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By Miriam Raftery

May 24,2016 (San Diego) – Patrick Malloy is the endorsed Democratic candidate challenging  Congressman Duncan D. Hunter in the 50th Congressional District.  A realtor running on a platform of “reigniting the American Dream,” he sat down for an exclusive, in-depth interview with the East County Magazine Show originally aired on KNSJ Radio. 

You can hear the full interview by clicking the audio links at the bottom of our story for part 1 and part 2 (sound files may take a few moments to load.)  You can also scroll down to read highlights of his proposals for creating jobs in the district and rebuilding the middle class and helping small businesses, as well as his views on the Middle East, refugees, immigration and other hot topics.

Note:  The 50th Congressional District spans portions of three counties and includes most of East County, from Jamul near the border north to Temecula, and from San Marcos and El Cajon east to the Salton Sea.

His website states: “It is time to reignite the American dream.  Our country has done it before with Eisenhower’s interstate highway system and Kennedy’s race to the moon. But when was the last time we have seen this inspiration and vision? 

As a real estate specialist, Patrick Malloy is expert at seeing the aspirations of young families and making their dreams materialize.  And, Patrick has dreams for southern California including investments in infrastructure to repair roads, streamline transportation systems, and even bury power lines to reduce wildfires. Patrick will initiate a bipartisan bill to rebuild crumbling infrastructure and create local jobs during his first month in office.

We opened by asking Malloy why he is running. He recalls that he was driving up Interstate 5 with his radio on when ”I heard about government shutdowns…I noticed my representative voted for it multiple times.  In my line of work, if I decided not to work, I would probably lose my job.” 

Deciding he could do a better job, he entered the race.  Asked his strengths, he replied, “I bring negotiating skills” i.e. the ability to bring people with different points of view together, something largely lacking in today’s divisive Congress. 

He adds, ”I recognize fiduciary responsibility better than my opponent. My loyalty is to people who live here, not to corporations.”

Malloy notes that most members of Congress raise $1.5 milion or so in campaign contributions.  A key issue in the 50th district, he says,  is how Hunter has spent that money.

Hunter, and his father before him, have taken large contributions from defense contractors including many in San Diego, long a hub of the defense industry.  But Malloy observes, “I think people in our district have had enough of war…I think they want to focus on home right now.”

Asked to name key issues impacting the district here that he hopes to address if elected, Malloy  cites  wildfire dangers and water issues. “I plan to solve that by creating jobs,” he adds.  That would include hiring firefighters, abatement such as removing dead trees and brush, and “burying power lines,” he adds, citing Sunrise Powerlink specifically.

The high voltage line, while bringing power to the region, also has created visual blight in some communities and scenic areas.

We asked Malloy for his reaction to recent controversies involving Hunter, notably the nonpartisan Center for Responsibility in Ethics in Washington  (CREW) calling for the Federal Elections Commission  and Congressoinal ethics committee to investigate questionable purchases by Hunter with campaign funds that appeared to be personal; if so those would be illegal. The expenses included a family trip to Italy over Thanksgiving weekend, jewelry, video games, school uniforms and tuition at his children’s school.  Hunter was also named the number one “party animal” in Congress by the Washingtonian.

“This is a chance for my opponent to come clean, face the audit and face the words he wants others to live by: accountability,” Malloy said of the campaign finance controversies.  “He has no trouble calling for audits for others, but when one comes knocking at his door, he doesn’t answer.”

Malloy wants to take actions to benefit the middle class and poor who are struggling in East County and elsewhere in his district. “I grew up in the middle class,” he reflects, recalling modest  car vacations and money socked away for a rainy day. “Now the middle class means living paycheck to paycheck and a wild ride on a 401K.”

His website talks about a hierarchy of needs  and his goal of making sure all Americans have access to those basic necessities: food, clothing, and shelter.  He objects to “corporations running roughshod” such as imposing genetically modified foods that he blames in part for the obesity crisis. He would introduce a bill to require clear  labeling on where food and other products come from. “It’s time for us to support local, it really is.”

He is concerned about many families in San Diego County who are unable to afford a home.  While the most affordable residences in our county are in his inland district, he says, “We just don’t have enough jobs to support them, so we’re all stuck in traffic.  More jobs in our district is the way to go.”

 He says he wants to use federal money to create local jobs here in the district, also giving veterans priority for jobs. He thanked our veterans for their service. He believes Hunter has not done enough to help veterans and believes anyone voting for war should “know the true cost of war, including caring for veterans after the war.”  He believes having homeless veterans is “a disgrace” in our region with many retired military. “I  would adopt the Housing First model from Salt Lake City that basically cured homelessness.” 

He faults Hunter’s stance on Social Security.  “Do not privatize Social Security. Can you imagine getting up in your years and trying to figure out how to make a [decision] on a smart phone or some other new fangled device, with tons of fund managers vying for your commission? No thanks to that.”

He adds this assurance for seniors, “In the real world, we’re counting on our Social Security being around for us. Here’s how you insure that: take away loopholes where earners don’t pay in once they reach $118,500.” He says if the wealthiest Americans paid their fair share into Social Security, there would be enough money to sustain the program for everyone.  

We asked about funding programs he proposes. He replied, “The Republican Party has not been opposed to funding the military with weapons they don’t even want, namely the Osprey…Follow the money and find a direct connection between spending and corporations that fund them [members of Congress].”  He believes the right-wing mantra to “shrink the size of government” is really a “catchy way of saying `Let corporations do the job.’  Maybe they will do it cheaper, better or faster—or maybe they will cut corners,” he says, citing the San Onofre nuclear power plant radiation leak and the Aliso Canyon gas leak as examples of the latter. “Oversight is not a bad thing when it comes to our public safety.”

As for his views on taxes, he replies, “My philosophy on taxes is that everyone should pay his or her fair share” including corporations that have merged with overseas companies to avoid paying U.S. taxes, in what he calls “tax evasion.”  He wants to bring jobs back to America and encourage consumers to reward companies that do so.”I will write legislation to copyright  a brand: Made in America, Paid in America.”

On one key issue, he and Hunter agree: trade pacts such as NAFTA “absolutely” should be revisited and have sent too many jobs overseas. As for the Trans Pacific Trade Pact, Malloy says, “It’s bad for us. When you let lobbyists decide what kind of policies we’re going to have, it doesn’t benefit us in the 50th district, it benefits them.”

A key difference is on women’s reproductive issues.  Hunter introduced a “life begins at conception” bill to ban abortions.  Malloy views that as extreme, noting that “science tell us 50% of zygotes never attach to the uterin wall. To be clear, I am pro choice and I stand for women’s rights.” He stands for religious freedom or freedom not to practice a religion, but adds, “There is a fair middle gorund…I do not stand for  personal beliefs overshadowing the health of 50% of our population.  This is a nation of many…Let’s embrace the freedoms and rights that we both have.” 

He also wants more focus on protecting babies after they are born, including 20% of American children living in poverty.  He wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, as California has already voted to do in stages over several years.   Otherwise states with low minimum wages(the federal standard is $7.50 an hour) will try to lure U.S. companies to places with cheaper labor, he notes.  He also wants earned paid sick leave to be mandatory “so parents don’t have to choose between going to work and making money or staying home and caring for a sick child.”

Climate change is another where his views differ from Hunter’s. “It’s real and it’s here and we can do something about it,” Malloy says.  While he supports green energy such as rooftop solar, he questions whether Hunter did enough to reach out to constituents before major wind and industrial solar projects were approved that many have complained had negative environmental and health impacts (tied to dust and infrasound), boosting fire danger and reducing property values.

“Did your representative in Congress inform you about these upcoming projects on a local level  or did he just blame someone else?” he asked. “Was he asleep at the job? It’s a shame that sacred Native American sites were bulldozed in the name of energy power…These projects don’t just spring up overnight.”  He believes communities should first be asked that they need, and then provide jobs to meet those needs.

He wants to help small business owners. “I am a small business owner,” he says, noting that he would give up his real estate practice if elected. “I do stand for tax credits for small businesses who create jobs.”  He believes that ”having businesses subsidize our healthcare system is not fair. We should scrap the healthcare system that we have. Most Americans are just one whammy of a doctor’s bill away from total devastation.  I support a step by step Medicare for all.” He would start with allowing the federal government to negotiate part D on Medicare to get better prices on prescription drugs for all Americans and make them affordable.

We asked how Malloy would balance the need for security for Americans against the ISIS threat against the need to address priorities here at home.

He believes allies such as Saudi Arabia are not doing their fair share or share our values. He supports American personnel training foreign troops to defend their own homelands, but opposes ground troops in Syria.  “When the next president comes to Congress and asks for money for ground troops, you will find my foot firmly on the brake pedal,” he stated. “We do not want to evolve from liberator to occupier,” the perception created in Iraq after the invasion there, he noted.

As for the humanitarian crisis of refugees fleeing the region, Malloy notes that his wife is a naturalized U.S. citizen. “We’ve gone through the immigration process ourselves; I understand it very well.”  He wants to see neighboring nations temporarily shelter refugees and have rigorous vetting of asylums seekers including vetting through biometrics.

For Chaldean Christians with family here, he notes the asylum process is extremely slow He proposes adding help at the consular level to provide legal advisors “familiar with both the local alphabet, dialect and immigration law to help people get clean paperwork so they don’t do a misstep on their application.”  Asylum seekers need someone they can trust to assure that they are advised of their rights and help with unfamiliar terminology. 

As for undocumented immigrants from Mexico, Hunter has backed Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy and supports building a wall along the entire international border.

Malloy however would take an approach to immigrants more in line with the Reagan era to allow immigrants living in the shadows to “admit guilt, pay back taxes, pass a civics exam and go get a green card.”  He would include biometric screening and other means to assure citizenship is not granted to criminals or terrorists.”Our goal is to take the 11 million undocumented immigrants and get that down to a manageable number....then you can tackle the other part, the issue of felons. “Immigrants would have 120 days to apply for the process, he adds. “I take pride in being a moderate person… Itry to find what is the healthiest way and what is the fastest way to solve the problem.”

If elected, he says he would have an office in El Cajon that will have “an American flag and it will be bilingual—and if there is a member of the Chaldean community who would like to come forward and work at that office, I think that would be absolutely great. I want people to feel that there is an office where they will feel welcome and any question is absolutely okay.”

On gun control, he says the Constitution clearly spells out gun ownership rights. “The real issue is how we handle mental health in this country.”

He thinks that interest rates for college education are too high at 8%.  “Banks are running roughshod over us. We should be letting our students or their parents refinance loans to the prime lending rate of 3.5%. I also support a year of free vocational training to help make reigniting America possible.”

If elected, he says, “My top priorities will be here in the 50th Congressional district – not vaping up in the sky or drafting our daughters to fight war for someone else overseas,” he said, alluding to Hunter vaping on the House floor to advocate for e-cigarettes on airplanes and Hunter introducing a bill that would allow women to be drafted—a measure he said he introduced in protest over women being allowed into combat roles.

Malloy states, “My top priorities will be to assure that the middle class and low income class finally get a break…My time in office will be a success if more people decide to buy homes, fix them up, hire people like plumbers, get involved in their communities and have more disposable income…”

To help  people achieve home ownership and be able to save more money over the long term, Malloy proposes introducing a measure to allow 401-style savings accounts that people can pay into and that employees can also pay into if they wish.  The fund would be tax-deferred and could be used toward a down payment on a home. 

“When I’m working a family who wants to buy a house, it’s usually the down payment that keeps them away from the neighborhood they want to live in,” he observes. “A larger down payment means lower monthly payments, and it means more disposable income” that can be used for other expenses…Right now people are dipping into their 401K.…A lot of people look at retirement as secondary and get the home first…I want to make it easier for you to …get your foot in the middle class.”

Malloy is one of five candidates on the ballot and there is a sixth  candidate running as a write-in.