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Cao, Richmond, Marquize Debate Louisiana Congress Election Issues
Written by  {ga=staffwriters} // Wednesday, 27 October 2010 13:18 //
tidmoreOn November 2, 2010, the voters of the Second Congressional District will go to the polls to determine if Joseph Cao deserves another term in office, if the district should revert to Democratic control under Cedric Richmond, or if it needs the fresh perspective of an Independent like Rev. Anthony Marquize.
All three men have been running spirited campaigns, and polling data disagrees on the status of the race, with some putting Cao and Richmond in a narrow contest, and others favoring Richmond.

www.gtmorning.com decided to hold a debate between the three contenders, so our readers could compare their views, side by side.  Here were their answers.  (Audio interviews the candidates are available at our website.  Listen to Christopher Tidmore, 7-8 AM weekdays on 1560 AM NOLA & 1590 AM BR.)

 

1. Why are you running for Congress now?


Cao
:
To continue the work I've begun to move our recovery forward by eliminating political corruption, cutting through government red tape and securing release of federal recovery dollars for Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District.

Richmond

: I’m running for Congress because the Second Congressional District needs leadership that will represent our best interest. Joseph Cao has repeatedly voted against this district’s needs. We voted overwhelmingly for Obama in the Presidential election and Cao has voted against major Obama legislation including health care reform, the stimulus and equal pay for women.

Marquize

: I am running for Congress at this time due to what I have seen happening as to the direction our government has been moving. We are going towards socialism and bankruptcy under the direction of our President and the Democratic Party. I have felt directed by the Lord Jesus, as a minister of the Gospel, and a servant of the people, to take a stand as a moral Christian candidate. Everywhere I go I am hearing the same thing, 'WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO FOR ME?' Here lies the problem: If the government does something for one group of people it needs to get the money from another group of people. It's called 'rob Peter to pay Paul.' Why should the federal government take a lot of our money and then we have to pay senators and representatives large salaries from our money to go to Washington, D.C. and fight to get our money back? Then we are to say, 'THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING ME.'


2. What three issues motivate your campaign most?

Cao

:a) Our recovery; b) Honest government and public service; c) Helping my constituents solve problems.

Richmond

: Louisiana's Second Congressional District has, and will continue to benefit greatly from key Democratic initiatives such as healthcare reform, the stimulus package, and a woman's right to equal pay for equal work. ?I understand the importance of standing up for these types of policies that will help our community.

Marquize

: Fiscal responsibility, the economy, and constitutional freedoms.

 

3. What is your strategy to win?


Cao
: I stand on my record of service to the people of Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District. They know that I place the people above politics, the public ahead of the party.

Richmond

: My strategy is to let the voters know that I am the candidate who not only understands the needs of the people, but who is ready to lead on day one. I have a long, successful history of serving New Orleans. Being in the legislature for over a decade has allowed me to form a true understanding of what the people of this district needs and how to deliver results. The people of District 2 want a representative who is going to vote 100% of the time in accordance with their values and needs. My strategy against Cao is the same as it is for the Democratic Primary. I will let the voters know that I have a history of strong leadership and I am ready, willing and able to represent the best interest of the people of this district.
Marquize

: Prayer and faith in the One who directed me to enter the race. Grassroots word-of-mouth, radio ads, the church people, door-to-door canvassing, yard signs, billboards, forums and debates, town hall meetings.

4. Why are you uniquely qualified for this office?


Cao
: This office requires a Representative whose integrity is above reproach. As a practicing attorney, my record is unblemished. I am a family man, with a wife and two small children, with whom I attend my church on a regular basis. I am recognized as a leader in my community, having established a firm track record working with people to address public problems and issues. This office requires a Representative devoted to service. My six years experience as a seminarian in the Society of Jesus taught me much about service, working with those in need and spiritual discipline.

Richmond

: I am uniquely qualified for this office because I have been a legislator for over ten years. I know and understand the political process; I know the needs of the people in this area. I have the experience, institutional knowledge and backbone to go to D.C. and fight for Louisiana.

Marquize

: I am a man of integrity, married 43 years to one woman; I ran the family business from the time I was 19 years old (which had 22 employees); am a pastor for 32 years who understands the real needs of people. I know how to network to get things done. I am totally debt free and have been fiscally responsible for 28 years having been debt free except for one SBA loan after Katrina which I paid back in less than 3 years. I fear God, not men or party politics. I am not a politician but I am a statesmen. My wife and I lived in Russia from 1993-1996 (for over two years) and helped to start 25 churches and then established an association of churches after which I became the founding president of that association. In Russia, we now have over 60 churches, 9 drug rehab centers and a full-time Bible school. My wife and I founded two churches and after we left they were debt free. During my time as pastor of one of those churches, the church owned and operated a local radio station and started a Christian school with 15 staff workers. We have traveled extensively overseas and have worked with many different groups and denominations in order to accomplish the work of the Kingdom of God. I worked in the pro-life ministry of United for Life as the director for two years and when I left it was debt free.. Now, I am the missions director of Great Commission Fellowship that oversees 38 feeding centers that feeds 65,000 meals a month in Central America and ministers to hundreds of pastors around the world. We are also a debt free ministry.


5. How does the closed primary system affect your political calculations? Has it left you with a funding deficit? Would you have done better with an open primary? Do you support a return to the open primary system?

Cao

: The closed primary system has had little if any effect on my campaign. It is an issue to be decided at the state level. I have no preference for either a closed or open primary system. Either way, the voters see my record and what I stand for.

Richmond

: The closed primary...add[s] another race to this election. However, I’m comfortable as a candidate in a closed primary and I would be comfortable in an open primary. As long as we make sure that voters know me as a candidate – and that they understand the new system – I don’t think it will make much of a difference when it comes to outcome this year.

Marquize

: No to all questions.


6. Who will you support for Speaker of the House?

Cao

: I have not decided. No matter who is elected Speaker, I will continue working across the aisle to represent the interests of my constituents.

Richmond

: I will support the Democratic leader.

Marquize

: I would support either party if they did away with 'earmarks' or if they supported term limits or if they 'drain the swamps' to remove the corruption....I would back the GOP on the repeal of the health care, and on a balanced budget

7. What can you uniquely say if elected to accelerate the flow of recovery dollars to New Orleans?


Cao
: Since I took office on January 6, 2009, I have managed to secure release of more than $1 billion in recovery dollars. I accomplished this by confronting incompetence and bureaucratic foot-dragging at FEMA, demanding that the Administration replace ineffective employees at the New Orleans Office, which it did, and then following up with pressure on government agencies and Congressional colleagues to approve release of much-needed and overdue recovery dollars. I will continue this effort with the same intensity after I am reelected on November 2nd.

Richmond

: I have solid relationships with leaders on Capitol Hill. These relationships and my experience give me the ability to go in and get recovery funds for New Orleans. As a candidate, I’ve received support from President Barack Obama, Senator Mary Landrieu, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, City Councilman Byron Lee, Civil District Clerk of Court Dale Atkins, Sheriff Marlin Gusman , United Teachers of New Orleans, and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Marquize

: I would like to launch an investigation on how the billions of dollars that was sent here for the recovery from Katrina were disbursed. I believe some of this money was stolen or misused. The recovery of this money would then be immediately available to help those people in need in my district. I would work hard to get it out of the hands of bureaucracy and into that of a company that will quickly get the funds to the people. Whatever money was previously allocated to help the people after the storm should be given to them ASAP.


8. Would you vote to repeal the President's Health Care Reform? If not, what specific changes would you like to see in the bill? If so, which ones?

Cao

: No, I would not vote to repeal the bill. Even so, I would like to see language added that expressly reaffirms the longstanding federal prohibition against the use of federal dollars to pay for abortions. The President's Executive Order declaring that federal dollars will not be used for abortions under the health care reform bill is merely a policy statement that does not carry the weight of law as spelled out in the actual bill.

Richmond

: No, I would not vote for repeal. And, I would have absolutely voted in favor of the President’s Health Care Reform bill. I sent out a letter to my constituents asking them to urge Congressman Cao to vote in their best interest and support the measure. I believe that having a public option would have assisted a lot more Americans but I am proud that were able to make immediate progress.

Marquize

: YES or defund it.


9. What other options should the President have used instead of the Moratorium on Gulf Oil Drilling? What needs to be done now to get drilling restarted in the Gulf.

Cao

: On October 12th, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did what I urged him to do: lift the moratorium so rigs can go back into full service providing re-employment for those who lost jobs. The Administration said the purpose of the moratorium was to give federal inspectors time to assess safety practices on the deepwater drilling rigs, but I believe these safety checks could have been done while drilling continued.

Richmond

: Yes. [I would have opposed the moritorium]. I understand his position in wanting to make sure the drilling is as safe as possible. However, having a moratorium on Gulf drilling would even more cripple our economy that is all ready suffering because of the spill.

Marquize

: He needed to allow them to continue to drill and to have placed inspectors on the rig right away in order to start the inspection process, even if the inspectors needed to be brought in from all over the world if our resources of inspectors were inadequate. At that time, if the drilling rigs were found to be in violation, then they should have been shut down and given a list of the specific things that were in violation which needed to be corrected in order to go back to work. Right now, the President needs to make sure that we have a set of inspectors for each rig that has chosen to stay in the Gulf and did not leave the country. These rigs need to go back to work ASAP to stop the threat of them also leaving the country. President Obama needs to put a priority on this instead of flying all over the country campaigning for the Democrats.


10.. Describe what you would propose to force BP to remain accountable to pay for oil cleanup?

Cao

: To a large extent, holding BP accountable is the job of Congress, the Administration and Ken Feinberg, the so-called claims czar. Mr. Feinberg and I have gotten to know each other quite well over the past few months, and he has been very responsive to the concerns I have expressed about holding BP's feet to the fire and making sure victims are fully compensated for their losses. For example, when Mr. Feinberg announced that victims who worked as paid volunteers in BP's Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) program would have their VOO wages deducted from their claim settlements, I insisted that he change his mind. I explained that BP would have had to hire cleanup workers anyway, so it was inequitable for BP to count their earnings against claims. Mr. Feinberg told me he had never heard that argument expressed so eloquently, and not long after that conversation, he announced he had changed his mind and that he would NOT count VOO earnings against settlements. It takes someone who can build relationships with Mr. Feinberg and other decision-makers to keep BP accountable.. I have already built those relationships, and they are serving our District well.

Richmond

: We must hold BP accountable to the families and businesses that have incurred damages as a result of the oil spill. Hold them a accountable for removal and cleanup costs, damage to real or personal property, lost earnings or profits, loss of subsistence use of natural resources, or physical injury or death.?If BP does not stand by their commitment then we should look at legislation to hold them accountable.

Marquize

: BP is totally responsible, by their own admission, for the cleanup and for the damages done to the people that are directly related to the oil spill. BP needs to put the funds into an account that is managed by an independent company with the oversight of BP and the representatives of that state (for checks and balances to protect the people). We also need to make sure that the claims process is done quickly and efficiently (the government is not good at this). So, we need to hire an independent company to handle the claims process. If claims aren't processed quickly, fire them and get another company. This whole process needs to be taken out of the hands of BP and the government..


11. Redistricting comes in 2011. Several proposals exist to redraw the District. Describe the District you would want to see drawn?

Cao

: I am not concerned with what the re-drawn District will look like. No matter what, I will serve my people with honesty, integrity and effectiveness.

Richmond

: I want to see a district that properly represents the people of the area. The district should be drawn so that they will have a Congressman who can effectively support their needs.

Marquize

: It doesn't matter to me what the district looks like, only that the people are heard.


12.. Where do you stand on renewing the Bush tax cuts? Do you agree with Joe Lieberman that there should be at least a one-year extension on all the cuts due to the recession?

Cao

: I am definitely in favor of extending the tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000 a year. Beyond that, I am still studying the issue and have not yet taken a position. One way or the other, this issue underscores the fact that our spending and systems of taxation are out of control. Both Republicans and Democrats are to blame. It will take a truly bi-partisan effort to solve this problem. It will take Members of Congress who know how to work across the aisle.

Richmond

: I think the Bush Tax Cuts should not be renewed. I have yet to see the "trickle down effect" work. It is shameful to tax disproportionately middle and lower class citizens while giving breaks to the wealthiest of Americans. We need a Congress who votes in the best interest of the average American and not a significantly small population.

Marquize

: Yes, they need to renew them and extend them no less than 3 years until we get back on our feet as a nation.

 

Christopher Tidmore is on the radio Monday-Friday, 7-8 AM on KKAY 1590 AM White Castle/Baton Rouge & WSLA 1560 AM Slidell/New Orleans, online at www.gtmorning..com



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