Bill Foster: 2022 candidate for 11th Congressional District
Office sought: 11th Congressional District
Occupation: U.S. Representative
Previous offices held: U.S. Rep. for IL-11 (2013 to present); U.S. Rep for IL-14 (2009-2011)
Q: What is your reaction to the results so far presented by the committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol and what should Congress do next as a result of them?
A: January 6th was a deadly insurrection by an extremist group looking to change the outcome of a free and fair election. It was an attack on our democracy.
It's important for the American people to know the facts about what happened and to know who is responsible for it. It is incumbent on Congress to take actions to prevent anything like what we saw on Jan. 6 from ever happening again.
Congress should also legislatively clarify that the role of the vice president in counting presidential votes is purely clerical and is not a venue for overturning the result of an election.
Congress should also make clear that rogue state legislatures cannot overturn the results of elections in individual states.
Q: What is America's role in foreign affairs, particularly related to two separate crises: Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Israel's conflict with the Palestinians.
A: The Russian military's unjustified invasion of Ukraine is a destabilizing threat to Europe and the entire international order.
The U.S., our NATO allies, and our international partners must hold Putin accountable for this unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation. Although we have no treaty-level obligation to defend Ukraine, we have a special moral duty to assist Ukraine because of its decision to give up its nuclear weapons at the end of the Cold War, in return for international assurances of its territorial integrity.
I am a proud co-sponsor of H.R. 5344 the Two State Solution Act which aims to "preserve conditions for, and improve the likelihood of, a two-state solution that secures Israel's future as a democratic state and a national home for the Jewish people, a viable, democratic Palestinian state, an end to Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, and peaceful relations between the two states."
I have voted for budgets that provide aid to both Israel and Palestine.
Q: Mass shootings at schools and public gatherings are generally a uniquely American phenomenon. What should Congress do to address the problem?
A: It is a failing of our democracy that we have many ways to prevent gun violence, supported by a great majority of people, yet we have a Congress (and particularly a Senate) which has failed to do enough. I have voted for numerous pieces of legislation to strengthen gun laws and keep weapons away from people who should not have them.
The Second Amendment reads that people have a limited right to bear arms as part of a "well-regulated militia." This means that while people do have some right to a gun, the government can still step in with common-sense restrictions to prevent gun violence.
I support universal background checks, a ban on military-grade weapons including assault weapons, and requiring people with children in the house to keep their guns stored safely.
The Founding Fathers did not intend the Second Amendment to mean civilians should own weapons as powerful as revolutionary-era muzzle-loading cannons, and I believe that same logic needs to be extended to modern day weapons.
Q: The Supreme Court has made it clear it considers abortion a states' rights issue and has suggested it may rule similarly on same-sex marriage and other social issues. What should the response be from Congress? How do you define whether such issues should be governed by federal authority or state authority?
A: The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe was the culmination of a deliberate effort by extreme Republicans to take away personal freedom and control the health care decisions of women. It's clear that far-right politicians will attempt to use the decision to target even more rights -- from access to contraception, to marriage equality.
So, it's never been more important to have a Congress that stands with the overwhelming majority of Americans that want these rights protected.
Since SCOTUS evidently does not consider these rights to be constitutionally protected, it is incumbent upon Congress to protect the basic civil and human rights of every American, regardless of where they live.
I was proud to vote for the Women's Health Protection Act and other measures to enshrine access to comprehensive reproductive health care including contraception and abortion, as well as the right to marry who you choose into federal law.
Q: Are you concerned about the impact of all the recent federal spending on inflation, and what is the role of Congress in managing the economy? If you favor spending cuts, where specifically would you want to see spending reduced?
A: It is well understood that the Federal Reserve is the primary regulator of inflation and price stability. This is much more challenging in light of the supply-chain and labor-market disruptions caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
The inflationary economic fallout from the pandemic is something the entire world is facing, as can be seen by the fact that other countries are seeing inflation rates comparable to or larger than the U.S., whether or not they engaged in stimulative spending programs.
Deficiencies in supply chains are a big driver of inflation and it's something we need to address. I was proud to vote for the CHIPS Act to invest in our supply chain and make us less dependent on foreign goods. It will also boost domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips, which is needed to address the bottlenecks causing prices to rise.
I'm proud that the IRA is fully paid for and will actually cut the deficit, while lowering costs for families.
Q: Are you confident that elections and voting access are free and fair in America? If not, why not and what should be done?
A: The security of our elections, and peoples' faith in those elections, is the most crucial issue facing our democracy. Extensive studies have shown there is near-zero voter fraud from individuals.
As the son of a scientist turned civil rights lawyer, I believe that we need to be careful not to put up barriers to voting in the name of preventing fraud that is exceedingly rare.
Our system of secret ballots, with paper backups and bipartisan poll watchers, is very difficult to hack at any scale. Poll watchers inspect and verify the identities of voters, then verify that the results from their precinct are correctly reported to county and state officials.
Anyone who questions whether the results are being tallied correctly can use their own spreadsheet to verify the results from county and state websites. We owe gratitude to poll workers -- Democrat, Republican, and Independent -- who make sure voters are able to cast their ballots and can trust the integrity of the result.
Q: Whether your party is in the majority or the minority, what is the key to being a successful congressman and what are the characteristics about you that would make you successful?
A: At a time when strengthening and expanding U.S. manufacturing is at the top of our agenda, it is important that Congress have members with significant and successful experience in that area.
As someone who started a high-tech manufacturing business that now provides over 1,200 jobs, I am one of the few Members from either party who understands all aspects of manufacturing: hardware, software, sheet metal, painting, machine tool programming, integrated circuit design, injection molding, electrical assembly, marketing, and customer support -- and I am particularly proud that our company kept those good jobs in the Midwest rather than moving them offshore.
As the only Ph.D. physicist in Congress, I bring a wealth of experience gained from a career that required prioritizing research and scientific evidence to draw conclusions and make recommendations -- something we need much more of in Washington.