Patrick Kennedy faces two as he seeks eighth term
Congressman Patrick Kennedy is seeking his eighth consecutive term as Rhode Island's First Congressional District representative.
Fixing the economy is at the top of Kennedy's list of priorities because he feels the economy has a trickle down effect on other important issues facing Congress today.
"The economy affects people's ability to put a roof over their heads and provide healthcare and education for their families," Kennedy said. "We do have a war on terror going on, but the terror of a family who cannot afford healthcare or their mortgage is much worse."
Now that the federal bailout is complete, Kennedy said that he would like to rein in the unregulated practices of the banks that were involved in the process. "We will have more of a say over things like double digit interest rates now that we are a major shareholder in these banks," he said. "We have made sure we protected the taxpayer's money by buying both performing and non-performing loans. With that, the return is a lot faster and we are not throwing money down the drain."
Another economic stimulus package is also in order, according to Kennedy. "I am all for deficit spending to help the economy," he said. "We have borrowed at several key times and during key conflicts in our country's history and that is how we became a super power, by pouring money into our infrastructure." He said that America cannot sit idly by while China and India invest in their future.
One way he sees to prevent another financial crisis is to encourage saving and by offering savings incentives to lower and middle class families. "Poor people don't benefit from matched savings plans like 401Ks because you have to have the money to invest first before you can get a match out of it," he said. Kennedy introduced legislation for a "baby bond," a savings plan that would give a $500 bond to every child born in the United States. Then, depending on income level, the government would have various matching programs until the child turns 18. "If we had less tax expenditures for the upper class, we could turn around, put those back into this savings plan which could be used to fund education, a first house or job training," he said.
Kennedy said he also supports a shift in foreign policy, from the war in Iraq to Pakistan.
For more information on Kennedy's positions, visit www.patrickkennedy. house.gov.
Independent candidate Kenneth Capalbo is challenging Patrick Kennedy for his U.S. Congressional District 1 seat.
Capalbo, 65, who has never held public office, ran unsuccessfully for the same seat in 2006. Foremost on Capalbo's mind is U.S. foreign policy, especially as it relates to Israel. He calls it "a terrible foreign policy."
Capalbo said that much of the aggression we see from Middle Eastern-based terrorists is because of our one-sided foreign policy toward Israel. "The Middle East war is about Israel and oil," Capalbo said, adding that the only way to solve the crisis in the region is to get all Iraqi factions together with the bordering countries, the United Nations and the United States to solve the problems. Capalbo said that a 1967 incident involving an Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, while it was in international waters, has never been fully investigated. He said that Israeli ships launched torpedoes at the Liberty, killing U.S. soldiers and that Israel maintained it was an accident. If elected, Capalbo wants to investigate what he calls "war crimes committed by Israel."
Capalbo believes that the U.S. needs to have universal healthcare. He said that "every Western country," has some form of universal health. "Why not here?" Capalbo asks.
Chronic care and primary care services would be his first priority, Capalbo said, adding, "We can afford it today."
On energy and the environment, Capalbo said that exploring for new oil resources would be a waste of time. "We need to look, but don't develop," the resources because they contribute to the world's environmental problems. We should use the money and time to research alternative fuel sources, especially to power cars and trucks, which he said use some 70 percent of the nation's fuel.
"We need to go to battery-powered cars in 10 to 15 years," Capalbo said, adding that it would solve both the energy and environmental issues the country is now facing.
Before his retirement, Capalbo, a resident of South Kingstown, was a correctional officer for the state's Department of Corrections.
For more information about Capalbo, visit www.voteforkencapalbo. com
Jonathan P. Scott-Republican
Jonathan P. Scott, of Providence, is the Republican challenger for the Congressional District 1 seat. He was a candidate for the same office in 2006, but lost to incumbent Patrick Kennedy.
Scott, 41, said the current economic situation is what's most on his mind these days. "I am very solidly against the bailout bill the way it was written," Scott said. Instead of creating new government entities to oversee the banking industry, Scott said that the government should have "encouraged banks to buyout banks," and private businesses to support other private entities. He said that some $200 billion of the $700 billion bailout should have been put toward a fund to buy preferred stocks of private banks. This would have been a "transitional purchase," and the assets would have remained liquid, Scott said. Furthermore, Scott suggested that "serious money," be put toward hiring more FBI agents to serve as forensic auditors so we can examine fully how the financial situation came to be so dire. Among the items Scott wants to see examined are the links between government, bank lobbyists and politicians. "We need more transparency," Scott said.
On healthcare, Scott said that his ideas differ from those of his Democratic challenger in that he would support a "consumer-driven," system that would allow individuals to buy policies from all available sources, with one source being the healthcare plan that is available to federal employees. Scott added that Rhode Island is a "highly-mandated policy state," and he'd like to see the mandates lowered.
Scott said that that he's not sure the country got into the Iraq war for the right reason. "In some ways we were duped," he said, but added, "We're still there and have to deal with the problems." Scott said an immediate withdrawal is "no good for our present or future." He suggested that the only way the U.S. can pull out of Iraq is to "hand over a country an indigenous force can control." Scott said in recent months, "militarily we've done well," in Iraq. But, he said, "Politically, we've done a terrible job there."
On energy and the environment, Scott said that the country needs to look more seriously at wind and nuclear power. He said that clean coal technology is something that the U.S. can use for itself and also export the technology to countries like China, which would also benefi t the economy. "We're missing opportunities," to generate revenue with our technology, Scott said.