Q+A with Jim Hickey, Democrat for Congress in Illinois’ 11th District
I am excited to present the first Q+A of 2011 – with congressional candidate Jim Hickey. Jim is the President of the Orland Fire Protection District and a local businessman. This is his first run for Congress.
To visit his website – click here.
District 11 is strangely shaped to encompass two of the fastest growing cities in America, Aurora and Joliet. It is currently represented by Republican Judy Biggert, though some of the territory is new to her after the map redraw. Also running in the election are two Republicans, Jack Cunningham and Diane Harris. Other Democrats include former Congressman Bill Foster, and Juan Thomas.
1) Why do you want to be the representative for Illinois’ 11th District?
We need to have a common working class man to represent us in Congress. Someone that understands firsthand the hardships that Americans are facing today, not these Elitist, Multi-millionaire politicians that are out of touch with the realities of today.
2) You currently serve as president of the Orland Fire Protection District. How has this job prepared you for work in Congress?
The Fire District, has prepared me, by teaching me to examine the budget line by line, learn how to compromise with each side to get motions approved, the importance of transparency, allowing citizens to see how every dollar is spent.
3) Due to a strange gerrymander, the 11th district forms no shape that would be acceptably taught in geometry class. Nonetheless, if a family was to take a road trip within its borders, name 3 places that they should not miss.
My family and I have driven the entire district many times. I really like the I-Max Theater in Woodridge, the Paramount in Aurora, and the Pumpkin Patch & Raceway in Joliet.
4) You are currently finishing up work for a Masters in Business Administration at DePaul. What changes would you like to see made to the higher education system in the United States?
I have proposals on reforming student loans with a 50-year term and the interest rate is linked to the US Treasury, currently 2%. This will make a college education affordable for all Americans. Example at $40,000 loan would be $105 a month with my proposal compared to the current $547 a month.
5) I counted 15 golf courses in the spacious district and I am sure I missed some. What’s your handicap? Or if golf isn’t your game, what is?
I love playing golf, I do not get to play as much as I like. I started playing back in 2nd grade when I was a youth member at my local park. Now my son Daniel is now the golf pro in our family. He is very good, and I love playing against him, he is very competitive.
6) You note that many family members, including your wife who works as a special needs teacher, have belonged to unions. What do you feel is the role of the labor movement in today’s economy?
Labor Unions help the middle class get fair wages for skilled services. Labor Unions are around to ensure that the work is done properly, within code, and done in the most cost effective manner. These skilled workers specialize in current skills. We need Unions.
7) You are a licensed realtor and mortgage originator. In your capacity as Congressman and with your background knowledge, will you seek any alterations to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae?
Yes, I want to reform the FHA Guidelines, I have many proposals on fixing the housing market by helping those underwater, helping those in foreclosure, and those trying to modify their current loans. This will save every homeowner approximately $350 a month on a $200,000 loan.
8) Aurora and Joliet are the two largest cities in the district. They both are also some of the fastest growing cities in the country. How will you continue to stimulate growth in these urban centers?
I want to bring manufacturing back to America. I also want to increase cash-flows to the middle class through fixing the housing market, student loan reform, and lowering gas prices. I also want to rebuild our infrastructure and modernize our schools which will create jobs!
9) Aurora is also the setting of Wayne’s World. If you had your own music show, what would you typically play for listeners?
I lived near the other setting of Wayne’s world on 63rd street near the Big Indian Statue. I like all types of music, and many times I begin to like the music of my children. It is amazing how many songs are reproduced for new generations.
10) The Chicagoland Speedway is in Joliet. Do you have a driver you root for on race day?
I do not, but my wife and kids do enjoy watching races. I remember when I was in High School working at the auto parts store, I wanted to be a race car driver. I never did, but I have a cousin and many friends that race.