How do you propose to deal with the mounting federal deficit? What specific cuts or new taxes do you support?
HERNANDEZ: I would like to take this opportunity to inform your readers that the 21st District is the poorest congressional district in the entire country. There is almost no middle class here, because so many of our residents are living under the poverty level. As your congressman, I will do away with the Bush tax cuts, and I will support taxing the 1 percent in order to alleviate the economic strain on the 99 percent. I will protect funding for our schools, for green energy, for our health care system, for our infrastructure and for the expansion of our transportation system. I will not make any cuts that would have a negative effect on working families or on residents in this district.
ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
What is the role of government in general and the federal government specifically? Do you advocate more or less government? What areas should the federal government be involved in and what areas are better left to the states?
HERNANDEZ: We rely on government to address the matters that the private economy overlooks. The federal government deals with federally funded programs. While I believe that our current government structure is effective, we need to hold our government accountable, and I will be a strong supporter of oversight. I believe that our federal government should have jurisdiction over federal issues and that our state government should have jurisdiction over state issues.
What steps would you take to stimulate the economy and create jobs?
HERNANDEZ: I will support the high-speed rail project and I will fight to get federal funds to aid this project. I will work to get funding for improvements to education, for improvements to our infrastructure, and to promote green energy. Funding for these improvements will stimulate the economy and lead to more jobs. The more roads to build and improve, the more jobs. The more bridges and interstates to build and improve, the more jobs. The more wind turbines and solar panels to be built, the more jobs and the more businesses that will have lower utility costs, which will lead to more jobs and better health care coverage and benefits. I will work to get federal funding for projects and improvements that will bring more jobs to this struggling district.
Do you support Obamacare or would you vote to eliminate it or change it? What steps would you take to make sure the American health care system is improved?
HERNANDEZ: I prefer to use the piece of legislation's proper name, which is the Affordable Care Act. I support the Affordable Care Act, and if elected, I will work to make health care more affordable and accessible to everyone. We can improve that legislation. We need to make sure that everyone has coverage for preventative medicine and mental health needs. If elected, I will protect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. These are federally funded health services that our seniors cannot live without. It is important to make sure that nobody falls through the cracks, and that includes our brave young men and women returning home from Afghanistan.
Do you support or oppose the California high-speed rail project? What steps would you take regarding high-speed rail and other transportation issues?
HERNANDEZ: I am the only vocal supporter of the California high-speed rail project in this race. I am supporting this project because the construction of this railway will bring many working-class jobs to this district and the San Joaquin Valley. While this is primarily a state issue, this district will need a strong advocate in Washington, D.C. to fight for federal funding to aid this project. I will make it a priority to work with those involved on the local and state level. I will do everything in my power to make sure that this project proceeds so we can bring more jobs to the district. I will also make it a priority to improve our infrastructure and expand our transportation system. We need to make sure that our roads and bridges are safe and in good condition.
What is your stance regarding America's energy policy and environmental issues?
HERNANDEZ: The oil and gas industry plays a critical role in the 21st district, and I will support it. At the same time, it is clear that our environment is in trouble. I will be a strong advocate for promoting alternative energy, and I will work to increase the number of our wind turbines and solar panels on residential and commercial property. I will also work to protect our environment so our future generations can have clean air, clean water and cost-efficient green energy.
What is your position on the key issues facing agriculture, including water, food safety and farm labor/immigration issues?
HERNANDEZ: I will support our farmers and oppose the regulation of water by the state. We need to give farmers access to water for their crops. A great example of the United States Department of Agriculture's laws and regulations working was found here in Hanford. A case of mad cow disease was found in a dairy cow in a rendering facility. Because of the USDA's laws and regulations that prohibit the high-risk parts of cows from being sold and handled, no one was at risk from the animal. Finally, I am in favor of immigration reform and in favor of a path to citizenship. I am a supporter of the Dream Act, and as a member of the Hispanic community, I will be an advocate on this issue. I also support the water bond on the ballot in November.
Why are you running for this office, and why do you think you are the best candidate in this race?
HERNANDEZ: I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives because the voters in the 21st District need a leader who will stand up and fight for the middle class. As your congressman, I promise to bring long-term, sustainable jobs to the district and to hold my ground when it comes to protecting the environment, working families, unions, seniors, veterans and women's rights. There are some big differences between myself and my opponents. I am the only candidate who has been a lifelong registered Democrat. I'm the only candidate who has been a vocal supporter of high-speed rail. I also happen to be the only Democrat in this race who has the ability and constituency support to win in November