Why We Need More Business People in Congress

Andrew Palomo, 40, grew up in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods of Chicago and now lives in South Barrington. Palomo worked as a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist, founding Pillar Financial LLC, and is now a Certified Financial Planner.

Palomo is a Republican candidate in the 8th Congressional District, now represented by Joe Walsh.

Q: Why are you running against Joe Walsh?

A: It's not my intention to run against him. I think he’s going to stay where he’s more comfortable, where his new base of support is [in the 14th District]. I think this new district is not as Joe Walsh friendly. The new 8th is a little bit more diverse. It’s obviously been drawn with a lot of Democratic-leaning populations. I think that my personal demographics suit the new 8th a little better.

Q: Being Jewish and Mexican?

A: A Hebican. It’s a completely made-up false word, but if you can get it in the dictionary as a new word, I'll be very impressed. I appreciate Joe Walsh’s passions very much, but this is a district where, as it’s drawn now, my positions are more compatible. I’m in business. I’m not as much of a firebrand. Joe Walsh is often very animated, and he doesn’t seem to be wanting to compromise at all.

Q: Do you affiliate with the Tea Party?

A: I’m affiliated with nobody. The Republicans don't know me, the Tea Party doesn’t know me. I’m a businessman who’s tired of watching what we see.

Q: How would you have voted on the debt ceiling bill?

A: Unfortunately, I would have had to go along with the vote. Getting that minuscule two-week cut is better than nothing, and in and of itself, is a huge shift. It’s certainly not enough for fiscal conservatives -- let's just call it fiscally-responsbile people -- but it’s the first step in the right direction.

Q: If you go to Congress, what will you do to argue for smaller deficits and more fiscal responsibility?

A: Structure our debt differently. An inordinately large amount of our debt is in short-term debt when the rates are so low. Anybody with a mortgage understands the idea of rates are at historic lows, let’s get a 30-year fixed. If you shifted 5 percent of our debt into long-term debt, that would go a long way, and it wouldn’t be incredibly painful.

Q: Would you vote to repeal Obamacare?

A: Absolutely. No hesitation there whatsoever. It’s been in place a year. Health costs have gone up.

Q: So what would be your plan for ensuring everyone has access to health care?

A: Everybody does have access to health care. Not everybody can afford it. It’s a totally different issue.

Q: OK, so what would be your plan for making sure everybody who needs health care gets it?

A: I don’t think that’s the responsibility of the federal government. At what point does the federal government take on the role that it has to make everything affordable for everybody? That’s just not the place of the federal government. I’m sorry. I think everybody should have a Porsche, ’cause they’re really fun to drive. That’s just as ludicrous as everybody has to have x amount of insurance and coverage. It’s probably cheaper to give the Porsche away.

Q: Most job growth occurs in small businesses. What’s your plan for helping them?

A: I've run small business. I started a company and built it up to a larger organization. If someone wants to start up a new business -- a coffee shop, for instance -- what they have to do is be able to save enough money to sign a lease, buy inventory, and prepare for this new business. A new business typically isn’t going to hit it out of the ballpark on Day One, so they’re going to be living off savings. It’s very risky. But if that business works, they’re going to have to hire a couple staffers, and now you’ve got three, four part-time positions. That’s how jobs are created. A specific change in the tax code is to give people a break when they’re going to be investing. The capital loss limits of $3,000 is not enough. If I’m going to take a risk and risk 100 grand of my own money, and I go belly up in two years, I get to write off $3,000 a year against passively earned income over the next how ever many years. So I have no incentive to risk my money.

Q: What upset people so much about the debt ceiling debate was the inability of Congress to come an agreement. How will you reduce the partisanship in Washington?

A: I don’t get into this, Obama’s a socialist and trying to destroy the country. People are hurting. They want stability. What we need are a few more business people who understand how to get things done, and a few less lawyers in Congress. Lawyers are trained to tear things apart and fundamentally believe in a zero-sum game: if you win, I lose. What we needed, and what I think the country is yearning for, is someone who is not trained in conflict, but trained in getting a solution.

Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!

Contact Us