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Congress, District 10

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

Education:

I graduated from Northwestern University with a BS in Industrial Engineering in 1983. I returned to Northwestern to receive my MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1988.

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
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.

Campaign information
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    Schneider
Schneider

Campaign headquarters: 3000 Dundee Rd. Suite 320, Northbrook, IL 60062
Website: schneiderforcongress.com
Campaign manager: Reed Adamson
Campaign budget: This is one of the most competitive races in the country, and considerable money is expected to be spent on both sides. I'm confident we will have the resources to win.
Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed.
My campaign is committed to transparency, and that's why we've disclosed information on everyone who contributed more than $200. Those reports can be viewed on the FEC website.

What are your top three priorities for the nation?
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Schneider

My top priorities are spurring job creation in the private sector, improving our economic growth, and rebuilding the middle class. These are the most important issues that we face as a nation, and I don't think many people would disagree on that. Where there is disagreement, though, is on how we accomplish these goals. My opponent has voted repeatedly to put the budget burden on the backs of seniors, students, and working families, while I believe in a more measured approach that will include both spending cuts and increased revenue. The Bush tax cuts for income above $250,000 should expire at the end of the year, and I applaud the President for calling on Congress to extend tax breaks for middle-class families. By offering a hand to the middle class and asking the very top earners to pay the same rates they did in the 90s, we can begin to address our fiscal imbalance. Through targeted tax incentives for small businesses looking to grow, hire more workers, and pay higher wages, we can facilitate private-sector growth through small business innovation. Programs like job retraining and increased emphasis on STEM education will ensure a skilled American workforce creates and fills 21st Century American jobs.

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

My priorities for my district are consistent with my priorities for the nation. Like middle-class families throughout America, our families here in Illinois are struggling. 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.

Additionally, it's critical that we replace the hyper-partisanship of the current Congress with constructive engagement and collaboration. Two years ago, we were promised jobs and a return to fiscal discipline, but all we've gotten are old debates on Planned Parenthood and the first credit downgrade in our nation's history. Jobs and the economy are by far the most talked about issues in the 10th district and across the country, but the reason we haven't been able to do more is this Tea Party Congress's refusal to compromise or work with anyone across the aisle. Unfortunately, Republicans have adopted a radical ideology over common sense, bipartisan solutions. I've stated over and over that in Congress I will work with anyone who has a good idea that can help us move forward-- regardless of party. This is the only way we can overcome partisan gridlock and get Congress working for middle-class families again.

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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Schneider

Absolutely not, and I think doing so is irresponsible. The only pledge I will take is to uphold the Constitution and represent the people of my district to the best of my abilities. And while we need to get our fiscal house in order, this must be done through a balanced approach including both measured spending cuts and increased revenue. My opponent did sign Mr. Norquist's pledge, twice, and he has voted two times for the radical Ryan Budget, which would replace the Medicare guarantee with a voucher, cut Pell Grants for students, and strip environmental protections, all in order to preserve tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations that ship jobs overseas. There are very few absolutes in governance, and addressing fiscal imbalance requires restoring balance, forging compromise, and working together to cut costs and raise revenue.

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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Schneider

On the current court, I most admire Justice Ginsburg for her tenacity and the reasoned approach she brings to decisions. We all can learn a great deal from her, and especially from her friendship with Justice Scalia. For two polar opposites in terms of ideology to coexist so well is a testament to what can be accomplished when we set aside partisan bickering and focus on real issues that matter. There are always going to be disagreements, but treating everyone with respect -- our opponents, most importantly -- is the only way to get Congress working for the people again. Justice Ginsburg is a great model for all of our leaders to emulate.

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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Schneider

Absolutely, the growing income and wealth gap in the United States further illustrates the worrisome dwindling of the middle class. A strong, robust middle class is essential to both turning our economy around and creating long-term growth. So it's troubling to see reports like the Census Bureau's last year that showed income for the middle class either stagnating or declining. As our economy continues to recover, it's important that we help to ease the burden on our middle-class families. That's why I've called for retaining the tax cuts for income below $250,000 and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans who need them least. Looking forward, it's time we stop kicking the can down the road and rethink our entire tax code toward long-term, comprehensive tax reform that fairly distributes the costs of government in a way that those fortunate enough to have more carry more of the burden.

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

Yes, global warming is a real threat to our environment and our future. Continuing to argue and question proven climate science, as my opponent has done, is merely a costly distraction from the reality that pollution and climate change is a threat to our clean air, clean water, and all of our energy unless we address these issues now. Rather than ignoring the very real threats posed by global warming, and curbing the aspects exacerbated by humans, Republicans have instead insisted on blaming the EPA for our current economic situation. There have been more than 300 anti-environment votes in the 112th Congress, aimed at weakening or repealing the EPA and necessary protections against air and water toxins. In Chicago, the asthma hospitalization rate is double the national average, and every year 400,000 children are born with mercury toxicity. My opponent actually voted to weaken protections against mercury. Thirty million people depend on The Great Lakes for our drinking water, and yet, Congressman Dold voted to slash $250 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. I don't think we have to sacrifice our environment for energy or jobs; in fact, job creation and responsible environmental policy go hand in hand. Through advancements in green and renewable energy, we can create good new jobs today while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and big oil companies, and beginning to address global warming.

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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Schneider

A nuclear Iran poses the greatest single threat to Israel's safety. Every necessary step must be taken to prevent a nuclear weapon from being developed and used by the Iranians against the Israelis. I believe we must accelerate and increase the intensity of the sanctions against Iran. From restricting gasoline imports to limiting business transactions with Iran's central bank, these sanctions must persuade Iran's people that their national interests are best served by abandoning their nuclear ambitions. We must also work in conjunction with Russia, China, and the rest of the P5+1 to keep Iran from obtaining the materials and the know-how necessary to create a nuclear weapon.

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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Schneider

I am committed to our national security through a balance of strong military and other hard power assets combined with increased use of diplomacy and other soft power assets. Much of our defense spending is still dictated by a Cold War mindset, but the threats we face today are very different. Vast armies have been replaced with new technologies and a more agile military. Advancements in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have reduced the need for boots on the ground to fight global terrorism, and cutting back on earmarks for planes or weapons that the military doesn't even want has reined in some unnecessary spending. We need to continue investing in research and development, trying to find new ways to keep American soldiers out of harm's way and new places to cut spending. Through diplomacy and international cooperation, the United States can also offer limited support rather than full, unilateral commitments. Strong relationships with our friends will allow for much more military flexibility.

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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Schneider

To address the challenges to the sustainability of Medicare and Medicaid, I think we need to address the absolute cost of delivering quality health care to all Americans. Between 1980 and 2008, healthcare spending as a share of GDP grew from 9 percent to 16 percent. According to the OECD, the U.S. spends on average 50 percent 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.

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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Schneider

I am 100 percent pro-choice. A woman's fundamental right to make her own choices about her own body or own health should be between her and her doctor and should not be infringed upon by the government. Republican attempts to limit choice or create distinctions regarding rape are wholly unproductive and offensive. The government simply should not be getting between a woman and her doctor--period.

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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Schneider

Equality means equality for all, and that should include marriage. If two people want to make a public, loving commitment to one another, then they absolutely should have the right to do so, regardless of sexual orientation. In Congress, I will work to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which my opponent supports. Still, equal rights are more than just marriage equality. My opponent, Rep. Dold, voted to delay the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and opposes basic workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. In 34 states, you can be fired simply for being honest about your sexual orientation or identity, and I will advocate for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to put an end to workplace discrimination.

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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Schneider

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. Underlining its importance, nearly a third of today's seniors depend on Social Security checks to stay above the poverty line. That's why in Congress I will fight right-wing attempts to privatize it. These were promises made to our seniors, and they're worth keeping. At the same time, I recognize that we will need to consider long-term changes to address our long-term needs.

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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Schneider

Both workers in the private and public sectors should have the right to form a union and bargain collectively. We must work to promote effective communication between workers and employers and make sure that workers are fairly compensated and receive the benefits they've earned. Unions are an integral part of our workforce, and we can continue working with them as we rebuild our infrastructure, improve educational opportunities, and continue investing in research and development.

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

First, let me say that I believe in the Constitutional right to bear arms. But I believe there are sensible steps we can take to reduce gun violence. Since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire, we've seen a dramatic increase in the number of violent crimes committed with these weapons. Senseless gun violence has become tragically commonplace, and I support reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban and passing the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act to cut down on the availability of military-style weapons and keep them off the streets, away from our children. And with nearly half of all gun purchases in this country occurring without proper oversight or background checks, we need to close the gun show loophole by passing the Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2011. In Congress, I will work to pass all three of these measures.

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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    Schneider
Schneider

I applaud the President's recent call to suspend deportation of the millions of young people who were brought to this country as small children by their parents. Congress has failed thus far to effectively address comprehensive immigration reform, and I strongly support the DREAM Act because kids should not be punished for the failures of politicians. Comprehensive immigration reform must include a secure border that promotes the flow of legal immigration to our shores, but for those millions of young people already here, we can offer sensible pathways to citizenship through college, public service, or the military. Every year, 65,000 kids graduate high school only to find themselves still in the shadows, and we need to begin taking steps today to rectify this.

The candidates
Brad Schneider

Brad Schneider

Robert Dold

Robert Dold

 

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The district
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