District running for: IL 4th Congressional District
Political/civic background: Radio talk host, Advisor to former Governor Quinn
Occupation: Radio host, TV presenter, columnist
Education: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Truman College
Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board questionnaire responses
Q) What are your three top national legislative priorities for the country?
A) National security, job creation and improving the economy for working class families,
and immigration reform.
Q: What are the three most important issues in your district on which you believe the
federal government needs to act?
A) Creating and improving jobs, supporting quality education and schools, and
substantive immigration reform.
Q) What is your biggest fundamental difference with your opponent(s)?
A) I am an honest, hardworking person who is passionate about serving my community. I
am planning to be a Congressman in constant contact with people in my district. I want to
work across the aisle to create fundamental change. Through my career in media and
government I have been and will continue being a transparent individual and advocate for
Q) Will you pledge to make public: a) your campaign schedule; b) your fundraiser
schedule and the names of all fundraiser hosts ; c) if elected, your daily schedule of
meetings? If not, why not?
A) Yes, I pledge to make my campaign, fundraiser events, fundraiser hosts, and my daily
schedule of meetings public when I am your Congressman.
Q) Please list all relatives on public or campaign payrolls and their jobs on those
Q) What are the most important actions Congress can take to reduce the threat of ISIS
abroad and at home?
A) In order to prevent future attacks we need to act with immediacy at home. The U.S. government needs to intensify efforts to combat terrorist threats. Using San Bernardino as an example, U.S. authorities believed the suspects were radicalized; we need to determine how, when and where. I support President Obama’s call to Congress to pass legislation to address terrorist threats by passing a bill that would block individuals who are on a government no-- ]fly list from purchasing guns. When I am in Congress I will continue to support this. National Security should be a bipartisan issue. We need to reassure the American people that we are doing everything possible to prevent another San Bernardino tragedy. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and counterterrorism officials are hunting for people with ties to the Islamic State and I will ensure that counterterrorism efforts are properly funded. I believe we need to identify, monitor, and combat people in the U.S. pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. Many of these people are being influenced by social-- ]media campaigns and impressive videos that could convince someone to launch a domestic attack. American agencies also need better funding to track terrorist activity on the “dark web”. President Obama has mostly relied on airstrikes in Syria and Iraq to avoid having American and other western nations’ boots on the ground and I believe that is the right strategy for the time being. American lives should be protected and our counterterrorism work needs to be a priority for Congress.
Q) What bans, if any, do you support on Muslim admissions to the United States? Please
explain your position.
A) I do not support any bans based on religion or ethnicity. The U.S. is a country based
on freedom, we cannot be held hostage to the political rhetoric of hatred. These ideas go
against the values of tolerance the United States promotes. I also believe it undermines
and jeopardizes U.S. troops and diplomats in Muslim countries by creating a more hostile
environment. This is as reprehensible as thinking that all Mexican migrants are criminals
once they arrive in the United States. This would go against the values that the
Constitution was founded on, especially the amendments that guarantee religious
freedom and due process.
Q) Specifically, how would you have, or how did you, vote on the American Security
Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015 and its efforts to make it harder for Syrian
and Iraqi refugees to enter the U.S.? Please explain your position.
A) I would have voted no on the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act or
SAFE. First of all there has not been a mass exodus from Syria, at the moment there have
only been 1,600 Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. since 2011. The screening process
for refugees entering the U.S. is the most extensive vetting process of any visa. There are
several agencies involved in screening the refugees. We should be focusing the efforts of
SAFE to screen other types of visitors coming to the U.S. and counterterrorism efforts.
We cannot let political fear mongering be used to justify and deny a refugee’s entrance to
our country. This country was founded and is made up of immigrants just like myself. I
wanted a better opportunity and so do the refugees. There are several examples of people
who came to this country as refugees and are becoming hard working Americans.
Keeping our country safe will be a priority. I will make sure to reinforce the process of
scrutiny to anyone who wants to enter our country, but I will not support legislation that
would ultimately shut the doors to people who only seek to save their lives and their
Q) Do you support a Syrian no-fly zone or the U.S. enforcement of Syrian humanitarian
safe zones? Why or why not?
A) I believe the presence of Russian forces in Syria has further complicated the situation
in the area. In addition to engaging in air strikes against rebel forces, who oppose Assad,
Russia is also reportedly supplying anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria. A no-fly zone
requires UN Security Council resolution, which would probably be blocked by Russia
and China. A no-fly zone can negatively impact Syrian civilians in that area and block
any humanitarian aid that may come in.
Q) Regarding the House Benghazi Select Committee, should its investigation remain
open-ended, or should the panel be given a deadline to complete its work? Please
A) I believe that there should be a deadline to complete this work. America faces
dangerous situations abroad on a regular basis. With the findings of this committee we
can use that information to prevent any future attacks on Americans abroad. The U.S.
needs to make sure that the right resources are available to those Americans in other
countries. This committee should also have a deadline in order to use taxpayer dollars as
efficiently as possible. The resources being used on this committee could be allocated
elsewhere once the committee’s findings have been completed by the given date.
Q) What measures, if any, do you support to give U.S. authorities access to encrypted or
“dark web” communications about potential terrorist plots? Please explain.
A) As a matter of national security the U.S. authorities must have access to the “dark
web” and communications that happen within. Technology is rapidly evolving but the
laws in Washington have become stale and need to pick up the pace. This is a time when
a united Congress needs to step up and create laws that protect Americans from terrorists’
plots. This division of the FBI’s technology divisions’ funding has been stretched thin.
Our authorities need the proper funding and resources. As a nation we need to be able to
prevent terrorist attacks and not mourn them. However the privacy of our citizens must
Q) Do you support transferring the detention of terrorism suspects from Guantanamo
Bay to the United States? Why or why not?
A) Yes, I agree with transferring the detained terrorism suspects from Guantanamo Bay
to the United States. There are currently about 115 detainees at Guantanamo. Since the
Pentagon is considering bringing the remaining inmates to facilities in Colorado, Kansas,
and South Carolina as possible options, I see no harm in any of those. I remember that
Illinois was formerly candidate for these inmates. It is has been contemplated that the
prison would be under the administration of the Department of Defense. This relocation
plan would bring money and would create new jobs to the selected state. We must not let
politicians sow fear in our community.
Q) What is the single most important action Congress can take to reduce U.S. gun
A) The most important thing that Congress can do is to make this a bipartisan issue. By
working together realistic change can be made. Congress needs to pass a bill to have
comprehensive background checks and have thorough gun safety training, as well as
finding ways to combat illegal gun trafficking and working with local law enforcement to
get those weapons off of the street. Over 90% of Americans believe in these types of
background checks. I respect the constitution and the second amendment but it is
imperative that American families feel safe in their communities. No one knows that
better than the people in my district.
Q) Do you support or oppose the ‘‘Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous
Terrorists Act?” Please explain your position.
A) I support this act and believe it is a step in the right direction. As a country we cannot
have weapons in the hands of anyone who would want to harm American lives. However,
in order to do that there needs to be extensive measures laid out in these types of bills.
There should be a uniform data system that works between states and the federal
government to prevent information from falling through the cracks when it comes to
Q) Do you believe there is scientific evidence of climate change, and is it caused by
human activity? What is your position on the Paris climate change agreement?
A) I believe that human activity is the primary contributor to climate change. In recent
years pollution in the air has increased, water temperature is rising, and overall global
temperature has increased by more than 1 degree over the last century. There have been
no significant signs of improvement and our government needs to intervene. When in
Congress, I will support legislation that promotes green energy and encourages the uses
of cleaner sources in my district and throughout the country. I believe that the Paris
climate change agreement is a step in the right direction. It is great to see countries come
together to fight climate change. More than 190 nations agreed to try to keep the warming
level below 2 degrees Celsius and countries should begin to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. It is also important that developing nations use green energy as they continue
to progress and use more technology. It is an ambitious agreement but I am optimistic
that this will lead to a sustainable future for generations to come.
Q) What changes, if any, to the U.S. tax code do you support and why?
A) The U.S. tax code has become increasingly more complicated. As a nation we need to take measures to simplify it.
I will support legislation to change the tax code and to simplify and eliminate exemptions that favor only the wealthiest while reducing tax rates to the middle and lower class. This change would bring greater transparency to the tax system. Americans are calling for tax reform. It is a concern for the people of the 4th district and constituents have asked me to make it an important issue in my policy platform. Congress needs to update the tax code to relieve some of the burden on the American middle class.
Q) What are the most important actions Congress can take to ensure the solvency of
A) I believe that Social Security is a very important benefit and protecting that benefit
should be a top priority. I do not believe that reducing benefits will solve the problem. I
think that we should look to increase the payroll cap on contributions for those making
significantly more than the average wage earner. Also, by getting more lower and middle
class workers on the payroll, we will be able to fund those already in retirement and on
disability. I think that immigration reform will also help to address some of the funding
issues by allowing more immigrant workers to enter the country and start contributing.
Q) Do you support a “risk fee” on big banks? Why or why not?
A) I do support some type of risk fee on big banks to provide a deterrent to risky financial
behavior and to protect the American people from having to bail out these financial
institutions with their hard earned tax dollars.
Q) Should Obamacare be overturned, left intact, or changed — and if so how?
A) The Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be improved, specifically the major tenets to
expand accessibility and affordable coverage for American families. Some areas that can
be built upon include lowering the out-of-pocket costs associated with health insurance
such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments, as well as reducing the cost of
prescription drugs. I was a member of Governor Pat Quinn’s team that implemented the
ACA in Illinois, providing thousands of people the opportunity to enroll in health care
plans and gain coverage for the first time. I will work against Republican attempts to
repeal the ACA while continuing to support and defend it, as well as increasing
affordable options and financial assistance for those who are still unable to purchase
coverage on the health insurance marketplace. Ultimately, it is important to continue to
ensure that we are working to decrease cost, increase access, and improve quality and
efficiency of health care.
Q) Do you favor stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood? Why or why not?
A) I do not favor stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood. Services provided by
Planned Parenthood range from delivering reproductive health care and information, to
providing preventive services such as breast and cervical cancer screenings to millions of
women each year that otherwise could not afford care. I will continue to defend Planned
Parenthood and work against those who hope to slash critical funding for these social and
health services that save the lives of American women.
Q) President Obama used his executive powers to prevent the deportation of
"DREAMers—youths who came to the U.S. illegally as children with their parents. Would
you support legislation to prevent DREAMer deportations? Do you support putting
DREAMers on a path to citizenship?
A) Yes to both Dreamers questions.
I am glad to hear that the Supreme Court recently
announced that it will decide the fate of President Barack Obama's immigration actions in
this term. The actions are aimed at allowing millions of undocumented immigrants
known as Dreamers (DACA program) and their parents (DAPA program) to apply for
programs that could make them eligible for work authorization and associated benefits
for at least 5 years. However, I would like to take this news cautiously. Let’s remember
that this is an election year and that many things could happen. We do not know who will
win the presidency in November and that outcome will be a major factor that will
influence our goal of achieving an immigration law that benefits the majority of
immigrant families. This is a temporary action that benefits only a fraction of eligible
immigrants. We need comprehensive immigration reform. We need to keep fighting in
Washington and create a new strategy with a new approach. My goal is to turn these
executive actions into actual legislation.
Q) What congressional reforms do you favor to address America’s student loan crisis?
A) The goal of any student loan program should be to support anyone who wants and is
able to go to college. We can help that by making the student loan process more
equitable and easier to understand. I also think that the federal government should not try
to make money off of students who borrow money to go to college. I would support an
income based repayment system for borrowers that would cap at a reasonable rate. I also
support the option for college graduates to refinance their federal loans to take advantage
of current market rates and would support a cap on interest rates for federal student loans
taken going forward. I also think we should eliminate the practice of interest
capitalization on student loans. I support tax breaks for interest on student loans and
childcare costs for people who need it to go to college.