Democratic Party voters have a large field of candidates to choose from in the March 20 14th Congressional District party primary race. A total of seven candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, a Republican from Plano.
They are: Matt Brolley, an engineer and village president from Montgomery; John Hosta, a Spring Grove resident who is a stock trader; Daniel Roldan-Johnson, a Volo resident and middle school teacher; Victor Swanson, a teacher and Batavia resident; Lauren Underwood, a nurse from Napeville; George Weber, a retired chemical engineer from Lakewood; and Jim Walz, a Gurnee resident who challenge and lost to Hultgren two years ago.
The Record Newspapers recently sent a questionnaire to the candidates.
Daniel Roldan-Johnson, 34, is a teacher at Round Lake Middle School and a part-time professor at the College of Lake County. A resident of Volo, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Florida Atlantic University and a master’s degree in teaching and learning from DePaul University. Roldan-Johnson has not previously held elective public office.
Why are you the best candidate to represent the 14th Congressional District?
I am a fighter. I grew up on SNAP and Medicaid. No one in my family had ever graduated high school. I had no one to ask about college or knew what to expect, I had to do it on my own, and I did. I was the first in my family to graduate from high school and go to college. I fought to protect our country from terrorism and major crimes as an intelligence analyst for the government at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. I fought on behalf of disadvantaged students as a teaching fellow and then as an ELL teacher at a title I school. I want to continue fighting for the voices so often overlooked and not heard in Washington.
Do you support or favor the repeal of the Affordable Care Act? Please explain.
I support fixing the parts of the ACA that need to be improved. I also support a public option independently operated that would compete on the marketplace all across the country.
Should Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 presidential election continue?
Mueller’s investigation should be protected by Congress until it is complete. The rule of law that the country is built on is at stake if Trump and his allies stop this investigation before it has concluded.
Do you support the construction and funding of President Trump’s proposed Mexican Border Wall?
The proposed wall on our Southern border will do nothing to actually stop the flow of immigrants or drugs into the country. It is a waste of billions of dollars that could be used on real solutions to this problem, like added border guards, employer prosecutions that hire people in the country illegally, and surveillance technologies.
What, if anything, should Congress do to limit gun violence and prevent mass shootings in schools and other public places?
I support reinstating the assault weapons ban immediately. I also support limiting people on the terror watch list, those guilty of domestic abuse, those convicted of crimes, and those under the age of 21 from buying any firearm. I also support a ban on high capacity clips. Semi-automatic high capacity weapons are not used for hunting game, but for killing people. These are weapons of war and should not be on our streets.
The federal deficit is expected to mushroom over the next several years as a result of the tax reform act adopted by the current Congress and signed into law by President Trump in December. What, if anything, should be done to limit the growth of the deficit?
I support a repeal of the tax bill just passed and a 2.5% tax increase on those in the top .1%. We cannot continue giving tax breaks to the very wealthiest when they do not need it. These people have been blessed by the bounty of this country and should invest back into it by paying their fair share to support our military, infrastructure, schools, police and fire.
What do you propose to do to to help the crumbling infrastructure that's affecting areas throughout the 14th District and the state? What role should the federal government play in helping to pay for fixing our roads, bridges, and other infrastructure needs?
Infrastructure is an important part of why I decided to run for Congress. We need a massive investment in our roads, bridges, rail, and airports. It is vital for the future viability of this country to compete on the world stage. We have done this before and can do it again. I support a small increase in the gas tax of .02 that will go directly to infrastructure funding on top of more funding from the federal government for infrastructure.
Do you believe climate change is a man-made phenomenon, and what measures do you propose could be enacted to help slow it down?
Climate changes over time, but there is strong consensus that never before in the planet's history outside of a major disaster has the climate changed so rapidly since the dawn of the burning of fossil fuels. The climate is currently changing because of the burning of fossil fuels. We need to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords and invest in clean energy technologies.
In elections throughout the country, we have seen races decided by as little as a single vote in recent years, yet voter turnout is regularly low in most elections. How important is the right to vote, in your opinion, and what could be done to encourage more people to vote?
I support a federal holiday on election day and automatic voter registration. If we do these things more people will vote.