Voter guide: Jake Pretot, Congress, District 2

Jake Pretot

Democratic candidate for Congress, D2

Age 49

Residence Laurel, MD

Occupation Army Veteran, Small Business Owner, Information Technology Professional

Education Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science, University of Maryland

Facebook Twitter

More candidates

Previous political experience

Current and 10 year Board of Director for Stone Lake Community Association

Why are you running for office?

Fix our Healthcare System


How do you assess the Trump administration so far? Name at least one positive and one negative.

Positive: Trump’s attempt to cut through government red tape and excessive bureaucratic delays.

Negative: Chaos and attack of government institution. If a CEO ran a business the way he runs our country, the CEO would be out of a job.


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?

The tax cuts were just a small amount of kerosene thrown on warm coals, an unnecessary flash. That money could have been used to pay down federal debt or improve our infrastructure.


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 inequality gap is widening in this country. Middle class workers are losing ground and the poor are having to work even more hours just to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. The federal government must implement a minimum living wage. My goal is to ensure people who work a 40 hour a week job earn enough money to provide basic necessities for survival.


Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how and why?

Our biggest problem in this country is handgun violence. We must focus on preventing guns from ending up in hands of criminals. Our goal should also be to solve all violent crimes and getting those people and guns off the street. Universal background checks and addressing mental health conditions are also paths to success.


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?

We must build upon the ACA and work toward medically covering 100% of Americans. I am for a solution like Medicare for America which provides a public option. Employers and employees can opt in or keep their private insurance. When everybody is covered we can drive down healthcare service and drug costs.


What role should the federal government play in helping cities? What, if anything, would you do for Baltimore, specifically?

Modernizing transportation and infrastructure will dramatically improve accessibility to job opportunities for every Baltimoreans. I would make Internet a public utility just like electricity, ensuring all residents and businesses have access high speed Internet. We must invest in our existing communities instead of driving people out via gentrification practices.


Do you back Elijah Cummings’ bill -- which Republicans say is too expensive -- to provide $100 billion over 10 years to fight the opioid epidemic? Why or why not?

I support Elijah Cummings’ bill to invest money to fight the opioid epidemic. We are losing approximately 2000 Marylanders to opioids every year. I bought a suit and the salesman shared the story of his son who he recently lost to opioids. His son, a productive member of society, went in for knee surgery a year earlier and became addicted to the pain meds prescribed by the surgeon. We must fix this.


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?

We must preserve the DACA program and provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers. Establishment of an independent Article 1 immigration court is essential to depoliticize the system. Working with governments of the Northern Triangle of Central America to reduce crime and provide economic opportunities is key to preventing mass immigration at our border.


How would you rate the Trump administration’s trade stance with China and why?

I give Trump credit for taking a tougher stance publicly with China, however I strongly disagree with his approach. His actions have destroyed decades of work by farmers to open trade opportunities with China and resulted in taxpayers paying farmers for that loss.


Do you support the president’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal? Why or why not?

I do not support Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal. It was a knee jerk reaction based on no plan that resulted in a vacuum. It is far better working with a problem child to help them become a better person then throwing them out on the street to fend for themself.


How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?

The United States must offer incentives for North Korea to give up its nuclear program. The incentives must be focused on winning the hearts of North Korea’s people via medicine, food and economic opportunity. This, coupled with UN and US verification is key to success.


How should the United States address climate change?

Investing and becoming a worldwide leader in green technology should be our goal. I would introduce legislation to require recyclable consumer product packaging. Increasing telework and reducing the job commute time means less cars on the roads, less emissions and better quality of life.


Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not?

I support the Green New Deal effort, but I believe we need heavy investment in nuclear small modular reactors (SMRs). Many Marylanders might not know that nuclear is the primary energy source for the electricity we consume each day. Nuclear power is clean, produce a lot of electricity from a very small footprint, and SMRs can be built quickly to meet the GND’s deadlines.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun