Monday, October 11, 2010

Deseret News/KSL Candidiate Questionnaire‏

1. What is your top priority for the United States?

The issue that's at the top of my priorities is bringing about publicly funded elections. Until special interests are put into check in Washington, no other issues will matter. Efforts to reform them in the current political environment will be undermined by meddling lobbyists and their corporate backers to make sure that whatever laws are past will work to their advantage and not for the public good. America has had enough of Government working for corporations and special interests at the expense of the people. There is legislation in Congress RIGHT NOW to bring this much needed reform to Washington. It's called the "Fair Elections Now Act" (H.R. 1826 & S. 752).

2. Describe your solution to the U.S. illegal immigration problem. What specifically should be done about the over 10-million illegal immigrants who are now in the United States? Do you favor or oppose some kind of pathway to legal status for the current illegal immigrants?

The solution to illegal immigration lies in enforcing existing labor and immigration laws. The first and most effective step is to crack down on U.S. companies that hire undocumented workers illegally and penalize them for it. Our government has been turning a blind eye to this--the core of the illegal immigration problem--for far too long. Once American companies stop hiring undocumented workers then the flow of illegal immigrants will simply go away. If there is no work for illegals then they will stop crossing our borders.

As for the illegal immigrants who are here now, one suggestion that I find appealing is to give illegal immigrants a year to leave the country peacefully and they can take with them any property they have acquired since being here. If the political will exists to more stringently enforce existing immigration laws to arrest, process and deport illegal aliens, I can get behind that as well. It must be understood that taking these measures will not be cheap. Part of the costs can be covered by confiscating money and property held by illegals and fines imposed on the companies that hire them but I doubt that will cover all the expenses. There will most likely need to be funding allocated by congress to shore up the resources of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to carry this out.

If Congress collectively lacks the political will to enforce these laws but can somehow get it together enough to enact legislation to provide legal status for otherwise law-abiding undocumented workers, that's something that I could get behind as well. Even Ronald Reagan supported amnesty for illegal aliens as a practical alternative.

3. Do you support the Affordable Care Act (health care reform)? If not, how would you fix America’s health care crisis?

I stand strongly against the Federal government interfering in matters it is not Constitutionally authorized to enter into. Thus far, early court challenges to the ACA have been defeated with rulings that state that the legislation is NOT unconstitutional. While the ACA is certainly flawed legislation and there are elements that I would like to see repealed--like the individual mandate--other elements I think were a long time coming and acceptable but more needs to be done to fix our healthcare system. I think that there are other solutions that the federal government can implement to make genuine healthcare reform easier to achieve such as removing anti-trust exemptions that insurance companies have been abusing for years, passing legislation requirement that all health insurance companies operate as non profit corporations, mutual companies or cooperatives to ensure premiums are used to pay for treatment and not pad the pockets of executives or inflate share prices--I think that health insurance should NOT be a publicly traded commodity. I think the federal government should do all that it is constitutionally permitted to in order to make sure that people can be treated for their illnesses and not be financially crippled for it. If anything, the federal government should do what it can to help individual states implement healthcare reform that meets the unique needs of each state and not try to implement a federal catch-all system that might work for one state, be overkill for another or fall short of the needs for a third.

4. What can be done to improve the U.S. economy? How will you help?

Short answer, put people to work. 70% of our economy is driven by consumer spending. Over the last 30 years wages for working Americans has stagnated and the only way they've been able to keep our economy going has been to go deeper and deeper into debt with credit cards and drawing on the equity in their homes. This was unsustainable. The housing bubble burst, most people can't get credit anymore and people who manage to find work are working two and three jobs just to keep their heads above water. I am not opposed to government expenditures to rebuild our nations infrastructure in oder to put people to work so they can start consuming again. Our government also needs to enact legislation that encourages the private sector to bring jobs back to the states--for example, we should amend our current trade policies to require that our foreign trading partners pay their workers better wages so that US firms don't automatically shut down American factories in order to take advantage of obscenely cheaper wages overseas. As a nation, we should also make access to higher education easier for all Americans. We've all seen the statistics: the more education a person has, the more successful that person is. Give everyone equal access to higher education and you make it possible for those people to have access to better paying jobs. Policies also need to be implemented to ensure that incomes keep pace with economic growth. One part of that equation that I'd like to see implemented would be to tie Congressional salaries to the median income of the nation. Were that to be implemented now, the salary of a freshman representative would be cut by almost two thirds. If Congress wants to give itself a pay raise, then they should enact laws that enable an increase in incomes for the average American worker. There are many other solutions to this very complicated problem and I'm willing to explore all possible solutions.

5. Utah is famous for its beautiful landscapes. What will you do to protect and promote these areas?

Everything I can to keep greedy industrialists' hands OFF of them. I was at a meet the candidates event where a candidate for public office spoke of $1 trillion in natural resources that exist under the Grand Staircase National Monument. What good is accessing those "natural resources" if, in the process, we destroy a beautiful natural formation that can bring in MORE revenue to our state over the longterm through our tourism industry? We need to remember that there are long term benefits to protecting our landscapes that are more important and ultimately more profitable for tourism than short term profits for other industries.

6. What are your views on federal funding for embryonic and adult stem cell research?

I have no problem with federal funding for such research.

7. Are you willing to work with members of other political parties to accomplish changes in Washington?

Absolutely. The behavior of party politicians over the last few years has been childish to say the least. I would personally like to see Americans giving party politicians the boot in favor of independent representatives. Party politics is destroying this nation and has destroyed the democratic process that we claim to hold dear. The duopoly of Democrats and Republicans has done everything it can to shore up their own political power at the expense of the public good. To quote the one truly independent president this country has ever had, "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism... and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty." -George Washington, 1796

8. What are your views on nuclear testing?

We don't need it. We already have enough nuclear weapons to destroy our planet several times over. We don't need to test new ones.

9. When you are forming an opinion on an issue, who do/will you ask for advice and information?

I will first request input from my constituents and follow that up with non-partisan experts in the field of that particular issue.

10. What is the one personal trait/characteristic that you want voters to know about you, and why is that important in this race?

I want voters to know that I am uncompromised by special interests. It's important because special interests are running and ruining this country and until the voters elect public servants that are committed only to the interests of the people, nothing in Washington is going to change.

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