The following are the principles against which Jeanne Ives measures any policy position:
As a state legislator, I fought to reform systems failing both those served by government and those funding government. I stood up to both parties against tax hikes, unbalanced budgets and job killing regulations. When I was elected to the state legislature, I promised to be a lobbyist for the taxpayers. I kept that promise.
My opponent has been a lobbyist for his own interests in Congress. In office less than a year, he complained that his $174,000 per year salary was “peanuts,” and backed Congressional pay raises. Rather than reform the system, Sean Casten works the system. In 2008, he secured $8 million in taxpayer-funded subsidies for his family’s company. As a Congressman, he has pushed for similar special deals to benefit his own company, and special interests. He voted to raise taxes on 90% of Americans. When CARES Act negotiations began, Congressman Casten didn’t look out for the businesses that were shut down or the families who were suffering in his district. Instead he wrote a letter to Nancy Pelosi pushing for energy subsidies that would benefit his own company. He went on – in the midst of COVID – to push an estimated $16 trillion energy deal that has no hope of reversing climate change, but would subsidize companies like his own.
My opponent has stated that “Bipartisanship is overrated. I’m serious.” By contrast, as a state legislator, I worked with Democrats on issues like health care access, protecting condo owners and reforming higher education contracts.
Sean Casten refused to stand up to the corruption in his own party to reform the corruption in their ranks or to disavow increasingly radical ideas, like Defund the Police. I opposed both parties when they passed unbalanced budgets and tax hikes. I never wavered from standing up to the special interests and the big government politicians in both parties.
And Casten has refused to use his platform to call for calm amid the violence and unrest left-wing protestors have instigated across the nation. I called out corruption in both parties – from crony political appointments to the ComEd / Exelon bailouts to advancing comprehensive college board reform in the wake of the College of DuPage board scandal. And as an Army Veteran, a legislator and – now – Military Mom, I have dedicated my life to defending the lives, liberty and property of those I represent. I will do the same in Congress.
The highest priority is to restore the rule of law throughout the nation and Illinois. The first responsibility for government is to secure the peace and the constitutional rights of her people. There cannot be job and business growth without law and order restored.
The last few months have been unsettling for Americans as we have watched as lawlessness spread across the nation. Looters and rioters destroyed property, illegally occupied and controlled public grounds, upended livelihoods, and unnerved many who no longer feel safe in their own communities. In Illinois, lawlessness extends from our most powerful politicians, their special interest friends, and the lobbyists who grease the skids between the two, to the streets of Chicago overrun with murder, looting and criminal damage to property, to the suburbs where armed home invasions and carjacking have happened.
The country and this state have been through corruption scandals at the highest levels. Admittance to spying on Americans for no reason by the Obama intelligence community to, in Illinois, investigation after indictment after guilty plea for bribery and more, voters have no confidence in their elected leaders. Businesses have no confidence that there is a level playing field. Taxpayers have no confidence that taxes are used responsibly.
Once we apply the rule of law equally to all and restore respect for our public institutions, including police, our priorities must be on a growing economy built on education and job training programs that give opportunities to all.
Six months ago this answer would have been different. Job number 1 is to restore a vibrant economy with full employment as we had in January 2020.
The COVID 19 crisis and the civil unrest that has resulted in damaging entire sectors of our economy. While recent job numbers indicate that our massive economy is resilient enough to recover somewhat despite a government mandated shutdown, it is only because many small businesses have received financial support from the American taxpayer and many individuals are receiving plussed up unemployment benefits, relief from eviction, and other community support. Turn off the federal and state spigot of support and the economy will go in a tailspin.
Americans did what elected officials at all levels asked them to do. They stayed home, wore masks, and made ZOOM a behemoth in the online meeting space. Our healthcare systems, manufacturers, and scientific community figured out new tests, better treatments, and ramped up protective equipment and medical devices.
Now it is time to get back to work and back to school. The American taxpayer can no longer shoulder the burden of the economic shutdown. Federal legislation should be passed for liability waivers for businesses and schools as it relates to opening up and contracting of the COVID 19 virus. Additional federal financial support should be tied to states allowing businesses and schools to operate normally with appropriate, but not oppressive safety measures.
I have already suggested reform to social security. Watch my video here. Public sector workers in the state of Illinois get full control of their own retirement without having to participate in social security through the SURS self-managed plan, but such plans are denied to the rest of it. The SURS self-managed plan has a TWENTY-year track record of success. Participants put away 15% of income into the plan (8% employee, 7% employer). These plans are portable, secure (they own them), and allow the employee to retire when they have met their goals.
Social security recipients on the other hand put away 12.4% of income only to receive on average a 1% return after working until late 60’s to get the maximum benefit. New employees should be put into a SURS-style plan, current employees should be given the option to move contributions to a self-managed plan, and others (probably wealthier individuals) should be given the option to buy out their net benefit at a lesser amount. The buyout percentage should be low enough to compensate for adverse selection issues.
Medicare is a more difficult fix as it is a program nearly everyone cannot wait to get on from the very rich to the average worker. In fact, retirement decisions are often made around medicare eligibility rules. I have no specific recommendation on changing the program, but I am open to a conversation that involves more competition for patients and more transparency for taxpayers.
I do not support a government-related insurance plan, Medicare-for-All or Obamacare. And neither do the Democrats – at least not for themselves or their special friends. Democrat politicians and their union buddies don’t have Obamacare plans, why should the American people?
Be honest, significant parts of Obamacare are no longer in place. Gone are the individual mandate, Cadillac health plan tax, medical device tax, and strict requirements pertaining to the expansion of Medicaid. Over 30 states have filed 1332 waivers to design their own solutions.
The solution for the American worker is to provide them with a robust insurance marketplace that lets them choose the plan that is right for them in coverage, cost, and network. Americans expect to control their own decisions over the most important aspects of their lives. If politicians would allow reforms which include price transparency, expanded Health Savings Accounts, returning to the state’s control of their Medicaid programs, and eventually equalizing the tax advantages of employer sponsored coverage and individual coverage, we will be well on our way to getting people the coverage they need and can afford.
Nearly 25 years ago (long before Obamacare) multiple Federal laws mandated coverage for preexisting conditions both for those with employer sponsored health insurance and those who buy their own individual policies. Those laws empowered states to design their own health insurance options which were more efficient, cost less and provided better access to care for those with preexisting conditions than Obamacare does today.
The Chinese Communist Party poses the biggest threat to our nation and the world. The Chinese have taken aggressive actions in the South China Seas, in Hong Kong, with their minority populations, and most recently on the border with India. Their Belt and Road program, industrial espionage, spying in the halls of academia in the United States, and unfair trade practices threaten all aspects of our life and relationships with other countries.
American leaders should begin with the following:
1. Demand a full investigation into the origins and spread of the COVID 19 virus, repayment for costs related to the crisis, and no-notice international inspections of their biological research laboratories.
2. Work with our Allies to remove China from the World Trade Organization if they continue to disrespect trade laws, the tenets of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, human rights of their people, and international water boundaries.
3. Continue to support Taiwan independence.
4. Provide asylum for Hong Kongers under political persecution.
5. Increase military patrols of the South China Seas.
A second security threat is a nuclear armed Iran. Iran, supported by Russia, is a threat to regional peace currently and with a nuclear weapon would be a threat globally.
Third, domestically speaking, the resiliency and lack of redundancy in our infrastructure which includes our power grid, telecommunications and internet security, and the security of other physical structures such as roads, bridges, pipelines, and water systems poses a threat if they were to come under a wide-scale terrorist attack.
I have said from the beginning, relief needs to be temporary and targeted. In March, we needed to give our healthcare system a chance to catch up. A temporary shut down was reasonable to flatten the curve. But politicians continued to move the goalposts. What began as a shutdown to flatten the curve and avoid overwhelming hospitals has turned into “shutdown the whole society until nobody ever dies of COVID again.” We need to re-open safely. That requires being strategic in isolating vulnerable populations, testing health care workers and maintaining reasonable social distancing and hygiene practices. We also need to pass legislation that gives liability protection to businesses and schools and linking federal funding (which needs to be targeted, temporary, and audited) to states. I would also support the following specific measures to get us on track:
1. A payroll tax holiday which would immediately help both employers and employees. Providing this tax relief is not new in economic crises.
2. Putting job training in the hands of employers by providing tax credits for training. It is more efficient to support the training this way rather than through multiple other entities.
3. I have been a skeptic of these in the past, however, the latest opportunity zone programs run by the federal government seem to be working. If the audits show success, it is a program that should be expanded.
4. Encourage manufacturing, especially in pharmaceuticals and critical medical supplies to relocate to the United States.
5. Keep our energy independence intact. It was a preposterous thought just ten years ago that we would be a net exporter of energy. Energy is the master resource and cheap, reliable, efficient power has been the greatest factor in lifting people out of poverty and giving them a greater quality of life. At the same time, the US has led all industrial nations in the greatest reduction in CO2 emissions.
We need to act quickly. At the federal level, we now have a huge structural deficit, we’ve aggravated our national debt and put over 22 million people out of work. We are indebting future generations and destroying opportunities for many in this generation. It is time to re-open. If Sean Casten and JB Pritzker can stand in the middle of thousands of protestors, then kids can be in school and in sports. If Target can operate at capacity, then small businesses can operate at capacity. And if Nancy Pelosi and Lori Lightfoot can get their hair done, then suburban moms can get their hair done.
Spur opportunity also means we need leaders with a different perspective. Politicians are not our minders – but many of them seem to see themselves that way. It’s time to elect for leaders who trust business owners, parents, coaches, principals and teachers. I trust them. I have confidence in their ability to understand the situation, assess the risks and make decisions that are best for their family, their students, their customers and their clients. Most people will do everything they can to avoid passing this disease on. I believe in the goodness of the American people. And I know that we are a much more mature people than Nancy Pelosi, JB Pritzker and Sean Casten want to admit.
I served as a state legislator for six years. In that time I stood up to my own party on a myriad of issues.
The biggest challenge we have in Illinois isn’t as much an ideological difference, as it is that legislators run on independence, get elected, and then can’t jump in the Springfield or DC hot tub fast enough. Instead of being an opportunity to advance a policy agenda rooted in first principles, winning elections is just a means to distribute jobs, contracts, and other prizes to friends and political allies.
I have a strong record of standing up for the people I represented, rather than falling in with the government’s ruling class.
I spoke out against Speaker Madigan’s culture of cronyism and abuse, which has culminated in a massive federal investigation.
I also stood up to my own party. In 2017, nearly one-third of House Republicans – including caucus leaders – voted for the largest structural income-tax increase in history. I spoke out against the tax increase. Most of the House Republican Caucus voted for a bailout of Exelon on the backs of rate-payers. I spoke out against the bailout.
I am one of only a few House Republicans who have been willing to tackle structural or entitlement reforms – I advanced meaningful pension reform, property tax reform, education reform and Right to Work legislation.
In 2014, Illinoisans elected Bruce Rauner on the promise of an “Illinois Turnaround,” with no social agenda.
In the end, Rauner betrayed every promise he made. I gave up a “safe” seat in the Illinois House to primary Bruce Rauner in 2018.
I stood up when it was important to stand up – not when it was popular to stand up.
While I am not an incumbent, I am also no rookie. I have served as a state legislator.
It took me about a month of being in the state legislature to realize that, as a member of the super-minority, I wouldn’t have a lot of control over what legislation came to the floor each day.
So, I made sure that I talked about what was going on in state government as often as possible.
I consistently communicated to the families I served to keep them in the loop on the legislation that was pending, the arguments that were being made, and the implications of success or defeat.
I shared with them what I was reading and my thoughts on different policy ideas.
After just two years, my email list had grown to about 5 times its original size. And after six years, my ideas had been published by numerous outlets including The Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal and The Federalist.
I also worked across the aisle to get legislation that directly impacted my constituents passed, including my reform bills and the audit passed in the wake of the College of DuPage spending scandal.
I called for ethics reform in the state capitol before it was popularized by the #MeToo movement. I stood with victims of harassment and abuse in the state capitol to advance a victims’ rights bill.
And the legislation I initiated to ensure that insurance companies and health care providers provided adequate coverage when either one wanted to end their contract in the middle of a premium year was passed with the help of one of the most liberal members of the Democrat caucus.
My highest priority is to preserve our nation, our Constitution and our shared American values for future generations. That should be the goal of every generation of political leaders. We are the greatest nation on earth because our Constitution is focused on preserving individual rights and liberty, backed up by the rule of law whereby everybody gets treated equally and fairly.
Securing our nation’s future will require us to support and train the best fighting force in the world, secure our border, encourage a thriving economy that all can participate in, and reform government to balance the interests of those funding government with the interests of those served by government – this means limiting the special interests that are pulling the levers of government.
I will protect people with pre-existing conditions, pre-existing doctors and pre-existing health insurance. You get covered in a way that meets your family’s needs. And you call the shots.
I respect the jobs employers provide and the work employees do. We need a tax system that does the same. Lower the cost of doing business so everyone can do more of it.
I support the Penny Plan to reduce federal spending over time, and I oppose crony socialism like the use of US taxpayer dollars to subsidize state-owned Chinese companies.
Currently, we subsidize tuition hikes rather than college access. Public, land grant universities need to fulfill their responsibilities to Illinois families first.
I stand for strong Armed Services, strong alliances, light footprints and rule of law on our borders.
Jeanne For Congress
PO Box 1504 • Wheaton, IL 60187
Phone: 630-384-9683 • Email: [email protected]