U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, will have to defend her seat to represent the 18th District in Congress against three Republican opponents in the June 3 primary election who say the nation’s current big government policies are eroding personal liberties.
Bruce Anderson, a Palo Alto resident and a math and science teacher at Westmont High School in Campbell, said he wants to simplify the government starting with taxes and give citizens more say on how Congress chooses to spend their money.
Oscar Braun, a Half Moon Bay resident who is the executive director of the coastside’s California Watershed Posse and a former website designer, said he wants local control and would reduce or disperse most federal agencies or departments.
Richard Fox, a Los Gatos resident and pediatrician with a law degree who describes himself as a Libertarian Republican, said government should have to justify regulations and taxes with a clear need and thinks Libertarian policies could create bipartisan cooperation.
Eshoo said she has a long track record of success and is passionate about the work she’s done for the past 20 years on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Eshoo said she’s a big proponent for Internet neutrality, commonly known as net neutrality, and ensuring that small businesses and startups can afford high-speed Internet.
Eshoo was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1993 and formerly served on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. She is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which has primary jurisdiction over the Internet and telecommunications, and served on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
With California’s open primary, the top two candidates in a race, regardless of party, will face off in the November general election.
Anderson said he’s for health care reform, but the Affordable Care Act will burden young families who must subsidize the older population.
“I would like to start over again and I think that, while well-intentioned, … helping everybody become more healthy is a good goal, I don’t think the ACA is a good way to get there,” Anderson said.
Instead, Anderson wants a universal single payer catastrophic coverage system in which each individual would pay a low monthly premium with a high deductible.
Braun and Anderson said people should have mandatory savings accounts that would be used for health care related expenses.
If elected, Braun said he would repeal the ACA because health care is not one size fits all and every individual is responsible for their own health.
“I don’t believe the federal government should have the authority to stop the public from getting the health care they want or can afford,” Braun said.
Braun said he created a website similar to WebMD and people can make their own treatment choices. Braun also said employers shouldn’t have to pay for an employee’s insurance and that, as a Roman Catholic, he thinks no one should be forced to pay for another’s birth control.
Fox said his background as an attorney and physician make him highly qualified in the subject and believes the regulated system is making coverage more expensive than in the past.
“I’m in the replace as opposed to repeal group. We clearly had problems before and they needed a solution, I just think they came up with the wrong solution,” Fox said.
Fox said he wants a free marketplace and the ACA is cutting patients’ options because some doctors won’t become providers if reimbursements are too low.
Eshoo said she’s spent much of her political career focusing on health care. Eshoo said she supports the ACA, but would like to see changes such as subsidies based on a localized, not national, poverty line.
She also said the government isn’t spending enough on funding medical research and finding cures for diseases, so Congress should establish a mandatory trust. Eshoo said her work on the availability of pediatric medication and care for premature infants has shown results.
Eshoo said she had directed legislative efforts to create access to electric car chargers to promote the industry and Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act, with which individuals can make federally backed investments toward programs that support solar, wind, energy efficiency and electric vehicles.
Fox said as a doctor he’s very concerned with clean air.
But the evidence on climate change isn’t convincing, Fox said.
“I think it would be best not to embark on taxation and regulation programs unless the problem was very clear,” he said.
Higher taxes on gasoline and electricity would trickle down on consumers, Fox said.
“I don’t think we should burden working folks with those kinds of expenses,” he said.
Braun said he’s angry with the Peninsula Open Space Trust and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for buying land near the ... reservoir and refusing to make the land safe from fires, which could taint drinking water.
Braun said the evidence disputes climate change because there hasn’t been any significant change in temperature over the last 17 years. Braun also said other governments need to contribute to reducing emissions, but wonders if there would even be a benefit.
Braun said he would like to eliminate government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the Department of Education to reduce spending and give the states and local jurisdictions more power.
Anderson said energy consumption is just intrinsically involved in power, which most aren’t willing to give up.
“I think we should experiment with a carbon tax, but we’ve got to be a little bit careful because it would be very easy … to drive industry overseas and jobs overseas that would not necessarily solve what is a global problem,” Anderson said.
Anderson said taxation is one of the nation’s most complicated and unfair systems and he would like to see universal flat tax rates and has a tax scheme that would support a sustainable Social Security Administration.
Anderson said the government’s immediate responses to conflict have put the nation in a position of only being reactive. Instead, the United States should maintain its strength while remaining restrained so as to be predictable and therefore effective, Anderson said.
Braun said the United States should react with consistent strength and policy. Only a few things can be resolved with war and diplomacy is preferable, but world leaders perceive President Barack Obama as weak and with little clout, Braun said
Fox said there are some national security issues the United States cannot withdraw from and needs to work allies and provide leadership.
“We need to de-emphasize military involvement and emphasis diplomatic and economic involvement,” Fox said.
Eshoo said the United States remains the world’s most independent and powerful nation but Americans value diplomacy and military action cannot resolve everything, Eshoo said.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106