Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of Dublin is being challenged by Republican Rudy Peters of Livermore in the 15th District, which reaches from Livermore westward to Hayward and Union City, and northward along the I-680 corridor into San Ramon.
The Independent asked the candidates whether there should be new gun laws, fewer gun laws, or retention of the status quo. Also, should Justice Brett Kavanaugh have been appointed to the Supreme Court, and what did they learn from the broadcasting of the proceedings, and the background check?
Has the #MeToo movement gone too far, or not far enough? Is there a role for Congress to provide legislation to support the movement’s goals to provide transparency concerning sexual harassment?
Candidates were asked what bills they would author in the next session.
The tax plan passed by Congress and signed by President Trump raises $1 trillion more in future national debt. Will that harm the economy, or any individuals, or will it help the economy? Will it make any difference?
The president has raised tariffs on certain goods. Will that help or hurt the U.S. economy, or wind up being a wash?
Do the candidates support NAFTA, and other free-trade agreements?
Are any adjustments to the Affordable Care Act needed?
Candidates also were questioned whether there are district transportation needs that a House representative should address with more funding?
Candidates appear in alphabetical order.
Rudy Peters notes that he is a husband, father, youth mentor, U.S. Navy veteran and owns a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business. He has worked for Sandia National Labs, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Sierra Nevada Corporation, holding several leadership positions from systems engineer to program director. He has managed highly sensitive U.S. defense programs in excess of $100 million, all of which are classified.
Peters said that California has the toughest gun laws in the country. “The lack of enforcement of our gun laws must change. We must balance the right of all Americans to protect themselves with the growing need to keep guns from those that would break the law.”
Peters said that many mass shootings since 1900 in the United States were carried out by people who had serious mental disorders. “How will passing hastily drafted Band-aid legislation address these mental health issues?”
Peters said that he agrees with the Senate’s confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh. “Nobody disputes that Justice Kavanaugh is qualified. I was angry at how Senator Feinstein disrespected Professor Ford. If Feinstein had explained to Ford how the Senate and the FBI normally conduct FBI investigations, then Ford would not have had to go on national TV. Ford was used by the Democratic leadership.”
Peters said that the Democrats have been trying to use #MeToo to achieve political goals. “If putting Professor Ford on national TV is demonstrating transparency, then we have a real problem.”
Bills that Peters would like to author if he were elected include federal funding to make schools safer, and increased federal funding for mental health programs and facilities.
His other priorities include funding to secure the nation’s borders, deporting violent non-citizens, health care that is sustainable and affordable, stricter penalties for intellectual property theft, laws that cause replacement of conventional plastics with environmentally friendly materials, and enforcement of the Congressional Budget Act.
Peters also wants to bar the federal government from appropriating Social Security funds for any purposes other than paying Social Security.
On the Republican tax plan, Peters said that for the first time in a long time, “help wanted” signs are appearing in store windows, wages are going up, and the federal government “is taxing less of our pay.”
The stock market has risen dramatically since 2016. Value of companies has been increasing. “Our national balance sheet is fine,” he said.
On tariffs, Peters said that China has been taking advantage of America’s economy for years. “China’s industrial policies clearly harm companies in the U.S. China imposes much higher tariffs on United States exports than the United States imposes on China. More Americans working results in more Americans paying taxes and into Social Security.”
On the end of NAFTA, Peters said that he backs its replacement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
In Peters’ opinion, the Affordable Care Act is mostly repealed. He said he opposes HR676, a bill first introduced in Congress in 2003, which now has 120 co-sponsors. It would establish a universal single-payer health care system in the United States. Peters said that it would be unfair to seniors, who he said paid for Medicare and expect to get it.
Peters said that if elected, he would work to get federal funding for 90% of the cost of building BART down the I-580 median to Greenville Road. He also would work for federal funds to finance 90% of the cost of “building correctly the I580W and I-680S interchange, which is deadly in its present form.”
Congressman Eric Swalwell grew up in Dublin, the oldest of four sons of a police officer and an administrative assistant. He earned undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Maryland, served as an Alameda County prosecutor, and was elected to the Dublin City Council. He defeated 40-year incumbent Democratic Congressman Pete Stark in 2012.
On gun laws, Swalwell said, “There is no right more important than our right to live, but nothing I propose violates the Second Amendment. We need truly universal background checks for every gun purchase, a national gun violence restraining order system as we have in California, and funding for gun violence research.”
“I’ve authored a bill to improve the processes by which those charged with or convicted of domestic violence, or under a domestic violence protective order, must relinquish their firearms. We should have a national assault weapons ban with an Australia-style mandatory buyback to get these weapons of war out of our communities once and for all.”
Justice Kavanaugh should not have been confirmed. “We must believe sexual assault survivors, but whether you do or not, it’s clear that Kavanaugh both lied and acted with poor temperament in his Senate hearings,” stated Swalwell.
“#MeToo should go as far as it takes to end sexual assault and harassment in America. #MeToo is a vital and long-overdue reaction to the minimization of sexual assault, coercion and discrimination that far too many women have faced.”
Looking at legislation that he would like to introduce in the next session, Swalwell said he wants to bring back bills that the Republican majority did not back. These include creation of an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in our 2016 election; reforms to make college education more affordable; cracking down on the President’s ability to use his office to enrich himself and his family; creating a ladder to success in STEM fields; and expanding genetic and genomic testing to allow better delivery of precision medicine.
In regard to the tax law signed by President Trump, Swalwell said that adding the extra trillion dollars to the national debt for tax cuts for wealthy people was fiscally and morally wrong. It put the nation on unstable fiscal footing, and placed it further from the goal of having an economy benefitting all Americans, not just the top income bracket.
President Trump’s raising of tariffs on certain goods has harmed many, from farmers to auto manufacturers, noted Swalwell.
Swalwell will listen to any trade deal that means more jobs that pay well for American workers. “While NAFTA may not have been perfect, President Trump’s ham-handed efforts to alter it seemed born more of ego than of necessity.”
Congress and President Trump should stop undermining the Affordable Care Act, so it can be improved and expanded to cover more Americans at lower costs. “We should be working toward a Medicare-for-All universal system. Health care is a human right, not a commodity.”
On a House member’s opportunity to help fund transportation needs in the district, Swalwell said, “I staunchly support connecting BART to ACE in Livermore to relieve I-580’s awful traffic. I’ve also led efforts to secure transit security funding to make BART safer for commuters, and secured funding to test new security measures for airport perimeters at San Jose International Airport, which many district constituents use.”