Racism, Immigration and Human Rights
Question 1: The murder of George Floyd is prompting a national discussion concerning our nation’s failure to fully address historic racial injustice. What is the role of Congress in defining and addressing historic injustices? What measures will you promote as a member of the United States Congress to combat racial injustice?
Congress has a role when it comes to addressing injustices in law enforcement in many ways. As it is true that state and local governments are responsible to the vast majority of police practices, the federal government can require certain things to be done by states in order to be eligible for law enforcement grants. President Trump issued an executive order when it comes to federal law enforcement reform, and Senator Tim Scott introduced the Justice Act in the Senate, and I believe his proposal makes the most sense. The measure includes incentives for police departments to ban chokeholds, more disclosure requirements about the use of force and no-knock warrants, and penalties for false reports. It also includes emergency grant programs for body cameras, makes lynching a federal hate crime and creates a commission to study the conditions facing black men and boys. Unfortunately Senate Democrats blocked it, and I hope with a Republican House, Senate, and White House, it can become law next year.
Question 2: There is widespread agreement that our current immigration system is in need of reform consistent with our nation’s economic and national security interests and its historic commitment to be a haven for the vulnerable and oppressed around the world. What do you foresee as the best pathway forward for immigration reform and how would you work across the aisle to achieve these policy goals?
The administration has been going forward with border security and wall construction in order to stop the massive flow of illegal immigration. That must be completed first, then an overall merit-based immigration system should replace the patchwork system that has been in place but ignored in many respects over the last 50 years. I will work with anyone across the aisle that agrees on these principles: effective border security, a merit-based immigration system with special consideration for those legitimately seeking asylum, the dissolution of sanctuary cities throughout the nation in order to help immigration officials detect and detain dangerous individuals who are here illegally, and a reform of our visa and work permit system that is in the best interests of the American worker. There has to be a system created within the above parameters to effectively deal with the millions of people who are in the United States illegally due to border crossings, overstaying their visas, and the Dreamers. There needs to be a process for these folks to gain legal status but they must go through the process in turn like every other applicant to participate in the naturalization process.
Question 3: To what extent should the safeguarding of human rights, including but not limited to preventing genocide and combating racism and religious persecution, inform our nation’s international relationships, trade agreements, and diplomatic conduct?
This is a very sensitive issue, because our world is full of nations who are autocratic and oppress their people in order to perpetuate their regimes. The United States was founded on the principle that the people are sovereign with the God given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and our Constitution was created to protect those rights, which were more specifically defined in our Bill of Rights. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights is what unites us, and our ideals have changed the world to benefit millions of people worldwide for almost 244 years. With that said, when conducting foreign policy, we need to take positions that are in our strategic, economic, and in our political interests. Some of the nations we must do business with are lacking or even detrimental to different aspects of the human rights we as Americans expect to be protected. We need to consistently make the case publicly against human rights violations made by all nations, regardless of our relationships and agreements. We can also take certain punitive actions against nations in the form of sanctions and trade deal demands to coerce regimes to respect the rights of their citizens. We need to be pragmatic with our approach in order to protect our overall strategic goals, but I believe a consistent, measured, and aggressive strategy can yield positive results over time.
Question 4: There is growing concern in the country about financial inequality and its consequences for those lower on the economic ladder. If elected to the United States Congress, describe at least one initiative you will propose to address this concern?
I believe that the best way to alleviate financial inequality is to reform the educational system in the United States with one principal - school choice for those that are stuck in failing school districts. We can reauthorize Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 to state simply that parents can get direct grants from Title 1 funding to send their child to another school if their local school district is failing. They can pay tuition to any other accredited public, private, or charter school that will enroll them. It is undeniable that young people with a good education are far more likely to succeed in the workforce than those who have a poor or incomplete education. It is unacceptable to look the other way and let disadvantaged youth be robbed of a good education in the most successful nation in the world, and this one measure will lift millions out of a life of poverty.
Question 5: Antisemitism and violence against Jews are on the rise around the world. According to the FBI’s most recent Hate Crimes Statistics report, in 2018 anti-Jewish hate crimes accounted for 57% of all religiously motivated hate crimes. Nearly one third of respondents in a recent AJC survey of American Jews reported having been afraid to wear something in public that identifies them as Jews. To address this problem, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance drafted a “Working Definition” of antisemitism, which has been adopted in dozens of countries in Europe (including Germany, France, and the UK) and endorsed by UN Secretary General Gutierrez and the US Department of State. This definition provides a means for assessing when given actions may involve bias against Jews, thereby reducing confusion and providing a basis for constructive action. Will you go on record to endorse the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism?
Yes, I endorse the IHRA definition of anti-semitism.
Question 6: In recent years, advocates for anti-Israel and, at times, anti-Jewish political agendas have demonstrated growing success in their effort to coopt the movement for racial justice. For example, before and since the murder of George Floyd, some proponents of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement have circulated a false and tendentious narrative that holds Israel responsible for law enforcement tactics that brutalize people of color. These claims undermine the fight against the current manifestations of white supremacy (e.g. voter suppression, de facto segregation, over-policing, over-imprisonment and other measures that promote inequality). They also demonstrate how readily false and malicious claims about Jews and Jewish interests can take root and spread. Should you be elected to the United States Congress, how do you propose to ensure that the quest for racial justice remains strong and that those who would undermine it through false and malicious claims are marginalized?
The quest for racial injustice will remain strong by continuing to be a strong proponent of American values - the right to live your own life, individual liberty, and equal justice under the law. I will also publicly speak out against those who make false and malicious claims and try to make them infamous. I am very concerned about the rise of anti-semitism on our college campuses and within the ranks of many Marxist inspired organizations in the United States. They need to be called out and condemned on a consistent basis, and if our justice system fails to have the tools to root racial injustice and other forms of bigotry that clearly defines our laws and Constitution, Congress should act decisively and strongly.
Question 7: We are in the midst of another fraught moment in the ongoing struggle for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. Hamas continues to advocate for Israel’s destruction. The Palestinian Authority has refused negotiations for more than 5 years. And, in the absence of a credible peace process, the new Israeli coalition government has stated its desire to apply Israeli law to West Bank settlements (albeit, it appears now, within a much smaller territory than was proposed before the formation of the current government). For decades, a two-state solution has been a pillar of American foreign policy. Do you support a two-state solution to this conflict that will provide for a Palestinian and an Israeli state? What do you believe the role of the United States should be in resolving this conflict? As a member of Congress, what policies would you advocate for to advance your view of our nation’s role?
I do support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however it must be predicated on the fact that the Palestinian leadership must reject the advocacy of Israel's destruction. Without that, I do not see an authentic two-state solution at all. The United States should offer to be a third-party interest to help facilitate a peaceful two-state solution, but within our strategic interests that supports freedom, democracy, and free enterprise. I believe a strong Israel living in peace and harmony with a free Palestinian state is in the best interests of the United States, but there are contrary interests led by Iran and their surrogate terror organizations and other terror groups that share Iran's desire to destroy the nation of Israel. In Congress, I will support measures for a two-state solution of the conflict as long as Israel's security is assured. I will also support policies designed to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions and their quest for Israel's destruction.
Question 8: Israel is home to nearly half of the world’s Jewish population. Israel is a democratic country and its citizens are accustomed to robust debate, at home and abroad, concerning their nation’s policies and actions. Regrettably, in the United States and elsewhere, there is mounting support for movements, such as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign, that purport to promote Palestinian rights but do so by denying Israel’s legitimacy, refusing dialogue, and advocating for Israel’s destruction. This malicious portrayal of Israel and the reality of its conflict with the Palestinians has prompted notable acts of antisemitism; especially on college campuses. It has also polarized public discourse and dimmed prospects for a negotiated solution to the conflict. If elected to Congress, what, if anything, would you say to those who deny Israel’s legitimacy and advocate for an end of the world’s only Jewish state?
I will say that in the United States we do not deny the legitimacy of free nations, we always should have dialogue with those we disagree with, and that advocating for Israel's destruction is equivalent to advocating the destruction of the United States - a free nation that embraces democratic principles for all people. I will also support all actions necessary to help Israel defend itself against any efforts by entities that try to destroy them.
International Relations and the U.S. Role on the Global Stage
Question 9: Should a new administration come to Washington, a discussion may result concerning a return to the JCPOA. Given new evidence of Iran’s secret undeclared nuclear facilities and Iran’s: (1) refusal to allow inspection of these facilities, (2) ongoing efforts to destabilize countries across the region,(3) continuing to financing and arming of Hezbollah and other radical actors dedicated to Israel’s destruction and (4) repeated bellicose attacks on Western values and interests, are there conditions you would want to attach, beyond those stipulated in the JCPOA, to any proposal to return to the JCPOA?
I will do everything I possibly can to stop a return to JCPOA, because it will only empower the Iranian regime dedicated first to the destruction of Israel and then the destruction of the United States. The one condition I would insist upon in regime change through a truly free and democratic election, because the current regime has not honored the stipulations of any deal.
Question 10: A robust Transatlantic relationship between the United States and European democracies (AJC has 5 European offices and three regional representatives) has been a pillar of US foreign policy since the end of World War II. In recent years, this relationship has suffered strains. Some contend that this historic alliance is undergoing a fundamental change. Is it important that we sustain the United States historic post-World War II partnership with Europe or is it time to rethink this relationship? If elected, what policies will you pursue to advance your views?
It is very important to sustain our partnership with Europe, and the rethinking has begun. The U.S. shares with Europe a strong commitment to the rule of law, human rights, free markets, and democracy. NATO was created over 70 years ago to protect those ideals over an aggressive Soviet Russia, and that organization now must return to basics, with territorial defense as its mission. NATO has spread itself all over the world over the years, but it must remain capable of defending its members’ territorial integrity. In addition, Russia poses a significant threat to Europe’s stability, so the original premise of creating NATO is needed more than ever. I will support policies that continue to strengthen NATO - supporting member nations to pay their agreed allocations and being very careful on any future increases in membership in order to effectively counter Russian threats to the continent.
Question 11: What experiences qualify you to represent the citizens living in your district?
I am a leader who understands there are two types of people who serve in government– those that believe in the power of big government and those who believe in the power of people. I believe in We the People, and I will defend law and order, freedom, and prosperity for all people.
As I did as an officer in the United States Air Force, I will bring the skills I developed and American values to Congress. I served as the Medical Chief Operating Officer for small clinics, large medical centers, and as the Senior Healthcare Executive of a multi-facility healthcare system in Washington DC. I served our nation for over 30 years, and as a Colonel I have proven my ability to successfully lead and deliver results. I am prepared to serve the Massachusetts 4th Congressional District in Washington, DC.
Question 12: What would be your top three priorities if elected?
I will demand law and order be reinstated with increased funding to police to retrain them in more modern and humane ways of policing that integrate social service and community support personnel into the Community Safety and Policing Team, stimulate the economy by supporting small businesses with lower taxes and removing cumbersome inefficient regulations, to ensure there is excellent healthcare and benefits programs for our veterans and strengthen our military by ensuring they have fully funded state of the art equipment and training needed to successfully and safely perform the missions required by our country.
American Jewish Committee (AJC) is the leading organization dedicated to Jewish advocacy at home and around the world. Through a global network comprised of 24 domestic regional offices; 12 overseas posts in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East; and 37 partnerships with international Jewish communities, AJC engages with political, religious and civic leaders to combat antisemitism and bigotry, support Israel’s quest for peace and security, and advance democratic values at home and abroad.
AJC New England recently invited all 11 Republican and Democratic declared candidates for the Congressional seat from the 4th District of Massachusetts to participate in a survey on some matters of import to our community.
AJC is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan organization and does not endorse or support any candidate for elected office, whether or not they responded to the survey. We offer this survey to educate the electorate about the views of the candidates for this office.