Conaway Touts His Talent In Finding Common Ground

(May 7)  Bob Conaway said he is running for Congress because “They need someone with my background more than ever. I have handled mediations and have done a lot of crisis management. I can talk to people and with people who are conservative and find common ground. There is too much posturing and too many lemmings in both parties. As an attorney I have been professionally engaged and I have done pro bono [i.e., charity] work in mediation. I can resolve things other people can’t.”
A Democrat, Conaway eschewed a liberal label but acknowledges he is a progressive on social issues. He embraces fiscal conservatism, but rejects what he characterized as the reflexive need of the GOP toward insulating “biases built in for economic self interest. I know I can bring to the table common sense and still have people on the conservative side feel comfortable with me talking to them. I give them respect. There is far too much sniping going on.”
Conaway said, “Water planning is a major issue facing the district. For so long, water planning has been less than intellectually honest. We are now dealing with a real head butt in terms of water management.”
Conaway continued, “We are an underemployed area. We have to have the necessary infrastructure so that we can grow and produce jobs. We have to identify what our infrastructure resources are, what our needs are and build it accordingly to support the economy. There is a lot we can build on. We already have warehousing capacity built. We can put in rail spur lines. We could use the macro- and microwarehouses and turn those into a strategy for all of Southern California. One of the things is to get funds so we are able to operate Southern California Logistics Airport, the old George Air Force Base full time, with full time air traffic controllers in the towers, security for the facility, a full time customs desk so we can move cargo in or out of there. There is not a commitment to that. Congress could bust through those restrictions. Los Angeles has a virtual monopoly, with their foot on our throat. We need to get federal resources. It is strategically critical to get the resources for both military and cargo flights. Cook has not been on that because Jim Brulte is his patron. Brulte is owned by the Los Angeles Airport Authority. They are one of his biggest clients. They have exerted control over Ontario. If I am wrong, then Paul Cook should get off his ass and get the resources to get the air cargo necessities at Southern California Logistics Airport, the towers and security measures and everything else we must have to streamline the function and management out there so we can get our reasonably fair share of the cargo activity. This can be done through federal assistance. The federal government targets things that will grow because the government wants an enhanced revenue stream and that is something that is doable in a two year term.”
Taxes need not be increased, Conaway said, but those who are dodging taxes need to be brought to heel.
“We need a more stable fiscal system,” Conaway said. “We have to examine revenue leakage.  There are people generating revenue who are not paying their fair share of taxes. These are not a lot of people percentage-wise, but this represents a whole lot of money on a statewide basis. You can look at the state controller’s report and the Board of Equalization’s report. The federal government has to be able to enforce tax laws beyond the state of California. The solutions are straightforward. An enforcement arm that is not political is what is needed. We need to have the resources in place, investigative teams and prosecution teams looking at revenue leakage and those who are not paying taxes.”
The district needs to maximize the performance of its existing assets, Conaway said.
“As far as improving the operation at old George Air Force Base goes, we could very fast build up our revenue through grants and bridge loans, with the incentive being that when the airport starts making money, those loans will be paid off,” he said. “We could bring in full time air traffic controllers to the towers, customs officers, and security. Once you do that you will have revenue generated. There is warehousing in place already and the warehousing fees could generate an economic stream. For every dollar in grants or loans, seven to eight dollars are returned, based upon studies that have been done. We have to have a harbor, which means the ability to bring in cargo and move it out, 24/7. That is how you accomplish it.”
Conaway said he represents the superior choice for 8th District Congressman “because I can  build a consensus and find the grounds for consensus. I don’t just follow. Ultimately it is the private sector that government must work with to accomplish the objective of economic growth. We do not have much in discretionary income so we have to increase the tax base, meaning we have to increase the number of generators and not increase taxes on those already paying them.
“I have put together packages for clients that brought development possibilities together. There are people out there with successful businesses because of the operational, or developmental or partnership or cooperative packages I negotiated for them, often with the government involved.”
The 8th Congressional District leans Republican. Conaway and another Democrat, Odessia Lee, and a Republican, Paul Hanosh, are challenging the incumbent, Congressman Paul Cook.
“Cook is basically a lemming,” Conaway said. “He follows whatever clip they tell him to.”
Conaway said that Lee “seems like a nice enough person, but I have heard nothing from her I consider insightful or really relevant to the issues in the 8th District. All I know about the other guy is he has apparently mortgaged his house to put his candidate’s statement on the ballot. If you want a lemming, vote for Cook. If you want people with no experience, vote for one of the other two. If you want someone who can listen to both sides and negotiate and come to a consensus, then I am your candidate. If you want posturing, you can vote for someone else. Where government will end up is with a large number of people with different backgrounds and different goals and priorities who want to talk the same language. Some of the better negotiators are no longer there, such as [former Congressman] George Brown and [former Congressman] Jerry Lewis. These were people who had the ability to get people to talk and keep the dialogue going. Where are we going to go? We have more and more voters who are no longer Democrats or Republicans and they are registered as declined to state. We are getting forty or fifty percent so disenfranchised from either party and they don’t bother to vote. What you have left is posturing. Posturing by threatening to take away Social Security in not going to do it. We have to find a way to grow the economy not on increased tax rates but on creating more taxable profits and income. People need a politician capable of doing all that. I am that person.”
A graduate of Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, Conaway served in the Marines and graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in speech communications and business. He got his juris doctors degree from Western University School of Law and has been a practicing lawyer since 1985, practicing in the areas of administrative law, criminal defense, civil rights litigation, and employment litigation. He was formerly a commercial union insurance litigation manager.
Married he has three children and three grandchildren.

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