Some Bio. Where were you born?
I was born in northern New Jersey, Bergen County.
How did you end up here?
After finishing 8th grade my Dad’s company moved to the Crestwood Industrial Park. I went to high school at Bishop Hoban. Then I went to Kings College and the University of Phoenix. I’m now going for my doctorate.
One wag wanted me to ask what sports you played at the University of Phoenix?
When I was at King’s I was on the debate team and played on the hockey team for a short time.
How about political experience?
I helped out with Joe Leonardi’s run for Congress and Lisa Baker’s campaign last year. At King’s College I helped to revive the King’s College Republicans serving as Treasurer and President. We did work on Santorum’s campaign and Tom Ridge’s.
You seem to have base in the local party. Are you getting any help from the Luzerne County Republican Party?
One thing I was thinking is that after the primary should I not go through is to try do something about the situation with the Luzerne County GOP. I’ve contacted the state GOP numerous times and never got a phone call back. So obviously they are aware of the problems but don’t want to do anything about it.
Why are you running for Congress instead of state rep or county commissioner?
In order to run for any county seat you need the help of the county Republicans. Well? It’s kind of a defunct area. A state office I’ve never considered because I know more about federal issues than state issues.
Why are you running for Congress?
Simply for the same reason you got involved as a political junkie. For years people have know me as a strict conservative who’s always complaining about the way the country is headed. They hear me complaining all the time about liberals who are just destroying our identity as Americans and taking away our rights trying to make us into a nanny state. After several years of complaining people said to me enough of this, instead of complaining why don’t you do something about it. So I took them up on the challenge.
There is an old adage in politics that says challengers don’t win elections, incumbents lose them. What has Chris Carney done to lose the election?
It’s what he hasn’t done. He has done nothing to represent the people and the values of the 10th Congressional district. He has nothing to help small business owners or help the local economy. He has done nothing in Congress except ride Nancy Pelosi’s coattails. But I can tell you he done a lot of things for the 5th district of Iowa. Take a look at his voting record, he has been a staunch supporter of corn subsidies and corn subsidies are bad for Pennsylvania farmers.
So you oppose ethanol subsidies?
How about other farm export subsidies?
I oppose all subsidies.
Including dairy price supports?
Yes. I believe that the best way to help our farmers is to let them operate as free enterprises. If you let them operate as free enterprises and don’t restrict their production they are free to produce as much or little as they want.
Let the market decide?
The war in Iraq. On your website you say that there is no homeland security without hometown security and you want to reduce troop levels overseas. Want to expand on that?
Sure. We have troops in 130 countries. We have troops in Germany and Japan and those countries are not a threat to us and I think we could do a better job by bringing those troops home to secure our borders.
Including from Iraq?
What kind of timetable?
That’s hard to say. I would personally like to see our troops out ASAP. So would everybody else. It’s kind of a torn position where A) you want them home immediately or B) do what the party wants which is to create a plan forcing the administration to come up with a plan to end sectarian violence. I will go with the party line under one condition and that is I have a proposal for Iraq. That proposal is if we can’t solve the sectarian violence the only solution is split the country into 3 separate factions along sectarian lines.
That’s the Joe Biden Plan?
Do you think that the Iraq war has made the United States safer?
I think that Afghanistan made us safer. I think quite possibly we did some good things in Iraq. Including making us safer because all the terrorists are over there hurting our troops and we haven’t had any terrorist attacks here.
How about the governments reaction to 9/11 such as the patriot act and the Military Commissions Act?
There are 2 ways to look at that. One way is that the government is trying to control us the other way to look at it is if you’re not doing anything wrong it shouldn’t bother you. I would choose the latter. If you’re not doing anything wrong the new laws don’t bother me. There a few things that I disagree with that create a strain, especially for us in the tax preparation industry.
One part of the Military Commissions Act that really bothers me is that the President can declare a US citizen in the United States an enemy combatant and hold them without haebeus corpus. Do you agree with that?
If there is just cause for it then sure.
But how do you know that there is just cause if you don’t appear before a judge and the government charges you with a crime?
That’s one of the bad things about these laws. There are good points and bad points. One of the bad points is that do create some restrictions on the American people. I’m against any law that takes away our rights and freedoms. However we do have certain controls in place in this country as is that will allow us to find US citizens that want to cause harm to our country. The FBI is one of them.
Would you describe yourself as maybe more of a libertarian?
I don’t know about Libertarian because libertarians believe certain things and I believe some things that are both conservative and libertarian. I think the thing that I most have in common with the libertarians is that I want to restore our government to it’s traditional constitutional values. In other words I want to restore the government back to the traditional meaning of our forefathers and the writers of the Constitution.
Give me an example of how the government is straying?
The Patriot Act is one of the things that is harming industry in this area, especially the tax preparation industry and banking. You’re talking about other small businesses being adversely affected by it. Another problem with our government is that are so many laws created to hinder the growth of small businesses. Not just on the federal level but also by the state and county. A perfect example is what is going on in the accounting industry. For over 30 years CPA’s and other agents have been lobbying Congress to change IRS regulations. Right now as it stands you don’t have to be a CPA or someone with an accounting background to do income taxes. The lobbyist argument is that if you have no background in accounting, you’re not a CPA of have any certification you could cause a taxpayer harm because there is a greater chance of error. That premise has never been scientifically tested which is the subject of my doctoral thesis. All these lobbying efforts have started a trend on Capitol Hill. In both houses there are active bills that requiring the IRS to change the regulations by registering all tax preparers regardless of your background. On the surface that doesn’t sound like a bad thing because it’s going to force people who are not like me to go to continuing professional education. But there is a huge fee involved with that, it could cost up to $30,000 just to maintain your license. How is a small business owner going to afford an extra $30,000 in costs.
What is your position on gay marriage?
I am for civil rights. Everybody in this country deserves the same opportunity which means that no one group should be more favored than any other group. We should all be on a level playing field. But gay marriage is not a civil right, gay marriage is more of an oxymoron. Marriage is more of religious right than a civil right. If you look at any of the major religions whether it’s Christianity, Judaism or even the Muslim religion they do not believe in the same sex getting married at all. Marriage is something that is supposed to be sacred and as a Christian I truly believe that when I got married I made a commitment to my wife, to our family and to god. That my wife and I are going to work through any problems that we have and share all the great times as well. And as a Christian it even says in the bible that man and woman are meant to be together and it never says anything about man and man or woman and woman being together.
Do you favor a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage?
Gay couples adopting kids?
Have you given money to any political campaigns?
No but I contribute to good causes. I usually do it anonymously and I don’t like to make a grandstand issue about it. I give 10% of my income to many Christian charities and churches but then again I do it anonymously, I don’t use it as a platform. I don’t say look at me I gave x amount of dollars to the United Way. That’s not something that I believe and there are quotes in the bible that says if you do something like that it will be the reward you will ever get.
Illegal immigration. Hot Topic.
I know it is, secure our borders. Bring our troops home.
Bring the Army home and put them on the Mexican border?
Build a fence?
Sure. Well before I say sure there are different opinions to what way is the best. A fence may be a good thing but fences can be climbed. Every option out there has advantages and disadvantages. I think the best thing to do is to sit down and look at all the options weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each and then come back with a secure plan.
Have you ever known anybody that has gone through the immigration process?
Yes, my parents came here from Poland. I’m a first generation American.
How about recently? The reason I’m bringing it up is because I know some people who have and it’s a paperwork nightmare.
I have a client that just recently earned his citizenship but I haven’t talked to him in detail about the process. I do know that it’s a bureaucratic process and think that there is some red tape that could be cut. Make it easier but don’t give up on the security aspect because we don’t want to let just everybody come through the border. We want to know who is coming.
On that note one of the biggest sources of illegal immigration is people overstaying their visas. What is the solution to stop that?
Well, we already know that they’re in the country. If they’re here on a work visa we know that they are employed somewhere. They are here for a certain period of time and I think there should be some kind of policing function. Not to say you need to look over the shoulder every second of the day. When the visa period ends we should figure out what these peoples plans are.
How about the people that here illegally now, do you favor deporting them?
How would you do it?
Well that’s an interesting topic to tackle. First of all you can’t do it the way Lou Barletta did it. Although I do give him credit for trying. First of all if they’re doing something illegal while they are here illegally i.e. if they’re breaking the law have local police departments work with the federal government to get them out of here. I think there is a perfect example as to why we should have local governments working with ICE. The was a police officer killed in Scottsdale, AZ because there was an illegal alien, repeat offender of our laws, ended up killing a police officer. We need to do something about that. I think that we create a law requiring that within 24 hours of being detained that any illegal alien should be turned over to ICE by local police officers. We would be spending a lot less money sending them back and securing our borders than feeding these people in jail.
You mentioned Lou Barletta, do you disagree with his approach?
I do to an extent. Certainly illegal aliens are a problem in Hazleton but you don’t establish Marshall Law without good reason. Not to say what he did was Marshall Law but it comes pretty close to it.
What he tried to do is make landlords into immigration agents. They’re not trained to do that.
Well they’re not. Again, what he tried to do is unconstitutionally enact Marshall Law and that can’t be done. If he wanted to do something about it he should’ve worked with federal authorities.
Do you favor making English the official language of the United States?
Absolutely. It’s not a racist issue it’s just an issue like if I were to move to France and I don’t know the language I’m not going to be very successful there. If we have a national language it would require anybody that wants to come here legally to learn our language. Also, there is another benefit which is no more printing of government material in 2, 3,4 or whatever languages.
You signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge as have the other GOP candidates. Is it wise for Congress to tie their hands because you never know when an emergency may pop up such as a war or a major American city being wiped out by a Hurricane?
When I signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge I did so in good conscience to agree to oppose any and all efforts to increase marginal income tax rates. The pledge also states that I will oppose efforts to reduce or eliminate deduction or credits unless there is a matched deduction in income tax rates. This is a positive thing. One of the recurring issues on Capitol Hill every tax season is the Buzz that legislators want to get rid of the Child Tax Credit, which helps millions of middle class families every year by getting them up to $1,000 off their taxes per child. By signing the taxpayer Protection Pledge I made a promise to help middle class families by keeping that credit in place, unless tax rates would be reduced to compensate for the elimination of that credit. I don’t buy the argument that because you sign a pledge to keep the Tax rate in line you’re not going to have money available for another Katrina or another 9/11. There’s already enough money in the system to handle these things. Congress just needs to cut spending to have the needed money to deal with emergencies.
What specific Government Department or program would you eliminate?
Where do I start? For starters, the Federal Reserve has to go. I agree with the checks and balances that are in place to protect American consumers who rely on the banking industry to keep their money safe, and these laws need to remain. The problem with the Federal Reserve is that it’s solution to a financial crunch is to print more money. Over time this made our currency is worth less. I would also repeal the 1974 law that Nixon signed that eliminated out currency from being tied to any metal or commodity. These actions would force Congress to cut costs and become more accountable to its people.
The price of gas has a ripple effect through the economy, what is your proposal to lower the cost at the pump?
I would start by reducing or eliminating gas taxes.
But gas taxes are dedicated to repair roads and bridges and build more highways.
How would you replace that revenue?
In other words, we have enough money in the system dedicated to road repairs, and we need to establish a toll road on I-80 for road repairs? There is plenty of money in the system to pay for highways and the government needs to find ways to stop spending it on other things. We cannot allow our government to continue punishing the taxpayers for the legislators mistakes. We can’t keep letting the Democrats write blank checks.
Back to spending, you would eliminate the S-CHIP program?
I would eliminate all welfare programs. After all, isn’t that what charities are for? The preamble to the Constitution says we should promote the general welfare not create a welfare state. Promoting the general welfare means that we should be kept reasonably safe to enjoy our freedoms. Welfare programs reduce or eliminate the need for charitable institutions. This leads to fewer jobs and an American society becoming more dependent on the government. Getting rid of welfare programs is a win-win scenario for everyone. More people would work instead of finding excuses to stay home and waste our tax dollars. There would be a higher tax base. More people working and fewer people relying on the government means more money for the government. Charities could create more jobs, and we would get one step closer to self-reliance.
Pork. What is your position on earmarks?
I oppose earmarks and no special interests are going to be part of my campaign. Earmarks do more harm than good.
Recently Congressman Kanjorski secured $50 million for a flood control project in Wilkes-Barre. Isn’t that a good use of government money?
He also earmarked $14 million for an inflatable dam and steered millions to a company that his nephews ran that went belly up.
On the lighter side, are you a sports fan?
I like watching baseball occasionally, and the team I watch is the Phillies. I can never admit to following baseball close enough to hold a conversation on it, but that won’t stop me from buying tickets for a game and taking my six year old daughter for an afternoon out. There’s something special about taking your kid to a baseball game. Football has to be the Eagles and Penn State. My favorite sport is hockey. I grew up in northern New Jersey and will always be a big NJ Devils fan.
Any closing thoughts?
I plan to run my campaign the same way I do everything else: with the utmost integrity. I don’t believe in telling people what they want to hear. I’d rather tell people the truth. They may not like what they hear sometimes, but in the long run I will gain their trust, respect and ultimately, their vote.