3:59 PM EST, March 6, 2012
Date of birth: April 16, 1963
Address: 8921 Durham Drive
Education: bachelor’s degree in biology and English from Columbia University in 1985; law degree from Georgetown Law School in 1988
Occupation: entrepreneur; has started two businesses
Party affiliation: Democrat
Political experience: won a race to be a delegate for Hillary Clinton at Democratic national convention
Q: How important is it that the United States reduce its debt? How and when should that be done?
John Delaney, Democrat: Hugely important. Coming from a business background, I understand we can’t spend more than we take in. Debt reduction is an area where a lack of compromise in Congress isn’t working. We need a grand budget deal along the lines of Simpson-Bowles that reduces the deficit responsibly. Dealing with the debt will also invigorate the economy as it will cause business investment to increase as businesses will have certainty about our economic future. To reduce the debt fairly we need a balanced approach that focuses on reductions in spending, tax reform, and broadening the economic base.
Q: What’s the best way to create more jobs?
Delaney: To create jobs, particularly jobs that have a high standard of living, we have to focus on U.S. Competitiveness. Our long-term negative employment trends have been caused by globalization and technology. ... That means restoring our economic competitiveness globally by growing high-technology industries of the future. A grand budget deal will encourage massive private sector investment. ... Improving outcomes in education to train more high-skill workers who can compete on the global market is critical. Finally, we need a national energy policy that makes us energy independent and a global leader in alternative energy production. ...
Q: Besides jobs, what is Washington County’s most pressing need? How can you help?
Delaney: Western Maryland needs a new and aggressive advocate in Congress, a leader who will bring together federal, state, and local resources for economic growth. Specifically, we can do more to match our job training and education programs to the needs of employers. The recent expansion of the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics at the Hagerstown Airport, which blends public investment in infrastructure, job training, and private sector input to help create jobs, is an example we can replicate. Redeveloping Fort Ritchie, which has been stalled and delayed too long, is also a tremendous opportunity for the county’s economic base.
Q: What, if anything, would you change about federal entitlement programs?
Delaney: Social Security and Medicare have been hugely successful programs that have kept millions of Americans out of poverty. I approach entitlements with two core principles: 1) to keep the promises we’ve made to our seniors and 2) an understanding that we may have to make some changes to keep the programs viable. Privatizing Social Security and turning Medicare into a voucher program are utterly wrong approaches. I agree with the proposals from the Simpson- Bowles commission to strengthen Social Security. Medicare will be strengthened as part of initiatives to reform the health care delivery system and lower health care costs.
Q: How would you change the federal tax code? Please be specific.
Delaney: Overall we need to simplify the code and reduce rates while eliminating enough loopholes to raise revenue. This is why I support the Simpson-Bowles plan. We should also make our tax code smarter. We should end tax breaks for investing in large companies that don’t need capital investment while expanding breaks for investing in small businesses. Specifically, I would lower the capital gains rate on investment income that comes from small businesses.
Q: What is the best thing President Obama has done and what is the worst?
Delaney: President Obama kept his promise to get us out of Iraq, re-focus on Al-Qaeda, and bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, and I believe he has been very successful at all three. He also navigated the country successfully through the financial crisis, which would have crippled our economy if allowed to run its course. Although the President has been a strong voice for middle class Americans, I believe he could have done more to push for a grand budget deal along the lines of Simpson-Bowles.
Q: What, if anything, should the U.S. do about Iran’s nuclear program?
Delaney: Our position should be very clear: Iran should not possess nuclear weapons. The current economic sanctions are working, but in part they are working because we have made it clear that all options are on the table.
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