Name: Carl Spoerer
Office seeking: U.S. Representative, 15th Congressional District
City of residence: Mahomet
Campaign website: Carl2018.com
Why are you running and why should you be nominated? The 2016 election left me with a profound sense of loss. It wasn’t that I’m a Democrat and a Republican won. That’s happened before and although disappointing, life went on as normal. This was very different. This left me with doubts about our children’s future and our future democracy. When I walked into our kitchen on the morning of Nov. 10, 2016, and my wife said “He Won” with a tear in her eye, I knew I had to do something. Further, Rep. John Shimkus ran unopposed. I started doing research and talking to people. When I asked them “What has Rep. Shimkus done for this district?” I couldn’t get an answer. So I stepped up to the plate to bring this district back to the people. I’m not a politician, but my strong business background, coupled with rural roots and coaching experience gives me a deep understanding of the values and needs of district voters. I have obtained endorsements of working people in my district and throughout Illinois – the AFL-CIO, Teamsters J25, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the NOW, the Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct Organization, and constituent groups such as Citizens Action Illinois, Action Metro East, and Coles County Progressives.
What are your views on the nation's health care system? What needs to be changed, if anything? I support a single-payer system of healthcare. The government has a responsibility, according to the Preamble of the Constitution, to promote the general welfare of the people. This includes health, wellness, and safety. It has a responsibility to advance society’s interests which includes the delivery of a quality healthcare system that is affordable and accessible. Government involvement should be to regulate costs and ensure accessibility as the free market has shown it will not necessarily look out for the best interests of the people. Medicare and other single-payer systems in other countries have already proven that greater efficiency, better treatment cost effectiveness, and reliability far exceeds the inefficiency, greed, and waste of private health insurers. Furthermore, the insurance market can’t ensure all citizens have access to quality care. There are areas where gaps exist and people in more rural, less populated areas often have little or no choice of insurance providers. Governments should negotiate costs as individuals have no control over what they are being charged. I do believe, however, that strong partnerships need to exist between federal, state and local governments, and the private sector to ensure fairness, efficiency and cost control.
The federal budget is in deficit and the debt is growing. What should be done in order to balance the federal budget? We should not balance the federal budget on the backs of working families. Using a reduction in the social services programs as an excuse to reduce the debt is both unfair and not economically sound. Here are ways we can reduce the debt: (1) stop passing legislation that raises the debt substantially and which benefits the wealthy and corporations who are already doing well; (2) stop tax havens and loopholes that allow corporations to put money in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes; (3) end subsidies to big oil and gas; (3) remove the cap on wages that employers match and raise the Social Security retirement income cap; (4) increase the living (minimum) wage to reduce dependency on social services; (5) negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry to reduce drug prices; (6) reduce and maintain low interest rates to stimulate the economy and generate tax revenue; (7) reduce military spending and Congress’ propensity to sustain the industrialized military complex which influences policy; (8) adopt a pro-trade approach by reopening trade markets vital to our economy; and (9) reinstate a progressive tax system that reduces burdens on low-wage earners. More money in the pockets of low-wage earners stimulates the economy and generates revenue.
What local issues do you want to work on in Washington, D.C. and why? The 15th Congressional District has lost thousands of jobs over the last 20 years and this devastating trend must be addressed. My No. 1 goal will be to bring back great-paying jobs. Most cities within the district, including Danville, Rantoul and Metropolis have lost between 10 and 18 percent of all jobs. Lost jobs are in every sector including manufacturing, mining, retail and government services. We must reverse this trend by creating new job opportunities, such as those with the renewable energy industry, ensuring equal pay for equal work, developing job training programs, supporting and revitalizing our unions, and pushing for increased wages for the working class in order to build communities with a viable economy in downstate Illinois. I plan to create Job Leadership Teams (local citizens, workers, state and federal officials, business leaders and Union members) to develop and initiate regional economic plans. I am also committed to addressing the immediate healthcare needs of our constituents and loss of trade and other issues affecting our district’s farming communities.
Immigration into the United States continues to be a topic of debate. What changes should be made to the nation's immigration system? We are a nation of immigrants and the immigration laws today do not reflect our values. Law-abiding immigrants struggling for freedom – who work hard and pay their taxes – deserve a path toward citizenship that is efficient and timely. Anyone who has had the good fortune to meet these immigrant families quickly gains compassion for them and an understanding of their plight. I support the DREAM Act. Due process protections need to be ensured for law abiding people. Traffic violations should not be a cause for deportation. DACA youth, who have already sustained a vigorous vetting process and meet established criteria, should be provided a swift path to citizenship. Immigrant children, who have been born here through no fault of their own, should be given temporary protected status. Those who have joined the armed forces and served our country must never face deportation and should be provided with an expedited path to citizenship. Our immigration laws must be revised to ensure humane and fair treatment of immigrants. We need to work closely with local law enforcement to ensure federal enforcement of these laws do not hinder the reporting of crimes or hinder building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
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