1. Why do you feel that you are the best candidate?
I have the vision, audacity, and heart to tackle tough issues and fight back when government encroaches on citizens’ rights.
By nature and trade I am a caregiver, possessing over a decade of experience working directly with the disabled, aging, and dying of Eastern Washington.
I am the author and sponsor of marijuana regulation initiatives circulating in seven regional cities.
When the Spokane City Council took steps to impede the initiative process earlier this year, I responded with a counter proposal in the form of a citizens’ initiative.
I hope to represent a new generation of doers in congress.
2. What legislation is your top priority for 2013?
My top three priorities include a balanced budget, healthcare reform, and drug policy reform. The national deficit currently sits at $15.7 trillion and is growing by $3.9 billion daily. Downsizing the federal government is the only fair way to cut spending without taxing or penalizing the American people. Taking the federal government out of healthcare and relegating social programs to the states will save $81 billion annually. Finally, ending the drug war will save over $35 billion per year, improve health and safety in our communities, and save countless lives internationally.
3. Do you support President Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014? Would you support an American military intervention to help quell potential human rights abuses in Syria? What standards would you use when deciding if you would support American military intervention?
Now America’s longest war, the conflict in Afghanistan has lasted nearly 11 years, claimed the lives of over 1,500 Americans, and cost taxpayers over $500 billion. The Obama administration and Congress spent $93.8 billion on the war in 2010 alone; nearly the combined cost of the first six years of the conflict.
America’s role in Afghanistan and Syria should be limited to diplomacy. We can no longer sacrifice our children nor treasury mediating age-old tribal, religious, and nationalistic feuds.
Military intervention should only occur at the discretion of Congress and when the homeland is under imminent threat.
4. Should income tax reductions originally signed into law by President George W. Bush expire as scheduled on Jan. 1, 2013 for everyone, just people who have an income over a certain amount or for no one?
I do not believe in raising anyone’s taxes. Rather, by reducing tax burdens on the middle class and small to mid-sized businesses, our economy will rebuild itself organically, from the ground up.
Doing away with the IRS and implementing a fair or consumption tax, although a bold proposition, is just what our country needs to help put billions of dollars back into the hands of consumers and business owners and, likewise, onto the economy.
5. Do you support the Affordable Care Act, the health care legislation that was signed by President Barack Obama in 2010?
Although I do feel strongly about healthcare reform in this country, I know like many, that Obama’s 2010 healthcare overhaul was a bureaucratic and partisan nightmare. Large insurance companies dominated negotiations making it difficult for Congress to arrive at anything which could truly benefit the American people.
Any government mandate forcing citizens to participate or be penalized should be repealed as unconstitutional, regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision.
6. In retrospect, was the federal government correct to bail out the auto industry and financial institutions, including some local banks in Spokane?
In retrospect, there were some local institutions which may not have survived if it weren’t for the assistance of federal dollars. However, if it weren’t for the malfeasance of so-called “too big to fail” banks and crooks on Wall Street, these same entities may never have required assistance in the first place. I would have voted against the bailout.
Tighter regulations on Wall Street and the banking industry are long overdue and the Federal Reserve Banking system should be transparent and subject to audit, if not completely abolished.
7. Do you support the completion of the North Spokane freeway? If so, how much of the remaining project should be paid for with federal money?
In order for Spokane to remain competitive in the 21st century, we must continue to maintain and enhance our transportation infrastructure. The North Spokane freeway is a concept whose completion is long overdue. Originally proposed in 1946, the project has stalled on numerous occasions due to lack of funding. However, recent action on behalf of Washington Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and Congresswomen Cathy McMorris-Rodgers netted $10 million in federal grant monies toward its completion. However, this is $8 million less than originally anticipated; pointing a finger at the inefficiencies of federal funding.
8. Do you support same-sex marriage? Do you support the decision to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military?
The gay marriage debate has reached a fevered pitch with both sides refusing to budge over what’s been reduced to a game of semantics. I believe gay couples should have the same rights granted to straight couples, however, marriage is an institution spanning centuries and should be reserved to define a union between one man and one woman. Legally, this issue should be determined by state legislatures and citizens initiatives.
Military leaders have reported no negative effects due to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Citizens should be allowed to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation.
9. Do you believe abortion should be legal under all circumstances in which it is currently is legal, limited to certain circumstances, or illegal? Should the federal government require insurance companies to cover abortion if they cover maternity care? Should there be greater exceptions for religious groups or employers who have religious objections to abortion?
Only 7 percent of abortions in the US are the result of rape or health related problems while 93 percent are reportedly due to inconvenience. However, the incidence of abortion has steadily declined since the 1990’s due to advancements in family planning and increased access to contraception. Although I do not support the act of abortion, I do support liberty and a woman’s autonomy regarding her reproductive health, including the choice to terminate a pregnancy.
Government supplemented insurance plans should cover all recognized and legal medical procedures, including abortion. Religious organizations should be exempt as protected under the 1st Amendment.
10. Do you support reforms to Social Security that include diverting payroll taxes to individual retirement accounts? Do you support increasing the retirement age for eligibility for Social Security?
I support reforms to Social Security, but not through privatization. In 2011, the Trust Fund was valued at $2.7 trillion. The program is predicted by many analysts to remain solvent for at least the next 20 years. Although it is imperative that we begin reforming Social Security today, we also have time to make gradual adjustments without cutting benefits.
Balancing the budget and stopping Congress from raiding the Trust Fund are critical to maintaining Social Security for future generations. Reforms should include a steady increase in the retirement age beginning in 2020 and indexing benefits to price rather than wages.
11. Would you support legislation, such as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, which would allow immigrants who arrived to the United States illegally as minors to become eligible for legal residency if they have lived in the country for a certain period and served in the military or attended college?
I support many aspects of the DREAM Act, however, I do not support President Obama’s decision to pass the act in its current form through executive order. Congress should have been given the opportunity to include provisions to reduce illegal immigration in the future and stem other abuses.
12. Do you believe that human activity is significant factor that causes global warming? Should the federal government regulate carbon emissions to slow or reduce the impact of global warming?
I believe that human activity plays a role in polluting our environment and that we should take steps to reduce pollution, including implementing and enforcing regulations to reduce carbon emissions
13. Do you support the legalization of marijuana for adults, including for recreational purposes? If not, do you support the legalization of marijuana for medical use? How would you address the conflict that currently exists between state law allowing marijuana for medical use and federal law banning it?
Internationally, the war on drugs has been an abysmal failure. The Taliban and other terrorist organizations fund activities with drug money and thousands die each year in Mexico at the hands of ruthless drug cartels. These same cartels are currently exploiting Eastern Washington’s Columbia Basin as a key drug trafficking corridor.
Marijuana should be licensed, taxed, and regulated similar to alcohol and tobacco, putting a dent in the activities of violent drug gangs and international terrorists and improving public health and safety in our local communities.
Marijuana should be rescheduled and legislation banning federal interference should be passed.
14. Do you support proposals to end direct payments to farmers? What level of federal subsidies should farmers receive to insure their crops against weather, disease and low prices?
Many area wheat and dairy farmers will agree that switching from subsidies to insurance is better both for the economy and business in the long run. Legislation is currently working its way through Congress to reform food subsidies. Rather than receiving direct payments, farmers will purchase government supplemented insurance to protect against significant changes in the environment and market fluctuations.
15. Do you support the elimination of any of the following federal departments: Department of Education, Department of Energy or Department of Commerce?
I support eliminating the U.S. Department of Education; saving taxpayers $107 billion or over $900 per US household annually. Cutting this department would increase flexibility, encourage innovation, and free local teachers and administrators from ineffective and costly federal programs and mandates. Funneling money through Washington, D.C. and back to the 5th District is an inefficient way to fund local education. We must put K-12 education back into the hands of parents and teachers.
Increases in federal student aid have created inflation in college tuition markets, rendering a university education virtually unaffordable without accumulating a lifetime worth of debt.