Joe Lesko - Husband
Samantha - Daughter
Joey - Son
Jared - Son
I take this job very seriously and work day and night to develop and support legislation that positively impacts my constituents and the country. I serve on the Committees on Homeland Security and Science, Space and Technology. These committees are vitally important to Arizona and our nation. One of my top priorities is to listen and help my constituents and let them know what I am doing to represent them in Congress. Prior to serving in the U.S. Congress, I served nine years in the Arizona State Senate and House. While there, I earned a reputation for taking on important and difficult issues and getting them done. I was appointed as the Senate Appropriations Chairman and House Ways & Means Chairman and was named “Hero of the Taxpayer” and “Senator of the Year”. As a former small business owner, I understand the importance of hard work, customer service, and ensuring we maintain an atmosphere that promotes a good economy and a growth in jobs.
President Trump is fulfilling the promises he made to the American people in his campaign. He is working to secure our borders, protect our nation, help our military and veterans, and grow jobs and our economy. Because of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, the average Congressional District 8 family of four’s take-home pay increased $2,631 and companies throughout the district and Arizona are giving their employees bonuses and raises. Although I personally do not always subscribe to the President’s sometimes unconventional approach, I believe he is shaking up the status quo and keeping the promises he made to the American people.
I co-sponsored and voted in favor of H.R. 4760, Securing America’s Future Act. The bill funded the southern border wall, increased funding for technology and more border agents, closed immigration loopholes, required the use of E-verify to ensure employees are in the country legally, penalized sanctuary cities and solved the DACA and child separation issue. Unfortunately, not one single Democrat voted for the legislation and it failed. In addition, I sponsored H.R. 6400, legislation that will require the Department of Homeland Security to analyze our ports of entry for vulnerabilities and develop a plan to correct those vulnerabilities so that we can adequately protect our nation. Our borders must be secured to stop human, drug, and sex trafficking and we must know who is entering our country to protect our nation. I have joined the Border Security Caucus and will continue to work with my fellow colleagues to secure our borders and develop a common-sense solution.
I co-sponsored H.Res. 919, a resolution declaring our national debt a threat to our national security. We can no longer allow our crushing national debt to keep us from protecting our nation and from providing a prosperous future for our children and grandchildren. That is why I voted in favor of H.R. 2, legislation that requires able-bodied adults on food stamps to work or participate in job training for at least 20 hours per week. I will continue to support common sense reforms like this to help reduce our debt and bring our spending under control.
Choosing who leads us in Congress is an important decision that requires review and analysis. Publicly declaring allegiance to someone so far in advance of the election is not prudent.
Neither. Our system before Obamacare had problems and our system under Obamacare has been a failure that has increased premiums and provided little consumer choice. We need a system that is patient centered without the federal government intruding on every aspect. We need to preserve consumer freedom so that patients can pick the doctor of their choice. We learned early on that the Obamacare promise that patients could retain their doctor was false. The cost of medical care in our country is placing a burden on Americans that families can't seem to shoulder. I have co-sponsored legislation that would dismantle major pieces of Obamacare. These include: HR5963, Health Insurance Premium Reduction Act, HR3976, the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act, HR246 to repeal that annual health insurance tax, HR184, Protect Medical Innovation Act and HR1204, the RAISE Act. Medicare is important to my district. My constituents rely on this program and I am committed to ensuring its success.
Everyone, including me, wants to identify and guard against harmful pollutants that adversely affect our environment. It is important, however, to make well-thought out decisions based on science. It is also important to weigh the risks and benefits of any action. I believe that it is possible that some of the changes in climate are human caused, but I also believe some of the changes are cyclical in nature.
It is important for the intelligence community to thoroughly investigate meddling in our election system. It is also important for Mr. Mueller to finish his investigation in a timely manner. That is why I co-sponsored H.Res. 870, which calls on Mr. Mueller to provide evidence of collusion with Russia within 30 days or end his investigation. The Mueller investigation has been in progress for over a year and has cost American taxpayers nearly $20 million to date.
I support free trade; however, I think it is also important that our trading partners act fairly. China has a history of unfair trade practices and requirements that U.S. trading partners turn over U.S. technology to Chinese government-affiliated companies.
Federal and state government should provide enough funding so that schools can adequately secure their premises and protect our children. In addition, funding is needed to adequately provide mental health services to those in need.
The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, passed by Congressional Republicans and signed by the President, has helped create a booming economy. For the first time since the government began tracking job openings there are more job openings in the U.S. than unemployed workers to fill them. Plus, my constituents, on average, will receive $1,149 more in their take-home pay than they did before the tax cuts went into effect. Small and large businesses throughout our district are telling me how they were able to give their employees bonuses and raises. This is good news for our district and good news for America. I will continue to support policies, like low taxes and limited government regulation, that help make our economy strong and grow jobs.
Mexico is Arizona’s number one trade partner. It is important to Arizona and Congressional District 8 that any changes made to NAFTA maintain good trade relations that benefit Arizona.
While serving in the Arizona Senate, I worked 1 ½ years with Fire and Police unions to negotiate legislation that saved taxpayers one half billion dollars and preserved the pension plan for our fire and police. Previously, most Republican attempts at pension reform did not include the unions in the talks and the reforms subsequently failed. I was very happy to get nearly unanimous support from both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and support from a clear majority of Arizona voters.
It is important that elected officials treat others with respect, listen to both sides on an issue, work hard, and conduct their work in an honest manner.
Former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl. He was a hard worker, with a great reputation. He was able to get things done and did it in a way where people respected him.
Husband - Dr. Kishore Tipirneni // Daughters - Mira & Anjali // Son - Jalan
I’m a doctor, not a politician. My husband and I have lived in Glendale, where our three children were born and raised, for more than 20 years. I’ve dedicated my life to solving problems, improving lives, and serving my community – from being a mom volunteering at my kids’ schools to serving on the board of directors of the Maricopa Health Foundation, which supports the county’s public healthcare delivery system.
After losing both my mother and young nephew to cancer, I left emergency medicine and went into cancer research. As a physician, I’m trained to follow the facts, diagnose the problem, find a solution, and that skill-set seems very much needed in Washington these days. I’m running for Congress to continue using that same problem-solving, team-oriented approach to work with Republicans and Democrats alike to get the results the communities and neighborhoods of the West Valley deserve.
They have been a disappointment. So far, President Trump has worked hard to enrich the ultra-wealthy, make immigration a political football, cozy up to dictators around the globe while casting doubt on American institutions and allies, and erode any progress towards quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.
Just looking at various, chaotic executive orders and the recent GOP tax cut bill, the Trump Administration has not found any reasonable solutions for immigration and border security, nor has it offered alternatives to improve Americans’ healthcare. It has destabilized the healthcare marketplace even further by attempting to abolish protections for pre-existing conditions and refusing to guarantee the cost-sharing reduction payments. Furthermore, the GOP tax cut overwhelmingly helped the super-rich while placing earned benefits like Medicare and Social Security, vital programs for the West Valley, directly in line for deep cuts.
We deserve more secure borders AND an accountable immigration system, issues that go hand-in-hand. But Washington has politicized them by blurring lines with DREAMERs, a unique segment of the undocumented population. This is wrong.
Policies about comprehensive immigration reform and border security should recognize modern immigration patterns, economic realities and national security threats. Americans deserve honest conversations about such issues as family immigration, trade, worker programs and employer verification systems, and how to properly, humanely address refugees and asylum seekers. These discussions should include a wall, security technology and border staffing.
Separately, we need a DREAM Act providing a clear, fair pathway to eventual citizenship for these neighbors, friends, even family members who only know the U.S. as home. Remember, DREAMers include academic stars and teammates, paramedics and teachers, small business owners, even soldiers and sailors!
A time of economic growth and very low unemployment is not a time for tax cuts to mega-corporations and the ultra-wealthy. Instead, we should help pay off some of that debt, not add to our deficit and leave the debt burden to our children and grandchildren. Bringing off-shore dollars back into the U.S. so that the wealthiest corporations and super-rich pay their fair share of taxes to help alleviate it is a good place to start. And, while the tax code should be simplified and revised to reflect our 21st century, global economy, we should be sure that the working-class, middle-class and small businesses receive the greatest benefits from those efforts.
This past year I’ve been focused on listening to the people of the 8th Congressional District and how I could best represent our communities in Washington, D.C., so this question seems to somewhat put the cart before the horse. Should I have the honor of being sent to Congress, I would keep an open mind towards top party leadership but I do think it is time to reassess leadership and direction. Fundamentally speaking, my top priority for party leadership in Congress would include whoever would help me best represent our region and state.
I have seen firsthand both the struggles of the uninsured and the tangible benefits the ACA has brought to real peoples’ lives. While it’s too valuable to simply toss aside, our healthcare system remains broken.
The ACA’s flaws must be addressed if we are to improve access to quality, affordable healthcare. Tackling the twin pillars of expanded coverage and cost containment means borrowing ideas from both sides of the debate, including:
- Protect the current, most beneficial provisions, like no “age tax” for pre-existing conditions;
- Expand Medicare, a highly-effective and efficient plan, by allowing people under age 65 to buy into it. This also strengthens its ability to negotiate lower drug prices;
- Secure payment of cost-sharing reductions to help stabilize the current healthcare marketplace; and
- Drive healthcare coverage competition by looking for innovative ways to encourage creative solutions, like competition between the private sector and Medicare.
Record high and low temperatures, extreme weather around the world every year…you don’t need to be a scientist to see the real effects of climate change. Arizona is a land of abundant natural wonders; we can help lead the way in renewable energy. Reducing our carbon emissions into the atmosphere is not just an environmental issue, though. Economically, we can create “green” jobs and protect our agricultural industries. Climate change is now a national security issue, too, since countries in great environmental stress are more susceptible to extremism, like the rise of terrorist organizations. As the only industrialized nation to opt out of the Paris Climate Agreement, we unfortunately no longer have a seat at the table guiding the global fight on climate change. This weakens our ability to gain support and critical action from the nations pivotal in delivering truly impactful reforms. There is no “Plan-et B,” so let’s work together to fix the only one we’ve got!
The Mueller investigation, which should be protected from political interference, is about maintaining and protecting the integrity of our elections. There may or may not have been campaign collusion and, if so, it may or may not have benefitted one candidate. The nation deserves to see the independent evidence before coming to judgments. The Mueller investigation is larger than those two important issues, however. Knowing that our votes are indeed our voices in the political process, and that they have not been tampered with, particularly by a foreign power, is key to preserving voter confidence in the fundamentals of our American democracy.
I do not think so. While trade imbalances and related issues, from truly fair trade to border issues to intellectual property theft, are very real, President Trump seems to impose tariffs rather arbitrarily by attacking some of our long-standing trade partners and allies. Perhaps more importantly, he seems to be using tariffs to score political points in the Midwest or back east at the expense of Arizona.
I saw suffering and destruction from gun violence up close in the ER. I support 2nd Amendment rights overall for law-abiding Americans to obtain firearms through legal channels. I do not see supporting both the 2nd Amendment and commonsense gun safety reform as mutually exclusive.
This is a public health issue. America is the only developed nation with this degree of violence, particularly at schools. We must fully fund gun violence research so that data-driven policies actually make us safer. Discussions should include closing the Internet and gun show “loopholes,” and better background checks. More school resource officers and increased mental health counselors would help school safety, as mental health must be part of the conversation. Mass shootings are truly horrific, however, suicides and homicides make up nearly 90% of gun-related deaths. We must address the contributing role of mental health issues, be it bullying and stress management or substance abuse and addiction.
On its face, the U.S. economy is strong. Interest rates remain relatively low; our gross domestic product, which measures the nation’s economic output, is healthy; the stock market is humming; and unemployment is at a 17-year low. Why? A more robust global economy, a weakened dollar increasing exports, rebounding construction markets, and improved consumer confidence have all contributed.
But wages have stagnated while the cost-of-living has increased. Some experts say the unemployment rate does not reflect the great number of under-employed people, and most income gains over the past decade have gone to the top 1% while young people seem to have replaced mortgages with student loans.
America should be investing in the long-term: spending on infrastructure, creating a culture of innovation by lowering the costs of education, increasing skills training for the jobs of tomorrow, and supporting small businesses with policies and true tax reforms that allow them to thrive.
I think NAFTA, in effect since 1994, has benefitted Arizona’s economy on balance, which is not to say that all workers have benefitted equally. Approximately 200,000 Arizona jobs are tied to trade, primarily with or from Mexico, and there undoubtedly have been opportunities in Arizona that would not have existed otherwise. NAFTA seems to be commodity driven, and so different economic sectors, like agriculture and manufacturing, are impacted differently, even adversely, so we should consider ways to best help businesses and employees negatively affected by NAFTA. I think that a trade agreement more than 20 years old needs to be revisited, and any renegotiations should be careful and consider ways to improve circumstances for American workers.
Healthcare is a moral obligation, but it is never “free.” Everyone eventually needs healthcare, so everyone should have health insurance. The bottom-line is that a solution must be developed that includes expanding the risk pool with healthy individuals. Fiscally responsible, efficient practices within our healthcare system which lead to healthier Americans must be our goal, not scoring political points.
Progressives are concerned that too many people either remain uninsured or can’t afford good, quality healthcare. Conservatives say that too much regulation exists without enough private, free-market competition to keep costs down. There is truth to both perspectives, and good ideas can come from anywhere. We need to stop the partisanship, stop administering Band-Aids and face head-on the issues plaguing our healthcare system. This means using our nation’s economic forces, not just governmental regulations, to create the quality, affordable healthcare system Americans deserve.
Character, reputation and integrity matter immensely. I come from medicine, not politics, so this is the first time I’ve run for elected office. I can truly, honestly say that, from city hall to the White House, if candidates are asking for the people’s trust and their votes, we should be worthy of both. I also believe that people in leadership positions serve as role models for young people. We are all human, and so we make mistakes, we learn and we grow, and hopefully also strive to be the best possible versions of ourselves. Perhaps that is why it’s also so critical that we reflect the values we want to strengthen and celebrate throughout our great nation.
I consider President Jimmy Carter as my biggest role model among living politicians. Not necessarily for his politics or his presidency, but for his character and his incredible post-presidency work. President Carter has been a true reflection of service above self, compassion, generosity and integrity. His work with Habitat for Humanity, for example, and in helping to seek peace in some of the darkest, most war-torn areas of our planet are both exemplary.