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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz Counties, CA March 2, 2004 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
United States Representative; District 17; Republican Party

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California and asked of all candidates for this office.

See below for questions on Federal Resources, Foreign Policy, Federal Budget

Click on a name for other candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

1. What can be done to ensure that California gets its fair share of federal resources?

Answer from Connor Vlakancic:

Increase the number of Republican Congressmen to a 51%+ majority for a greatly increased influence in the currently GOP majority on Capital Hill. I have authored a specific program and means to achieve this goal and have personally submitted it directly to Mario Rodriguez Vice-Chairman, CA Republican Party for evaluation and support.

Answer from Mark J. Risley:

California needs a powerful Congressional Caucus that will stand up for this state and fight for what is right. California currently ranks 48th out of 50 states in money received from the Federal Government. This great state contributes more than 40 other states combined to the Federal Treasury. While Alaska receives over $600 for every man, woman and child, California receives $17. The national average is $34. Does this make sense to you? We must fight to get our fair share. California's economic troubles would be eliminated. We contribute more to the Federal Government than any other state by far and we receive very little in return. Why? Powerful Congressman from other states are robbing the Federal Treasury for their "pork" projects to get re-elected.

2. What are your foreign policy priorities for the United States?

Answer from Connor Vlakancic:

Greatly increase Congressional attention to State Department activities. Increase introspective activity by the Foreign Relations Committee and subcommittees. Promote congressional insight and oversight of Immigration (INS) processes. Advance legislative proposals to have direct Representative intervention in local immigration cases when progress is stalled by bureaucracy inaction.

Answer from Mark J. Risley:

Foreign Policy

In order to return this country to greatness, the United States must eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. Many of our problems would then disappear. We must look closely at why much of the world harbors anger towards the United States.

Regarding Iraq:

In March, a UN Security Council panel reported: "The gravity of the humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people is indisputable and cannot be overstated." The United Nations estimates that about 5000 children are dying every month. Now that we are deeply ensconced in Iraq, we must continue to eliminate the suffering of millions of vulnerable people and stay the course.

3. What are your priorities for the federal budget?

Answer from Mark J. Risley:


Economic upward mobility is the great American promise. From our colonial roots, through 19th century homesteading, to the success stories of the early 20th century, to the entrepreneurial revolution of the last decade, Americans have always dreamed of a better economic future.

Preserving and extending economic opportunities is the government's responsibility. The government must, however, get out of the way and let individuals, who know how to create jobs, do their work. The government forces people out of work and businesses to close their doors. Regulations imposed on individuals and businesses are so burdensome as to force many into poverty. Over taxation encourages cheating and corruption. No one benefits except the politicians themselves, who profit on the suffering of their constituents. I am in favor of a balanced budget amendment and a 30-year "mortgage plan" to eliminate the national debt. It can be done, it must be done.

The Federal Government must offer incentives to employers who create jobs and provide better worker benefits. We must stop the exodus of jobs from our country. When an employer can move jobs overseas and turn a better profit, this hurts our economy. The employer's dilemma is no longer workers' wages vs. higher profits. It's become workers wages vs. closing down. Something is wrong and needs fixing.

Answer from Connor Vlakancic:

Promote the passage of "hard caps" - legally mandated spending limits - on federal spending. Examine federal programs to identify their cost/benefits results. Eliminate federal programs/bureaucracy or reduce by transferring responsibility and budgets to efficient state level private organizations. Work supportively of Rep. Dennis Hastert, House Speaker, and Rep. Christopher Cox of CA,48thCD,to resist adding spending to the budget plan.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League. 

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily.

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Created: May 4, 2004 14:48 PDT
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