Candidate Q&A - Jonathan Paton, candidate for Congressional District 1 - Tucson Local Media: Elections

Candidate Q&A - Jonathan Paton, candidate for Congressional District 1

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Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 2:48 pm | Updated: 2:46 pm, Wed Sep 19, 2012.

Name: Jonathan Paton

Age: 41

Occupation: Self, Public Relations

Where do you live? Pima County

How long have you lived in the area? My entire life.

Short description about yourself (200 words)

After serving for two years as a Representative in the state Legislature, I felt called to serve my country in the darkest days of the war. So I voluntarily enlisted to serve in Iraq on the front lines as an operations officer in an intelligence unit. The experience changed my life. My time in a combat offered me a new perspective on my service here at home. It made me focus on what was really important in my life, and I came home determined to continue fighting for America and our Constitution every day.

I am a constitutional conservative who believes in lower taxes, less spending, small government and a secure border. As a state Representative and Senator, I wrote the nation’s first human smuggling law and voted for what, at the time, amounted to the largest reduction in government spending in Arizona history.

I’m running for Congress because Arizona needs a voice for fiscal responsibility and American energy production. We need to create jobs and repeal Obamacare.

But most of all, we need someone who will fight everyday for our Arizona values of hard work and independence.

Why are you running in Congressional District 1?

There are men and women in uniform that I served with that never came home. I often wonder: Why is it that I made it back, and many of those I served with never did? How can I live up to the sacrifice of those who gave it all for our country?

Those who serve this country do so through the oath they swear to protect and defend the Constitution. Our country is at a crossroads. We face enormous challenges that will require courage and tough choices. Many men and women have died defending the Constitution and fighting for this country, and I feel like I can pay my debt of gratitude to them by continuing to serve.

Have you held any other office?

I represented rural Southern Arizona as a State Representative from 2005-2008 and as a State Senator from 2009-2010.

Given the size of CD1, are you confident you can meet the needs of constituents in Southern Arizona while still serving the district as a whole?

District One is one of the largest districts in the entire country – it is about the size of Pennsylvania. Given that, it is critical for any Congressman to frequently travel the district and meet with voters, as every area has its own unique needs and issues. I have been campaigning hard throughout the district, meeting with voters and community leaders so that I can effectively represent them in Congress when I am elected.

Southern Arizona voters should realize that the new Congressional District One provides Southern Arizona with the opportunity to have representation from a third Congressman, which makes this race even more important for voters in Marana, Oro Valley, and Saddlebrooke. Many of my opponents have yet to visit Southern Arizona at all, while I have visited every part of the district at least a dozen times each since February.

I am the only candidate for Congress in District One who has represented rural Southern Arizona in the legislature. As the only candidate that lives in Southern Arizona (Marana), I am the only candidate in the race who has the experience and ability to represent Southern Arizona and this rural district as a whole.

This is a conservative, rural district that needs a visible and accessible Congressman that will be their workhorse in Washington. I will strive to provide that representation for you.

What are your three top priorities? If elected, how will you address those priorities?

My top priorities are to enact policies that grow the economy and help create quality jobs for Arizonans; repeal and replace Obamacare with policies that are consistent with a free enterprise economy; and to work toward long-term reduction of the structural national deficit by balancing the federal budget.

The Obama administration has created an economic climate of instability and fear among America’s job creators. The prospect of higher income and capital gains taxes, the new regulations and taxes contained in Obamacare, and economic and political uncertainty about future government policies is keeping small and large employers alike from hiring new employees. The way to create sustainable, quality private-sector jobs is to ensure stability regarding federal taxes and regulations. Increasing employer and consumer confidence with stability will go a long way.

Additionally, District One has abundant natural resources that can be utilized for job creation; in particular, mining, forestry, and tourism. However, District One also contains one of the largest tracts of government-owned land in the country – with all of the federal restrictions and regulations that come with it. I believe that the state and people of Arizona would be better at managing this land than the federal government, and that we desperately need to be able to fully utilize our resources to create jobs and grow the economy.

Along this line, repealing and replacing Obamacare is another top priority of mine. This law raises taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, creates over 13,000 pages of new regulations, and is creating such a terrible environment of uncertainly with American job creators that it is paralyzing the economy. It will also cost trillions of dollars over the next decade, and fundamentally changes the nature of the patient-doctor relationship. To get America’s job creators hiring again, and to solve the crisis of rising health care costs, we must aim to repeal and replace Obamacare with free enterprise solutions that increase access to quality health care, lower costs, and keep decisions in the hands of patients and their families.

Finally, we must reduce the federal government’s long-term structural deficit and balance the national budget. The national debt has more than doubled in the past 3.5 years of the Obama administration to more than $15 trillion. This is unsustainable. It detracts from employer and consumer confidence. It is a threat to our economy, and with so much of our debt owned by other countries, it is a threat to our national security.

If you are running in the Primary Election, what makes you the best candidate to move on to win the General Election?

Republican primary voters should consider two main factors. First, my experience in the state legislature and my conservative record proves that I will stand up for the issues they care about. I voted for the biggest spending cut and tax cut in state history as of 2009, wrote the nation’s first state-based human smuggling law and voted for SB 1070, and fought Obamacare by supporting the Health Care Freedom Act passed by the voters in 2010. Second, I am the only candidate in the race that has the money and resources to wage a spirited campaign against Ann Kirkpatrick, my liberal Democrat opponent who has spent the last year and a half raising $1 million dollars from special interest groups in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

How do you feel about the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Healthcare Act? Would you vote to repeal the legislation?

As I have stated in previous responses, my goal is to repeal and replace Obamacare with free enterprise solutions that increase access to quality health care, lower costs, and keep decisions in the hands of patients and their families.

Did you agree with the Supreme Court for upholding a key portion of SB1070, but rejecting the rest? Do you agree that SB 1070 is a step in the right direction to handle illegal immigration as Gov. Brewer has stated?

As a State Senator, I voted for SB1070. While I am disappointed that the Supreme Court struck down other parts of the law, I believe it is a step in the right direction that the Supreme Court recognized Arizona’s right to enforce existing federal law to protect our citizens. As a member of Congress, I will fight every day to ensure that the federal government is doing its job to protect our communities by securing the border.

How do you feel about President Barack Obama’s announcement that this administration will not deport young people?

I disagree with President Obama on a fundamental principle: he believes that the President has the power to ignore and disregard the laws passed by Congress when it is politically expedient, whereas I believe that it’s the president’s job to enforce those laws. If President Obama wants to change federal immigration policy, he needs to ask Congress to do so, and Congress needs to debate those changes in front of the American people. We have checks and balances built into our Constitution for the express purpose of preventing one man from changing the laws, but President Obama seems intent on ignoring that.

What are some specific changes needed in Washington?

Corruption runs deep in Washington, D.C. Many voters feel that the government no longer works for them, but instead serve certain companies that lobby for taxpayer dollars and to write new regulations to block competition. The Obama administration’s stimulus grants, loan guarantees, and new regulations have been a hallmark of this corruption, which has benefited the companies of major campaign donors to the tune of billions of dollars. Furthermore, members of Congress are constantly passing new laws that they themselves do not have to live under. If elected to Congress, I will work to make sure that members of Congress must live under any laws that they pass. Additionally, I will not stop fighting until we get the federal government out of the business of picking winners and losers in our economy. It’s just not right, and it’s un-American.

What are your thoughts on the Fast and Furious controversy? Do you agree with the House of Representatives voting to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt? How do you feel about President Obama claiming executive privilege in the matter?

Fast and Furious is a scandal, and I have already made public statements that I would have also voted to hold the Attorney General in contempt. One border patrol agent and dozens of people have been killed because of the guns that were allowed to “walk” under the Fast and Furious program, and as of yet nobody in charge has been held responsible. There is a shroud of secrecy over this program that must be lifted. President Obama’s claiming executive privilege only serves to obscure what needs to be a transparent investigation into the truth.

Contraception has been a big issue in Arizona, and a source of debate at the national level. Should employers be able to deny healthcare coverage for contraception based on religious beliefs?

While I believe that the government cannot and should not force faith-based employers such as churches from violating their religious beliefs, this issue speaks to the need of transitioning from an system of employer-based insurance – where employers decide what to provide and coverage ends if an employee changes jobs – to one in which individuals primarily buy and carry their own insurance. This type of system would allow individuals to carry the type of coverage that they want with no middle man and no arbiter of what they can and cannot have.

The disapproval rating in Congress has been low over the last few years. Will you be able to reach across party lines to do what’s best for the country? Do you have any proof that you have this ability based on past service?

The high disapproval rating of Congress is symptomatic of voters no longer trusting that Congress is acting in their best interest. Unfortunately, some of the problems that our country is experiencing today such as the $15 trillion deficit and growing federal government regulation of small businesses and local school districts is the result of bad policy from both Republican and Democrats.

As your Congressman, I pledge to fight for a free enterprise economy that creates quality jobs, to reduce the national deficit and the burden on working families, and repeal Obamacare. To do this, I will work with anyone who is on the same page, and face down pressure from special interests and even my own party leadership. I did so as a state legislator, when there was tremendous pressure to keep Arizona’s budget in the red, and I will do it again while serving you in Washington.

What must be done to improve the economy, and decrease jobless claims both in Arizona and at the national level?

The previous Congress and the Obama administration dithered on job creation instead of focusing on policies that would help alleviate the recession and bring economic growth and jobs back to America. The Democrats in Washington spent two years trying to pass cap and trade, union card check, and Obamacare. President Obama also blocked the Keystone XL Pipeline – that’s about as anti-jobs as it gets, and the country has suffered for it. Now that the House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans, more than 15 jobs bills have been passed that the establishment Democrats have blocked in the Senate for political reasons.

As I have said before, we must focus on restoring job growth by creating stability and confidence in the government and the markets. Stopping Obama’s planned tax hikes, reducing over-regulation, and repealing and replacing Obamacare would go a long way to jump-start this process. Additionally, District One would be well-served by a Representative that can get the federal government out of the way when it comes to Arizona wanting to use its own public lands and natural resources to create jobs.

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