Robert Ardini, Republican Party
What three things do you most want to get done as a Member of Congress during the next two years?
I want to get a handle on the national debt. All the money we’re spending on interest on the debt, we should be spending on roads and bridges, surveillance to combat terrorism, reducing taxes and paying down that debt. We have to start by balancing the budget. It’s that simple. I want to work to reduce gridlock. I address this issue in the next question. I want to propose legislation to enact mandatory term limits for both chambers of Congress. My Democrat opponent has been a member of the House for 23 consecutive years. That can’t be what our Founders intended. Congressional term limits have been proposed before and never pass because you’re asking people to vote themselves out of a job. I want to introduce term limits that don’t kick- n until 15 years from now; that way, there’ll be no conflict of interest issues and perhaps it will pass.
Do you think you will be able to work with the opposition party? How?
My ability to reach across the aisle and extend that olive branch to work with members of the Democrat party will be one of the signature accomplishments of my term. How will I do it? I’ll do it the old-fashioned way, the way Ronald Reagan did it. I’ll spend time becoming acquainted with as many of my fellow House members as possible – particularly those of the opposing party – to build a foundation of mutual respect from which to find common ground and forge compromise. Furthermore, the fact that I’m moderate on all social issues makes it easier to have a meeting of the minds; and, as a non-career politician and first-time candidate, I carry no partisan baggage.
What book has had the greatest impact on you, and why?
“No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails – But Individuals Succeed” by John Stossel, a Libertarian journalist, disproves conventional thinking on political issues. He then offers up a “less government is more” solution to each topic and points out the advantages. This book challenged me to view issues from an even broader perspective.
Carolyn Maloney, Democratic Party and Working Families
What three things do you most want to get done as Member of Congress during the next two years?
I came to Washington in 1993 with a long to-do list and am proud that many of those items are now crossed off. But still, there is more to do to improve the lives of New Yorkers and all Americans. One of my top goals was to build the Second Avenue Subway. I worked for years to get support for this project and got $1.3 billion in federal funding. The first phase will open this December. During the next two years, I will focus on moving federal funding for Phase 2 of the project. Our foremost responsibility as public servants is to protect the American people. We must improve and strengthen our homeland security, which includes passing common sense, effective gun safety legislation to keep weapons out of the hands of those who wish to do us harm. Lastly, we must finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment and guarantee women full protection under the Constitution.
I have always believed that the best legislation is bipartisan. Throughout my years as a Member of Congress, I have always successfully worked with my colleagues across the aisle, because that’s how you make change. I am very proud to have been recently rated the top House Democrat for Leadership by GovTrack for my ability to work with others and cultivate co-sponsors on my legislation. Without working across the aisle, I would not have been successful in passing bills I authored, like the Credit CARD Act, the Debbie Smith Act or the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. In fact, just this session, I worked closely with Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Peter King, a Democrat and Republican, to extend and effectively make permanent key programs supporting our first responders, 9/11 survivors and victims’ families by passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.
I can’t pick just one. 1. Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It inspired me to do better and to fight for what’s right, no matter the opposition. 2. “The Feminine Mystique.” It sparked second-wave feminism and pointed out the need for the Equal Rights Amendment, which I have committed myself to fighting for.