- Position sought: Congress, IL 14th District
- Political Party: Democrat
- Website: www.dennisandersonforcongress.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Campaign Phone: 815-444-0305
- Mailing Address: P.O. Box 8587, Gurnee IL 60031
Age and Birthdate: Age: 61, 11/22/1950
- Family: Spouse: Susan, married 38 years
- Education: BA, Distinctive Academic Achievement, University of Wisconsin – Madison Majors: Economics, Political Science, Graduate School: University of Wisconsin – Madison, Area of study: Public Administration (no degree completed), Loyola University Chicago, Area of study: Theology (no degree completed)
- Occupation: Retired
- Previous Elected or Appointed Offices: No previous elective office. Appointment:City of Madison (Wisconsin) Ethics Board, 1989-1996
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position? I have a long history of community involvement that I believe demonstrates a commitment to my community and an understanding of a diverse range of issues, as well as an ability to work with a wide range of public interests. Examples of this involvement includes: Board of Directors, Dane County (WI) Humane Society, 1988 - 1995 City of Madison Ethics Board, Mayoral Appointee, 1989 - 1996U-CARE (HMO) Grievance Committee, 1990 - 1991 Board of Directors, Southern Wisconsin Foodbank, Inc., 1995 - 1996 Board of Directors, International Breast Cancer Research Foundation, 2007 – Present Volunteer, Warren-Newport Public Library, Gurnee IL, 2007 – Present Volunteer Tutor, Literacy Volunteers of Lake County, 2010 – Present Board of Directors, Literacy Volunteers of Lake County, 2011 – PresentGurnee Rotary, 2011 – Present
I also believe that my service on a similarly wide range of committees and bodies in a professional capacity demonstrates my commitment to the organizations for which I worked, as well as the respect of my colleagues. Among these activities have been:
Affirmative Action/Civil Rights Compliance Committee - WI Division of Health, 1981 - 1983 Liaison, WI Division of Health - National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 1988 - 1990 Association of State and Territorial Chronic Disease Program Directors, 1988 - 1992 Institutional Review Board, Hazleton Laboratories - America, Alternate Member, 1989 Prevention Committee, Wisconsin Department of Community Services, 1989 - 1990Cancer Control Group, U.W. Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1992 - 1996 Wisconsin Public Health Association, 1994 - 1996 Internal Advisory Council, Oncology Institute, Loyola University Chicago, 1996 - 2003 Clinical Protocol Review Committee, Oncology Institute, Loyola University Chicago, 1997 - 2009 Executive Advisory Council, Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola University Chicago, 2003 - 2009
What would your priorities be if elected to this office? Economic development and job creation, support of public education at all levels, broadening access to healthcare, protection of Medicare and Social Security, preservation of the social safety net, campaign finance reform.
How do you define a small business, and what can government do to support them that isn't being done? The Small Business Administration has already developed a workable definition of “small business.” While government regulations have not been generally cited in recent surveys of small business owners as being of particular concern or as obstructions to development, it is important that processes be put in place to ensure timely response to business owners’ questions and concerns.
Further, it is important that government work more closely with the small business community to ensure that regulations governing businesses are appropriate to the business sector and size. Ensuring easier access to capital is also vital to business growth. Government can also provide incentives for development of innovative business and industry, particularly in such vital areas as new energy technologies.
What steps would you take to reduce the federal deficit? If it includes tax increases, what taxes? And if it involves federal service cuts, which? The previous administration’s tax cuts for those in the upper-income brackets should be permitted to expire. Subsidization of profitable industries should be reduced or eliminated as appropriate, and we should eliminate those corporate tax breaks that result in effective tax liabilities far below the published rate. We should ensure that those who are permitted to use public lands and resources for private gain are adequately and appropriately compensating the taxpayer for that use.
All areas of the budget need to be reviewed in detail to identify opportunities for savings. That said, the rules governing the Medicare program should be revised to allow the program to negotiate drug prices as is the case with the VA and Medicaid. Overseas military commitments should be reduced or eliminated as appropriate, particularly in those cases where our presence is more a legacy of WWII or the Cold War than it is based on current practical considerations. The Affordable Care Act should be implemented and expanded.
What should the government do to create more jobs? A good first step would be passage of the Administration’s Jobs Act. The Act provides a blueprint for a multi-faceted jobs creation program, addressing such issues as small-business access to capital, infrastructure repair and upgrade, and including small business tax cuts and credits. In the 14th District there are 40-some bridges designated as “structurally insufficient,” and simply undertaking the task of upgrading those bridges would create good paying jobs while the resultant improvements in the District’s transportation system would be of help to existing businesses while making the District more attractive to new business.
The Chicago metro area has vast capital and intellectual resources, and public-private partnerships to create new industry in developing technologies could make the District a national leader in those technologies. Increasing young people’s access to higher education is vital to economic development, and encouraging participation in both the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps will give them real world experience, leadership training and financial support.
Should there be repercussions for legislators who don’t read bills, and how do you enforce that? It is essential that legislators have an understanding of the bills on which they cast votes. While I am not at all certain that it is possible for a representative to personally and thoroughly read each and every piece of legislation that comes before him or her, given the support of a competent and trusted staff I do not think that there is any valid reason for a legislator to be unfamiliar with any bill prior to casting his or her vote. I am not at all certain how one would assess an individual legislator’s adherence to a “read every bill” rule.
Should the “No Child Left Behind Act” set different measurements than now for economically disadvantaged students, special education students, students learning English as a second language, etc? Yes. I support the allowance for innovation built into the President’s Race to the Top Initiative as an alternative to NCLB’s one-size-fits all approach.
Should federal immigration policy be changed, and if so how? I support the Dream Act.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues? The Supreme Court resolved the abortion issue in 1973. Government’s role in “such issues” as those above will vary with the jurisdiction and the issue at hand.
What should minimum wage be and through what method should increases be determined? If the question is meant to elicit a particular dollar amount, I am unable to respond. It might be reasonably argued that a minimum wage ought to provide sufficient support that there is generally no need for taxpayer subsidization of the private market through such safety net programs as food stamps. Too low a minimum wage does transfer those costs from the employer to the taxpayer. It does not seem to me too outrageous a proposition that as a general principle people who work full-time ought not be living in poverty.
How would you find a better balance between relieving the tax burden and funding services? I am not sure what is meant by the phrase “a better balance” in this question. Costs rise in the private sector, and the expectation should be no different for the public sector. Neither my wife nor I have ever felt that our taxes were excessive, and have always recognized that public services benefit all of us, even if that benefit does not appear to accrue to us directly. For example, while we have never had children, we would both happily pay additional taxes for the education of the community’s children.
Bi-partisanship is given a lot of lip service by congressional members. Tell us how you would work with members of the opposite party? I believe in the two-party system. I believe that it is through honest exchange of contrary views that the best solutions to our collective challenges are often found. If we confine ourselves to echo chambers filled with those whose views are our views, we will not benefit from that honest exchange. I would make every effort to engage those from across the aisle, and particularly other Illinois members, in regular business and social exchanges with a view to foster friendships and understanding.
Sadly, I am convinced that much of the dysfunction that we see in Congress today is a direct result of the fact that we now live in an age of perpetual campaign, with members of the House spending enormous amounts of time on fundraising alone – according to a July 2011 article in “The Hill,” members spend from 25% to 50% of their time raising campaign funds. With the demands of fundraising, members are left with little time to get to know one another and to understand one another’s positions.
Do you think some or all of the health care bill should be repealed? What can the government do to provide more access and affordability to health care? There may be some tweaking of the Affordable Care Act necessary as it is implemented, but the Act should not be repealed. Too many people in this country, some 50 million, still lack access to health care.
For those concerned about the deficit, it should be noted that a Congressional Budget Office study reported last February estimated, using an eight-year period common to two CBO analyses, that implementation of the Act would trim some $132 billion from the federal deficit, while repeal of the Act would increase the deficit by $119 billion. Given that the health care crisis has been with us for generations, it might be reasonably argued that if there were a private-sector solution, we certainly would have seen it by now.
What should government’s role be in private sector finance? The government must institute those regulations that enhance the stability of the financial sector, some significant players in that sector having proved themselves incapable of self-regulation. Further, the government should ensure that controls are in place that protect the citizen from predatory practices and to ensure that the terms of financial agreements, from credit card terms to consumer loans and mortgages, are clearly and understandably written.
Who are your political heroes and why? I believe that Paul Wellstone represented what a national political figure can and should be. Wellstone’s concerns were for justice, the people that he represented, and the Nation, and he demonstrated that concern without fail during his tenure in the Senate.
Following the troop withdrawal from Iraq, what do you think is the future of the war on terror? The future of the WoT is, I believe, unforeseeable. Terrorists are, have been and likely will be for some time active in many parts of the world. Terrorist organizations may be fluid and unrooted, making military response particularly challenging and success difficult to measure. As has been demonstrated clearly, terrorist activities are sometimes destabilizing at a national level, sometimes regionally, and sometimes worldwide.
We have seen terrorism precipitate refugee crises within nations and across borders. Terrorism can threaten international commerce. Terrorism can bring governments down. Our own national interests are threatened not only by direct attacks on the United States, but also by actions that threaten other members of the world community. If our focus is only on reaction, on punishing terrorists once they have acted, the future may be dark.
Our foreign policy must reflect an understanding of and a willingness to confront the root causes of terrorism, be those causes repression, discrimination, unequal access to fundamental rights and opportunity, or combinations of factors. By working both alone and in concert with our allies, we may be able not only to improve the lives of those in other nations, but our visible support elsewhere of the basic human rights we enjoy here at home will go far in improving our image and standing abroad.
The alternative is to ignore the plight of other peoples and face the consequences if they turn on us in frustration when they perceive us to be supporting their oppressors. It goes without saying that we should be ever vigilant, we should cooperate with our allies in the gathering and sharing of intelligence, and we must prepared at all times to defend ourselves if attacked.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain. No.