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State of Ohio (Clermont, Brown, Adams, Hamilton, Pike, Warren, Scioto Counties) May 2, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Area Progress Council Candidates' Questions -- June 7, 2005

By Jeff Sinnard

Candidate for US Representative; District 2; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
The Warren County Area Progress Council sponsored a candidate's forum on 6/7/05. These are Jeff Sinnard's answers to the question that were asked.
1. What are the three most important issues that the U.S. House faces today? 2

The most important issue that the US House face is the absolute and mammoth disconnect between the priorities in Washington and the concerns of normal citizens. The moneyed oligarchies of big business, multinational corporations and other special interests have stolen control of our government. In service to these interests our politicians overlook real solutions to the problems of the country. I believe that every American deserves an equal voice in the democratic process. I will work for calm and reasoned solutions to the problems affecting people's lives and families. Instead of seeking out division, I will find the vast common ground. By showing a new paradigm for public service based on ideas and conviction, not fund raising and campaign coffers, I will reduce the corrupting influence of money in Washington.

Secondly, the plight of small business in America. I will advocate for small business as the major force for growth in the economy. I will work to level the playing field between small business and large corporations. I will support fiscal policies that reward those men and women whose work and willingness to take financial risk powers our nation. I will work for a shift in the tax code to reward employment. Tax incentives that unfairly favor mega-corporations and drive American business offshore must be eliminated.

Thirdly, the decline of the American Family. I will work aggressively in Congress to foster a comprehensive and consistent ethic of life. I endorse a reverence for human life and dignity from conception until natural death. As we work for the rights of the unborn, we must vigorously support any public program that has the effect of reducing abortions. I further believe that any true position in affirmation of life must extend beyond birth. All issues of life and death, such as, capital punishment, euthanasia, hunger and war, must be viewed in the context of this ethic of life. I will propose and support legislation that reduces abortions by empowering choice. And while I would support laws limiting abortion, I will support and propose legislation that has the effect of reducing abortions. Too many mothers are forced to make this extreme choice based on their economic circumstances and lack of viable alternatives.

2. What committee assignments would be the best fit for you? Why? How would you use these assignments to benefit the district? 2

Any and all assignments provide opportunity to make positive change and bring benefits to the 2nd district. The obvious best fit is Transportation and Infrastructure. My education and training as an engineer have prepared me to find solutions to difficult transportation problems. I have worked with and for many State, local and federal agencies. I have seen both the efficiencies and inefficiencies in the current system of doing business. I have been personally responsible for the management of major portions of multimillion-dollar infrastructure projects. My background in engineering gives me a unique understanding of public infrastructure projects.

I am eager to get on the Small Business Committee because as I have said and will continue to say, small business is the heart of the US economy.

I would be enthusiastic to serve on the Committee on Energy and Commerce. With benefits to the district as diverse as funding to encourage tourism to the Appalachian and Amish communities to nuclear policy that benefits the PORTS facility in Piketon this wide-ranging committee has potential to impact every resident of the 2nd district.

I certainly believe I have a lot to offer to the Standards of Official Conduct committee.

As a suburbanite serving a largely agricultural district the Agriculture committee provides an excellent opportunity to learn and serve the people of the district. Honestly my experience in agriculture is limited to picking corn for the church festival and helping my cousin tend his tobacco one summer. But, I have always been a quick study.

Appropriations, Armed Services, Budget, Education and the Workforce, Financial Services, Government Reform, Homeland Security, House Administration, International Relations, Judiciary, Resources, Rules, Science, Veterans' Affairs, Ways and Means

3. What is your position on international trade policy, particularly with regard to the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), China, and the Doha Development Agenda? 2

I support free and fair trade. Too often we find that we cannot compete on the basis of cost. America's trade policy should reflect the high value and benefit we have gained from labor and environmental standards. What does it benefit us to save 15 cents on a pair of socks if children in Nicaragua are mistreated or the environment of Honduras is shattered? Trade should bestow benefit in both directions. This is best accomplished by placing the human person at the center of all economic activity. We must evaluate trade not only for economic benefits, but also the other benefits of capitalism such as, more free and open societies. We must also accept the shortcomings of free markets, as in the words of Pope John Paul II, "the human inadequacies of capitalism and the resulting domination of things over people"

CAFTA raises serious concerns. How will CAFTA address the needs of small and medium-sized farms in the U.S. and Central America? How will CAFTA protect the rights of workers and the environment? The lack of Transparency and democratic participation raises the question, how will people have a say in how CAFTA impacts their lives? How will CAFTA promote human development, especially of the poor? All these questions can be answered and must be answered before I could endorse such an agreement.

Free and fair trade with China is to the benefit of the people of both countries. I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks in China a few years ago. The economic realities of China were brought home to me on a two-hour hike to the top of Moon Mountain. Six little girls around 10 years of age hiked the entire trip up and down with my father and me so that they could sell us a 50-cent bottle of water out of a cooler they carried with them. I understand the administrations frustrations about the Yuan being peg to the dollar. But what I do not understand is how an administration that is so concerned about a culture of life can trade at all with a government that forces women to have abortions.

Doha and the WTO agreement raise the same questions as CAFTA.

4. What will you do to keep our neighborhoods and cities safe from terrorism? 2

For a start, I will do something other than collect nail clippers at the airport. How many times now have you heard about a plane being diverted because someone on the "no fly list" is flying on it? How about we secure our ports and inspect containers coming into our country. Why not secure our chemical plants? I suggest a thought experiment. The next time you have three or more people together, come up with a plan to hurt Americans. Assume these two things. First you have a large bankroll and second you do not care what happens to you. If after this exercise you feel the government has adequately protect you against your imaginary attack, vote Republican. If not you might want to vote for some change.

America must do better. As we work to build an invisible barrier to missile attack, thousands of undocumented aliens walk across our borders every day. As the stockpiles of nail files grow at our nations airports, we still have major holes in airport security. A common sense approach to basic security is desperately needed.

We need to change hearts and minds through out the world, especially the Arab world. It would be nice if we stopped killing them by the thousands. Or if we stopped urinating on their holy books.

I will work for the security of America and to spread democracy and peace to the world beyond our borders. In solidarity with peoples and nations of good will, America can and will be a beacon for democracy and a force for reform throughout world.

5. How should we proceed with the Iraq issue? 1

First, get our troops what they need. It is a crime that our troops entered Afghanistan without adequate body-armor and even now in Iraq many American soldiers and their vehicles remain without sufficient armor.

The doctrine of preemption is misguided and dangerous. The need for war in Iraq was misrepresented or misunderstood by this administration. The war was quite frankly, a mistake. This war is not just a failure of diplomacy but a defeat for humanity. To date 1,670 American soldiers and at least 22,047 Iraqi civilians have been killed. But now we are morally obliged to complete this dangerous course. We must accelerate the process of training the Iraqis in the skills needed to take over their own country. Either from US trainers or from other countries or the UN. Either in country or out. It makes no difference, just get it done. The Iraqis must take responsibility for their own country as soon as possible, and then we must withdraw completely.

6. What do you plan to do to ensure economic growth in the 2nd District, particularly in Warren County? 2

Empower small business. The private economy, especially small business is the driving force of the American economy. I support fiscal policies that reward those men and women whose work and willingness to take financial risk powers our nation.

I will work for a shift in the tax code to reward employment. I will propose a business Employee Care Credit akin to the personal Child Care Credit. Tax incentives that drive our businesses offshore must be eliminated.

Invest in infrastructure. Federal funding of essential infrastructure is the single best way to spend federal dollars to the benefit of American workers and local economies. With minimal "Buy American" incentives it is a near certainty that money invested in local infrastructure projects goes directly into local economies. These projects benefit local trade workers, suppliers and contractors.

7. How should we deal with the growing nuclear threat + North Korea, Iran, etc.? 2

Diplomacy, sanity and more diplomacy. This is an issue near and dear to my heart. My son Linus is named for two men. Saint Linus the second Pope and the late Linus Pauling, the only man to have won two unshared Nobel Prizes. In 1954, for Chemistry and in 1962, the year I was born, for Peace. A friend of Albert Einstein, in 1958, he presented a petition, which was signed by 11,000 scientists, warning the public about the biological danger of radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons. The threat of nuclear weapons has real potential to end the world, as we know it. The threat is more than the programs in rogue nations like North Korea and Iran. As both President Bush and candidate Kerry agreed the greatest threat to the security of America is Loose Nukes. Nuclear abolition is the only sane coarse of action for America and the world. I would like to read a statement from Mayor of Hiroshima, Tadatoshi Akiba. "The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the central international agreement guiding the elimination of nuclear weapons, is on the verge of collapse," he said in an address to some 40,000 people. "The chief cause is US nuclear policy that, by openly declaring the possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear first strike and calling for resumed research into mini-nukes and other so-called 'useable nuclear weapons,' appears to worship nuclear weapons as God," he said.

Do you all remember the 1983 movie War Games with Matthew Broderick? Just imagine the scenarios now. An escalation in Kashmir leads to an exchange between Pakistan and India. Al-Qaida detonates a smuggled dirty bomb inside Israel and Israel launches against Iran or possibly Syria. Taiwan or China flinch and mushroom clouds begin sprouting in Asia.

How do we deal with the nuclear threat? Remove every last atomic bomb from the face of the earth.

8. What is your position on tax reform? 1

I favor tax reform. The current Byzantine system should be scraped and replace with a simple progressive tax. Tax code should be used sparingly to accomplish focused legislative goals. All business exemptions except employee-care should expire after 3 years.

The alternative minimum tax should be abolished.

I do not favor making the Bush tax "cuts" permanent. The Bush tax reallocation favors the rich over the middle class and working people. Paybacks to the ultra-wealthy are paid for by cuts in needed programs and services. Tax law should allow those with much more to help with the burden of those who have much less. Today's budget deficit is a crushing burden that we leave to our children and future generations. It is irresponsible to increase the mounting debt, especially in a time of war.

Small business is the driving force of the American economy. I support fiscal policies that reward those men and women whose work and willingness to take financial risk powers our nation. Our tax laws need to reward work and risk over wealth. I will work for a shift in the tax code to reward employment. Tax incentives that drive American businesses offshore must be eliminated. A job confers to American workers dignity and respect. Our tax system should reward businesses that retain and create jobs.

9. How should we proceed in dealing with the nation's health and medical issues? 2

We should be moving toward universal health care. As the only industrialized nation without a single-payer health care system, we need to get serious. As for the specifics, here is what I would do. First find some healthcare and medical experts much smarter than me. Then I would listen and ask questions. Then I would implement those suggestions that make sense for America and the people of the 2nd district.

10. What is your position on Federal expenditures, deficit, budget, etc.? 1

Today's budget deficit is a crushing burden that we leave to future generations. I do not believe that either tax increases or cuts to social programs are needed. Government spending is out of control. We all know there is waste and fat in the budget. Congress should aggressively encourage cost saving initiatives.

We need to look at all spending and all revenue for improvement. No program can be sacred. For example, discretionary defense spending has grown disproportionately to what is needed to fight the war on terrorism. A strong military is needed to protect the American people and the American way of life. But our military needs to reflect the world of today. After the Cold War we failed to recover the peace dividend that was our due. We continue to fund programs such as missile defense, the Virginia-class attack submarine, and the DD(X) destroyer that are out of touch with the current mission of the military.

11. How would you propose dealing with the current pension dilemma the airlines, auto, etc. are facing? 2

It seems that many industries are facing this dilemma. Although for the pension holders, I would call this a crisis. How do we expect to grow our economy? How can we attract, train and retain quality workers with absolutely no retirement security? Thank God these people have Social Security and Medicare to fall back on, or they would be eating cat food.

Congress needs to address the areas that are driving employers to default on their promises. We need to address the issues that are pushing the cost of maintaining pension plans through the roof. Just today GM announced it is cutting 25,000 jobs in the US. The skyrocketing cost of healthcare was sighted. Healthcare expenses add $1,500 to the cost of each vehicle. The key to solving the problem is three things - healthcare, healthcare, and healthcare.

12. Do you favor reducing or expanding the size and influence of the Federal Government and why? 1

In the business vernacular, I am interested in right-sizing government. I do not believe we need to expand the fed to oversee private retirement accounts, micro-manage local schools or intrude itself into our daily live through "total information awareness" or the patriot act. Let me expand for a moment on perhaps the scariest expansion of federal powers. It is this trend of expanding the powers of the pentagon. There is no doubt we need a strong military for defense, but the neo-con hawks have moved way beyond defense. They look to military power as the only tool for international progress. And even more chillingly, they have turned the military inward on America and Americans. Programs like TIA that look to expand military intelligence and proposals to use the military for civilian law enforcement threatens our liberties.

13. Rob Portman came back to the district nearly every weekend. Will you do the same or will you spend most of your time in Washington? How often will you visit each county in the 2nd District? 1

I live in Anderson Township with my family. I will continue to live in Anderson Township as your Congressman. I will commute to Washington to do the job you send me to do. I will not spend one extra second in Washington beyond what you require of me. I propose a weekly rotating town hall meeting. I will work with any groups interested in hosting these meetings to establish a geographically, economically and socially diverse series of meetings from week to week. I will do the people's business in Washington and return home during weekends, holidays, and breaks to be accessible to the people of the district. And in the spirit of Titus Cincinnatus after my time in office, I will come home to be a simple citizen from southern Ohio.

14. What will you do to ensure the solvency of the Social Security system? 2

Create jobs.

Having more workers, paying more payroll tax, is the simplest solution. If the solvency issues still exist then bring in an accountant. Here is what I would put on the table. Raising the current payroll cap above $90,000 would affect only 6% of workers. That should have a 94% approval rate. Also understanding what the system is designed to do, I see no fundamental problem with means testing. When Bill Gates retires, he does not need a social security check.

Here is what is not on the table. Cuts in benefits to any taxpayer of any age. And private accounts do nothing to address solvency.

We need to remember what social security is. It is a pledge by the federal government that after years of hard work you can be guarantied dignity in your retirement. It is not a retirement portfolio, it guaranties grandma does not need to eat cat food to get by.

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