Local Elections

Debbie Halvorson, Candidate for Congress (2nd District)

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Candidate Full Name: Debbie Halvorson
Office: 2nd Congressional District
Party: Democrat
Email Address: info@debbiehalvorson.com
Web Site: www.debbiehalvorson.com
Campaign Name: Halvorson For Congress
Campaign Office Mailing Address: 15 W 34th St, Steger, IL 60457
Phone: 708-898-0550

1. How would your representation of your constituents be different from what they've experienced the past 17 years?
I think the best way to answer this question is to point to my 20 years of public service on the city, state and federal level. I secured over $651 million for the district that put thousands of people back to work while investing in our first responders, transportation infrastructure, and local schools. Together with partners in government and the private sector, we created over 7,000 new jobs with the development of the CenterPoint Intermodal facility.
On top of the economic development accomplishments, I'm proud to have secured and successfully brought back to my district a state-of-the-art veterans mega clinic. As a long time advocate for equal pay, I was proud to be a co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

And I prided myself on being a seen and accessible congressperson. In my first year in Congress, I held over 350 events throughout my district and held over 25 open community events, town halls and open office hours, speaking with hundreds of constituents directly, without an appointment to address their concerns and deal with casework issues. I helped return over $657,074 to individual 11th District constituents during my time in Congress, by helping to cut through red tape in federal bureaucracies to assist seniors, veterans and other constituents. And I successfully closed over 1,300 constituent cases.

I got into public service to serve the people. To bring good jobs to our community. To cut through the government red tape and to do whatever I could to make each person's life a little easier. I think its clear to say that is how I would serve the 2nd Congressional District.

2. 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?
I believe our number one priority should be getting our economy back on track and creating jobs. When people are working they no longer need social services such as unemployment insurance. Instead they pay taxes and our local, state and federal governments receive more revenue. This will reduce our budget deficits and reduce our national debt.
However, this alone will not solve the problem. For eight years under the Bush Administration, Congress spent money we didn't have and gave tax cuts to the wealthy that we couldn't afford. Now as we face a record national debt every expert on the budget as well as the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform concluded that raising revenue must be part of the overall solution to reducing the national debt along with reductions in spending.
I believe everyone needs to pay their fair share of taxes and for too long the top 1% of earners in this country have received tax breaks as middle-income Americans have struggled to pay for basic necessities. This problem is exemplified by recent reports that Warren Buffet's tax rate is lower than his secretary's tax rate. This is simply unfair. We must fix this problem by reforming the tax code, and we must also ensure that the most vulnerable in our societyseniors, extremely low-income individuals, the disableddo not go without basic needs just to provide tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. We must also eliminate the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000. Recent reports have shown these types of tax breaks for the wealthy do not result in increased investments and job creation, instead the wealthy have increased their savings and it has cost us billions of dollars.
We must make some necessary reforms to get spending under control. I believe in order to reduce our budget deficit we should rely on both revenue increases and spending cuts. We can do this by following the bipartisan Fiscal Commission proposal to cap discretionary spending at 2011 levels. While this would be challenging it would still allow for the full funding of vital federal programs to ensure the most vulnerable in our society are not left out in the cold during these hard economic times. We could also make some adjustments to entitlement programs to save money without reducing benefits for those who have paid into Social Security and Medicare.

3. How would you help create jobs in your district?
My top priority will be creating good-paying, local jobs that cannot be shipped overseas. We can do this by investing in our transportation infrastructure, bringing manufacturing back to the Southland, and helping small businesses grow and create jobs. The bipartisan fiscal cliff deal extended expensing tax incentives for small businesses that invest in new equipment. When I previously served in Congress, I sponsored legislation to increase loan guarantees through the Small Business Administration, to help small businesses better access the capital they need to grow. Eliminating tax incentives to ship manufacturing jobs overseas will save good paying American jobs and providing tax incentives to small businessesour true job creatorsto hire more workers.
I believe that because the 2nd District is at the crossroads of several modes of transportationroads, rail, waterways, and morethere is an opportunity to attract businesses and manufacturers by investing in new transportation infrastructure to meet the growing population and ensure manufacturers have access to raw materials and customers across the country. I will fight to secure a seat on the powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and to pass a longer-term highway authorization bill once the current extension expires. This will allow for long-term investments in transportation infrastructure to create jobs and support economic development.
By working with state and local officials, I have made it a priority to fight for investments in projects that will allow local businesses to expand and attract new businesses to the region. One project I was proud to be part of was the development of a new intermodal facility in Will County. This project created 7,000 construction and long-term jobs and will attract manufacturers that want to access necessary transportation infrastructure to transport their goods putting people in the southland back to work. We can do the same thing in the 2nd District and that's what I plan to do.
I will continue to work with state and local leaders on large scale projects like the development of the Illiana and the Third Airport. When I served in Congress I brought Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to my district to highlight the importance of the Illiana project, which is now moving forward with a preferred route agreed to by Illinois, Indiana, and federal authorities. I will also work on projects like the South East Service on Metra, the extension of the CTA Red Line, the completion of an interchange at I-57 and I-294, and expansion of the Harvey Intermodal rail yard.
These long-term, large-scale projects will create thousands of jobs. However, projects like this will not happen overnight. I have a proven record of getting the job done instead of just talking about it, and I understand it is necessary to bring together leaders from the federal, state and local levels as well as the private-sector to deliver on these types of projects. Projects like these will never become a reality if the 2nd District has a representative distracted by ethical problems and determined to work alone and without the support of state and local leaders.
 

4. Do you support stricter guns laws? If so, what would you propose?
I support universal background checks and registration of firearms, stronger laws going after straw buyers, and ending the gun show loophole. We also need to provide the resources to our law enforcement to go after the criminals.
 

5. Do you support changes to transportation infrastructure, such as extending the CTA Red Line to 130th Street or building a third airport in Peotone?
The 2nd District has the infrastructureClass I railroad, interstates, major waterways, and intermodal facilitiesto lead the region on economic development. These modes of transportation don't just connect our communities; they have the potential to bring economic development back to our neighborhoods and create jobs for our families.
Whether it's working with government and private sector partners to create over 7,000 new jobs at the CenterPoint Intermodal facility or bringing together state and local stakeholders to develop a plan to build the Illiana Expressway, I know how to get beyond just talking about a projectI know how to get the job done.
In just two years, I fought to bring home over $651 million to create thousands of jobs by investing in our communities and our local infrastructure.
Our diverse infrastructure and our strong workforce provide an opportunity for the 2nd District to be the driver of economic development for the region. I will fight for projects like the I-294/I-57 interchange, Illiana Expressway and the South Suburban Airport that provide opportunities to bring economic development to the area and put people back to work.
I will work to find the resources to build the South East Service, extend the Red Line, and a high-speed rail station on the Rock Island line to build upon our unique transit assets. I will also work with regional organizations to complete the Calumet River Trail and the Burnham Trail Connection to enhance public trail access to our world class natural environment.

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