Republican candidate Jack Orswell is vying to represent the newly formed , which includes Monrovia, Altadena, Arcadia, South Pasadena, San Marino, and Glendora.
Orswell, 62, spent 15 years in the FBI before starting his own company in 1990--Monrovia's --that conducts environmental assessments for financial institutions, real estate companies and law firms. He has served as a reserve police officer with the Arcadia Police Department since 1993.
He is running against current Rep. Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, who currently represents the old 32nd Congressional District and tax attorney Bob Duran, who is also running as a Republican.
Patch interviewed Orswell via email about his campaign as part of a series of candidate profiles running ahead of the June 5 elections.
1. Since you have never held public office, why are you qualified to represent this district in the U.S. Congress and what do you hope to accomplish?
I believe that my 15 years of government experience in the FBI and 22 years as the owner of a small business uniquely qualifies me to understand the appropriate role and relationship of government in the lives of the American people. I will use my government and private industry experience, leadership skills and solid moral compass to break through the political logjam and get the members of Congress working together for America. The result will be a government that is re-focused on the interests of its citizens, not on those of self-serving politicians.
2. You've said job creation and implementing a fair taxation system are two of your main priorities. How do intend to accomplish these goals?
Congress needs to encourage entrepreneurs and innovators to build upon their dreams through small business loans and by reducing the rules and regulations that make it difficult for businesses to obtain capital. Small businesses create nearly 50% of new jobs in America. We have always been a nation of creativity and self-improvement and it is small business, not big government that will create jobs and get America back to work.
We need a new tax system that is fair to everyone living in America. Rich people, middle-class people, and poor people need to pay their fair share for the freedom and liberty that we all enjoy. One idea is to implement a flat rate sales tax of 2-3% and reduce the income tax rates by 5%, which should produce about the same amount of revenue. Members of the House and the Senate have introduced several bills and other "fair taxation" organizations have similar plans. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) should review these plans to determine if they are fair to all and if they generate sufficient revenue. After a comprehensive review, the CBO should issue a report to Congress with the pros and cons of each proposed program. Congress should then review the report and, after a public debate, select the best program to replace, not modify, our existing tax system. I believe everyone is willing to pay their fair share for freedom. We need to both reduce the cost of government and implement a new tax system that is fair to all.
3. You are a proponent of campaign finance reform, a position that may not sit well with others in your party in Washington. Why is election reform needed and what is the best way to implement it?
I am not seeking office to be like “others” in Washington. I am seeking office to change the way things have been done in the past and to represent the voice of the people. In past elections, it is clear to me that money usually has determined the outcome, significantly reducing or marginalizing the voice of the people. We have to bring back an election system whereby candidates are selected by the people, not the special-interest groups with the most money.
Several bills regarding election reform have been introduced. I will work with the members of Congress who have introduced these bills, find the common ground we need to implement the changes, and get the bill passed that allows the people, not special-interest groups, to elect their representatives.
4. You've argued that the National Health Care System should be abolished. What alternatives do you propose to give health care access to the millions of Americans who remain uninsured?
We need a health care system that provides individuals affordable choices. We have already established free and low-cost health care programs, including Medicaid, which provide services for people who cannot afford health insurance at any price. We need to eliminate the current national health care system requiring participation and create an open, competitive health insurance market. We need to remove the restrictions that prevent insurance companies throughout the United States from competing in California and many other states. With a larger supply of available health insurance companies, we will be able to choose the right health care program for our families at an affordable price.
For those individuals who have pre-existing medical conditions, we need to establish a program similar to the FAIR Plan, which is an association comprised of all insurers authorized to transact basic property insurance in California. Using the FAIR Plan concept, all authorized insurers will be required to provide basic health coverage under the supervision of the California Department of Managed Health Care. I believe private insurance companies will do a better job of managing claims and preventing fraud, making affordable health care available to everyone.
5. What unique needs do you think California's 27th district has? What issues do you intend to focus on at the federal level to impact the lives of your constituents at a local level?
Keeping our families safe is the most important issue not only to California’s 27th District but to everyone in America. National security inside the United States starts with the first responders, the firefighters and police officers in our communities. We need to ensure that federal funds are available for training and communications so that our first responders can work together in a unified manner to detect, prevent and respond to national security threats.
In this difficult economic climate I will work diligently, as described earlier, to remove barriers to economic growth and new job creation. Burdensome regulation by the federal government has a direct, negative impact on small businesses and corporations doing business within the 27th District.
I also believe that an important issue at the local level is transportation. The economy will continue to struggle if people can’t get to work efficiently and if the trucking industry can’t deliver goods. Completing the Gold Line to Ontario airport will greatly reduce traffic on the 210 Freeway and nearby freeways, and allow residents an alternative to driving to the airport.
Finally, having grown up in the San Gabriel Valley as an active Boy Scout and later as a Scout Leader, I have spent much of my time enjoying the trails and campsites of the Angeles National Forest. Working together with the United States Forest Service, I will establish a program that will encourage families to get out and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the nearby recreational areas.