Camp Blanding, Fla.
Master's degree, business administration, Harvard Business School, 1970; bachelor's degree, business, UC Berkeley, 1966.
Congressman, 2009-present; California lieutenant governor, 2007-09; state insurance commissioner, 2003-07 & 1991-95; U.S. deputy secretary of Interior, 1995-98; Peace Corps, 1998-2002, & in Ethiopia, 1966-68; state Senate 1976-90; Assembly, 1974-76.
I believe Congress should enact universal background checks, prohibit the sale of assault-style rifles, close the gun show loophole, and enact "No Fly No Buy" legislation preventing people on the terrorist watch-list from buying a gun – all of which will reduce gun violence without undermining the Second Amendment.
This issue is near to my heart. As a state senator in 1989, I represented the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton where a deranged killer using an assault rifle massacred five children and injured 16. I immediately introduced legislation to ban assault weapons in California. That bill, the first legislation to ban assault weapons in the nation, was eventually signed into law as the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989. The law helped pave the way for a federal assault weapons ban enacted in 1994.
I support a “Medicare for All” system that would build upon the current Medicare system to provide universal coverage with maximum efficiency. As Insurance Commissioner in 1992, I created a plan for single-payer coverage that passed the Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Pete Wilson. In Congress, I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.”
California should work with the federal government on border security and on law enforcement cooperation to address threats to public safety. Unfortunately, the Trump administration wants to waste $20 billion on a border wall that won’t help protect America. Our resources are better spent on well-trained border guards, surveillance equipment, improved fences and walls where useful. We should expand the role of the Coast Guard, which stopped over 220 metric tons of cocaine from entering the U.S. in 2017 compared with only 30 metric tons seized at the land border. We should also be focusing our energy on comprehensive immigration reform, including a permanent DACA solution.
The federal income tax “overhaul” is a disaster for California. First, it will actually raise taxes on millions of Californians by sharply reducing the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. Second, it’s bad for the country as a whole: this bill creates an additional $1.9 trillion federal deficit and sets the stage for the federal government to have an annual deficit of at least $1 trillion every year into the future. Our children will pay and pay for the huge tax cut. 83% of the nearly $2 trillion tax cut goes to the super-wealthy 1% of Americans and to giant corporations. And now President Trump and Republican leaders are proposing to fill the vast hole in the federal treasury with trillion-dollar reductions in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Watch out, seniors! As if that isn’t bad enough, the modest middle-class tax cuts expire in six years, thus raising taxes on most American families eventually. Of course, President Trump made sure that tax cuts for the wealthy 1% stay.
Ever more states, including California, are decriminalizing both medical and recreational use of marijuana, thus creating conflicts with the federal laws which classify marijuana as an illegal drug that cannot be possessed, grown or used in commerce or research. This leaves states, medical patients, recreational users and law enforcement trapped between federal law and state law. This ambiguous legal situation results in enforcement confusion and legal gray areas. The current federal criminalization policy encourages cartel trafficking and environmentally destructive illegal growing operations on public lands. We therefore have two options: (1) repeal all state laws allowing marijuana, or (2) change federal law. Changing federal law will be the correct option.
An ever larger number of Americans will depend on Social Security and Medicare. We must protect and strengthen these vital programs on which so many seniors depend. The financial structure of the Medicare program must be improved by controlling medical costs. A good way to do this is to find treatments for the most costly medical conditions, like Alzheimer’s.
Social Security benefits need to keep pace with the unique increases in the cost of living incurred by seniors. Right now, Social Security uses a cost-of-living index (COLA) that reflects the way young employed adults spend their money. But seniors spend a much higher proportion of their income on prescription drugs and medical care services. To address this problem I’ve authored a bill, the “Fair COLA Act,” which would require Social Security to use a price index that reflects the way seniors spend money. It’s called the CPI-E. When adopted, this new index will help seniors, ensuring that benefits keep up with cost increases.
Bachelor's degree, soil & water science/agriculture, CSU Chico, 1981;
associate's degree, agricultural business, Yuba College, Marysville, 1976.
Director, Esparto Community Service District Board, 2013-present; trustee, Esparto Unified School District 1993-2000; retired Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marines, 1981-2009; veteran, battles of Fallujah, Iraq (2004) and Desert Storm (1991).
The 2nd Amendment is very simple and easy to understand. It states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That simply means that law-abiding citizens that have taken an oath to defend our “free state” have the right to keep and bear arms to defend themselves, their families, their communities and our nation. It doesn’t mean criminals or those that would do harm, maim or kill others in a lawless manner, or overthrow our lawfully elected government, have the right to “bear Arms.” As your congressman I will work to ensure the rights of law-abiding citizens are preserved and that all weapons, of any type, are kept out of the hands of lawbreakers or persons that are deemed medically unfit or unstable. I am also a proud member of the NRA and will work with the NRA to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and keep them in the responsible hands of law-abiding citizens.
I do not support a “single-payer” health system. Rather, I believe the best way to lower health cost and improve quality is to free up the market to allow competition for health care and reform tort law to reduce frivolous lawsuits against every doctor, provider or supplier in the medical industry. Case in point: We all know how inexpensive a simple bottle of aspirin is at the local drugstore, but if a single aspirin is administered in a health care facility or hospital that aspirin can cost $50 or more. This excessive cost increase gets applied to almost every single tongue depressor, bandage, X-ray, syringe or anything used in health care. Why? Mostly because of lack of competition in the industry, lack of choice in insurance providers and the huge rates health care providers and suppliers have to pay to cover malpractice insurance. To improve health care we need to understand what the real problems are. “Single-payer” does nothing to improve or solve the above problems.
The word “immigration” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution or any of its amendments. However, Article I reads, “To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization” and the 14th Amendment addresses the protection of “All persons born or naturalized.” Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that immigration regulation is an exclusive federal responsibility per the articles and amendments of the Constitution. Therefore, it is in fact the federal government's right and duty to protect our borders. Our state needs to realize and accept that the Constitution does not allow California to decide who should or should not be allowed to immigrate. Additionally, I believe that California’s new "sanctuary state" law is both foolhardy and unconstitutional and should be immediately overturned. California needs to work with our federal government to ensure lawful immigration and not work against the Constitution or the rights and duties of a state as implied within its articles and statutes.
As stated by a gubernatorial candidate in The Sacramento Bee last December: “The tax bill signed into law by President Donald Trump last week caps the federal deduction for state and local taxes and requires California’s most productive citizens to pay much more to Uncle Sam. Unless, that is, California changes its system of taxation.” This is in fact very true. For far too long California’s high tax rates have meant less tax monies going to our federal government, thereby allowing excessive state tax spending within California. The new tax overhaul will now limit state tax deductions allowed in order to bring Californians in line with the income tax "per person" paid by citizens of other states. In the short term this will hurt California, but in the long term, the new tax overhaul will allow for business investment and growth of the economy of California and all other states which will eventually greatly aid and help get California out of our state’s current fiscal mess.
I do not support the decriminalizing marijuana for recreational use. However, I do support the use of medical cannabis if its use is tightly regulated like any other prescription drug when authorized by the FDA. The problem is the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 doesn’t allow for marijuana use. The Cole Memorandum adopted in August 2013 modified the regulations of usage; however, the Cole Memo has been rescinded by Attorney General of the United States re-granting U.S. Attorneys the ability to enforce federal law without again with restriction. In order to correct this I would support federal legislation to enact the use of medial cannabis for medical patients that have a genuine need for cannabis treatment. But I do not support using any drug for recreational use. We are already seeing the horrid effects of opioid abuse in this nation, and allowing for recreational use of any prescription drug of this nature which affects the senses should not be allowed or authorized.
Social Security and Medicare provide vital financial support for more than 58 million. However, currently the program is unsustainable under current program parameters and is forecasted to collapse by 2034. The program will be exhausted by the time the current generation of workers qualifies for benefits. One of my top priorities is to preserve Social Security and make sure the program remains solvent for current and future generations. In order to do this we need to ensure that our economy grows to ensure sufficient payroll taxes to provide for both the current and future generations and we need to realize that we are living longer lives which affect payouts by the trust fund. We need a twofold approach to save Social Security and Medicare: 1. It’s imperative that we reinvest in America and get Americans back to work to increase the payroll tax pool. 2. Reduce the out-of-control price spiral for medical services by increasing market competition and reforming malpractice laws.