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14th 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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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson
Birthdate: 11/22/1950
Occupation: Retired
Marital status: Married
Spouse:

Education:

Bachelor's Degree (with Distinction), University of Wisconsin, Madison

Majors: Economics, Political Science

Graduate Studies:

University of Wisconsin, Madison; Public Administration (no degree)

Loyola University Chicago; Theology (no degree)

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

International Breast Cancer Research Foundation (Board of Directors)
Literacy Volunteers of Lake County (Board of Directors and volunteer tutor)
Rotary International - Gurnee

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

Appointment:
Member, City of Madison Ethics Board, Mayoral appointment (1989 -19960)

Government Employment:
State of Wisconsin, Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations (1978)
State of Wisconsin, Department of Health and Social Services (1978 -1992)

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

See above

Farnick
Birthdate: 3/14/1968
Occupation: Computer Consultant/Technisource, Inc.
Marital status: married
Spouse: Melissa Mims

Education:

High school graduate. Attended various colleges and universities in Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois over the past 25 years, never to completion for a degree.

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

n/a

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

No and no.

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

None that I am aware of.

Campaign information
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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

Campaign headquarters: P.O. Box 8587, Gurnee IL 60031
Website: dennisandersonforcongress.com
Campaign manager:
Campaign budget:
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

Farnick

Campaign headquarters: 600 W. Jackson St., Woodstock, IL 60098
Website: http://www.farnick.com
Campaign manager: n/a
Campaign budget: A few hundred dollars
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
1. Myself, a few hundred dollars in expenses incurred
2. n/a
3. n/a
4. n/a
5. n/a

What are your top priorities for the nation?
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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

Job creation through support for small business development and expansion, including mechanisms contained within in the President's Jobs Bill.

Improved elementary and secondary education through establishment of meaningful standards, increased funding, and support for teachers. Increased access to financial support for post-secondary education, including Pell grants.

Increased access to health care for all Americans.

Preservation of the social safety net, including protection of Social Security, Medicare and other such programs that serve the most vulnerable.

Farnick

The deficit, civil liberties, the rule of law, getting money out of politics, and jobs.

What are your top priorities for your congressional district?
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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

Those priorities mentioned above apply equally to the 14th District. I will also work to attract new green industry to the district, bringing with it new high-wage jobs. There are many needed infrastructure repair/replacement projects that must be completed, and which will provide needed jobs for many workers in a wide variety of sectors.

The District's farming community needs support in such areas of concern as interpretation and application of regulations governing farming industry.

Transportion issues, including road, rail, inland water transportation, are an increasing problem in the District.

Farnick

The deficit, civil liberties, the rule of law, getting money out of politics, and jobs.

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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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

The causes of the weak economy are the fact that the previous administration committed the nation to two wars without any meaningful attempt to pay for them; the fact that, coincident with the initiation of those wars, taxes were cut as costs mushroomed; the fact that an under-regulated financial industry engaged in risky behaviors that, while showing short term profitability, caused the housing market to bubble and then collapse; and the fact that the exportation of American jobs has contributed to an ever-worsening labor market resulting in millions of Americans falling into unemployment and poverty.

Farnick

Money in politics that led to deregulated, crony capitalism. Congress is empowered to regulate commerce, there needs to be floors of standards that need to be met, and limits of conduct, that above that, should not be tolerated; the Democratic party has been criticised to want to have that be a narrow band to work within, but the Republicans want to have no boundaries or standards, both are too extreme. We have had reasonable regulations in the past that have worked to make this a remarkable nation, we need to go back to sensible, fair working conditions for all involved.

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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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

Yes. Polls have repeatedly and consistently indicated that the majority of Americans are in support of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Further, a recent Wall Street Journal poll found that a majority of those earning in excess of $1 million per year felt that an increase their own taxes was warranted by the current economic situation.

Farnick

We are in our present situation (going back a generation starting in the early 1980s) by spending too much and lowering taxes, to get the country's fiscal house in order, spending restraint (limiting automatic increases or actual cutting of governmental departments) and moving back towards a balanced, simplified, AND progressive tax structure. I would make sure that those making less than $250,000 a year had actual relief, those making more can be prepared to pay the same or a small amount more, those making tremendously more, can be prepared to pay considerably more than the historic low levels they are paying presently.

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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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

I would not sign the Norquist pledge. If honored, such a pledge could hamper the nation's ability to cope with unforeseen challenges. If not honored, such a pledge is pointless. It is a potentially dangerous commitment to make.

Farnick

I have not signed, and I would never sign such a pledge. If raising some taxes, whether a small amount or progressively higher amounts, would stop this country from going into more of a fiscal crisis than we are presently already in, I would. I hold the health of this country in a higher regard than a pledge to a person who wants to see the government small enough to drown in a bathtub.

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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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

The nation's citizens and two major political parties have differing views - sometimes seemingly incompatible views - on a host of challenges currently facing the country. Where and when these views are most divergent, the alternatives are compromise or deadlock. As it is generally true that unaddressed problems will worsen, those charged with finding solutions must strive to reach compromise. I am of the view that it must be a minimum expectation of members of Congress that they display a readiness to engage in serious, thoughtful discussion of all the issues that come before them. I fully intend to invite and participate in such discussions.

I am willing to compromise so long as basic standards of justice and equity are met, so long as the vulnerable among us are protected, and so long as the results of such compromise represent an improvement over the situation that was.

Farnick

There are times to compromise and times to hold firm to a particular belief. I believe it was James Clyburn who said (paraphrasing): if we are five steps away from each other, I'll be willing to walk three steps towards you, if you walk two steps to me, to strike a balance. The Republicans of this day (who are NOT like the Republicans of 30 or 50 years ago) will not even take one step forward. The times I would hold my position and not change would be to remove, restrict, or limit in any way, our rights and liberties that we have (think the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act and the recently passed N.D.A.A.); I would be voting no on any bill of that nature, no matter that other parts of that particular bill contained provisions that I did approve of. (think of Illinois' requirement of having single-issue bills, if there is a provision that I cannot stomach in any particular bill, that I would not want my name associated with to help it pass, it will be a no; too many bills are packaged together where one is expected to bite the bullet to pass because SOME provisions in it are what you support, the provisions that it may contain are an automatic deal killer)

Does the Social Security program need reform? What exactly should be done?
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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

The Social Security System remains solvent for decades to come, and time is sufficient to engage in serious discussion of means to address retirement security in the future.

Farnick

It was adjusted in the 1980s. During Reagan's presidency, the maximum you had to pay was raised, on average, 10% a year, each year he was in office; it was done as a way to "front load" the trust fund to make sure there was enough money to take care of the baby boomers that would be cascading into the system in future years. We now (as of December 2010, per the SSA site, http://www.ssa.gov/oact/ProgData/assets.html) $2.6 trillion in "the bank" (held in the most respected and trusted of assets, U.S Treasuries. It is not broke, but the prospect of the next three decades of demand on the system, there is a possibility of not being able to meet promises that have been made. I have not done the numbers (I do not have access to the Social Security 75 year models to test this theory) but I would like to see the amount taxed to both the employee and the employer lowered from the present 6.2% to 5%, up to $125,000 (that way, no one making less than that amount will pay more than they do now- notwithstanding the temporary 'tax holiday' fouling up the political discourse of late - but that the income of everyone, over $250,000 is then taxed at the same 5%. Grover Norquist should appreciate this change: it lowers taxes for 98% of American workers (and their employers) and is almost a flat tax, albeit less regressive one than the present system in place. Should the numbers not bear out a feasible, sustainable outcome, a different solution would need to be found. But it is not something that needs to be tacked TODAY!!!! There are more pressing, immediate problems that should be tacked.

How would you reform Medicare? Be as specific as possible.
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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

My hope is that the need for a separate Medicare program would disappear with the adoption of a program of universal access to health care. The primary problems lies not with Medicare per se, but with the continuing rapid growth in the cost of health care, which consistently outstrips the cost of other goods and services.

Farnick

I would have voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because it did not have a "Medicare Part E" or at least a Medicare "Buy-In", and it did not address the "Medicare Part D" prohibition on negotiation of drug prices by the Government. I would like to see a single-public payer/private health care delivery hybrid model for all. The complexity for that is too much for this small space, and Medicine is not my speciality, but my wife is a nurse at a not-for-profit hospital in Chicago and has given and would give me good council on how things could be better.

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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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

There is no question that there is growing income and wealth inequality in the nation. Numerous studies have documented both this trend and a growing difficulty in moving up the economic ladder. There is a closely related and continuing problem of unequal opportunity. A study released by the Pew Research Center in July 2011 reported that the median wealth of white households in the U.S was 20 times greater than the median wealth of African American households, and 18 times greater than that of Hispanic households.

The government's role in addressing these problems is in ensuring that young people have equal access to education and job training.

Farnick

Yes there is. It's as worse, if not more so, since the Great Depression. We made a mistake by prohibiting alcohol, then corrected that mistake by repealing prohibition. We should do the same with the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, repeal it. Actually enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act again would also be a start. There has always been, and will always be, discrepancies in pay between individuals, aside from a reasonable minimum/living wage being mandated, I do not want to see the Government impose any other restriction on pay. Things like the allowing the Consumer Protection Bureau to begin it's mission and allowing the National Labor Relations Board to actually work again will also help. A plant needs have nutrients and be watered from the roots up to grow strong. Having well paid workers and consumers with disposable income will be better for all (70% of this economy is consumer driven).

Who is to blame for the home mortgages collapse?
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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

Predatory lending practices and the underregulation of the market for mortgage-based financial instruments are the primary causes of the collapse of the mortgage and housing markets.

Farnick

see previous: Money in Politics.Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act. The revolving door of business leaders becoming legislators (un)regulating the businesses they then return to. Non-existent oversight and regulation of the financial players. Ratings agencies that are paid by those who they rate.Those that try to lay the blame on Freddie and Fannie are incorrect, as the Commission that looked into it said: they "contributed to the crisis, but were not a primary cause" from here: http://fcic.law.stanford.edu/). And to those that say the Community Reinvestment Act helped create the crisis: "In reality, the precise opposite of what a CRA-induced collapse should have looked like is what occurred. The 345 mortgage brokers that imploded were non-banks, not covered by the CRA legislation. The vast majority of CRA covered banks are actually healthy." (from here: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/06/cra-thought-experiment/)

What, if anything, should be done to assist Americans whose homes are financially "under water" and face foreclosure?
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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

Continued efforts to increase participation in assistance programs aimed at reducing interest rates on existing mortgages are vital. In addition, banks must develop a more flexible means of dealing with clients who face this challenge.

Farnick

I am not keen on principle reduction, but mortgage modification to today's lower rates will help keep more people in their homes. Have the "Making Home Affordable" program be able to help more people then it can at present to keep their homes and help stop neighborhoods home values from dropping.

Is global warming real? Is it man-made? What, if anything, should be done about it?
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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

Virtually every reputable climate scientist and scientific organization agrees that global warming is real, and that human activity is a contributor to that warming. While disagreement and argument are necessary elements of scientific progress, given the broad and deep consensus in the scientific community on this issue, prudence dictates that that we heed the warnings and act to reduce greenhouse emissions, and that we do so in cooperation with the world community. Americans are an ingenious people. We can lead in the development of alternative energy, or we can dawdle and fret for the present and then buy the new clean and efficient technologies from China and others in a few years.

Farnick

"Climate change" is something that needs to be addressed. I am not a fan of the Kyoto Protocol. Buying credits to will allow you to pollute is going about it the wrong way. Raising the tax on carbon producing energy supplies will cause consumers of energy to look to more cost effective ways of meeting those needs. Conservation is the most cost-effective. If you don't use that kilo-watt hour or gallon of gas, you saved on the cost of that entire amount of energy. Wind, bio, thermal, wave, solar, and a whole host of other methods shall sharply reduce out need of conventional, carbon based energy.

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

Energy is a vital national security issue, and for far too long we have given lip service only to freeing ourselves from our dependence on a resource of which we have an insufficient domestic supply. Add to the issue of supply the fact that both the extraction and use of fossil fuels have non-benign environmental consequences, the need for a paradigm shift is obvious.

The federal government should encourage research into and development of new energy technologies. The oil industry has long enjoyed taxpayer-funded subsidies, and the national interest dictates that we give serious consideration to shifting resources into technologies that hold the promise of improved efficiency, a cleaner environment and a wealth of new jobs.

Farnick

see above: Taxing carbon based forms of energy. Investing on R&D of other green energies, retrofits of existing buildings, in both energy consuming appliances and insulation to make them more efficient, doing so outright in government owned facilities and tax credits or rebates to private homeowners to do so.

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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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

The US Department of Justice has defined torture as "an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control." The Cambridge Dictionary defines torture as "the act of causing great physical or mental pain in order to persuade someone to do something or to give information, or to be cruel to a person or animal." Merriam Webster defines torture as "anguish of body or mind; something that causes agony or pain; the infliction of intense pain..."

Waterboarding is torture. The United States should not engage in torture.

Farnick

Yes. We as a country prosecuted others that did it to us in the past. No, and we should be prosecuting those that ordered the practice (that Rule of Law aspect of the "What are your top priorities for the nation" question of this questionnaire)

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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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

I believe that decriminalization of marijuana merit close and serious consideration, with the eventual decision to be based on science and serious scholarship. Certainly the medical use of marijuana, proven effective in the amelioration of a number of diseases and conditions, should be legal.

Farnick

I support ending the so-called War on (some) Drugs used by (some) people, on the national level. Yes.

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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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

The United States should be actively engaged in efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world. We should encourage and participate in internationally agreed-upon sanctions to discourage further development, as well in efforts to control existing stockpiles of fissionable materials, wherever they are to be found. Military action in the middle east must be considered only as a very last resort, not least because of the already volatile nature of the region and the probability of escalation and protracted conflict which would likely follow such action.

Farnick

Should they be stopped? Yes. With diplomacy, reasoning, and sanctions. The last thing we should do is invade/attack yet another middle-eastern country for something that they might do.

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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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

I am not convinced that there is any further "success" that the United Sates can realize in Afghanistan beyond what has already been achieved. I am of the view that the singular goal of the U.S. in Afghanistan should have been the disruption of al Qaeda's operations in the country, and that that goal has been largely achieved. This is not to say that the use of Afghanistan as a base of terrorist operations may not recur following U.S. withdrawal, but it is also possible that al Qaeda and similar non-state and fluid organizations might find suitable bases of operations in any number of places around the world, and maintaining a long-term presence of the scale seen in Afghanistan in multiple possible sites would rapidly prove an unsustainable drain on U.S. resources. I do support the President's plan and timetable for withdrawal.

Farnick

We will never have "success" in Afghanistan. No foreign country has ever been able to "tame" Afghanistan. The U.S.S.R. recently tried before us and failed. We have been trying for over 10 years now. End the occupation. Bring the troops home. $20 billion a year could be saved by not needing to provide A/C (from here: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/25/137414737/among-the-costs-of-war-20b-in-air-conditioning)

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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    ALL
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    Anderson
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    Farnick
Anderson

Did not respond

Farnick

I would not vote for it's reauthorization.Pay teachers a respectable wage and have classes @ 25 students or less. Standardized tests can be used as tool for measuring progress, but not as an end-all be-all standard if the school will receive more or less money or be closed. Teach kids how to learn and they shall, not to teach to a test. I am also against vouchers to use public funds for private schools.

The race
The candidates
Dennis Anderson
Jonathan Farnick
The district
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