CD 8 candidates weigh in on issues

 

 

By Cecilia Chan

Independent Newsmedia

It’s down to the wire with 12 Republicans and two Democrats fighting for their party’s nomination in the Feb. 27th special primary to replace Rep. Trent Franks in the Congressional District 8 election.

Mr. Franks resigned Dec. 8 amid allegations of inappropriate conduct with two female staffers, setting off a scramble for the long-time officeholder’s job in a heavily entrenched Republican district.

GOP candidates are Chad Allen, Brenden Dilley, Stephen Dolgos, Debbie Lesko, David Lien, Phil Lovas, Richard Mack, Steve Montenegro, Bob Stump, Christopher Sylvester, Mark Yates and Clair Van Steenwyk. Democrats are Dr. Hiral Tipirneni and Brianna Westbrook.

The top Democrat and top Republican in the primary will face off in a special general election April 24. Whoever wins the two-year seat will have to campaign again in August to keep it. Early ballots have already begun hitting mailboxes.

The district takes in most of the West Valley, Southwest Valley cities of Litchfield Park and Avondale and includes north Phoenix and New River.

The Daily New-Sun sent questions to the candidates to gauge their thoughts on issues relevant to constituents. Ms. Westbrook was the only candidate who chose not to respond.

GOP candidates:

Chad Allen

Chad Allen

City: Goodyear

Age: 35

Family: Married 12 years, three kids

Education: BA, Political Science, ASU; MBA, CSU

Job: Healthcare executive and intraoperative neurophysiologist

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: I have served our community in a variety of ways including caring for thousands of patients in Arizona providing highly advanced surgical services with medical staff privileges at most Phoenix area hospitals, including Banner Boswell, Thunderbird, Del Webb, and Estrella Medical Centers, Abrazo Arrowhead and West Valley hospitals, and HonorHealth Medical Centers. My business and health care experience has qualified me to uniquely tackle our nation’s health care policy issues and to best represent the needs of Arizona families. I have also donated countless hours of free surgical services to families in need and many patients in unfortunate financial circumstances.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?

A: As a successful executive, I routinely have to apply analysis to complex problems and craft solutions that respect the needs of others while remaining fiscally sound. I have the skills and experience to clearly identify problems in Washington and fix them.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: 1) declining civic participation, 2) federal fiscal responsibility, and A: Rising healthcare costs. Americans are engaging less and less with their government because career politicians and bureaucrats have left them behind. I plan to communicate more fully with the residents of my district and engage them in the policy process. Federal spending in Washington is out of control. I plan to bring professional business acumen to the table by calling for zero-base budgeting and cutting wasteful spending. Arizona families are being hammered with rising healthcare costs due to the failed health care policies under Obamacare. I will fight to repeal and replace this disastrous law.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: Fund it, build it, and enforce our border. A country with no identity is no country at all. We need immigrants but we need them to come legally. Once we have fixed our broken immigration system we can focus on bringing in new Americans in an orderly and predictable way. The wall will pay for itself when we save money in the long run by reducing the drain on our federal budget from broken a broken immigration system.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents.

A: I serve the families who live in our community, period. However, I believe the best way to serve them is to uphold the principles of good government that I believe in which are well articulated in the platform of the Republican Party. So, I do not answer to party bosses, I answer to the residents of my district. But I offer solutions based on principles I share with Republicans.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government.

A: Our founders wisely believed that all people deserved freedom of conscience and that government should never get in the way of an individual’s choice of religious beliefs and practices. I embrace this principle. I believe the robust religious and spiritual views of families across our nation, makes us better. However, I do not believe government power should be used to impose religious beliefs on others as a matter of government policy. Instead, we should always remember that God inspired the foundation of this country as a place where all men could have the freedom to seek him. George Washington said it best when he said: “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”

Brenden Dilley

Brenden Dilley

Town: Queen Creek

Age: 35

Family: Four children

Education: Certified personal trainer

Job: Author, public speaker, life coach

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: I have spoken to many thousands of constituents to hear their concerns, not assume I know what they want. I am not guessing or arrogantly telling them what’s best for them. I have told the people I have zero intentions of turning into another career politician so I have a short window to get in and make a positive impact. That is what I will do from day one.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t? A: First and foremost, people are tired of career politicians, that is a reoccurring theme. Unlike the self proclaimed front runners, I have never been a politician, rather a successful businessman. I am not bought and paid for by dark money either, which most of the career politicians in this race are. I am young and have fresh ideas. Voters want that. Finally, I am just an ordinary guy that relates to middle America very well because I am a middle American.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: Term limits: The district has had the same representation for a decade plus and voters want change. I will be a champion for getting term-limit talk to the top of the agenda. Education: Like the rest of Arizona, public education is a mess mostly because we cant keep good teachers. My education reform will change that with higher teacher pay, smaller classrooms, an end to vouchers and removing barriers for districts to be able to use block grants as they see fit. Unlike a few candidates in the race who have previously voted against public education and teachers every step of the way, I am the opposite. We need to take care of our teachers and schools as they are educating our future.First responders: There is a giant shortage of people interested in first-responder careers now. We need to incentivize those that are willing to do a job most aren’t, thats watch over all of us residents. Retirement insurance is one huge thing that will help attract a lot of top-level talent back to these careers again. Too often these first responders sacrifice their families and well being for us, only to be kicked to the curb once they retire. That ends with me!

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: I am 100 percent in support of building the wall and have been from the start. The money isn’t the issue, it’s there. Start with all the money that companies are bringing back from overseas because of President Trump’s tax plan. Apple alone, one of the most liberal companies in the country just announced it was investing $350 million. That is $50 million in taxes. It could pay for two walls.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents. A: It will never will be party over constituents for me. I will be working on many things with an eye toward bipartisanship. The problem with the country forever has been career politicians putting their party over the people. Never being a politician I won’t have that worry.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government.

A: I am for repealing the Johnson Amendment. I am a Christian and am definitely for freedom of religion.[Editor’s note: In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity.]

Stephen Dolgos

Residence: New River

Age: 43

Stephen Dolgos

Family: Married to Kimberlee for eight years

Education:1996 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor’s of science degree in history

Job: After an initial career as a Surface Warfare officer in the U.S. Navy, worked in financial services industry since 2001. Currently a registered principal for various financial advisers at a leading financial services.

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: Did not respond

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?A: I am the most libertarian leaning candidate and this laser focus on fiscal conservatism coupled with an equally strong defense of personal freedoms makes me a unique candidate within the Republican field.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: The top three issues for the district are a rational drug policy that I would solve through the removal of marijuana from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s schedule one, working towards full legalization and regulation of cannabis like alcohol; the second most important is immigration policy where I support President Trump’s immigration framework that was promulgated one week ago, but I would add what I am calling a Social Services supplemental tax, which would act as a fine to those that will be granted a pathway to citizenship; this will act to sure up our failing entitlement programs which I believe are the third most important issue to the district.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: I support the border wall because it is an important part of overall border security. The cost of this wall is insignificant in relation to ensuring that we do not find ourselves back in the situation that we currently are with illegal immigration.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents.

A: I will support my constituents first, followed by the good of the country, and lastly the good of the party.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government.

A: There has historically been a separation of church and state that we should continue to maintain

 

Debbie Lesko

City: Peoria

Debbie Lesko

Age: 59

Family: Happily married with three children and two grandchildren

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration

Job: Former state senator

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: During my last nine years in the Arizona Senate and House I have gained a reputation of taking on big, important issues and getting them done, like pension reform, tax reform, and education reform. That is why I have been named “Senator of the Year” and “Champion of the Taxpayer.” In addition to tackling big issues, I have consistently sponsored and passed legislation that directly helps my constituents. For example, I sponsored legislation to help golf cart drivers in Sun City and Sun City West; I sponsored the legislation that eliminated the photo radar camera on Grand Avenue near El Mirage; I sponsored legislation to help patients that received surprise medical bills. I also am the only candidate that testified at the Corporation Commission hearing against EPCOR’s unfair wastewater consolidation plan.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?

A: I am the only candidate that has consistently taken on big problems and issues and got them done, plus I have a long history of being involved in the community. I am the only candidate that is endorsed by Gov. Jan Brewer; the founding members of the conservative U.S. House Freedom Caucus, Congressman Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan; the Fraternal Order of Police-the largest police assoc. in the nation; the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life organization, Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord, Litchfield Mayor Tom Schoaf, Youngtown Mayor Mike LeVault, Glendale City Councilman Ray Malnar, Peoria City Councilman Jon Edwards, Surprise City Councilmen Roland Winters and Ken Remley, Peoria School Board member Beverly Pingerelli, West-MEC board member Peter Pingerelli, almost every SCHOA and PORA board member and many RCSC and RCSCW board members.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: I agree with President Trump’s agenda to secure the border by building the wall and adding more border agents. I support President Trump’s agenda to reduce taxes and burdensome regulations. I support President Trump’s agenda to strengthen the military, which will directly benefit Luke Air Force Base. Luke Air Force Base is vital to our nation’s security and a huge economic benefit to CD 8 and all of Arizona.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: I absolutely support President Trump’s agenda to build the wall, add more border agents and end chain migration. Protecting the public is government’s No. 1 priority. Border Security is National Security. We can reduce wasteful spending elsewhere.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents.

A: I have a proven record of helping and serving my constituents and I will continue to do so when I serve in the U.S. Congress. My Republican Party values and principles closely align with a majority of my constituents.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government.

A: I am a Christian and I am an active member of Palmcroft Church. As a U.S. Congressman I will continue to protect all U.S. Citizens’ First Amendment constitutional right to freely exercise their religious beliefs and will work to ensure that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a government-mandated religion.

David Lien

David Lien

City: Glendale

Age: 68

Family: Married to Gloria for 47 years, two sons, one daughter and three grandchildren. Sons Jon and Daniel and their families both live in the district and daughter lives in Iowa

Education: Bachelor’s of arts degree in music and education from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.

Job: Primarily founder and president of an international Christian ministry. An entrepreneur leading a very successful 501c3 corporation, which has worked in 55 countries, responsible for all aspects of operation, vision and strategy. Also was a city councilman for 14 years specializing in finance and public works. On the staff of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Sun City West.

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: I have been a normal-working person, involved with people of all ages, from mentoring many young students and someone starting their own business, to teaching in the Sun City communities. My work has always involved listening to the people I work with and putting myself in other people’s shoes. I identify very much with average working and professional people alike. With this campaign I want to continue a lifetime of service to my community.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your follow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?

A: I bring a very unique mix of having legislative (via city council) experience, while never being a career politician. I understand the art of working with others. I have worked amicably with many opposing parties and cultures my entire life. I bring a real creative and independent thinking process to all issues, constantly willing to think outside the box to find solutions. I have absolutely no ties to special interests. Unlike many career politicians in this campaign, every dollar of my campaign to date is funded by myself, my family and donations from individuals that support me.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: Immigration – We need to strengthen “smart” border security through increased technology and equipment, as we concentrate on rapid removal of those who are caught having entered illegally. We must find a way to limit chain immigration. In addition to a physical wall there are many low-cost, immediate policies changes that would help. As an example, I have traveled internationally for much of my life and have never been in a country where I did not have to show my passport and visa often, including every time I checked in to lodging. Immigrants coming here never have to show any papers. We also need to be practical, with policies and priorities that are in the best interest of America. We must find a way where people already here for decades, who are willing to work hard in jobs that the rest of us don’t want, together with individuals who represent the best and brightest of the world’s entrepreneurs and professionals, are able to participate fully in building America. We must ensure a meaningful way to incorporate those with the skills that we need into our society without a blanket ban on all immigration. I’ve personally worked many times with legal immigration services and found the process was horrible, disjointed, and inefficient.Pro-life from the womb to the tomb – Often we focus solely on protecting the unborn, which is critical, but we give short shrift to those already born. Being pro-life means protecting the unborn in whatever ways are legally permissible within our constitution. Being pro-life also means that I must work for the enhancement and protection of children, so that they have the best start and long, healthy, productive and fulfilled life. It means supporting young adults as they strive for education and understanding, and to become the best parents of the next generation. It means supporting the elderly in living a meaningful third chapter of life with access to adequate health care. To be pro-life means to embrace, nourish and protect all stages of life. Government that works – The current shutdown is typical of recent congresses. I’m not concerned “who’s to blame.” I want to be part of fixing it! We have reached a point where both Republican and Democrat leaders think it is more important for the other side to lose than it is for the American People to win. I want real representation of the people and not members of congress who are protecting long term career paths. We also need real term limits to discourage career politics.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: I believe real border security is multi-layered. It is good to start the wall in the most vulnerable places right now, but we must increase our technology and other layers of security. My fear is that concentration on the wall has become a trap that sucks money away from less costly and more effective things we need to do immediately.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents?

A: I have proposed a solid plan to address this on my website at davelienforcongress.com It is a huge temptation for established politicians to only listen to the same people constantly and ignore the rest of us! To stay in contact with and be accountable to constituents, I will maintain a very robust Congressional Office(s) with staff living in the district. I will also have a volunteer “District Liaison Committee” of 12-18 people across the district, comprised Republican, Democrat, and Independent voters. This Committee will continuously look for input from voters on issues before congress, study those issues, and advise me. They will meet in person with me three to four times a year to discuss issues and make recommendations representing the broad constituency. Instead of concentrating on telling my thoughts from the top down, I want to hear from the bottom up the aspirations of the people. When the needs of the district are in conflict with special interests and or with my party’s stated position, I can point to “this is what my district is asking of me.”

Q: What role do you see religion play in government?

A: My Christian faith informs and transforms all of my life, but my civic duties in representative government require me to represent the people. I take seriously the constitutional statement that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” I was deeply opposed to the recent inclusion of a provision in the tax bill allowing churches to openly endorse candidates. Even Jesus said, “Give to the [government] the things that are the governments, and to God the things that are God’s.” I believe in the separation of the church and state, period.

Phil Lovas

Phil Lovas

City: Peoria

Age: 48

Family: Married 18 years, 3 children

Education: BS, Ohio University; MA, Baylor University

Job: Sales 20-plus years, former state legislator and Trump Administration appointee

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: As a volunteer I’ve helped at my church and for numerous charitable organizations helping impact our community. In the business world, I’ve been in sales for 20-plus years and have been in franchise development for 15 years. During that time I worked with small business owners to help them create thousands of jobs throughout Arizona and the western U.S. As the LD22 state representative I felt it was my job to hold the powerful accountable. I turned down a pension and sponsored the bill, which shut down the elected officials pension plan. I want to do that in Washington as well. As a Trump administration appointee, it was my job to look for rules and regulations that were problematic for small business and work to take them off the books.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t? A: I am pro-life (at the Legislature endorsed by Arizona Right to Life), pro-gun freedom, anti-tax, anti-regulation and pro-build the wall. Beyond those core issues, I have experience draining the swamp and I want to do it in Washington as well. I am the only candidate who turned down a pension at the state level. I am the only candidate who supports ending pensions for members of Congress. Unlike most of the other candidates, I was a consistent supporter of Donald Trump and after serving as his campaign chairman, was picked for a position in his Administration. Due to my background in the Trump campaign and administration, I believe that if there is an issue that affects the West Valley, I will be in the best position to make the case on behalf of this district.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: Immigration, the economy and health care. I wholeheartedly support building a border wall. Estimates are a border wall would cost $20 billion while illegal immigration costs the U.S. $135 billion every year in health care, education, welfare and justice expenses. I consider a wall a good investment. The economy is going very well and we need to keep it going. Jobless claims are at 45 year lows and the stock market is at a record level. Reducing regulations and cutting taxes has had a positive effect on the American economy. The administration has cut 22 regulations for every new one proposed and stopped about a thousand in process. Cutting taxes will have a positive effect on the economy in 2018. We also need to end Obamacare and have a health care plan focused on reducing prices, allowing portability and providing options to those with pre-existing conditions like myself. Tort reform, selling across state lines and reducing taxes and over burdensome regulations on health insurers will help.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: This is a high priority for me. There currently is not a secure southern border. We have drugs and bad actors flowing into the United States. Before we do anything else, we need to stop the flow. The only way to do that is to build the wall. Estimates are a border wall would cost $20 billion while illegal immigration costs the U.S. $135 billion every year in health care, education, welfare and justice expenses. I consider a wall a good investment. There are options for constructing the wall including having the Army Corps of Engineers build.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents.

A: In this district, my party and constituents are one in the same for the most part. President Trump won this district by 21 points. The values of this district are in alignment with the conservative cause and I will vote that way. Furthermore, I’m the only one in this race with the ability to advocate for the District directly to the White House and I won’t be shy about speaking to up if necessary. And finally, I was very proud of my constituent services work while in the Legislature; I have and will continue to make very clear that should a constituent have an issue with accessing government benefits or questions about government, my staff and I will work to aggressively solve their problem and be their primary advocate.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government.

A: The Constitution clearly states, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Faith is important to me. I am a Christian and my family and I attend church and pray regularly. I support religious freedom and will vote to protect religious rights within the workplace.

Richard Mack

Richard Mack

Town: Gilbert

Age: 65

Family: Married 42 years with five children and 12 grandchildren. Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Education: Safford High School; Associates degree, Eastern Arizona College; Bachelor of Arts, Brigham Young University; Graduate of FBI National Academy

Job: Government teacher in Maricopa County Schools

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: As the only native Arizonan in this race, I am proud to have served two terms as Graham County sheriff. As such I worked extensively with then-Gov. Fife Symington on several state sovereignty issues in defending the state against the incursions of the Clinton administration. The highlight of the push back against the federal government was my winning lawsuit to stop the overreach and gun control associated with the Brady Bill. Ultimately, this case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where I won a landmark ruling. This victory reinforced our state sovereignty and protected the autonomy of all sheriffs and local officials in the state and nation. Since then I have traveled our nation as an author, speaker, and conservative activist supporting the causes of liberty and freedom. That desire to keep our nation on a course that follows the U.S. Constitution led me to teaching government in high school here in Maricopa County.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?

A: I am not a career politician. I’m a fighter for following the U.S. Constitution, not abusing it. President Trump needs police backup to “drain the swamp” and who better to help him than a former sheriff? We cannot claim to be conservatives if we do not govern like conservatives, and my opponents are all part of the Establishment Republican political machine. Just look at their records compared to mine! My opponents are literally fundraisers for people like John McCain and Jeff Flake. One of my opponents even voted for the National Popular Vote as a member of the Arizona Legislature. How can they claim to be conservatives if the very legislation they co-sponsored would have not only given more voice to the voters of California at the expense of Arizona voters, but given us President Al Gore and Hillary Clinton? I don’t just talk about standing for Arizona and liberty, I have lived it. This is exactly the sort of fighter we need in Washington.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: CD 8, like the rest of the nation needs a government they can trust. Too many federal agencies run roughshod over our rights and freedoms and this must stop. We must “drain the swamp” of these agencies (IRS, Department of Education, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Energy, Department of Labor, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, etc.), Audit the federal reserve, and establish accountability in D.C. Second, we must take back our state and lands from the control and supposed ownership of the federal government. This is not the federal government’s land. Arizona can run its own land and affairs without the feds micromanaging us. Finally, I would fight to abolish the income tax and replace it with a consumption tax. Our country was formed to guarantee to each citizen the ownership of his own property and the fruits of his labor. It has been for decades now that our “masters” in D.C. control what we earn, what we keep, and what is ours. This was never meant to be. This will also require that we stop the out-of-control deficit spending by both Democrats and Republicans at all levels of government.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: The illegal alien invasion into America costs our country 10 times more each year than the cost of a wall. But to really curtail illegal immigration, we must stop the “freebies” illegals receive when they get here. If we keep offering so much free stuff they will cross any wall or barrier. And yes, we can have Mexico and other Latin American countries pay for it. I have long proposed a plan that would put that burden on our trading partners instead of U.S. taxpayers. This can and should be done by suspending all foreign aid to all nations south of the border until the wall is built and paid for.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents.

A: I really am not a party politician. I will stand for individual liberty and the rule of law. I will remain loyal to the people of CD 8. I am sure that will coincide with serving the Republican Party.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government.

A: John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” We cannot exclude such principles from our nation today or allow political correctness to supersede these foundational ideals. However, this can never be forced upon anyone. Freedom of religion is our choice and not a government program.

Steve Montenegro

City: Goodyear

Steve Montenegro

Age: 36

Family: Married, one daughter

Education: Degrees in political science and theology

Job: Still a minister, but resigned jobs with Rep. Franks and as a state senator to focus on campaign

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: I’ve done things both big and small. When I worked with Congressman Franks we were often helping out individuals or families that were dealing with personal issues, or small businesses that needed help navigating bureaucracies. So I got to make a difference for people one at a time. As a minister I get to help members of my entire congregation with many of life’s challenges that they are facing. And as a legislator I helped balance our state budget, pass the largest tax cut in Arizona history, passed Constitutional Carry to make Arizona the No. 1 state in the country for gun owners, passed and defended SB1070 to crack down on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, voted for the bill to allow for construction of a border wall, passed a ban on affirmative action in state hiring and college admissions, wrote the first in the nation ban on abortions for the purposes of race/sex selection, and wrote the American Civics Act to ensure that our high school students can pass the citizenship test and know about our country’s founding values and history.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?

A: I think voters know the drill where every Republican suddenly campaigns as a conservative. In my case I have the voting record to back that up. We all have a variety of pro-life and pro-Second Amendment endorsements from our previous campaigns, but every conservative group, from the American Conservative Union to the Goldwater Institute to Americans for Prosperity ranks me at the top. That is because I lead on difficult issues and I have the backbone needed to be successful without compromising on core values. There are no bad candidates in this race and they are all good people. But Debbie Lesko voted for the largest tax increase in Arizona history while I was trying to stop it. That is a major difference. Debbie was named Friend of Big Government by Americans for Prosperity. We don’t want big government. Those sorts of major differences are why Trent Franks called me and asked me to run, and they are why I’ve been endorsed by conservative leaders like Sens. Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum, Reps. Steve King and JD Hayworth, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and former NRA President and Arizona Attorney General Bob Corbin. Lastly, I think my background as a legal immigrant and my willingness to take our party’s message into every neighborhood in English and Spanish is a major plus.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: Border security, national security, and our economy are all critical issues and they are related. Border security can be achieved by building the wall, increasing the number of border patrol agents and beefing up interior enforcement so we’re also removing people who are overstaying visas, etc. On national security I’m proud I was able to help Luke AFB land the F-35s because its critical to our economy and to our nation’s defense. I also know that eight years of Obama has left our military hollowed out and in need of rebuilding. We need to give them what they need to fight, win and come home. I also think this is a good place to mention taking care of our veterans. Arizona is now one of the most pro-veteran states in the country and I’m proud of the legislation we have passed to make it so, but we need to do more at the federal level to take care of our veterans, to reform the VA, and to give them the option of private care so they are not stuck in a broken system. As far as our economy goes, Arizona is a great example of what happens when you cut taxes, roll back needless regulations, and create a job-friendly environment. Thanks to bills I helped pass like The Arizona Jobs Bill, Arizona is now one of the best pro-job states in the country, we’re a top state for new start-ups, we’re a top destination for companies leaving high-tax states like California, and we have one of the strongest economies in the country. I’ve done the job at the state level and I’ll do the job in Congress. I invite your readers to visit SteveMontenegro.com to read my Save America Plan that details my thoughts on these issues and several others.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: Build it and build it as quickly as possible. Arizona taxpayers alone pay more than $2 billion a year in costs associated with illegal aliens, when you add education, health care and criminal justice costs. The country pays more than $180 billion a year in costs associated with illegal aliens. Even if the solution didn’t make so much financial sense it would still be worth it to stop the flow of crime, drugs and violence coming across the unsecured border. But it also makes absolute financial sense to do it. My long and proven commitment to border security is why I’m endorsed by secure border advocates like Rep. Steve King from Iowa and Arizona’s own Congressman JD Hayworth.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents?

A: I don’t serve my party, so that’s easy. I’m guided by my faith, my values, the Constitution, and the needs of my constituents, my district, and my country. I know not every vote will please everyone, but I believe that everyone benefits from liberty, from a more limited government, from a stronger national defense, from a stronger economy and better schools, from lower taxes, etc. Those values are a part of why I’m a Republican, but I don’t get my values or take direction from my party. Frankly, I’ve often battled my own party when they strayed from the values they were supposed to represent.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government?

A: I think a lot of people confuse religion and faith when asking this question. My religion has no bearing on how I would do my job, which is why you can see people of various faiths working together easily and well. But faith itself, or the belief in God, is something you would never want to remove from government. Our nation was founded on the all-important belief that our rights were granted to us by our Creator, and that is why they are inalienable. If you remove the Creator, then all of our rights end up being granted to us by the government and they can be taken away by the government. That is the opposite of what our founding documents state. Government’s job is to protect and preserve our rights and liberties, and knowing where they come from is central to that. I’m proud that Dr. James Dobson, Ph.D. has endorsed me in this race because he’s a man who has spent his life speaking to the importance of faith in our daily lives.

Bob Stump

Bob Stump

City: Peoria

Age: 46

Family: Jane Stump, mother; Bob Stump, father

Education: Harvard University; University of California

Job: Former state-wide elected energy regulator; former member, Arizona House of Representatives

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?A: For nearly 15 years, I represented the West Valley and the entire state of Arizona. I fought an out-of-control EPA intent on raising your electric bill, and I took on the Obama administration when it wanted to continue charging Arizonans for an abandoned nuclear waste facility in Nevada. In both cases, we won. I ran for the Arizona House in 2002 to work on long-term care issues (my dad had Alzheimer’s Disease) and I’m pleased by the many awards I received recognizing my efforts to make life better for Arizona’s seniors.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?

A: I am the candidate with the most experience in public policy and elective office (nearly 15 years), and I am the only candidate to have represented the entire state of Arizona as a statewide-elected energy regulator. But more importantly, my focus on national security threats is unique: I believe the threat to our electrical grid posed by terrorists and rogue states is one of the most pressing issues we face as a nation. I’m the only candidate talking about it, and I want to serve in Congress to modernize our grid and keep our nation safe.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: Illegal immigration — no amnesty, no chain migration, and a wall need to be part of a package that puts enforcement first.National security – President Trump’s emphasis on unshackling the military, so it can do its job, must be supported vigorously.Fiscal discipline – As a former recipient of the “Champion of the Taxpayer” award, I believe a Balanced Budget Amendment is essential, so government lives within its means.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: The costs imposed by illegal immigration are far greater than the cost to erect a wall.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents.

A: I am a strong conservative, as are many of my constituents. I will represent all citizens of District 8 with integrity and honor.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government?

A: The First Amendment is an example of our founders’ genius and clearly speaks to this issue. Government has no business forcing Christians or others to violate their religious beliefs.

Christopher Sylvester

Christopher Sylvester

City: Goodyear

Age: 45

Family: Wife Jen, son Jackson, 16, son Chance, 14, daughter Michele, 12

Education: Cactus High School (Peoria Unified School District), U.S. Naval Academy, B.S. Physics, M.S. Astronautical Engineering, M.S. Program Management.

Job: Program manager at a helicopter manufacturing plant in Mesa


Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: I have invested 24-plus years into public service in defense of our nation. I was an operational search and rescue helicopter pilot, and a fixed-wing flight instructor. I served in key roles within Defense Acquisition, and I was invited into the National Intelligence Community whereby I was involved in implementing key technologies to best enable our national security.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?

A: Integrity. The genesis of my campaign was twofold: to prove that AZ CD 8 could (in fact) benefit from a much more engaging method of representation; and to challenge the idea that an incumbent congressman, elected for a two-year term, would seek an eighth term in office. I filed my campaign with the FEC in October. The career politicians only jumped in upon hearing of Mr. Frank’s resignation. This timing concerns me for two reasons: either none of the career politicians felt AZ CD 8 could benefit from a increase in representation, or none felt strongly enough that they could do a better job than the incumbent. Either way, there appears to have been more concern for personal political ramification of challenging an incumbent than concern for the good of the 8th district

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: Education, along with equitable and engaging representation across the West Valley. For too long we have settled for far less than what we deserve. The longer we accept sub-par standards, the more normalized it all becomes. The resolution I propose for education is reaching out to the educators to discover, enact and implement various paths forward that are tailored to several unique scenarios. There is no “one-size fits all” solution. As for the equitable and engaging representation, I’ll hold six in-person town halls every year, each scheduled well in advance. I’ll continually look for innovative ways to reach out to various groups within the 8th to best solicit their concerns and develop solutions.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: Border security is a multifaceted issue that will never go away. If the 8th Congressional District as a whole deems that a really big wall along the Southern border will solve all of our problems and keep us safe, then I’ll respect that. But I believe the concept of a really big wall offers a false sense of security and is a gross waste of government funds. I do believe that there are highly trafficked sections of our border that could benefit from strategically placed barriers to impede illegal crossings, and the locations of those strategically placed barriers are best defined by the men and women who are charged with our border security. The funds required for simply building a really big wall will drastically limit key protection-enabling equipment, sensors, and training for those on the front lines of border security. Let us not forget that we also have an East and West coasts, a northern boundary, and thousands of airborne potential-immigrants a day. Just because the problem is tough does not mean that we should sacrifice logic for a quick fix.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents.

A: My priority is solely the constituents of CD 8. While I am running on the Republican ticket, please know that I am running for the district. My political alignment is based on my belief of a small, limited government, by the people, of the people and for the people.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government.

A: I believe in a distinct separation between church and state; neither should tell the other how to operate. I also believe that the two are inextricably linked: Our government sure could use some prayers right about now, and the government needs to always defend the freedom of religion.

Clair Van Steenwyk

Residence: Sun City West

Clair Van Steenwyk

Age: 71

Family: Wife

Education: High school

Job: Retired business executive and entrepreneur and radio talk show host

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: I’ve served as a precinct committeeman, state committeeman and delegate to the state convention, also sponsored candidate forums so voters could get info on candidates, paid for rallies at the Capitol, including a Second Amendment rally, held fundraiser for vets, traveled the state speaking on different issues at my own cost, testified at AZ Capitol against Common Core, Obamacare, EPCOR and other issues as well. I’ve also broadcast on my show at no cost to any most all candidates in the 2010 election cycle with no sponsors as they didn’t buy time to pay for the program afraid they’d offend opposite party members.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?

A: I’ve signed the front of checks, ran five businesses, founded five successful businesses, founder of Christian Outreach in Bellflower, California, working on LA’s Skid Row, Hollywood Boulevard and Small Village in Mexico, funded with our own funds from successful businesses.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: Education, Social Security benefits, securing economic security for America.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: A wall on the border is a matter of national security and over time will save us monies due to the crossing of illegals, gangs, drugs, human trafficking, and of course terrorists, this is also less expensive than hiring thousands of new border agents, which over time will cost billions more in salaries, benefits and retirement, not to mention agents can be moved or fired, and pretty hard to tear down the wall.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents.

A: I am elected to represent my district not the party or special interest groups, as most of my opponents have done and will do again, I know the U.S. Constitution and will not vote or support any bill that isn’t in compliance with it, as doing so you’d actually violate the oath you take to protect and defend it, also unknown to most but when our founders wrote in the protect and defend it included foreign and domestic enemies, if you look closely at some of the votes in Arizona and D.C. are against the founding documents and therefore they’ve actually become domestic enemies, and my opponents have all done this while serving in Arizona.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government.

A: I believe my faith will serve me well as you might say a moral compass as it has in my personal and business life, this doesn’t mean I believe in a state church, however, also doesn’t mean the government can restrict religious freedoms in any manner as clearly stated in the First Amendment. Faith not religion has always had an important role in our government in fact clearly stated God granted us our rights and only God can remove them and I am a believer in that and won’t move from that position.

Mark Yates

Age: 46

Mark Yates

Family: Married to Jessica for over 24 years, three sons, one daughter, ranging in age from 22 to 14. Also raising a foster daughter

Education: B.S. in electrical engineering and a M.S in computer science, both from Arizona State University

Job: Worked in small business for 25 years. Helped an Arizona software startup grow and be acquired by a publicly traded company, IHS. Currently with a company that was divested from IHS. During that time, served in various leadership positions including: software architect, director of development, vice president of IT

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: I have been a volunteer in the Surprise community, including youth sports and multiple Surprise Pride Days. I have also been a volunteer in the Dysart School District. My wife and I serve the most vulnerable in our state as foster parents.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?

A: President Trump pledged to “drain the swamp” in Washington, making this an important topic in politics today. I am not, and have no desire to be, a career politician. I am a proud citizen of the United States and want to represent the people of Arizona Congressional District 8 to the best of my ability. I believe I can do this better with the experience and view point of a regular, hard-working American than can a career politician. Citizen representatives will help “drain the swamp.”I have 25 years of experience working in small business in a technical field, software engineering. I have two science/technical degrees, a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. of Computer Science. Why does this matter? The challenges of the information age will deal with questions that can best be addressed by someone who understands technology rather than law. The recent issue with Net Neutrality is just the beginning. We will soon have to address ethical question regarding Artificial Intelligence, self-driving cars and much more. We will need representatives in government who understand the technology to help make the best decisions in these cases.While I understand the importance of current issues, I see them as part of a bigger vision. I’ve learned by studying the works of Oliver DeMille that we are on the verge of a world shift. throughout human history, there have been world shifts about every 100 years. Sometimes they come sooner, sometimes later. Each shift moves the world more towards freedom or force. A major freedom shift occurred in the late 1700s and resulted in the formation of the United States of America. As a country, we have enjoyed the greatest freedoms and most prosperity of any people in the history of the world. The last shift occurred in the early 1900’s as was a force shift. Because of that shift, we have seen our freedoms in this country slowly erode over the last 100 years. We are due for another world shift that most likely has already begun. If it is another force shift, I greatly fear for our children and grandchildren. They will not enjoy the freedoms we have enjoyed for over 200 years. I would like to be part of the group that ensures that we have a freedom shift. According to Mr. DeMille, these shifts are caused by a small group of committed individuals, made up of only 1.5 percent to 3 percent of the population. Protecting our Freedoms! That is my vision! Please join me and help ensure increased freedoms for our children, grandchildren and nation for at least another 100 years!

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: Immigration is a very important issue to not just CD8, but all of Arizona. I discuss my proposal for immigration on my website (yatesfor8.org) and Facebook page (@markyates4congress). There are a lot of families in CD8 with school aged children, so education is also very important. We need to get the federal government out of education and bring control back to the states and communities.There are also a lot of retirees in CD8 who want to be sure their Social Security is protected. We need to balance the budget without Congress dipping into Social Security money to fund the rest of our government activities.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: I agree with recent comments by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): “I remain a fiscal conservative even on the wall, so I’m not excited about spending $20 billion, $30 billion, $40 billion on a wall. I’m still a believer that we don’t have money to spend, we’re $700 billion in the hole … while I will vote for money for barriers, I’m not voting for $40 billion for barriers.”

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents.

A: The reason Congress is dysfunctional and cannot get anything constructive done is because they put party before country. They are only concerned with scoring points for themselves and obstructing the other party. I do not want or need a career in politics. I am not interested in party politics. I will stand by my principles with character and represent the needs and interests of CD 8.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government.

A: No one can deny that the framers of the Constitution were religious men. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” I believe that one of government’s responsibilities is to protect the right of conscience and free exercise of religion. Within government there should be no religious test. No preference should be given to any one religion over another. This does not necessitate removing all religion from government, as long as all religions are treated equally and fairly. I believe the intent of the First Amendment was to prevent a single, national religion, not to remove God from public discourse.

Democratic candidate

Dr. Hiral Tipirneni

Hiral Tipirneni

City: Glendale

Age: 50

Family: Married to medical school sweetheart, Dr. Kishore Tipirneni, three kids, all born and raised in Glendale and products of Deer Valley Unified schools.Two girls are now in college and son is still in high school.

Education: BS in Combined Sciences, MD – both Northeast Ohio Medical University. Residency at University of Michigan Health System.

Job: Cancer research advocate/ Emergency room doctor

Q: What have you done so far for the community/state to earn the job?

A: Campaigning for Congress, or any elected position, is like one long job interview, so I’m still in the process of “earning” it. That said, I’ve dedicated my life to serving the communities of the Northwest Valley. I served the greater Phoenix area for a decade as an ER doctor. For the past eight years, I’ve worked for the greater good as a cancer research advocate. Most recently, I’ve been honored to support Maricopa County’s public health care delivery system by serving on the board of directors of the Maricopa Health Foundation.I believe in strengthening our community and improving its quality of life, so I initiated and was the lead organizer for a TEDx event in 2017 about effecting positive change in the Northwest Valley. I serve on a number of nonprofit boards of directors and volunteer for causes from soup kitchens to my kids’ schools and saving our public libraries.

Q: Why should voters chose you over your fellow candidates, what is it that you bring to the table they don’t?

A: I’m not a career politician, so I don’t have a voting record. What I do have, however, is a professional and personal track record of solving problems and improving lives. I’m running for Congress to take on Washington insiders and continue using a data-driven, team-oriented approach to work with Republicans and Democrats alike to get the results we need. My skill set is well-suited to that of a legislator: listening to people’s concerns, following the facts, diagnosing the issues, and creating real-life solutions.

Q: Name the top three issues for CD 8 and how you would resolve them.

A: This a large, diverse congressional district with a host of issues to tackle. To be brief, my top three issues are: health care, public education and the economy. Regarding health care, we need a collaborative approach that addresses the twin pillars of expanded coverage and cost containment, with universal coverage being the endgame. The bottom-line is that a solution must be developed that includes expanding the risk pool with healthy individuals. More immediately, we should stabilize and strengthen our healthcare system by stopping premium increases and protecting the current, most beneficial and popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act, such as prohibiting annual and lifetime caps on health care benefits, no penalties for pre-existing conditions, and no “age tax.” We should also expand Medicare by allowing people under 65 to buy into it; this could be the public option that would be eventually expanded. The ultimate health insurance structure would ensure coverage for everyone, making sure the essential health care benefits are included, and allow private insurance carriers to compete with the strong public option in the marketplace. This will drive coverage competition, result in lower costs, increase consumer choice, and deliver the best health care coverage for all Americans.I see the issues of education and the economy as interconnected. We must work together to ensure they expand opportunity without penalizing success. My husband and I, as well as all three of our children, are products of public education. We must ensure all children have the best possible start in life, from innovation in K-12 classrooms to far more affordable post-secondary education pathways. We should be expanding workforce development and apprenticeship programs for the jobs that are coming, not only the ones already here. Fulfilling the promise of affordable health care as well as child care, and implementing true tax reform for the middle- and working-classes, including small business, are keys to cultivating an ecosystem of innovation and creativity that focuses on human capital and a knowledge-driven economy. These efforts will help create wages and salaries that allow families to thrive, not just survive.

Q: What is your stance and why on President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report could cost as much as $21.6 billion and could fall on taxpayers’ shoulders?

A: Immigration and border security are truly personal issues for me. When we came from India, my father had $8 in his pocket despite having a civil engineering degree. My mother had a degree in psychology, no small feat for an Indian woman at that time. We struggled. Yet America gave my family a chance to rise and thrive, the very reasons that brought us to the United States in the first place. Eventually, we settled in a working-class suburb of Cleveland where I grew up in the shadow of a Ford plant. I passionately believe that we must remain a land of opportunity for those who are willing to work hard and play by the rules.We all deserve an accountable immigration system providing a clear, affordable path to citizenship for those who qualify and have earned it. We also need secure borders. While those two ideas should not be mutually exclusive, our current climate politicizes an issue that, at its core, has real lives at stake. In securing our borders, I am opposed to “the wall,” and believe that even a fraction of its estimated cost would be better spent towards securing our borders in other ways, such as technology and staff. Our ports of entry – through which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency recognizes most of the marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines are smuggled into the U.S. – would be a more effective place to start tightening our borders from well-known threats. Furthermore, data suggests that the wall would have a negative effect on our economy, with potentially more significant effects on border states such as Arizona. In the bigger picture, the U.S. needs comprehensive immigration reform, too. The conversation must move beyond the present choices offered by Washington between either border security or a pathway to citizenship. We need a conversation that moves our immigration policies into the 21st Century by recognizing modern immigration patterns, economic realities and national security threats. We can do better than building a wall as we figure out how to secure our borders, maintain a modern economy and stay true to our American values.

Q: How would you align serving your party versus serving your constituents?

A: Simply put, we’re elected by the voters so serving our constituents always comes first. For example, I would fight any agenda that threatens to take away my constituents’ Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.

Q: What role do you see religion play in government?

A: I firmly believe in the strong American tradition of separating church and state, and would continue that principle set forth by the Founding Fathers. I also see faith being a powerful, enriching, perhaps deeply private part of someone’s life that can guide or impact their public policy decisions, be it Catholicism, evangelical Protestantism, Judaism, or Hinduism, and respect I fully role it plays on that personal level.

 



You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.