan? Do you support the President's plan and timetable for withdrawing American troops?
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Bavda

I define success as the capture or killing of Osama Bin Laden and the dismantling of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We have completed our mission. I recognize former Secretary Powell's "If you break it, you own it" philosophy. That is why I support the President's plan and timetable for withdrawal. However, there is only so much blood and treasure we can invest in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a history of being a graveyard for empires. If after a decade, we can't "fix" Afghanistan, then it is safe to say Afghanistan was broken long before we arrived.

Rutagwibira

Success of the United States in Afghanistan will be measured by how well Afghanis manage their own fate after the United States leaves. I support the President plan and time table for withdrawing the troops. My understanding is that the president has consulted with Generals on the ground and that he felt confident that the Afghanis have received adequate training to secure their own territory and that all reconstruction efforts have met their goals.

Schneider

I think we have already achieved success in our initial mission in Afghanistan, specifically: (1) the removal of the Taliban; (2) the weakening of Al Queda; and (3) the death of Osama Bin Ladin.

But, as in other wars, the war in Afghanistan has experienced “mission creep.” I believe that we are today in Afghanistan focusing on (1) nation building, (2) suppression of the opium trade and (3) intercession within Pakistan. None of these goals are likely to be fully achieved by the deployment of NATO forces, now or in the future. I therefore support President Obama's plan and timetable for withdrawing American troops.

That said, I also believe that we must stay engaged with Afghanistan, supporting the government and the Afghan people as the build their own nation in their own way. We must also work with Afghanistan and surrounding nations, to create economic opportunities to replace the attraction of opium trade to Afghan citizens. And we must work to reduce global demand at the same time. And we must work with the world to address the challenges in Pakistan, both in the short and the long term.

Sheyman

Success was defined by the removal of the Taliban from power, the capture or death of Osama Bin Laden, and an end to safe havens for Al Qaeda in that country. Now that all three of those goals are complete, I support a fixed timetable to extricate the United States from the quagmire in Afghanistan—so that we stop spending billions of dollars a week overseas and start building bridges and roads, schools and hospitals, mass transit and a green economy right here in 10th District towns like Buffalo Grove and North Chicago.

I will only support further funding for the war in Afghanistan if it is tied to a fixed timetable for a speedy and responsible withdrawal of all our troops.

Tree

Success in Afghanistan included toppling the Taliban regime, which was done, and then destroying the leadership of the terrorist cells, also done. It then includes a transition period to the national leadership in Afghanistan, which is currently taking place. I absolutely support the President's plan and timetable for withdrawing American troops, and want to publicly thank our military for their incredible dedication and tremendous valor they displayed in freeing Afghanistan from the oppressive Taliban regime and the terrorists they harbored.

The No Child Left Behind Act is overdue for reauthorization. Do you support the Administration's blueprint for reauthorization, the bill that recently passed the Senate Education Committee, or some other alternative?
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Bavda

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was a startling display of bipartisan legislation enacted to bring every student in the country to proficiency by the year 2014. The crux of the act was to force states to set standards in math, science and language arts, test all students in these subjects, and force schools to meet increasing requirements of success or face remedial measures. The fundamental policy behind NCLB was that students achieve and meet the expectations that we require of them. With this in mind, I have formulated my own alternative to reauthorize NCLB

Several problems emerged during NCLB implementation, and this alternative seeks to address these problems. First, NCLB only requires tests in math, science, and language arts. This creates an incentive to cut out other subject areas, leading to myopia in student knowledge. We need to test in all subject areas to make student proficient in all academic areas.

The second problem to emerge is teaching to the test. Schools and teachers learn the testing mechanism and make gains on the test through style, test-taking strategies, rather than increasing substantive student learning. To mitigate this natural instinct by schools, we need to teach to tests worth teaching to. Moreover, we should require that tests be self-auditing. Self-auditing tests use different mechanisms of assessment all within a singular test. They corroborate that a student has learned a particular concept using a different testing mechanism. By testing in multiple ways, we reduce the ability of teachers to teach to any conventional test. In addition, we should require a singular test that is both criterion-reference and norm-referenced. This allows parents, educators, legislators, and the public to gauge progress on an absolute and relative scale respectively.

The third problem that has emerged is the use of statistical confidence intervals at the school level to disguise failure to avoid the negative consequences of failing to meet the increasing proficiency rates of the federal law. We should require the use of the actual test scores rather than any confidence interval to meet adequate yearly progress to prevent any future statistical tinkering.

The fourth problem that has emerged is the attempt to backload the proficiency progress. While states have much flexibility to apportion progress from enactment to 2014, we should require a linear model of progress for the new deadline. In other words, there must be equal improvements over the time period in question rather than saving most of the progress for the end.

The fifth problem is the incentives the current adequate yearly progress calculation creates. The first incentive is to neglect higher achieving students because they will pass proficiency without any problem. There is no incentive to make them reach their God given potential. The second incentive is to focus resources on students who are close to passing. Students who are the farthest behind will be left behind because the Act treats the passage of the farthest student as equivalent to a marginal student. This means a student can be taught three years worth of material and still fail the proficiency test. This student's gain is not reflected in the year's adequate yearly progress. We should impose a growth model on schools. This growth model incentivizes learning by counting and crediting schools with each year of learning rather than setting one passage score that determines adequate yearly progress. Average students who start at 5.0 grade levels worth of knowledge in 5th grade and learn one year's knowledge will be deemed as 1.0 students achieving proficiency for the adequate yearly progress calculation. If this student learns 1.5 years worth of knowledge, 1.5 students will be deemed to have passed for purposes of the adequate yearly progress calculation. In addition, this means students who are ahead have to be taught advanced material in order for them to be counted as passing in the next year's calculation. Moreover, if the advanced students learn more than one year's worth of material, the school is credited with an increase in adequate yearly progress. For example, let's take a fifth grader who is somewhat advanced for his age with 5.2 grade levels worth of knowledge. For this student to pass for purposes of adequate yearly progress, this student must achieve a 6.2 grade levels worth of knowledge. If the student learns more and achieves a 6.7 grade level knowledge, 1.5 students will be deemed to be proficient for the purpose of the adequate yearly progress calculation.

Schools also will have an incentive to teach students who are currently being left behind. The low achieving student who is at 3.7 grade level in 5th grade will be counted as many times as he or she is behind. So this student will be counted as a minimum of 2.3 students because he is this far behind of where he needs to be by the end of the school year. If he achieves only a 5.0 grade level, 1.3 out of 2.3 students will be deemed as passing. If he achieves 6th grade level, then 2.3 students will be deemed proficient. If he achieves a 7th grade level, 3.3 students will be deemed to be proficient for purposes of the adequate yearly progress. The point is that teachers will be incentivized to increase learning. One downside to this system is that the adequate yearly progress calculation will become an index rather than a simple passage rate. Given this, we should require that adequate yearly progress calculations will be made public in both the old method as well as the new indexed growth model (with the new method counting toward the remedial measures of failing adequate yearly progress of NCLB).

The sixth potential problem of NCLB is the failure of the remedial measures to increase performance. The academic community widely believes that the goal of achieving 100% proficiency is unrealistic. With this prediction in mind, we should seek to help schools that have failed and become restructured by giving these schools one more tool to impact student performance. We should allow principals to double the salary scale of teachers who agree to work on an at-will basis at the discretion of the principal. By doubling the salary scale, restructured schools could expect to recruit the best teachers for the most difficult teaching areas. Given the greatest single factor on student performance is an excellent teacher, this would be an effective way to make sure that no child is left behind. To ensure that only the best performers receive this incentive, principals need to have hire and fire flexibility. It should also be pointed out that any teacher could choose either to have an ordinary contract and union provisions or take the increased salary with all union provisions except at-will employment. These six problems and changes in No Child Left Behind implementation will help students and teachers increase learning.

Rutagwibira

Did not respond

Schneider

In general I support the President's Blueprint and will work to pass it in the next Congress.

To enjoy long-term prosperity and security we must provide world-class schools for all our young people.

If you have heard me speak, you have likely heard me say:  “if China and India educate only 10% of their children well, they will educate more kids well than we have kids to educate!”  We cannot expect to compete in the 21st Century global economy if we don't offer every young person in our country the best opportunities to learn and develop to their fullest potential. 

Additionally, we cannot expect to compete in the 21st Century global economy if we fail to invest in education to ensure we always have the best educated, most motivated, most innovative, most productive workforce in the world.

We must also remember that great education starts with teachers.  We owe it to our children to stop vilifying teachers and instead help them lead us to a prosperous and secure future.  We owe it to our children, and to ourselves, to fill all of our schools with fully qualified and fairly compensated teachers. And we must strive to give all our teachers the best technologies, with the best available tools and resources.

I believe we can make immediate progress by:

Ending the unfair and unproductive attacks on teachers, and instead recognizing that they are the key to securing our national future through teaching and inspiring our greatest national treasure…our children.

Increasing our investment in early learning programs.

Helping states transform their most challenged schools to ensure every child has access to quality education.

Developing shared educational standards that help ensure we provide all young people the lessons, skills and tools to succeed in an increasingly competitive and interconnected global economy.

Identifying and developing effective measures of learning and academic performance to create high, and realistic, expectations and accountability for educating our children.

Expanding programs, like “Race to the Top,” that allow states to opt in and compete for federal investment in innovative, transformative educational ideas.

Refining “No Child Left Behind” to retain those aspects that are helpful and address the issues that create confusion or unnecessary burden.

Developing affordable pathways to technical, undergraduate and graduate education, encompassing community colleges, four year colleges and universities.

Sheyman

I support some of President Obama's intended reforms to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which include providing funds to states in order to implement a broader range of assessments to evaluate academic skills, as well as lessening the stringent accountability standards in the No Child Left Behind Act in order to focus on student improvement. This would allow schools to consider measures beyond reading and math tests, and would promote incentives to keep students enrolled through graduation, rather than encouraging students to drop-out in order to increase test scores.

As a product of a quality public school system in the 10th District, I owe my own journey to quality teachers, committed family members and a community willing to invest in the resources needed to educate every student.

As an organizer with A+ Illinois, I worked all across the District to increase funding and accountability for the public school system.

In Congress, I will continue to work to ensure that all our public schools have the essential funding and resources they need to serve every child, regardless of his or her socioeconomic background. That means identifying the programs that work in successful public schools – including a workforce of well-trained and highly-qualified teachers, a commitment to early childhood education, and a focus on a well-rounded curriculum including math, science, social studies, English, the arts and more.

Tree

I believe that while the creators of the No Child Left Behind Act may have had good intentions, the policy behind the act certainly went wrong. While the intention was to create policy that could improve education, teachers are now forced to teach to a test and have lost almost all vital academic freedom. Furthermore, teachers are now answering to administrators who are only looking for test score results and not taking a more comprehensive approach around the education of a child. Another major downfall of No Child Left Behind was that after its implementation it was severely underfunded.

The race
The candidates
Vivek Bavda
Aloys Rutagwibira
Brad Schneider
Ilya Sheyman
John Tree
The district
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