U.S. Congress – District 1 – Q&A With The Candidates

U.S. Congress – District 1 – Q&A With The Candidates

1) UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE UNITED STATES SEND GROUND TROOPS INTO IRAQ?

CHARLES DJOU (Republican)

Charles Djou

Charles Djou

Having served in combat and seen war as a soldier on the ground, I understand the most serious act of a member of Congress is to vote to send Americans into harm’s way. If elected, I will never take the decision to go to war lightly. The U.S. should only send troops into combat if the safety of our citizens is directly threatened. The U.S. should always explore all reasonable diplomatic means to resolve a conflict. Deployment of ground troops should be a last resort.

DONNA MERCADO KIM (Democrat)

From what I know of the conflict, I say, under NO circumstances.

JOEY MANAHAN (Democrat)

The United States should send troops into Iraq only as a last resort, once we have exhausted all other options and it is clear and identifiable threat to our national security. We made a mistake rushing into war in 2003 at the cost of billions of dollars, thousands of lives, and countless men and women who suffered serious mental and physical injuries. We must do everything in our power to prevent repeating this mistake. Unless there is a clear threat to our nation, we should not send troops into Iraq.

ROBERT MEYER (Nonpartisan)

Under NO circumstances should the United States send ground troops into Iraq. Also, we should not send military assistance of any kind to Iraq, or to any other country in the Middle East or for that matter to any country in the world. Most of the problems we have with terrorism are as the result of our unwanted involvement in other countries. Our interference in Iraq and a half-century ago in Vietnam were only the worst examples of our disastrous interference.

Mark Takai

Mark Takai

MARK TAKAI (Democrat)

It is imperative that we do not get involved in another war in Iraq. The people in that region have been involved in sectarian civil wars for ages, and our involvement would not help that situation. This is not our war. I do, however, think it is important to keep personnel there to protect our embassy. Our embassies across the globe are working to build diplomacy and promote international discourse, and these civilian workers should be protected as they do this important and underappreciated job.

2) DO YOU AGREE WITH THE DECISION TO RELEASE THE FIVE GUANTANAMO DETAINEES IN EXCHANGE FOR THE RELEASE AND RETURN OF SGT. BOWE BERGDAHL? WHY OR WHY NOT?

CHARLES DJOU (Republican)

No. In Afghanistan, I served as a detainee operations officer where I was responsible for the handling of enemy Taliban and lived on a remote forward operating base, similar to the one where Sgt. Bergdahl was deployed. Based on my experience, the administration handled the exchange of Sgt. Bergdahl poorly by failing to properly inform Congress. The administration also failed to account for the grave threat posed to Americans by the release of high-level Taliban extremists, who will likely seek to do harm to our citizens.

DONNA MERCADO KIM (Democrat)

At this point in time, it is unclear that anyone has a true and full understanding of what actually transpired in Sgt. Bergdahl’s capture and imprisonment and the negotiations that led to the exchange. Without the accurate information, it is not possible for me to make an informed decision. I am concerned that the Congress was not informed and provided with accurate information.

Joey Manahan

Joey Manahan

JOEY MANAHAN (Democrat)

President Obama should have consulted Congress before any prisoner exchanges took place. Unfortunately, there is much we still do not know about the facts and circumstances of the transfer. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has said that, “The questions about this particular soldier’s conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity. This was likely the last, best opportunity to free him.” I have tremendous respect for the views of our military officials and their judgment on this matter.

ROBERT MEYER (Nonpartisan)

That’s a tough one. There are arguments both ways. I believe we should have a consistent policy, which we don’t now have. If we do prisoner exchanges, or any type of negotiation for release of U.S. citizens, it should apply equally to all U.S. citizens, including tourists, whom we have abandoned. All U.S. citizens’ lives are equally important.

MARK TAKAI (Democrat)

When the U.S. says we will leave no troops behind, it is important to show we mean it. I trust President Obama when he said steps were being taken to make sure the U.S. wasn’t put at risk as a result of this exchange. I do feel the U.S. military should fully investigate Sgt. Bergdahl’s actions while serving in the military to see exactly what caused this situation to occur, and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

 

3) IN YOUR EYES, IS EDWARD SNOWDEN, WHO LEAKED INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION WHILE A TECHNOLOGY CONTRACTOR FOR THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, AN AMERICAN PATRIOT, OR A TRAITOR TO HIS COUNTRY?

CHARLES DJOU (Republican)

By sharing classified American intelligence, Edward Snowden knowingly violated the law. Snowden should be returned to the U.S. and be given a fair trial before a jury of his peers. I firmly believe in the fundamental American principle that no one is above the law, not even Edward Snowden.

Donna Mercado Kim

Donna Mercado Kim

DONNA MERCADO KIM (Democrat)

In my eyes, he is neither a patriot nor a traitor, but the leaked information has put a spotlight on the NSA and all governmental agencies and their contractors to be more transparent in their work.

I believe that NSA and government agencies should focus on areas that threaten our national defense and health and safety of the American people and not be given broad latitude to intrude on our privacy without any accountability.

JOEY MANAHAN (Democrat)

Edward Snowden played an important role in launching a national conversation about government surveillance programs. However, he did that by breaking the law, and we still don’t know the full extent of the information he accessed. I think we need to get all the information on what exactly happened before we come to a final conclusion about Snowden. Having said that, he needs to come home.

ROBERT MEYER (Nonpartisan)

He is a patriot and history will describe him as such. Our government’s intrusion into the personal lives and affairs of U.S. citizens and the incredible extent of the information being obtained and retained all over the world needed to be exposed and his revelations have already resulted in the beginning of much-needed reform.

MARK TAKAI (Democrat)

I don’t think either of these words accurately characterize Edward Snowden. I feel the level of surveillance by our government has grown excessive, and I think some of the revelations made by Edward Snowden were among many instances of showing this. I, however, would not consider him a hero. It appears he did not go through the proper channels to be considered a whistleblower, and shows a deep lack of faith in our government and our judicial system by not coming to the United States to deal with the consequences of his actions.

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