Herald file photos
4th Congressional District candidates, from left, Carolyn McCarthy, Fran Becker and Frank Scaturro.
McCarthy: I would like to continue to pass legislation that improves our economy and creates jobs here on Long Island, including comprehensive tax reform that puts an emphasis on helping the middle class and stops our national debt from spiraling out of control; bills that support a longer-term reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which has financed $65 million in export sales activity in the 4th Congressional District alone; and bills that support an all-of-the-above energy policy while also protecting our natural resources. I’d also like to pass legislation that helps students get more access to higher education, which will help our nation be competitive in a global economy, and of course I’d like to see a lot more done to reduce gun violence, which is a serious problem in our nation with over 30,000 Americans killed every year.
Becker: Creating jobs for Long Island’s working families, lowering the national debt, and reducing federal spending. My Middle Class Jobs Plan addresses these very topics: paying down America’s unsustainable debt and ensuring the nation starts living within its means — just like we must do in our own homes. I’m the only candidate in this race with an actual, written Jobs Plan for the Middle Class.
Scaturro: More than can be listed in the space provided, but they would include measures to put our fiscal house in order: new rules implementing budget caps; amending the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act to increase presidential discretion to curb wasteful spending; and restoring our entitlement programs to a path of solvency. We should restore the Federal Reserve’s single mandate to maintain a sound and stable dollar and repeal and replace Dodd Frank with sensible financial regulation. In foreign policy, I advocate expanding the NATO alliance’s mandate and membership to include Israel, Australia, and Japan.
Herald: What are your thoughts on President Obama’s health care reforms?
McCarthy: Our health care system was not working well for too many people. And we took action to do something about it. The health care law that passed two years ago has already helped expand access to coverage and lower the cost of care or medicine for thousands of Long Islanders. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that it’ll reduce the deficit and the AARP supports it for strengthening Medicare for patients. Now, if you have a pre-existing condition like cancer, you won’t be abandoned – it’ll be covered. More seniors are getting preventative checkups they need to stay healthy. The insurance companies are being required to spend more money on patient care and less on administrative costs. And seniors are saving thousands of dollars in prescription drug costs. Under this law, taxpayers don’t have to pay higher costs just to pay for health care for people who choose not to take insurance and use the emergency room instead.
Becker: I do not support ObamaCare. I will keep the good parts but repeal and improve the rest. Why? Because it’s a job-killing tax; the Supreme Court agrees with that assessment. No matter what my opponent will try and tell you, she voted for it, again and again. More problematic is Carolyn McCarthy hasn't even explained to her constituents why she voted for the largest tax increase in American history. She also hasn’t explained why she also voted to eliminate more than $500 billion from Medicare and gut the Medicare Advantage Program that thousands of seniors across Nassau County rely on.
Scaturro: I believe the Affordable Health Care Act compromises the high quality of care that Americans receive and stifles the application of life-saving breakthroughs in medical technology. Obamacare should be repealed and replaced by meaningful health care reform under which our system would return more discretion to patients and their doctors. Working-age individuals should be able to select from a large number of health insurance options for themselves and their families to reduce premium charges. We also need to place greater emphasis on preventative care. Finally, we should implement tort reform to help control the rapidly escalating cost of health care.
Herald: What should be done at the federal level to spur job creation and strengthen the economy?
McCarthy: I’ve already done a lot on the federal level to spur job creation and strengthen the economy, and I look forward to doing more of it. I have voted for tax cuts for small businesses and taxpayers of all income brackets, have fought for equal pay for women, am fighting to keep Medicare strong and affordable, and have made a concrete difference in protecting and creating jobs here on Long Island. I’ve forged a bipartisan deal to reauthorize a federal bank that makes a profit for taxpayers and has financed $65 million in export sales activity in the 4th Congressional District alone; I’ve fought to save 900 Long Island jobs – and create even more – by encouraging the FAA to build its new long-range control tower here; and I’ve hosted several job fairs, including one that connected about a thousand jobseekers to three dozen local employers that were hiring.
Becker: My Middle Class Jobs Plan will pay down our ballooning national debt, fix the tax code by ensuring people pay just their fair share, reduce regulatory burdens that hurt small businesses, reduce spending by $6 trillion - all while creating jobs on Long Island and allowing businesses and entrepreneurs to be more competitive in the global marketplace. I’m the only candidate in this race with an actual, written Middle Class Jobs Plan. Carolyn McCarthy has put us in the middle of the worst national economy since the Great Depression. And she continues to do nothing to fix her mess.
Scaturro: Fiscal responsibility, strong families, a regulatory system that protects free markets rather than stifle innovation, and a sound and stable dollar have been the cornerstones of prosperity throughout history. To increase job creation and economic development, we need to start with fundamental change in both tax policy and spending policy. Our notoriously complex tax code should be replaced with a simpler, flatter tax code with lower rates. Economic development, which for too long has been corrupted by self-dealing special interests under the guise of central planning, needs to follow a bottom-up approach that gives the people the last word on their future.
Herald: What issues are important specifically to the 4th Congressional District?
McCarthy: The No. 1 issue that’s important to the 4th Congressional District is strengthening our economy and protecting and creating jobs here. On a very local level I’ve done that by bringing together dozens of hiring employers and over a thousand job seekers at job fairs I’ve organized here. I’ve also been an outspoken advocate – even in the face of criticism by one of my opponents – for the FAA to build its new long-range regional tower here on Long Island instead of anywhere else within 150 miles of New York City, which is possible due to advancements in navigation technology. This would save 900 jobs here on Long Island, and create up to a thousand more from the new construction. Education is also critical to the people of the 4th Congressional District, with our excellent schools, as well as protecting our first responders and veterans, of whom there are so many here. The scourge of airplane noise is a big problem for many residents of Nassau County – I’m working with the FAA and the Port Authority to try to find solutions that will improve the quality of life for people. Finally, a flood insurance requirement is a problem for homeowners in parts of the district and I’m working to relieve them of that burden – until accurate flood local maps are developed to I’m proud to have gotten the federal government to agree to reduced insurance rates for homeowners.
Becker: Job creation, growing our local, regional and national economies again, and reducing federal tax burdens to make it easier for our working families and seniors to make ends meet.
Scaturro: Our residents are suffering from the incredibly high cost of living, which has forced many to leave Nassau County. They are concerned about crushing taxes and a regulatory environment that makes it difficult to find jobs that would sustain their standard of living. Getting our fiscal house in order and reducing the burdens of government are thus very important. So is health care from the standpoint not only of patients who receive it, but also of those who work for health care providers, who are among Nassau County’s largest employers. National security is also a major concern given our location near a prime target of terrorism.
Herald: Where could the federal government do better?
McCarthy: Federal agencies can always do better at their local understanding about the specific needs of local communities. I understand it’s the nature of federal government agencies to have a more broad or general understanding than local agencies, but some federal agencies – like the EPA, which is remediating polluted soil in our district – do better than others at understanding how different parts of the country are different from each other. This is especially important in economic matters, since the median income and cost of living on Long Island are so much higher than many other parts of the country.
Becker: Where can’t the federal government do better? The true federal unemployment rate is 14.6 percent here according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics recent data. These unemployment numbers are beyond terrible and the Middle Class is barely getting by. But Carolyn McCarthy pretends that nothing is wrong. We must change course. We need an active representative in Congress focused on bringing jobs to the area and turning our stagnant economy around. I’m ready, prepared and the only candidate in this race with an actual, written Middle Class Jobs Plan supported by 132 American economists.
Scaturro: I can do far better in demonstrating the most basic fiscal responsibility, a deficiency so great that our national debt is now $16 trillion. The federal government’s vast administrative state is too often inefficient, unresponsive, and obstructive toward those it is supposed to serve. The most underutilized tool of Congress is oversight, which should be exercised more with respect to federal agencies to make sure they are doing their jobs and that problems which often go ignored are rectified. Congress also should pass legislation with greater clarity and specificity rather than delegating that role to unelected agencies.
Herald: Why are you the best candidate?
McCarthy: I’m proud of my record of accomplishment in protecting and creating jobs and economic opportunity here on Long Island and am eager to continue working for the people of my district, both the ones I represent now as well as those in the new parts of the district, like Long Beach, Merrick, Bellmore and Wantagh. The 4th Congressional District is a special place that requires a special approach and I’m confident that I’m the best candidate to bring that approach. I don’t come from a political or partisan background – I was a nurse, a wife and a mother who first went to Washington as an activist and then went as an elected representative entrusted by her neighbors to fight for them from inside the system. Today National Journal ranks me as one of the most bipartisan members of Congress in New York and I’m proud of that because that’s how the people of the 4th Congressional District are – we aren’t Republicans or Democrats first, we’re Long Islanders and Americans first.
Becker: I’m an experienced legislator with ideas that will turn our country around. The failures and inaction from the McCarthy-Obama team in Washington are staggering. I know this election is about the economy and pocketbook issues. Our neighbors deserve a real recovery that provides more jobs and better take-home pay. Big government spending programs the my opponent favors and votes for, like ObamaCare, aren’t the solution to our challenges. My Jobs Plan will end the Middle Class squeeze of declining incomes and rising prices, bring back prosperity to our neighborhoods and lives and help create jobs here in Nassau County.
Scaturro: Both of my opponents are long-serving incumbents whose votes have contributed to grave fiscal crises in which they have failed to lead after having ample opportunity to do so — Carolyn McCarthy for 16 years in Washington, Fran Becker for 17 years in Nassau County. I bring to the table a combination of a deeper knowledge of Congress, a career dedicated to our Constitution, and a fresh perspective — not to mention a specific vision that the others have not offered. Most importantly, I believe integrity comes first, which means a willingness to take a stand where others do not.