Candidate Q&A: US Congressional District 3

2012-08-08T00:00:00Z 2012-08-21T11:37:21Z Candidate Q&A: US Congressional District 3 Arizona Daily Star
August 08, 2012 12:00 am

1. How does a fence factor into a good border security plan?

2. What steps would you take to help bring more jobs to the district and make sure residents have the skills they need to win those jobs?

3. What if anything would you change about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

4. What would you do to reduce the number of underperforming schools in the district?

Amanda Aguirre

Party: Democrat

Age: 59

Employer and position: president and CEO of the Regional Center for Border Health Inc.

Education: bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Sonora and master's degree in home economics with an emphasis in nutrition from Cal State-Los Angeles.

Political experience: four years as a state senator, three years as a state representative.

Top priorities: job creation, health-care cost control, education, immigration and border security, veterans' rights and energy independence.

1. Human and drug trafficking has declined since the government has installed (along the border's "hot spots") more vehicle barriers and double-fencing. Also contributing to the decline in trafficking are an increase in Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

2. First, I would support small businesses and encourage them to hire locally and buy America. Second, I would increase support to revenue-producing industries such as farming, renewable energy and biotechnology. Third, I would create a much-needed 21st-century workforce by investing in higher education, community colleges and vocational schools.

3. One of the requirements of the ACA is that medical providers transition to electronic medical records. This requirement poses a significant challenge to the medical community, especially those in isolated rural areas that lack the Internet infrastructure needed to access Web-based records.

4. I would work with the Department of Education and with local school boards to ensure all schools have the resources needed to foster excellence in the classroom, thereby giving every student an opportunity to succeed. These resources should include well-trained and qualified teachers, and an environment conducive to learning.

Manny Arreguin

Party: Democrat

Age: 50

Employer and position: physician at El Rio/chief of staff-elect at Tucson Medical Center

Education: bachelor's degree in psychobiology and M.D. from UCLA

Political experience: none

Top priority: Reform the health-care system, secure the border and reform immigration, support job growth

1. Building a fence is the wrong approach. It becomes obsolete, requires expensive repairs and gives a false sense of security. Money would be better spent fully staffing the Mariposa Port of Entry to reduce truck wait times. The first line of defense must be increasing surveillance through personnel and technology. Security plans should support and promote commerce, discourage crime and be evaluated frequently.

2. My No. 1 priority will be increasing jobs in Southern Arizona. We will work tirelessly to protect our military bases from cuts, increase workforce development grants, support small businesses and entrepreneurs with micro loans, increase awareness of federal cooperation/procurement programs and build an overall stronger pro-business climate.

3. The ACA was the right thing to do. As a physician, I know the importance of extending coverage to children, prohibiting discrimination for pre-existing conditions, closing the doughnut hole for Medicare patients, and providing preventative care through well-women checks, including family planning. Medical liability reform was left out. Patient and physician voices were left out.

4. I would increase funding to reduce class size in all K-3 classrooms. Studies have shown that smaller class size in K-3 increases student performance in reading, math and science. I believe teachers are the greatest asset in the classroom. Hence, investing funds to increase professional development opportunities for all educators is a win for everyone.

Raúl Grijalva

Party: Democrat

Age: 64

Employer and position: congressman

Education: bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Arizona

Political experience: congressman, Pima County supervisor, school board member

Top priorities: Continue health-care reform, oversight of financial institutions, real investment in jobs and education

1. Even the U.S. Border Patrol says fences only delay undocumented crossings. They are not a deterrent. Supporters of more fencing should be asked how much their suggestions would cost and where that money will come from. Comprehensive legal reform that addresses many interlocking issues is the only realistic solution.

2. My Border Infrastructure and Jobs Act increases staffing at ports of entry and expands the Trusted Shipper program to improve cross-border commerce and create local and national jobs. My comprehensive Restore the American Dream for the 99% Act would create millions of jobs without cutting vital support programs.

3. I still support a public insurance option run by the federal government to provide serious competition to private insurance companies. The law could drive down costs even further and help even more people by establishing a government-run insurance program that offers quality coverage at competitive rates.

4. In 2011, Arizona spent less money per pupil than any other state, had one of the highest teacher-student ratios nationwide and paid teachers on average more than $8,000 less per year than the national standard. Education is only about 4 percent of the national budget - we must do better.

Jaime Vasquez

Party: Republican

Age: 60

Employer and position: journeyman metal fabricator and owner of Artisan Ironworks

Education: apprenticeship and some community college and university classes

Political experience: ran against John Huppenthal for state Senate in 1992

Top priorities: Create jobs, fund job training, secure the border using technology, repeal Obamacare, restructure Social Security

1. The fence coupled with new technology, boots on the ground including the U.S. military, I believe would be a good border security plan.

2. I will work to initiate nuclear power plants in Tucson and Yuma and a desalination plant in Yuma. This water system can supply all of Southern Arizona and possibly states that suffer from drought.

We are in desperate need of skilled labor. Our businesses have to start training our people in the trades and other professions.

3. Repeal Obamacare, and start over again with a rational affordable plan.

4. We need to begin with underperforming teachers, reward teachers that do perform well and work our way up the ladder. That's called cleaning house. Then you assess the school and go from there.

Gabriela Saucedo Mercer

Party: Republican

Age: 48

Employer: self-employed

Education: associate's degree in applied science degree from Cochise College

Political experience: elected precinct committeeman of precinct 153 (2010-present), second vice chair of LD 27 (2010-2011), and Pima County Republican Party executive committee member at large (2010-2011)

Top priority: Repeal the tax burden that comes to us disguised as the Affordable Healthcare Act.

1. Homeland security must start with controlling who comes into our country, protecting our borders, ports, airways and having top- notch intelligence and law enforcement. We can no longer ignore the drug cartels and human smugglers operating along the border. I support completing the border fence and hiring more Border Patrol agents so we can properly protect this nation.

2. I will work to reduce individual and corporate tax rates, which levels the international playing field and encourages industry and business back into America. I will fight to shrink government regulations, promote greater international trade and encourage multilateral, regional and bilateral agreements to reduce trade barriers that limit market access for U.S. products.

3. I will fight to repeal Obamacare! America has the finest health care system in the world. It is our health insurance programs, with their state and federal non-competition regulations, which are the problem. Obamacare has already caused premiums to go up. It limits patients and doctors choices. Competition in a free market is the solution!

4. Underperforming schools is a local and state issue. I will fight to bring back education control back to the state and encourage local school boards to challenge educators, and present curriculum where our students will be challenged to not only get to the basics down but excel in math, science and areas that will give them an edge.

Blanca Guerra

Party: Libertarian

Age: 52

Employer and position: self-employed/retired freelance paralegal/small rancher

Education: some college

Political experience: precinct committeewoman

Top priorities: job creation, create government revenue plans that will not increase taxes, reform immigration policies.

1. It doesn't. We need to use levels of technology and personnel to secure our borders.

2. Review those job opportunities that over-regulating kept down, revisit NAFTA, support free enterprise.

3. If repealing didn't work, I would regulate the major insurance companies and reform regulations to allow for more small businesses to take advantage of any job opportunities created by Obamacare.

4. The education budget has been cut to the point that the three effective ways of teaching/learning - audio, visual and kinesthetic - have been removed. Our schools need to go back to teaching our children effectively, teaching our young how to think and sparking a flame in their young minds.

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

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