A tale of two congressional canidates
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
By Spencer David Potts
On November, 8, 2016, the United States will have one of the most politically significant elections in recent years.
The race for the presidency has been emphasized in the media for some time, however many seats in the house and senate will be up for grabs and any presidential candidate will need congressional support to follow their plans.
In Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district, the race for the U.S. House is tight. Former FBI agent and brother to current U.S. Representative Mike Fitzpatrick, Brian Fitzpatrick, is facing Pennsylvania Representative and former Bensalem High School teacher Steve Santarsiero.
Q: How does your experience as an FBI agent affect your policies?
Well, it certainly gives you a very unique perspective on the threats that we face in a national security realm, both from a counter-terrorism perspective, a counterintelligence perspective, and a cybersecurity perspective.
If you’ve never done that kind of work before it’s hard to have a true understanding of the nature of the threat, what the threat looks like, and how the threat can be defeated, which is why I think that that experience and that background makes me uniquely situated to address those threats that face our country on day one in congress.
Q: 56.6% of Bucks County Republicans voted for Donald Trump in the Pennsylvania Primary. Do you support Mr.Trump’s bid for the presidency or another candidate?
I respect the will of the voters. If you believe in democracy, you respect the will of the voters. As far as we’re concerned we have a very very significant race in the U.S. House of Representatives and that’s what we’re completely focused on right now, meeting as many voters in the district as possible and talking about the difference between myself and my opponent.
Q: How do you plan to make college affordable?
We need to scrutinize the cost of college tuition and anything that is not directly related to either educating students or placing students in jobs should be scrutinized and seek to be abolished. Overheads are a major cost driver of college tuition costs and that overhead needs to be scrutinized and a massive spotlight needs to be shined on it because it’s making college tuition unaffordable for far too many students.
The second part is student loan interest, I support addressing that problem by in some cases having zero interest student loans.
Q:What is your primary goal in congress?
I have a lot of primary goals: a balanced budget amendment, term limits, restoring faith and trust in government –a government that a lot of people lost faith and trust in– we need to end the political collapse, we need to end this endless cycle of career politicians, we need to return congress to a public service and a citizen legislature.
Q:How does your experience in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives affect your policies?
Well as a member of the state house we have had to deal with a number of issues including environmental protection, energy policy, education, and gun safety- just as examples. And so as I have worked on each of those issues I have learned a lot more about the arguments on both sides and that always forces you to examine your own positions and that has the effect of either perhaps changing your view or strengthening your position because you now understand that there are different arguments to be made or further arguments you can make in support of your position.
That experience over the last seven and a half years has helped me gain a deeper understanding of the issues and I think it makes me a better policy maker as a result.
Q: 55.9% of Bucks County Democrats voted for Hillary Clinton in the Pennsylvania Primary. Do you support Secretary Clinton’s bid for the presidency or another candidate?
I support Secretary Clinton.
Q:How do you plan to make college affordable?
Well there are a couple of thing we can do for that: first of all the cost of borrowing needs to be lowered –by that I mean we need to make sure that we’re providing lower interest loans to students and for those students that have current higher interest loans we need to be able to provide an opportunity for refinancing but that only addresses half of the problem.
The other half of the issue has to do with the cost of tuition generally and the inflation in tuition across the country over the last 30 or 40 years, in that regard I think that the federal government can play a role by providing grants to the states that could, in turn, working with their public institutions to come up with plans to hit benchmarks that lower tuitions over time. That in turn will have an impact on private institutions as well because they have to keep it with them for the same pool of students.
I think that’s the best approach that will deal with both the short terms of the cost of borrowing but also a longer term approach to make college, generally-speaking, more affordable from the standpoint of the cost of going.
Q:What is your primary goal in congress?
There are really two things that I want to get us: one, as a legislator, someone serving in congress, I really want to work on working to increase access to higher education and building new jobs, bringing new jobs into the area through incentives on green energy investment and that will help with Climate Change as well.
The other piece of the job is what happens back home and by that I mean being a good advocate for investment here in the district and trying to be very proactive about getting companies to look at the district as a place to come and set up shops and grow and that’s something that I will be very active in, working with both state and federal officials, making that happen here in the eighth district.
*Editor’s Note: this is not an endorsement of any candidate