Candidate Q&A: US Congressional District 2

2012-08-07T00:00:00Z 2012-08-21T11:33:13Z Candidate Q&A: US Congressional District 2 Arizona Daily Star
August 07, 2012 12:00 am

Questions:

1) On jobs and the economy: How would you help bring more jobs to the district and make sure residents have the skills they need to win those jobs?

2) On border security: Name three steps you would take to improve border security and ensure the safety or residents who live in high-trafficking corridors in the district?

3) On health care: What, specifically, would you change about the health-reform law passed in 2010 and recently upheld by the Supreme Court?

4) On Social Security and Medicare: Do you think raising the retirement age is a good solution to extend the solvency of these programs? Why or why not?

Ron Barber (D)

1) I will promote the expansion of the solar, bioscience and high-tech industries to create high-paying jobs in Arizona. We must invest in public schools, community colleges and universities - companies will only move to Southern Arizona if they know they will have access to a skilled workforce.

2) I introduced the US-Mexico Cross-Border Security Act, requiring the U.S. and Mexico to work cooperatively to fight drug cartels before they cross the border. Additionally, we need to put Border Patrol agents on the border, and increase the use of mobile surveillance systems and other technologies in rural areas.

3) This law isn't perfect, but I am pleased that the many helpful provisions of this law will be kept. There are changes we must make, including allowing Medicare to use its purchasing power to lower the cost of prescription drugs and protecting small businesses and families from increased premium costs.

4) First, I am opposed to proposals to privatize these programs. Getting Americans back to work will ensure these programs are strong now and into the future. As additional steps are needed we should make prudent and bipartisan adjustments, as we have in the past, while protecting benefits for seniors.

Matt Heinz (D)

1) We must promote fair access to credit for small business expansion. Individuals must have access to mortgage relief so they can pursue vocational and educational training. We must also take advantage of our unique solar profile by developing our alternate energy industry such as algae production for biofuel.

2) A) Listen to DHS/Border Patrol's recommendations to ensure law enforcement is properly staffed and equipped. B) Strengthen federal statutes to make gun trafficking a crime. We must provide law enforcement and prosecutors the tools to investigate and prosecute gun trafficking. C) Treat substance abuse and addiction as an illness requiring rehabilitation.

3) Medicare must be allowed to negotiate with drug companies to decrease prescription costs for seniors. It's a method used by the VA for our veterans. Since the Supreme Court rendered its decision, we must offer more incentives for states to expand Medicaid to cover our most vulnerable population.

4) On Social Security, a gradual age adjustment to eligibility for younger generations combined with raising the cap on FICA would extend solvency without impacting those near retirement. On Medicare, adjusting retirement age is not the right solution for solvency. We must focus on lowering prescription costs, controlling chronic disease and implementing electronic medical records care.

Mark Koskiniemi (R)

1) Jobs, the economy, and the border are connected in our district. Securing our border would attract business and increase cross-border trade; tax reform means businesses could confidently invest in district jobs and addressing the deficit/debt means resources stay local for local training and transition services.

2) Get the feds to enforce the laws we currently have on the books. Complete the authorization for Border Patrol to enter other public lands, and conduct a review with the current border coalition and address the gaps they identify in resources provided, rules of engagement and restrictions.

3) The 2,700-page Affordable Care Act should be repealed, as much of the act does not provide affordable care. The dozen commendable provisions in the act should be incorporated into state plans along with tort reform, a reduction of the number of treatment codes and systems of paying for results.

4) Yes, but it is only part of the solution. For example, increasing the retirement age as proposed in the "Simpson-Bowles" budget would only close 18-30 percent of the Social Security shortfall over the next 75-plus years. Additional changes need to be made to ensure the program is available for current retirees.

Martha McSally (R)

1) We need to focus on small businesses, which create seven of 10 jobs in America. Congress must create an environment of certainty, confidence and growth by reducing regulations, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (which is anything but affordable for families and businesses) and stabilizing, simplifying and reducing taxes.

2) The federal government has failed. I will lead the effort to ensure the political will with barriers/fences where appropriate, manpower at the border and smart use of technologies and air assets to detect, monitor, and intercept illegal trafficking activity that is a safety and security risk for our community.

3) We need to repeal and replace this law. American health care is in crisis, but this law goes too far and taxes us too much. We need a plan that decreases health-care costs to make it affordable, allows families to keep their plans and protects the doctor/patient relationship.

4) We need to first realize that there is a long-term challenge with Social Security and Medicare that deserves a real and thoughtful solution. We must keep the promises made to seniors while working to make these important programs sustainable for young people who are currently paying into the system.

Barber aims for re-election in new cd2

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber is being challenged by state Rep. Matt Heinz in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary in the newly-drawn Congressional District 2. Barber just recently joined Congress after winning the June 12 special election in the old CD8 to complete the final six months of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' term.

In the Republican primary, Martha McSally is facing Mark Koskiniemi. In her first run for office, McSally finished second in the April 17 CD8 special election GOP primary.

CD2 covers much of the same turf as the old CD8, but has a more Democratic electorate. Republicans have a 2-point percentage advantage in registered voters in CD2, compared to a 6-point percentage advantage in the old CD8.

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