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14th Congressional Rep. (Republican)
Ethan A. Hastert
Incumbent: No
Occupation: I am an attorney in private practice specializing in complex litigation in the federal courts.
Age: 41
Address: Elburn, Illinois
2010 candidate
CANDIDATE INFORMATION
Family
I live in Elburn with my wife, Heidi, son, Jack and our two dogs, Odin and Atlas.
Education/degrees
Bachelor of Science in Business, University of Illinois
Juris Doctorate, Northwestern University School of Law
Civic Involvement
Since 2005, I have served on the Board of Directors for the Luxembourg American Cultural Society and, since 2008, on its Executive Committee. I also serve as Counselor for Consular Affairs for the Consulate General of Luxembourg at Chicago.
Other Government services
I am a Kane County Republican Committeeman and I served in the White House as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor in the Office of the Vice President of the United States.

Candidate's Key Issues
Key Issue 1 My primary focus will be restoring economic growth and getting America back to work. The Democrats’ big-government approach is entirely wrong: we cannot borrow, tax and spend our way to prosperity. After $1.5 trillion in bailouts, so-called stimulus spending and the “cash for clunkers” program, even President Obama recently acknowledged that “true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector.”
The Democrats’ insistence on ever-increasing government spending and excessive regulatory burden on the private sector will only continue to strangle economic recovery.
The proper role for government is to create an economic and regulatory environment that favors economic growth and the creation of private sector jobs.
To restore prosperity and create good-paying American jobs, I will:
1. Advocate for a balanced budget amendment to produce smaller government, less spending and lower taxes by requiring Congress to pay for each and every spending program. This requirement will prevent Congress from waiving its own “pay-as-you-go” rules in order to borrow and spend, without accounting for the ballooning deficit.
2. Fight for a line item veto and earmark reform to keep government transparent and accountable.
3. Advocate for incremental and common sense health care reforms to hold the line on health care costs, which will lessen the financial burden on working families and make it easier for businesses to begin hiring again.
4. Oppose the Federal Reserve’s inflationary monetary policies that threaten our prosperity.
5. Sponsor a comprehensive national energy policy that will create private sector jobs and enhance our national security.
6. Support a repeal of the pork-laden “stimulus” bill.
7. Fight to prevent TARP monies from becoming a Democrat slush fund by requiring unallocated and repaid funds to be used to reduce the national debt.
8. I will advocate for reforms of our financial regulatory system that allow businesses to fail when they make bad decisions and succeed when they make good decisions. The Democrats’ policy of “Too Big To Fail and Too Regulated To Succeed” simply does not work.
Key Issue 2 Given that the economy is in such bad shape, I would not take my eye off what should be our primary objective: the economy and jobs. In February 2009, the Democrats passed a so-called stimulus plan that was supposed to keep unemployment below 8%; notwithstanding the stimulus, Illinois suffers from 11% unemployment. After implementing that disastrous spending policy, the Democrats turned their attention to policies that actually undermine economic recovery: examples include the cap and trade energy tax, a big-government takeover of health care and card check.
Rather than tax producers and consumers of domestic energy, we could help restore prosperity, create good-paying American jobs, enhance our national and economic security and protect the environment by implementing a comprehensive national energy policy. I propose an “all of the above” approach to domestic energy that will:
1. Promote energy efficiency. We have become more aware of the environmental effects and economic consequences of energy inefficiency. As energy demand has outpaced supply, prices have destabilized, leading to higher fuel costs that hurt families and businesses and impede economic growth. We must promote the use of energy efficient technologies that reduce the need for—and also the price of—energy.
2. Promote the use of next generation energy sources—e.g., biofuels, wind energy and solar power. While we continue to study the effects of fossil fuels on our environment, we do know that our foreign oil dependence has jeopardized our national and economic security. We should promote the development of technology and use of a wide variety of natural energies, including biofuels, wind, and solar. Each of these energy sources is available in ample supply. Building alternative energy industries will require new, good-paying American jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign governments, and help reduce our impact on our environment.
3. Expand the use of nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is a clean, carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels. Like other alternative energies—including biofuels, wind, and solar—nuclear energy will reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources and produce good-paying American jobs.
4. Promote the use of natural gas. Natural gas is an abundant domestic resource. We should promote greater cultivation of natural gas to curb air pollution and to reduce foreign oil imports.
5. Authorize domestic oil exploration. A diverse energy policy, harnessing the power of a variety of energy sources, will best reduce our dependence on foreign energy supply and will best protect us from surging energy prices. Domestic oil, the largest source of American energy, still has a place in that policy. While we aim to dramatically reduce our consumption of foreign oil—which will be good for the environment—we must also develop a larger domestic oil supply—which will be good for our national and economic security. We should authorize additional oil exploration in the United States to improve our domestic oil supply and create good-paying American jobs. And the federal government should incentivize domestic oil production in order to reduce our dependence on corrupt foreign governments and balance our trade deficit.
6. Develop a 21st century electric system. Just like our roads, our energy infrastructure is need of repair. By rebuilding our electric grid, we will significantly improve the reliability of electric service and will use energy more efficiently. Best of all, we will put to work thousands of skilled Americans workers at a time when we need it most.
Our energy policy must be realistic, driving economic progress, not hindering it. As Congress cannot force dramatic shifts in energy use over night, we must thoughtfully encourage the development and deployment of a variety of new technologies, letting the market decide the cheapest, cleanest, most reliable energy sources to power our economy.
Key Issue 3 My focus remains on restoring the prosperity by creating an economic and regulatory environment that favors private sector job growth. For that reason, I will keep my attention on the economy and jobs.
We need to reform health care in the United States. But the approach the Democrats have taken is fundamentally flawed. I do not agree with the Democrats’ big-government, top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to the health care bill. What we need is a bipartisan and incremental approach to health care reform that actually improves our health care without increasing our costs.
By holding the line on costs, we can ease the burdens on employers and families and create an environment that allows businesses to start hiring again.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to hear from heath care providers, insurers, and health care consumers in the 14th Congressional District. I held a series of town hall meetings and, on the basis of those meetings, I proposed five common sense solutions to reforming health care:
1. Increase Choice and Competition: Authorize insurance products to be sold across state lines, providing innovative choices and real competition.
2. Increase Transparency: Require health care providers to post prices and outcomes, allowing consumers to shop on the basis of price and quality and require health insurers to compete using a simple one-page summary of costs and benefits to make comparison-shopping easier.
3. Put an End to Junk Lawsuits: Junk lawsuits lead to defensive medicine and cause health care costs to skyrocket.
4. Reward Wellness and Prevention: Wellness and prevention efforts, including changes in personal behavior such as diet and exercise, should be national priorities and rewarded through lower premiums. Rewarding personal responsibility saves lives and saves money.
5. Increase Access: Under my plan, anyone who obtains and keeps coverage (whether or not the person changes insurers) cannot be discriminated against on the basis of age or pre-existing conditions. This simple proposal will reward people who are responsible while preserving the right—without penalty—of others to decide not to purchase insurance.
Questions & Answers
Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
1. Define your view of health care reform, addressing how to pay for it, the potential impact on health workers, insurers, and the economy. Do you support a public option? If not, how should uninsured be handled? Define your view of public abortion funding.
As a conservative who is pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Second Amendment rights, I will stand up for our core values. I believe that life begins at conception and that we have an obligation to protect that life, except when the life of the mother is at stake. As such, I oppose any federal funding of abortion.
Clearly, we need to reform health care in the United States, but the approach the Democrats have taken is fundamentally flawed. I do not agree with the Democrats’ big-government, top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to the health care bill. In exchange for the radical changes proposed by the Democrats, changes that will impact even those who are happy with their health insurance, we get staggering new costs and still many Americans remain uncovered.
As such, I oppose the Democrats’ proposals to takeover health care, including the government option. What we need is a bipartisan and incremental approach to health care reform that actually improves our health care without increasing our costs.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to hear from heath care providers, insurers, and health care consumers in the 14th Congressional District. I held a series of town hall meetings and, on the basis of those meetings, I proposed five common sense solutions to reforming health care:
1. Increase Choice and Competition: Authorize insurance products to be sold across state lines, providing innovative choices and real competition.
2. Increase Transparency: Require health care providers to post prices and outcomes, allowing consumers to shop on the basis of price and quality and require health insurers to compete using a simple one-page summary of costs and benefits to make comparison-shopping easier.
3. Put an End to Junk Lawsuits: Junk lawsuits lead to defensive medicine and cause health care costs to skyrocket.
4. Reward Wellness and Prevention: Wellness and prevention efforts, including changes in personal behavior such as diet and exercise, should be national priorities and rewarded through lower premiums. Rewarding personal responsibility saves lives and saves money.
5. Increase Access: Under my plan, anyone who obtains and keeps coverage (whether or not the person changes insurers) cannot be discriminated against on the basis of age or pre-existing conditions. This simple proposal will reward people who are responsible while preserving the right—without penalty—of others to decide not to purchase insurance.
2. Do you think the stimulus package has helped Chicago's suburban area? If so, point out specific projects. If not, indicate your ideas for better results. Include specifics for solving unemployment, raising salaries and suburban job creation.
In February 2009, Congress approved the massive $787 billion federal stimulus package that the Democrats argued would keep unemployment below 8% nationwide and help hard-pressed communities like those in the 14th Congressional District. Despite this unprecedented borrowing and spending, the unemployment rate in Illinois has climbed to 11% and hard-pressed communities in the 14th Congressional District continue to suffer. Our national debt is growing to dangerous levels that threaten the soundness of the dollar.
The voters I have met tell me that they are underwhelmed by the so-called stimulus package and overwhelmed by the exploding debt.
And who can blame them?
The stimulus package has prevented the full brunt of the recession from reaching public sector employees, but it has done little for those employed by small businesses and private companies. According to Recovery.gov (as of December 13, 2009)—the Administration’s own website designed to track and promote the so-called stimulus package—the 14th Congressional District received approximately $316 million and “created or saved” 286.8 jobs. Translated, that means that the federal government spent more than $1.1 million to “create or save” each such job.
The stimulus package typifies the ineffective and reckless spending in Washington that threatens our future and undermines our ability to leave our children and grandchildren anything but a mountain of debt.
As I travel the 14th Congressional District, I hear from business owners who are concerned about the intrusion of the federal government into their businesses, including the cap & trade energy tax, card check and the proposed federal government takeover of health care, and worried about the negative impact the costs associated with each of these programs will have on their businesses. Many businesses are not hiring new employees because the Democrats’ proposals create a tremendous amount of uncertainty, making it difficult to plan when onerous new taxes and regulations are pending in Washington. Moreover, many businesses are unable to make capital expenditures because they are unable obtain loans.
The proper role for government is to create an economic and regulatory environment that favors growth and the creation of private sector jobs.
To restore prosperity and create good-paying American jobs, I will:
1. Advocate for a balanced budget amendment to produce smaller government, less spending and lower taxes by requiring Congress to pay for each and every spending program. This requirement will prevent Congress from waiving its own “pay-as-you-go” rules in order to borrow and spend, without accounting for the ballooning deficit.
2. Fight for a line item veto and earmark reform to keep government transparent and accountable.
3. Advocate incremental and common sense health care reforms to hold the line on health care costs, which will lessen the financial burden on working families and make it easier for businesses to begin hiring again.
4. Oppose the Federal Reserve’s inflationary monetary policies that threaten our prosperity.
5. Sponsor a comprehensive national energy policy that will create private sector jobs and enhance our national security.
6. Support a repeal of the pork-laden “stimulus” bill.
7. Fight to prevent TARP monies from becoming a Democrat slush fund by requiring unallocated and repaid funds to be used to reduce the national debt.
8. I will advocate for reforms of our financial regulatory system that allow businesses to fail when they make bad decisions and succeed when they make good decisions. The Democrats’ policy of “Too Big To Fail and Too Regulated To Succeed” simply does not work.
3. Clearly state your position on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Where should the U.S. go from here? If you support continuing either war, what are your specific goals? If not, outline your strategy for withdrawal and the U.S.'s relations with each country.
I support an Iraq-style surge in Afghanistan and an orderly drawdown of troops from Iraq. Recognizing that American soldiers are risking their lives on the front line of the war on terror to defend our safety, I hope all Americans will rally behind our troops and around a commitment to win in this important conflict.
It is incumbent upon the President to unite the American people and Congress behind his vision for success in Afghanistan.
The most important aspect of our military engagement in Afghanistan is that we should not be fighting a war that we are not committed to win. Above all, our fighting men and women deserve our support—financial and moral.
4. State what you see as the most pressing transportation needs in the suburbs. How would you address these needs? What solutions would you propose to help Illinois with its infrastructure challenges?
Too often, the government inserts itself in matters that can be adequately addressed by the marketplace. Transportation and infrastructure is one area that has typically required the government to provide solutions. Happily, in recent years, the private sector has demonstrated an interest in investing in transportation and infrastructure projects, but this remains an area that requires significant government involvement.
The Chicago area has long been a transportation hub for the nation, providing the region with good-paying jobs and continued economic growth. I will advocate for solutions that will maintain our position as the transportation hub and will continue to afford our manufacturers and farmers efficient access to markets across the country and around the world.
We need to continue to press for expanded commuter rail service that allows suburban residents in the 14th Congressional District to choose commuter rail service over driving. But for those who must drive, we need to continue to relieve the congestion on our roadways and ensure that we have adequate north-south arterial routes throughout the District.
5. Describe how your positions fall in line with your party. Also, detail at least one way in which they diverge from the party platform.
As a conservative who is pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Second Amendment rights, I will stand up for our core values. I believe that life begins at conception and that we have an obligation to protect that life, except when the life of the mother is at stake. As such, I oppose any federal funding of abortion. In this respect I believe my positions are consistent with the principles of the Republican Party.
As an advocate for smaller, smarter government, lower taxes, less spending, greater individual freedom and equality of opportunity, I believe my fiscal views are consistent with principles of the Republican Party.
As Republicans, our biggest problem is not our platform, but rather the fact that we have not lived up to it, especially in the area of fiscal restraint and the encouragement of growth and prosperity. I will am running for Congress to restore prosperity, which can only come from a government that lives within its means. As such, I will:
1. Advocate for a balanced budget amendment to produce smaller government, less spending and lower taxes by requiring Congress to pay for each and every spending program. This requirement will prevent Congress from waiving its own “pay-as-you-go” rules in order to borrow and spend, without accounting for the ballooning deficit.
2. Fight for a line item veto and earmark reform to keep government transparent and accountable.
3. Advocate incremental and common sense health care reforms to hold the line on health care costs, which will lessen the financial burden on working families and make it easier for businesses to begin hiring again.
4. Oppose the Federal Reserve’s inflationary monetary policies that threaten our prosperity.
5. Sponsor a comprehensive national energy policy that will create private sector jobs and enhance our national security.
6. Support a repeal of the pork-laden “stimulus” bill.
7. Fight to prevent TARP monies from becoming a Democrat slush fund by requiring unallocated and repaid funds to be used to reduce the national debt.
8. I will advocate for reforms of our financial regulatory system that allow businesses to fail when they make bad decisions and succeed when they make good decisions. The Democrats’ policy of “Too Big To Fail and Too Regulated To Succeed” simply does not work.