Ken Romley—U.S. House, Second District (Democratic Primary) | Candidate Questionnaires - Federal | Indy Week
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Ken Romley—U.S. House, Second District (Democratic Primary) 

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1. In your view, what are the three most pressing issues facing the United States? If elected, what will you do to address these issues, given the gridlock that seems to define Congress these days? 

ANSWER: 1) Fixing our broken healthcare to ensure all Americans have affordable access, not repealing the ACA for partisan reasons that throw millions out of the healthcare system entirely; 2) Fixing our broken political system starting with ending the undue and corrupting influence of money in our elections; 3) Rebuilding our public schools so we can teach 21st Century skills in order to effectively compete in a global economy.

2. 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?

ANSWER: George Holding voted for the Republican tax plan that gives billions in tax breaks to the richest Americans, explodes our national debt by one trillion dollars, and leaves only table scarps - a few hundred dollars a-year - for middle and low-income wage-earners. And their tax breaks expire in a few years. I would never vote for such a massively unfair and unwise tax plan.

3. The economy has picked up steam in the last year. Unemployment is down, and the stock market and economic expectations are up. How much of this improvement do you attribute to the policies of President Trump? What potential problem areas does the U.S. economy face in coming years?

ANSWER: The World economy was improving greatly prior to the election of Trump. The stock market is actually fluctuating just above and below where it stood when Trump was elected. His rash and foolish tariff policy will add further instability to our economic outlook. Here in NC we have a shortage of qualified workers and must invest in job training and public education. His tax legislation will add one trillion to U.S. debt obligations putting all government programs at-risk.

4. On the other hand, much of the wealth has gone to the already wealthy. Income inequality is as high in the U.S. as it’s been since the Great Depression. If elected, what steps (if any) do you believe Congress can or should take to ameliorate the gap between rich and poor.

ANSWER: Focus on a tax code that benefits the middle class, not the wealthiest Americans. We need to fix our healthcare system to help families be able to insurance without going broke. We must reduce the cost of a college education so that graduate don’t begin their adult lives ewith debt the size of a home mortgage.

5. On a similar note, in December Republicans passed a big tax cut package that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will benefit the wealthy more than the middle and working classes, especially if and when some of the income tax cuts are phased out. The tax cuts will also add more than $1 trillion to the deficit, according to the CBO’s analysis. Do you believe this tax cut package was good policy? If so, why? If not, would you work to repeal or alter it?

ANSWER: Absolutely! It’s terrible policy. See my answers above to #4 and #5 above. Yes, I would vote to repeal the law.

6. Congressional Republicans came within a vote last year of repealing the Affordable Care Act. As part of the tax cut package, Obamacare’s individual mandate, a key element of the ACA, was eliminated. What steps do you believe Congress should take on health care? In what ways (if any) should Congress act to stabilize health insurance markets?

ANSWER: Republicans are sabotaging the ACA at the expense of the American public. Consequently, we must consider introducing a public option to expand healthcare pools to bring down costs and expanding access.

7. Since the Las Vegas mass shooting last year and the Parkland mass shooting in February, there’s been a renewed discussion about gun reforms. One idea that has majority support in most opinion polls is to reinstate the ban on assault-style weapons. Would you support such a ban? Why or why not?

ANSWER: Yes, because Americans do not need weapons of war for self-defense or hunting.

8. The Parkland shooting in particular has led to a debate over school safety. Both in North Carolina and in Washington, D.C., some politicians have suggested arming teachers or school staff members as one possible solution. What steps do you believe the government could take to make schools safer?

ANSWER: As the first North Carolina federal candidate approved as a “Gun Sense Candidate” by Moms Demand Action, I believe there are many steps we can take. There are: 1) Raising the age to purchase rifles to 21; 2) legislate Universal Background Checks with zero loopholes, and, 3) allow law enforcement and families greater flexibility to intervene with gun owners who demonstrate dangerous mental instability.

9. There are a number of crises brewing in the world right now: North Korea, Iran, and Russia come to mind. Given the apparent tumult of the Trump administration, do you have confidence in the president to handle these issues? As a member of Congress, what steps would you take to hold the administration accountable?

ANSWER: I don’t trust President Trump to handle international relations. We need to require Congressional approval for a preemptive nuclear strike. We should demand additional overbite of the President’s national security team, including more updates to Congress.

10. There has been considerable talk in recent years about reforming the criminal justice system and moving away from mandatory minimums and policies that are seen as disproportionately affecting minority communities. At the same time, however, the attorney general seems to be headed in the opposite direction, taking a harder line on marijuana, for instance; and now the president is talking about executing opioid dealers. What reforms would you like to see made to the criminal justice system to make it fairer?

1) Do away with mandatory minimums non-violent drug offenses, giving our judges for flexibility in sentencing; 2) make marijuana available to people with a doctor’s recommendation, and, 3) treat all drug addiction as a disease, not as a crime.

11. Russia, and the special counsel’s investigation into the Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the termination of former FBI director James Comey, has consumed much of the last year. Some Republicans have called for the probe to end; Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee concluded that there was no collusion with the Trump campaign and disbanded their inquiry. What do you believe the role of Congress should be in this investigation? Do you have faith in the special counsel’s investigation?

ANSWER: I have the utmost faith in Special Counsel Mueller’s ability to find the facts and Congress should protect the integrity of the investigation.

12. The president recently enacted tariffs on aluminum and steel imports. Some liberals and conservatives argue that these tariffs will boost manufacturing in the U.S. and protect American workers, while many economists say that while they will boost certain sectors of the economy, they will also raise prices on things like cars and construction and even beer and increase the chance of a trade war. Do you support the president’s tariffs? Why or why not?

ANSWER: The President’s trade policies are erratic and irresponsible.

13. The fate of the so-called Dreamers is still up in the air. The president has tied their protection to funding for a border wall and legal immigration limits that Democrats do not seem willing to accept, while some Republicans are pushing back against what they see as “amnesty.” What do you believe should be done about the Dreamers—and about American immigration policy generally?

ANSWER: We need to enact comprehensive immigration reform that both protects our borders and leads to a path to citizenship for DREAMERS.

14. 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?

ANSWER: Too much money and too many special interests have infected our politics. Under the influence the of special interests the system has become corrupt and fractured. We need new leaders with new perspectives, who are not tied to the old ways of doing business in Washington.
I believe I can find common ground with Republicans to restore fiscal responsibility in Washington.

15. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some points with voters.

ANSWER: Despite the conservative nature of this district, I believe its time that we ban military-style assault weapons. I would cast my vote in Congress to do so.

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