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Congressional hopefuls get down to the issues, part 2

May 29, 2012

As part of The Inyo Register’s ongoing efforts to help voters with their decision-making on June 5, candidates for local office – as well as state and national seats representing Inyo County – were asked a series of questions on various issues.
The Register previously published the responses to the questions posed to the candidates for the office of District 5 Inyo County Supervisor, District 4 Inyo County Supervisor, District 2 Inyo County Supervisor, Inyo County Board of Education Trustee Area 2, and is now a third of the way through the answers received from candidates running for U.S. Congress.
A total of 13 hopefuls are vying for the chance to represent California’s Eighth District in the U.S. House of Representatives – far and away the largest field of candidates Inyo County voters will have to choose from on June 5.
The top two vote-getters in the June 5 Primary will advance to the Nov. 6 General Election for the chance to represent District 8 as a U.S. Congressman.
District 8 covers the Eastern Sierra and most of San Bernardino County – including Victorville and Apple Valley –  as well as Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve.
Each candidate was provided the same set of questions as his or her political challengers, and asked to keep the responses as concise as possible.
Given the high volume of candidates in this particular race, the District 8 hopefuls’ responses are being published in three parts. The next four candidates’ answers follow.
As before, their responses are printed verbatim with the order chosen by drawing.

1.) What are the biggest issues/challenges facing the 8th Congressional District right now?
Phil Liberatore:
Every single second, Washington adds another $49,000 of new debt, and taxpayers are stuck with the bill. This $15.4 trillion national debt threatens to bankrupt our Nation. We must stop spending now. I’m not a politician. I’m a certified public accountant, and to be very clear: I oppose adding any new debt. That’s what I’ll fight for in Congress. Locally, in Inyo County, we have long enjoyed recreational opportunities and a vibrant tourism economy. Radical environmentalists are challenging the US Forest Service to change our way of life, and local economy.
Dennis Albertsen: Jobs are the biggest challenge to our district currently.
– Taxes
– Healthcare
Ryan McEachron: Our District is struggling with record unemployment, a stagnant economy and struggling schools. Unfortunately, Washington has lost the character, integrity and values that once made America great and we are seeing the effects of this at home. Hard working taxpayers no longer trust their government because elected leaders have lost the moral foundation required to lead our Country.
Jackie Conaway: Getting a credible leader elected who can bring attention to the assets that our district offers and on the economic front, we need to get people working again, and that will require small businesses to get seed grants & low interest loans they need so our job-creating small businesses can get back on their feet.

2.) What are some possible solutions you’d like to have a hand in bringing to the table?
Liberatore:
First, I want a balanced budget amendment. Second, I want immediate and complete repeal of Obamacare. I support tax reform that brings about a fairer, simpler tax, and one that requires every American to pay something for the benefits enjoyed as a citizen of this Nation. I also will refuse to extend government borrowing by increasing the national debt. I have signed the “No tax increase pledge” of the Americans for Tax Reform. On tourism, I’ll work with the Congress to prevent the US Forest Service from closing additional lands, and reform environmental laws to eliminate frivolous lawsuits.
Albertsen: Taxes – Growing the economy by providing tax incentives to businesses in order for them to increase revenue in an increasing and sustainable way. I believe taxes should be reduced across the board, I will not vote for any new taxes and I will not vote to increase any existing taxes period. Healthcare – I don’t think there is any silver bullet on healthcare reform, I believe it is going to be a long daunting task. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is not the healthcare America requires at this point in time. Imbedded issues within the plan were not verified and many problems still exist with the plan. I believe it was a rush plan put forward by the current administration and should be repealed. I will support any and all effort to repeal Obamacare.
McEachron: We need a Congressman with moral values, strong character and integrity. Without these traits, our Congressman may become part of the unethical Washington culture. I am not afraid to say I am pro-life, pro traditional marriage and a man of faith. I am firm in my beliefs and will fight to restore the values that our Country was founded on.
Conaway: Bringing together the stakeholders throughout the district to hear their ideas, suggestions, needs and concerns; I can’t presume to tell (as an example) professional caretakers of national park lands what to do – rather they need to tell me what needs to be done.

3.) How can Inyo County residents be assured their concerns, needs and voices are not only being heard but represented in Washington, D.C.?
Liberatore:
Inyo County faces a problem of grand theft. The single largest land owner in Inyo County is the Federal Government. Groundwater basins have been built with local money, yet Inyo County residents receive zero in benefits with state and federal agencies receiving the rewards. It is time for our communities to have a say where our resources go. Creating committees with real people from this county will help give us a voice. I will put pressure on these agencies and use my office to help bring the state of California to the table. The very best way to ensure your views and concerns are represented, is to engage with me in an interactive citizen-representative dialogue. Representation is made more difficult without your participation.
Albertsen: I plan on an open line of communication with the people in the 8th US Congressional district with my office. I have contacted many current congressional representatives from various districts lately only to find out that they will not take my calls or return my emails. This is not the way to treat the citizens you represent. I realize that I work for, report to and represent the people of the 8th Congressional district. My paycheck is signed by every person in the 8th district. When a citizen wants to talk to me, I will have multiple open lines of communication for them to contact me either by my website, email, phone, or fax. A live person in my office will respond to your concerns.
McEachron: We need a Congressman that will fight for us, our families and our future, not focus on their own political aspirations. I’m not a career politician, I’m a father, husband and businessman. I don’t owe the Washington special interests anything. As your Congressman I will only answer to you and will focus my energy on being your voice in Congress.
Conaway: Each County in the District will have a service office with teleconferencing capabilities and local field reps FROM the area to assist constituents.

4.) How often would you personally visit Inyo County as the District 8 Congressman?
Liberatore:
I’ll be back in the District just about every chance I get. As a matter of fact, I’d like to get Congress out of Washington as often as possible. That way, they can see what it’s like for those of us who have to live under the heavy taxes and regulations they’ve been passing. I will certainly have staff representatives here more often. The people of Inyo County deserve the same representation as the citizens of any other part of this District. Each of the areas of the sprawling 8th Congressional District is very unique and it takes a personal presence to understand the concerns of each community.
Albertsen: I plan on visiting each area at a minimum quarterly, depending on travel and voting requirements in Washington. California is a beautiful state and the 8th congressional district has some of the most impressive natural resources. Every chance I get to visit our district even on an informal basis I will.
McEachron: If elected, I will remain a Californian, not become a Washington insider. My family will keep our home here and my children will attend local schools. By staying here and traveling to Washington when necessary, I will be accessible, available and free to meet with community representatives throughout the region allowing me to visit Inyo County on a regular basis
Conaway: On each major break I would host a meet and greet; in between sessions, I would have a teleconferencing meet and greet on a monthly basis. With Inyo’s and Mono’s coming fiber optic cable resource, such a teleconferencing effort would be a snap. If can’t get funding for the teleconferencing and per county field office, I will personally fund it to make it happen.

5.) Given the sometimes rancorous nature of partisan politics, do you see an opportunity to work more “across the aisle” to help foster progress and greater cooperation on controversial issues?
Liberatore:
I am outraged by the partisan double-speak in Washington, D.C. We send our representatives to fix the mess created by past politicians, and it seems they only perpetuate it. I don’t work with party bosses now, and I have no intention of doing so as your congressman. I’m willing to work with anyone who understands that our out-of-control spending threatens to bankrupt our Nation. Let’s get this job done. That includes cutting spending in every department, every agency, and every program until this budget is balanced. It also means repealing Obamacare. We must stop the spending, and I’ll work with anyone in Congress who understands the danger that we’re in.
Albertsen: Getting the job done in Congress is a give and take process. People are going to have different opinions and various agendas. It will be my job to bring all parties together, Democrats and Republicans for a common goal of getting this nation back on track and prospering again.
McEachron: In Victorville, I worked with colleagues to balance the budget, control spending and improve public safety, without raising taxes. We were able to do this by setting aside personal agendas, standing up to special interests and doing what was right for the people. This is what needs to happen in Congress, yet no one in Washington seems to understand it.
Conaway: I do reach across the table every time there is a family gathering. There are more Republicans in my family than Democrats and we get along and have fun.

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