1) Can you name two specific things you will do in the U.S. Senate to spur job growth in Arizona?
Jeff Flake: Reforming the tax code and scaling back onerous federal regulations are important steps the federal government can take to spur job growth. The U.S. needs to lower the corporate tax rate, as well as eliminate tax credits, loopholes, and expenditures to lower overall rates and broaden the base. It's exceedingly difficult for small businesses to create jobs when the federal government is intervening in every aspect of their business.
Rich Carmona: Short term, improve job training and extend tax credit for business that hire veterans will strengthen our workforce and provide jobs for our returning soldiers. We also need to reform the tax code to cut the corporate tax rate and get rid of special perks for big businesses that pay little, or nothing, to relieve pressure on small businesses, which are the real job creators.
Marc Victor: One, I will work tirelessly to lower taxes for everyone. Two, I will work tirelessly to free up businesses from needless regulation.
2) Should the Bush-era tax cuts be continued, and if so for whom?
Jeff Flake: Raising taxes on any Americans in the middle of a recession would only worsen our economy and hamper economic growth. Democratic proposals to target high-income taxpayers would also ensnare many small businesses as well. Between the fragile economy and oppressive federal regulations, the last thing small businesses can afford is a tax hike.
Rich Carmona: Congress' failure to act has left Arizonans facing a huge tax hike. We cannot let taxes increase on Arizona's working families, especially while the economy is still struggling. We need comprehensive tax reform that makes our tax code simpler and fairer - and that's what I'll fight for. But if Congress isn't able to come together, I would support a short-term extension to keep taxes from spiking on low and middle-income families.
Marc Victor: Yes. Taxes should be lower for everyone.
3) Can you name the three most important steps needed to bolster border security in Arizona?
Jeff Flake: Along with Senators McCain and Kyl, I've introduced a 10-point plan to secure the border using National Guard troops, increased Border Patrol agents, reimbursements to states for court and jail costs, funding for Operations Streamline and Stonegarden, UAVs and surveillance, more permanent and mobile checkpoints, and funding for more border fencing, which would begin to make the Tucson Sector as secure as the Yuma Sector.
Rich Carmona: I've worked the border for 25 years as a deputy sheriff in Pima County. I've seen the tragic costs of the drugs and human smuggling. We need a multilayered system of border security that includes physical barriers, electronic surveillance, human intelligence and a robust Border Patrol. But border security is only part of the issue; we need comprehensive reform to finally fix our broken immigration system.
Marc Victor: One, end the failed war on drugs. Two, make immigration easy for peaceful people who want to come to America to pursue happiness. Three, improve free trade with Mexico.
4) How do you plan to curb the rising costs of Medicare while preserving the program for future generations?
Jeff Flake: Republicans have a plan to preserve Medicare which would not affect anyone 55 or older who've planned their retirement based on current benefits. For those younger, Medicare would transition to a premium support system, meaning that the federal government pays insurance premiums and lets seniors shop for the plan that best suits their needs. Forcing insurance companies to compete would drive down costs and make Medicare solvent.
Rich Carmona: Medicare is a contract we've made that can't be broken. I oppose any effort to turn Medicare into a voucher system, as Congressman Flake would do. In order to secure Medicare's future, we need to reduce costs through preventive care and innovation. Much of what we spend today goes to treating chronic disease, nearly 75% of which is preventable. Incentivizing health and wellness will be much cheaper than paying for costly procedures once people are already sick.
Marc Victor: Health care needs to be completely returned to the free market. The government should have no role in health care.
Jeff Flake (R)
Employer and position: U.S. representative.
Education: Bachelor's degree in international relations, Brigham Young University; master's in political science, Brigham Young University.
Political Experience: U.S. House of Representatives, 2001-present.
Top priority: Reducing the federal debt, deficit and tackling our fiscal crisis will be my top priority.
Richard Carmona (D)
Employer and position: CEO of Canyon Ranch Health; distinguished professor of public health, University of Arizona College of Public Health; Pima County Sheriff's Department, surgeon and deputy sheriff.
Education: Associate's in arts, Bronx Community College; bachelor's in science, University of California-San Francisco; medical degree, University of California-San Francisco; master's in public health, University of Arizona.
Political experience: None.
Top priority: To work together to solve problems and restore civility and rational decision-making to government.
Marc Victor (L)
Employer and position: President, Marc J. Victor Law Firm.
Education: Law degree, Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles; bachelor's degree in justice studies, Arizona State University.
Political experience: None.
Top priority: I hope to win hearts and minds such that people once again cherish freedom.