- Name: Randy Hultgren
- Position sought: U.S. representative, 14th Congressional District
- Party Republican
Campaign contact information
- Mailing address: Hultgren for Congress, P.O. Box 717, St. Charles, IL 60174
- Campaign office: 1118 E. Main St., St. Charles, IL 60174
- Phone: 630.549.0139
- Fax: 630.423.3733
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Facebook.com/randyhultgren
- Twitter: @randyhultgren (Twitter.com/randyhultgren)
- Age: 46
- Birthdate: 3/1/1966
- Family: wife, Christy; kids, Karsten, Kylie, Kaden and Koleson
- Education: B.A., Bethel University (Minnesota) J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law
- Occupation: investment advisor
Election Information, Experience
- Official name of your campaign committee: Hultgren for Congress
- Previous Elected or Appointed Offices: Milton Township Precinct Committeeman, DuPage County Board, Board of Directors, DuPage County Homeownership Center, Illinois House of Representatives, Illinois Senate
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position? If your race is contested, how does this set you apart from other candidates?
Having grown up here and seen government first hand at each level, I know our district. I know the financial struggles of our state and have a unique perspective born out of a career advising people on how to wisely handle their finances. I believe I'm the candidate in this race with commonsense, practical solutions for re-routing our nation's budget and economy.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
We've got to get our nation's spending under control and get the economy back on a road to growth. Those would be my top policy priorities.
And while crafting good policy is crucial, if elected, I'll also work to do something I've tried to do in each office I've held: serve the individuals in my district by acting as a liaison with various government agencies, which can be incredibly frustrating. Making sure a widow's social security case is adjudicated correctly is just as important to me as voting on a budget amendment. My staff who handle casework are fantastic, and I'd like to make sure they can continue to do a great job for the people of the 14th District.
How do you define a small business, and what can government do to support them that isn't being done?
A small business is defined by the Small Business Administration as having 500 or fewer employees.
I have met with more than 100 small business owners and job creators in the 14th District since last year. During each storefront visit and factory tour, I ask what it would take for that employer to create just one more job. There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the U.S., and 23 million people who are unemployed. If every small business could create just one job, we would have overemployment!
What I hear over and over and over from these job creators is that small-business owners want some certainty from their government. They want lower taxes, and government regulations are frustrating their ability to grow and hire. In August, a national survey actually found that cost of healthcare is the top concern of small-business owners, with 'uncertainty over government action' coming in at #4. (Poor sales was all the way down at 26.)
One proposal I personally have introduced is a regulatory sunset bill. Much like the federal budget which almost never gets a thorough "reset," there are hundreds and maybe thousands of decades-old business regulations on the books that are outdated and should be repealed. My proposal would "sunset" these regulations, freeing businesses to grow.
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?
Washington doesn't actually have a revenue problem—it has a spending problem, and both parties are to blame.
Democrats would like to treat the economy as a cash tree—a new tax for every program, chopping off as much as it wants, whenever it wants. What they don't understand is that the best way to allow the tree to grow more jobs and tax revenue organically is to simply leave it alone.
The past three years have marked the weakest economic recovery our nation has seen since the Great Depression. This isn't the right time to raise taxes on anyone. However, this is an excellent time to reform the tax system and broaden the tax base. While it's impossible to offer specific numbers for the potential increase, it's fair to say that intelligent tax reform could remove the economic distortions in our existing system while raising overall tax revenue.
It's also important to note that if the U.S. were to eliminate all discretionary spending—all defense spending, all highway repair money, all federal courts and government operations, even the money spent taking care of our returning veterans- the budget would almost be balanced for a single year.
What this tells me is that we can take nothing—not even defense or entitlements—off the table when it comes to cuts. It took years to reach this point, and it will take years to balance our budget again, but I believe it can be done. Veterans and seniors within 10 years of retirement should, in my opinion, receive the benefits they have been counting on. However, for those younger than 55, entitlements will look different. There is waste to be found in every agency. Like the Pentagon's $436 hammer, the Navy's $640 toilet seat, and the $7,000 coffee brewer purchased by the Air Force with taxpayer dollars, there is always a way to cut back.
* One thing that would go a long way to identify waste is to finally start using zero-based budgeting. Hard as it is to believe, existing government programs perpetuate from one year to the next simply because they were there the year before, with their need and effectiveness seldom analyzed and underlying assumptions rarely questioned. Under zero-based budgeting, every program and expenditure is reviewed at the beginning of each budget cycle and must be justified in order to receive funding. No spending is taken for granted. Even if implemented on a staggered basis, with only one or two agency undergoing a thorough examination during every budget cycle, but within a few years we could analyze the entire federal budget this way.
What should the government do to create more jobs?
Two-thirds of new jobs are created by small businesses, and in some years the percentage is even higher than that. Clearly, the path to jobs leads right down Main Street, and I've outlined above what the government can be doing for small business.
The House has now passed more than 30 Jobs Bills. Some of them have even been passed by the Senate and signed by the President, but most are (unfortunately) sitting in the Senate, where Harry Reid refuses to take them up. All of them would free up employers in the private sector who would like to hire, but are hesitating.
One specific proposal of mine did, however, get passed this year in the Transportation Bill. The Veterans Accelerated License Obtainment and Re-certification (VALOR) Act will help connect returning veterans with their commercial drivers licenses faster. What I was hearing from trucking companies in my district was that they were having trouble finding qualified people to hire. Meanwhile, veterans who had driven trucks for the military had to start from the beginning with U.S. licensure when they returned to the states. If elected, I plan to keep looking for common-sense actions like this which will connect job seekers with employers.
Should there be repercussions for legislators who don’t read bills, and how do you enforce that?
Of course. Voters can enforce repercussions for legislators for any action or inaction by the member, every other November.
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.?
Rarely is there a public service that is provided better at the national level than it could be at the local level. That goes for education too, but I believe it's still important to have national standards and goals for our kids' learning.
Since the passage of NCLB, we have made a concerted national effort to close the achievement gap and these efforts have paid off. I understand and share many of the concerns expressed by teachers, parents, and school administrators regarding the new standards and requirements outlined in No Child Left Behind and I am committed to working with all stakeholders to improve and reauthorize the law.
Should federal immigration policy be changed, and if so how?
Illegal immigration is an affront to both our existing laws and institutions, as well as to the legal immigrants who made the commitment to abide by our processes and respect our rules.
Our porous border has also contributed to the high rates of violence in Mexico spilling over into the United States, the rampant growth of the drug trade and criminal enterprise, and ongoing human rights violations committed by human traffickers. Clearly, securing the border has to be our first priority.
Then, I think we have to examine our visa system. Why limit visas for people seeking to tour and study in the U.S.? Why make it so difficult for agricultural workers to enter and exit the country in order to work jobs Americans are not taking anyway?
I believe that if we encourage employers to hire legal workers and provide legal avenues for people to emigrate and bring their families to America, we will see a drop in illegal immigration. (Current wait times are 7-10 years for one immigrant and many more in order to bring a family member with them.)
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues?
I support the definition of marriage which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 in the Defense of Marriage Act—it is an institution between one man and one woman.
I am also strongly pro-life, and I believe that federal funding should never be used for abortions. If groups that do perform abortions and also take federal funding (such as Planned Parenthood) are unable to account for every dollar received and spent, their funding should be seriously re-examined.
What should minimum wage be and through what method should increases be determined?
Illinois has the highest minimum wage in the Midwest, but unemployment is still too high. That's the real issue right now, and won't be helped by changing the minimum wage.
How would you find a better balance between relieving the tax burden and funding services?
Government programs tend to take on a life of their own, so "eliminating" or defunding them is best done before they are created. However, once a service exists, I think it has to be run as efficiently and transparently as possible: is it serving its intended purpose? Is it wasting money? Is it really necessary?
This brings up another subtle theme that you'll see throughout this election: "government knows best." The underlying liberal message is, "we know how to spend your money/choose your healthcare/get you a job/etc. better than you do." The conservative worldview is not, "everything is fine the way it is," but rather, "no one can take care of your family better than you can." That's my reason for fighting for lower taxes. American families don't need the government to take more of their money and create uses for it. They need the government to stay out of their checkbook as much as possible and let them take care of their families.
Bi-partisanship is given a lot of lip service by congressional members. Tell us how you would work with members of the opposite party.
Having served in the Illinois House and Senate for years—and never in the majority—I'm well acquainted with the importance of coming to consensus with people you don't agree with, either on the other side of the aisle, or from your district. In Springfield, if I ever wanted to get an initiative passed, I had to ask a friend in the majority to carry it. There was no other option!
What people don't see from the latest headlines is all of the mundane, non-controversial legislating that goes on in committee. Most of the bills passed by Congress are passed with a wide margin, with wide consensus.
I have always believed that leaders have to treat each other with civility. The reality is that not everyone I seek to represent is going to agree with me, and that's okay. In fact, it's healthy. Democracy is messy, but it's not a fight, and it's not a performance. It takes a lot of time and commitment to sit down with someone who may agree with you on very little, but it's so important to take the time to listen to them and find that common ground. That's the only way we're going to reach actual change.
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?
My first vote as a Congressman was to repeal the president's massive health care law in full, and I still believe the law must be repealed. It's going to make healthcare much more expensive, not more affordable, and will still leave millions of people uninsured.
There are a number of ways to expand access to health care without the Presiden'ts law. Structural changes can be made to encourage preventive health care and also to separate health insurance from employment status, both of which will lower prices and will create stability for families (you don't worry about losing your car or home insurance when you lose your job).
We can reform lawsuit abuse, which was a special pursuit of mine as a state legislator in Illinois. (The fear of lawsuits causes doctors to order all kinds of extra, preventive tests which may or may not be necessary for a patient, thus driving up costs for everyone.) Abuse of the system also drives up medical liability costs. I have met firsthand with hospital administrators who have had to pay hundreds of thousands a year in additional malpractice insurance for new physicians.
We can especially encourage price disclosure. Can you think of any other sector where a customer can walk in and buy a 'product' without ever knowing its cost? Yet that's what happens every day in thousands of doctors' offices across the country. Patients (and even doctors!) may decide together on a test or prescription, but may never know the cost to the insurer or if there was a cheaper version available. Making prices publicly available will put patients back in control.
What should government’s role be in private sector finance?
We need strong, common sense financial regulation to prevent the type of downturn we saw in 2008. This requires transparent accounting and reporting requirements, the investigation and prosecution of fraud, and the legislative integrity to limit loopholes and not pick winners and losers.
When the playing field is fair and investors are well informed, the government has done its job.
Bailing out the financial sector, subsidies and tax breaks for financial sector are examples of how are government has grown too big; the best friend of big business is big government.Who are your political heroes and why?Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were both courageous conservatives—from Illinois—whose examples I admire. Their leadership in the face of powerful cultural forces came at crucial points for our nation.
Following the troop withdrawal from Iraq, what do you think is the future of the war on terror?
America has no choice but to respond aggressively to unprovoked terrorism. I believe, however, that there are ways to stem the tide before it reaches our shores. Specifically, we have to be realistic about the goals of many terrorist groups. These goals are primarily religious and economic in nature. When a person believes that their religion calls them to commit suicide and murder civilians of other faiths (or members of minority groups within their own faith), diplomatic efforts will be of little use. (One emerging terrorist group in Nigeria is called Boko Haram. Literally translated, it means "Western education is forbidden.")
We can, however, recognize our role in world events. Our leaving Afghanistan in disarray many years ago created the perfect conditions for the rise of the Taliban. Poverty and unstable conditions breed terrorism, so America can work with other nations to support sustainable education and economies overseas. I believe that when these vacuums are filled, terrorists will have no footing to stand on.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain.