Conaway Campaign Hugely Reliant On Making Contrasts With Cook & GOP

(October 22)  Bob Conaway is bearing the Blue Democrat Standard in this year’s election in California’s 8th Congressional District against the incumbent member of the House of Representatives, one-term Republican Congressman Paul Cook.
Conaway insisted he is the superior choice, and sought to make a case that his adherence to the principles of the Democratic Party will better serve not only the constituents in the 8th Congressional District but citizens throughout San Bernardino County, California and all of the United States.
Conaway agreed to outline for the Sentinel the issues he believes are of the most importance to the district and its voters.
“Our county should avoid needless conflict and not start or maintain conflicts overseas without making the commitment to take care of the returning servicemen, their families and veterans,” Conaway said.
He was critical of legislation supported by Cook that was ostensibly aimed at reforming the much maligned Veterans Administration but which in effect, Conaway said, sold veterans short.
“Paul Cook voted for HR 4810, which creates a budget to build more buildings and to provide assistance with appointments to outside vendors for veterans,” Conaway said. “What was missing in HR 4810 was a budget for the Veterans Administration hiring the additional doctors and medical support staff needed, like what is proposed in the McCain-Sanders bill. I would not have voted for HR 4810, but would have insisted that an up-or-down vote be done in the House on the McCain-Sanders bill, which has passed the Senate, and that the money used for building more brick-and-mortar facilities and outsourcing care be put into hiring more professional staff, which will also add jobs at the VA facilities locally.
Without passing judgment on the Affordable Care Act, which has been subject to withering criticism by Republicans and lampooned by those critics as “Obamacare,” Conaway asserted that the concept of providing universal health coverage to all Americans is a worthy goal and that efforts to work toward that ideal must be maintained.
“For the sake of discussion, if the Affordable Care Act got repealed, we would still need to make sure that insurance carriers don’t discriminate based on a citizen’s gender and whether they have pre-existing conditions,” Conaway said. “Paul Cook voted for HR 3522, which allows insurers to discriminate based on gender and pre-existing conditions. I would vote to keep those protections, whether or not the Affordable Care Act remains in place.”
Conaway told the Sentinel that it is his position that “working moms still need access to child care tax credits. We all know the economy is in flux. More women are the bread winners in families and need to pitch in to make ends meet even with the significant other working. We need to not discriminate against entry level women employees. Paul Cook voted for HR 4935, which would eliminate $1,725.00 dollars in child care tax credits for five million single parents with two children to care for, reduce it for six million other working moms, while increasing the child care tax credit for those earning $150,000 by an additional $2,200. I would have voted against HR 4935 to make it possible for women with families to afford entry level minimum wages. The savings of not putting HR 4935 into effect, is saving $100 billion over ten years per the Congressional Budget office.”
Conaway said he stood for “not increasing taxes for the working poor. HR 4935, by eliminating the child care tax credit, increases a single mom’s tax bill by up to $150 per month or a week of food and household supplies for most working families. I would have voted against HR 4935 and saved $100 billion over 10 years.”
Conaway said he is in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $10.16 by 2016.”
He said, “No matter how you calculate it, minimum wage has flat-lined over the past 50 years. A 2012 study from the Center for Economic Policy Research reads, ‘By all of the most commonly used benchmarks – If wages had kept up with productivity gains since 1968, it would be nearly $22 dollars an hour.’ Paul Cook voted against increasing the minimum wage to $10.16 in 2016. I would have voted to increase the minimum wage to $10.16 by 2016.”
He would, Conaway said, work to “help our college students get the education they need. Paul Cook voted for passage of HR 3393, which eliminated some tax credits and deductions for education expenses and took benefits away from  graduate students. In addition to this, Paul Cook voted to increase the student loan interest rates to 3.4%, even though passbook rates are at a record low. I would vote to reduce the interest rate and create realistic payment plans that do not discriminate on prior credit history and which can be adjusted based on changing conditions like job loss or income reduction.”
On one issue, at least, Conaway said he was on the conservative side of the divide, while Cook was, by contrast, a liberal. Specifically, Conaway said, he was a states’ rights advocate, while his opponent was a creature of the federal government establishment.
“We need to control our state’s water resources and protect California jobs,” Conaway said. “Paul Cook voted for HR 3964, which will preempt state water law and state court decisions, eliminate protection needed to California’s salmon industry and other commercially valuable species. HR 3964 will federally take over our water and cost us thousands of jobs. I would have voted against HR 3964 as a federal grab of in state water resources.”

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