During the course of this campaign, I have been – and will be – receiving candidate surveys from a variety of political organizations who want to know where I stand on the issues that matter to them, and matter to the Americans they advocate for.

One of my campaign promises is complete transparency.  If elected, I would make sure that my constituents know what I voted for each day in session and why I voted that way.  That track record starts here, with my publicly displaying my responses to these questionnaires.  The responses can be found below.

Note: Some questions – and their responses – relate to issues and topics that are of strictly state or local concern.  Please recognize that while I may hold opinions on these matters as a San Franciscan and a Californian, those issues would be out of my scope of action as a Congressman.

 Campaign for Liberty is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit founded by former US Congressman Ron Paul.  The Campaign focuses on ‘educating elected officials and the general public about constitutional issues’.

Question Answer Comments
Will you cosponsor and support efforts for roll call votes on Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed Bill, designed to bring transparency to the Federal Reserve (HR 24/S 209 in the 113th Congress)? YES
Will you support legislation removing capital gains and sales taxes on gold and silver coinage? YES
Will you vote to oppose any legislation that allows the federal government to prohibit the sale, use, or carrying of firearms? YES I oppose any federal legislation prohibiting the sale, use, or carrying of firearms. I do, however, support universal background checks for the purchase of firearms.
Will you support ending all foreign aid? NO I do not support ending all foreign aid, though I am willing to reduce it.
Will you oppose any debt limit increase? NO I do not like the idea of raising the debt ceiling, but I will act to save my country from default. I would much rather prevent debt crises from occurring by putting America on a sound fiscal path.
Do you support and will you vote to protect states asserting their rights under the Tenth Amendment? YES
Will you oppose Big Labor’s Card Check bill and any other legislation designed to empower union bosses? YES
Will you cosponsor legislation such as the American Sovereignty Restoration Act (HR 75 in the 113th Congress) to withdraw the US from the United Nations? NO The United Nations needs fixing, but withdrawing from the organization is not the way to enact the reforms we seek.
Will you support legislation to shut down the Transportation Security Administration and place airport security back into private hands? NO The TSA victimizes more innocent Americans than it protects. However, I do not believe that private security would do much different.
Will you oppose using military action without a declaration of war? NO Following the War Powers Resolution, I would NOT oppose military action without a declaration of war IF said action were to occur within 60-90 days, as our Commander-in-Chief must be able to take emergency action in defense of our nation. However, I WOULD oppose military action without a declaration of war IF said action was taken out of the scope of the WPR, and would seek to hold the President accountable.
Will you support and cast every vote for legislation that will repeal or defund ObamaCare? NO The Affordable Care Act created a system that is anything but affordable. However, some parts of the law are a step in the right direction.
Will you oppose any legislation that will force online businesses to collect sales taxes and increase costs on the American consumer, whether it is the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act” or any other internet sales tax scheme? YES I believe that the States are capable of setting their own laws regarding internet sales tax and the enforcement of those laws. Federal involvement is necessary.
Will you support legislation that would prevent the indefinite detention of American citizens and would ensure full Fifth Amendment rights to due process? YES
Will you vote against any budget that increases our deficit? YES
Will you oppose federal power grabs like roving wiretaps and warrantless searches and oppose Patriot Act renewal that includes such items? YES Warrantless wiretapping and searches are evident of federal ‘mission creep’ – actions that go beyond the goal of security and violate the rights of Americans.
Will you support efforts to end the NSA’s unconstitutional domestic spying program? YES
Will you oppose any legislation that requires states and citizens to participate in a Nation Identification program, including mandatory E-Verify? YES
Will you support keeping our internet free from government control and intrusion, including opposing power grabs such as SOPA, CISPA, or any other bill that mandates more government intervention in the internet? YES
Will you oppose all tax increases? NO I believe that such a pledge would hamstring our ability to generate necessary revenue to balance the budget. I cannot in good conscience support balancing the budget strictly through spending cuts.
Indicate the tax cuts you are willing to vote for: – Across-the-Board Income Tax Cut -Capital Gains Tax Cut -Business Tax Cut -Estate Tax Cut ALL I would be open to all of these proposals, provided that they are accompanied by measures to offset the resulting loss in revenue.

 

San Francisco for Democracy

San Francisco for Democracy, inspired by the efforts of Howard Dean’s Democracy for America, is a grassroots organization dedicated to ‘civic engagement, volunteerism, voter education and participation, and progressive, hands-on activism’.

  1. Why are you running? Why should we vote for you?

San Francisco is a birthplace of innovation, yet our voice in Washington has worked more in the interests of a Party than the forward-looking interests of its constituents. I am running – and you should vote for me – because this partisan scrimmage has to stop.  I am running so that San Franciscan values will be brought to the national discussion without interference from a partisan agenda or those of moneyed interests.

  1. What are the top three issues in District 12? What are your solutions for these issues?

Job Creation: Employment, economic security, and self sufficiency needs to be restored to all San Franciscans – and all Americans. In 2008, San Francisco was among those hit the hardest by the economic recession and middle-class job loss. Since then, we have seen a rise in low-wage sectors but very few of the sectors we need to properly rebound from economic hardship. As a Congressman, I would help craft a federal job creation strategy that emphasizes domestic sourcing and rebuilding the American middle class.

Health Care: San Francisco is a leader in innovative methods of expanding health care access to its citizens, and this innovation needs to be brought to Capitol Hill. While the Affordable Care Act has done a fine job of expanding access, it has not done enough to control costs. These goals need not be exclusive of each other and both are critical to providing for the health security of all Americans.

Growth: The preservation of the character of our city through a more innovative approach to fair housing and balanced development. An approach that considers more factors in the affordable housing lottery should go beyond simply measuring income. It should also take into account how long one has lived in the city and if they work in the city, for how long have they done so? San Francisco must not consume itself for a real estate jackpot. It would be short-lived and leave us hungry when it is over.

  1. San Francisco for Democracy endorses fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates. Please give examples of why you fit these criteria?

My political philosophy, at its core, is the idea that the size of government does not matter, so long as it acts efficiently, effectively, and in the best interest of its People. This means that federal programs must be able to perform their all-too-important functions while using resources effectively, and the rights of the American People are held sacrosanct.

  1. What sets you apart from your opponents?

I differ from my opponents in that I am a true Independent speaking directly on behalf of the people of San Francisco. I am free of undue influence – whether it be from a Party or special interest group – allowing me to advocate for all San Franciscans instead of just those who cut me a big check. My campaign relies entirely on individual contributions so that when I go to Washington, I will be in nobody’s pocket but the voters’.

  1. How do you feel about the planned Warriors Arena at Piers 30-32? What is your position on development at the Waterfront?

I see this is an issue for the voters and city leaders of San Francisco – not Congress. That said, I personally view the Waterfront as a city treasure, and it must be treated as a precious resource. I believe that developments in this area must be carefully considered as their effects will be permanent.

  1. What is your position on gun control and the recent AB 500 Legislation – Firearms?

The safety and security of legally owned firearms is a vital responsibility that rests with the owner of those firearms. As such, I support allowing the Department of Justice to conduct background checks on first-time firearm buyers. My greater concern about gun control is that the tighter we make these laws, the more dangerous a stolen gun becomes. We must do more to reduce the number of guns in the hands of criminals while preserving the rights of responsible, legal gun owners to responsibly keep their weapons.

  1. Where do you stand on the legalization of marijuana in California?

 The trouble California has with the status of marijuana in is that no true decision on the issue has been made. As it is now, California has not fully prohibited or legalized marijuana, leading to a complicated gray area where a “Pot Club” infrastructure is commonly abused. Until a decision has been made one way or another, the State will be stuck with a situation that benefits those who game the system.

  1. What is your position on immigration?

Immigration reform must focus on attainable paths to legal status (e.g., migrant worker visas, a clearer path to citizenship, etc.) Our number one priority must be to ensure that immigrants are documented, participate in our economy, and pay taxes for the infrastructure we share. Our current restrictive policy has forced undocumented immigrants to hide from responsibilities they they ordinarily would not. Securing our border will become much easier when legal immigrants are passing through checkpoints instead of bushes.

  1. How do you feel about the recent AB 5 Legislation – The Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act and AB 523 – Homeless Youth?

The issues that the homeless of this city face are many and varied. Human and civil rights are universal. We must be certain that the laws we make and the policies we enact respect those civil rights guaranteed to all Americans.

 

Should the federal government remove marijuana from its listing as a Schedule 1 narcotic and allow states greater freedom to regulate it as they see fit? How would you support that position?

I support removing marijuana from its listing as a Schedule 1 narcotic and treated similarly to alcohol, with any federal regulation overseen by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. I also believe in empowering the states with the ability to regulate marijuana in accordance with local values.

 

Are tax rates too low on wealthy corporations and individuals? How should they be adjusted?

On paper, I would say that wealthy corporations and individuals are taxed enough. However, those businesses and individuals seldom pay the prescribed rates, opting to reduce them through various deductions, loopholes, capital gains, and even tax avoidance schemes. This results in figures like Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, etc. paying rates much lower than their income brackets would indicate.

If elected, I would work to reduce and/or eliminate those loopholes, crack down on tax avoidance schemes, and make the adjustments necessary to ensure that all Americans pay their fair share of taxes.

 

How would you address rising income inequality in the US?

Throughout history, rising income inequality has been coupled with a middle class in decline. Middle class jobs made up sixty percent of those lost in the Great Recession, yet make up only twenty seven percent of those gained back since then. If elected, I would work to pass legislation designed to restore the American middle class, including policies that promote domestic sourcing, reshoring outsourced jobs, and the renegotiation of trade policies that have sent good-paying jobs overseas.

 

What changes would you like to see made in the federal budget? Are there areas where we’re spending way too much or far too little?

I would like to see a federal budget that finally begins to pay back our national debt in earnest. This would include reforms in tax expenditures and smarter ways of spending the public’s money. I believe that the federal government must never spend more than a program is worth, and that there are always ways to be frugal and cost-effective.
I would also like to see more funds being invested in repairing and upgrading our nation’s infrastructure. Our power grids are failing, our roads are cracked, our bridges are crumbling, and our public schools and hospitals are in desperate need of updates. Public funds are to be spent in the public interest, and it is time that we invest in making sure that a 21st century America has a 21st century infrastructure.

What criteria would you use in deciding whether to declare war or authorize the use of force for a potentially extended military campaign?

To me, there are only three true justifications for deciding to go to war or launching an extended military campaign:

  • In direct defense of our country against an attacking or invading force
  • In defense of our nation’s allies
  • All diplomatic channels, and means of peaceful resolution, were unsuccessful

Are you concerned about the expansion of government surveillance since 9/11 and what steps would you take to rein it in?

Our nation’s founders came here seeking liberty, not the invasion of liberty. It has become clear that government surveillance has crossed the line between protection and intrusion, resulting in the constitutional rights of Americans being compromised for the sake of ‘security’. I view warrantless searches and wiretapping as illegal and ethically wrong, and believe that certain provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act and the PATRIOT Act to be overreaches of government power. If elected, I would work to fix/repeal those acts and restore a reasonable balance between liberty and security.

Is Edward Snowden a hero, a patriot, or somewhere in between? Why?

I view Edward Snowden – without regard to his morals or intentions – as exactly what he is: a whistleblower, who is not so much important as the information he gave the American People: that our government is watching us, our constitutional rights are under attack, and that we should be vigilant

It is important to note that I expect our intelligence community to have the ability to carry out these programs; after all, there is an element of safety that comes with having the best intelligence in the world. However, as an American, I expect my rights to be meaningful and protected. Without proper oversight, transparency, and respect for due process, true justice is impossible.