"Sanders challenges Buyer in 4th
The winds of change could be blowing through Washington this election year. As political analyst Amy Walter recently wrote in the New York Times, “Can Democrats win the House is no longer the valid question. The question is whether Republicans can do anything about it.”
Democratic candidate for Congress Dr. David Sanders is hoping to make his mark in Indiana’s 4th District. Sanders, a professor at Purdue University and a world-renowned expert on the subject of Biodefense, is making his second run at unseating incumbent Republican Congressman Steve Buyer this November. NUVO was given the opportunity to sit down with Sanders and discuss some of his positions.
NUVO: You seem to have taken on veteran’s benefits as a major issue in your campaign. Why that particular focus?
Sanders: Veterans from Alaska to Florida, Hawaii to Maine are asking me to defeat [Representative Steve Buyer] because of his rude treatment of veterans, his attempts to increase co-pays, decrease eligibility, redefine who a veteran is, kick people off the VA rolls … He has refused to let veterans and their representative service organizations testify before Congress. Tom Delay and Dennis Hastert put him in there specifically to replace a pro-veteran chairman. I get e-mails, phone calls and letters from veterans every day, and they are all frustrated with the current congressman, and they want me to help them out, and that is what I am going to do.
NUVO: How do you feel about the pace of the current war in Iraq? Are we being rightfully cautious?
Sanders: My opponent went over to Iraq recently, got a substantial amount of press about it, and returned saying that we were going to be there for at least another five years. I do not find that an appetizing perspective.
Right now we’re at the idea that we have to fight the terrorists there, we’re promoting democracy and we’re stopping civil war. Let’s say that we are in fact promoting democracy. They do have an elected government, somewhat dysfunctional, but they do have an elected government. I say let’s embrace that. Let’s embrace Iraqi democracy and sovereignty. What would be the best way to signify that we believe in Iraqi democracy? Let them vote. I have proposed a simple measure, a referendum, of the Iraqi people, on whether the United States and coalition troops should stay or leave in six months. It’s not “stay the course,” its not “cut and run,” it’s allow the Iraqi people to make the decision on their future, and respect their sovereignty. I believe America can’t lose. If we’re honestly trying to promote democracy what could be a better expression of it than that.
NUVO: What is your stance on the issue of immigration? Is President Bush on the right track with his guest worker program, or could such a program create what is essentially a servant class, as some have suggested?
Sanders: I am opposed to the expansion of guest worker programs because it doesn’t solve any problems. Illegal immigrant labor is exploitation. The Bush Administration has essentially decided not to enforce our existing laws against employers who employ these workers. It’s just that simple. I think that the idea of creating an underclass that can be exploited is totally wrong, it damages the American worker and it’s not right for America. Right now, one of the reasons people employ illegal immigrants is that they can’t complain. They can’t complain about not receiving their wages, working in unsafe conditions or problems that are being caused by the environment. What we need to do is uniformly enforce those labor, safety and environmental laws. I think that that is the long-term correct approach to this issue.
NUVO: To wrap things up, is there an issue you feel the American people must be made aware of that we have not yet covered in this interview?
Sanders: Medicare part B. If you wanted to design a federal program that would discredit federal programs, you would design Medicare part B. It does not serve the interests of the elderly. It does not serve the interests of the taxpayer. The person who designed it is now the chief lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry. It is not serving us very well, and it needs to be completely reformed. The crisis for Medicare is in fact closer than the crisis for social security. But nobody’s talking about that.