General Election 2016: Tonia Khouri, Candidate for the 11th Congressional District
Oct 25, 2016 09:19PM ● Published by Steven Jack
Name: Tonia Khouri
Employment: Small Business Owner, DuPage County Board Member
Family: Husband Joe, Daughter Stephanie, Sons Tony and Paul
Education: BA, Southern Illinois University; Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Previously elected office: DuPage County Board
Relevant community service:
Governor-Elect Transition Committee: Intergovernmental Efficiencies, Board of Directors, Choose DuPage, Board of Directors, DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau, Board of Directors, DuPage Workforce Board, DuPage County NAACP, Member, Indian American Republican Organization, The Rotary Club of Naperville, Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Naperville Woman's Club, Naperville 100 Women Who Care, Naperville Township Committeeman, Daughters of the American Revolution, Aurora Chapter
What makes you qualified to serve the people of the 11th Congressional district?
As a wife, mother, and small business owner, I am disappointed in Washington. I am tired of Washington and the games the establishment plays at Americans’ expense. As Americans, we deserve predictable, reliable security: national security, economic security, and family security.
We face very real and complex threats here in Illinois. As a local small business owner and Chairman of Economic Development on the DuPage County Board, I am uniquely qualified to bring our voice to Washington to confront these challenges in Congress.
Illinoisans are looking for someone who will stand up for them in Congress and be a voice for this district. Bill Foster has shown us time and time again that his loyalties do not rest with the people of the 11th District—they rest with establishment politicians in Washington, who have protected his seat in exchange for his unconditional vote. This is unacceptable. We need a leader fighting for us in Washington. I want to go fight for our district's needs.
My goal is to empower the people, not the establishment—that’s why I’m running for Congress.
What are your plans to reach across the aisle in Congress to help accomplish things for the people of the 11th Congressional District?
When I am elected, I won’t turn a blind eye to my colleagues who serve as Democrats, nor will I vote in lock-step with my own party leadership. I plan to be a voice for Illinoisans and work to improve the quality of life for all Americans. We have a beautifully diverse district and I will strive to represent that diversity in my decisions and votes. If we elected more leaders to Congress who subscribed to that mindset, I suspect we’d be much more productive and much more effective.
What are the 3 biggest problems facing the people of the 11th Congressional District, and what do you propose to help fix these problems?
My devotion to helping Americans break free from poverty has been a central focus on my campaign. As a small business owner, I have seen firsthand how jobs change people’s lives. 62% of net new jobs are created by small businesses, which is why I believe it’s so important to facilitate an economic environment that is conducive to growing and flourishing business.
As Chairman of Economic Development, I spearheaded the creation of Metro West Manufacturing Workforce Collaboration, an initiative dedicated to connecting the unemployed and underemployed in DuPage County with quality jobs that provide livable wages. Through the use of public-private partnerships, candidates are given free training for skilled manufacturing jobs that need to be filled in DuPage County and surrounding areas.
The first two graduates of this program came from DuPage Pads, our local homeless shelter. A year ago, these individuals were homeless, but now they are fully employed and with a roof over their heads. This proves that our welfare programs are not what make this country great—it is our free enterprise system and the opportunities it offers. I saw through the creation of this program that opportunity is what helps people break free from poverty.
'That has been a priority for me during my time on the DuPage County Board and continues to be a priority for me as I pursue this congressional seat.
As for the economy, the middle class and the working poor are being crushed by the rising costs, on everything from health care and housing to consumer goods. The non-recovery has made it very difficult for many to find and keep sustainable employment. Government needs to limit its intrusiveness so as to allow the free market to empower both employers and employees.
63% of our net new jobs are created by small businesses. It is important to support our nation’s job creators. We need to get the government, with its countless regulations and bureaucrats, out of way and allow American ingenuity in the marketplace to put Americans back to work.
National security is also a major focal point of my campaign. We need a grand strategy to fighting terrorism overseas and at home.
Dismissing this new brand of terrorists as the “JV team,” in my opinion, holds no place in that strategy. A coherent foreign policy will assist America as it leads the fight against ISIS abroad. Our allies need to know what they can expect when our president makes a commitment.
This is especially true in light of the Iran Deal, which my opponent has supported from the very beginning. Never had I thought I’d see an American president work so hard to strike a deal with a foreign nation that has declared itself an enemy of ours.
Although I support efforts to reduce the nuclear arsenal around the globe and to limit the ability of other countries to procure or develop such weapons, this deal has come at a great cost to us and we will pay the price for years to come.
We need a coherent foreign policy that opens the door to build reliable alliances with nations who, until recently, were steadfast allies. Our allies need to know that we are dependable and our foes need to fear us. The world is a much safer place when America is acting as a global leader.