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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 1:53 am | Fair 46º

 
 
 
 

2010 Republican Congressional Candidate Q&A with Clark Vandeventer

NOOZHAWK: In assessing the tone and lack of bipartisanship in Washington today, it seems that a vast majority of lawmakers represent narrow constituencies on the more extreme ends of the political spectrum, rather than the broad center. Is this a problem? How do you or would you navigate such an environment? What specific steps would you take to change that atmosphere?

Clark Vandeventer
Clark Vandeventer

CLARK VANDEVENTER: The problem in Washington is a direct result of the way our districts have been gerrymandered. In light of all the serious challenges our country faces today it may sound like I’m overstating my case when I say this, but one of the biggest problems is the way districts are carved up to create “safe districts.”

Both parties have been content to draw district lines in a way that our representatives are insulated from real public scrutiny. Their feet are never held to the fire. When they get to Washington they dig in their heels. There’s no need for brokering a deal because they’ve got a safe district at home that will send them sailing in another easy re-election bid.

The Wall Street Journal called our district the most gerrymandered in the United States. But let’s be honest: Wherever there is a “safe” district for a Democrat, there’s a safe district for a Republican right next to it.

As your next congressman, I’ll immediately be looked to for leadership when it comes to building consensus across the aisle because I’ll have just won one of the most heavily weighted Democratic districts in the United States. In this position of leadership I will take a page from Ronald Reagan’s playbook. His political genius was that he found the issues that the vast majority of the American people agreed on and he championed those ideas. He was controversial in Washington and with the established political classes, but not with the American people. I’ll never compromise on my principles, and that’s where leadership comes in. You have to convince people to come with you — that the vision you offer is better for America than the old business-as-usual approach we’re getting out of Washington today.

NOOZHAWK: Please provide an example of how you have or would place your constituents’ interests before your party’s.

CV: I am running for Congress to represent the people of this district, not any party or special interest. One of my opponents in the Republican primary likes to talk about all the people from Washington who called him and asked him to run for Congress. Nobody from Washington called me and I’m fine with that. I was called by my neighbors and leaders in Santa Barbara and Goleta and Carpinteria, and Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo. That’s who I’ll represent when I get to Washington.

NOOZHAWK: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal deficit stands at $1.5 trillion. Please provide three specific steps to reduce that figure.

CV: We have to stop the spending. We’re on a sinking ship and if we don’t stop taking on water we are all going down.

In 2009, 40 percent of all tax revenue went to payments on our national debt. Today, 80 percent of our federal budget goes toward:

» Social Security

» Medicare and Medicaid

» National defense

» Welfare and unemployment

» Interest on the national debt

If we were to cut everything else, we’re still spending more than we bring in. Trimming around the edges and getting rid of pork just isn’t enough. We have to get rid of the pork, but that’s nowhere near enough. It is time to have some tough talks as a nation. We’re going to have to talk about entitlement spending. Everything must be on the table.

When I listen to some of our so-called leaders in Washington, sometimes they remind me of the speeches I heard from my friend who was running for class president in high school. They say things people want to hear but don’t address the real problems. I think it’s time that as a country we have some grown-up conversations.

Grownups have tough talks. In your household, in your business, you have grown-up conversations — tough talks where you decide to cut things that you once thought were necessary. It’s been a long time since we’ve had tough talks as a nation.

We absolutely cannot sustain the path that we’re on. We’re on a collision course and we need a correction. As your congressman, I’m going to take this issue on with all my might.

Three practical things we could do immediately to control spending would be:

» Instead of just having “debt caps” that limit the amount of debt we can take on, let’s have “spending caps” to actually limit the amount of money we can spend.

» Let’s take Social Security and Medicare off of “auto-pilot” where they continue to grow without any oversight or thought of the actual costs of the programs.

» Reagan said that federal programs are like rabbits. They multiply like crazy and once they’re out you can’t catch them. Currently, when Congress approves a new program that program goes on, well, forever. Let’s immediately change this so every program enacted by Congress comes up for review in two to five years and must be voted on again to continue.

NOOZHAWK: The CBO recently described the federal budget as being “on an unsustainable path — meaning that federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy.” Do you agree? How would you resolve this situation?

CV: Yes, I agree. The spending has gotten out of control. Both parties are to blame. We have to get this country moving again, and until we stop spending at the rate that we are, that’s not going to happen.
The only stimulus the American economy needs is for Congress to get out of the way.

Recessions aren’t born out of immaculate conceptions. They are born out of bad government policy. Government does not create jobs — but it creates bad policy that destroys them.

We need to free up the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people. We need lower taxes — America has the second highest business tax rates in the world — but to simply talk tax cuts is so 1980. We need regulatory reform. American enterprise is burdened by miles of red tape. More people work in the Agriculture Department than there are farmers in this country. And we need to make it easier for people to do business without the fear that at any moment there could be a trial lawyer around the corner.

But the people we have in Washington today aren’t interested in addressing these issues. You can’t ask people to fix what they don’t believe is broken. And Washington is today is broken. That’s why I am asking you to send me to Washington to represent you and to bring about a new generation of leadership.

As your next congressman, here are five very practical things I’ll work to do that can help get our economy moving.

» Cut payroll taxes. Allow working Americans to keep more of every paycheck. Let them take the money home so they can provide for their family rather than send it to Washington to take care of a bureaucrat. Providing payroll tax relief to employers will also make it easier for employers to begin hiring again.

» Give incentives for small business investment. Let’s allow small businesses to deduct from their tax burden 100 percent of what they spend on new equipment and technology.

» Cut taxes on capital gains. Communist China is way ahead of us on this one. Let’s just match the Chinese. When we do, we may begin to experience some of the growth they’ve been experiencing for several years!

» Reduce business taxes. When I talk with people on the campaign trail, they are shocked to learn that America has the second highest business tax rate of any country in the world! Let’s cut taxes on businesses so they can instead spend that money on new employees and growth. Business tax rates in American range from 15 percent to 35 percent. Of course, the more you make the more you pay, so we discourage growth. Let’s match the Irish in this and cut business taxes to 12.5 percent.

» Put to death the “death tax.” People often associate abolishing the death tax simply with allowing Americans to pass wealth to the next generation. While there’s nothing at all wrong with this, abolishing the death tax could also be an incredible way to stimulate the economy and create jobs. By abolishing the death tax, we’ll allow American families to accumulate the capital they need to start their own businesses and pursue their own American dream, rather than having to go to the banks, which won’t lend, or to investors.

NOOZHAWK: Is tax reform needed? Do you support a value-added tax? Why or why not? Should it replace another tax or should it be an additional assessment?

CV: I believe the American people are clamoring for real tax reform. I’m not talking about tweaking the tax code. I mean real reform.

I do not support a value-added tax because I believe the American people are already over-regulated, over-taxed and over-burdened by a government bureaucracy that seems to have forgotten that the policies they enact actually affect the lives of real human beings.

What I do support is immediately pass legislation requiring each member of Congress to complete his/her own tax returns. Do you have any idea how fast we’d get real tax reform?

NOOZHAWK: How, specifically, have Americans already benefited from the newly enacted health-care reform? What have been the disadvantages? How would you fix them?

CV: I don’t believe Americans have at all benefited from the newly enacted health-care reform act. Furthermore, unless we repeal the bill or at the very least weaken it by not funding it, the future health care of all Americans is at great risk. After the health-care bill passed earlier this year, I wrote a commentary published by Noozhawk on why this bill is bad medicine.

I believe that all reasonable Americans agree on three things. We want increased access at diminishing costs without any compromise in quality. However, if you focus only on access, as President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Lois Capps have, one of three things are guaranteed to happen.

Either you have to drastically increase taxes to pay for all of that access. Or the government must enter the business of rationing care. Or we have to have massive increased deficit spending. Or all of the above. By focusing on the cost of health care and making it cheaper and more affordable, access will go up. And we can do this without any compromise in quality.

Here are three things we could immediately do to improve health care that were in no way addressed in the health-care bill supported by Rep. Capps.

» End the fraud. Fraud — criminal activity — adds at least $200 billion to the cost of health care every year. That’s 10 percent of what we spend on health care. One way we could help eliminate fraud is to move to an electronic system from a paper system for medical records. It’s simply impossible to keep track of all that paper. Every time I go to the doctor I’m amazed that in this age my medical records are still kept in a manila folder. We can’t effectively track the fraud in those manila folders. By moving our medical records into the 21st century we’ll also avoid costly and tragic errors.

» Involve consumers of health care. The best way to bring down the cost of health care is to involve consumers in the discussions of the cost of the care they are receiving. Individuals should have the same kind of tax incentives for providing their own health care as businesses have for providing health-care insurance to their employees. The greatest single contributing factor to the rise in health-care costs is that the person who receives the service has no idea of the actual cost. We should be able to buy health insurance the way we buy car insurance or airline flights: on the Internet. As a consumer you could look at a list of things that could be covered (including prior conditions), click on what you want covered and the deductible, push the send button, and get quotes from insurance companies anywhere in the United States or anywhere in the world. Only competition brings down prices.

» Tort reform. The Wall Street Journal has reported that fear of medical malpractice suits account for an additional $100 billion a year in health-care costs. California of all places has had great success in holding down liability costs for doctors and hospitals after a 1975 reform that limited pain and suffering damages. If we simply followed the California model at a federal level, we could greatly reduce these costs.

NOOZHAWK: Forgive the grammar, but are there any things that the federal government should do less of?

CV: Yes. Less taxes. Less regulation. No more un-elected bureaucrats making law.

Voters have a choice in this election between an individual who supports continuing the policies that have brought us to the brink of financial collapse or supporting an individual with a vision for the future based on the time-tested principles of the past.

Our country today is grossly out of balance — largely because both Democrats and Republicans in recent years have bought into the “Washington knows best” mindset of policy making. The country has a problem, but “don’t worry, we have a new federal program to fix it.”

That is the wrong path. What makes this the greatest country on Earth is the people of the United States — our entrepreneurs, our teachers, our scientists, our doctors, our farmers — all of us who, day in and day out, still believe in and still strive for the American Dream. The American Dream is not provided by a government program but by opportunity and hard work.

NOOZHAWK: What are California’s three biggest problems? As a federal lawmaker, how can you help resolve them?

CV: The three greatest challenges facing California are:

» Californians are over-taxed, over-regulated and over-burdened by the state. My father-in-law is a sheet-metal contractor and two years ago when business was booming he made some major capital investments in his operations. Over the past year business has grinded to a halt. He’s barely hanging on. But here comes the tax man. That equipment that he doesn’t even own (he is on a lease to own) that he is actually now losing money on, he has to pay a tax on it just for having it in his shop. Simultaneously, he’s being drawn into litigation between a contractor and a hotel for which he was a subcontractor. He can’t possibly pay any settlement at this time. He has insurance, for which he pays a fortune, but if he files a claim his insurance will drop him. This state is just a mess. We need to make it easier to do business here and we need to ease the tax burden of all Californians.

» Public employee unions and their unfunded pensions have brought this state to the brink of financial collapse. We must decrease the number of people who work for the state, decrease the number of public employee union members, and require those hired by the state in the future to have the same retirement plans as those working in the private sector.

» We must fix education in California, not only our K-12 but also our university system, which has long been the envy of the rest of the nation. I don’t think it’s a funding issue, though. We spend too much money on administration and not enough in the classroom. And, if you are worried about funding for education, you ought to be worried about the economy. All those businesses that have left California or those that have gone under, used to provide tax revenue for education.

These are the three issues that our next governor and Legislature must immediately tackle. Because I believe in the Constitution of the United States, I believe my role as a federal lawmaker on these issues is quite limited. The 10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” I take that quite literally.

As a resident of California, I certainly have a vested interest in the future of my state, particularly ensuring that we fix our educational system as I have two young children. But as I engage in issues that face the state of California, I will mostly do this as a private citizen and not as a federal lawmaker.

NOOZHAWK: Energy security and sustainability are major challenges for the United States. What policies do you or would you support to meet the U.S. energy demand while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?

CV: I support a “do it all, do it here, do it now” approach to energy. Noozhawk published a commentary I wrote on this last fall.

The vast majority of Americans want clean, cheap energy, and we want it produced by Americans for Americans. Incidentally, the one place on Earth that Americans can obtain the cleanest, cheapest energy is right here at home.

We can’t simply say no more drilling for oil. If we could switch over the entire U.S. auto fleet to electric tomorrow, we wouldn’t be able to power the cars. The energy must come from somewhere. Solar, wind, hydrogen, clean coal, oil shale, biofuels and nuclear power and natural gas should all be part of our energy future — and these are just the known sources of energy. I have no idea what sorts of energy solutions could possibly be developed should the government offer incentives for the development of clean energy produced by Americans for Americans.

First, we can’t continue to cripple ourselves by taking every option off the table. One incident 30 years ago on Three Mile Island has virtually shut down the nuclear power industry in America. There, when problems arose at a nuclear power facility, about 2 million people were exposed to radiation equivalent to about one-sixth of a full set of chest X-rays. In the 30 years since Three Mile Island, Japan has built 40 nuclear power plants and the French have built 56. If the United States produced as much nuclear power as France, there would be 2.2 billion fewer tons of carbon emissions. Nuclear gives us more power with less emissions.

But the same is true of oil shale and clean coal, and the United States has as much of both of these as Saudi Arabia has oil. The technology is there to do these things very cleanly — very much in line with a 21st-century standard of environmental responsibility. Yet in 2007, 81 percent of all leases issued for energy exploration and extraction in the Rockies were challenged in court.

Taking those and other options off the table means three things: Americans lose jobs, pay more for energy and transfer that wealth to foreign powers — often nations that hate us. It’s bad for the environment because energy we don’t produce in the United States to our standards is produced and imported from elsewhere by standards far below our own. China, which is building one coal plant a week, is blanketed in thick smog. On some days, as much as 25 percent of the air pollutants over Los Angeles originated in China. By passing the buck on energy solutions, we aren’t being a friend of the environment.

Yet, perhaps the greatest potential lies in imagination and innovation of Americans. The government can tap into it by sponsoring energy contests. Don’t ask the Energy Department to develop clean, renewable energy. That’s not what it does. But the Energy Department can create policies that could lead to tremendous breakthroughs. Set the perimeters — whatever they are — and let the contest begin.

We want clean, renewable energy that meets specific standards, and offer whatever it takes — $1 billion tax-free — to whoever can meet the goal. Can you imagine the private funding that would suddenly pour in to the most advanced, cutting-edge innovators in the field of clean, renewable energy? We would have clean, renewable energy, and taxpayers would be paying only for a finished product, not funding research with an ambivalent end.

When you consider the options in oil, clean coal, oil shale, nuclear, wind, biofuels and solar, hydrogen, hydro power and natural gas, you begin to realize that the U.S. energy options are tremendous. The process of hydrofracking, where water is injected to shale and natural gas is extracted, has the potential to provide enough natural gas for Americans for the next 50 years. Natural gas is clean burning and can be used to power our homes, factories, cars — just about everything.

We have the power. Millions of jobs are just waiting to be created. Congress only needs to act.

Energy is an issue I am passionate about because it encompasses so much. Creating sound energy policy allows us to be good stewards of the environment. Sound energy policy allows us to create jobs here at home. The right policies will put men and women in this country and in our own community to work. These jobs will increase their standard of living; help them pay the mortgage, put away a few dollars for their kids’ education, and even take that longed-for family vacation. Sound energy policy will grow our economy and keep wealth here at home, rather than sending it to foreign powers or those who promote terrorism.

We need men and women in Congress who will deal with these issues who aren’t beholden to special interests. When I go to Congress, I will be a champion of policies that make life better for the people I represent. To stand up to the business as usual approach, you need an individual with tenacity to buck the system. As a young candidate, I have the gall to stand up to “The Washington Way” that has brought this country to the brink. Men and woman are today asking whether it’s possible that their children and grandchildren can enjoy the kind of life and prosperity that they have. It is, but only if we act now. That’s why I’m asking you to send me to Congress.

NOOZHAWK: Do you support offshore oil drilling in California? Why or why not? How about the Paredon project (Measure J) in Carpinteria? And the PXP Tranquillon Ridge Project?

CV: I support offshore drilling because it is good for the environment, it will make our beaches cleaner, it will create jobs on the South Coast, and it will bring new wealth to our community. I believe the city of Carpinteria is doing it the right way by putting Venoco’s Paredon project on the ballot via Measure J and letting voters decide, but if I were a resident of Carpinteria I’d vote “Yes” on Measure J. I also support the PXP Tranquillon Ridge Project.

Off the coast of California we have more than $1 trillion in untapped resources in oil and natural gas. Rep. Capps and I could not be more different on this issue. She claims she is worried about the environment but I think it has more to do with catering to special interests. How is it good for the environment to pump oil in Venezuela, not by U.S. environmental standards; ship it to India for refinement, not by U.S. environmental standards; and finally ship it to the United States for consumption. Talk about a carbon footprint!

Every four days the amount of oil that naturally seeps into the ocean is equivalent to all of the oil that has spilled into the 80 miles of coastline of the Santa Barbara Channel over the past 40 years through oil production.

It’s better for the environment to drill, baby, drill. And when you look at the economic benefits, you realize we are absolutely crazy to send billions of dollars overseas — often to people who hate us — when we have the power right here to meet all of our energy needs. Not only will we supply all of our own energy needs, we’ll become an exporter of energy. We’ll take oil and natural gas out of the ground and send it to people all over the nation and world. In return, they’ll send us bags of cash. Dubai grew from a desert village to a powerful center of finance because for 30 years we sent them our money. It’s time we took advantage of the resources that we have right here in California.

As your congressman, I’ll fight to open up our oil and gas reserves and in doing so we’ll bring tens of thousands of jobs to the South Coast, bring new wealth to the area, and be good stewards of the environment.

Not all of my opponents in the Republican primary feel the same way. They feel they must take a more moderate approach on this and other issues to beat Rep. Capps in November. I disagree. I believe we must offer voters a clear alternative to the business as usual approach that Rep. Capps has offered us. We need a candidate who will go toe-to-toe with her on the issues. I believe that when we do, we win, because her ideas are old, they’re tired, and they’re just plain wrong.

Finally, opponents of utilizing our natural resources have tried to make this an either-or issue. They say we can’t use oil and natural gas because they are not the energy sources of the future and that we must move to alternative sources. As I stated earlier, I believe in an “all of the above” approach to energy. Let’s take the tax revenue that we get from oil and natural gas production toady and invest it in the research and development of future energy sources. We need real solutions for today while planning for tomorrow.

NOOZHAWK: Do you support the cap-and-trade bill that Congress may resurrect this year? Why or why not?

CV: I do not support the cap-and-trade bill because it is a tax on all Americans. Not only is it a tax increase, it’s a tax increase that will have the greatest adverse affect on the middle class and working Americans.

Proponents of cap-and-trade say it’s not a tax. Here’s my standard for what makes something a tax: If Congress enacts public policy that decreases the net disposable income of Americans, that’s a tax. Will cap-and-trade leave you with less money in your pocket? Yes. So it’s a tax.

Passing cap-and-trade means Americans will immediately have less money to make ends meet, less money to make the car payment with, less money to pay the rent with, less money to pay for their kids’ visit to the doctor.

At a time when Americans are struggling, another tax is the last thing we need.

NOOZHAWK: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are losing taxpayer money at alarming rates — a combined more than $20 billion alone in this last quarter on top of a $145 billion bailout. With no turnaround in sight, is it realistic to expect these entities to actually stabilize the housing and mortgage markets? Have they outlived their usefulness? What is an alternative?

CV: No, it’s not realistic to expect Fannie and Freddie to stabilize the housing and mortgage market.

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I don’t know why we expect anything different from these programs than we’ve seen in the past.

I’m not sure the Obama administration wants anything different than what we’ve had in the past. By promoting policies that create entities that are “too big to fail,” and then being required to “rescue” them, the Obama administration, Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Capps each achieve their goal of an ever-increasing federal government.

A number of Republicans have pushed for a move that would require the federal government to end it’s conservatorship of Fannie and Freddie and operate without federal subsidies. Damian Paletta, writing for The Wall Street Journal has outlined this proposal to say that it would:

» The conservatorships for both companies would end two years after the bill becomes law, although the government would be able to extend it for another six months if necessary.

» Three years after the conservatorship ends, their government charter would expire. Then the companies would have 10 years to operate under a special holding company so that they can dissolve remaining mortgages or debt obligations they held as government-sponsored enterprises.

» After the companies leave conservatorship, their mortgage assets would have to steadily decline, capital standards would have to go up, and the size of loans they would be able to purchase would shrink.

» The companies would have to pay state and local taxes.

» Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would have to pay a fee “to recoup full value” of the government guarantee they enjoy.

» It would reestablish the $200 billion funding limit the government set up for both companies in 2008. On Christmas Eve 2009, the Obama administration lifted that cap to an unspecified level.

I would support each of these measures. We must move away from the mentality of “too big to fail.” We must because we simply can’t afford it. We can’t afford another bailout. Our federal deficit is approaching $13 trillion. The rate at which we add each trillion is only getting faster. On Feb. 28, 2002, our national debt was $6 trillion. 22.5 months later we reached $7 trillion. Look at how our national debt has spiraled since that time:

» $8 trillion: Oct. 20, 2005 (21 months)

» $9 trillion: Aug. 31, 2007 (22 months)

» $10 trillion: Sept. 30, 2008 (13 months)

» $11 trillion: March 16, 2009 (5.5 months)

» $12 trillion: Nov. 16, 2009 (8 months)

» $13 trillion: May-June 2010 (6-7 months)

We can’t keep bailing out or subsidizing Fannie and Freddie. I’m a capitalist; I believe people and people who organize themselves into corporations and shareholders have a right to make money and even lots of money. But we arrived where we are in the housing crisis because of unbridled capitalism coupled with a collusion between the federal government and the banks. In 1995, our federal government, through Fannie and Freddie and one of Fannie and Freddie’s largest customers (Countrywide), got into the business of purchasing sub-prime securities. In other words, they began taking risks with taxpayers’ money. Up until this point, this was an activity reserved for private firms — firms taking risks with the money of private investors. When the housing market collapsed because of the federal government’s policies encouraging people to purchase homes they could not afford, taxpayers were on the hook for the bill. Yet the very people who are now pointing their fingers in Congress are the ones who created this financial meltdown.

We need a new generation of leadership in Washington. Sometimes when I really get into looking at these issues, I want to bang my head against the wall. I think increasingly the people of this nation and the voters of this district share that frustration. When I go to Washington, I’ll work to end the business-as-usual approach that has brought this country to the brink of financial collapse.

NOOZHAWK: Between Arizona’s recent crackdown on illegal immigration and the New York City bomb suspect allegedly traveling with relative ease back and forth to Pakistan, national security is under renewed scrutiny. Are our borders secure?

CV: Our borders are not secure. Our borders aren’t even close to being secure This is a hot topic on the campaign trail and I’m often asked how we can fix this problem. I don’t think anyone in Washington has an answer. I don’t have the answer. But I know someone who does. The answer to how we can secure our borders lies within the wisdom, creativity and ingenuity of the American people.

I propose that our federal government put out for bid the task of securing the border. I’m not talking about hiring a contractor to put up a fence or build a wall, although these elements would likely be part of a truly secure border. Let’s offer a cash prize — whatever it takes —it could be $1 billion tax-free, to the group that can figure out how to secure the border.

Smart people will go to work. Private investment will pour into the people who are most cutting edge. The developers will use existing technologies that we have today but they’ll likely invent new technologies as well.

In 1919, nobody had ever flown a nonstop transatlantic flight. A $25,000 reward was offered to the first person who could. Charles Lindbergh did.

Today, we don’t have a secure border. Let’s offer a reward to the people who can figure out how to secure our nation’s borders. And by making it a reward, taxpayers will only pay for a finished product: a secure border.

But while we’re on the topic, let me say three things about illegal immigration.

First, I am 100 percent against amnesty. I’m against amnesty based on principle: I believe it’s simply wrong to reward people whose very first act in this country is to break the law. I’m also against amnesty for a practical reason: we simply can’t afford it. Our county is already broke. To give citizenship and the benefits that come with citizenship to 12 million to 30 million people who are currently here illegally would bankrupt this nation as most are living below the poverty line and would immediately be eligible for welfare, food stamps and other social programs.

Second, we must secure the border. While I’m for comprehensive immigration reform, I believe before we discuss anything else we must secure the border. Every time the topic of comprehensive reform comes up, nothing gets done because we can’t agree on the details. Let’s stop the bleeding and then figure out how to move on.

Third, we must hold employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants. As long as there is the lure of good jobs, people will come. So we must hold employers accountable.

I am pro-immigrant. We are a nation of immigrants. All of us are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. But it must be done the right way.

NOOZHAWK: Which current or former congressman or woman do you admire most, and why?

CV: Jack Kemp was a man who everyone said was too small to play college football. Not only did he have a successful collegiate football career, he was an All-Pro quarterback on seven occasions as the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills.

After he left professional sports he brought equal tenacity into the public-policy arena. He served nine terms in Congress as a representative from New York before later serving as Housing and Urban Development secretary. He called himself a conservative Republican when it was not popular to do so, something that I know a little bit about living in the Santa Barbara community.

When he passed away a year ago this month after a battle with cancer, Fred Barnes wrote in the Weekly Standard that it’s hard to think of any congressman of either party who ever accomplished more. Kemp was no country-club Republican. He championed working-class people. He got things done not with political muscle but through persuasion. He didn’t convince people to come with him by offering an under-the-table deal. He convinced people to come with him by being a passionate advocate of his ideas. He was a leader.

Like me, he was a young man — in his early 30s — when he first ran for Congress. Like me, Jack Kemp ran for Congress because his country faced tough times and he had the gall and the tenacity do do something about it.

A few years before his passing, Jack Kemp was our guest at the Reagan Ranch Center where I was a director. Kemp’s ties to the Reagan Ranch were significant. It was at the ranch where Reagan signed into law the Kemp-Roth bill — the largest tax cut in U.S. history. All those years removed from politics, he still had the fire in the belly. It’s that same fire that has me in this race today.

NOOZHAWK: The Treasury Department recently unveiled a redesigned $100 bill. Amid all of the fancy anti-counterfeit measures, there appears to be plenty of room for a cool Noozhawk pin to be added to Ben Franklin’s lapel. Would you support such a fashion statement?

CV: As a journalist and entepreneur himself, I’m sure Benjamin Franklin would applaud Noozhawk’s unconventional ideas for promotion. But I’m going to have to come out agianst Noozhawk on this one. If we give Noozhawk the $100 bill, Arianna Huffington may soon ask for a lapel pin on George Washington, and in this economy, there’s plenty more $1 bills than $100 bills.

Additional Resources

Click here for Clark Vandeventer’s campaign Web site

Click here for Republican congressional candidate John Davidson’s answers.

Click here for Republican congressional candidate Carole Miller’s answers.

Click here for Republican congressional candidate Dave Stockdale’s answers.

Click here for Republican congressional candidate Tom Watson’s answers.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary, did not respond to Noozhawk’s questions.

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  • Ask
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Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.