The Stockton Record put out question and answer pieces yesterday from the Congressional race involving Jerry McNerney vs. Ricky Gill. Interestingly, the questions were not identical and varied slightly which could have changed the answers just a bit. One thing I thought was interesting was no where did Ricky Gill state he would protect the Delta.
Here is the Q&A which were decent questions.
Question: How important is the presidential campaign to the outcome in your race?
McNerney: “I think it will be significant. Clearly, people are watching the presidential race; if they are excited by a candidate they are going to be more likely to vote.” And that excitement will be in McNerney’s favor, he said.
Gill: “We’re running a local campaign grounded in the issues that matter to the Valley – creating new jobs, improving our schools and restoring our place in American politics. We’re counting on voters here in the district, not any other candidate or campaign, to help us.”
Q: What steps would you take to break down the polarizing politics in the House?
McNerney: “That’s a big challenge. One of the most significant problems, I think is campaign finance. … I’d like to see some reduction in independent expenditures. That would help quite a bit. … This negative advertising is a big part of the problem.”
Gill: “I would seek out opportunities to work across the aisle on issues that matter to people in the Valley. For example, I would have voted for the bipartisan trade agreements that President (Barack) Obama sent to Congress in 2011, because they help local farmers create jobs. I also support balancing the budget and reducing regulatory burdens, sensible proposals that Valley Democrats like Congressmen Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa have supported but my opponent has opposed. I will always be ready to work across party lines to promote issues of local significance.”
Q: How would you describe your political philosophy?
McNerney: “We live in a great country that has freedoms that we take for granted, and it’s important everyone understands how critical and how fragile democracy can be and we all participate in the democracy. … I think the founding fathers had an idea in terms of balancing government between the forces of capitalism – which are very important – and the power of government to regulate capitalism. You need both. I understand and sympathize with people who think that government is too bureaucratic, that it’s wasteful, that it needs to be improved. And I think we need to work together to solve that and not work against each other to solve that.”
Gill: “I believe the government’s role is to promote and protect individual freedom and economic opportunity for all our citizens. If I’ve learned anything from my parents’ immigrant journey, it’s that individuals can achieve great things if they work hard and play by the rules. I believe that the government should set the basic ground rules for our society so individuals can pursue the full measure of their ambitions, as my family has done.”
Q: What can you do to help unemployment, poor academic achievement and high crime?
McNerney: (By) bringing money back for infrastructure projects, for education and to support public safety. … The real thing is to work together at all levels, not only in government, but all levels to find an end to the violence in Stockton. … That’s absolutely critical; we can’t do anything until we’ve done that. The second thing that is almost as critical is education. We need to have schools with good reputations, so that companies want to move their businesses here, will feel that they will have good employees and feel that their employees will be safe. … The infrastructure in San Joaquin is actually pretty good, so if we can get public safety, and a good reputation for our schools, I think the economy is going to take off.”
Note: Gill got a somewhat different question: Q: What can you do to help bring federal attention to the chronic problems of unemployment, poor academic achievement and crime?
Gill: “The first step is to send someone who understands our community to Washington, someone who is willing to play a lead role in tackling our problems rather than sitting on the sidelines. I am the only candidate with roots in San Joaquin County, and I believe I am well-equipped to bring our needs to the forefront of the debate in Washington. My experience in small business and farming will help me to address the crippling unemployment rates that affect both urban and rural parts of the district – for example, by promoting bipartisan trade agreements that benefit both farmers in rural areas and workers at the Port of Stockton.”
Q: What can you do to alleviate the impact of the foreclosure crisis, which has hit San Joaquin County and Stockton harder than most places in the country?
McNerney: “I’m going to be instrumental in bringing foreclosure workshops here. And I’m going to continue working on that. It’s important that people know what’s available out there. … I’ve continued to put pressure on the administration for principal reduction plans and for other federal measures to make sure the mortgage contracts are simple and understandable, so that people don’t get taken advantage of. We want to make sure that the big banks are being watched and don’t feel like they can take advantage of consumers. And (they) don’t cause a bubble in the system like we had that caused this whole foreclosure crisis in the first place. … I’ve taken several very specific steps with legislation with foreclosure and also general steps in supporting the kind of reform that would prevent the bubbles from re-emerging that caused this crisis in the first place.”
Note: Gill got a less specific question, Q: What can you do to alleviate the impact of the foreclosure crisis?
Gill: “The only long-term solution to the housing crisis is to rejuvenate our economy and put our friends and neighbors back to work. We will only heal our community by creating jobs and economic opportunity for the long term. At a minimum, we should expect our elected officials to approach the issue of foreclosures with clean hands and an open mind. That’s why I have refused to accept campaign contributions from predatory lenders and big Wall Street banks.”
Q: Would you vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act?
McNerney: “Absolutely not. … The health care system in this country desperately needed reform. … The Affordable Care Act is not perfect (and) needs work, but it’s going to make a difference, because the reforms enacted … are going to reduce the cost of health care in this country and improve the quality in the long run.”
Gill: “We need real health care reform that protects patients and reduces unsustainable premiums. I believe the ACA fails on both counts, and I would vote to replace it with a meaningful set of reforms that actually reduce consumer premiums without driving our country further into debt. We also need to allow markets to drive down costs – for example, by allowing consumers to purchase insurance across state lines, expanding bulk-purchasing options, enacting sensible litigation reforms and promoting an easily accessible generic drug market. A real, bipartisan solution would retain protections for those with pre-existing conditions, extend coverage for younger family members and prevent medical-payout caps.”
Q: What is your signature issue? The one thing you’d like to accomplish if elected to the 112th Congress?
McNerney: “I have three. … The economy has got to be our big thing, we have to figure out and create jobs, nationally and locally. The other two top issues are veterans and protecting the Delta.”
Note that Gill’s question differed: What is your signature issue? The one thing you’d like to accomplish if elected?
Gill: “I want to use my experience in small business, agriculture and education policy to create jobs and lasting economic opportunity here in the Valley and Delta. I will work tirelessly to build on our agricultural economy by attracting new, high-paying jobs in manufacturing and technology. I also will work to improve our schools – not only for the sake of our students, but also to ensure our long-term economic prosperity. Our success will depend on our ability to produce a skilled work force. If elected, I will work to improve our public-education system by promoting high standards, rigorous charter schools and public-private partnerships.”
Q: Many have identified your race as a toss-up. What’s going to make the difference?
McNerney: “I’ve been in the district for six years; I’ve been at town hall meetings and Congress at your Corners. I’ve been accessible. I’ve made it clear I’ve helped with the veterans hospital. So people know what I’ve accomplished. People know me, they’re familiar with me. I’m not a surprise; I’m not an unknown quantity. I work hard for the community and people accept that. That’s going to be an important factor.”
Gill: “I believe people are ready for a change. They’re ready for a new generation of leadership to represent them in Washington. We’re facing tough times as a community, and we need to have our own voice in Congress. I was born and raised here in San Joaquin County, I’m proud to call it home and I would be honored to represent my neighbors in Washington.”