Q & A with the Candidate

     The five questions everyone wants to ask Steve Haze are now available for you to read right here.  As the Candidate for the 20th Congressional District, Steve will need to have a good understanding of the area he wants to represent. As people living in the 20th Congressional District and the San Joaquin Valley who care about our future – we all have a responsibility to work together with Steve to move all us in the right direction that will improve our lives, friends, families and communities within the region.

Q. What do you think is the biggest threat to the Valley's economic well-being in the future 5 to 20 years out?

A: I would say the environment, energy, education and future growth are the biggest challenges to our region’s economic stability and vitality here in the 20th District. With air quality ranked the worst in the United States – and children’s asthma rate at twice the state’s level – this is the most immediate health crisis facing our communities.  Air pollution makes it less attractive for businesses to open new operations here in our valley. The fact that we are not making enough progress – or looking at other alternatives than oil especially from the Middle East and Gulf Regions – is our biggest long term threat to National Security and our regional economy. If we don't make a more concerted effort to change our sources and types of energy – all of us can predict that energy derived from oil will be the largest single expense facing farmers and residents in this valley alike.

The huge expense of petroleum based energy will drive the cost of farm products up to the point where they aren't affordable to consumers – or allow us to be competitive in the global marketplace.  This would then create an even more  serious economic crisis for our valley – and for this Nation.  This will put us at greater risk with unstable countries where we get our oil from today.

When elected to Congress to represent the 20th District, I would make it my goal to bring new technologies in energy and water efficiencies and create good paying jobs that we so desperately need for this District and our Valley as a whole.  I am proposing legislation that will finance solar technologies, biofuels and water efficiency technologies that can be manufactured here – and become one of the primary sources of clean, non-polluting energy and water use for our Valley.

I would also encourage the free market system through federal investment tax credits – and other business incentives towards constructing new factories and training a workforce to build those products for use in the valley, state, nation and to be exported throughout the world.

There is one more threat to the economic stability of the region that would be the result of allowing the problems to continue to grow: crime. As businesses decline due to an uneducated and low-skill workforce and economic regulatory constraints – crime can increase. If businesses are allowed to thrive – and we have an educated and greater skilled workforce – the crime generally decreases. We as elected officials, educators, business and labor leaders – all of as a community and society can take a much greater proactive, collaborative and constructive approach for our long term success.  We can all begin by expanding educational and jobs training opportunities – while simultaneously working on the environmental challenges such as air and water quality. In this way, we are preparing our children and future generations to become responsible and provide leadership in order to successfully face these challenges.

So much more has to be done to secure our communities from gangs and cartels operating with impunity.  They have to be sent a strong message that we will not be intimidated.  Congress has a role to play – and must act immediately.

The idea of living in a safe community and not living in fear for children and family members shouldn't be thought of as unattainable. As citizens in our communities and in this Valley, we should be prepared to act accordingly to defend our homes and our neighbor’s home too if the need arises.  Isn’t that what is meant by community – and gives strength to a Nation? 

Q: Steve, what are your feelings about rapid urbanization in the Valley, especially as it impacts the farmers in the Valley? How can your role in Congress help to alleviate this problem?

A: The problem of urban growth is definitely a challenge that needs to be addressed.  However, it is important that this be done more on the local and county levels – and not based upon federal government mandates.

What I would do as a Congressman is to assist the local and county governments within the District by providing meaningful incentives to the farmers such as investment tax credits that would support improving air and water quality; improved waste management and recycling.

Additionally, I would support farmers being provided incentives that improve energy and water use efficiency. This would allow for agriculture to be the foundation of the regional economy – yet begin to spur the growth of complementary industries that will create jobs and make this valley more competitive in the global marketplace.

The farmers in the Valley are the heart and soul of our legacy and how we define ourselves from other regions of the state and elsewhere.  The Valley is the number one agricultural producing region in the United States – and the world as a whole.  We are the cornucopia of the world.  Could any of us ever imagine what would the Valley be without agriculture and a thriving farming community?  It is up to everyone of us to come up with meaningful ways in which to assure that agriculture and our farming heritage remains intact.  I have and will continue to participate with all levels of government to protect agriculture and the farmer.

Q: Do you believe that the U.S. should adopt some type of Universal Health Care system similar to Canada and Europe? If not, what would you do as a Congressman to help combat the excellerating rate of uninsured Americans?

A: That's a good question and one that doesn't have any single method of resolving the problem, as we've all seen by watching the current and previous Administration debate this same issue. I do support the idea that every American should have health insurance coverage in some form or another.  Does this mean that it should be another sprawling governmental program to administer the funding for the beneficiaries?  I don't think that would be the right approach.  It's clear that switching to a government-run health care system like Canada and Europe won't be the best idea for our free market system.  I think that some type of hybrid system will be the best idea.

What would this hybrid look like and how would it be paid for is the big question. I would support where the costs for health care is spread out over industry and individuals alike so that the burden would not fall onto the employers only. There would be a program sliding scale for those citizens who are below the poverty line and up to a predetermined income level that would qualify for the insurance payments.

Rather than create a new agency to handle the new benefits plans, I would probably support sending federal dollars to the states and let them distribute the payments directly to insurance providers, hospital networks, etc. on behalf of the beneficiary. I think a department like the EDD would be ideal since they already know your wages. They are also very streamlined so citizens wouldn't have to wait.

Q: What are your thoughts on the way the government has acted in the past six years, especially with Civil Liberties and Rights of American people?

A: I strongly believe in the way our Constitution was written and I strongly believe in keeping it that way.  I don't think that giving the government the ability to take away our basic rights will help keep anyone safe from a terrorist attack. Its just common sense that the government has a job to do to protect us, but there has to be a legal balance that must be maintained.

Q: How do you think that issue of immigration should be handled? Should farmers be penalized for utilizing migrant laborers?

A: The immigration issue is quite complex – previous Administrations and Congress have miserably failed the American people. There has not been a fair and open debate on this issue for over twenty years. The fact of the matter is, there have been millions of hard working men and women living in this country for many years – in many cases under an illegal cloud.
Fortunately, there are also those who have been welcomed to our country and have worked very hard through the path of becoming naturalized citizens. Many times I have watched hundreds of immigrants from around the world – with different religions, ethnicities, and cultures now give their new oath of allegiance to one new country – the United States. Then as new American citizens, I have personally assisted them to register to vote – and begin to exercise their franchise in a free and democratic society – in which they are now only loyal to. It is a wonderful experience.

The issue of immigration needs to be approached as one of fairness and compassion – not purely of exploitation and cheap labor as has frequently been the case. There are already many immigration and guest worker programs in place to allow for the legal and free movement of workers – such as under the H2B guest worker program.
The question has to be asked: "Why is it that past Administrations and Congress have failed over these many years to use existing programs to allow for those desperately looking for a better life to be here legally?" And why haven't previous Administrations worked with other countries such as Mexico on the root causes of why a nation’s people are being desperately compelled to flee their own country to find a better life? There has to be a better way.

I want to be certain that every American has an opportunity to have a job that they are qualified for and have an interest in. Those jobs that go unfilled – others through the existing work visa program can take advantage of them.

Another question about jobs in America needs to be asked: “Why have millions of jobs gone overseas to Communist China and India? And what did prior Administrations do -- and what is Congress doing today to help the Middle Class people in our own country?"

What does this have to do me being elected to Congress?
Well, the way I see it, I would be there on the floor of the House of Representatives representing and working hard for each and every one of you within the 20th Congressional District. This is our valley, our way of life – and our children’s future that must be preserved and defended at all costs. I want to make certain that the lives, wellbeing and happiness of everyone becomes better each and every day. I want to insure that this great trust and responsibility to serve that the people have placed upon me better is done in an honorable way.

What better goal could there be in life than to serve honorably one’s community, one’s nation and under one’s faith?