Richard's Political Positions

 ·   Crime    ·   Education    ·   Veterans    ·   Immigration   Jobs/Economic Development   ·  Healthcare Reform   ·  Tax Reform   ·   Affordable housing   ·

 

We need someone who will wake up every morning and fight for the people of the 4th Congressional district. Richard will fight your fight.

After decades of empty rhetoric, broken promises, and a general lack of leadership, I decided with the support of my loving wife, Betsy, to try and shake up the status quo and advocate for real change. The people of Chicago need a leader who can handle more than one issue at a time.

I began this campaign when Luis Gutierrez was expected to run for another term. I planned to challenge an incumbent. At the time, I was the only opposition candidate on the horizon. But it turned out Gutierrez chose not to run after all. And suddenly other candidates appeared. Career politicians began doing what career politicians do, which is make phone calls, make deals behind closed doors, and before you knew it another career politician got endorsed by the incumbent. It was the anointing of an heir. Hardly democratic.

But I am not a career politician. I am a citizen. I am a citizen first. Then I am a citizen who is also a developer of affordable housing, an accountant, and a Chicago cop. I entered the 4th Congressional race to contribute my skills, acquired in these various roles, to make a positive difference in the lives of the people of the District.

I am the only candidate who had the gumption to start a campaign when the odds were tough.

And I did that because I have ideas that I believe are solid and will work to solve the problems facing the 4th District – and the nation. Here are some of my ideas:

 

Crime Prevention

I am a Sergeant with the Chicago Police Department. I will rely on my more than 25 years’ experience as a police officer to tackle the crime wave currently plaguing the 4th Congressional District. As a police officer, I’ve worked in the 4 th Congressional District, so I know the specific issues it faces. I’ve created a plan that I intend to share with our local elected officials that will add approximately 1000 police officers to the District, lower the cost of adding these officers, eliminate the expenditures of time and money associated with the training of these officers, and enhance the overall economy by putting underemployed persons back to work. How? By hiring retired police officers to come back to the force on a part-time basis.

  • Retired police officers want to work part-time
  • They are in their prime
  • They are fully trained and certified
  • They know police culture
  • They don't need expensive benefits because they have a pension
  • This plan gets administrative police officers back onto the street
  • Our families, our property, and our lives get better protection with my plan

In addition, I will also advocate for resources from Washington that will facilitate comprehensive mentorship programs to the community directed at our at-risk youth. Mentorship is the key. With it, young people are far less likely to turn to gang membership as they search for a sense of pride and belonging.

  • I've mentored many young police officers just entering the force
  • Through my church, I've help guide many young people onto better life paths
  • I've advocated for "second chance" programs aimed at rehabilitating delinquent youth

I cannot stress more emphatically how important mentorship is to solving the crime problem.


Education

I am a proud product of the public school system, having graduated from Jose De Diego High School in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Returning to Chicago, I later attended Robert Morris College and DePaul University (where I earned my Bachelor's Degree), followed by the Illionois Institute of Technology, where I earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration. I believe wholeheartedly that the future of our children depends on guaranteeing them access to the knowledge and life-tools that only a decent education can provide.

  • We need a moratorium on closing public schools
  • We need a moratorium on allowing more tax-draining charter schools
  • We need an elected, accountable school board
  • We need to pay teachers a decent, livable salary to keep them in our schools

Vocational education is crucial to many high school students. Young people who elect not to seek a 4-year college degree still want and need an education that fits their goals. A two-year Associates Degree can make significant difference in their future careers. As your congressman I will fight in Washington to ensure educational opportunities are readily accessible and affordable. I support vocational high school programs that will count towards an Associate’s Degree. And I support strengthening ties between the community college system and vocational high school programs so that both work together effectively to offer young students the best opportunities for advancement.


Veterans

The strength of our nation comes from the bravery of the men and women who are veterans of the armed forces. Our nation can never thank our veterans enough for their service and sacrifice. As a Congressman, I will make sure that they receive the benefits and recognition they deserve.

  • Exempt veterans for Federal Income Tax on first $150,000
  • Double capital gains exemption for veterans

Richard visiting with Korean War veteran, Mr. Thomas Lozada. Thomas was a member of the elite Borinqueneers.

The Veteran’s Administration needs to recommit to their original mission: helping vets. Too many policies have failed for lack of federal follow-through. One example is Veteran’s Home in Oak Park on Forest Park Drive. It still isn’t finished after several years of “start-then-stop” construction. It sits there, empty, when there are veterans homeless on the streets. This is failed policy that everyone can see. I intend to correct it.


Immigration

I will be part of the bipartisan majority supporting immigration reform. Remember, these are people who are our neighbors. They have built their lives in this country and raised their families here. They need and deserve legal status.

  • Public safety is compromised when people will not report crimes for fear of being deported if they get involved
  • Deportation can separate parents from their children
  • Keep Chicago (and the 4th District) a Sanctuary City
  • I support the Dreamers and DACA
  • I support Chicago’s program providing IDs through the Clerk’s Office
  • President Trump’s proposed “wall” between the U.S. and Mexico is an affront and a delusion – more Mexican nationals are leaving the U.S than coming into the U.S.

We need an immigration policy that is rationale, unbiased, and humane. Society does not benefit from the gross unfairness that our current policy imposes on immigrants.


Jobs/Economic Development

I have worked in business for over 25 years and have seen first-hand how crucial jobs and opportunities for enterprise are to the vitality of a community. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. I will advocate programs to encourage residents of the 4th Congressional District to start small businesses.

  • Small businesses spur economic development
  • Small businesses create neighborhood jobs
  • I will advocate increasing availability of government funds for starting small businesses and invigorating local economy
  • I will encourage the 4th District’s grass-roots enterprises to hire vocationally-educated residents

Healthcare Reform

In a country as rich as the United State it is unacceptable that large segments of the population cannot afford even basic healthcare for themselves and their families. This must change. The Affordable Care Act – Obamacare as it is called – may not have been perfect, but it went a long way towards bringing healthcare coverage to people who never before had it. I will work to keep affordable healthcare front and center in Congress until we have a system that works for everyone.

  • The insurance industry cannot be allowed to decide who gets treatment and who does not, based on who can pay for it
  • The single-payer option needs to be fully-considered with an open mind

Tax Reform

I completely oppose the tax bill President Trump and the Republicans have devised. The vast majority of working people will not benefit from it. Just the opposite. They will suffer. It eliminates their modest benefits and awards lavish tax breaks for the rich.

  • Working and middle-class people need the long-standing mortgage deduction to remain in place
  • Student loan interest must remain deductible
  • Teachers must be allowed to deduct the costs of school supplies they buy with their own money so that students from low-income families are not shortchanged
  • President Trump’s tax bill opens even more loopholes for the wealthy than they already have – that must be stopped

Affordable Housing

For more than 25 years, I have worked in the housing and real estate industries, starting in the accounting department, moving later into asset management, and finally into property management and development. I know first-hand how essential it is that people have safe, secure homes, whether they be rented or owned. Homes – like families– are one of the cornerstones of a healthy, vibrant community. The not-for-profit company with where I am President and Executive Director, Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation (MHDC), is a pioneer in the development and preservation of affordable housing. Through MHDC, I have participated in the growth of affordable housing initiatives, both local and throughout the Midwest, which includes:

 Pennycuff Castillo Apartments, future development of Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation and corporation president Richard Gonzalez.

Pennycuff Castillo Apartments, future development of Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation and corporation president Richard Gonzalez.

  • Securing over $3 million dollars in housing grants for rehab projects
  • Obtaining over $38,000,000 in mortgages and other loans from HUD, IHDA, Cook County, and other sources to develop affordable housing
  • Developing housing for the elderly

I will work to make sure everyone in the 4th District is adequately housed.


With all the challenges facing our city and our nation, the people of the 4th Congressional District can no longer afford to have a representative who treats this incredible
responsibility as a part time job.

Our current congressman, Luis Gutiérrez, is a single issue congressman at a time when the world is facing a myriad of challenges. He is a career politician who is just too uncomfortable for his own good. 

In recent years, the 4th Congressional district has been hit with a foreclosure crisis, rampant violence, a depressed economy, and fewer opportunities for the people who call this community home. Where is the public town hall meeting on the violence that is destroying our communities? Where is the press conference urging the Trump Administration to invest in affordable housing? Where has our congressman been?

It’s time for the era of machine politicians that treat their elected positions with neglect to come to a close. Now more than ever, we need new ideas and new energy and that will never happen by electing the same old career politicians. From affordable housing and violence in our neighborhoods to infrastructure, jobs, and education, it’s clear that no one is advocating for interests in the district or Washington D.C.. Chicago needs a leader who can handle more than one issue at a time. Richard is this leader. 

While no one representative can resolve these issues on his or her own, they can work to build coalitions and establish consensus on the issues that matters most to Americans. Richard is confident that on every single issue important to the lives of hardworking people in the 4th District, he is better equipped to help lead.

Having spent his life working to address important issues as a civic-minded resident, Richard realizes that there is only so much that can be done locally to address national issues. Richard's proven record of accomplishments as a private citizen and lifelong passion for improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods make him uniquely suited to retire Luis Gutiérrez and shake up the status quo in Washington D.C. and the City of Chicago

We have an opportunity to take this seat back and return it to the people. We have an opportunity to rise up and break the cycle of empty promise and failed leadership. Richard hopes that as this election goes on, he will have earned the right to lead this movement and advocate for changes in Washington that will improve our daily lives.