Marko’s Responses to Interview Questions – 20 August 2014
Why are you running for office?
I have served my country in the military – I’m a retired United States Air Force officer, a Vietnam Veteran (two Bronze Stars), and have served in most parts of the world, including 3 ½ years in the Middle East. I have a strong sense of patriotism and duty to my country and I’m very upset with the decline of our traditional values, and the abuses and deterioration of the performance of our government. I have personally been subjected to government incompetence, and egotistical abusiveness. I am angry and most of the people I talk to are also angry. When I am angry I want to fight and the best way for me to fight is to run for office, even though I don’t belong to a political party and I do not consider myself a politician. I am an engineer by training and experience. I think my government needs my professional skills, knowledge and experience in requirements analysis, contract preparation and oversight, and project management. My observation is that our government has very little of these skills. I can bring this expertise to our government. I would also bring my passion and integrity. My supporters trust me. They want me to go to Congress. I want to go to Congress to make a difference and again serve my country. I am not interested in a political career. I am a Citizen Warrior. I am one of WE THE PEOPLE, I fully believe in the U.S. Constitution. I am angry and want to fight for the values that I and my neighbors believe in. I have a responsibility to fight for my country again. Only this time, it will not be as a military person, but a Citizen Warrior going to Washington, D.C..
What are your qualifications?
I am an Electrical Engineer, a retired USAF officer, and I have been completely responsible for mission accomplishment in both combat and peacetime. Beside my technical responsibilities, skills, and experience, I have been completely responsible for the welfare of those assigned to me. I have been a Director in an American Express company, responsible for the mission, my direct-reports, and all the management and budgeting for my department. I have been a General Manager of a Fiber Optic company responsible for all technical objectives and business development. I have been, and am currently, a small business owner/operator with complete responsibilities for my small company. I have extensive experience in requirements analysis; and I have personally authored and prepared contracts for the acquisition of major equipment procurements and systems. In addition, I have the personal passion, drive and people-skills to function in a diverse environment with competing and often conflicting objectives.
Why do you think that you have a better chance than past third party candidates?
I acknowledge that as an Independent I am traditionally disadvantaged. In fact, I have been discriminated against several times because I do not belong to a major party. However, I think I have a reasonable chance to be elected for several reasons. The first is that there is a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction and anger with our government in general, and most specifically, with all the professional politicians who seem to spend a lot of time casting negativity toward the opposing party instead of working on the business of governing and representing the people. Those who I talk to have lost confidence in the professional politicians and frankly, they consider them a privileged class and don’t trust them. I have the trust and confidence of those who know me. I think there will be a fundamental reluctance to vote for politicians of established parties and there will be a natural shift for change, which means that Independents and third-party candidates will benefit. The second reason is that I am not one of “them”, I am one of “WE THE PEOPLE”, and those I know want one of their own who they trust to go to Washington. My challenge is to increase my visibility to the voters, so they will know I exist. If I can get the voters to go to my website, I am confident they will like what they find and will vote for me. My website is of my own design and I am totally responsible for all the content, of which there is considerable. As a consequence, to know my website is to know me. I might also add that all my contact information is for me personally, you will not get a staff person.
Same-sex marriage appears to be heading toward legalization in most states. If elected, how will you ensure that the LGBTQ community will gain equal rights?
(LGBT = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender — Questioning)
First of all, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), so the surviving partner of a same sex couple that were “married” by state law are eligible for Federal benefits. Therefore, as a supporter of the U.S. Constitution, I support this action. However, I think there has been a lot of divisiveness, and that is truly sad. I think there are too many people who want to make this a destructive issue. I am specifically referring to the term “marriage”. I believe that semantically, the word “marriage” defines a recognized bond between a man and a woman, which establishes a family unit and that includes procreation between that man and woman. I am against same sex couples fighting to hi-jack that word. I believe that a “civil union” between same sex couples can provide all the same rights, privileges and obligations of a traditional “married” couple. Why must same sex couples be so divisive in wanting to use that word. Let the same sex couples be known as “unionized” and heterosexual couples have their relation be known as “married”, as it has been traditionally. I believe in equality and would like this conflict to be resolved as I have suggested.
What is your opinion on oil fracking?
There has been a lot of arguing over oil fracking and I suspect that much of the arguments are emotionally-based by people not familiar with the technical aspects of this practice. I certainly am not an expert, but here is my opinion. I favor increased oil production in the United States and increasing our independence from foreign oil sources. Oil fracking allows us to extract considerable quantities of oil and gas using this technique. However, there is element of risk to the environment by the potential disruption and even contamination to our water aquifers and other underground water sources. The practice of fracking uses a lot of water and that water must be recycled. Up to the present, it has commonly been shipped to recycling locations. Recently, it has become more prevalent to recycle the water on-location. There is currently a lot of research being done in this area. I believe that there must be independent oversight of the practice to maintain safeguards against the unexpected and possible contamination of our water sources. I do not believe this should be done by the Federal Government, but by an independent, neutral party whose budget is not controlled by the government or companies with ties to the oil companies. In short, I favor oil fracking with appropriate and reasonable technical oversight by independent parties.
Do you support an increase in alternative forms of energy, including green energy such as solar and wind?
Yes, I favor alternate forms of energy, including wind and solar. However, I also favor the competitive, free-market development of these forms of energy. I am against big subsidies to big companies for their development, especially when the Federal government is deciding winners and losers; and, I’m against any influences based on prior political donations. However, I do favor some tax incentives for the consumers of this energy, on a decreasing scale with time. A side note, I have personally designed an innovative method for electricity generation using wind energy and I am looking forward to when I will have the discretionary time to build a prototype.
Do you support the legalization of marijuana?
I support the approved use of Medical marijuana with appropriate controls and oversight, but do not support the legalization of marijuana for general or recreational use.
Do you have any lasting concerns about the regulatory and safety of marijuana?
Yes. As I responded in the previous question, I am against the general or recreational use of marijuana. I know there has been a lot of conflicting data on the safety of using marijuana in general, but there has also been convincing data on its benefit to patients with certain types of ailments – I’m specifically thinking about seizures. The potential regulatory problem is the abuse of the regulations concerning what constitutes a bone fide medical condition that can be treated with marijuana and the data which confirms its efficacy.
What is your opinion on gun rights?
I support the U.S. Constitution and that includes the Second Amendment. I believe there are too many who react emotionally to gun-based tragedies and want to restrict gun ownership. I think this is very short-sighted. It is our Constitutional right to own and bear arms and I am against the “creep” of restrictions that would unduly infringe upon our right. I do support a simple background check for a gun-purchaser to determine if the applicant had any felony convictions or documented mental health problems. As a side note, a veteran who has been diagnosed with PTSD should not be automatically denied unless there has been documented mental health problems which would constitute a risk. And as a final comment, automobiles kill far more innocent people each year in the United States than guns. If there is a proposal to universally reduce the maximum automobile speed to 25 mph, even on turnpikes, I would oppose this measure.
What, if anything, will you do in order to make the Affordable Care Act more palatable to your constituents?
I am against the Affordable Care Act. It was conceived with good intentions, but good intentions don’t equate to a successful program. I am an engineer and I believe that all the normal standards of requirements definition, contract development and project management were severely neglected. There comes a time in some projects when the question becomes do you continue to throw good money after bad or do you terminate the project and start over, salvaging any lessons learned. I believe the Affordable Care Act should be repealed, the sooner the better, and we should start over.
One of the first things I would do would be to advocate changing the law regarding the restriction of insurance companies to operate across state lines. I believe that consolidation and creation of larger pools of people to be insured will drive the cost down. I would also form a working group of medical industry specialists and experts, including the pharmaceutical companies, to formally analyze the program and provide recommendations. However, such a working group would be obligated to follow and conform to the project requirements, which would first be documented. I have long been an advocate of spending a commensurate about of money on the requirements definition phase of any project. Some aspects of a new project would include the development of: a Required Operational Capability (ROC) document; a Statement of Work (SOW), Lists of Deliverables, Timetables, and other aspects of a formal requirements document and Project Management Plan. I believe that the outcome would create a “buy-in” by the various participants, both government and civilian, and would result in an achievable plan that would be characterized by good medical benefits and outcomes to the patients at a reasonable cost and a reasonable profit to the participating companies. The plan must also include reform measures to current associated programs.
Do you support school choice in the form of vouchers?
First let me say that I am completely against Common Core. Time limitations doesn’t allow me to address all the aspects of this but let me say a few things about it. There has been considerable discussion about “standards”, and not enough discussion on the basic “education process”. The United States continues to rank lower in education outcomes compared to other industrial nations, yet we spent the most. Common sense screams that something is wrong. Yet what are we doing? Charter schools are achieving remarkable results, yet there has been no analysis of, why? Are we analyzing why our students are doing so poorly – NO! We are promoting “standards”, as if that is the magical cure. I say this is a waste of money and it is not focusing on the real issue; namely, improving the education process that helps our students learn more and become more capable and smarter. I believe that the Federal Government has been too heavy-handed and that it is too intrusive in the education process. This should be the domain of the States. If We The People and all the States have the same objective to improve the education process, it is reasonable to expect there will be a lot of commonality in the education process, even when it has been individualized for each State; for example in the State’s history. I believe in increased pay for teachers and pay based on merit. Conversely, if a teacher has not performed well they should receive less pay and possibly be fired. Teachers are professionals and they should have the freedom and time to teach, yet we continue to burden them with more things to do, which reduces the time they have to teach. I look at some of the educational material for my son’s school and note it is a Florida edition textbook. I suspect that we are paying a lot more for the custom Florida edition than for a non-state edition. Is math taught differently in Florida than for other states? There are too many special interests.
Back on point, I favor school vouchers and choice of school. I have personally faced this and found I had to comply to which school my sons went to even if geographically it was not logical. I also think that those who home-school their children should receive the voucher and not a school, which their children are not attending.
Do you support an increase in the minimum wage?
NO I do not. I’ve heard the argument that the minimum wage should be able to support a family of three or four. Where did that notion ever come from? I’ve heard the argument that it is human oppression that would have people working for a wage that a person cannot comfortably live on. In fact, I’ve been called bad names for saying I am not in favor of raising the minimum wage. Where did such nonsense originate? However, we currently do have draconian policies, which in my opinion, that are not related to the minimum wage such as the health insurance premiums that businesses must pay for full time workers but not part-time workers. This policy drives companies to hire more part-time employees but not as many full-time employees and thus the part-time worker must find two part-time jobs to get the income that he/she needs. This increases the cost for the worker both in time and money and quality of life. It also provides the incentive for companies to reduce the number of full-time employees and shift to more part-time employees.
There is the age-old dilemma of a graduate entering the work-force and can’t find a job in his/her career field because companies want a worker with experience and the new worker can’t get a job without experience. I maintain that a new worker will be glad to work at a smaller wage to gain that all-important experience to place on his/her resume. Later, armed with that experience, he/she is able to be competitive for a higher paying job. For me, as a small business person, I will NOT hire anyone because of the cost, both direct and indirect (called fringe). I have done this before and will not do it again. I’ll make do by myself and thus bear the handicap of not having the help that will allow me to expand. If the cost wasn’t so great, I would hire some students. Who is the winner, if any, and who is the loser? In my opinion, raising the minimum wage will reduce the job market and be a negative factor on economic growth.
As a final point, a number of years ago when I was stationed in the military in the Boston area, the economy was strong and while the minimum wage was about $5.50 an hour at the time, the fast foods restaurants were paying over $10 per hour. I believe that a free economy will naturally drive the wages, without government interference.
How would you handle the current immigration crisis?
First let me express my bewilderment about immigration that of all the discussions I’ve heard, I’ve not heard anything about the United States Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS). They are the government agency responsible for administering the rules and regulations regarding immigration policies. I consider this agency to be a rogue government agency that operates with impunity to the U.S. Constitution. I have extensive experience with this rogue government agency and have even taken them to
Federal Court, all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. I believe that any reform to immigration must include a major reform and overhaul of this agency. My point is, I have firsthand experience and a vested interest in immigration reform. I think this gives me valuable insights into the immigration crisis.
Back on point; the first thing I would do would be to introduce what I call a “Bullet Bill”, a bill which has only one point. It is therefore not a wide-ranging bill for reform, and it has no riders or pork attached to it. The first would be to establish that all aliens will be detained and deported who have any ties to criminal or gang activity, regardless of country of origin or age of the alien. This would stop the aliens from Canada and Mexico from being treated different than aliens from other countries. It would also stop juvenile aliens who are often confessed murders and gang members from being released into our communities. Afterwards, I would promote taking some of the foreign aid money currently being sent to Central American countries and divert a portion of it to establish an immigration facility located in each of those countries to directly assist people wishing immigrate to the United States to process the paperwork in those countries. This would be done concurrently with closing our borders completely. Next, I would advocate establishing a formal working group with both government and civilian participation to jointly identify immigration issues and resolutions. This plan would then be written into an immigration reform bill.
This is my short answer to the question on how I would handle the current immigration crisis.