Scott Peters: His policies in his own words

by Leonardo Castaneda

Courtesy Scott

Congressional candidate Scott Peters spoke to The Daily Aztec about his campaign for the 52nd District against incumbent Brian Bilbray. Here are some of his responses to the important issues facing the U.S. in the coming years.

On Obamacare:

Clearly the situation before you couldn’t continue with, so something had to be done. This may not be perfect, but it’s a good step forward. Mr. Bilbray’s voted 33 times to repeal it—33 times. CBS News said that took two weeks of congressional time and $50 million of taxpayer money and they knew it wasn’t going to get repealed.

Whoever takes office in January is going to have Obamacare as the law and we have to figure out how to fix it. Particularly we have to pursue more affordability … We’re not there yet; we have a long way to go. But it’s a tough problem and we all ought to be working together to solve it, not just voting to repeal it in kind of symbolic ways.

On immigration:

I support the DREAM Act. I think the DREAM Act makes a lot of sense. Immigration policy has to be tough, fair to taxpayers and practical. I think everyone agrees we have to stop crime at the border.

We don’t want people taking guns or drugs or doing human trafficking across the border. Let’s all agree on that, and fight that. Now we have to figure out what do you do about 11 million people who don’t have documents. It’s the same number of people as in Ohio. You’re not going to deport them, right. That, unfortunately, is Mr. Bilbray’s only answer—that we’re somehow going to deport them or make them go away. That’s impractical.

On Citizens United:

I think the most pressing thing right now is to require disclosure. We ought to know who is donating to those PACs because that’s how you tell really what they’re after. So if it’s oil companies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, we ought to know that; or the Koch brothers, we ought to know that. Who are those people donating to? Unfortunately, another thing Mr. Bilbray has refused to do is support that. He does not support requiring that kind of transparency in the political donations and I think that would be a big step forward.

It wouldn’t solve the problem because I think it’s still wrong to say that corporations are persons for purposes of speech. But it’d be a lot better. I just think you have to pursue a constitutional amendment, unless the Supreme Court changes its mind, but I’m not sure I see that, at least with the current composition.

On marriage equality:

I’m a supporter of marriage equality since the year 2000 and I’m happy to welcome (Mayor) Jerry Sanders and (President) Barack Obama to my position.

On access to birth control:

The other thing about Mr. Bilbray is he claims he’s pro- choice, but he’s voted to defund Planned Parenthood. That’s great if you’re pro-choice, but no one can get things like birth control or family planning, cancer screening. You can’t get that stuff. That’s inconsistent. That’s why Planned Parenthood had a protest on his doorstep in his congressional office.

On the environment:

A couple of things California is doing make a lot of sense. We have a renewable portfolio standard in California, which is a goal that by a certain date, I think it’s 2020, a third of our power will come from renewables. The federal government could create the same kind of standard and work toward that: solar, wind (and) geothermal, is one thing. The other thing is, one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emissions is the loss of energy from existing buildings. Mr. Bilbray has voted against incentives to retrofit houses, which would create jobs and also help save energy. At a time when gas is what, $4.70, I think that would make a lot of sense, because energy supply is not just about what you can draw out, but it’s about what you can save.

On veterans:

We are losing more warriors to suicide than we are to battle. It’s really important for us to take care of these kids when they get home. They’ve got PTSD, which I’ve now been told to refer to as PTS because it’s not a disorder- traumatic brain injuries. They’ve got tremendous problems with amputations, injuries, things like that. This is a really hard thing. We’ve asked them to do this, make this sacrifice. We can’t turn our backs on them. Out of a $700 billion defense budget, Mr. Bilbray couldn’t find $20 million to do suicide prevention.