Candidate profile: Mark Wicklund

NAME: Mark D. Wicklund

AGE: 48

IMMEDIATE FAMILY: Wife Debra, Five children, Four grandsons

OCCUPATION: Disabled Steel Worker

OFFICE SOUGHT: US Congress IL 13th District


PREVIOUS ELECTED POSITIONS: Macon County Board (Chairmen of Justice and Siting Rules and ordinance)

What changes, if any, should be made in the Affordable Care Act?

Move to a single-payer system, and hold physicians, medical facilities, and clients accountable for fraud and abuse. We should never have to pay more and receive less.

What are you views on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

We need clear bills when it comes to trade. They should never hurt the economy or our work force.

Granite City Steel had to lay off its workforce. What should be done to get them back to work? What can Congress do to help those workers?

We need to make sure our construction projects are built with the best and that is American made products. Buy here build here first.

On what issues do you disagree with your party’s nominee for president and how would you approach those issues if you both were elected?

Trade, gun laws, health care and wages. I will work with both parties to get a compromise that works for the people.

The unemployment rate is 4.9 percent in the country and 6 percent in Illinois. What does that say about our economy? What would you do to improve our economy?

We are on a rebound and we need to make sure our political leaders keep moving us in the right direction, with a strong push on buy America first. We also need to push a level internet tax to help small business.

What would you do to protect Scott Air Force Base from closing or from cutbacks?

I would never allow Scott Air Force Base to be closed. With security at an all-time high, we need to improve our military for the 21stcentury.

The country's debt is growing as the nation continues to run a budget deficit. How would you balance the country's budget? At what point, if any, does the continued deficit spell disaster?

Personally I think we are there, we need to rein in government spending and focus on programs that are working, while also closing tax loopholes and looking at a flat tax.

What changes, if any, need to be made in entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare?

Social Security and Medicare need to be secured for generations to come. This can be done by removing the tax cap so everyone pays their fair share. We also need to rein in corruption and fraud.

The cost of college, and student debt itself, can be a large obstacle to people getting an education, or having a firm financial footing after graduating. What should be done to make college more affordable?

First we need to make sure high school students are getting the quality education they deserve, while acquiring college credits along the way. Next we need to rein in excessive waste at our public and private institutes.

Why should people vote for you?

I am a candidate of the people not tied to big money or party influence. We have been electing party insiders for too long; they are driven by party affiliation and not policy. My experience is as a Macon County Board Member and President of the Board of Directors for the largest and oldest community action agency in Macon County, and a disabled steel worker. I am driven by what is wrong with government and what needs to be done to move us forward as a nation.