D. Vincent Thomas Jr.
Republican candidate for U.S. House (9th district)
Responses to our questions
The U.S. government is now $20 trillion in debt. To address that historic level of public indebtedness, the country would need to raise revenue and/or decrease spending. What is your position on the budget and debt?
Let us begin by not limiting complex issues to either/or scenarios. For too long, the American Budget has been the victim of the pendulum swings of partisan priorities, which creates an unmanageable imbalance and an endless need for corrections. A government is not a corporation, nor is it a household, so any system rooted in those models are doomed to failure. We can bring our best minds together and establish a more rational approach, where revenue and spending are better crafted for the long term, with established percentages and linked adjustment factors.
Can you identify any major federal expenditures or programs that you would eliminate?
Medicare and Medicaid costs continue to spiral. How can these programs be restructured to control costs and avoid collapse? Be specific about your willingness to change or reduce future benefits.
The restructuring of these vital programs is, as it has always been, a complex policy issue. Changes are inevitably necessary over time based on population density and life expectancy this does not mean a reduction of benefits to the most needy among us has to be a central focus of that change.
What if anything should be the federal government's role in helping Americans obtain health insurance coverage?
The federal government of course has a role in Americans obtaining health insurance. Such a role falls in line with governmental responsibility and representation. The government, however, has no right to dictate to Americans what health plans they can or cannot have, nor should the government be in the room with a patient and their physician. The government should work with the health care market for the benefit of all Americans but should not control the market.
Economic growth has been steady but wage growth is slow. Are you content with the state of the economy? What is your recipe for enhancing American prosperity?
Contentment is not one of my goals. It limits new ideas and forward thinking, so no I am not content with the state of the economy. Regarding American prosperity, we have to ask how are we defining prosperity. Every American has a slightly or broadly different idea of the American dream and thus of American prosperity. My recipe for enhancing American prosperity is to allow the American people to define prosperity for themselves and encourage the American people to work towards that goal they set for themselves. It is not the governments role to determine prosperity for the people nor should the people expect the government to make them prosperous. The government has a responsibility to protect the pursuit of prosperity not to make people prosperous.
If you could fix longstanding problems with this country's immigration system tomorrow, what would you do? What is your position on the future of DACA and the Dreamers?
Regarding Dreamers the government should honor its promise to those Dreamers who are positively contribute to our society, follow our laws, and mane serve in our armed forces. As a society we must, as with all policies, exercise a degree of moral goodwill especially to children.
North Korea's nuclear weapons program represents a direct threat to the security of the United States and its Pacific allies. How should the U.S. confront or contain Kim Jong Un's regime?
Diplomacy and efforts to enlighten the people of North Korea to the glory of freedom and democracy, shall always be the preferred approach. As with all external threats, we keep a watchful eye, and plan for every possible scenario.
ISIS is contained in Syria and Iraq but terrorism remains a threat. What are your priorities in keeping the country safe?
As with all external threats, we keep a watchful eye, and plan for every possible scenario. Regarding ISIS and other Islamic Extremist organizations and their supporters we should continue both our overt and covert military efforts to defeat them, we must also increase of "hearts and minds" efforts to communicate with would be supporters of terrorism that we are not at war with the great faith of Islam but with those that disrespect the faith and misuse it to achieve violent ends.
Should the U.S. continue to abide by the terms of the nuclear agreement with Iran?
The terms of the agreement should be look upon as fluid to the benefit of the U.S.
What is your position on the continued presence of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan?
We need to have a presence where ever threats to the U.S. reside anywhere in the world.
Do you support a unified, federal background check system for gun sales? Do you support magazine limits or a ban on certain rifles? Describe, briefly, your position on how to balance safety with the Second Amendment.
Yes, gun sales should have a criminal background check. My position on balancing the 2nd Amendment and safety is to allow all law abiding citizens to purchase a firearm if they so choose while also enforcing gun laws already on the books.
Should the U.S. government take steps to curb emissions of greenhouse gas? If so, what steps? If not, why not?
Yes we should work to curb emissions. We should also continue to advance technology to contribute to this effort.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
I am devoted to public service. I firmly believe the only way I can be the best person I can be is to serve people and country. I am in the U.S. Coast Guard trained in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism. I have contributed to the seizure of over 10 tons of cocaine being trafficked in international waters. I am recently engaged and I love classic American muscle cars.
If you are an incumbent, tell us the most significant accomplishment of your current term.