Voters in the current 11th Congressional District will choose between Republican Kerry Bentivolio, Democrat David A. Curson, Libertarian John J. Tatar, and U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate Marc J. Sosnowski in a special Tuesday, Nov. 6 general election to serve the remaining unexpired term of U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, which expires at the end of the year.
At the same time, voters in the new 11th Congressional District will choose between Bentivolio, Democrat Syed Taj, Tatar, Green Party Candidate Steven Paul Duke, and Natural Law Party candidate Daniel Johnson in the regular Nov. 6 general election to serve a full two-year term in Congress. U.S. representatives are currently paid $174,000 annually.
The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates in both races. Duke, Johnson, and Sosnowski didn’t respond to our candidate questionnaire.
TOP ISSUES: what are the three most important issues to the 11th Congressional District at this time and how would you address them?
WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponent.
TOP ISSUES: 1. Jobs and the Economy. We need to create more and better jobs. To do this, we need to encourage businesses to invest by reducing their tax burden and streamlining regulations. Americans are innovators, let’s unshackle our job creators to let them innovate and create jobs.
2. Debt and deficit. It’s immoral to kick the can down the road and force our children and grandchildren to pay for our debt. We are on course for a major catastrophe if we do not fix our debt problem immediately. I propose the adoption of a balanced budget amendment.
3. Repealing ObamaCare, which places too heavy a burden on small businesses during a time in which we should be promoting their growth rather than burdening them with more regulations and replacing it with a system that promotes competition.
WHY YOU? Our country is at a crossroads and the stakes couldn’t be any higher. We need more and better jobs and we need them now. I know that to encourage job creators to start new businesses or expand existing businesses, we need to cut taxes and streamline regulations. Syed Taj believes in increasing taxes on small business owners and he wants the government to tell us how to run our businesses and our lives.
In addition, Syed Taj wants to double-down on ObamaCare, when the people oppose it. I will fight to repeal ObamaCare. I do not support having a board of 15 bureaucrats telling us what sort of health care we can and cannot receive.
DAVID A. CURSON
TOP ISSUES: Like the rest of the country jobs are the major issue in the 11th District. First, we have to establish a vibrant manufacturing base in this country that creates and establishes for the long-term good paying American jobs that can support working families. I would work to eliminate incentives for Companies to outsource jobs, making them competitive only if they manufacture in this country. I fully support the American Jobs Act that would create up to 2 million American jobs almost immediately building and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure such as roads, bridges, ports, the power grid, schools and the many other government-owned structures that Americans rely on in their every day life.
The next issue important to the citizens of the 11th District is tax fairness. It is unconscionable the companies like Exxon Mobile and General Electric not only pay no U.S. taxes but receive tax dollar rebates. It is unconscionable the the wealthiest Americans like Mitt Romney pay a 14 percent tax rate when most struggling middle class workers pay a 25 percent rate.
The protection of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are also among the most important issues not only to the senior residents of the 11th District but to those of us who will be joining them. The consistent effort to privatize Social Security and hand it off to Wall Street would be a grave mistake. Turning Medicare into a voucher system controlled by profiteers would equally jeopardize our seniors security of affordable health care.
WHY YOU? I have held a leadership position in the UAW for 39 years. I have successfully negotiated thousands of major agreements and contracts. Every day I sit down with people who have a different ideology than my own with different reasons for being at the table. I have been there and I can succeed in the process necessary to enjoy good government.
My opponent has a troubling past. As a business man he failed and went into bankruptcy which was followed by numerous law suits from those whose money he had taken and didn’t repay. In court he stated that he didn’t know if he was Kerry Bentivolio or Santa Claus. As a school teacher he experienced multiple disciplines for bullying and intimidating children, making inappropriate remarks and not having lesson plans or recording grades in a proper or consistent manner, violating the basic fundamentals of teaching. He has signed the “no tax” pledge which simply eliminates options to seeking resolve on many issues including the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ that is looming in the lame-duck session that potentially will raise taxes on all Americans if Congress does not find compromise.
TOP ISSUES: I know our district is a little bit better (off) than other districts, but the job situation is still No. 1. We need to bring jobs back and continue to keep bringing jobs back, although our numbers are improving.
The second thing is, although we really don’t play too much of a role in state education programs as a federal (government), what is still there is 10 to 12 percent of the money comes from the federal government. We need to make sure the institutions which are here, they reduce the costs of going to college. We need to work with our senators right now so that we can keep the student loan (interest rate) down to 3.2 percent the way it was, and continue to get more Pell grants. Not too long ago, I was with the President and the President gave (remarks saying) we all have to tighten our belt. The institutions have to do the same thing. There’s still so much wasted. He was at U-of-M and that’s what he was talking about. We have classes here, like one class for the same subject for two people at this hour, and 8 or 10 hours later, you have another two people for the same class. We have to tighten our belt here.
As a health care provider, I want health care for everybody.
WHY YOU? I’ll have to say that I’m the real Democrat, as far as I’m concerned. I personally feel that I am being supported by everyone in the party. I’ve been a grassroots member since 2007. I’ve been working. I’m a member of (Democratic) clubs. I’m being supported by everybody in the party. Plus, I bring in what I really believe Democrats want for the people.
JOHN J. TATAR
TOP ISSUES: The first issue is the wild spending of the government. The deficits are driving America into a third world debtor nation. The Republicans starting with Ronald Reagan broke the trillion-dollar mark when he raised the deficit to $1 trillion. George W. Bush raised the deficit to $7 trillion. Obama has pushed the deficit to $16 trillion. I would push to return our troops to America. The cost of this war is a half-billion dollars a week. The second problem is the wild expenses of the useless departments. The Department of Energy for example was established during the Carter administration. The primary purpose was to reduce the need of foreign oil. Forty some years later the report card is in. The Department of Energy has failed. The Department of Education, for example, has not increased the intelligence of the American people. The FDA has been co-opted by the pharmaceutical industry. It has become a government drug promoter. Many drugs that have been approved by the FDA have caused many American deaths.
The Second issue would be to return the American troops back to America. The definition of “politics” is the ability to get along. Our Politicians have failed here again. Our government has not learned to get along with other countries.
The Third issue is to end the Federal Reserve. This group of private corrupt bankers has destroyed the financial network of America, creating recessions, and depressions while the bankers steal the wealth of the America people. A country that was once established where the American people held the wealth of the country has now become a debtor nation beholding to the bankers. The federal reserve’s 50-year contract is up for renewal in 2013. The federal reserve are there for their own benefit not the benefit of the American people.
WHY YOU? History has shown us that whether Republican or Democratic, the problems in America have never been resolved. We have been at war for well over 100 years, and America’s standard of living has been systematically reduced. The American people have been kicked to the curb by the political system. Industry has been shipped overseas for the benefit of the corporations. Corporations have been given the same rights as the people.
Kerry Bentivolio is a former teacher and owner of Old Fashioned Christmas Company. He served in the U.S. Army and Michigan Army National Guard, and was a veteran of the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
David Curson served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. He has served as a UAW representative for the past 39 years.
Dr. Syed Taj, a member of the Canton Township Board of Trustees, is the chief of medicine at Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center in Dearborn. He has served on the boards of directors for the Canton Community Foundation and the Wayne County Senior Alliance.
John Tatar is a retired teacher, a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army Reserve, and has owned American Heritage Construction since 1984.