Republican candidates in the Fifth Congressional District want to take a seat in the House of Representatives with various goals, including reducing the federal deficit and auduting the nation’s central bank.
Republicans Frank Addivinola Jr., Michael Stopa and Tom Tierney alternately found difference with the national party in approach, and in the party’s stance on taxes.
The three candidates were given one week to respond to questions posed by the News Service. A similar questionnaire was given to the Democratic candidates.
QUESTION: What area of federal government is most in need of reform, and what specific changes would you recommend to improve it?
ADDIVINOLA: The area of government most in need of reform is entitlements. Commonly, the media immediately jumps on a Republican who says this, and marginalizes him/her as a non caring politician. Nothing could be further from the case in my instance. I come from a working class family who worked for everything they had, and I have continually bettered myself through education and hard work. I’d be the first person to lend a hand to a single mother in need, or to reach out to a disabled person with a helping hand or help someone who is out of work or facing other difficulties of life. But no one is ever made more successful, nor is given the self respect needed to be happy, with a hand out. With failed entitlement policy we have created a seemingly permanent class of people who are dependent on government for the essentials of living and seem unable to take the step to personal success, abundance and gratification. We need to create performance based measures for our social welfare programs, to make sure that, by giving, we are really helping. In addition to saving taxpayer money in the long run and shrinking the overall footprint of our government, it will first and foremost create the steps in the ladder of personal success that people in need can utilize so we can become prosperous, caring and giving society.
STOPA: There are many possible answers to this question, but I would put the Federal Reserve at the top of the list and the reform that is necessary is that it be audited.
TIERNEY: The budgeting process is truly out of control. We continue to run up huge annual deficits and few in Congress are willing to do anything about it. It's much easier to "kick the can down the road" and stick future generations with the consequences. We need tax increases now and spending reductions now to solve this problem.
QUESTION: Where have you found disagreement with national Republicans? Please name an instance and explain why you oppose the consensus formed within your party.
ADDIVINOLA: I am most at odds with the National GOP, not in specific policy issues, but in our inability to reach consensus. From my perspective, that task is not conceptually that difficult. It should be evident that our constituents, both Republican, Independent, and mainstream Democrat would be very happy with a party that dedicated itself to reducing waste, fraud, abuse and duplication. It is clear that those same people would be happier with less government intrusion into areas of their lives that is not required to maintain the national security. We, on both sides of the aisle, have lost the confidence of the American people because we don’t address the issues that affect people’s everyday lives. Giving people “things” offers a short term benefit quickly forgotten. Affording people opportunity creates greater success and long term happiness. You cannot regulate opportunity, nor can you legislate innovation. Opportunity and innovation drive this economy, create jobs and provide the platform for individual success and overall happiness. We need to coalesce around these issues first.
STOPA: The question assumes that there exists a single voice of the Republican Party. Just as in life, there are many voices that make up the voice of this nation. And all of those voices must be heard. Nothing is more contrary to Democracy than a monolithic approach to problem solving. H.L. Menken once said that, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." Republicans in Massachusetts expect certain positions from their leadership that may differ from those of Republicans in Texas. What every Republican should demand, what every American should demand, is leadership and courage of convictions.
My goal in Washington is to elevate the level of discourse. As Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” This applies without regard to party lines or ideologies. The House of Representatives is a great deliberative body worthy of such an approach. My 19 years of marriage tell me that one should not expect to get everything we want out of a negotiation and that compromise is imperative. But that compromise is based upon mutual respect and solid conviction. It is a two way street. Name calling and gross characterizations may be useful to generate sound bites but it is no way to work together to resolve the great issues that face our nation and indeed the world.
TIERNEY: I disagree with the Republication insistence that the Bush-Cheney tax cuts should continue. Their enactment was a mistake since the expected "trickle down" never occurred - - the rich just got richer; the poor got poorer; and our annual Federal deficit and our accumulated National debt have just exploded out of sight.
We need two-step tax reform: First, we should return immediately to the Year 2000 Clinton-Gringrich tax rates; and Second, we need a complete re-write of the Internal Revenue Code.