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Congress, District 16

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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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    Rohl
Wanda Rohl
Political party: Democrat
Birthdate: Did not respond
Occupation:
Marital status: Married
Spouse:

Education:

B.S.W. Aurora University
M.S.W. Aurora University

Civic, professional, fraternal or other affiliations:

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.

Husband is military Vet
Son is Marine Recruit

Campaign information
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    Rohl
Rohl

Campaign headquarters: P.O. Box 2392 Ottawa IL 61350
Website: www.RohlForCongress.com
Campaign manager: Elizabeth Wilke
Campaign budget: $25,000
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.

What are your top three priorities for the nation?
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    Rohl
Rohl

Focusing on jobs and reducing unemployment, maintaining our social safety net, and protecting our freedom and security are my top priorities. Our jobs provide each of us with a sense of pride. We identify ourselves by our work; our jobs are who we are. We are a nation founded on the principle that hard work will be rewarded. But when despite our hard work jobs are outsourced to other countries, simply to fatten the corporate bottom line, it's not only a crisis for individual workers; it's a crisis for our entire country. We cannot allow American jobs to continue to be shipped overseas for cheap labor.

I believe passionately in maintaining strong social safety net so they remain available for all Americans if the need arises. Contrary to what many would have us believe, those who rely on these programs do so through desperation and not a desire to avoid responsibilities. I know from my own personal experience after my accident that these programs can not only save families from homelessness but literally save lives. Without the safety net programs my family and thousands of other families would not survive.

For more than two centuries, the freedoms we enjoy as Americans have been protected by our military. We owe a great debt to those who won our independence, kept our nation whole and for most of the 20th century protected democracy around the world. And we owe a special debt to the brave men and women of our all-volunteer military, and to their families, who despite the controversies surrounding our recent conflicts have heeded our country's call.

What are your specific priorities for your congressional district?
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    Rohl
Rohl

Our future together. This district is not any one thing -- we are farmers, we are educators, we are health-care workers; we work in offices, in factories, on the road, in fields. We are all joined by one important bond -- citizens.

So more than anything else, my focus will be on what is best for the future of the people who live here -- not for outstate corporations, not for the foreign investors or Wall Street, not for the big energy companies. What we, the people, all need here is reliable healthcare, good schools, safe communities. Since 2010 Congress has been running away from their responsibility to govern, to get things done. If there's any reason at all to elect someone to be your representative, it's so that they represent your interests and are willing to take action. Voting no on jobs bills, voting no on farm bills, voting no on education, voting no on health insurance reform: that's not working for you, that's playing political games.

Many Republican members of Congress have signed the Grover Norquist pledge to not support any tax increase of any kind at any time. Have you, or would you, sign this pledge? Why or why not?
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    Rohl
Rohl

I absolutely would not sign any pledge. My job is to represent my constituents not Grover Norquist. Of course, I would try to avoid raising taxes for the low and middle income tax brackets and instead would support letting the Bush tax cuts expire. We have a trillion dollar deficit and cutting spending alone will not solve the problem. A combination of spending cuts and adjusting the tax code will help bring us from the red to the black.

Which sitting Supreme Court justice do you admire most and why? Which current justice do you think has been the greatest disappointment and why?
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Rohl

Did not respond

Is there a problem of a growing income and wealth gap in the United States? If so, what's to be done about it?
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Rohl

There is most certainly a gap in the U.S. I do not begrudge anyone's successes and believe all citizens aspire to do their best but there must also be a level of responsibility to the country that made that wealth possible. Many businesses choose to locate near major highways and interstates so they are better able to ship their products, receive inventory and/or be accessible to customers. Those roads were built and are maintained by taxpayers. This is just one example of the many ways businesses and corporations are able to succeed and prosper due in part to the government. The middle class and working poor cannot shoulder the tax burden alone; corporations must do their fair share as well. The current tax code has far to many loopholes allowing major corporations to enjoy record profits while paying ZERO in taxes. We must close up the loopholes.

Is global warming real? What, if anything, should be done about it?
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Rohl

There is a difference between global warming and global climate change. Naturally, climate changes over time, but I do believe that elements of it have been hurried because of human activities. Climate change as opposed to "warming" seems to more accurately describe the conditions which include warmer summer summers colder winters. The regular weather conditions we are used to are intensified, so we see record colds and record snows as well as record heat and record dry spells. The arctic ice is on schedule to melt during the next decade which could be disastrous. We must work to limit our emissions and seek out renewable sources of energy to slow this.

President Obama, working with other nations, has pushed economic sanctions to compel Iran to cease work on a nuclear bomb. Critics say the sanctions are working too slowly and a military strike by the U.S or Israel is necessary. What should be done?
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    Rohl
Rohl

The U.S. needs to continue to work with the international community and U.N. Security Council and exhaust all efforts before we consider any type of military action against Iran. Boots on the ground or military strikes should always be a method of last resort. I believe wholeheartedly in a strong military and in assuring that our young patriots have the best tools and protection available to do their job. However, as a citizen of a country which has been at war for more than 10 years, I believe we can reduce the casualties of war if we approach conflicts with diplomacy first. It's time for America to stop being the world's police force and explore diplomatic solutions to diffuse conflicts and resolve differences.

Republicans have criticized the Obama administration for cutting military spending. Democrats have defended spending cuts as necessary to balancing the federal budget, while insisting they are committed to a strong military. What's your view?
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    Rohl
Rohl

The United States has a larger defense budget than the next 17 countries combined and outspends China 6-1. Unfortunately much of this money is spent on unneeded weapons and private contracts. It is necessary to eliminate the waste in the defense budget and redirect that spending on Veteran Benefits and domestic matters that if left underfunded could become a matter national security. The cuts made were modest and necessary. I believe our goal of maintaining the world's most effective military and reducing military spending are not mutually exclusive concepts. By eliminating the privatization of jobs our military has historically been more than capable of doing, we can redirect those billions of dollars toward fulfilling our solemn obligation to our returning veterans and their families.

How would you reform the financial time bomb of Medicare? Should there be a defined contribution (where the government decides what it will pay) or a defined benefit (where the government guarantees a level of coverage)?
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    Rohl
Rohl

The current projected growth rate of Medicare simply is not sustainable as is. The baby boomers are retiring and by 2020 we are expected to have 64 million Americans eligible for the program while medical costs have continued to increase. In order to sustain the program, which I believe we must, we have to begin by spending only what the tax base can afford to pay. Then we must look closely at all possible reforms and do what is necessary without shifting the burden on our seniors or cutting their healthcare. Changing the way payouts are made to providers to reduce excess testing and fraud is one reform that could be considered as long as there is oversight to protect patients from missing out on medically necessary procedures. Congress must work together in a bipartisan way and put politics aside in order to truly tackle Medicare.

On the issue of abortion, the two major political parties take very different stands. The Democratic platform supports a woman's right to seek a "safe and legal" abortion, regardless of her ability to pay. The Republican platform states that the "unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed." The Republican platform does not address whether exceptions should be made to a ban on abortions, such rape or incest. Where, if anywhere, do you part company with your party's platform on abortion?
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    Rohl
Rohl

I strongly believe that the matter of abortion is a personal matter for a woman and her family. That decision should be made between a woman and her doctor without government intrusion. If we put limitations on legal termination procedures in the instance of rape or incest we are essentially forcing victims to "prove" their sexual assault and traumatizing them once again. As someone who has counseled victims of sexual assault I do not believe in forcing them or any woman to beg for a legal procedure already decided by the United States Supreme Court. I believe abortion needs to remain safe, legal, and rare.

The Democratic Party platform, for the first time, supports civil gay marriage, but adds that churches should be allowed to administer marriage as a sacrament as they see fit, "without government interference." The Republican Party platform calls for a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman." Where do you stand?
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    Rohl
Rohl

I support equality for all and that includes gay marriage. Support of same-sex marriage helps provide a stable, loving, and unified home for the children of gay partners and strengthens the family bond. I believe this is a civil rights issue and Republicans are going to find themselves on the wrong side of history.

On the issue of Social Security, the Republican Party platform proposes making no changes in the system for "any current or near-retiree" but envisions allowing younger workers to choose personal investment accounts as "supplements." The Democratic platform pledges to "find a solution" and warns of subjecting a retiree's benefits to the "whims of the stock market." What should be done?
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    Rohl
Rohl

The next time someone tries to scare Americans into abandoning Social Security, the most important promise we make to seniors, generation after generation, ask yourself two questions.

One, do they use any actual math? and Two, who is going to benefit from their scheme?

I'll tell you the truth: Social Security as we know it can last indefinitely, for decades, if we have the courage to make a few honest changes. They want you to think this is some crisis, some horrible socialist disaster. You know what it is? A math problem. The Baby Boom generation is already reaching retirement, and Social Security has enough surplus to get us through the next two decades without any changes. It's not going to be bankrupt after that, it's just going to be taking in less than it pays out. But if we start making the simple math adjustments now, it will survive forever. It's not even difficult math -- it's addition and subtraction. Take in a little more, pay out a little less, add up how much we need to adjust.

Republicans are afraid of math, apparently. Because instead of just having the courage to figure out the adjustments, they want to scrap the whole thing and turn it over to Wall Street. Who do you think comes out ahead on that deal?

Do you support "right-to-work" laws, now in effect in 23 states and promoted in the Republican Party platform, that limit the extent to which labor unions can require membership and the paying of union dues as a condition of employment? Or do you agree with the Democratic Party platform that such laws are "attacks" on the right of workers to organize?
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Rohl

In order for this economy to get rolling again, we need our citizens working and fairly paid for the wealth they help generate for their employers. I believe that strong unions help achieve this goal. Unions help ensure that workers are not only compensated fairly for hard work but that they attain a certain stability in their jobs. Individuals stand little chance at being heard when unfair or unsafe conditions exist in the workplace. Unions provide a collective voice through which workers can be heard by their employers and the government. Unions help to ensure fair compensation, safe working environments, equal opportunities for all and stable job markets. Among the many benefits unions have achieved not only for their members but for non-union workers alike include the 40-hour workweek, overtime pay, paid vacations, weekends off, health insurance, safe working environments, and the elimination of child labor. Without strong unions, workers would lose their ability to fight for their rights in the workplace. Without strong unions, all workers would likely see all these benefits eroded over time until we were returned to the dismal conditions set by the robber barons of the late 1800s that sparked the labor movement to begin in the first place.

What further federal legal restrictions should be imposed on guns of any kind?
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    Rohl
Rohl

I am a gun owner. I am, and will remain, a strong advocate for the rights and freedoms of gun owners under the 2nd Amendment. But I'm sure my fellow gun owners would agree that common sense gun responsibility laws save lives. As a society, we agree to institute and abide by public protection policies because we know they save lives. The same should apply to gun ownership. By strengthening our system so fewer guns will fall into the hands of the irresponsible, law-breaking few while still affording responsible gun owners the freedom they enjoy under our current law, and these are the types of improvements I will fight for as your representative.

The Republican Party platform calls for a mandatory requirement that employers verify the legal status of their employees and rejects any amnesty for illegal immigrants. The Democratic Party platform calls for reforming the American immigration system to bring "undocumented immigrants out of the shadows" and requires them to "get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship." Which approach do you favor? Most specifically, what should be done?
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    Rohl
Rohl

Of course those born outside our borders should only enter our country legally, but given the demand for their labor and services, it's shameful that we still don't hold Corporations responsible for following the law when it comes to our Guest Worker programs. Most Americans don't realize how much they depend on the labor of immigrants in this country, but we cannot morally continue to exploit them for that labor and then villainize them in the next breath. Unscrupulous businesses that skirt our Employment Laws by enticing undocumented immigrants with the promise of jobs while paying those workers under the table and forcing them to work in illegal and hazardous conditions should be held accountable for their illegal actions. People will always naturally go where opportunity for their family can be found, and the United States has a long and rich history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world who want to share in the American Dream. Let's keep that dream alive by focusing on the best solutions, not vitriolic hyperbole aimed at those who seek to live it. With better enforcement of our current laws and a Guest Worker program that holds employers responsible, we can build a future America that works for everyone who wants to be a part of it.

The candidates
WandRohl

Wanda Rohl

 

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The district
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