By: Fern Sidman
An Interview with Jay Townsend – GOP Candidate for New York US Senate
The November mid-term elections are gearing up to be an exciting and most critical race that will undoubtedly alter the political face of this country. Those who stand in staunch opposition to the “tax and spend” policies of the Obama administration and other polemical legislation have galvanized their forces and are ready to make their voices heard to the American electorate. One of those people is Jay Townsend, a GOP candidate for United States Senator for the State of New York. Seeking to unseat the incumbent; Sen. Charles Schumer, the senior senator from New York, Jay Townsend articulates his position on the issues that effect the future of New Yorkers throughout the length and breadth of the state. I sat down with Mr. Townsend to find out more about “the man who would be Senator.”
FS: You started your career as a political consultant. What kinds of campaigns did you work on and which candidates did you support?
JT: I was born and raised a Democrat in the mode of Winston Churchill. And as Churchill said, “Anyone under 30 who is not a liberal has no heart.” Since my 30s, however, my political philosophies changed and I decided to work on campaigns for Republican candidates such as Gov. Pete Wilson, who is an accomplished mind. I worked on local campaigns in New York State as well including Hudson County and Orange County. On a personal note, I was a late bloomer and married at age 38. It was then that I decided that life on the road as a political consultant was no longer tenable and instead of living out of a suitcase, I decided to stay home with my family.
FS: Why, at this juncture in time did you decide to enter politics?
JT: It was last January when I was very inspired by the people of Massachusetts, who elected Scott Brown to be their US Senator, which was a seat that had always been held by Ted Kennedy, a liberal Democrat. The people of Massachusetts were outraged by the prospect of the health-care reform bill that was looming in the Senate and wanted a candidate who vowed to vote against it. There were a growing number of people from outside of Massachusetts that contributed to his campaign. It was at that point, that I decided that there were those in New York State who just didn’t grasp the message of what his election represented. I called GOP party leaders in New York and asked if we have anyone who could or would challenge Sen. Chuck Schumer; a fervent supporter of the health-care reform legislation and the Obama agenda. Since that juncture in time, others in the party decided that the waters were warm for a victory. There’s no doubt that the President’s plans for “change” in America scares me and many others to death and I decided to throw my hat in the ring.
FS: Concerning your position on the BP oil spill, considered to be the greatest environmental disaster in US history, do you think that President Obama is handling it in the most effective way possible and what is your position on his interdiction on further domestic drilling?
JT: No, I don’t think President Obama has handled this well at all. The United States received offers from many other countries to assist us and Obama refused to accept those offers. Right now, there are only several countries that are trying to help. We have to learn that we can accept help; especially in this case that represents the most significant environmental disaster in our country’s history. The President should have immediately accepted help. He must accept some responsibility. He adamantly refused to waive the Jones Act, even temporarily, which would have eased the way for foreign vessels to move in U.S. waters and between ports. Our European allies, who are longtime opponents of the Jones Act, have asserted they were turned away when making offers of assistance. The State Department acknowledges it has had 21 aid offers from 17 countries. Rather than waiving the Jones Act and allowing the international community to help us, President Obama pandered to the labor unions at the expense of the environment. He is protecting the pocketbooks of his union allies by keeping foreign vessels at bay, and for that, we must question the competence of this administration.
FS: You said you oppose the Obama administration’s plan for a “cap and trade” carbon emissions policy and the clean energy act known as Waxman-Markey. Could you tell elaborate on that?
JT: Senator Schumer would like to pass this bill in the senate. By passing this bill, in essence, you make it harder for us to break our ties with foreign oil suppliers. The unhappy effect will be the spike in the price of gas and fuel. I suggest that we tap American ingenuity and allow it to work. My question is: Why was BP in water out that deep? If they had been allowed to be closer to shore, then this horrific mess wouldn’t have happened. Our imperial Congress says we don’t have to look at it for what it is.
Paying despots such as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela for oil supplies translates into exporting our capitol to terrorists. We have to be willing to look at other options. We should allow companies to explore domestic drilling options. Our dependence on foreign oil is partly our own fault. I would love to have clean energy and I love “green” but our society is now dependent on fossil fuels. We can and should increase domestic supplies of energy by making more federal land available for oil exploration. Because of advances in technology, it is possible for companies to drill in ecologically friendly ways. In the barren terrain of Alaska, for example, studies show that we could draw the rough equivalent of 20 years’ worth of imports from Saudi Arabia, and perhaps tens of billions more barrels of oil in unexplored parts of the Alaskan tundra. We should also begin drilling, in an ecologically conscious manner, off our coasts. Passage of this cap and tax bill will drain more manufacturing jobs from the US and it will kill the American economy.
According to The Heritage Foundation, enactment of Waxman-Markey would result in the loss of more than 55,000 jobs and cut our gross state product by more than $25 billion over the next two decades. Electricity prices would rise by $370 per year for the average family, and the price of gasoline would increase by $.66 per gallon. The cap and trade bill is a back door tax increase, and the result will be fewer dollars left in the hands of New Yorkers already struggling to balance the family budget and survive an anemic economy.
FS: Concerning the Obama administration’s position on the burgeoning Iranian nuclear threat; do you think that the latest round of economic sanctions will prove fruitful and what path do you believe the US should take on this?
JT: I don’t think that we’re serious about enforcing these sanctions. We must come to the realization that we have enemies in the world and we have to stop pretending that we can negotiate with these enemies. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad only understands brute strength. Clearly, the nuclear threat emanating from Iran is indeed imminent. The imposition of sanctions on Iran will only prove to be another feckless attempt to stop the nuclear threat, unless we convince other countries to participate fully. We should try and enlist the help of the European Union, Japan and state owned banks and we must make the sanctions systematic. We should include all insurance and re-insurance on ships going to Iran. I also feel that we have to target the central bank. Basically, my argument with the Obama administration is that you cannot be patient with a tyrant and that is what Ahmadinejad is. He is never going to like us and we had better get accustomed to that.
FS: As you know, there has been a dramatic shift in US foreign policy towards Israel. The US is pressuring Israel to relinquish parts of Jerusalem for a future Palestinian state along with the settlements in Judea and Samaria. Do you think the creation of a Palestinian state is in America’s best interest and would you support an Israeli strike on Iran as former US Ambassador John Bolton has suggested?
JT: Israel is our closest and best ally and Israel deserves to be treated as an ally. I felt that President Obama used the first year of his presidency to rub the nose of Israel in the dirt. Senator Schumer refused to voice his opposition to this. Look, if President Bush had done to Israel what Obama is doing, then Senator Schumer would have vociferously protested. I don’t believe that Israeli settlements are an obstacle to peace in the Middle East. That is patently ridiculous. I don’t believe that the creation of a Palestinian state will bring peace to this war torn region and I vehemently oppose the creation of a state that would represent an existential threat to Israel’s security. I would certainly support Israel’s right to defend herself against the Iranian nuclear threat because that is in America’s best interest.
Senator Schumer’s objective is to become the majority leader in the US Senate and he is willing to sell New York State down the drain to achieve that goal. His silence on the pressure Israel is facing from this administration and his silence on the Iranian nuclear threat has been deafening. Over the last six months, Senator Schumer has held press conferences on such inane issues as airline baggage fees, the increase of salt in cheeseburgers, sunscreen and Facebook, but he won’t utter a word of protest regarding the President’s treatment of Israel. Senators can make noise and they are indeed in a unique position to make such noise and I plan to do just that.
FS: The demonization of Israel is growing at alarming proportions not only on our college campuses but also throughout the world, especially in Europe. Cloaking itself under the banner of anti-Zionism, it is clear that this movement is anti-Semitic in nature. What would you do in the Senate to help stop this dangerous phenomenon and how would you work to support Israel’s position vis a vis the US?
JT: I believe that our support for Israel cannot be limited to uttering platitudes. America needs to support Israel militarily as well. It is in America’s best interest to insure that Israel possesses access to the best military technology available. The Prime Minister of Israel’s responsibility and obligation is to the safety, welfare and health of his nation and its citizens and he should not be excoriated for doing so. Israel should never be held to a standard that we wouldn’t hold ourselves to. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if Israel demanded that the USA negotiate with leaders of countries that deny our right to exist? That would never be tolerated, so why should Israel be expected to tolerate that kind of nonsense? There is a double standard when it comes to Israel and Senator Schumer knows this. Why is he afraid to call his President on the carpet for doing this? Why doesn’t he finally stand up for the constituency that elected him?
FS: I understand that you will work towards repealing the health-care reform bill. You call this an “entitlement” that this country cannot afford. What kind of reforms would you replace it with that would lower health care costs?
JT: I don’t oppose health insurance reform. I oppose the way it was done. I think we should encourage our free market to work. Let’s allow the sale of health insurance policies across state lines. Let’s give individuals the same tax breaks as those who work for large employers. The small business owner should have the same tax breaks as someone working for IBM. Let’s allow people to purchase health savings accounts and what they use will come out of their health and savings account.
The health care plan rammed through the U. S. Senate by Senator Schumer will swell the ranks of the jobless, raise taxes on those who can least afford them, cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket, and place federal bureaucrats between doctor and patient. It will deprive millions of Americans of access to the quality health care they have come to expect, retard the development of new miracle drugs and medical devices, force doctors into early retirement, and ruin the best health care system the world has known. In New York State, we will see the skyrocketing rates in our health insurance plans. The quality of health care will not improve and I expect that it will decline tremendously. Right now, in New York State, doctors are leaving by the droves and going to such places as Texas because of the exponential rise in their medical liability insurance. We’ve got to stop the frivolous lawsuits being filed against doctors and we’ve got to reduce the cost of defensive medicine.
FS: How do you think President Obama’s cuts in defense and his work towards ending nuclear proliferation will ultimately effect the security of the USA and what is your view on the US role in Afghanistan as it pertains to curtailing the power of the Taliban?
JT: The jury is out on Afghanistan. I know General David Petraeus as he is a resident of Cornwall on the Hudson and I trust him implicitly. It was he who made the troop surge work. Senator Schumer predicted that it would end up being a colossal failure. Given his track record in Iraq, I fell that Gen. Petraeus has the ability to extricate our troops from Afghanistan. How long will it take for us to accomplish our goals? It might be a 20 to 30 year commitment, but I believe we can accomplish what we set out to in terms of the war on terror and we cannot stop until our goals are met.
Right now, we are the mightiest military power on earth. We are the most loved country and the most feared country by our adversaries. If we cease to maintain our military prowess, then other things cease to matter. We can only champion human rights and dignity by protecting those in this world who find themselves under the thumb of tyrannical regimes and we can only be effective at that by being a mighty military power. History shows us that both the French and Ottoman empires were powerful forces until their armies were destroyed. The Soviet Union is no longer a threat, but China is now poised to become a threat in terms of a world military power. China is building a navy and will become the world’s biggest military power. It is incumbent on Congress and the Senate to protect our military and our nation’s citizens. That should be our first obligation. We must adjust our resources and use them wisely and we must not allow our stellar military to atrophy.
FS: Concerning spending and the deficit, you mention the growing role of China over our money supply and the fact that our national debt is close to $13 trillion because of the health care reform bill and cap and trade. What legislation would you propose to lower the national debt?
JT: Let’s repeal this monstrous health-care reform bill. We can accomplish this without entitlements. The second thing is we have to get real about our rate of spending. We can’t continue to run these structural deficits without bankrupting our country. When you run these kinds of deficits you either borrow money or raise taxes. We have to live within our means. We have to balance the budget by saying no to more spending. We are drowning the next generation in a tsunami of red ink, creating new entitlements that will force this nation to borrow 10 trillion dollars over the next decade, devalue our currency, and cede to the Chinese control over our money supply and the power to raise interest rates on cars, credit cards and home mortgages. When you extract money from our budget and give it to federal bureaucrats who do not understand how to create jobs, then you find yourself in the mess that we’re in. Unemployment rates go up while Medicaid is totally out of control in New York State and is draining the residents of our state.
I talk to people all over New York State and they tell me that their property taxes are just killing them. The quickest way to bring about property tax relief is by not accepting mandates from anyone. We must reduce the cost of energy and the cost of health care because that it directly tied to the fact that our banks are no longer lending money to small businesses. 80 percent of jobs in upstate New York are generated by small businesses that can’t get bank loans because the banks ask these businesses to present their revenue projections for the next few years. These businesses do not know what their energy or health care costs will be so they can’t give an accurate projection, so they can’t get a loan. The tax relief of 2001 and 2003 will soon expire and dividends, capitol gains and income taxes will go up unless Congress decides to act.