Name as it appears on the ballot: Ron Sanyal
Campaign Website: ronsanyal.com
Phone number: 919-781-6180
Years lived in the district: 40 Years
1. In your view, what are the three most pressing issues the United States faces? If elected, what would you do to address these issues?
Jobs, Education, Equality/Justice for all
Creating an environment for innovation and investment is critical to creating jobs. That is not just low taxes. It certainly isn’t the obstructionism and sabotage we have seen from Congressional Republicans. Playing chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States has cost us billions, undermined our standing in the world, and is just plain stupid. We must make prudent investments in our people, our infrastructure, and our environment. As well, it can not be underestimated how important a stable foreign policy utilizing smart power is to creating jobs at home.
Former Governor Hunt is correct when he says education is the key to economic development. Although largely a state issue, there is more the Federal government can do. We must make access to higher education for all as affordable and free as possible. No Child Left Behind also must be updated to put more emphasis on actual student achievement and professional development for teachers, and far less on testing.
Having grown up and Calcutta and witnessed abject poverty, there is no question the biggest issue we face as a nation is growing income and social inequality. The middle class is shrinking and working families continued to get squeezed. We must reverse GOP trickle down policies that continue to shift the burden downward and off those who need help the least. We can start by raising the minimum wage to $15/hour.
We must also honor the diversity that has made America great. Equal pay for men and women doing the same job. Racial profiling must end, and we have to stop the school to prison pipeline as well as private for profit prisons. Our justice system needs to be fair to all citizens regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender & economic backgrounds. Our LGBT friends and family members must be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. We can achieve all of these things if we focus on solutions and what brings us together, not what divides us.
2. Name three members of Congress, past or present, whom you look up to as role models. Explain why you have picked these three.
Congressman G.K. Butterfield, Congressman David Price & Congressman Bob Etheridge.
Congressman G.K. Butterfield — His knowledge and embodiment of the history of the African American struggle for survival in the USA; from slavery to celebrating their success in all facets of American life, including politics. He is an inspiration to all North Carolinians.
Congressman David Price— You do not have to look for his honesty and decency, it is obvious. He is easily accessible to his constituents, and has been an exceptional leader in supporting President Obama passing the Affordable Care Act & other legislation.
Former Congressman Howard Coble - I did not often agree with him, but I appreciated his straight forwardness, and understanding that to govern, you have to listen to all.
3. If you are challenging an incumbent, what decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with? If you are an incumbent, what in your voting record and experience do you believe entitles you to another term?
For both challengers and incumbents: In what ways would your election benefit the citizens of North Carolina?
Response: In July of 2013 Holding voted for HR 2642 which would have eliminated SNAP (Food Stamps) had it become law. George voted to repeal Obamacare. In September Representative Holding voted against House Joint Resolution 59 which brought about the government shutdown. That Ted Cruz led move ended up costing the government $24 billion. That’s a lot of wasted money; literally by George Holding
Holding voted for HR 2275 which called for the United States to default on its debt obligations for the first time in history.
As an immigrant, I understand more than most how great America really is. I’m running for Congress not to make America great again, but to build upon the greatness that we already are; to call us to the higher purpose of ensuring the American dream of opportunity for all. My focus on this goal will benefit all of our citizens.
4. Candidates running for president this year have proposed wildly divergent tax plans. Both leading Democrats have proposed raising taxes on the wealthy, whereas some Republicans argue that we should do away with the graduated income tax altogether. What do you believe should be done about taxes? Are there any current proposals that you would support in Congress?
A progressive tax system is a fair tax system. Every citizen should pay taxes proportionately according to their income bracket. Our current tax system is not fair and favors the wealthy and corporations with loopholes and special interests tax breaks like carried interest. When the wealthiest 1% pay lower taxes than their secretaries, we need a major overhaul. We need a tax code that does not reward offshore accounts or the outsourcing of jobs. There are no proposals in Congress seriously being considered currently that I would support.
5. Since its inception, the Affordable Care Act has been polarizing, to say the least. Republicans have called for it to be repealed “root and branch,” but have not necessarily reached consensus on what a replacement would look like. Democrats, meanwhile, have been supportive of the ACA, and some, especially Sen. Bernie Sanders, have proposed moving to a Medicare-for-all system. What do you think should be done about health care in the United States? If you support repealing Obamacare, how would you propose structuring and funding its replacement? Do you support or oppose moving toward a single-payer system? Why or why not?
Our healthcare system was very broken before the ACA. The ACA has prevented those with pre-existing conditions from being denied health care, and led to over 15 million more Americans with access to affordable health care. There are obvious issues with it, but the efforts to just repeal have been a waste of time and money.
I do support moving to a Medicare-for-all system. That is our best chance of controlling costs and ensuring all have the right of affordable healthcare.
6. Concerns about terrorism and related unrest in the Middle East have been at the forefront lately. Do you believe the United States is doing enough to counter the threat posed by ISIS and other militant groups? Why or why not?
America has always been a beacon of hope around the world, and the many that have come here contributing to our great melting pot are very much what has made us great. The key to fighting terrorism is smart power, and building on that brand, not destroying it, especially with reckless rhetoric like banning all Muslims, or vilifying Syrian refugees, which empowers groups like ISIS.
Smart Power does include the use of force as a last resort. Congress should stop playing politics and authorize President Obama to use force against ISIS? We need to neutralize ISIS before the cause any more harm/destruction.
7. In terms of foreign policy, what do you believe are the best three things the Obama administration has done over the past seven-and-a-half years? What do you believe are the administration’s three biggest shortcomings or failures? What steps do you believe Congress should take with regard to these shortcomings or failures?
1. USA & CUBA Diplomatic Relations. 2. Iran Nuclear Deal 3. Recognizing India as an ally in business & peace in the Indian sub continent. (Ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
1.)line in the sand to Syria, then not following through. 2) Not pressuring Europeans enough after Gaddafi to ensure a stable Libya. 3.) Too passive on Israeli-Palestenian peace process.
8. Do you consider the Iran nuclear deal a success or failure? Explain why. Do you support engagement with the Iranian regime? *
The only way Iran would give up it’s nuclear ambitions was either voluntarily or through force. Be putting together a strong world coalition on sanctions, the Administration was able to bring Iran to the table. By account of most every nuclear proliferation expert, the deal is better than expected. It prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb over the next 15 years, when we will be in much better position to either build trust, or thwart their nuclear ambitions. The other option was war now, costing us untold blood and treasure with an uncertain outcome. Engagement is certainly preferable.
9. Similarly, do you believe the Obama administration’s engagement with Cuba is prudent? Why or why not?
Yes ! Absolutely! Our policy for the previous 60 years had not worked. Isolating a neighboring Country makes no sense. Engagement and blossoming tourism in interaction will do more to bring about change in Cuba than our policy of isolation.
10. One area where there seems to be an emerging bipartisan consensus related to criminal-justice reform, specifically as it relates to nonviolent drug offenses. How would you propose reforming drug policy? Do you believe marijuana should be either decriminalized or legalized under federal law? Do you believe the federal government should intervene where states have relaxed marijuana prohibitions contrary to federal law?
We are wasting Taxpayer money & resources specifically as it relates to nonviolent drug offenses. I am in support of Medical Marijuana that has lot of therapeutic values. Specially in case of Pain relief and Glaucoma. It has proven & effective therapeutic effects and should be up to the State to regulate use.
Colorado is a good case study for the future.
11. The recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership has been criticized by some corners of both the right and left, though Congress did vote last year to grant the president “fast-track” authority. Congress is expected to vote on the TPP sometime this year. In general, do you support or oppose the TPP? Why or why not? Do you believe that it does enough to protect American workers?
No! I don’t support the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it is currently written. It is not a fair trade deal, and will hurt the American work force. That said, we still should work for a good deal, because otherwise, China will set the perimeters of asian trade, and those rules will be worse.
12. What do you believe is driving the polarization of and rancor in American politics? Is there anything you believe Congress can do about it? In what areas do you believe you could reach a compromise with members of the opposite political party?
Economic insecurity is what is driving most of the polarization in American politics. Other major contributing factors include unlimited money unleashed by Citizens United, and gerrymandering being raised to a science, eliminating competition and moderating forces. The Republican Tea Party movement was a reaction to economic insecurity and has been fanned by appeals to racism and others.. Hatred is not an unifying factor. We need more tolerance of diversity, religion & ethnic backgrounds.
At the end of the healthy debate, we are all Americans & the political parties should be more than able to find common-sense solutions to real problems. Politics is the art of compromise. I can reach out and compromise on any issue, just not my principles.
13. Over the past year, the GOP campaign has been almost defined by Donald Trump’s bombast—from calling Mexican immigrants rapists to proposing a ban on Muslim immigration to demeaning John McCain’s military service—and yet he’s nonetheless likely to be the Republican nominee for president. To what to you attribute Trump’s success? Do you believe his rhetoric is appropriate? If you are a Republican, do you plan to support Trump as your party’s nominee in the fall? If you are a Democrat, are there any areas in which you believe you could find common ground with a President Trump?
Republican voters for a while have been plied with false promises from their leadership, like they will repeal Obamacare when they knew it was beyond their ability to do so. Drumpf has been able to capitalize on the frustration and economic insecurity felt by rank and file working Republican votes. Many are frustrated with the constant gridlock in Congress, and just want someone to come in and blow it up. This is dangerous and reckless.
No! This rhetoric is absolutely inappropriate for a Presidential candidate. It is conduct unbecoming of a presumed nominee of Republican Party. As a Democrat, I can agree with Fair Trade with other Countries.
14. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
I support women's health care through Planned Parenthood
15. The Citizens United decision has been criticized by the left for opening up the floodgates for special interests to influence political leaders. Do you believe Congress can or should make any changes to campaign-finance law?
The best thing Congress can do is approve a new Supreme Court Justice who will overturn Citizens United. That said, there is more Congress can do. There should be more reporting requirements on all this anonymous money. They should also consider public financing rescue funds so elections are not just who can buy them the most.
16. Finally, these congressional primaries were moved from March to June after a federal court invalidated the state’s districts, calling them an unconstitutional gerrymander. What are your thoughts on the new district map? Would you support an independent redistricting commission to draw these maps in the future—as is the case in Arizona—or do you believe the legislature can handle the task fairly?
The new maps are at least more compact and contiguous, but they still attempt to ensure an outcome that is different then the makeup of our state. Although Independent redistricting commissions can be just as partisan, I do support and prefer one to draw these maps in the future. Like the Fox guarding the Hen House. NCGA will always be biased or self serving! The key is the directions and parameters given to the commission. Districts should be drawn strictly on populations, and not use political information like voter registration or history.