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U.S. House, Dist. 5: Mike Quigley

Political affiliation: Democrat

City: Chicago

Marital status: Married

Occupation/Firm name: Representative, United States House of Representatives

Campaign HQ address: P.O. Box 13040 - Chicago, IL 60613

Campaign website:

Campaign manager cell phone


What is your campaign budget- TBD

What are your top priorities for the nation-

My top priority for the nation is to reform government--to make it more transparent and accountable--so that it is capable of solving our problems for both today's and future generations. Long-term, reform-minded thinking will help us regain the public's trust and provide the groundwork to meet the larger challenges we face.

These are extraordinary times. We are facing two wars, the greatest recession since the Great Depression, and the aftershocks of a financial crisis that brought the entire global economy to its knees. The road to recovery has not been swift, and rather than finding prosperity and uninterrupted progress, we have been met with budget holes and uncertainty across the country.

To find fixes to the array of problems we face today will take the foresight and fortitude to not settle for short term stop-gaps, but to seek long-term solutions. Transportation, infrastructure, defense, education, debt and deficit, ethics, the environment, the economy, and job creation so often get bogged down by partisan infighting, crippling our ability to address these issues with the thoughtfulness they demand. A government that operates more openly and transparently, with actual debate and discussion, is the only way we can bring legislators to the table and accept the growing responsibility that government continues to skirt at every level.

In my first term in Congress, I have made transparency and accountability the cornerstones of my legislative agenda. I called for an investigation into Countrywide Financial to determine whether some of Washington's most powerful lawmakers received sweetheart mortgage deals during the height of the housing crisis and introduced the State Ethics Law Protection Act, which would prevent the federal government from interfering in Illinois's efforts to fight pay-to-play. I also introduced legislation to ban earmarks for corporations, a measure that was adopted by the entire House of Representatives for FY2011.

In my continuing effort to bring unprecedented access and accountability to the federal government, I co-founded the Transparency Caucus and introduced the Transparency in Government Act, which calls for more disclosure from Washington and redefines how lobbyists do business. And as we face an era of limited of resources, I introduced the Transparent and Sustainable Budget Act, calling for an honest and complete federal budget.

What are your top priorities for your congressional district-

In Washington I have worked tirelessly to bring critical federal funding back to municipal governments and non-profit organizations throughout the district, but more needs to be done. A top priority of mine is increased attention to the things that matter most to us: our infrastructure, quality of life, and policies that make our communities more livable by attracting people and businesses and by encouraging development.

Congestion costs the region billions in lost revenue each year. Many of our roads are in poor condition and our bridges are structurally deficient. Our freight rail system, which is a cornerstone of the local economy, is becoming obsolete. Our transit systems are falling into disrepair; CTA alone has billions of dollars in capital needs. Outdated sewer systems cause millions of dollars in damage to thousands of structures from flooding each year and add to pollution locally. We lose thousands of gallons of drinking water each day from leaking, outdated water pipes. Many of our parks are poorly maintained and lack safe equipment. We can no longer continue the policies of deferred maintenance in our community.

I will continue to focus on what I spent ten years fighting for on the Cook County Board: reform, transparency, fiscal responsibility, environmental sustainability, and equal rights for all Americans.

The recession continues. What are its causes and how do we end it- Do you favor more federal "stimulus" spending to create more jobs-

Earlier this decade, long-term economic sustainability was traded for short-term profit on risky assets, mostly in the mortgage market. But this house of cards collapsed in 2008. Irresponsible sub-prime lending, exotic financial products, and weak regulation were the primary culprits in the financial crisis, which in turn brought on the broader economic recession. As real estate values plummeted, banks active in the mortgage market failed or were bailed out, homeowners faced foreclosure, and economic demand sharply declined. The result--what we have today--is a prolonged recession and 10 percent unemployment.

Ending the recession means providing a healthy and stable climate for businesses to grow and hire new workers. We need to boost productivity and incentivize innovation and entrepreneurship. I wasn't yet elected when Congress passed the stimulus bill, but any further federal spending must be paid for and must have a stronger focus on infrastructure projects, which create exponentially more jobs per dollar than any other option.

Ending the recession also means restoring confidence in our financial system. The Wall Street reform bill was one critical step in that direction. Having revamped the outdated rules that regulate finance, we can avoid the systemic risks that brought our economy to the brink of collapse in late 2008. No longer will banks be able to take such extravagant risks while enjoying the implicit backing of the government. A safer financial system will help businesses grow and hire new workers while protecting the savings of ordinary Americans.

Is global warming real- Is it man-made- What, if anything, should be done about it- And do you favor a national cap-and-trade program to put a price on carbon emissions-

On December 10, 2009, I spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives on the subject of climate change. I explained that over 200 peer-reviewed scientific studies have determined that global warming is real and that man significantly contributes to global warming. Conversely, zero peer-reviewed scientific studies have determined that global warming is not real and that man does not contribute.

Global warming is man-made and is something we must address now. The House passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, with my support on June 26, 2009. H.R. 2454 would help America achieve energy independence, create jobs, and keep us competitive in the international arena as the world economy further shifts toward renewable energy sources. The Senate must pass a carbon bill now so that we can begin pricing carbon emissions and mitigating the disastrous effects of our addiction to fossil fuels.

Further, we need more than just a cap and trade bill. The true cost of carbon can be seen in the unthinkable disaster in the Gulf Coast as well as the oil spill in Michigan that threatened our waters closer to home. I have introduced and promoted legislation to hold oil companies more accountable, to protect our shore lines, and to encourage policies that promote clean energy innovation and domestic manufacturing, develop renewable energy resources, and create green collar jobs.

As a representative, would you favor changes in the health care reforms pushed through Congress by President Obama- What exactly would you change-

The health care reform bill was a start, particularly the insurance reforms that will protect Americans from abuses by insurance companies and greatly expand coverage. However, while the bill is paid for and actually reduces the deficit over the next twenty years, more must be done to address cost containment.

One of the most important parts of the health reform bill which received the least attention was the section on delivery system reforms. Our health care delivery system, the way we pay providers, is deeply flawed in that our fee-for-service system rewards quantity of care rather than quality of care. The health care reform bill creates a number of different programs to test and implement new delivery systems that will improve the quality of care while achieving significant savings.

Innovative health care providers around the country, ranging from the Mayo Clinic to Geisinger Medical Center, are using new payment methods and seeing outcomes improve, while reducing costs. These delivery system methods, such as bundled payments and accountable care organizations, need to be tested nationwide and expanded as quickly as possible. These new payment models need to be tested, expanded, and implemented as quickly as possible. In sum, the health care reform bill lays an excellent foundation on which we can build further reform, particularly the provisions calling for delivery system reforms to curb costs and improve care.

Also in the vein of cost containment, one provision that I believe should have been included in the bill is a provision that would allow Medicare to negotiate its own drug prices. According to an Oversight Committee report, if Medicare negotiated directly with manufacturers for prescription drugs and received the prices paid by Medicaid, taxpayers would save $156 billion. Representative Peter Welch (VT) has introduced a stand-alone bill, which I have cosponsored, that would give the government this negotiating power.

What should the American military and political strategy be in Afghanistan- How would you define "success" for the United States in the war, and at what point could we withdraw our troops-

I would define success in Afghanistan as preventing terrorists from using the country as a safe haven and base of operations to attack the United States and our allies.

But we must ask ourselves if a greater military presence and an open ended commitment in Afghanistan furthers this aim and makes America safer. I believe the answer is no. The goal in Afghanistan was to defeat Al-Qaeda. Today--nine years after we first invaded--CIA director Leon Panneta says, "we're looking at maybe 50 to 100" Al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan, maybe even less. Meanwhile, we are battling not simply against terrorists in Afghanistan, but also against terrorism, which we are learning has many fronts, extending from Afghanistan to Pakistan to Somalia, Yemen, Uzbekistan, and even our own backyard.

To date we have spent over $300 billion in Afghanistan and the legacy costs of the war will be immense. With a deficit near $1.3 trillion I have serious hesitations about continuing to fund an open-ended commitment in Afghanistan with borrowed money. I have the utmost respect for our nation's service-members, believe in strong national defense, and want to defeat those that want to do harm to our country, but in a world of limited resources I don't believe that our tax dollars are best spent in a protracted conflict in Afghanistan. I support a safe and immediate withdrawal of combat forces from the country.

What should be the American military and political strategy in Iraq-

I have always believed that invading Iraq was a mistake and that withdrawal from the region must be strategic, expeditious, and transparent. As the final combat troops withdraw from the country, we must be prepared for an uptick in sectarian violence and be aware that support will be needed in the months to come to prevent Iraq from slipping into chaos. However, this support must be multilateral and not open-ended. It is up to the Iraqi government to realize that the U.S. will not have long-term residual forces in the region and their security and stability is up to them.

What should be done to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons-

Congress just passed the most comprehensive Iranian sanctions package in its history. The key now is enforcing those sanctions and ensuring that no countries, particularly China or Russia, are circumventing the sanctions. This implementation will require great effort and vigilance from the White House, the Department of State, the Department of Treasury, the Department of Commerce, and Congress--tasked with oversight of the implementation.

The Administration and the State Departmen must investigate every credible allegation that a company or country is violating sanctions, and must take appropriate action if the allegation is found to be true. The Treasury and Commerce Departmens must tirelessly track every Iranian company that may be attempting to hide its identity to avoid sanctions and every country that may be allowing the transshipment of goods through it borders and ultimately to Iran.

We must continue to reach out to our allies to encourage them to adhere strictly to the sanctions, and make clear to those who may be leery that the price of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is higher than any price they would pay by ending trade with the country. The U.S. must also do all it can to support democracy in Iran. Since last year's election, a significant sector of Iranians have begun to voice their opposition to the current regime, and the U.S. must support entities in Iran that strive for free and fair elections, free media, the rights of women and other civil liberties. Only when all efforts at diplomacy and sanctions have been exhausted, and we have undeniable intelligence proving Iran's ability to develop a deliverable nuclear weapon, should we consider any military action.

Will the United States ever have a comprehensive policy on immigration- What should it be- And what is your view of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and the recent federal appellate court ruling striking down its key provisions-

Today, unfortunately, there is something of a perfect storm surrounding the immigration debate that is preventing meaningful dialogue about this pressing national issue. With our economy experiencing a slow recovery and the unemployment rate remaining high, there is a great deal of economic anxiety amongst voters. Some politicians have apparently decided that it is politically expedient to tap into that economic anxiety through heavy-handed rhetoric rather than to come to the table and attempt to shape level-headed policy. There's no doubt that we must do a better job of securing our borders, and I believe that the President has taken proactive steps in recent months to achieve that goal. But any meaningful discussion about comprehensive immigration policy should have on the table a pathway to citizenship for those who have faithfully satisfied certain rigorous requirements. While we are a sovereign country that must be able to rely on the integrity of our borders, we also must remember that we have always been a nation of immigrants and a country where economic opportunity and self-determination are not preordained by birth status.

Arizona Bill 1070 was flawed legislation for precisely the reasons the federal court noted: the jurisdiction over our immigration policy rests with the federal government. Arizona cannot tell the federal government how to enforce its laws. An ad hoc, state-by-state immigration policy would undermine our Constitution and imperil our national security.

Please comment on the president's education agenda, specifically on the Race to the Top competition that emphasizes core national standards and tests and the use of student test data to evaluate and reward teachers

Race to the Top is one the most innovative and effective education tools the Federal Government has ever developed. What the first round of distributed funds has shown us is that, with a large enough pool of funds, we can actually incentivize states to hold themselves to a higher standard and implement significant education reforms.

Two of the most important elements of education reform supported by Race to the Top are unified national standards and the development and use of student test data to evaluate teachers. As we learned under the current No Child Left Behind law, without national standards we are faced with a race to the bottom where states lower their standards in order to reach superficial goals. The development of core national standards is a must, and Race to the Top moves states toward adopting these standards by giving more points, and therefore funds, to those who do.

Teachers are one of the most vital contributors to student growth and must be held accountable for their performance. While teachers should be evaluated based on a variety of criteria, including class room observation, test scores must be taken into consideration. Unfortunately, at this time, many schools do not even allow student tests scores to be linked to teachers. Race to the Top incentivizes schools to link student test scores to teacher performance as part of an improved teacher evaluation process. Schools must begin to move away from a system that relies solely on tenure for advancement and dismissal decisions, and toward a system that factors in performance. Race to the Top is going to go a long way in helping us to reform our education system by encouraging states to make improvements themselves rather than imposing reforms from the top down.

What is your position on gay marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act-

Even before I was elected to Congress, I fought to end discriminatory policies like the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I am an original cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act of 2009, H.R. 3567, which would replace DOMA, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. I am a cosponsor of cosponsor of H.R. 2625, the Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, which extends the exclusion from gross income for employer-provided health coverage for employees' spouses and dependent children to coverage provided to other eligible designated beneficiaries of employees--very similar to a bill I passed at the County. And, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 2517, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, to provide benefits to domestic partners of Federal employees.

I will always fight for what's fair, what's just, and what's right. Everyone should have the opportunity to marry who they love and receive the same benefits and support from the federal government.

What should be our nation's policy toward the manufacture, sale and use of marijuana-

While I do not support recreational drug use, I believe that we should take a serious look at the decriminalization of marijuana. As a nation facing mounting debt, rising health care costs, two enduring wars, and overcrowded prisons, we must make efficient use of our limited resources and set pragmatic priorities in our efforts to ensure the safety and public welfare of our citizens. Prisons across Illinois, as well as those in other states, face growing overcrowding concerns affected, in part, by the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders.

The United States continues to hold "enemy combatants," uncharged, at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Is indefinite detention without charges acceptable- If so, for how long- And are military commissions an acceptable alternative to civilian courts-

First, I believe that Guantanamo must be closed. As I have said before, the prison at Guantanamo Bay has created more terrorists than it has contained, and has placed our servicemen and women and our country in harm's way. Former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger support closing the facility, as does Senator John McCain. Rather than keeping us safe, Guantanamo Bay has threatened our national security even further and cost us significantly more money than if these individuals were housed on domestic soil.

It is important that the legislative branch tread carefully when weighing in on matters of national security. Although I believe the Administration should do everything it can to swiftly adjudicate every remaining case at Guantanamo, the reality is that our intelligence community has deemed some of the remaining detainees to be serious security risks should they be allowed to reenter their country of origin. In rare instances, we may lack the full weight of evidence needed to prove that an individual plotted to bring harm to Americans and yet also reasonably believe that individual would work to undermine our security should he be released. After rigorous assessment and thorough scrutiny, it may be most appropriate to continue the detention of these individuals.

I believe our civilian courts are most often the best place to try alleged combatants. Our civilian court system, although not without flaws, is the envy of the world and a symbol of our commitment to not only fairness and justice, but also transparency. Convictions obtained in federal court have a seal of credibility that no enemy propaganda can undermine. Military tribunals were created as a function of adjudicating war crimes and heir scope and jurisdiction was intended to remain, and should remain, limited. When a foreign fighter is apprehended on a foreign battlefield, we should reserve the right to make use of tribunals, but our federal courts remain our first and best option.

List your educational background

Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Juris Doctorate, 1989

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Master's Degree, Public Policy, 1985

Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois; Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, 1981

Please list civic, professional, fraternal or other organizations to which you belong

Inactive status attorney

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

Commissioner, 10th District--Cook County Board of Commissioners, 1988 - 2009

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

Dan Quigley (brother) Cook County Assessor; Chris Bensen (sister) Superintendent of Schools, Streeter

Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed

As promised in my 2009 special election campaign, I have posted all of my contributions online on a daily basis. This list is available at

Please paste a brief biography here

Mike Quigley was elected to Congress to represent Illinois' 5th District on April 7, 2009. A former Cook County Commissioner, Quigley has served his community for over twenty years.

He began his career serving as an aide to former 44th Ward Alderman Bernie Hansen and became a champion for environmental protection, equal rights, and ethical, open government. As the Commissioner from Cook County's 10th District, Quigley fought for transparency, accountability, and fiscal sanity, earning the reputation as an honest and effective leader on reform.

During his time on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, Quigley sponsored every piece of major environmental legislation adopted by Cook County government, and still regularly participates in local clean-up and restoration efforts, earning him awards from the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club. The Chicago Reader has said he is "arguably the greenest elected official in Chicago."

Quigley has also fought for equal rights for those in the LGBT community, additional protections for victims of domestic abuse, and a woman's right to choose.

A staunch advocate for government reform and accountability, Quigley wrote several revolutionary memos laying out detailed plans for the "reinventing" of Cook County government, to make it more efficient and more responsive to its citizens.

Quigley did his undergraduate work at Roosevelt University, earned a master's degree in public policy from the University of Chicago, and a law degree from the Loyola University School of Law, all in Chicago. He also served as an adjunct professor of political science at Loyola University Chicago and Roosevelt University, lecturing on politics, the environment and local government. He was a practicing lawyer for almost twenty years.

Congressman Quigley sits on the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and has continued his strong commitment to those issues important to him and the 5th District.

Quigley lives with his wife Barbara, daughters Alyson and Meghan, and two dogs in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood where he has lived since 1982. In his free time, he roots for the Cubs and enjoys playing ice hockey. #Comments_Container, #Comments_Container1,#commentsonly,.StoryInteract{display:none;}