Q. Do you think it was it a good idea to go into Iraq?
A. I do. I understand why some Americans are against the war. We’re a kind, generous and decent people. But we can’t say the same about the terrorists. The way for us to be safe is for the Middle East to become free, and we’re going to need linchpins in that part of the world.
Wu: My opponent says that she will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with George Bush in support of the war in Iraq and that she wants our troops to remain there. I disagree. I’ve consistently voted in support of our troops in Iraq. Now our allies must step forward to share our burden, and we must create a plan to bring our troops home safely.
Q. Are you concerned that Iraq wasn’t involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks?
A. I don’t think it was ever said that Iraq was related to 9/11. But there’s a very, very high probability that Saddam Hussein would have partnered with terrorist organizations.
This is not a war we picked. It was brought to us. I clearly remember when the radicals came to power in Iran and one of the main mantras was the United States can’t do a darned thing and they were right. To people in that part of the world, the U.S. was a paper tiger.
Wu: The administration has used the tragedy of 9/11 to justify sending our troops into Iraq. This has distracted us from finishing the job in Afghanistan, fighting the war on terror and confronting the nuclear threat in North Korea. We must bring an end to the conflict in Iraq so that we can address the more imminent threats to our national security.
Q. Do you support any changes in the tax system?
A. I support making the tax cuts permanent. This economic stimulus package has created 1.6 million jobs nationally, 40,000 here in Oregon. We need to get rid of the marriage penalty and keep the doubled child-tax credit. We don’t want to be raising taxes on people any more.
Wu: The Bush cuts heavily favor the top 1 percent and have produced a trillion-dollar deficit. My opponent’s support for even deeper cuts would make it virtually impossible for us to improve our schools and protect Social Security. I support fiscally responsible tax cuts for our working families and small business.
Q. Can we afford extending the tax cuts with our deficit?
A. The best way to shrink the deficit is by growing the economy, and we’re on the right path to do that. The other is to get our spending under control. There’s no question about that. I’m pleased to see the administration saying discretionary spending will be increased no more than 1 percent. That’s below the rate of inflation.
There are several reasons why the deficit has happened. We’ve had a slowing economy. Fifty percent of the reason the deficit happened was the slowing economy, the stock market, the eight-month recession, 9/11. Those clearly added to the slowing economy. Twenty-five percent of it comes from increased spending. Tax cuts are going to boost the economy, create jobs and boost the tax base.
Wu: I voted to eliminate the marriage penalty, cut taxes on Social Security benefits and make the child tax credit permanent. These are responsible tax cuts. This administration’s economic policies have led to the loss of millions of jobs, a trillion-dollar deficit and high unemployment. The Bush tax cuts are a big part of this problem, and yet my opponent wants to make them permanent. But 51 percent of these tax cuts benefit the top 1 percent, not Oregon’s working families and small businesses who need them most.
Q. What can be done in the 1st Congressional District?
A. This district is the engine of Oregon’s growth. We are the world headquarters for sports apparel. We’re the Burgundy region of the United States for our wine industry. We’re the third-largest state in terms of high tech and our timber and agriculture industries are unparalleled.
This district drives Oregon’s economy, and we have to make sure we create an environment where we can do it better, and that means reduce regulation, taxation and litigation. They’re the Bermuda Triangle.
Wu: Building our economy requires a strong education system, support for small businesses and a modern infrastructure. I’m working to improve our schools and make college more affordable. I’ve worked to bring federal money to Oregon to support small business. And, I’ve fought to extend unemployment benefits and protect overtime pay for Oregon workers.
Q. How do we fix Social Security?
A. We’re going to be faced with Social Security issues. Social Security was going to hit insolvency by 2042, and that’s been extended. I’m opposed to increasing Social Security taxes, opposed to cutting benefits and opposed to privatization.
I support allowing younger voters to set aside a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal savings accounts on a voluntary basis so they can get more than the 1 percent earnings Social Security receives. If you talk to Mr. Wu, he’s saying I support privatization, and that’s far from the truth.
Wu: My opponent supports Social Security privatization. She has said this repeatedly in public forums. In addition, my opponent proudly accepted the backing of Citizens for a Sound Economy. CSE cited my opponent’s strong support for privatization in its endorsement of her. Unfortunately, on this and many other critical issues, my opponent is misleading voters by trying to have it both ways.
Q. Isn’t allowing private investment a form of privatization?
A. Younger folks should be given a chance to invest a portion of the Social Security taxes in safe instruments only on a voluntary basis. I favor choice.
Wu: Yes, this is privatization, which my opponent supports. Privatization would necessarily rip a trillion-dollar hole in Social Security, putting the program at risk for both seniors and future retirees.
Q. OK, that leads us to abortion. How do you feel about efforts to restrict abortion?
A. I don’t know a lot of people who like the idea of abortion. I trust women to make the right decision. I don’t support late-term abortion or government funding. I am for parental notification and the 24-hour waiting period. But I’m not for repeal.
Wu: My opponent is anti-choice. She’s taking money from Oregon Right to Life, a fervent anti-choice organization. And as she says here, she supports every major restriction on choice to come before Congress in recent years.
Q. Do you support any changes in the USA Patriot Act?
A. I really do think law enforcement needs the tools to fight terrorism, and the Patriot Act proves that. I propose we do a study to make sure there have been no abuses of civil liberties. That’s increasingly important. Congress should be watching this.
Portions of the Patriot Act are coming up this year and next for renewal. For Congress to make an informed decision, we need to make sure there have been no abuses. The events concerning Brandon Mayfield didn’t have anything to do with the Patriot Act but are cause for concern.
Wu: My opponent calls the Patriot Act “reasonable” and “sensible.” I see nothing reasonable or sensible about allowing John Ashcroft free access to our private medical and financial records or the ability to search our houses without our knowledge.
Q. Are there areas where you differ with President Bush?
A. Yes. I don’t support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I support re-importation of drugs from Canada so we can lower costs to senior citizens. And being a breast cancer survivor and having a husband who operates Alzheimer’s clinics, I support stem cell research.
Wu: My opponent stands in lock step with George Bush on crucial issues including keeping our troops in Iraq, privatizing Social Security and opposing unemployment benefit extensions and overtime pay.
Q. How do you feel about trade with China?
A. I’m for trade with China, something Congressman Wu has voted against. We have to look at every trade bill on its own merits. I’m for fair trade and definitely for trade with China, an economy that’s growing 8.5 percent a year.
Wu: I’ve made no secret of my position on trade with China. I support trade that benefits our economy. My opponent, like George Bush, supports any trade agreement, even those that send American jobs overseas.
Q. What do you think of David Wu?
A. He’s out of touch with his district for two or three reasons. One, he votes 90 percent with the leadership of his party, and this is a district that respects independent-minded people. He’s for higher taxes. He voted against increased defense spending after 9/11, including the body armor our troops need.
Wu: My opponent is wrong about my record, but I still feel she is a reasonably pleasant person.
Name: Goli Ameri
Born: Sept. 26, 1956, Tehran, Iran
eTinium, now-inactive telecommunications consulting company
Education: Bachelor’s in communications and French literature, Stanford University, 1977; master’s in communication, Stanford, 1979
Family: Husband Jim; sons Darius, 20, and Sherwin, 15
Experience: Delegate, National Republican Women’s Conference; Oregon Republican Party executive committee; advisory board, Center for American Women in Politics, Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University
In addition: Ameri would be the first Iranian-American elected to Congress
Campaign contacts: 503-624-2004; www.ameriforcongress.com