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Special Primary Election - 13th Congressional District candidate questions

Special Primary Election - 13th Congressional District candidate questions

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (970 WFLA) - Tuesday, January 14, is the Special Primary Election for the 13th Congressional District covering much of Pinellas County.

Newsradio 970 WFLA sent the three candidates in the special primary five questions. They are:

1, In terms of balancing the federal budget, what areas would you spend? What areas would you cut?

2, Where did you stand on the government shutdown of 2013?  Would you support another to take a stand on an issue, and if so, what issue?

3, If elected, what will voters see you accomplish in your first term?

4, What do you think is THE biggest issue affecting this district and how will you tackle it in Washington

5, The late Congressman Young was a big proponent of veterans. How would you provide support for the military and veterans?

Their answers are below in no particular order.

CLICK HERE to go to the supervisor of elections office

Mr. Mark Bircher

1, In terms of balancing the federal budget, what areas would you spend? What areas would you cut?  I would transition federal spending back toward the "enumerated powers" of the federal government listed in Art I, Section VIII, of the US Constitution. The federal government initially had four cabinets: State, Defense, Treasury, and Justice. We now have 15 cabinets and 6 other cabinet level equivalents, plus (according to USA.gov) over 400 other agencies and organizations. I would examine each of these programs for efficiencies and cutbacks. 

2, Where did you stand on the government shutdown of 2013?  Would you support another to take a stand on an issue, and if so, what issue? I believe the "shutdown" was entirely the blame of "We the People" who allow are public servants to be ineffective. The basis of the ineffectiveness is permitting the federal government to lose sight of the purpose the states created the federal government: serve the interests of the  states and the people. In a staggering "role reversal" the federal government has encumbered the states and the people with ponderous bureaucracy, abusive regulation and crushing debt and deficit. The key issue I would take a stand on is to reverse the trend in federal government overspending because it is not sustainable and hinders economic growth and job creation in FL13.

3, If elected, what will voters see you accomplish in your first term? The protection of social security and medicare because there are "property interests" provided by people and their employers. Additionally, the federal government made a "promise" of these programs that must be honored. Simultaneously, I would begin a transition process for these and other programs back to the state legislatures so the programs can be exist in a realm of fiscal reality.

4, What do you think is THE biggest issue affecting this district and how will you tackle it in Washington? The biggest issue is to stop the flow of money out of the FL13 to the federal government in taxation and debt writing. Each dollar we send to Washington, DC, does not look like a dollar when it comes back to Florida. We know better how to take care of ourselves and our families better than an imperial decree from Washington. We know how to spend our money better than a bureaucracy. We would tackle the problem by establishing the business practice that federal government public servants work for us, we do not work for them.

5, The late Congressman Young was a big proponent of veterans. How would you provide support the military and veterans?  "Mission First, Marines and Sailors always." The military and defense is part of the responsibility of the federal government. I believe military and veterans is the most important function of the federal government. Supporting the military and veterans would be at the top of my priorities. 

Mr. David Jolly

1, In terms of balancing the federal budget, what areas would you spend? What areas would you cut?

I believe balancing our budget is a matter of national security. The greatest threat we face as a nation is uncontrolled spending that ultimately undermines our status as the world’s superpower. In our lifetime, mandatory government spending on interest on the debt and our entitlement programs will likely consume every dollar the U.S. Treasury receives from the people, leaving only continued deficit spending to fund the basic functions of government – from defense and veterans, to transportation and infrastructure, to energy and the environment.  That said, to retract from years of Washington spending beyond its means by only making cuts, would have a crippling effect on our economy.

To balance the budget, I believe we must promote economic growth through supporting free enterprise. Secondly, we must look at significant reductions in discretionary spending in areas where federal programs create redundant or unnecessary services. And finally, we simply must look at long-term entitlement reforms once we have secured the promises that have already been made to beneficiaries. ‎

Additionally, if elected, I would work to protect the Department of Veterans Affairs’ budget and work toward an increasingly stable budget process upon which the VA can then more effectively deploy resources and personnel. We must also preserve our military strength, and we must ensure that our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, including those serving in the Guard & Reserves, are equipped with the most advanced tools and technologies necessary to execute their mission and return home safely. 

2, Where did you stand on the government shutdown of 2013?  Would you support another to take a stand on an issue, and if so, what issue?
I do not support divisive politics; therefore, I did not support the government shutdown of 2013. Although I firmly believe Obamacare should be repealed and replaced, the risk of shutting down the government is too great and would hurt too many. At the end of the day, it is the responsibly of a Member of Congress to legislate, and that means keeping the government open. 

3, If elected, what will voters see you accomplish in your first term?
If elected, my top priorities will be to repeal The Biggert-Waters Act that is hurting Pinellas homeowners, secure the high-tech and manufacturing job base here in Pinellas, fight to lower taxes and cut wasteful spending, secure America’s borders, lower the national debt, and replace Obamacare with a free market solution. I also fully intend to carry on late Congressman Young's impeccable record of constituent service on matters related to the VA, Social Security, Medicare, and other federal programs with which constituents may have bureaucratic challenges. 

4, What do you think is THE biggest issue affecting this district and how will you tackle it in Washington?
Homeowners throughout Pinellas County are suffering as a result of the recently implemented Biggert-Waters Act. We have neighbors at risk of losing their homes, and we face the real possibility of a significant drop in home values throughout our communities as a result of rising flood insurance rates. This issue could cripple our local housing market and prevent homeowners from being able to sell their homes. I believe Congress should immediately pass a delay in implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act in order to provide relief to Pinellas homeowners, but we should then address a more comprehensive solution, such as a National Natural Disaster Insurance Program that more fairly aggregates and assesses both the risk and the cost of events across the country for regions routinely impacted by floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, ice and other natural disasters.

5, The late Congressman Young was a big proponent of veterans. How would you provide support for the military and veterans?
I had the high honor of working alongside late Congressman Young on behalf of veterans here in Pinellas County, but also in support of our wounded warriors at the then Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, addressing issues related to military medicine, quality of life and financial assistance for service members and their families, and transition and private sector re-entry matters.

It is my personal mission to carry on late Congressman Young’s work on behalf of veterans.  We must honor and protect every last promise and obligation that is owed to those who have served. There are few higher callings of our government. I believe in Abraham Lincoln's words that we must always strive “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” We are blessed in Pinellas County to have such a remarkable population of veterans. We owe it to them to provide the resources necessary, at Bay Pines VA Medical Center and at other regional facilities, to address systemic issues of case backlogs and continue to work for a more efficient claims process. We must also work to protect the Department of Veterans Affairs budget.

Ms. Kathleen Peters

1, In terms of balancing the federal budget, what areas would you spend?

What areas would you cut?

As a mother, small business owner, City Commissioner, Mayor and State Representative, I have worked extensively to balance budgets. I believe we must lower taxes, lower spending, and enact pro-growth policies. I think there are a lot of areas in the Federal Government where we can reduce fraud, waste and duplicity.

2, Where did you stand on the government shutdown of 2013?  Would you support another to take a stand on an issue, and if so, what issue?

I do not support shutting down the government.  I would have worked to find solutions before it got to that point. We don’t need brinkmanship or bringing our country to the end of a cliff to get things accomplish.

3, If elected, what will voters see you accomplish in your first term?

I will read all bills and actually fight for what is best for Pinellas county residents. I think the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act and the Affordable Care Act are two perfect examples of Congress not reading bills and not fully understanding their negative effects.

4, What do you think is THE biggest issue affecting this district and how will you tackle it in Washington?

Flood Insurance/Biggert-Waters Act:

I think a multi-year delay of the implementation is necessary to properly study and have a more comprehensive, well-thought-out plan to address the National Flood Insurance Program. In the last 35 years Floridians have paid four times more into the national catastrophic fund than has been paid out.  Floridians have done their part.  Previous rate increases were capped at 10% annually but are suddenly increased by 20% over a five year period.  If a bank makes an error in renewing a policy the homeowners skips the five-year, 20% increase and must pay the full price in total.  These inequities must be addressed and will be a priority of mine as a member of Congress.

5, The late Congressman Young was a big proponent of veterans. How would you provide support for the military and veterans?

It’s our duty to serve and protect veterans while they are deployed and when they return. MacDill Air Force Base, active and retired military personnel and the defense industry are economic drivers for this community. As a state legislator, I have worked to protect Florida’s military bases, lower tuition for veterans, and made Clearwater a designated Coast Guard City.  Our military personnel have sacrificed more than most people can comprehend. I will continue to fight for them in Congress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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