Q&A: Robert Dold, Republican Candidate for 10th Congressional District
GOP hopeful cites need for 'pro-job' and 'pro-growth' strategies.
Patch talked to Robert Dold, who is running against Dan Seals to represent the 10th congressional district Nov. 2.
Patch: The country seems to be divided between those who believe President Obama's policies will pull us out of the recession, and in fact may have prevented the economy from getting worse, and those who believe we are raising taxes to an unsustainable level which will stymie business growth and saddle future generations with a heavy tax burden. Where do you fall along this spectrum?
Robert Dold: I myself think that what's going on right now is our out-of-control spending is just that -- out of control. We need to make sure we're not raising taxes. We need to focus on how to get people back to work. In the 10th [of] this $862 billion stimulus package, we spent $169 million in the 10th District, … and we've created 158 jobs. That is a dismal failure. We need to be pro-growth and pro-jobs strategies out there.
Patch: What can Congress do to get the economy back on track?
Dold: I, myself, want to do a payroll tax cut …invest those dollars into technology, equipment, material and manpower.
Patch: As of August, the national unemployment rate is 9.5 percent and in Illinois, it's 10.6 percent. What policies will you support to improve that situation for people in Illinois and the 10th District?
Dold: The unemployment rate is 9.6 nationally and 10 percent in Illinois, and in areas of the 10th, unemployment is closer to 20 percent, 25. We need to figure out how to get people … back to work. Workers sitting in good jobs are now not quite so sure. They're looking over their shoulders. How do we take some of the uncertainty out? There's so much uncertainty out there that people aren't investing back in business. The federal government can play a role in that. Are we going to have an energy tax? What is the health care law going to do to our business? These are all things that force people to put their arms around the little capital they have and not invest. One of the things we can do to allow that is to put capital back in the hands of the job creators.
Patch: September saw a record number of home foreclosures. What can Congress do to prevent more foreclosures and assist people who are losing their homes?
Dold: Part of the thing in talking to some of the bankers is that it depends on if [homeowners] have been unable to make payments. The problem stems from … banks providing loans and mortgages to people who weren't able to afford them. We've also found here that [that was] not necessarily the case. It was more along the lines of someone who had a good job, lost the job, and can't make the payments. Part of [solving the problem] is getting economy back up and going again and business foreclosures, loans value is different. In many instances that's not possible. What can Congress do? Congress needs to make sure we're going through the proper procedure with regard to foreclosures. [Banks are] running through far too many foreclosures to look at them. We need to take a better look. We want to make sure we can keep people in their homes if they can afford them. If they can't, we need to make sure they get sold so they don't live at a loss.
Patch: What, if anything, would you change about the health care package Congress passed earlier this year?
Dold: There's no medical malpractice reform there. That's frankly alarming because the law does not address cost or quality, and that's what was promised to us. We need tort reform, allowing people to purchase insurance anywhere in the country at the least expensive rate that works for them. That's good for competition. We need consumer-driven care. We don't know what it costs to get a knee replacement. Also, when we start peeling back the onion, we find something else. Any transaction or relationship you have with a vendor over $600, you have to file a 1099 form to the IRS. I may have couple hundred vendors that I have to deal with. I can certainly do that. But they're going to shower me with thousands of pages of paperwork. That's going to cost me a lot of money [and] … I have to hire someone to do that and take away someone else's job. It's a world of paper and the government is going to have to hire IRS agents.
Patch: What is your view of U.S. policies in Afghanistan and Iraq? Do you agree with the present courses of action or should we be changing direction?
Dold: If we look at what's going on in Iraq, we've seen tremendous strides. We've got a central government, freedom of the press -- that's obviously positive. Afghanistan is a vastly different situation. The infrastructure is not there. We need to make sure we are giving our men and women in harm's way everything they need to accomplish the task at hand. We need benchmarks for success… giving President Karzai and his government increasing control of [their] government. We know we can't be there forever and we need to turn more and more over in a responsible manner to the Afghan government.
Patch: What other foreign policy concerns do you see as key for our country and how would you address them?
Dold: Iran. Iran is the greatest threat we have to our own national security. Ahmadinejad has said he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the world. He has said the U.S. orchestrated 9/11. He has accelerated a nuclear program and requests for nuclear weapons. We must make sure the sanctions that have passed overwhelming … are enforced by the president. I believe Iran is our greatest threat, and they are funding terrorist camps.
What in your background has prepared you to be successful as a representative of the 10th District?
Dold: I was born and raised in 10th District. I live here with my family -- my wife and three kids. This is home. I'm a fiscal conservative and social moderate and I fit the district well. I'm a small business owner, headquartered in Northfield. So I think that when we look at my ties, it's not the fact that I am a attorney and worked in D.C. I employ 100 people. That's 100 families. These are the things we need to do. How do we tighten the belt in D.C. and run it like our small businesses and our families?
Patch: Why should people vote for you instead of your opponent, Dan Seals?
Dold: People should vote for me because there are two very paths here. If they want [a candidate] who is pro-growth and pro-jobs, then they should vote for me. My opponent is for large, expansive government. He is for the Pelosi-regime, if you will. And he believes in many cases, [tax policy] has not gone far enough. If you want large, more expansive government -- he wants an energy tax -- there's no question. There's a reason why I've been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There's a reason why they've endorsed me, not him. I fit the district will. I'm pro-choice, pro-stem cell research and pro-environment.