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Donald Teel is the Founder and Editor of iVoteAmerica®. He has been an Arizona resident since 1960. He is a commercial real estate broker, private pilot, photographer and an avid reader of America's history.

My time with Catalina Lauf boosted my spirits! Her unique perspective on the role of government and political leadership brought me new hope for what we at iVoteAmerica call The Next Generation of Conservatives®. She’s smart, she’s young, and she is a critical thinker who knows the issues we face, both now and in the future.

My interview with Ms. Lauf reinforced my belief that America has a bright, prosperous future if, of course, we elect candidates like Catalina.

Her heritage is fundamental to her beliefs and her character. Her family, as you will see, deepened her understanding and commitment to the American dream of liberty, self-sufficiency, hope, and a life lived to its fullest potential.

iVoteIllinois, in conjunction with iVoteAmerica, is proud to announce our endorsement of Catalina Lauf for the US House of Representatives. I believe she will make Illinois voters proud because she will act in their best interests. I hope you will join us in supporting her. Links to her website and other resources are included at the bottom of this interview.

Here’s my interview with Catalina Lauf, a constitutional conservative candidate for Illinois’s 14th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. My questions are followed by Catalina’s answers.

The Interview with Catalina Lauf

Donald: If I were a novice and I came to you, and I said, “Tell me, Catalina, what is your view of government,” what would you say?

Government should be there to protect our freedoms, not as this bloated, gargantuan entity that it is today. The role of government should be to protect our rights and our liberties and not to overstep its boundaries. And you see this rise of socialism in the far left, particularly with the young people who are now in Congress, that there are more than just “the Squad.” Those are just the louder voices. We have tons of other younger candidates who believe in it. We have to make sure we’re keeping government as small as possible, limited government in our lives, because the way that it’s been going for the last couple of decades–it’s just growing and growing.

Donald: We all have beliefs and convictions and life priorities. Where do yours come from?

I would just say my family values. I grew up in a very patriotic and American type of household. My mother came here legally from Guatemala, and she came here because this is the land of opportunity, and she knew she could be whoever she wanted to be if she came here. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, and the less government involvement in small business is just really something that we stood for. I read a lot as a kid and studied political science in college and have just always been somebody who very much supports limited government and to have a free life as much as possible. Where we’re going as a country is just not good.

Donald: What is the need of the moment in your district that is keeping you up at night?

Illinois is imploding. We’ve had so much corruption, not only coming from Chicago but from Springfield. The people truly feel forgotten here, and we have a record number of people moving out of the state because of regressive economic policies. I was born and raised here, and at what point, does it just implode? Or for those who have to stay here, when do we fight back? We don’t have any sort of hope. We have bad candidates. The Republicans are sometimes just as Democrat as the worst of the Democrats. I have two of them in my primary right now, who are trying to run as conservatives, and their voting records at the State House would prove otherwise. It’s this monarchy that’s been controlling the system here, and people do not feel like they have hope. The more that the Democrats infiltrate, even at the county level, the local level, the township, we’re losing. The people are losing. I came in, and I want to see change, and not only for the state but for the country.

Donald: What is it you can do to assure the public that when you get to Washington, DC, you’re not going to change?

I think it comes from your own integrity and your own values. I think a huge benefit is that I’ve already made such a name for myself being in this primary. I have a platform now. You look at someone like AOC, and she has a platform that reaches six million people. She arguably has more say and more voice than her policies that she wants to push than even Nancy Pelosi does. She doesn’t have to toe party lines, and while I think she’s nuts, she has made her own brand and her own set of–I mean we know what she stands for–complete communism. She’s able to break off party lines and even try to do what she wants to do because she’s a millennial and she’s been able to dominate the platform. For myself, I’m on that same journey of having a platform and being able to say true to myself and my values. I know that I’ll stay true to my values, but I’d also hope that the voters will keep me accountable. I’ve had the most amazing conversations with people that they’re ready to have someone here to do what’s right for the people. I was born and raised here, and I love to be home, and I like to be here, and I’ve also seen how Washington is, and I will pride myself in being someone who wants to be home and stay true to constituents and true to my values.

Donald: We talked about Rod Blagojevich the other night in my house. What’s the sentiment on him in Illinois?

In this district, in particular, it’s a very pro-Trump district. I think people understand where the president was coming from and why. Especially when you have people like Clinton, people like Obama, people who have truly damaged people’s lives who have been in Chicago politics, what Blagojevich did probably looks pretty menial to that, and those people–and not necessarily Obama–and these older men and these really corrupt politicians should be in jail are not going to jail and here you have someone going to jail for eight years on something that maybe shouldn’t have had that long of a sentence.

Donald: Tell the Illinois voters the first thing you’re going to try to tackle immediately following your swearing-in.

The biggest thing is immigration reform. It’s the top issue not only in the state but in districts like mine here. We need to stop politicizing it, and we actually need to see results. We need real solutions that are not happening right now.

Donald: What is your second one?

It would be continuing on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I worked as a political appointee in the Department of Commerce under the Trump Administration. I’ve seen firsthand the commitment that not only the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act but the entire America First agenda is doing. Here, in particular, there is a manufacturing company that because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, was able to create an apprenticeship program. A huge problem in the manufacturing industry is labor shortages. They’re not getting the right talent. They’re not getting the right people to join their workforce, and that’s hurting a lot of these manufacturing companies.

Donald: Right now, what’s the most difficult issue you’re facing in the campaign?

Being up against the Illinois Swamp. This primary is very difficult, but we’re chugging along.

Donald: The most intrusive element in government today is blank. Fill in the blank.

Taxation. Overregulation.

Donald: What is your most fond memory from high school?

I got to live in Costa Rica for a little while, and that was a great experience. I loved living in a different country and being able to see a different perspective of life.

Donald: And that different perspective–you brought that up for a reason–how did that change or impact the woman, the person, you are today?

When you actually live and immerse yourself in a different country and see the way that those people live, it was very eye-opening to just appreciate everything I have here and what we have as Americans and the country that we are in. I remember, I really wanted Oreos from somewhere. They didn’t have them there. You’re so used to going into a Target and having every single option available to you in the United States, but in a country like Costa Rica where things are very limited, I can’t even find them, or basic products. It shows you an appreciation for the innovation and the freedom and the free enterprise. Also, just the way they lived. There’s inequality. It’s so ridiculous to me when they talk about that here. Our left does not know what a wealth gap is unless you go to a place that has true slums and true poverty, and then you have the government and the oligarchs living like kings. It just taught me a lot and to be very appreciative of the United States.

Donald: Tell me when was the last time you were really, really, really ticked off about politics and what it was that triggered you.

It’s primaries. It shows you that politics is all about–it’s truly the power game. One of my opponents is being heavily supported by a governor in a different state. People–their Representatives should be everyday people. I have another opponent who has run eight times now, and he loses every time, but he can always write himself a million-dollar check. If you’re going to be a Representative, do it for the right reasons.

Donald: Tell me about the things that you place a high premium. Ours at iVoteAmerica are the sanctity of life and the importance of family and community. Do you agree with those things?

Absolutely. Family values are huge, and honesty and justice and integrity. I’m pro-life. Just in terms of values, it’s very important.

Donald: Do you agree with that general principle that when the government takes too much of what is mine, they take me?

It is taking a piece of you, and the idea of the government taking what you have earned is sick to me.

Donald: You made the following statement: that you are the “product of the American dream” and you’re running to defend it. What is the American Dream?

The American Dream is the ability to live free, and with that, has so much. Be whoever you want to be. You come here, and you don’t have a ceiling. There’s so much that is encompassed within that–whether it has to do with your money or your freedom. You can be here, and you can do whatever you want and be whoever you want to be.

Lightning Round – Quick Answers to Quick Questions

Donald: Your favorite movie?

Back to the Future

Donald: Do you eat sushi?

Yeah.

Donald: Self-improvement goal?

I guess just managing the craziness.

Donald: What is the one food that you constantly crave but you shouldn’t?

Pizza.

Donald: Favorite president?

I was just asked this the other day, and I feel bad saying Reagan, but I just love Reagan. I love reading his speeches and learning what he was about.

Donald: First job?

I was actually a waitress at a sushi restaurant. I picked strawberries for a time at the farm down the street from where I grew up.

Donald: Do you have a pet?

I do. A little dog. Her name is Scotchie, after Andrew Carnegie.

Resources:

Visit Catalina Lauf’s Campaign Website

Donate to Catalina Lauf’s Campaign for Illinois’s 14th Congressional District

Visit Catalina Lauf on Twitter

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