Wednesday, July 20, 2016

• Better Know A Candidate: Tim Sheridan

I don't usually stray too far from Wildomar for blog topics, but Tim Sheridan is running for the congressional seat that covers Wildomar, and his team reached out to me so here we are. 

From the start I'll tell you that this blog isn't going to focus on partisan political issues, looking to set up some type of gotcha moment. 

Democrat Candidate Tim Sheridan.
Most people already have their minds made up when it comes to politics, and there's no point in me bringing up such things in an argumentative way. 

I'll include links to his website at the bottom of the blog if you're interested in his official biography, and stances on the issues.

We sat down for about 45 minutes and chatted, his field director Maha Rizvi, joined us. 

I had made a list of questions, some just fun softballs, and others that brushed him back off the plate a bit (there's me, always looking to get a baseball reference in there).

After you've read this you're going to say, "But where were all the follow up questions? How come you didn't hold Sheridan's feet to the fire on some of his responses?"

My answer is that I'm not Mike Wallace, and Wildomar Rap isn't 60 Minutes looking to trap the candidate by painting him into a corner. 

Tim Sheridan is happy to speak to the voters, and I'm sure he'd make time for you if you ask for it.
 WR  How did you arrive in this area?
 TS  I grew up in upstate New York, and it was cold a lot of the time, and as soon as I had an opportunity to move to California I did. I lived up in Northern California first, then moved down here to Southern California in 2002 and I lived in Menifee for about 11 years. In 2012 my wife and I found a new home in Lake Elsinore, that we just fell in love with, and that's where we've lived ever since.

 WR  It takes a certain desire to serve the community as an elected official, what is your past community involvement?
 TS  My whole life really has been about trying to help people. I work for a union. My job is a job where I help people keep their jobs. I help them get through whatever issue they may be going through at work to make sure they can keep paying the mortgage, feed their families, things along those lines.

It's a natural transition from working in that type of environment to seeking public office. I'm a firm believer that house of representatives member should be actively involved in the community. 
Tim Sheridan with supporters.

 WR  You're feeling a bit peckish in the mid afternoon. Your two options are a slice of pizza or a Snickers bar, which do you choose?
 TS  (After a brief chuckle) I'll say this, since I started campaigning in the middle of 2013, I've put on a few pounds, and it is so interesting because you go to events people are glad you're there and they want to feed you. I was pretty bad about it, and I ate a lot of sugar. In February or March of this year I just tried to stop the sugar. So if you'd have asked me that question prior to February, I would have said, "Snickers Bar, or Reese's cups." Since then I've gotten better, and I probably wouldn't choose the pizza [either], I'd probably have a banana or something.

 WR  What political issues, that are generally considered to be GOP stances, do you find yourself agreeing with?
 TS  That's a good question. One of the things that the GOP talks a lot about, I don't know if they put it into practice as much as they should, but I am a firm believer that we need to take care of our military personnel. 

 WR  Conversely, what political issues that are generally considered to be supported by the Democrats, do you find yourself less enthusiastic about? 
 TS  (After a pensive pause) 
I could see that nothing jumped to the fore of his mind on this, so I attempted to rephrase the question. I used Rand Paul as an example of how he was "less enthusiastic" about many of the GOP's positions, including military overseas.
 That's hard a hard question to answer.
 WR  We can come back to it, it's not intended to be a set up thing.
 TS  Let me think about that, because that is a good question.
During an answer about immigration (below) he hearkened back to this question.

 WR  What do you consider your strong suit?
 TS  I think the strongest suit for me is I'm a hard worker. I'm running for congress right now and I'm working full time on this race. I get up at five in the morning and then work to about 8:30am. Then I do my regular job until about 4:00pm. [From there] I work on the campaign until 10:00pm. I think that's my greatest strength, hard working.

 Maha added,
"And he's a people person."

 WR  On a similar note, what would your wife's answer be to the previous question about you?
 TS  (After a brief laugh) She would say the same thing. My wife thinks I'm a very hard worker. I think that she would also say that I work too hard, and I'm not home as much as she would like me to be home.

 WR  What was your favorite subject in school?
 TS  (Without hesitation) History. Not even a question, I love history. They called it social studies when I was in school, but I loved it, and I still do. I'm a history buff. Especially American history and presidential history.

 WR  Aside from the obvious partisan differences, what do you see as the biggest differences between you and [incumbent] Ken Calvert?
 TS  I think the biggest difference between he and I, as evidenced by what I've done in the campaign, to be very active in the community. Mr. Calvert is not active in the community. He shows up on occasion for things, but he's not someone who spends enough time, frankly, in my view, in the community. 

I think that's the biggest difference between Mr. Calvert and I, is that I'm going to be much more accessible to the people. I don't have a problem sitting in front of somebody who disagrees with me and listening to what they have to say. I'm happy to talk to people about anything. So I think that's probably the biggest difference.

 WR  You're at a public event that has two music stages, but you only have time to go to one. Do you go to the blue grass stage or the doo wop stage?
 TS  I say the doo wop stage, probably. I do like blue grass too. 

At this point I discovered that Tim and I were born in the same year and he was talking about a band I didn't know by name. Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds. He was hoping I knew them, but I drew a blank. However, after I got home I looked them up and I remember a couple of their songs. Classic AM hits. I was never good at knowing the names of bands.

 WR  This might be a tougher one. My wife is a naturalized citizen. When we got married in Canada, she was stopped at the border and she wasn't allowed to immigrate for six months until we got the paperwork in order. She paid all the fees and waited in all the lines. Why should people that disregarded the laws of the USA be rewarded with a pathway to citizenship?
 TS  That's a good question, I think that the most basic answer is that it would be virtually impossible for us to take action to send people away. Assuming there are 11,000,000 [undocumented] people here, we as a country would have a hard time finding them, going through whatever process that we need to go through to send them home, or wherever they came from. 

Number one, we would run into a problem where some of them —probably a vast majority of them have family here already. So if somebody came here 15 years ago when they were 15 years old, now they're 30, it's not unlikely that they got married and have a child —and that child of course is now an American citizen, that's the first practical effect, that I think that people have to take into account. 

Number two, the majority of folks who are here, and are undocumented, have jobs, they're working. I don't know that the economy would benefit if we all of a sudden we sent everybody home. 

Number three, this is a country of immigrants. We're all immigrants in some way. The way that undocumented people got here was not the best way, but they are contributing. I think that is something that has to be taken into account. 

I think that one of the myths that is out there is that folks that are here, and undocumented, are using up resources. The truth is that most of those folks, likely, are paid less than minimum wage to do, what is arguably, difficult jobs... and aren't paying [income] taxes. If everybody was made so that they could work legally, that would actually raise everybody's income, because people (employers) wouldn't be able to pay undocumented people less than what they should be being paid. 

Plus if they paid them what they were supposed to be being paid, then they would pay taxes and that would ultimately benefit the government. 

After Tim's answer here, I clarified my question by saying that my opinions on illegal immigration have evolved over the years. I told him that I voted for 187 back in 1994, and that was a good vote. It made sense then, but it's a totally different landscape today.

What might have been tenable in 1994 isn't anymore; that's why I asked about "pathway to citizenship". I can see a pathway to legal residency, where they can be here forever, but I don't agree that they (those that broke the laws to get here) should be allowed to vote. Which is what comes with citizenship. 
 TS  I don't know that the answer for me changes there. Again, whether it's a pathway to citizenship or a pathway to legal residency, it's just impractical to send them back. I think if they had a pathway to legal residency, and they could work legally, they would start paying [income] taxes, and that would benefit everybody.

It's interesting that you clarified [the question]. The US Chamber of Commerce supports a pathway to citizenship or legal residency, and that's an area that's very often supported by Republicans. So that could also be an answer to one of your earlier questions about is there an area where I support a republican ideal. I support what the US Chamber of Commerce believes about immigration. 

 WR  SoCal is close to many areas, would you say you're more of a beach, mountain or desert person?
 TS  (No hesitation) Desert! My wife's a beach person, she loves the beach. I like the beach too, but I like the heat; I grew up in Syracuse [NY]. 

 WR  What do you see as the biggest concerns for the nation?
 TS  I think that terrorism is something that is huge, and we certainly have to remain vigilant about it, but other than that, I think that dealing with social security is an issue we're going to have to address. There are so many people in this country that are so reliant on social security and three times over the course of the last eight years there has not been an increase in social security. 

The reason for that is because the government uses a CPI (Consumer Price Index) called CPI-W, which is based on urban wage earners salaries, to determine whether or not people on social security should get an increase. 

There's a new CPI been developed called CPI-E, the E stands for elderly, and that takes into account what is generally more expensive for older Americans, that is healthcare issues. 

We need to change the CPI from W to E. 

That's the first thing, the second thing that I think is vital is the student loan debt problem. Do you realize there is $1.3 trillion in student loan debt in this country right now? It covers about 43 million borrowers, and what happens is that kids come out of school and they've got $30,000 of debt that they're paying, generally, more than 4% [interest] on.

It just strangleholds them. They can't buy a new car, they don't go out to eat as often, they can't buy new jeans, and every time they can't buy a new car or can't go out to a restaurant, the people who sell the cars or own [and work in] the restaurants, and the jean manufacturers lose an opportunity to participate in the economy too because they're not getting that money [from commerce].

That money instead is going to the banks or it's going to the federal government. Did you realize that the government is making money on student loans? It's unconscionable in my view.

Those are two economic issues, that are dealing with folks that are older and folks that are younger [that I'm concerned about]. 

Below is a video link of Tim Sheridan, in a prepared campaign ad, speaking on the minimum wage from 2014.

We had a brief chat about the political spectrum where I described myself as center-left, though I have many hard right stances on specific issues.

 WR  How do you describe yourself politically?
 TS  I'm left, there's just no doubt about that. 

 WR  You've mentioned Bernie Sanders a couple of times, so would you say you're [more] in his area or more like Clinton?
 TS  It depends on the issue. I'm a firm believer that social security should not be privatized and that we need to increase social security, and that's a far left position. 

But I'm not a pacifist. If the United States is attacked we need to take the appropriate actions. But at the same time, if we do that we need to take care of our veterans. 

 WR  Assuming you win in November, tell me about how you see your first term as a rookie congressman.
 TS  The thing that people will see in my first term in the house is that my focus will be in the district. I have pledged that when I need to be in DC, I'll be there. When I'm not in DC, I'll be here in the district working. I will not take any congressional junkets, either paid for by taxpayers or corporations —no congressional junkets at all. I'm either going to be in DC or I'm going to be in the district, except for two weeks when I promised my wife to take our vacation —which will not be taxpayer paid. 

I just think that this district is yearning for somebody who brings the House of Representatives here, and I will show up in art association meetings, I'll show up at city council meetings, I will show up to concerts in the park, we'll walk in parades, we'll talk to people, we'll have an office, we'll have office hours, that's where the focus is going to be. 

There's a practical effect for that. 

Number one, I think that's what this district needs, but number two —especially when you're a rookie in the house, I'm not going to get an appropriations subcommittee chairmanship, it's just not going to happen, and I recognize that. I think that what I can do is bring the congress here, to the district, to a greater extent than what we've had since Calvert's been our member.

As I said at the top of this blog, my intention wasn't to get into an argument with Tim Sheridan about issue we don't see eye to eye on. 

My intention was to give those interested, another look at him. Like in a televised football game where they go to the reverse angle replay. It's the same play, same subject, just a different POV.
Joseph Morabito and Tim Sheridan imitating the classic Minnesota Twins logo. The nice part about NOT being a partisan is that you can be on good terms with  people from either party. 

Take a look at that height difference. It's not so much that I'm a shrimp, but I'm obviously several inches short of six feet tall. Next time I'll have to stand on a can of soda if they don't have a booster seat for me.
In the three times that I've encountered Tim Sheridan in person, with the first time at a candidates forum in Tuscany Hills (though I didn't speak with him), at Wildomar's 8th birthday party at Marna O'Brien park, and at this conversation, I've found him to be a genuinely good person with sincere convictions and represents himself well.

We all know how voting works. 

There are partisan voters that are only interested in voting straight down the ticket (whichever it is). Then there are those that vote based on the candidate(s) or a particular issue.  

Whichever your motivation, do your research into the candidates.
Here is a link to the official Tim Sheridan campaign site.

I don't anticipate chatting with incumbent Ken Calvert, but here is a link to his campaign page if you'd like to read up on his views.

•        •        •

"There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it behooves us all not to talk about the rest of us."

—Robert Louis Stevenson, 1815-1894

Wildomar Rap reminds you that it's generally better to be the behoover rather than the behoovee.

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