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Race for the 24th: Matt Kokkonen


In anticipation of forums to be broadcast live on-air by KCRW in Santa Barbara, all candidates for the 24th Congressional district were asked to respond to this questionnaire. The responses have been published without editing.

Given how dysfunctional Congress is now, how do you intend to get anything done?

In reality, Congress has virtually always been dysfunctional. Usually people who bring up the issue mean that since they belong to the minority party, their favored legislation is not being passed by Congress. On the other hand, legislation, such as Obamacare, passed solely by the Democrats without a single Republican vote, clearly highlights the bad consequences of not holding meaningful hearings and making common-sense changes to the proposed legislation.

However, the largest problem is the constant expansion of federal involvement in states’ and individuals’ lives contrary to the 10th Amendment. In fact, I won my case, limiting federal powers and jurisdiction, in the US Supreme Court unanimously.

As a financial planner for over 40 years, I have been on, and chaired many committees and boards and been involved in countless negotiations with individuals and large and small employers and groups where we have brought the parties to acceptable agreement.

How would you prevent another oil spill like the Refugio Spill in Santa Barbara?

Refugio spill was unfortunately due to a weak pipeline and its faulty monitoring. That is being remedied by the pipeline company. Let’s keep the spill in its correct perspective. The 1969 oil blowpout leaked about 80,000 barrels or about one year’s worth of natural seeps, while the pipeline spilled only 3,100 barrels, of which only 500 barrels reached the ocean.

The spill shut down major oil transportation. It cost the communities hundreds of millions dollars in lost tax revenue. This pipeline spill must not be used as an excuse to shut down oil drilling in the channel. In fact, one of the most important reasons to continue the drilling is environmental. Just as you pump out your septic tank when it leaks, the best way to clean the beaches from the natural oil seepage is to pump it out as has been proven around platform Holly.

After the recent San Bernardino shooting and the shootings in Isla Vista, how would you reshape laws surrounding gun control?

San Bernardino points out the laxness in our policy admitting radical Islamic refugees. We must not accept any person who cannot be vetted properly. Isla Vista shooting points out the need to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illness.

The huge majority of gun deaths occur in Democrat run cities that have the strictest gun control laws. Adding more gun control laws will not reduce gun crimes. First of all, we need to enforce the laws we have on the books currently.

People deal with each other only either through reason or force. Once reason is not an option, the only way a weaker person can resist the stronger one is to have the power of a personal weapon. Guns are an equalizer between a large and powerful attacker and his intended victim.

This right to keep guns was placed as the second amendment in our Constitution, to defend rights enumerated in the first amendment.

This March, Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials raided Bonita Packing Company in Santa Maria and forced the company to fire 291 farm workers because of their non-legal immigration status. According to the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, about 72% of the roughly 17,000 farm workers in Santa Barbara County are undocumented. This comes when there is a 25% labor shortage in the county, according to the Agricultural Advisory Committee. How would you handle the issue of undocumented workers and the need for labor across the district?

Our open borders are a travesty. Our admission policy needs to be based on people entering legally. Obviously agriculture as well as the even larger hospitality industry needs workers. We must update the braceros program for temporary farm workers and utilize the E-verify program for all employers.

Supervisor Carbahal wants “comprehensive” immigration reform. This buzz word means comprehensive admission to everyone. In 2013, Assemblyman Achadjian voted to give driver licenses to the illegals, voted as the only Republican to expand Medi-Cal to another 1,000,000 Californians, and voted for legislation to give work permits to those who are here already illegally. I oppose them. What part of illegal do you not understand?

Brown eliminated the word “alien” from labor law. How stupid have we become? Stop illegals from taking American’s jobs. I am the legal immigrant from Finland.

Recent studies have shown that on average students graduate with $30,000 in student debt. What would you do to help make college more affordable?

The issue of student loans is heightened because Santa Claus Sanders is promising loan forgiveness with everything else free as well.

We face a greater educational problem. Common Core is making our children’s education a social experiment instead of education. I have written about and compared California’s high school exit exams with those in Finland. California’s exams mirror those of junior high exams in Finland and elsewhere. Yet these countries are the ones our graduates will be competing against in just a few years. This general unpreparedness requires many college freshmen to take remedial classes. This extends the studies with their increased costs.

However, not everyone should go to college. We need increasingly more technically trained workers and business owners. There is a huge current need for skilled vocationally trained workers, mechanics, etc. For example, Air-Vol Block, a San Luis Obispo manufactures, has conducted training classes at Cuesta College for masons and would have more, if only the college allowed it.

Ultimately students are responsible for the majors they choose and the financial arrangements they make.



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