George Weber is running in the Democratic primaries against six other candidatesLauren Underwood, Daniel Roldan-Johnson, Matthew Brolley, John Hosta, Victor Swanson and Jim Walz ( who ran in the 2016 general election against incumbent Rep. Randy Hultgren ). Weber recently retired from a 37 year career as a chemical engineer.
Windy City Times: Why did you decide to run?
George Weber: I spent my career solving problems and making things more efficient. I am planning on going to Washington, D.C., as a citizen legislatornot a career politician. I want to pursue policies that reflect the will of the people, which to a large extent is not being done right now. My platform and the decisions I make will be backed up by facts and data. I have three kids and I do not want their generation to grow up in a country without a middle class, an expensive healthcare system and where the environment is being destroyed. Nothing is getting done and we are actually going backward. This is my way of giving back now that I am retired.
WCT: How would you approach the job differently than what the incumbent has done in the past? Will you hold regular town halls in the district?
GW: Randy Hultgren has sided with Trump since he got in the White House and both of them make decisions based on extreme right-wing ideology rather than facts and data. His votes do not reflect the will of his constituents.
Yes, I will hold regular town hall meetings.
WCT: How will your career as a chemical engineer make you stand out among the six other candidates?
GW: This district is about 60 percent republican and 40 percent democratic but there needs to be a change in leadership. I feel that I am the most electable candidate. I flew around the world licensing American technology throughout Europe and Asia so I am good at convincing people they were making the right decision I will bring that experience to Congress. I know I could win a debate against Randy.
WCT: Why do you call yourself a citizen legislator and how does that correlate with taking the government back?
GW: I do not plan on being a career politician who is only there to further their career. I am going to do things that make sense and thankfully most of what the Democratic party believes in makes sense. Most of what the Trump Administration is doing is against the will of the people so it is vital that we fight to overturn the highly unpopular ( 80 percent ) Citizens United decision for example. Our whole electoral system needs to be overhauled.
WCT: Where do you fall on the spectrum politically? Would you say you are more of a centrist or to the far left or somewhere in-between?
GW: I am a factist if that is a thing. I try to stay non-ideological because I do not think people make good decisions if they let ideology come into play.
WCT: What are the most important issues facing the country and how would you address them, if elected?
GW: I want to bring prosperity back to the struggling middle class and I would accomplish this by having everyone benefit fairly from our economic system, not just the shareholders and one percent. We have an economic crisis where only half of the country has a 401k or 403b, the younger generations are doing worse than their parents, older people are forced to work into their retirement years and social security does not provide enough for people. We live in a consumer driven economy and that is why it is not doing well. To do this we need to strengthen unions, push for increased salary and benefits for working Americans, increase the minimum wage to at least $12/hour and something along the lines of a universal basic income which the Europeans are already looking into.
We need to fight for a better education system that includes vocational training. Right now there are 6 million good paying jobs that cannot be filled because there are not enough qualified people. This includes welders, plumbers, electricians and other fields.
Paying off the national debt and to do that we need to raise taxes on the one percent.
Embracing solar power and enacting a carbon tax. That would restore our leadership position regarding climate change.
WCT: What grade level should civics be introduced and built upon in subsequent years?
GW: At least in middle school.
WCT: Have you had any interactions with the LGBTQ community? If so, what were they?
GW: No but I believe everyone should be treated equally.
WCT: What do you see are the most important issues or obstacles facing the LGBTQ community and how would you address them?
GW: Hate brought on by right-wing extremism. It is so sad to me that a lot of people who consider themselves good Christians do not follow the love thy neighbor commandment when it comes to the LGBTQ community. We cannot allow them to influence policy decisions.
WCT: If elected, will you co-sponsor the Equality Act?
WCT: What is your opinion on the SCOTUS Masterpiece Cakeshop case?
GW: If the bakers were good Christians, they would never have discriminated against the gay couple in the first place. I side with the gay couple because a person's religious beliefs should not supersede providing a service to the community.
WCT: Where do you stand on transgender people in the military, including providing full medical services for those troops?
GW: They are risking their lives like anyone else in the military so they should be able to serve openly like any other person and have access to whatever medical services they need.
WCT: Will you join the LGBT Equality Caucus? What other caucuses are you looking to join?
GW: Yes. I am still looking into the other caucuses that I would want to join.
WCT: Do you support strengthening the ACA with our current system in place or moving to a publicly funded system ( Medicare for All ) that eliminates private insurance companies?
GW: Our healthcare system is twice as expensive and much worse than Canada and much of Europe so all we have to do is copy one of their systems. I want universal coverage that is single-payer but I am open to some compromise so our system can improve and be available to everyone.
WCT: As the son of immigrants, what is your position on immigration, and DACA and the Dreamers, more specifically?
GW: My parents emigrated from Europe and our economy needs immigrants to survive and thrive. We need a structured system which we do not currently have. As for the undocumented immigrants already here, they should be able to stay with proper documentation that goes beyond the DACA eligible population.
WCT: Where do you stand on the ERA and women's reproductive choice? What about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements?
GW: I am all for the ERA. Personally, I am against abortion but I do not think the government needs to get involved with a woman's right to choose. I also think having access to government provided contraception is important because that is the best way to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Anyone who has sexually harassed or assaulted people should be fired from their jobs. It is good this is coming to light. What is happening now with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements is going to bring that awareness to more people. I am sure it has already changed the climate in a lot of workplaces for the better. Now we have to deal with what happened in the past.
WCT: Are there any elected officials that speak to you due to the way they do their jobs?
GW: I like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren because they bring things to light that many people do not know about and they stand up for what they believe in.
For more information, visit www.georgeweberforcongress.com/ .