Bloggers on the call:
1. Jesse Greenberg
2. Aviva Gibbs
3. Windy Citizen (not associated with www.windycitizen.com)
4. Josh Kalven
5. Alan Cotrel
6. David Lumstein
Q: How did you get in the race?
A: When Rahm was invited as Chief of Staff, became interested. Fritchey thought he could add value. Disconcerting to know what he could do as the most junior member of Congress. Went to DC over Thanksgiving and thought could hit the ground running if elected. It is historic opportunity to go to Washington and in unprecedented times and get things done.
Q: Why did it take a month to get into the campaign?
A: Because it is a serious decision. Running for Congress is a life-changing decision. Better question is how did others make the decision in two-days after Rahm announced. Hopes he would appreciate the fact that this is a serious decision. Only handicap was a financial one. Other candidates had raised several hundred thousand dollars by then.
Q: How are you distinguishing yourself?
A: It’s a matter of results and performance. Looks at all the contenders…brings record of results – working men and women, immigration, economic development, etc. Sara Feigenholtz has a good voting record but those bills she supported were those Fritchey sponsored. Been proud and honored that people came to him to sponsor bills and when they could have picked any state representative.
Q: What is your top issue?
A: 100% environmental record, 97% pro-labor record (AFL-CIO)
Q: Stimulus package?
A: Need to have a stimulus. It’s not a perfect bill but “perfect is not the enemy of good.” Remiss to ignore the things that were cut. Bill should put things back to work – not a Christmas present for everyone. Has to be a combination of tax cuts and spending. Has to be a long-term economic growth solution. Two goals: 1. Get people to work 2. Compete in global economy.
Didn’t see Mike Quigley’s website (moretransit.com). Been an advocate in long-term rail development, e.g. Brown Line.
Illinois is more hampered than ever to pay bills. Now looking at a $9 B deficit. Hard decisions have to be made. We need an assurance on how money is going to be spent. Illinois voters have been disappointed time and again. Not afraid to talk about income tax hike to fund important projects. Taxes should be looked at last result.
One way to do this, talked with Pat Quinn about it, is to increase exceptions for individuals and go to progressive income tax structure.
Illinois is well-situated to take in Federal dollars and 5th District needs someone to fight for them.
Q: Do you agree with Senate’s take on stimulus package?
A: No. Situation is a dilemma that asks if we want all the goodies in the bill or make sure we can afford these. Want to bring all the resources back to 5th District.
Q: How can you reconcile being a candidate working for people and as a lobbyist for Bank of America, Cash America?
A: Cash America was looking to locate a pawn shop, not a pay day loan shop. Those communities needed that development.
Q: Can you comment on the ongoing conversation online and make the distinction between being a lobbyist to the City of Chicago and a being a legislator…
A: Lobbyists have to disclose clients and how much they got paid. Sponsored legislation that would make process more transparent. That’s a good thing.
Q: Is there anyone you would turn away?
A: Turned away corporate clients that wanted to do development projects. Bank of America turned out to provide a more consumer friendly experience. Made sure that City of Chicago didn’t have too many banks because it drives up local commercial rents. Worked with Tunney, Vi Daley and others to come up with legislation to make sure there were not too many banks in Chicago.
Q: Would you work for them again?
A: In light of Republic Windows, no.
Q: Why didn’t you come out in support of Republic Windows?
A: Would have looked like granstanding. It was handled well by the people who handled it.
Q: Will the 5th District survive redistricting?
A: Probably see disassembling of Roskam district. The 5th will probably stay in tact.
A: Daughter that is 13 and needs to supplement income by practicing law. Doesn’t cut into time as legislator. It is acceptable and “commonplace” to have legislators serve as lobbyists. Frtichey is a registered lobbyist because of his specialty law practice.
Q: What are your impressions of the race so far?
A: The field has gotten bogged down in minutiae. Looked forward to campaign on substantive issues. Loved the forum at DePaul and how candidates think on their feet. Nature of congressional race is that you don’t always get to do what you like. Hopes that over next three weeks, candidates can focus on who they are, what they’ve done, what they will do.
Q: Traditional media
A: Substantive issues don’t make news. Sad reality is that everyday issues tend not to be sexy. Started blogging because wanted to share the inside political process.
Q: Why did campaign push the story on Feigenholtz being on clout list?
A: Sara started this tone by putting a poll that asked questions if they knew that Fritchey was campaigning with state rep. funds. It was an irresponsible and mudslinging. The statement that she was on those lists of getting people state jobs is factual. Fritchey could have continued on that note but didn’t.
Q: Why mention Rahm Emanuel?
A: Wasn’t the only one who had conversation with Emanuel. Wasn’t a calculated answer to take attention away from issues. It was an honest response.
Q: Are you suggesting that others on the panel were not telling the truth?
A: Would be surprised that Fritchey was the only one who had conversation with Emanuel. Maybe Lynn Sweet should have gone down the row so everyone knew where they stood on it.