Jerry Costello's Political Positions

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What is the Political Courage Test?

Illinois Congressional Election 2010 Political Courage Test

Pro-lifeCandidate Answera) Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?
b) Should abortion be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy?
c) Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape?
Yesd) Should abortion be legal when the life of the woman is endangered?
Yese) Should federal subsidies be prohibited from being used for abortion procedures?
f) Other or expanded principles

I support the Hyde amendment.

1) Spending

Indicate what federal funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category- you can use a number more than once.

a) Agriculture
b) Arts
c) Defense
1) Intelligence operations
2) Military hardware
3) National missile defense
4) Salary and benefits for active duty personnel
5) Programs to improve troop retention rates
6) Research and development of new weapons
d) Education
e) Environment
f) Homeland security
g) International aid
h) Medical research
i) Scientific research
j) Space exploration
k) United Nations
l) Welfare
m) Other or expanded categories

I do not support cuts to Social Security or Medicare. Beyond these two programs we need to seek savings across the rest of the budget.

2) Taxes

Indicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category- you can use a number more than once.

a) Alcohol taxes
b) Capital gains taxes
c) Cigarette taxes
d) Corporate taxes
e) Gasoline taxes
Maintain Statusf) Income taxes (low-income families)
Maintain Statusg) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Slightly Increaseh) Income taxes (high-income families)
i) Other or expanded categories
YesCandidate Answer3) Do you support the elimination of the federal estate tax?
4) Do you support requiring the federal budget to be balanced each year?
YesCandidate Answer5) Do you support using government funds in an effort to stimulate and improve the economy?
6) Other or expanded principles

I have voted for the Balanced Budget Amendment previously, and I still support it. However, currently we would need some period of time to phase in the requirement.

NoCandidate Answera) Do you support privatizing elements of Social Security?
b) Do you support reducing government regulations on the private sector?
c) Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage?
Yesd) Do you support the ability of workers to unionize?
Yese) Do you support federal funding for job-training programs that retrain displaced workers?
f) Other or expanded principles

Some industries will need stronger regulation as conditions warrant, such as my recent support of stronger regulation of the financial services industry. I have supported minimum wage increases in the past and it needs to be evaluated periodically to make sure it maintains a reasonable degree of earning power.

Noa) Do you support increasing the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns?
Yesb) Should Congress regulate indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Noc) Do you support removing all contribution limits on federal campaigns?
Yesd) Should candidates for federal office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?
Yese) Do you support giving the President the power of the line item veto for items concerning appropriations?
Yesf) Do you support limiting the President's ability to define how legislation is applied through the use of signing statements?
g) Other or expanded principles

I have voted for the line item veto and I have voted for comprehensive campaign finance reform.

YesCandidate Answera) Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Yesb) Do you support programs that provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related training and job-placement assistance when released?
Yesc) Do you support programs that provide prison inmates with substance abuse treatment?
Yesd) Do you support reduced prison sentences for non-violent offenders?
e) Do you support mandatory prison sentences for selling illegal drugs?
f) Other or expanded principles

I have supported mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes in the past, and these policies need to be periodically re-evaluated to ensure effectiveness. I recently voted to address the disparity in sentences between crack and powder cocaine.

YesCandidate Answera) Do you support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students?
Yesb) Do you support federal funding for universal pre-K programs?
c) Do you support federal funding for charter schools?
Nod) Do you support federal funding for K-12 school vouchers?
Yese) Do you support the federal government providing college students with financial aid?
f) Other or expanded principles

I support a limited amount of federal resources going toward charter schools; the bulk of our funding should support our public schools.

Unknown PositionInferred Answer a) Do you support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change? View Citations
  • Environment America. 2009. Jerry Costello supported the interests of Environment America 93 percent in 2009. (
  • Jerry Costello. 2010. Illinois Family Institute: 2010 Voter Guide. Responded "OPPOSE" to the question "Tax Increase/ Cap and Trade-will tax energy consumption to combat "global warming (American Clean Energy and Security Act 2009)" (
  • Jerry Costello. HR 2454. 111th Congress. To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy. Jerry Costello voted NO on 26 June 2009. (
  • Jerry Costello. American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. 26 June 2009. "I believe that climate change is occurring, and that increased greenhouse gas emissions have profoundly impacted our climate and our resources. To combat these changes, we need to develop a sustainable energy policy that will meet our energy needs today without compromising the ability of our children and grandchildren to meet their energy needs tomorrow. For these reasons, I support a balanced energy plan that will increase our energy independence by promoting the development and deployment of 1) renewable domestic sources of energy, such as ethanol and biodiesel, and 2) technology that will use traditional fuels in a cleaner way, such as clean coal carbon capture and storage. These energy sources eventually may satisfy the needs of the entire country, but they are still being developed and expanded. We must ensure that Americans maintain access to affordable and reliable energy until these sources are broadly available." (
b) Do you support international emissions targets aimed at reducing the effects of climate change?
Noc) Do you support allowing energy producers to trade carbon credits under a "cap and trade" system?
Yesd) Do you support strengthening fuel efficiency standards on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles?
Yese) Do you support domestic oil exploration in federally-protected areas?
Yesf) Do you support federal funding for the development of alternative energy?
Yesg) Do you support the development of nuclear reactors?
h) Other or expanded principles

We need to take a balanced approach to our national energy policy, investing in renewables while maximizing the cleanest possible production of coal and petroleum. I voted against "cap and trade," but am not against reasonable efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

NoInferred Answer a) Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns? View Citations
  • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 2003. Jerry Costello supported the interests of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence 25 percent from 1991 and 2003. (
  • Gun Owners of America. 2010. In 2010 Gun Owners of America gave Jerry Costello a grade of C. (
  • Jerry Costello. HR 4296. 103rd Congress. To make unlawful the transfer or possession of assault weapons. Jerry Costello voted NO on 5 May 1994. (
  • Jerry Costello. HR 1025. 103rd Congress. To provide for a waiting period before the purchase of a handgun, and for the establishment of a national instant criminal background check system to be contacted by firearms dealers before the transfer of any firearm. Jerry Costello voted NO on 10 November 1993. (
  • Jerry Costello. HR 6842. 111th Congress. To restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia. Jerry Costello voted YES on 17 September 2008. (
Yesb) Do you believe that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individual citizens to own guns?
Yesc) Do you support allowing individuals to carry concealed guns?
Nod) Do you support a ban on assault rifles?
e) Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate Answera) Do you support a publicly-administered health insurance option?
Yesb) Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform?
c) Should the federal government expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts?
d) Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits?
Yese) Do you support relaxing regulations on the importation of prescription drugs?
f) Other or expanded principles

I am not against expanding tax-free medical savings accounts; it is an option, not a necessity. I have voted against damage caps for malpractice suits and believe this issue is best handled at the state level. Illinois voted several years ago to enact such caps, and the law was found to be unconstitutional.

Unknown PositionInferred Answer a) Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants? View Citations
  • Federation for American Immigration Reform. 2007-2008. Jerry Costello supported the interests of the Federation for American Immigration Reform 31 percent in 2007-2008. (
  • National Latino Congreso. 2007-2010. Jerry Costello supported the interests of the National Latino Congreso 60 percent in 2007-2010. (
  • Jerry Costello. Address by Mexican President Felipe Calderon. 11 June 2010. "Regarding immigration, I strongly support measures to control our borders, including building the border fence and using our active duty, Reserve and National Guard troops to patrol our borders. Only after we secure our borders can we address the other aspects of reform. Much remains to be done, but we are seeing signs of progress regarding border control; the Department of Homeland Security reported the number of illegal immigrants dropped by 1 million people from 2008 to 2009, the largest decrease in 30 years." (
Nob) Do you support decreasing the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country?
Yesc) Do you support establishing English as the official national language?
d) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
e) Other or expanded principles

The first step to a comprehensive national immigration policy is to continue our emphasis on border security, which has resulted in more deportations and less border arrests, indicating that illegal immigration is decreasing. I am against a general amnesty, as immigration reform must not penalize those going through the legal immigration process. I support making English the official language of the U.S.

NoInferred Answer a) Do you support United States military action in Afghanistan? View Citations
  • Jerry Costello. HR 4899. 111th Congress. Supplemental Appropriations Act. Jerry Costello voted YES on Limiting Afghanistan Military Funding to Withdrawal and Other Specified Purposes on 1 July 2010. (
  • Peace Action West. 2009. Jerry Costello supported the interests of Peace Action West 62 percent in 2009. (
  • Jerry Costello. HR 4899. 111th Congress. Supplemental Appropriations Act. Jerry Costello voted YES on Requiring Timetable for Withdrawal from Afghanistan on 1 July 2010. (
  • Jerry Costello. Costello Statement On President Obama's Speech. 1 December 2009. "As I have said for some time, I do not support adding additional troops to Afghanistan. History and our own experience there show that the type of societal transformation envisioned is extremely unlikely, and that any such effort would require vast sums of troops and materiel that we cannot afford, even in the short-term. We need to continue to look at ways to disrupt terrorism in the region with less of a troop presence, not more. We need to engage the international community to increase their participation as opposed to going it alone." (
Nob) Do you support increasing military assistance for Afghanistan?
c) Do you support increasing economic development assistance for Afghanistan?
d) Should the United States continue to strike suspected terrorist targets in Pakistan?
Yese) Do you support granting aid to countries when it is in the security interests of the United States?
Yesf) Should the United States support the creation of a Palestinian state?
Yesg) Do you support increasing sanctions on Iran if it continues to defy United Nations mandates?
Yesh) Do you support the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq?
i) Do you support the United States' involvement in free trade agreements?
j) Other or expanded principles

I am in favor of removing our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan as quickly as possible as it is time to let these countries take responsibility for their futures. This is not to say we should have no influence in the region and cannot strike militarily, but we clearly cannot afford to maintain the type of presence we have had over the last decade in either country. I support fair trade, and have voted against trade agreements such as NAFTA that have made it easier to move good-paying American jobs overseas.

YesCandidate Answera) Should marriage only be between one man and one woman?
b) Do you support allowing openly-gay men and women to serve in the United States military?
Noc) Do you support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research?
Nod) Should the federal government end affirmative action programs?
e) Other or expanded principles

I defer to military leadership on the question of whether openly gay men and women should serve in the military. When military leadership believes that the "don't ask, don't tell," policy should be changed, I will support the change. I support federal funding of adult stem cell research.

Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

My first priority is to protect Social Security and Medicare from privatization. Second, I will continue to work to create jobs and maintain economic growth through increased infrastructure investment in all modes of our transportation system. Infrastructure investment creates good-paying jobs and leaves us with valuable assets and a more efficient economy. Removing our troops from Iraq would save the money necessary to do this. Third, I will also continue to pursue the research and development of advanced clean coal technologies to protect our economy and the environment. Current funding sources should be sufficient for this work.

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