San Juan Capistrano Mayor Pro Tem Brian Maryott on the issues
The 49th Congressional District stretches from La Jolla to Dana Point and is one of the most-watched races in the country this election season. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, announced in January that he would not seek re-election. Sixteen candidates are seeking to replace him. The San Diego Union-Tribune asked eight of the candidates to respond to several questions. Here are the responses.
Why should voters choose you over your opponents in this election?
I have the broadest and most relevant experience to serve our district in Congress. We hired a businessman for president, and I believe we need more businessmen and businesswomen in Congress. As an industry senior vice president, I oversaw hundreds of millions in revenue and guided hundreds of careers in financial services. For years I also worked with families and businesses on their financial affairs. I’m a certified financial planner, and I know what it takes to raise a family, and what it takes to grow a business. I had the good sense to champion the recent historic tax reform package — and to recognize that the deductibility cap on state and local taxes, was not a reason to oppose it. The results have been outstanding.
I will represent our district with a businesslike demeanor and great respect for decorum. We will block out the noise and get the work done.
Meet the other candidates:
49th Congressional District candidate Doug Applegate
Assemblyman Rocky Chávez on the issues
San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar on the issues
State tax official Diane Harkey on the issues
49th Congressional District candidate Sara Jacobs
49th Congressional District candidate Paul Kerr
49th Congressional District candidate Mike Levin
What will be your top domestic and international priority in Congress?
Healthcare is our single most pressing domestic issue and will be my top domestic priority. We have walked away from the table, and we are in danger of defaulting to our current system as our permanent healthcare system. On a scale of 1-10, it is no better than a 5. We need to have a robust and highly competitive market driven system delivering coverage and cost options for Americans and employers. Alongside that a core, single payer system for those requiring some type of subsidy or government oversight. Done right, no American should lack access to healthcare. And those who were pleased with their pre-ACA care (and the vast majority of us were), will once again have reasonable pricing and multiple providers.
My top international priority will be to support foreign policy and military initiatives that maintain our status as the world’s sole superpower.
What California issue deserves more attention?
The business climate here in California, along with immigration, are the two most important challenges at this time. We are losing small, medium and large employers for greener pastures and the ability to save 25-30 percent in their costs to do business. Cap and trade is particularly burdensome. Taken together with suffocating regulations, brutally high income tax rates, and constant threats from Sacramento — and business owners are right to be concerned.
Illegal immigration continues to be a major problem for our state. Proclaiming California a “sanctuary state” was idiotic, and the resulting chaos will go on for a long time. We love immigrants in this country, and we are a warm and welcoming nation, however we ask that people do things the right way.
As a Republican I believe the fewer rules and laws the better, however the ones we have need to be respected and enforced. It is clear to me that the Democrat party in this state, and some Schwarzenegger style Republicans, want open borders. They should just admit it so we can have an honest dialogue about it. Of course the borders can’t be open; but perhaps if we could have the debate with an honest acknowledgment of their aims, they could be made to understand the impossible economics and consequences of open borders.
How specifically, would you try to improve the economy and create more jobs?
What our small, medium, and large employers need and want more than anything is minimal regulation, and a predictable long-term tax policy. Thanks to our president and our Republican Party, we have largely secured both. Finally, our largest employers are no longer severely handicapped by a corporate tax rate that disadvantaged them among their global competitors. Part two of tax reform now becomes critical and will be my top economic priority. We will make the lower personal rates permanent, extend the pass through breaks to all small business entities, and eliminate the egregious and unnecessary income tax on social security. President Reagan and President Clinton never foresaw or intended a day when 50 percent of our retirees would be taxed on their own money. It is costly, burdensome, and functionally stupid.
Lastly we need to codify some of the regulatory relief, and work to eliminate some of the rule making authority of federal agencies.
What do you see as the No. 1 threat to America over the next couple of years?
Russia. While I see Iran as far likelier to create a situation, likely related to Israel, that warrants intervention and ultimately war with the U.S., Russia is really the only country that could pose a “threat” to the U.S. Russia is failing economically, and it is always dangerous when a country with nuclear and military might, and a willingness to use it, struggles with their economy and that economic failure becomes apparent to their citizens. With their actions in Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria, Putin has shown the world that the internal nod to democracy in Russia has yet to inspire a more benevolent military and foreign policy. Russian aggression, taken together with their nuclear arsenal and determination to undermine NATO, qualifies Russia as the single biggest threat to the U.S. at this time.
What do you like most and least about President Trump?
President Trump gets it. And I think Candidate Trump got it in 2016. He knows America is great — but I suspect he also knows that it is critical that we remain the world’s preeminent economic and military power. Following an administration that seemed comfortable asking Americans to take a pause and concede jobs and whole industries while we allow other countries to catch up — President Trump has rightly said no. No — we are not going to do that. And no we are not going to sit by and watch Americans lose their jobs and their way of life in the name of globalization. So he has revisited and largely dismissed every bad deal and bad regulation his predecessor imposed. He has puffed our nation’s collective chest, and reminded the world that we are still a nation built on a moral creed, and there are limits to what we will allow global gangsters to get away with. He has drawn lines and imposed consequences when they are crossed.
It is not my place to judge anyone — but I will say that I am disappointed that President Trump can’t seem to shed some of his old school stereotyping, and tendencies to verbally bully others. As a father of three young children, I am thrilled with the policy wins and what it can mean for their future. However I would love for our president to reflect as a better (behavioral) role model. In the corporate world, we would call this going from very good to great. I am optimistic that he will do so in the coming years.
On policy matters, the hiring of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General was a major mistake — and there is no need to expand offshore drilling. We will be energy independent in the coming years without further disrup.