B.S. in Business Administration – The Ohio State University, 1979;
J.D. – Capital University Law School, 1983
Civic Organizations (limit 75 words)
Board Member, Museum of Military History; Institutional Advisory Committee Member, TECO; Former Board Member, Caribbean and Floridian Association, Inc. (CAFA) and Central Florida Community Breadbasket, Inc.
Osceola County Planning Commission (Jan. 2009-Dec. 2010)
Member of Rotary Club of Celebration, Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce, St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Business Association of Orlando, Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, East Orlando Chamber of Commerce, St. Cloud Main Street, NAACP Osceola County Branch 5121, CAFA.
Volunteer with Osceola Council on Aging, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, A Place for Grace, New Beginnings, Community Hope Center, Impact Homelessness
An estimated 300,000 people have died from gun violence between 2004 and 2014. Do you believe the Second Amendment leaves any room for limits on gun rights? If so, please outline what those limits should be. (limit 150 words)
As with every Amendment to our Constitution, reasonable restrictions are permitted. Background checks should be required for every transfer of a firearm. The individual seeking to own the gun must be able to produce a written certificate that is the result of the background check, which is performed online by the individual seeking the gun. A record of the check is not maintained by any level of government. Unfortunately, we cannot turn back the clock on semi-automatic gun sales, so we must deal with the reality of the immense number of these types of guns in our society. Thus, for any semi-automatic firearm purchases, additional screenings, particularly for untreated mental health issues, should be required before the certificate is issued. In addition, any crime committed using a semi-automatic firearms should be viewed as an aggravating circumstance resulting in a much longer prison sentence than that which might otherwise be imposed.
Some 30 million Americans remain uninsured. Would you support or oppose the Affordable Healthcare Act as currently written? Explain why you would support its continuation or what kind of plan, if any, should replace it. (limit 150 words)
My understanding is that the Affordable Healthcare Act was the product of much lobbyist involvement, particularly from large insurance companies. This results in a system which has favored the companies at the expense of individuals. While I agree that some sort of health care plan must be available to cover the uninsured and under-insured – both for the benefit of the individual and for society – the current structure of the Act is in need of work. First, those who were content with their current plans have often seen their premiums rise. This situation needs to be evaluated and addressed. Second, an anti-selection problem will likely develop as penalties imposed on those healthy people who have opted for the penalty rather than insurance are not high enough. As a result, healthy young people will tend to pay the penalty, resulting in a disproportionate number of unhealthy people being in the pool of insured lives. This will cause premiums to rise even further. Third, an evaluation of the underlying causes of rising health care – and how to control these costs – should have been the starting point of any national health care plan discussion. Finally, we should more carefully study successful plans of other countries before making any changes to the Affordable Healthcare Act. Lobbyists and special interests who can profit from the ultimate decision should be excluded from these studies so that thoughtful and unbiased changes can be made.
Some presidential candidates have said they would favor getting rid of the U.S. Department of Education. Explain what kind of role you believe the federal government should play in education and what federal education policies you would support or oppose. (limit 150 words)
While the federal Department of Education may have a role to play in ensuring that students from the various parts of the United States receive an education of similar quality, most decisions about our public schools should be made on the state and local levels. While federal programs such as the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 and the Race to the Top grants of 2009 were well-meaning in their inception, they have ushered in a convoluted educational process based on high-stakes, high-stress standardized testing which, in my opinion, has sacrificed problem-solving and critical thinking skills (and even recess!) in favor of test-taking skills. Standardized testing should be used as a tool to help students and not to punish them through retention. I would propose that these federal programs be eliminated and the federal funds for local schools be allocated in a manner that is not dependent upon the current criteria of “grading” of our schools. I do agree that the usefulness of the Department of Education should be carefully evaluated and unnecessary or duplicative functions (with state and local school boards) eliminated.
The U.S. debt is approaching $20 trillion, and interest payments on the debt were $223 billion in 2015. What measures would you support to reduce the annual budget deficit that contributes to the national debt? (limit 150 words)
I would support the goal (not a Constitutional Amendment) of a balanced budget. To do this, I would make a number of adjustments. These would include, but would not be limited to: (a) a more progressive tax structure for incomes in excess of $500,000; (b) a reworking of the Social Security tax structure by taking such steps as significantly increasing the contribution and benefit base from its current $118,500 and using these amounts collected to support a Social Security system of enhanced benefits to its recipients; (c) reducing waste in defense spending and by administrative/regulatory agencies; (d) slightly increasing the capital gains tax rates; (e) increasing pay to our military personnel and increasing health care benefits to our veterans; and (f) increasing grants to nonprofit agencies to address such issues as mental health, substance abuse, food insecurity, elder care, and homelessness.