Unemployment is at a 50-year low and economic growth is steady. Assess the state of the economy and tell us how you would improve economic prospects for Americans.

Our unemployment might be low, but the 15th District is losing jobs everywhere. Honeywell in Metropolis shuttered and Rep. Shinkus did nothing. LSC in Mattoon is closing this summer and GSI is closing in Flora, neither of which had anything to do with the Illinois economy.

Wages are only increasing because of the minimum wage, which is welcomed by workers but the economic benefits for the economy won’t be felt for some time.

The Republicans only economic agenda remains the same, massive tax cuts for the donor class with no guarantees for workers, no guarantees for wages, no guarantees for benefits and no guarantees for investments in American brick and mortar and our communities’ infrastructure. #Gaither15IL

We have to connect any tax cuts to gains for our economy. Watching stockholders take home all the tax cuts every year while American workers work longer hours and more jobs is unacceptable and has drained the American Dream of hope and joy. #Gaither15IL

What security role should the U.S. play in world affairs?

Since World War II, America has played the preeminent role in international affairs. Our presence has stabilized regions, allowing for prosperity and democracy to flourish. 

In the age of terror, Western democracies are under threat as refugees flee regions rife with violence, terror and poverty, much of which arguably began with our mistaken invasion of Iraq on false pretenses.

American leadership, both from the Oval Office and Congress, has lurched from too much involvement with no strategy to win, to too much caution to a confused amalgamation of the two under President @realDonaldTrump. #Gaither15IL

America needs to return to a strategy focused on economic and global security with a light footprint. The pathway back to this approach after four years of retreat and Tweet will be difficult. 

There are no global leaders with our track record of bringing together coalitions to tackle disease, pandemics, terrorism and tyranny. The price tag of not taking on this vital role in the world and leaving it to others is much higher. The reciprocity that comes from American global leadership cannot be underestimated. 

Why should voters nominate you and not your opponents?

Consistently, I have shown up, stood up and spoken out on our rural issues. When I hear a problem, I don’t just give it lip service, I do something about it. 

As a primary candidate, I had visited the Rosiclare Public Library many times. It was the only place for children to come to after school. Sometimes, it was the last place they’ll have access to food before school the next day. When the librarian informed me their roof was leaking and they may have to close, I asked tougher questions. 

They had not received a vital check from the state. Immediately after leaving, I made a phone call. In a week, the librarian had a check in her hand because Comptroller Mendoza’s office acted so quickly. 

I bring that hands-on approach to every issue.

I have a hands-on approach to healthcare from years working on federal boards and in the field. I got involved in healthcare because people’s lives were on the line. Healthcare professionals and consumers elected me to leadership positions because I had led the charge against decisions the government was making that would have adversely affected Americans. That’s what you can continue to expect from me today.

Watching our small farms continue to die while big farms have cashed in on the largest portion of the Trump bailouts is unacceptable. I remember getting my own hands dirty weeding beans in the 80s on my grandfather’s farm. We must have a strategic vision for our agriculture sector that brings more trade and job-creating opportunities for our farmers instead of relying on bailouts. 

Our energy sector is as diverse as our district. Investing in all of our workers and green energy while protecting both our energy diversity and the environment are all crucial. 

I offer a hands-on approach, one where I will listen and work with our local communities, to connect resources with jobs to move our district forward. #Gaither15IL