John Hartman is running as a Independent for Congress in Illinois’s 13th congressional district. The candidate for the Republican party is Rodney Davis who is a ex-congressional aide and ex-state GOP executive director. Rep. Tim Johnson had won the Republican primary but retired after the election. The candidate for the Democatic Party is David Gill who is a physician and political activist. Gill is in his fourth election for congress having lost three times to Tim Johnson. Gill defeated Greene County State’s Attorney Matt Goetten by only 163 votes out 30,909 votes that were cast in the Democratic primary election. Since there is no incumbent in Illinois’s 13th congressional district the race is wide open and John Hartman has a legitimate chance. It is extremely difficult to even get on the ballot in Illinois for a Third Party or Independent candidate. The state of Illinois requires signatures from 5% of the number of people who voted in the previous election in that district. That means you would need upward of 5,000 to 10,000 signatures from registered voters to qualify for ballot access.
The following is from an interview by quadrust.com political reporter David Flatt with Independent candidate John Hartman.
Give an introduction to your candidacy and/or biography.
I live in the town where I grew up, Edwardsville, Illinois. After robust and comical high school days, I received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis. I worked in management positions for BF Goodrich, including for a time in central West Virginia. I then moved to the west coast and worked on the floor of the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco, where occasional pandemonium would break out.
I moved to Washington, DC and worked in a management position at the Watergate, at which time I was also able to work part-time as a legislative correspondent in the office of Rep. Albert Bustamante on Capitol Hill1. Through evening classes, I received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. I was married 13 years to Sherry Hartman before an amicable divorce, we had no children. I was an Enrichment Teacher at Captain Elementary School in the School District of Clayton, Missouri, creating math and science activities to challenge high-achieving students.
I have been with DNA Polymerase Technology, Inc. in St. Louis since 2000, serving as Chief Financial Officer. We are a research and manufacturing company improving ways to detect if a certain DNA is present in a lab sample, for example, if the DNA of a specific hepatitis virus is in a blood sample.
For recreation, I have always enjoyed sports and I am an open water swimmer, including Big Shoulders 5K races in Lake Michigan and the Alcatraz swim. I am part of a group of friends and family who always seem to come up with the silliest entry in Edwardsville’s wonderful Halloween parade. We stay sharp in the off-season by playing euchre.
I worked in the office three mornings a week for 3 1/2 months. Unknown to me at the time, Rep. Bustamante betrayed the trust of his office and was subsequently convicted of fraud and racketeering. There was never any suggestion that his staff was involved in his misjudgments.
Explain what qualifies you to be a candidate.
I asked the citizens for their signature and 5,100 signed my petition in front of me. We exchanged ideas, including many of the positions I have described in here, and I am gratified to have their support.
Explain why you are a better candidate than your opponents.
My job is to describe what I think will improve our country. It is up to the voters to decide which candidate most closely aligns with their views.
Explain what is the most important issue(s) in the campaign.
None of these issues can be eclipsed by any other issue: our budget deficit, climate change, political reform, staying out of war with China.
1. How would you help create new jobs?
Experience tells us that the free market can provide job growth. The federal government should support the free market by getting on a trajectory toward a balanced budget which will provide a solid foundation for expansion. The federal government should not try to pick winners, instead relying on open competition to reward the most valuable initiatives.
2. What would you do for the long-term unemployed who need a job?
The local, state, and federal governments can provide information on available jobs and offer education or training to gain the skills needed in the ever-changing economic market.
3. How would you go about reducing the deficit?
I support Simpson-Bowles.
4. What is your view about the level of federal regulation on the economy?
Better oversight would have helped prevent the trouble from the financial melt down in 2008. Enforcing existing regulations might have saved the 29 West Virginia miners who died in 2010 after Massey Energy repeatedly ignored safety warnings.
5. Who should pay more in taxes and who should pay less in taxes?
We should all pay more. When we had a balanced budget in 2000, we were taking in 21% of GDP in federal revenue. Now we are taking in 15.5% and we are $1 trillion in the hole.
6. What is your position on tax deductions and tax credits?
I agree with Simpson-Bowles that they should be drastically reduced.
7. Is it the job of the Department of Energy to lower gas prices?
Over the long run, energy prices are set by supply and demand in the free market.
8. In what ways do you plan to rectify inequalities in the workplace for woman’s pay?
I do not have any specific suggestions, just advocate for equality as I advocate for equality in the election process.
9. How do you convince U.S. companies to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.?
The free market will work its way toward efficiency and robotics are bound to play a larger role as technology progresses. We should not begrudge workers outside the U.S. If we want jobs, we need to win the competition in the market place, there is no other solid method of job growth, here or in other countries. Entrepreneurs in the U.S. have a good record of combining with science and engineering innovators to provide value in the market.
10. What would you do to reform immigration laws?
We need to give an objective group of economists the task of determining the employment needs of our economy, from the high tech employees powering our software giants to the agricultural employees helping to provide our fruits and vegetables. We should then base the number of immigrants on our economic needs, along with a due respect for our nation’s identity and heritage of welcoming others.
Once our immigration targets are set, we need to enforce the rule of law on both employers and employees. It behooves us all to be a nation that respects the law, and we have had inexcusably lax enforcement of our existing immigration laws. Once the new targets are set, the law should be enforced vigorously, and employers as well as illegal immigrants should pay a stiff price for transgressions, including prison terms or deportation for illegally entering. We need to uphold the rule of law in such a way that reflects the values of our society; this involves a special cognizance of the charged atmosphere surrounding immigration issues. As we respect the law, we should respect each other, and that goes for all people.
We should make an effort to identify the immigrants that are here illegally and they should pay a fine for breaking the law. Our lax enforcement of the laws, especially on employers, has contributed to the current situation. Mass deportations are impractical and would offend our values for those family members who have done nothing wrong. Children of immigrants who have done nothing wrong naturally feel this is their country. If they want to make a contribution to our society by going to college or serving in the military, we should permit them. I support the DREAM Act.
11. Do you want to repeal the affordable care act or do you support the affordable care act?
The U.S. health care delivery system falls short of other major countries in two especially important aspects: We do not cover all of our citizens, and we pay far more per person than other countries.
How did we manage to do this? Like almost everything else coming out of Washington DC, our health care laws reflect our political system. And the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is no exception. Yet given today’s gridlock, if we repeal it we will probably end up with nothing, and that would be a setback to the estimated 30 million people who will gain coverage under it. Not surprisingly, the facts tell us that Americans without health insurance are sicker and die younger than those of us with health insurance. So I would not vote for its outright appeal, but would seek to improve its flaws.
For example, we know that Medicare’s administrative overhead draws 3.6 cents from every health care dollar it processes. The Canadian system’s administrative overhead draws less than 2 cents. The private insurers in the U.S. draw out 11.7 cents per dollar. The New England Journal of Medicine reported a few years back that our entangled bureaucracy cost the average American $1,059 per year, compared to $307 for the single payer system in Canada. Yet ACA relies exclusively on private insurers, without even an option to use a Medicare-like system.
It is irresponsible not to provide the most efficient method. The special interest money that flows into our politics is manifest here by the influence of the health insurance lobby, which excluded a Medicare-like, public option for consumers. The citizens were denied the choice of a more efficient alternative.
12. Will benefits for Americans have to change for Medicare and Social Security to survive?
We are living longer and, if we truly want the preserve the programs, we can delay the time in which we start to receive benefits.
13. What role has your religion played on your personal views of abortion?
It is a question of ethics, and I think the principle of freedom should be honored.
14. Do you think new laws are needed to limit the availability of assault weapons?
I support law enforcement’s input in determining what level of weapon is not safe to allow citizens to possess.
15. Does the federal government have a responsibility to improve the quality of public education?
I think we are better off with state and local control of education.
16. Was the assassination of the U.S. ambassador in Libya a massive intelligence failure?
We have invested a great amount of resource in intelligence gathering in order to interrupt such operations. It is hard for me to know the details of how easy this operation would have been to detect prior to execution.
17. How effective would a military strike against Iran be?
It would be counterproductive.
18. Should the U.S. intervene militarily in Syria?
No party in the Syrian struggle wants our military in Syria.
19. What conditions could justify U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan?
We need to leave in a way that gives the Afghans the best opportunity for a stable government, but ultimately it is up to them. Our military should be leaving.
20. Should military spending be increased or decreased?
I support Simpson-Bowles and everybody has to have an oar in the water if we are going to collectively pull ourselves out of fiscal peril.
21. What do you see as America’s role in the world?
John Dewey said the frontier is moral, not physical. We should be the moral leaders of the world, and that includes making emission expensive to slow down climate change.
22. What do you believe is the greatest future threat to the national security of the U.S.?
Our budget deficit could cripple us badly, as Admiral Mullen has said.
Please give a concluding statement along with a message to voters.
Please do not be resigned to the idea that there is nothing we can do about our political system. Democracy is the best form of government, it just requires citizens to stand up to offer leadership and an alert public to support those good ideas.