Position sought: U.S. Representative, 6th Congressional District
Political party: Democrat
E-mail address: email@example.com
Phone: Office Phone: 224-484-8897; Cell: 847-770-1176
Address: 231 W. Main Street, Suite 225, Carpentersville, IL 60110
Campaign committee: Petzel for Congress
Facebook: Petzel for Congress
Age: 28, Born on March 14, 1983
Family: Married to Melissa Petzel
Education: B.S. Public Administration from Indiana University
Occupation: Executive Director, Friends of the Fox River
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices:
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
As the Executive Director of Friends of the Fox River I work on state legislative issues almost daily. For instance, I authored a bill that is currently in front of the Illinois Senate that would close a loophole that allows Forest Preserve land from being mined for coal or gravel. I have spent the last 14 years working on public policy issues throughout Illinois and Indiana.
In addition, I started a manufacturing company that produced products here in the United States. I understand the difficulties faced by small business owners and can speak from experience when I talk about the barriers that exist for small and mid-size manufacturers.
Finally, I own a small business where we purchase homes in poor condition and renovate the properties. Our investments help stabilize communities, property values, and the tax base. Because of my involvement in the housing industry I am well prepared to deal with the housing and foreclosure crisis many families in the 6th District are facing every day.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
Our top priority must be to create jobs and economic fairness in this country. We should immediately pass a significant spending package to invest in infrastructure such as public transit, roads and bridges, and our power grid. This spending will create immediate jobs and give our economy a boost. However, government spending is not a long-term solution. We must also create fairness in our tax code by allowing the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire, close corporate tax loopholes and eliminate subsidies for oil and gas companies. Once these things are done, I agree with the Obama Administration that corporate tax rates should be lowered to make American manufacturing more competitive in the world marketplace.
In addition to jobs and the economy I firmly believe we must reform our health care system. With states like Illinois facing massive cuts to Medicaid, federal healthcare expenditures escalating, and insurance premiums rising at a rate that is hurting middle class families, we must take bold and decisive action. I have put forth an extensive plan to establish a universal, single-payer health care system that will lower costs for employers, employees and states and will not increase federal healthcare spending. I believe no person should have to make a decision between life-saving medical care and a mountain of debt and we must establish a universal single-payer health care system.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
Official name of your campaign commitee (if you have one).
Petzel for Congress
How do you define a small business and what can government do to support them that isn't being done?
The federal government can help support small businesses by creating a fair tax system that rewards job creation and innovation. Our current system fails to reward small businesses, rather it rewards large corporations who can hire lobbyists to manipulate the tax code in their favor. A good example of this is General Electric. GE made $14 billion in profits last year but paid ZERO in taxes. If we reform our tax system to close these unfair loopholes and reward small businesses with tax breaks or tax incentives for job creation we can level the playing field and allow a new generation of small businesses and manufacturers to thrive.
What steps would you take to reduce the federal deficit? If it includes tax increases, what taxes? And if it involves federal service cuts, which?
There are a number of steps that can be taken in the short term to balance our budget and reduce the deficit. First, we should allow an expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Second we must withdraw our troops from Afghanistan (saving $8 billion per week). Finally, we must take a serious look at every department and program to identify where we can operate more efficiently. Although I do not support across the board budget cuts, I do believe we can identify saving across the board. As an example, Medicaid pays out an estimated $50 billion annually in fraudulent claims. We can save money in the Medicaid system without impacting coverage simply by identifying fraud.
What should the government do to create more jobs?
The Congress should pass a comprehensive infrastructure investment package and create a fairer tax system. Just as important, the Congress needs to work together to boost business and consumer confidence. That can only be accomplished if our elected officials are doing everything they possibly can to make our lives better.
Should there be repercussions for legislators who don’t read bills, and how do you enforce that?
Yes, the voters should decide that their Congressman isn't doing his job and he should be voted out of office.
Should the “No Child Left Behind Act” set different measurements than now for economically disadvantaged students, special education students, students learning English as a second language, etc?
I believe the entire No Child Left Behind legislation should be repealed. We should be rewarding innovation in the classroom, not creating a set of rules that encourages teachers to "teach a test". While standardized test scores serve as a valuable guide to school achievement the standards should be set by local school districts or the State, not the federal government.
Should federal immigration policy be changed, and if so how?
I believe that our policy on immigration is flawed. First, we must deal with illegal immigration in a compassionate manner. While I support stricter Border Patrol enforcement, we should also provide illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship. Dick Durbin's DREAM ACT is a good start. It allows a pathway to citizenship for people who have been in this country for many years and requires military service or a college education. The bill also requires that the person speak English and not have a criminal background. When someone is willing to fight for our country in our military shouldn't they deserve citizenship?
Our legal immigration policy is also flawed. I believe that our system should encourage well educated professional to stay in this country, not simply get an education and leave. The future inventors, doctors, engineers and scientists that come here for college and go back to their home country should be encouraged to stay. For America to remain a leader in the world we must retain the brain power that we often seem to develop and export.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, and what should government’s role in those issues?
I believe very strongly in individual freedom. Those freedoms include a woman's right to an abortion or access to contraception. I believe same-sex marriage should be allowed and welcomed.
The role of the federal government should not be to restrict an individual from making a choice or being treated equally. Rather, the role of the federal government should be to ensure that no persons individual rights are restricted by a state or a particular segment of society. That fundamental belief stems from our founders belief that people should be free to choose their own destiny.
Are there certain things you think could be reasonably taxed (fuel, entertainment, luxuries, etc.)?
What should minimum wage be and through what method should increases be determined?
I believe that the minimum wage should be replaced with a "living wage". A living wage would set a minimum pay, adjusted for cost of living and inflation, so that a person working a full time job doesn't have to live in poverty. It would be based on national poverty level incomes and would likely be above $10 per hour in the Chicagoland area. If a person is working full time they should be able to earn enough money to support themselves- our current minimum wage does not meet that standard.
How would you find a better balance between relieving the tax burden and funding services?
The tax burden should be shifted back to a balance for all Americans. Right now, the tax burden in this country falls on the middle class while large corporations and the richest Americans don't pay their fair share of taxes. If we redistribute the burden so it is fair for everyone we will be able to fund our services and have equality within the tax system. The problem is not that the middle class pays too high of a tax rate, the problem is the corporations and wealthiest Americans are avoiding their fair share.
Bi-partisanship is given a lot of lip service by congressional members. Tell us how you would work with members of the opposite party?
The 6th Congressional District is unique because the incumbent is a member of the Republican leadership in Washington. Congressman Roskam in the #4 person in charge in the US House and he deserves much of the blame for the continued partisan divide in Washington.
When I am elected, before I am sworn in, I will meet with leaders from both sides of the aisle to try and identify key areas of potential compromise. I think that we can find common ground if we share a common goal of improving the lives of the citizens we are elected to represent. Certainly there will continue to be ideological divides between the parties, but even when there is discourse, we can maintain respect for each other.
The largest problem though, is the process itself. Many times it appears our elected officials aren't doing what's best for us, rather they are doing what's best for their re-election or financial backers. I think we should institute fundamental reforms to campaign finance and get the money out of Washington. If you do that, our politicians will begin to think more about how their decisions impact us, not just how their decisions impact their campaign fundraising.
Do you think some or all of the health care bill should be repealed? What can the government do to provide more access and affordability to health care?
After suffering a massive heart attack in August of 2011 while being without health insurance, my view on health care has dramatically changed. In fact, the reason I decided to run for Congress is because I don't want any person to ever have to make a choice between life-saving medical care and a mountain of debt like I did.
I believe that the Affordable Care Act had good intentions and did a few good things but is a public policy failure because it did not accomplish enough. The law prevents people from being denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions, allows children to stay on their parents insurance until they are 26, and covers prescription drug holes in the Medicare system. These are all positive developments.
The law also adds 30 million people to the Medicaid roles. While it is a positive that 30 million more Americans will now have basic coverage, the financial burden to states like Illinois where the Governor is proposing $2.7 billion in Medicaid cuts is astronomical. In 2014, due to the Affordable Care Act, Illinois will face an extra $150-$450 million in annual Medicaid expenses at a time when we can afford our current responsibilities. While the law had good intentions and was better than doing nothing at all it failed to deal with the fundamental problems of rising costs both for families and state budgets.
I have proposed a universal, single-payer system that would provide health insurance to every American, would not increase federal or state spending, and would lower insurace costs for the average American family and employer. The plan meets the needs of every aspect of the health care spectrum from doctors to patients to employers and the federal government. I believe that we must make it a top priority to provide health insurance to every American because health care is not a privlege, it is a right.
What should government’s role be in private sector finance?
The federal government can assist fledgling industries with subsidies and incentives if those industries are in the national interest. The government can also provide tax breaks to certain industries such as American manufacturers who create new jobs. We should also regulate the private sector to protect consumers from fraud and deception.
The one role the government should not play is as a lender. Never again should we bail out a bank for taking on too much risk or for ignoring good accounting practices.
Who are your political heroes and why?
I respect both Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson, but for different reasons.
President Johnson was responsible for signing the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and also implementing Medicare and Medicaid. He also was responsible for starting a discussion on national environmental policy that led to the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts in the years ahead. I believe that President Johnson's domestic policy was focused on equality and improving peoples lives- values that sometimes seem lost in Washington. While I think he made significant errors in regards to Vietnam, on the domestic policy side I believe Lyndon Johnson made the right choices for the right reasons.
I also believe that President Clinton was a tremendous leader. He was able to accomplish a balanced budget and surplus, significant environmental protections, and lead a wave of economic prosperity while dealing with a divisive political atmosphere in Washington. His firm positions coupled with his willingness to compromise for the best interests of the nation are what I admire most about President Clinton.
Following the troop withdrawal from Iraq, what do you think is the future of the war on terror?
The "war on terror" never was about Iraq. I believe that the threat of terrorist is and will remain to be the single largest threat to American safety. The Obama Administration has focused on eliminating terrorist camps, financing, and communications. I believe the use of drones and small Special Forces operations to deal with terrorism are far superior alternatives then the large scale ground war strategy sought by the Bush Administration. I believe the Obama Administration's approach is the future of the "war on terror."
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, sued successfully or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain.