Where GOP contenders in CD8 stand on 4 key issues

2012-03-25T00:01:00Z 2012-03-26T16:54:19Z Where GOP contenders in CD8 stand on 4 key issuesArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 25, 2012 12:01 am  • 

All four candidates in the Republican primary of the Congressional District 8 special election want to improve the economy, reduce the debt, bolster border security and ensure Social Security for future generations.

But how, exactly, each plans to achieve those lofty goals is often hazy.

In an effort to provide voters with more information about the GOP contenders, we've asked them each four questions on these topics.

They had to answer the questions in 50 words or less.

Frank Antenori

• Age: 46

• Employer and position: Program manager, Raytheon, coordinating development of hybrid vehicles for the military.

• Education: Bachelor's in health science with a minor in biology, Campbell University in N. Carolina.

• Political experience: State senator since March 2010; state representative from 2009 to March 2010. Lost in 2006 GOP primary for Congressional District 8

• Top priority: Restoration of America's economic and individual freedom; strong national defense; spending restraint and reform.

Jesse Kelly

• Age: 30

• Employer and position: Project manager in his family construction business, Don Kelly Construction.

• Education: Some college at Montana State.

• Political experience: Lost in 2010 to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in CD8 election.

• Top priority: Lower taxes, a strong economy and more jobs.

Martha McSally

• Age: 46

• Employer and position: Recently resigned as professor of national security studies at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany.

• Education: Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy; master's degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard; master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Air War College.

• Political experience: None.

• Top priority: Giving some folks in Washington the boot and getting people back to work again.

Dave Sitton

• Age: 57

• Employer and position: Marketing director, University of Arizona Cancer Center; president, Enterprise Communications Group Ltd.; sports broadcaster.

• Education: Bachelor's of fine arts, University of Arizona.

• Political experience: None.

• Top priority: Empowering job creators; fiscal discipline; real health-care reform; security of our southern border.

On jobs and the economy: Name at least two concrete steps you would take to jump-start the economy and create more jobs in Arizona?

Antenori: A) Immediately repeal Obamacare. It's onerous and yet-unknown regulations have stifled investment, created uncertainty and killed jobs.

B) Put an immediate moratorium on new regulations and rule making for all government agencies. Immediately begin rolling back onerous regulations that hamper new-business creation.

Kelly: Lower taxes on individuals and businesses and reduce unnecessary federal regulations. Open up the energy sector so we can fully develop our energy resources and reduce the price of gas.

McSally: First, simplify the tax code and cut taxes for middle-class families. Then reduce regulations for small businesses. In the 1980s, small-business owners had to deal with paperwork and regulatory requirements dictated by 31 federal and state agencies. By 2000, that number was 57. Today it's even higher.

Sitton: My 10-point plan for jobs/economy has district-specific concrete steps including supporting the military missions at Davis-Monthan and Fort Huachuca and fostering free-market competition within our emerging biotech and "geotourism" industries. Additionally, we must renew the American commitment to free enterprise by limiting government interference in the market.

On border security: Considering many believe we must secure the border before engaging in immigration reform discussions, how do you propose we measure whether the border is "secure?"

Antenori: When a fence or sensor covers the entire southern border, and enough Border Patrol agents to rapidly respond to any incursion and apprehend illegal border crossers. The ultimate standard is when ranchers and residents no longer need to worry about their lives being threatened, homes broken into and property damaged.

Kelly: Complete the double-layer border fence and hire more Border Patrol agents. Put those additional agents on the border and let them do their job to stop narcotics and people from illegally entering this country.

McSally: We need an integrated intelligence-driven strategy for securing our borders to thwart this national security threat and its root causes. We have no idea who or what is coming across our borders and for what purpose. Security means knowing who and what is coming into our country, and controlling it.

Sitton: Our border must be better secured. It is a national security imperative. The number of illegal immigrant apprehensions is one measure of the problem. Equally important, however, is drug seizures, border-related private property crime, home invasions and environmental degradation (including wildfires). We need new common-sense measures of the problem.

On Social Security: What do you suggest we do to ensure future generations get their Social Security benefits?

Antenori: First, prevent Congress from raiding Social Security and further depleting the fund. Then, increase the number of oil, gas, and mineral leases with a portion of the fee going to Social Security. This does two things: It increases domestic energy production and provides additional revenue to protect Social Security.

Kelly: Grow the economy to provide more revenue. Protect the current system by no longer raiding the trust fund for unrelated programs. Allow younger workers the choice of placing a portion of their contributions into a personal account - similar to the current Federal Thrift Savings Plan.

McSally: We must keep the promises we've made to seniors and veterans. But a decade of irresponsible spending has left us some tough choices. We need to look at gradually increasing the retirement age for younger workers and giving individuals more options to invest part of their benefits for higher returns.

Sitton: We must keep our commitment to seniors, assuring they get the benefits they have planned on. But no longer can we "protect" Social Security; we must "preserve" it for future generations. Reform includes modernizing the retirement age and offering younger workers optional personal accounts for a portion of their money.

On the budget: When it comes to cutting the budget, name at least two federal agencies you consider untouchable, and why.

Antenori: All government agencies should receive budget scrutiny and justify their appropriations. However, the funding priority must be centered on the primary role of the federal government: national security. Therefore, our defense and intelligence capabilities must not be unnecessarily compromised just for the sake of cutting spending.

Kelly: There are no agencies in the federal government that should not be reviewed for cost savings. We must review all federal programs in order to save this nation from bankruptcy.

McSally: None. There are some things, like our national defense, that only the federal government can provide. Yet, as a retired colonel, I know that even the Department of Defense can gain efficiency without sacrificing security. Every item in the budget needs to be examined line by line.

Sitton: Nothing in our national budget is untouchable. Waste, fraud, abuse and redundancy exist throughout. Every expenditure must be justified annually. Citizens deserve to know where their hard-earned taxes are being spent because government transparency is key to restoring America's free enterprise system.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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