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Your Choices For Congress: Jan Schakowsky, 9th District

Get to know the candidates for Congress who will be on the Nov. 6 ballot. Schakowsky, a Democrat and longtime incumbent, is being challenged by Republican Tim Wolfe.

 

Patch sat down recently with the two candidates running in Illinois' 9th Congressional District, Democrat Jan Schakowsky, the incumbent, and Republican Tim Wolfe, to get information on their views. 

Our questions, and Rep. Schakowsky's answers, follow.

Patch: As you go around the 9th district, which issues are people talking about the most? What is it that has people worried or concerned?

Schakowsky: Issues related to the economy are clearly the main thing. People in my district are concerned about issues such as  health care, housing foreclosure and being able to send their kids to college. Seniors are very worried that Republicans want to cut their Medicare and Social Security, and there’s always lots of various immigrant issues. The district is very immigrant rich and our office is well known for trying to help people get visas and deal with immigration status and concerns. I always hear a lot of that at events.

And I would say the other thing I’m hearlng lately is from women who are very concerned about attacks on women’s rights and women’s reproductive health.  They’re amazed that in the year 2012 there’s all this threat to the availability of contraception. They’re completely outraged by the remarks of Todd Akin, which have underscored the attack on abortion even in cases of rape or incest, forcing women to bear the child of their rapist. 

And just in general, this overall war on women that is taking place. That includes economic issues and the failure to pass the paycheck fairness act. Equal pay for equal work—that still seems to be controversial.

And we’re hearing that, by the way, from independent and formerly Republican women, too.

(Schakowky elaborated on other issues, such as jobs and health care, elsewhere in this interview.)

How are you addressing those issues in Congress?

Schakowsky: I'm a very active member of the pro-choice caucus in the House of Representatives, and I've worked very hard in the development of the Affordable Care Act, which I proudly call Obamacare because Obama does care,  and to protect access to contraception and to protect women’s right to have a legal abortion, through exchanges that’ll be set up in 2014.

And just to fight back against the dozens of bills that would seek to limit women’s rights to contraception and abortion and even in vitro  fertilization.  It’s just an amazing succession of bills.

What's the best way to get the economy moving again? 

As a member of the Simpson Bowles Commission, I offered my own plan that protects Social Security and Medicare while while balancing the budget and getting rid of the deficit. I’ve been a supporter of the president's plan to end the Bush tax cuts.

(A recent press release stating Schakowsky's opposition to the Simpson Bowles plan, which she says would reduce the deficit by unacceptably taking away from seniors, the middle class and low-income families, can be found here. This site also describes the alternative she proposed.)

What is the best way to stimulate the creation of jobs?

We do that by making investments in infrastructure and funding education, so we have an educated workforce. Making those kinds of long-term investments. 

The other thing is, government can help to create jobs. My bill would have hired more teachers, firefighters and police. Lots of public sector workers are being laid off. 

Having them paying in to taxes, we could reduce our deficit. We can do much better to create new jobs.

(Schakowsky made reference to her jobs bill, which her website says will create more than two million jobs within two years, to be paid for by raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires, eliminating subsidies for oil companies and eliminating loopholes for companies which ship jobs overseas.)

I’ve been actively involved in all these issues. It’s been a tough session with Congress because the Tea Party has been holding most of the Republican representatives hostage. Republicans have been sabotaging the economy.

Despite that, 4.5 million jobs have been created and we’ve had 27 months of straight job growth, no thanks to Republicans.

What approach do you favor to provide health care to citizens?

Serving as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which was the principal author of the Affordable Care Act (sometimes called Obamacare), it has a number of provisions, some of which are less well known, such as protections for people in nursing homes and prescription drugs and protecting and expanding the benefits of Medicare.

Far from having benefits cut, we actually, expanded those benefits, mainly in preventive service,  and by sharing the cost of prescription drugs for seniors. 

Improving Medicare was a high priority of mine.

(A summary of Schakowsky's actions and positions on health care can be found here.)

What can be done to prevent random shootings such as the one at the Batman movie in Aurora, Colo.?

Schakowsky: This is a district where the notion of sensible gun legislation is quite popular. It's been frustrating that for several years now in Congress, the very idea of passing any kind of regulation of firearms, including automatic weapons, has not surfaced in any serious way. One would have thought that with mass shootings in schools and with Gabbie Giffords and on the streets of Chicago every weekend, and throughout our country, that we would do something to control the number of guns, the size of the magazines, the use of automatic weapons. 

The NRA (National Rifle Association) right now has a hammerlock hold on Congress, and until people organize and say enough is enough, I don’t see us  passing even the most modest legislation to regulate guns. Why anybody needs a weapon that can shoot 100 rounds in a matter of seconds is beyond me. U saw  right in mg one of stores that has sold the most guns is right there—sun-times.

Ilinois is the only state that does not have the right to carry a concealed weapon. We’re the ony ones. The danger is obvious. And parts of the solution are obvious. We could make our communities safer. But the NRA typically won’t hear of it.

Many college students are getting into tremendous debt, and will be saddled with these debts as they graduate into a sluggish economy. What can be done about this?

 Schakowsky: Let me just say student debt now exceeds all credit card debt and all auto loan debt. However, the income over your lifetime is higher if you’ve graduated from college.

One of the things, and we just had a meeting with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity,  is identifying the companies that need employees and then identifying people who need jobs where either their skills or interests match those jobs-- and helping to subsidize employers to train people to do that job. I met with some manufacturers in the district who have done some hiring under a program like that.  People were pre-screened...to be trained at their companies, and they have hired dozens of people. It’s a pretty successful model.

I was involved in making sure the interest rates on Stafford loans didn’t double, and, along with Rep. Quigley and Sen. Durbin, we held a forum on student loans, hearing testimony from some young people on how difficult life is because of the high cost of a college education, and hearing from Attorney General Lisa Madigan on problems with for-profit institutions, some of which are engaged in fraud. 

Due to partisan politics, it has become increasingly difficult for political parties to work together, compromise and get things done. What can be done about this?

Schakowsky: People who have been in Congress 30-some years have never seen this. This is a new phenomenon. People in the Tea Party came to Congress with the idea they would not compromise. They have held Republicans and the entire House of Representatives hostage. They think compromise is a dirty word. They’ve signed the Norquist pledge of "not one penny in new taxes."

It is not the Democrats who have dug their heels in the sand. A number of the Republicans who have been more open to compromise have been threatened in primary elections and several have lost those primary elections.  Norm Ornstein at amer enterprise institute wrote a book w Thomas manning, a right leaning institution wri editorial in wash opost said let’s be honest it’s the republicans. And of course compromise is our business. Nobody gets 100 percent of what they want. They’re holding Republicans' feet to fire. That’s the gridlock.

Are there any other issues you'd like to comment on?

Schakowsky: We have a very robust public services offices for the district--constituent services. We’ve been able to save or recover our contituents $2.5 million in checks, refunds and benefits they’ve been unable to get on thir own. We help a lot with immigration issues.  We’ll cut through the red tape. We take enormous pride and put a lot of time and energy into helping constituents, regardless of party, and helping people solve their problems. People should not hesitate to call our office –we can help with Social Security problems, mail delivery and more. 

Also, international politics is of great interest to me, including women around the globe and the safety and security of Israel. I serve on the intelligence committee in Congress. I am concerned about the balance between security and liberties.

Guido McGinty September 17, 2012 at 03:31 PM
"I've worked very hard in the development of the Affordable Care Act, which I proudly call Obamacare because Obama does care" I have just suffered a reversal on my breakfast. Can I get a mandate for insurance to cover my politician-induced vomiting?
Guido McGinty September 17, 2012 at 03:51 PM
"The other thing is, government can help to create jobs. My bill would have hired more teachers, firefighters and police." This is not job creation. It is job redistribution through force. Since the State cannot create wealth, it cannot create jobs by definition.
Guido McGinty September 17, 2012 at 03:55 PM
"Why anybody needs a weapon that can shoot 100 rounds in a matter of seconds is beyond me." It is not a question of need. The question centers around the State's power to ban them in the face of the plain text of the second amendment. "Ilinois is the only state that does not have the right to carry a concealed weapon." Of course we have the right. Whether or not a right has been criminalized by our betters has no bearing on the determination of a right. Rights predate the State. The State does not grant rights.
Guido McGinty September 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM
"One of the things, and we just had a meeting with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, is identifying the companies that need employees and then identifying people who need jobs where either their skills or interests match those jobs-- and helping to subsidize employers to train people to do that job." Subsidies are not a proper function of the State.
Tony September 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
>Due to partisan politics, it has become increasingly difficult for political parties to work together, compromise and get things done. What can be done about this? Schakowsky: People who have been in Congress 30-some years have never seen this. This is a new phenomenon. People in the Tea Party came to Congress with the idea they would not compromise. They have held Republicans and the entire House of Representatives hostage. They think compromise is a dirty word. They’ve signed the Norquist pledge of "not one penny in new taxes." What a joke. Yeah... it's such an inconvenience now that people are trying to reign in an uncontrollable government. If they would all just fall in line with the Left, we'd all be much better off. As long as we allow ourselves to be ruled by the masterminds like Jan, everything will be fine. Gimme a break.
Danni September 17, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Tony-thank you-my point of view, exactly-and when they criticize Joe Walsh for giving his word, keeping his word-he is attacked for honesty-but, they twisted left doesn't understand, agree to or want honesty-the facts of the theft and corruption speak(er) maddeningly(madiganyly) loudly and clearly-we all must leave Illinois before we are required to apply for emigration and are prohibited from taking our money or belongings, except our babuska.
Eric Lieberman September 17, 2012 at 08:43 PM
What troubles me is the sound of dispair in Rep Schakowsky's responses. She seems dazed, confused and frustrated by the realities of living in a democracy where the diversity of people and their ideas nurture society. It is disappointing that her answers lack any inspiration, a critical leadership trait. True leaders should find energy and information in "political" conflict. They learn to harness this energy for the common good. They don't just stand like a deer in the headlights and use the conflict as an excuse to explain why they can't accomplish great things. When I took over a software company, its various departments were deep within intracompany conflict. Nothing was getting done because each department considered only its own needs and desires. I didn't have the option of telling my board of directors and shareholders that I couldn't do my job of turning the company around because the departments did not agree on issues. I learned how to use the energy of the conflict to fuel the turnaround. It worked. Shackowsky and government officials like her seem to have no problem reporting to their boards and shareholders - the voters - that they are being defeated by party conflict. I'd have been fired if I had behaved that way. Our representatives shouldn't be able to hide behind conflict. Instead, they should be showing us how they've harnessed the energy conflict and built winning solutions. That's what I would do. Eric Lieberman www.LiebermanForIllinois.com
Tony September 17, 2012 at 09:54 PM
We have three co-equal branches of government with the House of Representatives accurately referred to as “The People’s House”. “The People” spoke in a big way in the 2010 elections and it seems that Rep Schakowsky has little regard for that election. The house has submitted spending and budget bills only to have them ignored. The Senate is controlled by Democrats yet they will not work (i.e compromise) with the Republican house because I assume they are afraid that actually presenting and voting on a comprehensive budget will embarrass some of their members who may vote for bigger cuts than the Democratic leadership wants. This is not leadership. If you look at Jan’s website, her prepared press releases, her phony community appearances...she is truly a political pro, a political insider, an entrenched incumbent with little connection to the district she represents. We, the people of Evanston, Skokie, Morton Grove, etc ARE NOT THIS LEFT WING!!! why do we continue to re-elect her????? Sadly, as a community, we are not as informed as we should be. I don’t know how to solve that. Man I wish there were term limits.
TakeBackIllinois September 17, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Ms. Schakowsy's answer to a growing economy is to create more public sector jobs without any private sector solutions? She is deeply out of touch with the economic needs of her Congressional District and the private sector needs of her constituents. Her interviews during and after the Democratic convention left me wondering if she had splintered off to a ultra-left wing of the party she is representing.
Guido McGinty September 18, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Have you been to Evanston?
Danni September 18, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Trevor Louden, author of Agenda, the Grinding Down of America, claims that Schakowsky is a card-carrying Communist, literally, not figuratively. She has the most liberal voting record of all the representatives, a husband who was jailed for check-kiting, would like to see doctors unionized under ACA and doesn't understand that compromise brought to this day of State and Federal bankruptcy. Even if she were far-right radical, she is still without the grasp of reality and understanding of the economics in today's world. Much like her President and his fed chairman..
Tim Wolfe September 18, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Jan Schakowsky has been in office for 14 years and is a major part of the problem in Washington. (Has she ever offered anything but negative, destructive comments about anything Republican?) Additionally, she, like President Obama, have no real ideas about how to get business growing and generating new jobs. It's not really rocket science. The incentive of lower taxes, less (and smarter) regulation, and real reform of entitlement programs would be good places to start.
Concerned Patriot September 22, 2012 at 03:54 AM
You do realize the 2nd amendment includes the phrase "well-regulated", yes?
Concerned Patriot September 22, 2012 at 03:56 AM
"Subsidies are not a proper function of the State." Tell that to all the Tea Party Congressmen who keep fighting tooth and nail to protect taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and to Benedict Arnold companies that ship American jobs overseas. By the way Mitt Romney got a subsidy for his dancing horse that was in the Olympics. You and I paid for that pretty horse with our tax dollars.
Concerned Patriot September 22, 2012 at 04:02 AM
This is curious. We have had lower taxes since Pres. Bush put in the tax cuts under the Republican-led Congress at the start of his term. This action alone by W led to the busting of the debt-reducing surplus and brought back an era of massive gov't deficits. Where are the jobs? The Republicans held the middle class hostage when those tax cuts were set to expire in 2010 as Pres. Bush had planned so the tax cuts were extended. Where are the jobs? The Stimulus Package that Tea Partiers like to rail against was mostly tax cuts. In fact, that legislation included the biggest middle class tax cut in history. And yet Tea Partiers not only complain about that middle class tax cut but also complain that that tax cut didn't create jobs. Curious.
Eric Lieberman September 22, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Just in case you missed them the first time around, here are some Patch blogs I posted about Rep Schakowsky: --->Schakowsky Bain Protest Blows The Opportunity (http://tinyurl.com/8vulhag) --->Jan a "No Show" - But the Show Goes On (http://tinyurl.com/9n9r2dz) --->Bright Horizons Presents A Dilema for Some Evanstonians (http://tinyurl.com/8algdfz) Eric Lieberman ejlieberman@gmail.com www.liebermanforillinois.com
Guido McGinty September 22, 2012 at 03:43 PM
"Tell that to all the Tea Party Congressmen who keep fighting tooth and nail to protect taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil and to Benedict Arnold companies that ship American jobs overseas." I tell it to anyone that wants to listen/read. A business exists to make money, full stop. When tax and regulatory policy beg companies to move and keep jobs and profits overseas, it's little wonder that they do so. As a patriot yourself, you should understand that there is no such thing as corporate patriotism, the concept is pure gibberish. How can you call a company "Benedict Arnold" that responds to forceful incentives from the Total State?
Concerned Patriot September 22, 2012 at 05:21 PM
You seem to be confused. Giving companies a tax break to send American jobs overseas is "Total State" how? Taking away those tax incentives for outsourcing would turn the market into a free market. Right now it is Republican policies that have turned it into a false market from what should be a free market. Republican bass ackwards tax policy encourages traitor companies to send American jobs overseas. A free market would not give companies subsidies for destroying American jobs. A free market would be neutral. What'll they do when all the jobs have gone to China? What Americans will be left that can afford to buy Made In China junk? Democrats want to return to a free market where companies are no longer given tax money to send American jobs to China. Republicans keep blocking them and saying that's anti-business.
Guido McGinty September 22, 2012 at 06:17 PM
"Giving companies a tax break to send American jobs overseas is "Total State" how?" How can congresswine get their hands on money that was earned in another country? The fact that they don't tax worldwide income until repatriation is neither a break nor a subsidy. "Taking away those tax incentives for outsourcing would turn the market into a free market." Taxing a corporation at the 35% statutory rate on worldwide income has nothing to do with a free market. This is laughable. "What'll they do when all the jobs have gone to China? What Americans will be left that can afford to buy Made In China junk?" May I suggest some research into comparative advantage? http://www.econlib.org/library/Topics/Details/comparativeadvantage.html "Democrats want to return to a free market" Dear Lord.
Guido McGinty September 22, 2012 at 06:18 PM
How will higher taxes create jobs? Is that really an argument that you want to make?
Guido McGinty September 22, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Sure, in reference to a militia. Guess what Sparky, you're in the militia. The independent clause of the sentence does not contain that phrase.
Guido McGinty September 22, 2012 at 06:41 PM
To get a better idea of your position, I am curious to know what you think US taxes should be in the following hypothetical example. I'll assume zero subsidies for green energy: -GE earns a profit of $100,000 as a result of their operations in China. -China taxes them at the statutory rate of 25%, or $25k, leaving $75k post tax. If you were the benevolent dictator in the US, what, if anything, would you charge GE on their tax bill for the China operations?
RebelPundit September 24, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Where are Tim Wolfe's answers?
Pam DeFiglio (Editor) September 24, 2012 at 04:09 AM
@RebelPundit, Tim Wolfe's answers are in the Niles-Morton Grove Patch Election Central--which contains all the candidates' answers. http://patch.com/A-xWdP
Lori Lippitz November 05, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Jan Schakowsky is popular because she works very hard on behalf of each and every member of her district. Those who have appealed to her for help, or who follow her record, know that she is about service, not self-service. I'm sorry to see that people who may or may not come from a generalized ideological standpoint feel the most compelled to respond to this intelligent and informative interview.

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