James Marter is challenging incumbent Rep. Adam Kinginger ( R ) who has held the seat since 2012. He is currently the Kendall County Republican chairman and precinct committeeman as well as the owner of Marter Enterprises, LLC.
Windy City Times: Why did you decide to run?
James Marter: I had an interesting run in 2016 against then incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk. I made significant headway with 30 percent of the statewide vote. I made some connections and then became the Kendall County Republican chairman after that election and continued to grow some of those connections around the state and in the 16th District.
Last August, I had folks reach out to me and ask if I was interested in this race because they felt that Congressman Kinzinger, from a Republican perspective, was not reflecting the party the way he should. Looking at the Conservative Review rating service gives Kinzinger a 36 percent. On issues like immigration, Numbers USA gives him a "D" rating and organizations like the Club for Growth and they give him a lifetime rating of 49 percent. It was primarily around where his voting record was peaked other people's interests and they asked me to get involved and I was open to the idea so that is how I became a candidate for this district.
WCT: How would you approach the job differently than what the incumbent has done in the past? If elected, will you hold regular town halls in the district?
JM: The biggest difference you will see between the two of us, because we are pretty close or the same on Republican bellwether issues, is how he actually votes on things like fully funding Obamacare in 2016. I could talk for a long time about why Obamacare is wrong for the American people and why it hurts so many people, including Democrats, but Congressman Kinzinger ran on stopping these things and then he voted for it. The bill also fully funded Planned Parenthood and I am 100 percent pro-life. You are not going to see me voting for things like that bill. Where we differ the most is on fiscal and spending responsibility, reining in the government which is good for all Americans. We have an opportunity with President Trump and the Republicans in Congress to show the American people that government has become so big and obtrusive it is bankrupting our children and grandchildren and we need to stop it. That is what I will be fighting for. I am for state's rights.
Yes I will hold regular town halls. If you are not out there having events that is a problem. Some of the members of Congress have been fearful of holding town halls and there are ways to mitigate that including having better security. I have attended Republican central committee meetings during the ballot signature phase of the election cycle. We have had meet-and-greets at a couple of places and whoever shows up, as long as they are respectful, I have taken questions from all comers and done my best to answer their questions from my perspective. I am not here to hide any of my ideas or opinions.
WCT: Where do you fall on the spectrum politically? Would you say you are more of a centrist or to the far right or somewhere in between?
JM: I am a constitutionalist conservative and some people say that is to the far right, but I say it is "far American." When you look at what America was founded on, [it] is individual liberties, the pursuit of happiness, the inalienable rights that were laid out in our Declaration of Independence. Those things are about as American as you can get. I am for a limited federal government because the government we need is as local as it gets. I look to Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution which are the enumerated powers that tells the Congress what powers it has for guidance.
WCT: What are the three or four most important issues facing the country and how would you address those issues if elected?
JM: The most important issue that is never talked about is our national debt and unfunded liabilities. We are in a path to fiscal collapse and the way to resolve it is by cutting spending and putting a balanced budget in place. I would have voted for the recent tax bill. It did not go far enough for me but it was a great start. The money we earn is our and when the government is taking that money and handing it out to foreign countries and special interests including very big corporations and all kinds of things that do not belong in the powers of the government. I would be for cutting a lot of things including the Department of Education which is not constitutional since there are already state department of education offices and local education entities. Why should we send our money to the federal government so they can go on spending shopping sprees that produce negative results.
Another thing is American identity and this is where we get into immigration. We have a problem with our immigration laws not being enforced and quite frankly the last administration was making up rules that were not constitutional, that allowed all kinds of immigrants into the country, both legally and illegally, and we need to put American citizens first. I work all around the world in my day job. I do not have issues with great people from all around the world but we do have to have common sense immigration that puts the needs of American citizens, not American corporations first.
WCT: What grade level should civics be introduced and built upon in subsequent years?
JM: When I went to public schools down in Bartonville, Illinois I had great teachers who started teaching civics and U.S. History in fifth grade so I would say start at that grade level. Again, this is a local and state issue so I do not want the federal government dictating that.
WCT: Have you had any interactions with the LGBTQ community? If so, what were they?
JM: Nothing specific related to the LGBTQ community but I work with many people daily from around the world.
WCT: What do you see are the most important issues or obstacles facing the LGBTQ community and how would you address them?
JM: I do not see people as groups. I see people as individual Americans. I am a Catholic Christian and I believe in the dignity of every person. We have the media these days trying to put people into different groups and pit them against each other. I think human rights are that, they are human and inalienablelife, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
WCT: If elected, will you co-sponsor the Equality Act?
JM: I would not be supportive of this bill because when we talk about equality we talk about things that are a part of human identity in nature. How do you enforce that?
We need to look at these issues in terms of the Bill of Rights including the first and second amendment. Those are fundamental human rights and by the way that second amendment protects all the other rights. Without that we do not have any other rights.
WCT: What is your opinion on the SCOTUS Masterpiece Cakeshop case?
JM: Every American has the right to free speech and religious liberty. The folks who are providing a service have a right to refuse customers business. I had an experience recently when I was trying to reach out to folks in what I thought was a public place but it was privately owned and I was asked to not talk to the public in that establishment so I left. I would not want to see that same right denied to LGBT people who would not want to service someone who had another perspective.
You have to look at things like this from the perspective of how would it affect all people who have a right to practice their religious beliefs through their business. We need to protect all religious liberties. I would side with the shop owners and as I understand it they referred the couple to other places where they could get their wedding cake.
WCT: Where do you stand on transgender people in the military including providing full medical services for those troops?
JM: I am not for an outright ban but you have to look at each person individually. Are they right for the job? The military is an at will employment that has certain requirements. I have vision problems that would bar me from certain branches of the military.
I do not support taxpayers funding for what I consider optional surgery for someone. If you are born as a certain gender with certain attributes that is not something we should be changing. Whether someone chooses to do that is their own business but I do not think the U.S. military should be funding that.
We have an objective in the military and that is to defend the American people.
WCT: Will you join the LGBT Equality Caucus? What other caucuses are you looking to join?
JM: No, because I am not for groups of folks that are looking to create laws that in many cases are against their own interestthe laws that go against basic fundamental human rights. Once we get into special-interest rights, we go beyond true human rights.
The caucuses I am looking at are specifically focused on American taxpayers first and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I would be the first GOP representative from Illinois to join the Freedom Caucus.
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?
JM: The notion that we did not have healthcare before the passage of the PPACA is absurd because every state has laws that say if you go to the hospital you have to be treated. I am self-employed in the private sector and we had to buy our own insurance in what I call the formerly free insurance market and the PPACA is an affront to anyone who does not work for a corporation or the government because it attacked our free enterprise and caused our costs to go up and in my case specifically 300 percent in six years. In 2010 I had a plan for six family members that cost $9,000/year and in 2016 I paid $25,000/year for four family members since two of my kids are now adults and not on my policy. It is driving people out of business and/or into bankruptcy. The idea that forcing people to buy something that is going to make healthcare better is just not true. We created this monster that now takes up 1/6th of the economy and it needs to be fully repealed.
I would be for portability of insurance across state lines and for being able to purchase the same insurance you had with your former employer without it costing more money. Have healthcare savings accounts. There are plenty of market-based ways to fix healthcare.
WCT: What is your position on immigration writ large and DACA and the Dreamers, more specifically?
JM: I have worked in both Canada and Mexico with a permit. When I go to another country I produce the right documentation to get the permit, work the job and then leave and go home. We need to enforce our laws as they are written. I cannot be responsible for government officials in the past failing to do what they were supposed to do regarding immigration.
Now we have sanctuary cities and states and now local and state officials are violating our immigration laws which fall under federal constitutional laws. All of those folks ( Dreamers ) have connections back home so they need to go back to their countries and get the right documentation, get in line and do the same thing everyone else did. To change the laws it requires congressional action. There were changes in the Johnson administration that created this thing we now know as chain migration. We need to go back to what is the purpose of immigration to the U.S. and that is for people who want to assimilate and bring something to the table. We need to be protected from people who come here to do us harm and people are abusing those loopholes to come here and hurt us.
I support e-verify for employers and penalizing them for enabling [undocumented] people to work here. We are the greatest country on earth so I know why people want to come here but they have to come here legally.
WCT: Where do you stand on the ERA and women's reproductive choice? What about the #MeToo movement?
JM: I am pro-life and against the ERA. The ERA is not what it says it is. We already have equal rights in America. That is why we have our constitution and amendments. We resolved that issue 100 years ago. There is nothing else that needs to be fixed.
I am not sure what the #MeToo movement's agenda is. People have the right to organize and have their movements and speak out. That is the American way. That does not mean we need to make laws that favor one group over another group.
WCT: Are there any elected officials that speak to you due to the way they do their jobs?
JM: I like Ted Cruz, Jim Jordan, Warren Davidson and President Trump. They are looking out for the best interests of us in that they understand when the government has gotten so big, out of control and intrusive it has to be reined in.
WCT: If elected, how will your previous work and volunteer efforts inform how you do your job?
JM: I have a 32-year history of working in industries around the world, in many states and across Illinois, including the 16th district, and I worked with many people including sitting in the board room to present and discuss things. I was a Boy Scout leader for 16-17 years. I coached swimming when I was in high school and college and then later in life and coached basketball teams for my kids for about five years. I will take all of those interactions to how I do my job in Congress.
For more information, visit marter4congress.us/.