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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
San Diego, Imperial County, CA June 5, 2012 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
United States Representative; District 51


The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Economy, Budget, Energy, Health care, Campaign financing

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. In this time of high unemployment, what are the most important steps that should be taken to improve our nationís economy?

Answer from Michael Crimmins:

If the United States Supreme Court does not declare ObamaCare unconstitutional, the Congress should vote to repeal it immediately to restore to the business community tax stability so businesses can strategically plan 3 to 5 years out and begin to start hiring. Corporate taxes and capital gains taxes should be reduced to help kick-start the economy in addition to removing onerous and burdensome regulations. It's high time to unleash America's economic engines and stop trying to compete with one arm tied behind our backs.

Answer from Denise Moreno Ducheny:

Congress needs to take action and provide certainty to allow for investment. Examples include: Passage of a 5-year Transportation Authorization bill, which should include necessary funds to complete border crossing expansions at San Ysidro and Calexico and similarly previously authorized projects along other portions of the Border with approved designs. The Transportation Bill should include sufficient funds and discretion to allow agencies like Caltrans and SANDAG to improve traffic flow on roads like Hwy 94 from Tecate, and improve major arteries to move goods and passengers. It should also contain funding for improvements of our rail system to more efficiently move goods and passengers with less fossil fuel, and improve public transportation systems and options in urban and rural communities.

We need to develop policies that will encourage capital investment in small businesses and innovative technologies + especially technologies that will lead to more sustainable communities where precious resources like water and energy are more efficiently utilized, making communities less dependent on imported fossil fuels.

And, we will need to address tax reform to provide the nation greater certainty and uniformity in the tax code. This will include eliminating obsolete and unnecessary programs, passing a budget that constrains spending where possible, eliminating special tax breaks, and rolling back the Bush era tax reductions for individuals earning more than $250,000 per year. The goal of all of these reforms will be to insure states and communities can begin restoring cuts made to our educational system during the years since the beginning of the Great Recession.

Answer from Bernard l Portley:

eliminate rules laws that restrict companies from doing her business. Too many environmental laws that are put in without much thought given to how they may damaged the economy. Reduce or eliminate the power the unions have. Unions have no business and kids education the parents are the ones that should make the call.

Answer from Xanthi Gionis:

As a candidate to U.S. Congress in California's 51st District, where there exists the highest unemployment rate in the nation, this issue is of particular importance to me and is where I will begin my work as Representative. I believe that through good paying and secure employment, many of the other issues that face our citizens at this time, for example, health care costs, cost of education and so forth can be more easily addressed. Economic strength provides our citizens with more choices, more options for themselvese and their families. The most important step to improve our nation's economy is to facilitate the growth of employment opportunities in the private sector and in the business community. Let free market prosper. In order to do this, our representatives in Congress must work intelligently to reduce government spending, stop excessive government waste and stream-line governmental agencies, thereby providing a more robust economy. This in turn will encourage the private and business sector to invest their trillions of dollars of capital into the market. Government can also play an integral role in job production by lifting regulation on businesses which is over-burdening and jeopardizes business growth and expansion. Although we need reasonable regulatory measures for the protection of our citizens, over-burdening regulation is counter-productive to our economic growth. America should also reduce energy consumption and expand domestic oil production in order to make America stronger and more independent. Investment in domestic oil production will not only strengthen us as a nation, it will provide good paying jobs to Americans. Additionally, it is important to encourage the manufacturing and export of American-made products, encourage American entrepreneurs and innovation, i.e., put Americans to work on American products and services. Also, a tax incentive to businesses that hire new employees and expand their operations here in the United States would improve the current situation, as would offering tax incentives to intice American off-shore corporations to return home. Let's put America back to work with contracts(infrastructure, solar, electic, automation, etc. ) to re-build America and the American Dream!

? 2. How should the federal budget deficit be addressed, now and into the future? How should budget priorities for defense and domestic programs be adjusted?

Answer from Denise Moreno Ducheny:

While we must maintain sufficient military forces and defensive weapons to respond to any emergency, we can start to reduce the military budget by ceasing combat operation in Afghanistan and Iraq and bringing our troops home. We should additionally reduce military spending, by using military personnel instead of contracting out work for military operations. Domestic priorities should include providing necessary services to allow returning veterans to re-enter civilian society with necessary health, educational, and career transition support.

And, we must find ways to invest in education and career training necessary to spur new innovation and new businesses, including protection of Pell Grant and Student loan programs. Additionally, we must prioritize the long-term financial stability of Medicare and Social Security.

Answer from Bernard l Portley:

Cut taxes which in the past has shown generate more revenue.

Answer from Xanthi Gionis:

As a long-time businesswoman and co-founder of a small private university in Southern California, I have had to balance a budget in varied economic times. I found that it was important to make tough, sound monetary decisions while not sacrificing either my employee's salaries or the outstanding level of education that I had committed to provide the students of our University. What I learned was that budgets can be cut while still maintaining excellence and while abiding to one's mission statement and core objectives. I believe that the federal budget deficit should be addressed utilizing that same business model, wherein there are pre-determined objectives to be met and each line item budget cut is made with those objectives first and foremost in mind. I believe that what is missing in today's budget considerations in Congress, is a lack of planning and careful consideration to the consequences that cuts to the budget may have on already struggling Americans. For example, would the nation's economy be benefited in the long-run with fewer well-educated citizens? Clearly not. Will cuts to education in the immediate future lead us to where we would like to be in the future? Can we expect to be a globally competitive society without a well-educated and well trained work force? Certainly not. So, let's take the time to thoroughly consider each "line-item" in the budget and make the tough decisions while continuing to be mind-ful of the long-term effects of each budget cut on our citizens and our nation as a whole. That is the minimum that we as constituents can expect of our elected representatives. Our nation deserves the careful consideration of the future by its elected representatives. Afterall, elected representatives are sent to Washington to work on behalf and in the best interest of their constituents. With regard to national defense, for example, there is a fine line between national security, wasteful military budgets and excessive military spending. So, although our military and the men and women who have and continue to place their lives on the line to defend our freedom, must be supported well and at all costs, there is certainly room in the military budget to cut wasteful spending and room to reward efficient budgeting and refrain from bureaucratic mismanagement. With regard to domestic programs, I would say, that cuts to entitlements at this critical time in our nation would not be prudent. With 46 million people living below the poverty level in this nation, to enact legislature that would produce more hungry families, in order to cut the budget, would not solve our problem. However, I believe that entitlements should be provided to our citizens in time of need and should have a component built into the system where participants are helped to become successfully independent of the entitlements which they have recieved through job training opportunities and education. Let's help Americans to help themselves.

Answer from Michael Crimmins:

Understand we do not have a taxing problem. We having a totally out of control spending problem at the federal level. We should return to the 2008 federal budget spending authorizations, stop baseline budgeting and replace that with zero-based budgets where all requests for spending have to be substantiated from the starting point of zero dollars. Our national security is directly tied to our economic security. You cannot have a strong military without an equally strong economy to pay for it and likewise in today's world you cannot have a strong economy without the military to protect and defend it.

? 3. What are your priorities with respect to our nationís energy policy? Should there be an emphasis on clean energy and reducing carbon emissions, and/or on reducing our dependence on foreign sources?

Answer from Bernard l Portley:

we needed generated more sources of energy such as natural gas and drilling for oil. eliminate the use of corn with gasoline. Stop wasting money on these green energy special interests. new source of energy will be created by private sector not some government edictPerea

Answer from Denise Moreno Ducheny:

We should continue investing in technology to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and to become more regionally self-sufficient by diversifying our energy resources with local sustainable resources. Our region including San Diego and Imperial Counties and Baja California needs a long-range energy plan utilizing geothermal resources, localized solar, distributive generation, and some wind, backed up with air-cooled natural gas plants for reliability to the grid. We should zone areas for wind and larger scale solar proposals carefully and be conscious that we not create new large-scale power plant level wind fields, which could adversely impact residents or the environment in inappropriate locations, or take productive agricultural land out of production.

Answer from Xanthi Gionis:

National energy independence should be a high priority for our nation and I am in favor of the exploration of fossil fuels. We should encourage American innovation and entrepreneurship in the development of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydroelectic, geothermal, etc. There should definitely be an emphasis on clean energy and the reduction of carbon emissions and we should work hard to become a strong and independent nation with regard to our energy resources.

Answer from Michael Crimmins:

Simply stated "dig for it, drill for it, and mine for it". Both offshore and onshore on federal and private lands. All forms of producing energy should be explored for and exploited. The United States together with our neighbors, Canada and Mexico, have more proven energy reserves than any other region on earth. Why we are dependent on foreign sources for oil is simply ludicrous! The Keystone Oil Pipeline needs to be authorized and built out to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Of course clean energy alternatives should be researched and exploited but we need to realize for the foreseeable future we are a fossil fuel economy as we have been for the last century. Trucks run on diesel fuel and aircraft burn kerosene; not wind, solar and battery power sources. We haven't built a new oil refinery in America since 1974. That needs to change accordingly. For every penny that the cost of a gallon of fuel goes up, the greater San Diego economy loses one million dollars per month. Just how much are we losing? When President Obama entered office gas was $1.79 a gallon. It is now north of $4 a gallon.

? 4. What, if any, changes should be made to federal health care policies or programs?

Answer from Denise Moreno Ducheny:

As we move forward to implement the Affordable Care Act, we will need to consider expanding access with more public and non-profit options and leveraging purchasing power for pharmaceutical products in MediCare and Medicaid (as California has done for our Medi-Cal program and the federal government does for the VA) and lower costs by focusing on health outcomes rather than creating financial incentives for unnecessary testing. In Home Supportive Services and Adult Day Care should be an integral part of health care for seniors and disabled persons as these programs also assist in keeping overall healthcare costs down.

Answer from Michael Crimmins:

The United States Supreme Court should declare ObamaCare unconstitutional. If not, both Houses of Congress should immediately repeal it and piecemeal replace it with what will work. Giving bureaucrats control over 17% of our national economy, one out of every six dollars, is crazy given the government's repeated record of fraud, waste and abuse where our taxpayer funds are involved. That needs to stop and prosecuted to the fullest extent. With increased life expectancies, the age at which citizens qualify for Medicare and other government healthcare programs should be gradually increased to accurately reflect longer life expectancies.

Answer from Bernard l Portley:

Do away with Obama care. Keep the keep the people's current insurance programs intact. Establish a program for people with pre-existing conditions and for those who cannot afford insurance.

Answer from Xanthi Gionis:

The high cost of providing health care to the medically uninsured in this nation is the reason that the issue of affordable health care is so critical to us. I am a strong supporter of the free market and would support the strengthening of the existing free market private insurance system in order to drive down the cost of health care insurance policies through competition and make the purchase of medical health insurance more affordable to the consumer. This can be achieved by allowing competition across state lines, instituting more widespread tort reform, capping the costs of health care services and actively seeking to eliminate cases of health care and insurance fraud, waste and abuse. Congress and the President must go back to the drawing table and look at drafting legislation that will increase the accessibility and affordability of healthcare for our citizens. Obamacare as it stands is likely to be found by our U.S. Supreme Court to be unconstitutional and will send everyone back to the drawing board with regard to a universal health care program in the U.S.. Obamacare in its current form will drastically decrease the quality of medical care provided to our citizens, it will raise taxes on the middle class, increase government spending and impose upon our free citizens, mandatory participation in a program where freedom of choice and self-determination should instead occur.

? 5. What, if any, changes should be made to federal rules on campaign financing?

Answer from Bernard l Portley:

To run for office should be free. Restrict the amount of money the unions can give.

Answer from Michael Crimmins:

There should be immediate reporting within 24 hours on all contributions made of $1,000 or more by individuals. Individual contribution limits should be gradually increased. Corporate campaign financing should be researched and debated in Congress for its feasibility/desirability to be written into law.

Answer from Xanthi Gionis:

PAC monies should not be permitted. They serve as the legal "loop-hole" necessary to move forward with essential non-compliance to campaign financing federal rules as they were intended. I believe that PAC monies and large "endowments" to the political campaigns of candidates for office serve as nothing more than pre-determined "conflict of interest" which undermine the representation of public servants of their constituency and lead to truly ineffective representatives of special interests. As with judicial or legal representation, political representation in order to be honest, transparent and truly representative, must be free from even the inference of a conflict of interest. Unfortunately, our political system, although moving toward free and representative government, still has this element of corruption known as "special interests." I have pledged as a part of my campaign platform that when elected to the U.S. Congress in 2012 as the Representative of California's 51st District, the only "special interests" that I will cater to in my daily work in Congress, are the "special interests" of each and everyone of my constituents. Every vote that I will make and every action that I will take as a U.S. Congresswoman will be completely transparent to my constituents and I will continue to make myself available to them, so as to serve my terms in Congress as intended, as a "public servant" a representative of the People who works hard and gets results for them. I look forward to sending good news back from Washington to our 51st District!

Answer from Denise Moreno Ducheny:

We must fight to overturn the Citizens United decision and require full disclosure of contributions to independent groups not run by campaigns. Corporations that engage in campaign activities should be required to follow the same set of rules required of candidate campaign accounts. It is unjust to allow anonymous donations by corporations and super rich individuals alleging they are donating to "non-profit" entities, but in actuality are actively engaged in political speech.


Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. References to opponents are not permitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.


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Created: July 26, 2012 13:02 PDT
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