October 9, 2012 > CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 17
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 17
(Vote for 1)
Candidates: Mike Honda (D); Evelyn Li (R)
TCV: What is your position on education?
Honda: As a former public school teacher, principal and school board member, I have made education a major focus of my legislative career. I was the original author and founder of the U.S. Department of Education's Commission on Equity and Excellence in Education. We must offer each child an equal opportunity to be successful in their learning and education. My STEM Education Innovation Act of 2011 (H.R. 3373) equips each student with the skills needed to win the future by providing Federal Agencies and states with the infrastructure needed to establish and execute national STEM education goals.
Li: I believe parents should have a choice about what school to send their children to, especially if they pay taxes. We should do what we can to ensure the freedom of choice for our parents. In my book, What Makes Sense, I have described several ways we can achieve excellence and affordability in education. Scholarships and vouchers are viable options. In addition, I advocate higher salaries to teachers since they are the mentors of our future generations. Smaller government is also necessary to allow creativity and autonomy to promote excellence.
TCV: What is your position on healthcare?
Honda: Healthcare is an inalienable human right. It is our responsibility to ensure that all Americans are given access to quality affordable care. I have been a tireless advocate for expanded health coverage, proudly standing on the frontlines with President Obama in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I have worked to address the needs of underserved communities. I fought to include historic language access and ethnic disparity provisions in health care reform and I have been a leader in helping write the Healthcare Equality and Accountability Act.
Li: Cutting unnecessary expenses, electing ethical controllers in the healthcare industry, and regulating the correct departments are important steps towards good, affordable healthcare.
TCV: How important is economic development and what have you done, or propose doing, for the fiscal well-being of the communities in the District?
Honda: A strong economy and economic development is vital to Silicon Valley. My Market Based Manufacturing Incentives Act (H.R. 3495) will identify the next generation of game-changing technologies and the bill's innovative tax credits will guarantee that companies build those technologies in America, creating jobs. My Scaling Up Manufacturing Act (H.R. 6120) would allow emerging businesses to claim a 25 percent tax credit on the costs of construction or lease of their first domestically located manufacturing facility, keeping manufacturing here in the U.S. Additionally, I authored the Budget For All, which is estimated to create 3 million jobs.
Li: Economic development is extremely important, especially in this District that includes much of Silicon Valley. Major companies are moving out of state because of the unfriendly business environment here. I propose: improving work ethics; fewer government regulations; cutting taxes; less stringent labor laws; and higher immigration quotas.
TCV: What other issues do the constituents consider priorities and how will you deliver them?
Honda: As a result of our broken immigration system, millions of individuals are forced to live in the shadows. The backlog in employment-based visas prohibits highly-skilled foreign workers from helping Silicon Valley flourish. I have championed the effort for comprehensive immigration reform since entering Congress in 2001, including serving as a senior Democratic whip during the House passage of the DREAM Act. My Reuniting Families Act (H.R. 1796) reduces the visa backlog and promotes timely reunification of immigrant families. I am committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform, which is estimated to generate $1.5 trillion in GDP over the next decade.
Li: Our constituents are concerned with using coal in place of natural gas in fear of carbon monoxide exhaustion. I am in favor of developing alternative energies. Tax credits are a good option for promoting this development.
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 20 (Vote for 1)
Candidates: Jennifer Ong (D); Bill Quirk (D)
TCV: What issues do your constituents consider priorities and how will you deliver them?
Ong: Jobs leading to career opportunities; reduced crime within the home and outside; access to affordable, quality education from pre-school to graduate school.
Quirk: Residents in Fremont, Newark, Union City and the rest of AD 20 care deeply about the quality of local public education, job creation, economic development and public safety.
I support Governor Brown's proposal to institute temporary income and sales taxes through a ballot measure in November 2012. Once we've overcome the recession, I propose increasing education funding further. Meanwhile, more local autonomy for schools is necessary. Teachers working with local governing boards know best how to improve their schools and educate our children. I'll also fight to support police and fire services in Sacramento. We must not let the state appropriate local money meant for our basic public safety needs. I'll stimulate job creation by simplifying regulations and streamlining the approval processes for businesses while still protecting workers, consumers and the environment.
TCV: Are you in favor of local funds remaining in local communities? If so, what will you do to prevent future raids by state government on local, municipal funds?
Ong: Yes. I will not be supporting policies that "borrow" from local funds or redirect funding, temporarily or permanently, away from local municipalities. Each community's needs are unique. Local problems and solutions are the focus of local community members, so the incentive, accountability and transparency are of the utmost importance the more autonomy local government has over revenues raised from the community it serves.
Quirk: I believe local funds should stay in local communities. As a two-term city council member, I have witnessed first-hand just how hard it is for a city or local agency to function when the state raids its funds. I will be an advocate for local control over local funds if I am elected to the Assembly.
TCV: Following the abolition of redevelopment agencies in California, how can communities combat and rejuvenate blighted areas?
Ong: Communities are eager to serve the developing populations within AD 20: healthcare communities are keen to develop services and educational facilities; ethnic communities wish to develop manufacturing and deliver products unique to their communities, etc. Incentives to develop businesses start with a welcoming, business-friendly environment with good access to information and assistance, manageable paperwork and fees for a new business, a trained workforce that meets the specialized needs of employers and creation of a safe and aesthetically-inviting environment for the employees of new businesses that better utilize surrounding support services and businesses.
Quirk: First, local leaders must focus on getting things done and finding new tools to replace redevelopment. They must also find partners at the state level to help them locate the capital they need to accomplish important local projects. I will be a connection between local leaders and the State. I understand the local role and desperately want to help our communities improve.
TCV: How important is economic development and what have you done, and will do, to propose the fiscal well-being of the communities in the District?
Ong: My work is grassroots. In mid-September 2012, I gathered various community groups for a Job Resources Fair at Hayward City Hall. The event gives members of the re-entry population a chance to become productive citizens. It addresses education, safety, career development, recidivism, dwindling safety-net resources and accords ex-offenders dignity by providing educational training options, resume-development, job-hunting and job-retention advice and educating businesses about hiring incentives. Other socio-economically disadvantaged communities are examined: the disabled; seniors; veterans; single parents and English Language learners. These populations, whose members will become productive citizens, if given the chance, experience high unemployment, less assistance from social programs and must compete with job seekers who have advantages.
Quirk: Economic development isn't just important, it's critical. Without growth. there are no jobs, no revenue for local government and no mobility in our cities. As a Hayward council member, I have fought to stimulate the economy - I cast the deciding vote to bring a movie theatre to the Downtown. The theatre has helped bring restaurants and shops to Hayward. I also spearheaded an effort to reduce fees on development and simplify the permit process. As an assembly member, I would maintain that approach by working with local leaders to support their efforts to attract jobs and capital to revive our local communities.
TCV: What changes to the state legislature would you like to see, if any, such as a state constitutional convention and what will you do to achieve them?
Ong: As a candidate witnessing the imbalance between campaign funding and the funding of services that prevent children from living in poverty, sleeping hungry and being vulnerable to abuse and neglect in the United States, I'm most concerned about campaign reform. A country with a society willing to fund campaigns for personal advancement but unwilling to shift those funds to improve our educational system, assist working families and prevent children encountering hardship is not who we are. Americans have the unique compassion that strives constantly to balance wealth and power with the greater good; efforts are only effective when society is informed and the process is inclusive.
Quirk: I'd like to see less talk, more action. Less partisanship and more collaboration. I will work hard to build relationships with members of the other party and find ways to work with them to get California moving forward again. I believe that changes to the system are less important than the willingness to collaborate.