Where I stood on the issues in 2016
I believe access to quality and affordable healthcare is crucial for the wellbeing of our communities. While I recognize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) isn’t perfect, I am more frustrated by the Republican Congress’s persistence to overturn this law by voting on the bill’s repeal over 60 different times, and voting for Trumpcare. If elected to Congress, I will work with both parties on measures that will deliver a quality health care system to all. The moral and business imperative of single-payer, universal health care is self-evident worldwide. The other industrial countries now enjoy a longer life expectancy at half the cost. This is not left or right; it is right or wrong. We cannot accept that the present generation will have a lower life expectancy than that of their parents.
Read my Op-Ed on Healthcare in the Union-Tribune HERE.
Jobs and the Economy
As a Marine Corps Judge Advocate and attorney for nearly four decades, I have always represented, protected and fought for ordinary Americans who have felt injustice. In Congress, I pledge to work diligently toward bipartisan measures that enhance economic opportunities, promote investment in infrastructure, and return jobs to our district. Congress needs to focus on measures that empower people to earn living wages which will strengthen our economy and our nation for generations to come. And that means a minimum $15/hr cost-of-living-adjusting livable wage.
Our community is filled with over 80,000 men and women who valiantly wore or still wear our nation’s uniform in defense of our country. As a retired Marine Colonel who deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2006, I have experienced and understand the struggles our veterans face upon their return and as they transition to civilian life. The VA, this Congress, and this Administration need to do much more for our troops who have sacrificed for our liberty and freedom. If elected to Congress, I will tirelessly advocate for our veteran community, and work to streamline access to a more patient-oriented healthcare system and support measures that promote economic opportunities for our veterans, especially those aimed at providing employment training and civilian credential certification for veterans.
There is no more pressing matter in our nation than the epidemic of military suicide. Every day 20 veterans commit suicide. Veterans have done their jobs, now we must do ours so not one more veteran or active duty service member takes their own life.
As a retired Marine Colonel, I understand the dynamic and complex threats to our national security and the sacrifices made by our troops and their families to preserve our democracy. In Congress I will use my experience and understanding as a Marine to promote legislation that helps our military families, minimizes risks for our forward deployed troops, and strengthens our defense posture through a robust military strategy.
Camp Pendleton serves as the cornerstone to our community and plays a critical role to our national security. As one of the largest training locations for the Marine Corps, your Congressional Representative must know how to fight for and retain imperative missions in the future at MCB Camp Pendleton. I have lived and worked in this District and aboard Camp Pendleton since first stationed there in 1981. If elected to Congress, I will continue to fight for Camp Pendleton and the military families in our community to preserve their benefits and enhance their opportunities - Semper Fidelis!
The success of our nation’s future will depend on our education system and training our work force of the next generation. We need to provide our schools with the resources they need to graduate students with a well-rounded curriculum, while continuing to invest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). As the proud father of three, I share the stress of many parents who lose sleep over the rising costs of tuition and the expenses associated with a four year university. In Congress, I will support measures that make higher education more affordable, including investments in community colleges and vocational training. Our next Congress must also ensure that our great universities, like UC San Diego, continue to serve as the innovative hubs of the future for STEM research, development, testing and evaluation.
You appreciate as I do that public education has clearly fallen behind the pace of the modern world. K-12 fails to prepare our children. We need pre-school to public college. Within 20 years robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence will eliminate half of today’s jobs and deliver the greatest disruption of the world’s economy in history. Everyone, and all of our children and grandchildren will face these challenges. That is the reason why I’m going to finish the job I started in 2016, and replace Darrell Issa in Congress.
Environment and Energy
California’s 49th Congressional District is home to some of the greatest beaches in the United States, if not the world. I am so proud to call this area my home, and will work very hard in Congress on measures that combat global warming and climate change. The adverse effects of global warming are a reality that must be addressed head on, especially for our coastal communities. We have no time to stand idly by as our coastline continues to erode and the drought cripples our economy. So I promise and plan on supporting legislation that actively combats global warming and climate change, and renewable energy to sustain our community well into the future. I do not accept that environmental protection and economic growth are mutually exclusive. Even the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps plan to diversify our energy array and grid with clean renewable energy so that by 2020, 50 percent of total energy consumption will come from alternative sources. Congress must respond with equal urgency for the entire nation.
But the entire 49th Congressional District faces an existential threat from the biggest soft terrorist target in American. San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station [SONGS] threatens 12 million Southern Californians with its current plan to place a nuclear waste dump of 10 Chernobyl’s/Fukushima's half buried on one of San Clemente's premier beaches.
Locals as well as Marines recognize in an instant the vulnerabilities of half-buried nuclear-fuel-rod-storage-casts containing 4 million pounds of fuel rods at temperatures of more than 400 degrees on the beach of San Onofre. It is time to get serious and time to get that nuclear waste dump the hell off the beach.
Our nation was built by the sweat and hard work of generations of immigrants. As our nation continues to evolve and grow, we must not build walls that reinforce divisions between communities but find ways to unite our neighbors as a unified America. If elected to Congress, I will support measures that create pathways to citizenship like the 2013 bipartisan immigration bill by the Senate for hard working people across our country that have come to America seeking a better life and future for themselves and their families.
Women still face many obstacles to overcome in the fight for equality. I will settle for no less than a 100% rating for equal pay, equal access, equal reproductive health and pro-choice. It’s high time we have a representative in Washington that will stop ignoring half of the population and the struggles women endure every day. A woman’s right to choose what she does with her body is a fundamental right confirmed again and again by the Supreme Court, and I will continue to defend this decision. As your Congressman, I will work to ensure that women’s rights are addressed in Washington and that women are treated equally under the law.
Campaign Finance Reform
Since the landmark Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v FEC in 2010, our country’s politics have seen a dramatic influx of money and special interests in politics. The formation of PACs and Super PACs have changed the game of American politics by allowing the powerful and wealthy to have the strongest influence in our elections. With single donor contributions of tens of millions of dollars, our political system has been bought and sold by millionaires and billionaires. If elected, I will advocate for campaign finance reform and return the voices of millions of Americans who have been silenced by the special interests of the powerful and wealthy.
After serving in the military as a Marine Colonel for 32 years, I have seen firsthand that diplomacy, military action and international relationships require a strategic approach that we have lacked since 9/11 in not only the Middle East but worldwide. It is more important now than ever to work with allies towards greater global-economic prosperity and to work jointly to combat radical violent extremism and strengthen international diplomacy. Our commitment to preserving and enhancing the ideals of our nation means standing by our allies against our common enemies. As a Member of Congress, I will demand that our partners also embrace and share our ideals of democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, and pluralism.
Criminal Justice Reform
As a trial attorney I have seen firsthand how our criminal justice system has failed countless Americans and disproportionately targeted people of color. We consistently lead the world with our incarceration rate. Minor drug offenses have led to a vicious cycle of recidivism. The current policies of this administration and Congress have failed to address the causes behind crime. It is time to find alternate methods to our current criminal justice policies and work towards the goal of reducing crime and keeping communities safe. I will work with all levels of government to make our criminal justice system work more efficiently and effectively for the American people.
Although we have made progress towards equality for LGBTQ Americans, we still face a long road ahead before we can say the LGBTQ community is being treated fairly. The community has been consistently and systematically discriminated against for most of our nation’s history. These Americans have been denied the right to marry, equal access to healthcare, the ability to raise children, and freedom from discriminatory treatment in the workplace. Following the Orlando mass shooting that was spurred by hate and targeted at the gay community, we know we must continue to fight for what is right. If elected, I will stand by our LGBTQ friends, family, and service members and not stop working until we achieve full equality.
Social Security and Medicare
Social Security has been the most successful federal program in US history. Before its inception, about half of seniors lived in poverty. Administrative costs run just 1%. Social Security does not add a penny to the deficit. We must never hand our Social Security dollars over to Wall Street, which was responsible for the worst financial meltdown in generations.
As a country, we value people who have worked hard and contributed to our country. Social Security and Medicare are vital programs that ensure our older citizens receive the care and security they earned after years in the workforce. I will fight to protect the programs that provide our elderly with the healthcare and financial assistance they need and deserve.
Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Trade is essential to economic prosperity for all Americans and creating lasting relationships around the world. However, previous trade policies such as NAFTA have displaced American workers, created a large trade deficit, and failed to create stable and durable global relationships. I oppose the so called “fast track” for the TPP because it would remove our ability to create the best possible trade agreement. We must create an optimal trade policy that results from debate, consensus and forward thinking.