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2010 Republican Congressional Candidate Q&A with Dave Stockdale

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?

David Stockdale
David Stockdale

DAVE STOCKDALE: The rancorous tone in Washington is a natural result of the extraordinary power that has been centralized in Washington. There is so much at stake that interest groups find it necessary to spend massively on elections and fight hard to promote their point of view. The type of government our Founders designed requires the vigorous competition of ideas, but they did not envision the centralized, top-down control so characteristic today. The long-term solution is to return as much control as possible to the states, to the communities, and finally, to the individual, where it ultimately belongs.

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

DS: Every bill will go through three screens. First, is it constitutional? If not, it will be discarded. Second, do we have money for it? If not, it will be discarded. Finally, is it in the interest of my constituents and of America? If it is, and it’s both constitutional and affordable, I’ll vote yes. As for the question of party: I am not the chosen candidate of the Republican Party in Washington. If I’m elected, it will be my constituents and not any political party, who elected me. If politicians come knocking at the door, asking for my support on a bill that does not meet the three requirements, I’ll be able to say no.

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

DS: 1. We have to change the way a bill gets through Congress. Currently, a bill comes out of the House and the Senate, and goes into the conference committee. Then they turn out the lights, lock the doors, and all kinds of pork-barrel earmarks and under the table deals get added on. We need to change that. When a bill goes into conference, first, we need to leave the lights on, then we have to make sure nothing can be added that doesn’t relate directly to the bill that came into conference. This alone would save billions of dollars, and end a lot of the mischief that happens in Washington.

2. No funding for the health insurance bill as written.

3. No more government “stimulus” spending. The only stimulus package business needs is to get government off its back.

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?

DS: The federal budget is clearly on an unsustainable path. The solution is simple: STOP THE SPENDING. Of course, how to stop is the complex part, because every dollar spent is supported by some interest group that believes ending its place at the government trough would be the end of the world. The bottom line is this: For decades, the federal and state governments have been supporting a lifestyle that Americans have not earned. Wealth comes from hard work and thrift, and not from unsustainable government spending, no matter how well intentioned. Every entitlement, every government program, every government agency needs to be reviewed. Unsustainable mean unsustainable. On our current path, collapse is unavoidable, and may cost us the ability to maintain liberty.

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?

DS: I do not support a value-added tax. It is a silent, nearly invisible tax favored by the statist governments of Europe, and has no business here. Tax reform is indeed needed. I favor replacing the income tax with the FairTax, a type of national sales tax. Everyone would contribute based on their spending, with allowance for lower incomes. I would only support this as a replacement for, not in addition to, the income tax. In the absence of this approach, the income tax needs to be simplified, with many tax credits and deductions eliminated so everyone participates fairly in supporting the collective mission of sound government.

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

DS: Since most of the “reform” occurs in later years, the health-care bill has had little impact other than a severe chilling effect on hiring.

The health-care bill will be a masterpiece of unintended consequences. It must be repealed. It cannot be fixed because the entire premise is flawed. Basic personal health care is a personal responsibility; it is not the job of government, or even of insurance, for that matter. When we buy a car, we don’t buy insurance to replace windshield wipers and headlights — that’s just part of owning a car. It’s the same with basic medical care. Insurance is designed to keep individuals from going broke. As long as we insist on designing insurance plans to pay for basic services, insurance — whether government-controlled or private — will only drive up costs. That’s the law of supply and demand, and it won’t change just because we want it to.

As for necessary reform, I firmly support properly designed and funded guaranteed insurance programs for those who cannot get insurance on the private market due to pre-existing conditions. This would solve many of the most difficult problems in the health insurance market.

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

DS: You’re kidding, right?! Where to begin?

How about this: No federal funds for any project that has nothing to do with the federal government. It is not the business of the federal government to build a community center in Kalamazoo, or tennis courts in
Tallahassee. These local pork-barrel projects are traded by our representatives to stay elected, spending our money for their own benefit. On the other hand, it is the job of our representative to work hard for funding federal projects in the district. In the 23rd Congressional District, those include Highway 101 and Vandenberg Air Force Base. Take a drive north out of Ventura, then decide how well the entrenched career politician who holds the job has been doing on that!

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

DS: 1. Illegal immigration. Washington must allocate the necessary resources — and muster the will — to enforce our laws, while still maintaining an adequate labor force.

2. Unfunded pension obligations. Unfortunately, there is nothing the federal government should do about this. It’s Sacramento’s own doing, and it needs to accept the obvious solution. It’s not the job of the federal government to bail them out.

3. Stifling business environment. Although California has done plenty to shoot itself in the foot, the EPA and Fish and Wildlife have been willing co-conspirators. Environmental policy is not an absolute. The needs of people should carry a great deal of weight in determining where to draw the line.

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?

DS: Our dependence on foreign energy places our national security at risk. We need to develop America’s resources as a bridge to less dependence on fossil fuels in the future. We should investigate all sources of alternative energy, but be extremely careful of government subsidies. Government funding and incentives often lead to skewed results, as is apparent with the folly of ethanol. Most critically, any alternative energy must be self-supporting in its mature phase. We cannot afford any energy source that will require continuing subsidy to be cost effective.

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?

DS: If a reader drives a car, or heats his home, or uses plastic, then he must acknowledge we need oil and gas. California imports 75 percent of its daily oil consumption, in tankers. One of the most significant American oil disasters was not drilling related, but tanker related — the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. There is no perfect solution, but there has not been a significant drilling accident off the California coast in 40 years — nearly two generations. It’s critical to recognize that the type of drilling activity needed here does not carry the same type of risk associated with the extreme deepwater drilling that resulted in the recent accident in the Gulf of Mexico. Developing our offshore resources will create jobs and bring in desperately needed government revenue, plus it will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and stop sending American wealth overseas, often to the enrichment of our enemies.

We must not learn the wrong lesson from the recent accident. In 1979, nuclear power suffered a public relations disaster at Three Mile Island. The “lesson learned” was that nuclear power was too risky, and generating energy through fossil fuels was preferable. It was the wrong lesson. France now generates 80 percent of its energy from nuclear power; the United States less than 20 percent. Thirty years have been lost in moving us from fossil fuels to alternative energy.

We must not again learn the wrong lesson. The lesson is prudent risk, and safety first. America needs American oil, and California needs the jobs and revenues.

I don’t have a position on Measure J. That decision is as local as local can get. The people of Carpinteria rightfully love their beautiful community. It’s up to Venoco to allay their concerns, and up to Carpinteria citizens to decide if the trade-offs are worth it.

The PXP Tranquillon Ridge Project is a private-party agreement. I don’t think PXP should bow to the environmental blackmail behind the agreement, but it’s their lease and their profit that’s at stake. I understand the frustrations that have led to it.

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

DS: Cap and trade is a massive new tax scheme designed to centralize yet more control in Washington. It will severely harm American prosperity with precious little positive environmental benefit.

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?

DS: The mortgage market should be privatized.

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?

DS: Our borders are not secure. We’re a sovereign nation. We must allocate necessary resources to border security.

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

DS: Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, for his principled and courageous defense of the Constitution.

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?

DS: Noozhawk’s logo should be in the center of the bill. As a journalist, Ben would understand.

Additional Resources

Click here for Dave Stockdale’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 Clark Vandeventer’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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