In a special election, voters in Baltimore city, Baltimore County and Howard County will vote to replace the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings for the 7th Congressional District seat. Here are their responses to policy questions in The Baltimore Sun’s voter guide ahead of the Feb. 4 primary.
Previous political experience?
Why are you running for office?
I have lived in Md. District 7 since birth. As a parent, a business owner, and someone who has been active in the community, I have witnessed first hand the decay of so many neighborhoods throughout Md. District 7.
The people of the Md. District 7 deserve and should expect so much more from their elected leaders. The murder and crime rates are at record levels. Illegal drug use/addiction/sales are out of control. Our law enforcement is being consistently denigrated by elected leadership. Many of our neighborhoods have become very unsafe! All of these items are totally unacceptable! We need a new direction of leadership now with the desire and will to want to make real change! We do not need another politician. We need a problem solver. I believe that I bring a different perspective of leadership that will make a real positive difference to help solve these many problems.
How do you assess Elijah Cummings’ representation of the 7th District? What would you do differently?
Unfortunately, I feel that Rep. Cummings failed the people in Md. District 7 in many ways. Md. District 7 has record murder and crime rates. Open air illegal drug markets exist in many communities. Trash litters so many of our neighborhoods. Law enforcement does not have the full support from its elected leaders. As the elected representative of Md. District 7, I would work to create a strong partnership between the people, community leaders, Church leaders, other local/state elected leaders, and local/state/federal law enforcement. Safety and security must be our first priority if we are to rebuild many of our neglected and decaying neighborhoods and communities. We must “Create a Team” that is willing and able to want to work together to solve these many problems.
How do you assess the Trump administration so far? Name at least one positive and one negative.
The Trump Administration has performed very well on many identifiable areas since he was elected. I believe that if he was actually fairly treated in the media, his administrations’ many positive accomplishments would be shared throughout our country. As to some of the positives, specifically, the U. S. economy has been doing very well, as a result of his proposed federal tax cuts. The U. S. has record levels of unemployment across all demographics. He has taken on China and North Korea, where past presidents have failed to do so. He is a strong advocate to our military, our veterans, and our law enforcement. He has taken a strong stance in the battle of dealing with illegal immigration and illegal drugs from entering our country. He believes that America’s best days are ahead us and not in the past! Though I do appreciate President trump’s candor and direct talk, I do believe that he would be best served by not getting into battles with lesser adversaries. Which at times it appears to be petty.
Based on what you’ve seen, is there sufficient evidence to impeach?
I have read the transcript that was released between President Trump and President Zelensky. I have also followed the Impeachment Inquiry in great detail. There is no reasonable evidence that has been presented to impeach President Trump.
2017 TAX CUTS
What effect do you believe the federal tax cuts of 2017 have had on the economy thus far or will have in the future and why? Do you support the cuts?
I believe that the federal tax cuts of 2017 (both personal and corporate) have had a major positive impact on the great U. S. economy. As a small business owner, I have seen a direct impact on our business. If elected, I would continue to support the tax cuts and would vote to make them permanent where possible.
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and why or why not? What, if anything, should the federal government do to address it?
The United States is the greatest country in the world. Disparities in income levels have always be prevalent in any economy. It is no different today. People should be promised equal opportunity, but not guaranteed equal outcomes. It is not the federal government’s responsibility to punish certain groups based on their success.
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how and why?
There are currently so many gun laws on the books. Adding more laws is not the solution. Better enforcement of the current laws and prosecution of the criminals is certainly a start to hopefully curbing many of the tragic events that have taken place.
What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act, how and why? If you believe it should be scrapped, what, if anything, should replace it?
I believe that the Affordable Care Act should be repealed. Health Care affordability could be achieved if it is dealt with in a similar manner as how Automobile Insurance is administered. “Pay for what you need” should be the motto. “Direct Primary Care” is the free market approach applied to health care. The implementation of these models would absolutely reduce cost and improve care for all. The further expansion of HSA’s are another positive way to help with health care affordability.
What role should the federal government play in helping cities? What, if anything, would you do for Baltimore, specifically?
The federal government can assist cities with the implementation of federal tax credits for empowerment zones. There are so many neighborhoods in Md. District 7 that are in desperate need of revitalization and empowerment zones is one answer. I would push for the infusion of federal dollars to assist with law enforcement. Gang violence is a real problem in our cities. As the elected representative of Md. District 7, I would seek federal dollars to assist local/state law enforcement in battling the many crime infested areas.
Do you back Cummings’ bill — which Republicans say is too expensive — to provide $100 billion over 10 years to fight the opioid epidemic? Why or why not?
The opioid epidemic is a real problem in Md. District 7. $100 billion over 10 years is a significant investment to fight this problem. As is in any major funding bill, the dollars need to be spent to solve the direct problem, not just to create another bureaucracy where dollars are usually wasted! I would need to review the specific details of this bill before I can provide an honest response as to whether I am for it or against it or if they is some better form of the initial plan.
What changes, if any, should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies? Should the DACA program be preserved? Why or why not?
The U. S. is a nation of laws. Therefore, it is imperative that if a current immigration and deportation law is on the books, it must be enforced. Our sovereign borders must be protected. I am for the legal and proper entry into our country. Any other way of entry into our country, should be considered as illegal and should be prosecuted under the current laws. As to the preservation of the DACA program, I believe that this program should be phased out.
How would you rate the Trump administration’s trade stance with China and why?
President Trump is the first president to actually take on China. Many past presidents said they would, but failed to do so. I applaud the Trump Administration’s efforts to deal with China’s unfair trade practices. It is imperative the U. S. push back against China’s currency manipulation. It will certainly be a difficult battle. However, with the recent news that there appears to be some agreement on the beginning of the first phase of a trade agreement, I am encouraged that the Trump Administration’s negotiation tactics appear to be working on behalf of the U. S.
Do you support the president’s decision to pull out of Iran nuclear deal? Why or why not?
I do support President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. The rogue leaders of Iran want nothing more than the destruction to the U. S. and Israel. The billions of dollars that they received from the Obama Administration, unfortunately did not go to their own people, who they are oppressing on a daily basis. A nuclear Iran, under the current leadership, can never happen, period!
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
The U. S. must continue to enforce the extreme sanctions against North Korea. In addition, the U. S. must continue to work with the neighboring countries of North Korea to place pressure on them to not pursue their nuclear program.
How should the United States address climate change?
Our planet has been subject to climate change since God created the heavens and the earth billions of years ago. Unfortunately, there are many factors (some known and some unknown) that impact our climate both in positive and negative ways. We all must be good stewards of our planet. I do believe that the U. S. is a current leader on the matter of the discussion of climate change. However, implementing unproven plans “just for the sake of change”, while destroying our economy and our way of life is not the answer and certainly something I do not support.
GREEN NEW DEAL
Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not?
I absolutely do NOT support the Green New Deal. The implementation of this plan will destroy our economy, kill jobs, and provide no guarantees to “control climate change”.