- Name: O. Patrick Brutus
- Position sought: Illinois Second Congressional District Representative
- Website: patrickbrutusforcongress.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Age: 43
- Family: Married 8 years, 1 son (6); two daughters (3 and 2)
- Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1992) - Business Administration, Crete-Monee High School (1988)
- Occupation: City of Chicago Economic Development
- Political Party: Democrat
- Official name of campaign: Patrick Brutus for Congress
- Previous Elected or Appointed Offices: Never elected, appointed or sought public office in the past.
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
In this race, during this time and at this particular moment, the 2nd District needs a candidate like me who has the knowledge, skills and abilities in the field of economic and community development. I have 17 years of experience actually doing the work from the management level. The projects that I've led from the southside of Chicago, to the south suburbs and the southland have improved the quality of life, addressed affordable housing, improved the existing infrastructure, stimulated economic growth and created jobs.
I believe that the District requires a new type of public official who is young, energetic and passionate about making real changes for real people; a Representative who is not associated with or connected to an established political family that represents the politics of the past; one who will lead by working with the community, side-by-side and serve with honor and integrity; a leader who has new and creative ideas that will improve the conditions of those who are living and doing business in the District; and a leader who will actually go and do the work that the people elect them to do. I am that type of person, my experience embodies it and people are seeking new and emerging leaders with real-life professional experiences and intangibles.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
My priorities would be the following:
Create JOBS via Infrastructure Development. Three projects that will positively and dramatically impact the District: (in reverse order)
3. Illiana Expressway Project which will connect I-57 and I-65. This project will connect the two states and create a new corridor where retail and commercial development will be developed as a result; create jobs in the following industries: construction, retail and commercial and hospitality industries (to name a few).
2. Peotone Airport/SSA - this project will relieve air congestion in the region, create a much needed alternative in the area for air travel consumers who have extremely long travel times to two of the nations leading airports (in terms of average flight delays) and create jobs. It is estimated that the starter (cargo) airport will create an estimated 10-15,000 jobs, spur ancillary development (such as rental car operators, hotels, food/entertainment and additional road/infrastructure improvements, etc.) and as a result, increase the value of real estate property thus, allowing local municipalities a much improved tax base in order for them to improve/increase the services provided in the area.
1. Red Line extension (95th-130th street). As Congressman I would make sure that this project stays on schedule and that the funding ($1.5-2.0B) is secured as it is critically and vitally important for the following reasons: The extended line would decrease congestion times on the expressways, as it would reduce dependency on commuters; develop and increase Transit Oriented Development (TOD) opportunities along the pathway of the extended line, thus creating much needed retail and commercial development opportunities that would help the affected communities become a destination; and create a significant number of jobs that benefit the community and those not employed in the region (construction/TOD jobs/etc.).
Which of Jackson's 2nd District plans do you agree with and plan to continue?
How do you define a small business, and what can government do to support them that isn't being done?
In our District, we need to increase the number of small business and improve their abilities to be sustainable businesses. This requires a sound comprehensive strategy to market and attract them in our commercial areas and corridors, strategically position them where they can succeed and coordinate these activities with local economic development organizations and governmental units. As Congressman, I would establish (fully outlined below in Question "what should government do to create more jobs") a working relationship with stakeholders to better market the areas within the District that are suffering from disinvestment, work with the banks and the SBA to relax credit restrictions and free up capital so that smart loans that don't cripple the small business owner, can be obtained and establish a program (funded) that would seek to develop entrepreneurs in emerging industries. Because small businesses are the backbone of a successful economy, these efforts cannot afford to fail.
What steps would you take to reduce the federal deficit? If it includes tax increases, what taxes? And if it involves federal service cuts, which?
Although I respect the notion that one must have money before one spends money and therefore be balanced, I believe that if/when in government, there is a surplus then it should be permissible for government to engage in spending as it sees fit and as long as the spending is aligned with clearly established goals/objectives/and priorities of the government and those that do not cause unnecessary harm to Americans. I am in favor of having balanced budgets and so in that sense, I consider myself fiscally conservative, and in our current economy, deficit spending needs to be examined more closely so that we don’t pass on our debt to future generations.
I am in favor of spending cuts in our current situation, but need to further examine the budget to determine where sensible cuts can be made without adversely impacting the services that our government provides our citizens.
What should the government do to create more jobs?
In times like this, this is where government is obligated to do more for its citizens and as such, the federal government should definitely do something to create more jobs, especially in this economy. However, in the District, one of the main issues facing us is the lack of economic growth resulting primarily from and attributed to an inadequate supply of sustainable retail/commercial businesses that would otherwise provide a long-term option for District-wide taxing bodies that would provide relief for property owners.. This is further complicated by the fact that there are a number of arterial streets and corridors that could support the establishment of such outlets resulting in economic development throughout the various municipalities, except for that there is also a tremendous level of disinvestment resulting in obsolescence, high rates of vacancy and a surplus of available leasable retail space on the market. A stronger regional marketing strategy is critical to increasing the attraction of businesses to the District that would supplement and support the efforts of organizations such as: the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA); Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and the local townships, villages and municipalities ongoing activities to promote their respective areas as ideal places to invest. As Congressman, I would:
First, establish a Congressional Business Council (locally) and regularly caucus with these organizations and the Economic Development Directors of each municipality to determine what additional strategies could be incorporated within their existing plans and demand a report within 60-days, (since the data already exists).
Secondly, after a thorough review and analysis has been conducted, I would examine the findings; determine which opportunities have the highest return on investment (number of consumers serviced, highest deterrent to leakage, and highest yield to the tax base – within a 3-year period, highest possible job creation estimates and most sustainable retail/commercial development types/industries).
Lastly, I would not wait for special interests groups to “force action” on my part, but instead be proactive and immediately seek to appropriate funding (based on recommendations from the regional report) from either the Department of Commerce (Economic Development Administration/EDA) or any stimulus funds (assuming that another round of ARRA funding would be considered) that would be sought during the 113th Congress that would encourage eradication of blighted commercial areas within targeted areas, incentivize companies that meet qualifying and established criteria that propose to meet/exceed specific job creation benchmarks and is competitive and renewable, thus providing applicants a “second-chance” if unsuccessful (based on a defined success rate/percentage of meeting goals/objectives of application/program standards) either due to performance or if the economy or market would not have self-corrected at the time of performance review.
An important issue that is I support is the Red Line extension project from 95th street to 130th Street. This is perhaps the number 1 “shovel-ready” project that would be ready to go within the first 4 years of my tenure as Congressman. I would prioritize this project and work with the USDOT to identify a responsible level of funding so that this could be programmed, planned and appropriated. The benefits of this project are many, but mainly that it would relieve congestion on the highways, result in improved travel times for southside/south suburban travelers who have among the longest commute times in the region and connect development opportunities between the southside of Chicago and the suburbs. Additionally and equally important it would spur Transit oriented development along the extended line and energize the affected communities and neighborhoods that the line would traverse through. This would result in commercial/retail opportunities and create jobs for hundreds of people.
Should the federal government set different measurements than now for economically disadvantaged students, special education students, students learning English as a second language, etc?
I am still evaluating my position on this issue as I need to better understand the economic impacts.
Should federal immigration policy be changed. If so, how?
Our country's immigration policies and practices should be equal across the board and not favor any particular ethnic group(s). I firmly believe that this country should strengthen our current immigration policies, but be fair and have a path to citizenship for those who want to consider becoming Americans. I do support the Administration and their position and look forward to working with the President on this issue.
What are your philosophies on social issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion and medicinal marijuana and what should government’s role be in those issues?
Same-sex marriage: Since I take the position that this is one of the Civil Rights issues of our generation and that the LGBT community has been advocating for their right for equal opportunities, I consider this a human rights issue. Therefore, I am for human rights for all humans and for equal protection under the law for all Americans.
Medical Marijuana: I haven't formalized my final opinion on this issue, however I do believe that in certain cases, use of marijuana actually does provide relief to those suffering from nausea & vomiting, depression and cancer, etc....should be considered, but only with a prescription.
Government's role should be to reinforce and/or established common sense laws that do not violate the spirit of the US Constitution and State's rights.
What should minimum wage be in Illinois and through what method should increases be determined?
I am still evaluating my position on whether or not to advocate for an increase in the minimum wage as there has been much discussion on the downside of this issue. The contrary argument of whether this would actually increase unemployment due to employers not wanting to pay the new wage is still something that I want to examine.
Bi-partisanship is often mentioned by congressional members. Tell us how you would work with members of the opposite party?
Working with members of the opposite party is a complicated ideal due to the historical nature of how politics is inter-meshed with the decision-making process. Although this is the reality of how Washington works sometimes, the true approach to have is simply to consider working with Republicans as a version of working with community stakeholders.
I would work with Republicans very easily. I have a proven record of working with many people who don't share the same ideology and still get the goal(s) accomplished. The key here is to work on things that we have in common, whether than focus on where we differ.
How do you feel about the level of financial transparency as it relates to political campaigns?
I have no issues with this aspect of campaigns. To some degree, I believe that citizens should know as much as possible about candidates, their reason for running for office and any pertinent facts that may provide a more informative perspective of the candidate.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been sued successfully or had a restraining order placed against you? If so, please explain.
No past convictions, no felonies, no RO's.