ConnecticutPlus.com believes that it is the civic duty of every one of us to make the best educated choice when it comes to electing the people to represent us at the different levels of government.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. That's why, we all have to make as much effort as possible to educate ourselves of the opinions and personalities of the candidates who ask for our vote so that when we go to the polls we are truly prepared and confident that we are making the right choice.
As we continue our tradition that we started when we began publishing in 2005 we present you our one-on-one interviews with the major candidates running to be the next U.S. Senator from Connecticut.
We hope that these interviews will help you in your selection process in these ever more important elections.
NOTE: Interviews have been conducted in person or over the phone during the month of July by our Editor-in-Chief Naiden Stoyanov and have been edited for brevity, clarity and grammar. We asked for half an hour with each of the four major candidates and they graciously accepted our invitations. Some candidates opted to speak with us longer. In our attempt to bring you as much information as possible, we did not interrupt our interviews at the half hour mark therefore some of the interviews are longer than others. Interview length was at the discretion of the candidate and should not be viewed as an indication of bias on our part. We are proud to be an independent media. Mr. Stoyanov is not a member of or affiliated with any party.
- Businesswoman, former CEO of WWE
- Website: lindaforsenate2012.com
NS: Ms. McMahon, thank you for taking time to speak with us. On the issues, what's the biggest difference between you and Christopher Shays?
LM: Well, I can tell you what the main issue is that's on the minds of the people in Connecticut and it's on the mind of the people in our country and that is jobs and the economy. The folks here in Connecticut want to know what's going to happen to their business. Or you are talking to folks who've lost their jobs or are afraid they're going to lose their jobs, their businesses are going under, they can't get access to credit, they're overburdened by regulatory environment and taxes and they want to know how can they be helped. And they're looking for a candidate, like myself who has come from the private sector, who has been part of small businesses, who's built a business, who's been bankrupt along the way as well. They are not looking for someone who's been bankrupt, but the fact that I have been they know that I understand some of their plight. And so what they're looking for is that private sector real world experience and that is the sharpest line and the brightest line between Congressman Shays and myself. His career has been spent in politics and in Washington and mine has been spent building company creating jobs here in Connecticut.
NS: In your life you haven't always enjoyed good financial times but now you are a successful businesswoman. Some would say that if they had your money they would be doing anything else but running for office. What is your response?
LM: I decided to run for the United State Senate because I absolutely looked at where our country is in terms of our debt and our deficit and the fact that we didn't have enough business people in Washington and felt that that was a hole in the gap that we needed to fill. I looked at the faces of my little grandchildren and wondered what kind of legacy was I going to leave them, are they going to have the same opportunity that their grandfather and I have had. You want every generation to do better and my real concern is that they are not going to be able to if we don't turn our economy around and get our folks back to work. And we have just been continuing to slide down this slope and we are not making the kind of progress that we need to get our economy back on track. So I want to make sure that we can do that. I think I have a different skill set, a different perspective to bring to the United States Senate. And I have a plan that I've been working on that I've published, it's available online at Lindasplan.com so that you can see the six points that I have to put people back to work and to jump start the economy. And my plan has been tested. I know the numbers work. I am the only candidate that has a plan that has been tested. So, I'm anxious to put it forward because it will jump start our economy, it will not add to the deficit, as a matter of fact, from 2013 to 2021 will balance the budget and reduce our deficits. I'll work very hard to get this plan passed.
NS: In your plan you call for tax reductions on the middle class and other tax reductions across the board, including business tax cuts. How does this plan reconcile with the need to balance the budget?
LM: There's this fallacy in thinking that you raise taxes and you increase revenues. The point of fact history has shown us that that is not the case. You raise taxes and you decrease revenues. And you have to pay for reductions. So when I have indicated that we will reduce taxes on the middle class, which is really one of the cornerstones of my plan, we also are going to reduce spending, we also, by reducing taxes on businesses, we're going to eliminate the loopholes and subsidies for those businesses and that will also grow the revenue base. So you're going to continue to raise revenues by putting people back to work. The more people are working, the more taxes they are paying. And we're also going to reduce spending and if you look at my plan, it's one percent of spending each year [reductions] and we will pay for that by eliminating duplicative and overlapping programs in our government.
NS: Fiscally, there is a big chance that we'll find ourselves at the brink of another need to raise the debt ceiling or risk a government shutdown which would have pretty bad consequences globally, not only in our country. What's your position? How would you vote on a debt ceiling increase if you were in the senate?
LM: Relative to the debt ceiling, I would vote to increase it based on the fact that we were putting spending controls in place that would make sure we never got to the position of having to have that vote again. We need to stop spending more than we're earning. And we just haven't grasped that principle yet, in Washington. That's fundamentally what we have to do. That's why in my plan I have talked about reducing spending one percent a year. One percent a year based on where we're spending today, at $3.8 trillion would be $38 billion. Surely, we can find $38 billion on an annual basis to reduce this spending.
NS: Would that be enough to balance the budget?
LM: Well, if all in my plan is executed, you can't pick it apart. It's a combination of tax cuts, of elimination of subsidies and loopholes, of reduction in spending, of putting people back to work so that you are continuing to grow revenue base. So, all of it together is part of a plan to get people back to work, to balance the budget and to get our economy back on track.
NS: From your Democratic opponents, who would you rather face in November?
LM: It'd be nice if I had no opponent, right? But, whichever Democratic opponent is elected in the primary, we'll have a very strong good race and I expect to win in November.
NS: In the recent ruling on the healthcare bill by the Supreme court, Chief Justice John Roberts, a President Bush nominee, a conservative, took the side of the liberals to uphold the law. Were you surprised by that? What are your thoughts on the healthcare system in our country?
LM: I have been on record all along as saying that I would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but [will] replace it. I think there are parts of the act that we should keep. For instance, a child being able to stay on his parent's insurance until they're 26 is very helpful, especially in today's economic environment. I think that insurance that we buy should always be guaranteed renewable so that you wouldn't be penalized for having a preexisting condition. I think that insurance should be accessible, affordable and portable. And we should be able to buy it across state lines. I think that any kind of healthcare reform must include tort reform. And I do think that small businesses should be able to form groups so that they can buy insurance [together] and bring the rates down. My concern, really, with the President's Affordable Care Act is that we're going to reduce the quality of our healthcare. I've talked to many people in our state who honestly believe that now they have free healthcare. And clearly that's not the case, because we do have this mandate, which will be a tax, or a penalty, or a fine, but it is ruled as a tax, it's a tax increase, and we're going to have more tax increases at the end of this year if Congress doesn't act to make sure that the current tax law, sometimes referred to as the Bush tax cuts, don't expire. We have sequestration that's going to happen at the end of this year, the payroll tax is going to go back up and we're going to have other taxes that are going into effect under the Affordable Care Act. This will be the highest tax increase in history. It's going to put people out of work, increase the cost of healthcare and it's also going to put us into a recession again. We have to have a Congress that's going to act and we have to have people that are willing to stand up, be proactive and lead.
NS: What about education? Is our education system failing and why?
LM: I believe that education is best handled closest to the student. In other words, I believe that our local school boards, our municipalities have the best handle, if you will, on how to educate the children in their area. I don't think one-size-fits-all-from Washington is the right...
NS: What should be the federal government's role, legislature's law in ensuring [a good] education level?
LM: I do think we have to have some national standards because we also compete on a global basis. But I do think that in order to compete globally we must be able to educate the kids closest to home.
NS: What do you think of the recent decision of Obama's administration on the issue of illegal immigration and what do you think should be done to fix the immigration system in the nation?
LM: I think that's just one piece of immigration reform. We do need, I think, overall immigration reform. The act that the President just enacted, I thought was unfortunate from the same point of the timing and I think the motive. I think it's politically motivated. While I think we need overall [immigration] reform, I don't think we should put folks who are not citizens ahead of our citizens here in the United States. I think we need to reinforce our borders and prevent more illegal immigration into this country. However, we are a country of immigrants and we should encourage those to come in legally. There are students who come here and who are educated here in our country and then they leave with a lot of skills that we could clearly use. I want us to make it possible for them to stay. Part of an overhaul of immigration, I think we need to have different kinds of temporary work visas. We have them now for our agricultural industry but I believe we should look more in our service industry as well. Whether it's hotels or landscapers, etc. who can use those workers part time and they have to renew those visas, so it becomes easier to track them. In the mean time they are paying taxes and if they are compliant with the laws of the United States then it's good to have those temporary workers in here. So those are some elements that we need to look at relative to overall immigration reform and we clearly do need to do that.
NS: The United State is the world's top spender when it comes to its military. What is your position on our involvement in conflicts around the world and do you think that we should reduce our defense spending?
LM: This is such a broad topic. Let me see if I can give you a few summary points in the time that we have left. I don't believe that the United States should be involved in conflicts around the world unless it's in the strategic interest of the United States. And then we go in with the clear vision of what that operation is, and then how to leave. Those are the two major issues. I do believe that you must have a strong defense, because I don't think that you can negotiate from the point of weakness. So, you have to have a strong defense. And to that point, and as it relates to the state of Connecticut, let's first look at our submarine base in Groton and Electric Boat. I'd fight to the nail to keep that base open and to keep Electric Boat making submarines – they are the best submarine builder in the world. They deliver submarines on time, sometimes under time and sometimes under budget. And we need to protect that, because it's in the best interest of our national defense and also for our state. There are many other defense industries in our state that I would fight to keep because they are so integral to make our military strong and to keep our defense strong. So while I think we need look at areas where there is overspending in the military and [as] we find things where there is waste we need to correct that. But we must maintain a strong defense for the safety of our country. The very first obligation of a government is the safety and defense of its people.
NS: Where has the President excelled? What has the President done right?
LM: I can tell you, my concern is that we have not developed the policies in our country to put people back to work and create jobs. We've continued to lose jobs. And we're not growing our economy. The President passed the Affordable Care Act and focused on that at the beginning of his presidency, when I really do believe the issues were jobs and the economy and I think that's where the focus should've been. So, I think that's why you see such unrest in our country and that's why this election, I believe is going to be so vitally important for the health and welfare of our nation.