3 out of 4 Ain’t Bad: CD-46 Candidates Answer Policy Questions

democratic donkey

We’ve been buried beneath an avalanche of endorsement announcements from candidates seeking to replace Rep. Loretta Sanchez in CD-46 (Santa Ana, Orange, Anaheim).  And while those announcements are great for a quick post, its way past time for these candidates to tell us where they stand.  There is a debate Saturday, and without a doubt issues will be discussed more in depth as the campaign moves on.

OC Weekly reported yesterday that former State Senator Lou Correa will report having raised just shy of $100,000.  Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen reports nearly $51,000 raised.  Joe Dunn’s campaign raised about $131,000 but only four of his dozens of contributions actually live in the district he seeks to represent.  Jordan Brandman’s campaign will report more than $91,000 in contributions with more than $107,000 cash on hand.  OC Weekly’s report’s Lynn Schott isn’t running for Congress yet she was accepting contributions as late as 9/30/2015 according to these filings. Schott’s still raising money.

The first candidate who contacted us directly was Anaheim Council member Jordan Brandman, followed by the consultants for Lou Correa’s campaign.  We spoke with Bao Nguyen’s consultants hours after he announced and they promised to participate, but they called Friday morning saying they couldn’t find the questions on the blog (we asked for everything no later than 9 am Friday morning); we gave them until 2PM to send something in and got an email at 2:05PM.  But these weren’t exactly tough questions and the Bao camp had plenty of notice of what we were looking for.

We also sent email to Joe Dunn’s campaign email account and its not clear if anyone is checking that mailbox but we haven’t heard from his campaign.

I’m actually delighted with the responses so far.

Correa’s team got their responses in first followed by Brandman.  So we’ll start with Lou and go in the order received.

Sen. Lou Correa (Photo: Lou Delgado)

Sen. Lou Correa (Photo: Lou Delgado)

Lou Correa

1) What’s the top issue facing Congress for 2016 and why? What is your plan to tackle this issue.

The top issue facing Congress is its endless cycles of gridlock, dysfunction and its severe inaction. I plan to tackle this issue head-on by working to find common ground with leaders while defending my core beliefs, then building consensus through collaboration so that we can finally get things done for the American people. Inaction hurts everyone, it hurts Democrats, it hurts Independents, and it hurts Republicans. Hard working families don’t care about partisanship. Hard working families want their representatives to work hard for a better quality of life and for a better future for all of us. That’s why the U.S. House of Representatives needs more common sense and pragmatic leadership, instead of more extremists and ideologues. Working in the California Legislature, I established a reputation as a common sense leader working with all parties to solve problems and get things done.  I believe I’m the best candidate to deliver these same practical and levelheaded solutions in Washington on behalf of the 46th District. 

2) If you’re elected, what is the one issue you most want to address in Congress?  Offer specifics of what you hope to accomplish.

Jobs, jobs, jobs. With the ever-evolving and increasingly competitive nature of globalization, it’s vital that Orange County and all of the United States remains vigilant in its pursuit of robust economic growth and the creation of good paying middle class jobs. In order to maintain our economic edge, our first priority must been ensuring that we have an educated workforce. In order to accomplish this, we must continue to invest more in our local neighborhood schools, community colleges and universities. For those students who do go to college, we must make it more accessible and affordable as too many students are being crippled by student loan debt. My generation had the best universities in the world, at an affordable price.  Our children deserve the same opportunities we had, namely a world-class education, at an affordable price. 

I’m also pragmatic enough to know that not everyone will go to college. That’s why I believe we must give more individuals who choose not to get a higher education, the opportunity to learn a trade or vocational skill through workforce development and job-training programs so that they can land a good job that can turn into a career. Beyond education and job-training, the federal government should do everything it can to help America’s small businesses grow and thrive. That means using its purchasing power to buy local goods, cutting bureaucratic red tape, and prioritizing small businesses for government contracts. At the same time, the federal government can and should offer incentives for businesses to hire returning veterans and for businesses who pay their workers a livable wage. Additionally, we must continue to lead the world in technological innovation by investing in research and development to create and sustain the high-skill, high-wage jobs of tomorrow.  Once those new inventions are invented, once those “breakthroughs” are made, we must incentivize the manufacturing of such products right here in America.

3) Will you support the top Democratic finisher in the CD-46 primary if you don’t win?

I have every intention of winning this election, but irrespective of that, I am 100% committed to ensuring the 46th Congressional District is represented by a Democrat.

4) If Republicans retain their Congressional majority and you’re elected to Congress, how effective will you be in working as a member of the minority and how can you still hope to accomplish your agenda from a position of weakness?

Like I stated above in answer #1, Congress’ dysfunction is unsustainable and the American people won’t stand for their continued inaction. That’s why I plan to pursue a levelheaded and common sense agenda that is centered on finding middle ground in Washington so that we can move forward on the major challenges facing our nation. 

5) Describe how your manner of governing is most like Loretta Sanchez?  And describe your greatest differentiation from her?

Similar to our Congresswoman, we both grew up in central Anaheim.  I attended Anaheim High School, and in the summers, I attended Katella High School. Congresswoman Sanchez attended Katella High School. We both earned MBAs after earning our BAs.  We were both elected in the mid-1990’s.  Our high schools may have been rivals, and we may have grown up on “different sides of the tracks,” but we were from the same city, and continue to share similar values, and continue to believe in the American Dream. Like our Congresswoman, I consider myself someone who tells it like it is. I’m not a polished politician or someone who is cautious. I’m bold, frank and honest. What you see is what you get with me. Moreover, like our Congresswoman, I’m easily accessible, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of my constituents. I’ve always admired these characteristics in Congresswoman Sanchez and I plan on continuing in her tradition as the 46th District’s next member of Congress. Significantly, it’s likely that 90% of the time, Congresswoman Sanchez and I have shared the same agenda when it comes to public policy issues. We both care about more good paying middle class jobs, better schools, increased access to healthcare, a clean and safe environment, a strong and thriving middle class, care for our veterans, protections for immigrants, and equality for all Americans. As for where we differ, I’d say it’s less about the substance and more about our career backgrounds. The Congresswoman had a finance background prior to serving in Congress and I have a finance-legal background. I’ve always admired and respected our Congresswoman, and believe she has served the 46th District with tremendous dedication, integrity, and honor. While her running for U.S. Senate leaves the 46th District with big shoes to fill, I believe I have the experience, skills, and the vision to meet the challenge and to best serve the residents of this great district.

jordan_brandman

Jordan Brandman

1) What’s the top issue facing Congress for 2016 and why? What is your plan to tackle this issue.

Congress must finally reform the policies that have created such incredible income inequality for American families. We need an economy that works for everybody, and we can accomplish that if we make our tax code fairer to working families and small businesses, allow hard-working Americans to refinance their crushing student loans, and fully invest in our infrastructure.

2) If you’re elected, what is the one issue you most want to address in Congress?  Offer specifics of what you hope to accomplish.

If we are to continue to lead the world in science, technology, and innovation, we need to lead the world in the education of our students. Congress needs to fully invest in education, and as a former Anaheim Union High School District Trustee I hope to play a part in that discussion. Specifically, the United States must reevaluate the agrarian calendar that most schools still utilize. Instead of approximately 180 days of instruction, our students need to receive at least the 200 instructional days that other leading economies around the world offer their children. By restoring funding to federally-mandated educational programs, Congress and the Federal Government can free states and local education agencies to increase instructional time and critical curricular programming.

3) Will you support the top Democratic finisher in the CD-46 primary if you don’t win?

I would endorse the Democratic candidate who I believe will best represent the 46th District.

4) If Republicans retain their Congressional majority and you’re elected to Congress, how effective will you be in working as a member of the minority and how can you still hope to accomplish your agenda from a position of weakness?

Since I first took public office in 2008, I’ve served in a Democratic minority on both the Anaheim Union High School District Board of Trustees and Anaheim City Council. I’m proud of my record of getting results for my constituents, and every victory was accomplished — by necessity – by collaborating with Republican colleagues. These lessons in commonsense, results-driven leadership have given me the experience to be effective in the House of Representatives, regardless of whether I serve in the majority or minority.

5) Describe how your manner of governing is most like Loretta Sanchez?  And describe your greatest differentiation from her?

It is imperative that Congresswoman Sanchez’s successor follow her example of commonsense leadership and forceful advocacy for our neighborhoods. She has always been an energetic representative, forging consensus among her colleagues to accomplish the district’s priorities. In November 2016, I will be the same age Congresswoman Sanchez was when she defeated Rep. Bob Dornan in 1996. She won by running a campaign focused on moving the district forward, and I am, as well. I hope to build on her accomplishments and represent the 46th District as the diverse community it is.

Regarding differentiation, the Congresswoman and I come from different places in our life experience. She grew up in the age of the Vietnam War, and I grew up in the post-Vietnam, digital era. That generational jump gives me a different perspective on how our decisions impact the young families I served on the school board and whom I serve today on the City Council.

Bao-Nguyen

Bao Nguyen

1) What’s the top issue facing Congress for 2016 and why? What is your plan to tackle this issue.

The most important issue facing Congress is fixing Congress itself. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not patient when I see something that is wrong, or broken. And everyone I talk to thinks Washington is broken. They are too self-interested, and not at all interested in the lives of the people they are supposed to represent. That needs to change, it needs to change now, and that is why I’m running for Congress.

The people want a government that looks out for their interest. But when, year after year and election after election they see only the interests of the powerful and well connected being protected, they rightly get discouraged. The people deserve better than just another politician with false promises of prosperity and progress, only to be let down year after year. The people deserve better than just another politician whose outside groups, Washington lobbyists, and special-interest PACs do all the work for them. It’s time to change that.

The first step to changing that is to empower the people to take back what is theirs: their government.

2) If you’re elected, what is the one issue you most want to address in Congress?  Offer specifics of what you hope to accomplish.

I want to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

It makes me sick to my stomach when I hear the Republicans running for President talk about immigrants. It’s despicable. Immigrants are the backbone of this country. They built this country and continue to add to it in so many ways.

I was born in a refugee camp, and came to this country when I was three months old. We didn’t have much – let’s be honest, we were just poor. But we found a welcoming and supportive community, and with help and hard work, I was able to build a life here in California.

And my story is the story of so many in this district, this state, and across the country. We need to celebrate the accomplishments of our immigrant neighbors, and we need to bring everyone out of the shadows. That’s why we need to reform Washington, so that we can pass comprehensive immigration reform and so every single person can be a full participant in the American Dream.

I will also fight to ensure we build an economy for everyone – where everyone does their fair share, and everyone gets a fair shot at the American Dream.

Our President has been working tirelessly to fix the broken economy he inherited. It has been doing fine for some, but for far too many of the people I talk to every day, it’s not doing well enough. What good is a rising stock market if families’ wages are falling? And that’s the case for too many families – they can’t find good paying jobs and are forced to work several jobs just to get by. We need an economy that works for the families of this district, not just for the wealthy and the well connected. That’s why we have to reform Washington – so that we can create jobs for the people and make decisions that are in the interests of the people.

3) Will you support the top Democratic finisher in the CD-46 primary if you don’t win?

I’m a genuine progressive. I’m an immigrant who has never forgotten where I come from or the opportunities America has given me to succeed. I’m trilingual – English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. I’ve been a labor organizer for over 5 years, a faith-based community organizer, and a public school substitute teacher before that. I have a long record of public service and empowering and developing grassroots leaders for progressive policy change. I’m the first LGBTQ mayor of any city in the district, and the first Vietnamese American mayor of a U.S. city larger than 100,000 people.

I support comprehensive immigration reform, reforming the criminal justice system, protecting women’s access to healthcare, and building an economy that works for the families of this district.

I have no illusions about the challenge we face in this election, but I’m confident our message will resonate with the voters of this district. We’re going to win this race.

4) If Republicans retain their Congressional majority and you’re elected to Congress, how effective will you be in working as a member of the minority and how can you still hope to accomplish your agenda from a position of weakness?

While the Republicans technically hold a majority, it’s clear their conference is deeply fractured and in disarray. The tactical and ideological divisions between Tea-Party extremists and the GOP establishment leads me to believe that they cannot to govern effectively as a unified majority.

So even if Republicans retain a majority, I’m confident I will be an effective champion for comprehensive immigration reform, reforming our criminal justice system, protecting women’s access to healthcare, and building an economy that works for the families of this district, not just the wealthy and well connected. These are issues that Democrats will support – and I’m confident sensible, pragmatic Republicans, who are tired of party infighting, will support them as well.

5) Describe how your manner of governing is most like Loretta Sanchez?  And describe your greatest differentiation from her?

(No answer offered)

There has been no response from Joe Dunn’s campaign to these questions.

  9 comments for “3 out of 4 Ain’t Bad: CD-46 Candidates Answer Policy Questions

  1. October 16, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Bao didn’t really answer question #3 either, did he.

  2. October 16, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    He did not

  3. Robert Lauten
    October 17, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Debate attendance: 150 – 160
    13 Party discipline questions & they all agreed except for one question. Dunn, Nguyen, & Brandman were for a “2 State Solution” for Israel. (A “2 State Solution” for Israel means the “Right of Return” and the end of Israel). Lou Correa did not use the phrase “2 State Solution”.
    The 3 questions from the audience were drawn from 3 x 5 cards. 2 of the 3 questions were repeat questions from the 13 Party discipline questions.
    The OC Register had at least 6 editorials in support of the TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership. There were no TPP questions.

    • Greg Diamond
      October 17, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      No, Robert — the “right of return” that would threaten the Jewish character of the State of Israel is a function of the “one-state solution.” The “two-state solution” threatens to roll back the settlements in occupied territories. I guess all of them know something you don’t!

      • Robert Lauten
        October 17, 2015 at 7:46 pm

        CA-46 Congressional candidates: Joe Dunn, Bao Nguyen, & Jordan Brandman might not realize that their call for a “Two State Solution” includes a “Right to Return” (which means the end of Israel) via U.N. Resolutions 194,169, & 237 (see below).
        Two-state solution
        “The framework of the solution is set out in UN resolutions on the “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine”, going back to 1974.[1][2][3] The resolution calls for “two States, Israel and Palestine … side by side within secure and recognized borders” together with “a just resolution of the refugee question in conformity with UN resolution 194”.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-state_solution

        United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194
        “Since the late 1960s, Article 11 has increasingly been quoted by those who interpret it as a basis for the right of return of Palestinian refugees. The UN General Assembly has reaffirmed Resolution 194 every year since 1949.[1] Multiple subsequent resolutions from the United Nations have reaffirmed the right of return, including General Assembly Resolution 169 (1980),[1] and Security Council Resolution 237 (1967).[5]”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_194

        • Greg Diamond
          October 18, 2015 at 4:36 pm

          Wikipedia-sourced or not, it is inaccurate. Even Netanyahu had, until this year, been willing to consider a two-state solution — which is a pretty clear indication that it does not envision the destruction of Israel. The Right of Return *to the Jewish state for non-Jews* would be on the table, but Israel views it as very narrow, which is a problem.

          I think I’ve said all I need to here. I’ll say pre-emptively that your next post on the topic, Robert, will almost surely also be wrong.

  4. STAKING CLAIM
    October 19, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    It is clear that the “blog flies” are swarming around this campaign.

    Voice Of OC – Clearly the stand in Joe Dunn’s corner given his roll in creating that blog/website. Add to that Nick Gerda’s personal and community relationship with the Dunn’s and his parents……. THE VOC is clearly biased for Dunn.

    OJB – In perhaps the most grotesqe example of propaganda. These guys will stop at nothing to DESTROY Jordan Brandman, including one of their more generally affable bloggers bringing into the debate his dead Mother here. Diamonds, “editorial” speaks vollumes as to why one dhould dig deeper (all six months worth into Bao). Nevermind the ommission that the mayor can’t even vote for himself!
    The LIBERAL OC – Clearly the site has it’s favorites, who I presume to be Lou and Jordan. At least you come across as less biased and for obvious reasons makes you friendlier to the candidates, thus giving a more realistic presentation.
    ANAHEIM BLOG – Going for the hometown guy, but inderstands perhaps better than anyone the political realities of Orange County.

    In conclusion, we can expect, the Father of Bao Ngyuens treasure to try and keep that money stream flowing, his only known employer whose comments above tell us EVERYTHING we need to know about their feelings towards Jordan Brandman to remain formly footed ( Lou Correa killed people after all according to Diamond). Further, Joe Dunn’s former staffer a CONVICTED FELON (on possesion of METH and weapons charges), Paul Lucas to keep popping up, until Dunn’s smarter advisors realize the risk
    Paul do your guy a favor: shut up. You ate not helping.
    Lou will keep his jaugernaught rolling. Leaving the extremist non-voters is his wake.

    There is always SQS!

    • Greg Diamond
      October 20, 2015 at 1:00 am

      You were right not to put your real name on that comment. It would have been embarrassing.

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