Catalina Lauf is a 26-year-old running for Congress in Illinois’ 14th district. Lauf grew up in Woodstock, Illinois, a Chicago suburb within the district.
Lauf recently released her campaign video, “Heartland.” It mentions divisive rhetoric from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and other self-described socialists. Lauf’s campaign is assembled around combating the socialist agenda pushed by young congresswomen. She believes she may be the young counter-voice to “The Squad.”
The Federalist sat down with Lauf to discuss her plans for IL-14 if elected.
Chrissy Clark (CC): What made you want to run for this seat?
Catalina Lauf (CL): So, it was definitely two-fold. Particularly the fact that [political opponent] Lauren Underwood was really echoing a lot of this divisive rhetoric that “The Squad” was saying. With her as my congresswoman I was, frankly, embarrassed by when she was calling for impeachment, or saying that Republicans are “racist” and “sexist.” And, I think that that rhetoric is so divisive for our country. And then, on another note, the fact that [Underwood] has voted so far left that her ideals, and her policy positions, fundamentally don’t represent our district.
I wasn’t going to sit back and watch. I thought that this was my time to stand up for freedom.
CC: What are some of the problems that you would like to see fixed? What are the key points on your platform right now?
CL: The biggest one is the gridlock in Congress. So, right now with Lauren Underwood, she’ll purposefully go against the president just because [Democrats] don’t like him. Well, they don’t understand that that creates so much hate in our country. Be part of the solution, don’t be the problem.
CC: What would happen if in 2020 you were elected to Congress, but there was also a Democratic president in the White House? How would you work to combat gridlock, even though the party in power is not your own?
CL: I think that it’s standing firm on my beliefs, right? So, for example, a big one is not compromising on increasing taxes and if you have a Democrat-controlled White House and people in Congress are Democrats. Then, we need people on our side who are going to stand firm and not compromise just to appease the other side.
We can work together for sensible solutions, but we cannot be putting our Constitution at risk just to have bipartisanship. We need Republicans who are standing firm and are going to fight back.
CC: Don’t you think that’s what “The Squad” thinks they’re doing as well, though? They think they’re standing firm and fighting back. How do you plan to approach this differently?
CL: Those women stand firm for attention, the retweets, the sound bites. To purposely go against the president. They fan the flames to further our divide. That’s not leadership. It’s unproductive, and the American people deserve better.
CC: A lot of people claim Ocasio-Cortez’s youth is the reason for her ignorance. Why would someone, like yourself, who is even younger, be qualified for this position?
CL: Our founders, some of them were younger than I am now. And then you fast forward to today, you have millennials, again people younger than myself, creating billion-dollar companies. It’s not about age, it’s about character, and conviction, and genuinely loving our country. That’s what matters.
CC: How do you plan to combat that narrative that your inexperience may hinder you from doing the job of an elected official adequately?
CL: I think for starters, I’ve worked in the private sector. I worked for President Trump’s administration. I would like to think that those are pretty proud moments in my career that have led me to where I am. Again, people want to vote on the future and they vote on ideals, not just on age.
CC: What do you think is going to be the most difficult battle for you and what are you going to do to change the minds of a district that voted blue in the previous election cycle?
CL: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for example, how our family looks at it, and I know many other businesses in the district that it has helped. The economy is doing really well, the president is putting all Americans first, and actions speak louder than words. And, [Trump’s] proven that his campaign promises will come to fruition. I want to focus on that message.
Also, having worked in the administration, I know how hard the administration works to put all Americans first and I can assure people, especially in the district, that the president really does care. And, they’re going to continue to care because the road that we were on before was not sustainable.
Farmers are also a large voting bloc. We have more than 3,000 farmers in [my] district. President Trump wins with those demographics and really has put everyone first, whether it be on the domestic stage or the international stage.
CC: Finally, we talk in the mainstream media a lot about how white suburban women are being lost in the Trump campaign. White suburban women comprise a large portion of the district you’re running in. How do you plan on winning these women back?
CL: Me being a woman does help. I think when you are messaging to someone who understands your perspective and can really relate, I think that is a helpful position to be in. Women, particularly, hold the purse strings, especially with a lot of these white suburban moms. This makes them very concerned about the economy as well. It’s really about being able to connect with them on not only a real level, but also understanding every day issues that are affecting them as well.