By: Fern Sidman

Throwing his hat in the ring as the Republican contender for the vacant congressional seat in New York City’s 9th district is Bob Turner, a no-nonsense, back to basics populist candidate. As the 2012 presidential race gains momentum, Mr. Turner has an eye toward creating new and vibrant leadership in Washington, while taking issue with the controversial policies of the Obama administration. On Tuesday, September 13th, a special election will be held pitting Turner against New York State assemblyman David Weprin (D). Recently, The Jewish Voice sat down with Mr. Turner to get his perspective on the issues confronting Americans today.

JV: Mr. Turner, can you tell us, why, at age 70, having never been involved in politics, you are running for elected office?

BT: Actually, my political career began 18 months ago when I ran against former Congressman Anthony Weiner. While I lost that election, I did garner 41% of the vote, which signified to me that a sizeable number of voters in the 9th congressional district felt that Weiner was not representing their positions on the issues. Personally, when I heard Weiner speak, I was outraged at his absurd explanations for supporting the disastrous policies of the Obama adminstration.

I then contacted Mike Long of the New York Conservative party and asked him who was opposing Weiner on the ballot and who I could send a check to. When he told me that he was running unopposed, I was quite surprised and Mike told me that we need an independent candidate with strong business experience who can effectively articulate the conservative position on the issues. It was then that he asked me to run and after giving it careful consideration, I decided to do it. After losing the race, I had thought my political career wsa over but I was nominated by the party to run again and they asked if I would give it another try. There are serious problems facing our country as we are totally off course on a panoply of domestic issues and our foreign policy is a complete mess. With that in mind, I felt the voters of the 9th congressional district should have a choice in who represents them in Washington, rather than being saddled with someone who rubber stamps the president’s policies.

JV: Concerning your career as a cable television executive, what can you bring to the table as far as business management skills?

BT: My business career spans over 40 years as I’ve worked for CBS and Gray Advertising. I’ve been both president and chief executive officer of four different companies with revenues of over 100 million plus. I started one of these companies completely from scratch with a knowledge of capital markets and how to get new money to invest in businesses. I have hands-on experience in growing businesses both domestic and international and that knowledge will prove to be invaluable when dealing with fiscally irresponsible policies of the Obama administration. As a business person, I respect the person who works hard and don’t want the tax dollars of the middle class to be squandered by incompetents. Right now our country is being run by academics and career politicians and what we’re sorely lacking in these deliberations is a pragmatic approach to the economy; a bonafide business plan that has been proven successful so many times.

JV: What are your plans for stimulating job growth and lowering taxes for the small business owner in Brooklyn and Queens?

BT: There are three principle areas that we need to focus on. Firstly, we need to tap into resources in the energy field. We need to ask all energy companies to work on a domestic program immediately and that means domestic drilling and off shore resources. In New York State, we’re not doing nearly enough to exploit our natural resources. In other states such as Pennsylvania, there are over 70,000 people employed in the steel industry and if we explore our options we too can become a major employer in the energy field.

In order to help these development plans along we must immediately remove the litany of government regulations that are strangling the private business sector and we must start encouraging American ingenuity and creativity. The intentions of this administration have met great uncertainty especially when it pertains to repatriating foreign profits. This means that U.S. corporations can repatriate earnings attributable to foreign business operations at a greatly reduced tax rate and right now there is more than $1 trillion in U.S. corporate profits that reside overseas The mistake that this administration has made and other Democratic administrations have made for decades is that they think they can compel businesses to keep their investments in the U.S. by taxing profits generated by American companies in foreign countries and that is simply untrue. By encouraging companies to spend money on plant equipment and new product development, you will give them incentives to spend their money here, thus creating more jobs.

We had best dramatically reduce government regulations rather quickly as Obamacare is crippling small businesses and is literally pulling millions of dollars out of them. We’re looking at higher insurance premiums and let’s remember that the insurance companies are only making a 2 percent profit. What you have are substantially less benefits and inadequate healthcare. In addition to insurance companies; financial and corporate institutions are being hard hit by this as well. Soon, jobs will be sent to London and Toronto. These are the unintended consequences of massive regluations. Rather than creating an environment that would make borrowing money easier, it just makes it more cumbersome.

JV: As a representative from New York, I’m sure you know many of your constituents are without a healthcare plan. What would you do to insure that Americans who do not receive healthcare coverage from their employer get a plan that will be effective for them? On that note, as a congressman, would you lead the charge to have the president’s healthcare reform bill repealed on the grounds that it violates the commerce clause of the constitution?

BT: I would liike to see the healthcare reform bill repealed as it represents a financial nightmare for generations to come. I’m outraged at the fact that government has placed itself in the way of the patient/doctor relationship and the attendant procedures. If anything, the president’s bill has only increased the already exorbitant cost of healthcare. We must look at other states who have implemented much better healthcare models such as Massachusetts with only 4% of the population there uninsured. We’ve taken trillions of dollars out of Medicare and have put it into a feckless Obamacare plan that is going nowhere. What we’re witnessing today is an economic war with middle class families who have to shoulder the costs of Medicaid. While Medicaid might be okay in the short term, it will never be a long term resolution for millions of uninsured Americans.

JV: What is your plan to lower the national debt and free ourselves from our dependency on China for loans and how would you go about making this country solvent again?

BT: I feel that we have to grow our way out of this problem. We must work towards growing and strengthening the economy and not the deficit. Grow the economy and not the deficit. Cuurently, our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced in our country, is at 15 trillion dollars. In the next seven to eight years, out objective must be to return to a 20 trillion dollar mark. We can accomplish that by drastically cutting our expenditures which are totally out of control. Our budget must match our overall revenue and I think its insane that we’re borrowing money and spending twice as much as we have. We’re only going deeper into a hole. It’s like opening up a new credit card to pay off the debts on an existing one.

JV: On the foreign policy front, President Obama has been pressuring Israel to sit at the negotiating table with the Palestinian-Hamas government with the objective of creating an independent Palestinian state. Can you tell us your thoughts on this and on the upcoming Durban III UN sponsored conference, and the UN general assembly meeting in which a vote will be taken to create a Palestinian state under the leadership of Hamas?

BT: I think I can send a clear and unequivocal message to President Obama on this issue by winning the election. The president must know that the Jewish vote cannot be taken for granted. We must make the Democratic party aware that they’re not living in reality. I have the endorsements of both former New York City mayors Ed Koch and Rudy Guiliani who represent the liberal and conservative ends of the political spectrum and who share my views that Israel should never be coerced into dealing with a Hamas government who seeks their destruction and ultimately the destruction of America and the western world. Every word in the Palestinian-Hamas charter is antithetical to everything we believe in and thereby it is absolutely absurd to expect the Israelis to negotiate with them. My answer to those countries who would cast their vote for a Palestinian state is for America to cut their foreign aid packages. Those countries voting for the creation of a Palestinian state are doing so in exchange for bribes from the oil producing countries.

Today we are fighting a war for our very survival and this war is being waged againt us by the forces of militant Islam which has spread its tentacles far and wide. I vividly recall those Iraqis holding up their purple thumbs after voting for the first time and what a small taste of democracy can do for people. We must empower and embolden democratic factions in the Middle East and never lose sight of the fact that Israel is our only stable, democratic ally in the region and must be treated as the loyal friend that she is. As to the Green Revolution in Iran, I saw this as an opportunity missed by our government by not strongly supporting those voices who call for freedom, justice and democracy.

JV: Educating the children of the 9th congressional district has become a financial burden on middle class parents who have chosen not to send their children to public schools. What would you do in terms of tuition tax credits for parents wishing to send their children to private and parochial schools?

BT: Tuition tax credits are fine for starters, but I would like to implement a school voucher program that will alleviate the tremendous financial strain on parents and will significantly offset the immense costs of a private education. By doing so, we are saving the taxpayer an enormous amount of money. Each taxpayer in New York spends about $8,000 per student in a failing public school system. By investing in private education, we can reduce the jobless rates in the future by providing a quality education for our children and afford them with the kind of incentives to succeed that they won’t get elsewhere. I don’t think it’s fair or reasonable to keep burdening the taxpayer, which is why I see school tax credits as a quicker and easier way to resolve this ongoing crisis in education.