Wednesday, October 10, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Maryland Juice Interviews Rob Sobhani // Independent Senate Candidate On Nov. Ballot Questions & More

Over the course of the last few weeks, Maryland politicos have seen hundreds of thousands of dollars of television advertising from independent U.S. Senate candidate Rob Sobhani. The former Republican candidate has been trying to appeal to members of both parties, and that has led both Democrats and Republicans to question Sobhani's motives.

Rob Sobhani campaigning in Montgomery County

Maryland Juice decided to try and find out more about where Rob Sobhani stands on key "values" issues, so we asked him to respond to several questions. Today, we present the results of our exclusive email interview with Maryland's independent U.S. Senate candidate. NOTE: I am aware that several of the issues I raise below are slightly unrelated to the roles and responsibilities of a U.S. Senator -- but I think it is important for voters to hear where Sobhani is coming from on hot topics. Below you can see his responses on a range of issues, including support for a flat tax and support for death penalty repeal (or at least a moratorium).

Without further ado, Maryland Juice presents the following Q & A with Rob Sobhani:

Maryand Juice Question 1  //  November Ballot Questions: How do you plan on voting on the hot-button ballot questions this November? In particular, I am curious about where you stand on:
  • Question 4: Dream Act
  • Question 5: Congressional Redistricting Plan
  • Question 6: Marriage Equality
  • Question 7: Gambling Expansion
ROB SOBHANI'S RESPONSE: The beauty of the referendum process is that it allows the citizens to directly voice our opinions on these questions. Recognizing that these are all primarily state questions and not directly related to the race in which I am running, I am also a citizen and will vote.

On the Maryland Dream Act, I haven't decided yet, but I do have a plan for fixing our broken immigration system and have written a book on it (Press 2 for English). I think we should establish a path towards citizenship before talking about the benefits of citizenship.

On the Congressional Re-Districting Plan, I've seen the proposed map and find it very strange. It is symptomatic of a two-party system so entrenched on preserving their own holds on power that common sense, as well as our interests, are too quickly disregarded.

On Marriage Equality, as I've said numerous time in this campaign, my number one priority is getting our economy back on track, and I have no intention of changing the existing law on this issue.

And finally, on the Gambling initiative: if this is the best our elected officials can come up with in terms of economic development, it is perhaps the best case for change I've seen yet.

Maryand Juice Question 2  //  Upper Bracket Tax Rates: Are Maryland's upper-bracket personal income taxes too high, too low, or just right?
ROB SOBHANI'S RESPONSE: As a candidate for federal office, I am focused primarily on federal tax rates. The tax code today is too arcane and should be simplified. That is why I support a fair, flat tax of 15% for most working Americans. Those who are making a lot more than others can pay a little more, and those who are at or below the poverty line should get some relief. As a Maryland state taxpayer myself, my view is pretty simple: I'd like to see where my money is going. Currently, the state budget process is too obtuse. My property taxes go to support Montgomery County schools, where my kids have gone, and I see the benefits of that so I have fewer concerns on the county level. But on the state level, more transparency and accountability when it comes to spending is in order.

Maryand Juice Question 3  //  Abortion: Are you pro-choice or pro-life (with respect to abortion)?
ROB SOBHANI'S RESPONSE: The current law allows for women to make choices about their reproductive health with their doctors.  I do not believe that changing this law is the first thing we must do to get our State and our country back on track, should the majority of citizens and the representatives you elect have an urgent need to do so, I trust that will happen because in a democracy it is the will of the people that should rule. The reason I’m running for U.S. Senate is to help turn the economy around. 

Maryand Juice Question 4  //  Death Penalty: Do you favor or oppose death penalty repeal in Maryland?
ROB SOBHANI'S RESPONSE: According to our Constitution, states have the prerogative to determine whether they will have capital punishment for the most serious of crimes. Regrettably, there are many cases that are so heinous and shocking that the guilty party deserves death and the administration of capital punishment could serve as a deterrent to others considering such crimes. Yet I am concerned that, while it is one of the best in the world, our criminal justice system is not perfect. Were an innocent person be put to death due to a mistake, that injustice would condemn our system and put into question the wisdom of capital punishment. Until guilt can be established beyond doubt, I am opposed to the current administration of capital punishment. 

Maryand Juice Question 5  //  Teacher Pension Shift: Would you have supported the teacher pension shift to counties recently passed by the Maryland Assembly?
ROB SOBHANI'S RESPONSE: Again, this is not a federal issue, but I am a citizen of the state and do have an opinion. As with the gambling question, we again see the result of poor planning and a lack of vision by state government in its efforts to foist another mandate on the counties. This creates more uncertainty for teachers with respect to the retirement they have earned on the front lines of education, and burdens local government at a time when too many counties are struggling. I do think the state should do better on this issue, and fear that the temporary fix they have most recently proposed will neither solve the problem nor pass the basic fairness test.

More on Maryland's U.S. Senate battle soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment