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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura Counties, CA June 3, 2014 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
United States Representative; District 24

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Economy and Jobs, Health Care, Energy Policy, National Security, Immigration Reform

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. In this time of high unemployment and budget deficits, what are the most important steps that should be taken to improve our nationís economy and sustain job creation?

Answer from Christopher "Chris" Mitchum:

Budget deficits. We need a balanced budget amendment. A Constitution Convention of the States is the quickest way to get that done. We need to cut spending. I think the "Mack-Penny" plan is a good starting place for conversation. It cuts $7.5 trillion in 8 years, balances the budget, and the last 2 years leaves a surplus!

Unemployment. As North Dakota and Midland Tx have shown us (about 3% unemployment), developing our natural resources will jump-start the economy. As well, we will lower transportation and energy costs making goods cheaper and bringing manufacturing (thus more jobs) back, we will become energy independent, we can export oil and gas lowering the trade deficit, Europe can get free from Russia for energy which will help push the Russian economy into collapse, with people working, less on welfare so more government savings to pay down the debt. And on and on. Also, lower taxes, roll back restrictions and turn loose the entrepreneur to create wealth and jobs.

Answer from Sandra Marshall:

Invest in our nation. Keep jobs local, stop outsourcing. Establish ongoing building and maintenance program for roads, bridges, buildings, and schools. Become energy efficient: put solar on every home and building. Focus on new techology, health alternatives. From city to city damaged or destroyed by weather, oil spill or climate clean up and rebuild as needed to function.

It is time to invest in the future.

Answer from Paul H. Coyne, Jr.:

Deregulation of small business owners Closure of corporate tax loopholes and off-shore tax havens Balanced reduction of Federal government spending (supporter of Simpson-Bowles recommendations) Passage of a federal balanced budget ammendment General reduction of military expenses (non-VA related) General reduction of foreign aid Simplification of the federal tax system Stabilization of Social security fund

Answer from Steve W. Isakson, PhD:

The high budget deficits currently cause a drain on our economy. However, these deficits will cause severe long term problems for all sectors of our economy if the total debt is allowed to continue to grow much further. Control of our debt and liabilities is the most important long term issue facing our nation.

However, the use of budget deficits for decades has cause the economy to become "addicted" to high government spending. To suddenly kill all deficits over night will place more strain on jobs and the economy. The effects are ones we would eventually recover from, but attention is necessary to lessen the impact. As the economy improves over the next few years (probably about 5 to 10 years), the deficits should be gradually reduced to zero.

Surpluses should than be planned to slowly reduce the total debt. As the debt is reduced, so will the interest on the debt (assuming we avoid high inflation that might cause a rise in interest rates). As we lessen the budget, taxes (preferably as a trickle up (not down)) can be returned, which will greatly improve the economy. At that point, the government should be able to maintain an average balanced budget (see my web page for more details as to what that means) while further lowering the debt.

But that is a long term program, though one that needs implementing immediately before it is too late to achieve the results. In the near term several policy changes need to be implements to promote good paying job and lower the unemployment rate in real terms.

Part of the reason for the current high unemployment rate (in real terms, not just the government statistic) is the fact many jobs have moved overseas. To some extent, it is understandable. In some countries the labor costs are significantly lower than here. Businesses can become more competitive by utilizing that cheaper labor.

However, more and more businesses are using those footholds to secure tax avoidance schemes. Unfortunately these schemes are currently legal. But it is important to work with other nations and design our tax code to remove these tax loopholes. If these corporations want our protections, than they need to pay their taxes. The tax codes need to move to what is right and not just what is currently "legal". The solution is not to give these corporations a "tax amnesty" to bring their profits home, but to get the income properly taxed.

Another tax "loophole" has to do with moving "corporate headquarters" to a overseas tax haven and avoiding taxes that way. It may be difficult to deal with both this problem and the previous simultaneously, but there are many smart people who can try. However, one thing that would make a difference to some of the larger corporations is to realize that if their headquarters are overseas, than they should be treated as a foreign corporation. At minimum, that could mean they would not qualify for contracts with critical government programs. Loss of those contracts could be a significant loss to many of the larger firms.

Answer from Justin Donald Fareed:

Our government cannot continue to spend more than it takes in. If we stay on the current fiscal path, our country won't be able to afford the promises it's made in the past or pay for the investments needed for the future. We need to reduce wasteful spending and Congress must come together to achieve fiscal sustainability and generational equality. I support spending limits legislation that would stop Congress from increasing spending faster than inflation and population growth.

As well, our current tax system is broken and needs to be simplified. Taxpayers should not be punished because Congress cannot control its spending. My focus will be on helping Main Street, not Wall Street and I will work to reduce tax rates on working families and small businesses.

Finally, I will work to protect and preserve Social Security. We must keep our promise to America's seniors. I oppose any proposal that threatens the short-term or long-term viability of our Social Security system. I also oppose any reduction of benefits for those retired or nearing retirement. They have contributed to this system their entire working years and should be entitled to the benefits promised them.

Answer from Bradley "Brad" Allen:

For those who are out of work, it is a personal crisis for them and their families. The growing federal bureaucracy and overregulation is punishing working families and small businesses. Five years into the recovery the labor participation rate is the lowest in 30 years, and many of those that have jobs are working part time, the median household income has declined almost $4,000, while prices for things like gasoline have doubled.

As a small business owner I know we need a fairer, flatter tax rate, that doesn't just benefit the largest corporations. Reigning in government overreach will give small businesses the freedom to grow and create new middle class jobs. Government should work for us, not against us.

Federal Budget and Deficit. Balancing the budget will be one of my top priorities. Government Wasteful spending threatens economic opportunity. The federal government spent around 18% of our national GDP in 2001, the last year we ran a budget surplus. The policies over the last five years have put us on the path to spend nearly double that percentage over the next 20 years. We collected the highest amount of taxes last year in the history of the United States, and still ran an almost $700 billion dollar deficit. Here's the point: We do not need tax increases to balance the budget. We need a more limited government that focuses on our society's most basic needs.

? 2. What, if any, changes should be made to federal health care policies or programs?

Answer from Sandra Marshall:

Make affordable health care available to all regardless of age, income, previous health conditions. I would like to see a national health care program. Currently insurance companies seem to dictate who and what gets covered. Let's take the focus of profits out of health care and return to putting the health of the patient first.

Answer from Bradley "Brad" Allen:

I can't just sit by and let the best healthcare system in the world be destroyed by Obamacare. As a pediatric heart surgeon, I know that Obamacare should be replaced with market driven solutions that lower costs, improve access, and empower Americans. Having worked in private practice, major Universities, Canada, and Veterans Hospitals, I understand all aspects of healthcare, and how to best fix our system. For more information on Obamacare, and my plan for fixing our healthcare system, go to my website ( to read my editorials in the Wall Street Journal, and the Santa Barbara News Press.

Answer from Justin Donald Fareed:

Every American deserves access to quality health care at fair prices. The broken promises of Obamacare are an example of what happens when big government tries to fix a problem. I will work for health care reform that protects patient choice, keeps costs manageable, and gives everyone the ability to acquire the health care they need and the health insurance they want.

Answer from Paul H. Coyne, Jr.:

Continued monitoring of health care insurance industry Federal support of studies to analyze health care providers Changes should be made if health care costs are adding to the federal debt; must remain cost-effective, incremental rise in overall costs to individuals Greater financial/educational/tax incentives for trained physicians and nurses to stay in the U.S. and in practice

? 3. What are your priorities with respect to our nationís energy policy?

Answer from Justin Donald Fareed:

We have tremendous viable energy resources within our Country deserving of exploration and development, in an environmentally sensitive manner. New technologies are opening up vast amounts of resources, allowing us to provide for our own future needs. This Administration's policies have left us too dependent on overseas oil, largely from hostile nations. I support a balanced approach, including the use of renewable resources, to enable our great nation to become more energy independent.

Answer from Paul H. Coyne, Jr.:

Balanced policies and legislation to promote national self-sufficiency and energy independence Continued federal grants and subsidies to companies developing energy-efficient products and services Opposition to Ca. off-shore oil drilling

Answer from Sandra Marshall:

It's time to move away from energy sources that result in energy that keeps us reliant on the oil, fracking, and nuclear industry. We must think ahead; find energy sources that will free us from dependence and reliability from dirty sources of energy. I'd like to see solar on every building and home, . and explore the use of wind and water . Our goal should be to make energy free and clean to all people.

Answer from Bradley "Brad" Allen:

America's energy policy must begin with energy independence as our primary goal. Dependence on foreign oil is a threat to both our national security and our economic security. At present we import 1 million barrels of oil into California every day. At $100 per barrel, this means we are sending $100 million dollars out of our economy every day, often to countries that don't even like us. To increase our energy independence we need a comprehensive energy policy. Something we've lacked for the last 5 years. Here are my ideas for energy independence:
First, reduce burdensome regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency must be fundamentally reformed.

Second, increase production of domestic oil, while at the same time protecting the environment. It can be done.

Third, complete the Keystone pipeline, which is a safer method of transporting oil and gas than rail or truck.

Fourth, we need to expand the use of clean nuclear power.

Finally, we need to continue to develop alternative source of energy.

Answer from Christopher "Chris" Mitchum:

As North Dakota and Midland Tx have shown us (about 3% unemployment), developing our natural resources will jump-start the economy. As well, we will lower transportation and energy costs making goods cheaper and bringing manufacturing (thus more jobs) back, we will become energy independent, we can export oil and gas lowering the trade deficit, Europe can get free from Russia for energy which will help push the Russian economy into collapse, with people working, less on welfare so more government savings to pay down the debt. And on and on. Also, lower taxes, roll back restrictions and turn loose the entrepreneur to create wealth and jobs.

? 4. What, if any, changes should be made with respect to our nationís security, including our national defense or anti-terrorism measures?

Answer from Sandra Marshall:

I believe we have lost our direction. Citizens must feel safe and be empowered. We should not be the bully's of the world. I support a national defense plan that keeps us safe and restores our image as a nation that can be trusted. It may be time to review our national defense to ensure that all divisions are on the same page. We must act and work united as one rather than divisions working against each other. All department/departments of national defense must learn to cooperate and communicate successfully for the good of our nation.

Answer from Paul H. Coyne, Jr.:

Incremental reduction of military involvement in other regions/nations and specifically the Middle-East Greater sharing by NATO and othe allies in military expenses Stronger immigration enforcement at all borders and coastlines Review of NSA guidelines on data collection and retention Implementation of all Simpson-Bowles recommendations

? 5. What is your position on the issue of immigration reform? What, if any, changes to legislation or policy would you support?

Answer from Paul H. Coyne, Jr.:

Stronger enforcement at all boarders and coastlines Closer monitoring of granted immigration visas Incremental approach to pathway to citizenship Supporter of "Dreamers" legislation for children brought to our nation illegally by their parents Stronger penalties for businesses hiring individuals without proper work status Support guest worker program

Answer from Bradley "Brad" Allen:

Legal immigration is a source of strength for our country, as is respect for the rule of law. We need to address immigration reform in an incremental targeted manner, as large comprehensive bills are disastrous; just look at Obamacare.

The starting point for any discussion of immigration reform must be stronger border enforcement. A secure nation is every citizen's right. Both Democrats and Republicans agree law enforcement resources should be maximized to protect our national security and safeguard against criminal activity. Border security professionals, not politicians, should determine security methods. After this we should address the right to stay and work.

We should utilize free market principles to meet the labor demands of certain American business by allowing temporary immigrant labor to legally enter as part of a provisional legal worker program. There should also be an emphasis on keeping more (H1B Visa) foreign-born advanced degree holders in the United States.

Answer from Sandra Marshall:

It is unfortunate that politics continues to get in the way of establishing an immigration policy that will be effective and work for the good of our nation. We continue to be a melting pot of people that simply want to enhance their life, live the American Dream. We cannot close the borders, we can however, establish a workers programs that could lead to citizenship. Records show that immigrants do contribute greatly to our economy.

Answer from Justin Donald Fareed:

I support immigration reform that strengthens families, expands economic opportunity, and maximizes our public safety. I will support reforms that secure borders, that treat everyone in a fair and humane manner, and that maintain America's standing as a worldwide beacon of opportunity. I support a robust, fair and enforceable guest worker program, especially for our farms and agricultural industries.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. References to opponents are not permitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: July 9, 2014 18:45 PDT
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