Local Elections

Robert Dold, Candidate for Congress (10th District)

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Candidate Full Name: Robert Dold

Office: U. S. House of Representatives U. S. Congressional District 10

Party: Republican

Email Address: info@doldforcongress.com

Web Site: www.doldforcongress.com

Campaign Name: Dold for Congress

Campaign Office Mailing Address: 3330 Skokie Valley Rd., Highland Park, IL 60035

Phone: 847-251-3653

Survey Questions (Character limit of 2,000 per response)

1. Do you support abolishing earmarks? If not, why?

I support abolishing earmarks. While some earmarks in the past have been beneficial for local community projects it is a process that is ripe for corruption and wasteful spending. Government funded projects should go through the normal grant process and through the budget committees where they can be measured against other projects for necessity and cost.

2. Does the country need immigration reform? If so, what are your plans?

America is a land of laws and everyone in the United States should be here legally. The federal government has struggled to adequately to deal with immigration and the 12 million immigrants who are here illegally. We have found that comprehensive immigration reform has been impossible to pass no matter which party is in control in Washington. I believe we should attempt a different route and address immigration reform in a step-by-step process.

First, we must control our borders and ensure that illegal immigration can be reduced dramatically. This should entail more border patrol staff, building a fence where possible and using new technologies to monitor the border.

Second, our legal immigration process must be reformed. Our country will benefit from a system that is fairer, more efficient and more secure. Foreign visitors, students and workers provide many benefits to our economy and society. We need to make sure that it doesn't take four months for a tourist to get a visa to come to the United States to visit and spend their money at our hotels and restaurants. Nor should a foreign student have to go home after graduating from college to start applying for citizenship in our country. This is why I am an original cosponsor and strong advocate for the Startup Act 2.0, which provides a green card to foreign students who graduate with an advanced degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields from American universities. This would address the problem of foreign students coming here to get educated, only to take their valuable skill set back to their home country. Retaining these foreign graduates in the U.S. would be a net positive for the American economy, and would help our American businesses better compete and grow.

And last, we need to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants who are currently living in our country. I support allowing children who were brought to our country illegally by their parents to earn a path to permanent residency by either serving in our military, or serving our government in another way such as in an organization like AmeriCorps. While I do think there is room to ultimately work together and develop consensus on this issue of children, I disagree with the highly-unilateral approach the President has taken. I agree with what the President said in a July 2011 speech, when he spoke about whether he can just bypass Congress and change laws on his own: "That's not how our system works. That's not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written." Rather than circumvent the elected representatives of the American people with a temporary measure, I believe that the President should have focused on working with Congress to develop legislation that could earn bipartisan support, passage, and thus legitimacy in the eyes of the American people. The issue of the remaining illegal residents can only be addressed once we have adequately secured the border and fixed our legal immigration process. Deporting 12 million people is simply not a reasonable option.

Our country deserves such a common-sense solution to our broken immigration system that strengthens the rule of law and treats hardworking immigrant families with respect and dignity.

3. Can the budget deficit be controlled only by spending cuts or does the federal government need to raise more revenue? If you favor more revenue, should there be a general tax hike?

Our country is rapidly approaching the most predictable economic crisis in our history, and both political parties should be held accountable. Washington is burying our children and our grandchildren under a mountain of debt that has tripled since 2001 to $16 trillion  and which is scheduled to grow by trillions of dollars more in the next few years. Last year, the federal government collected $2.3 trillion in revenues and spent $3.6 trillion, while borrowing $1.3 trillion to finance the rest of our spending obligations. Today forty cents of every dollar spent by the federal government is borrowed. This is the equivalent of a family of four earning $75,000 but spending $125,000 every year. Simply put, this trend is unsustainable, and it endangers our economic future.

This irresponsible, misguided and wasteful spending must end. Despite the clear warnings, the U.S. Senate has refused for more than three years to put a budget in place. As a fiscal conservative, I believe that a core responsibility of legislators is to establish a yearly budget for the federal government to operate within  something that American families and businesses around this country are forced to do every day.

There are two competing views on how we address this challenge: Taking more money from hardworking families that will continue to feed Washington's wasteful spending; or alternatively, put money back in the hands of individuals and small businesses, entrusting them to make their own investment decisions and create jobs. Erskine Bowles  Co-chairman of President Obama's debt commission and former Chief of Staff to President Clinton  recently warned that Congress can't tax its way out of a national debt crisis. He's right. In fact we need to look no further than our own backyard to see this approach does not work. Last year, Governor raised taxes 67% on individuals and 58% on businesses and today we know that our state's credit rating is last among all states, our businesses are leaving and we still owe billions more in unpaid bills. It would be irresponsible to allow Washington to travel down the same path that Governor Quinn & the Illinois Legislature has taken.

To put our country back on firm financial ground we must cut wasteful spending. Federal spending levels should return to 20% of Gross Domestic Product, the historical average, instead of letting it balloon to nearly 25% as currently proposed. We need a government that is efficient and effective, not wasteful.

After a decade of runaway spending in Washington, Congress needs to understand the lessons that the taxpayers of Illinois have been forced to learn the hard way. I am pleased that we have finally managed to shift the focus to fiscal responsibility, however, there is much more work that needs to be done. I will continue to push for a serious bipartisan deficit reduction package that honestly and effectively confronts the size and nature of our crushing debt burden.

4. Do you favor President Obama's planned 2014 military withdrawal from Afghanistan? Why or why not?

The American people are weary with the tremendous resources we continue to devote after a decade of fighting in Afghanistan, so it is essential that we work with our military commanders on the ground to achieve our objectives as quickly as possible. We need to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used as a base from which to attack the U.S. homeland, but this must be matched with the reality that we cannot and should not remain fighting there forever.

Rather than setting specific timelines for withdrawal, I think the better approach is to focus on benchmarks of success and to continuously evaluate the conditions on the ground. As such, I think that President Obama's placement of a timeline to withdraw forces from Afghanistan and replace current U.S. and NATO forces with Afghan soldiers is not the best approach. For an enemy that is patient and deliberate, setting a deadline for withdrawal only creates an environment of uncertainty between our forces and the Afghan people and it hurts morale among our troops by demonstrating a lack of commitment to the effort.

Our mission should be to stabilize the government and police and military forces in Afghanistan so they can take control of the country. We must end the terrorist training camps and cut off their funding. We must also be given a full accounting by the Afghan government of the U.S. aid money we are providing for reconstruction, and pressure the government to take responsibility for creating a civil society and functioning democracy.

5. Do you believe there is global warming? If so, is any of it man made and can we do anything about it?

There is no doubt that the Earth is in a warming trend, as nearly everybody who has weighed in on this debate has stipulated. However, as the question correctly implies, the core of the debate lies in the degree to which human behavior is either causing or contributing to this change in climate. Does that mean that we should do nothing? I don't believe so.

For the health and quality of life of our families and future generations we need to demand that advancements in ensuring a clean environment continue. We are stewards of our environment, and as a member of Congress I am a staunch advocate for our environment, including the health of Lake Michigan  our District's greatest natural resource. The first bill I introduced was bi-partisan legislation to prevent sewage dumping into the Great Lakes.

I am in favor of initiatives that would increase environmental quality for all Americans. I am not in favor of mandating an emissions cap and trade plan as I believe that it would cost Illinois and our nation jobs. Additionally, I believe it would be an inequitable program that would adversely impact those who live in cold-weather states, such as Illinois. A cap and trade system would place an enormous tax on businesses, which would increase electricity prices dramatically and cost jobs at a time when we can least afford it.

We can do better by coming together on a bipartisan basis and working to make our environment cleaner. Some emissions reducing initiatives that I support include higher fuel efficient vehicles, the expansion of zero-emission nuclear power generation, the sequestration of harmful greenhouse gases emitted from stationary emissions sources by the use of algae and other methods, the expansion of the use of natural gas, the adoption of smart grid technologies to make our grid more efficient, and many others. We should also be encouraging companies to reduce their carbon footprint in ways that are sensible for their business.

6. How will you balance your personal views and beliefs with those of your constituents and the need to compromise for legislation to pass?

As evidence of my consistent commitment to bipartisanship and independence, Congressional Quarterly, after taking a comprehensive look at the voting record of all Members of Congress, determined that I am ranked the #1 House Republican most willing to work with the President. This analysis is consistent with the findings of multiple organizations, which have looked at my voting record and ranked me as one of the most independent Members of Congress. This ability and willingness to break from party that I have consistently shown is what the people of the 10th District deserve, it is what I promised when I first ran for Congress in 2010, and it is what I will continue to bring to Washington in the years ahead.

Nearly every piece of legislation I have introduced has been bipartisan because I truly believe the only way we can move our country forward is by working together. I recently joined the No Labels movement, a group of bipartisan lawmakers that is calling for an end to the gridlock in Washington. And this year I again sat with a Democrat colleague, Representative John Carney from Delaware, during the State of the Union to show our willingness to work in a bipartisan manner.

In recognition of the need to honestly confront our nation's crushing-and growing-debt burden, I have consistently called for a bold, bipartisan plan. This past October, I joined a bipartisan group of members who stepped forward and reached across party lines urging the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee or Supercommittee to "go big" and put forth a proposal that would reduce our deficit by at least $4 trillion. To achieve this, I called for all options to be on the table for discussion - including spending cuts, entitlement reforms and revenues.

Governing in a democracy requires compromise, and we need leaders who understand that - America can't be run in any other way.

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