2020 election: Q&A with Jim DeBello, candidate in the 52nd Congressional District – The San Diego Union-Tribune


The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board recently emailed a series of questions to Jim DeBello, R-San Diego, who is running for California’s 52nd Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Scott Peters. Here are the questions and his responses.

What will be your top domestic and international priority in Congress?

Economic recovery is my top priority. We need businesses and schools to be both open and safe for our families. These goals are not mutually exclusive. As a technology entrepreneur, not a career politician, I have a track record of creating high-paying jobs. My goal is to secure the well-being of the American people and spirit through practical solutions that stimulate job growth.

COVID-19 taught us many hard lessons. It showed that bigger government does not provide greater financial or personal security — businesses witness ever changing regulations and public health messages change daily.

The pandemic will pass, but bad economic policies and over-regulation will make recovery harder. My opponent, Scott Peters, supports AB5 and voted for the Pro-Act — two bills that make it illegal for thousands of workers to keep their jobs. At a time when San Diegans need more opportunities to supplement their income, Scott Peters is making it harder to make ends meet. I oppose both bills.

Strong international policy comes from a clear understanding of local needs. As a gateway to Asia — and with Tijuana sharing a border — San Diego has always been a gateway to our global economy. Today, the opportunities and challenges of global engagement are more pressing than ever. I am not only a lifelong San Diegan, but I also spent many years in China as the CEO of a tech company.

I understand the global challenges that our community faces. In Congress, I plan on getting things done.

Read our Q&A with the other candidate in this race below:

Has the pandemic changed your approach to health care? If so, how?

This is my second pandemic. While living in China, I successfully ran a multi-national company during SARS. I safely took care of employees by observing public health guidelines. Economic sacrifices do not need to be the norm in a pandemic; we can balance people’s financial and physical well-being.

My pandemic experience has focused me on four areas: speeding development of treatments, fostering insurance competition, creating transparency in pricing and rebuilding our strategic supply chain so that we are not so dramatically exposed to shortages as we have recently seen.

I am committed to our San Diego life-science community, the best in the world. Yet Scott Peters voted for HR3, a bill which could eliminate 80,000 jobs in life sciences and stall new drug discoveries, including a COVID vaccine. How is this progress?

Our supply chain is a mess. We are dependent on China; there is nothing sensible about that. It has exposed the U.S. to strategic shortages for PPE supplies and generic drugs. We must bring manufacturing back home and be prepared for the next pandemic.

We need to foster competitive insurance coverage across state lines that includes pre-existing conditions and lowers costs. Single-payer health care run by the government would explode costs and damage the standard of care. Centralized control restricting freedom of choice is not the answer.

Finally, regarding Congressional perks, I believe all members of Congress should use the VA health care system. Do not be surprised how quickly care for our Veterans would improve.

What more could Congress do to combat climate change?

Environmental alarmism delivers headlines, not solutions. Many proposals like the Green New Deal and others supported by my opponent are unrealistic and economically disastrous. Rather than playing the politics of climate, I am focused on practical, common sense solutions that reverse human impact. These include carbon capture technologies, bluetech biofuels and other market driven incentives.

I strongly support measures that ensure clean air and clean water, and support the goal to meet 100% of our power demand through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy resources.

Energy means progress. Yet California’s blackouts are the result of bad policy and unintended consequences, more reflective of an emerging nation than the world’s fifth largest economy.

It is not necessary to sacrifice our standard of living. I have found a way to achieve carbon reduction through marketplace solutions. I am the co-inventor of mobile check deposit used by 80 million Americans. It has saved an estimated 11 million tons of carbon emissions and counting.

I have driven successful innovation throughout my career. While my opponent talks climate, I have acted. The 52nd District is home to the world’s leading research, desalination, energy and scientific minds. However, we lack an effective voice in Congress. We must commit to public-private partnerships that accelerate transition to sustainable forms of alternative energy that are proven, scalable and affordable. I will champion our district’s technology innovation for the benefit of all.

What changes would you make to U.S. immigration policy?

I strongly support policies fostering legal immigration and welcome our new citizens. We are a nation of immigrants. We refresh our talent and gain new ideas by attracting the best and the brightest, the strongest and the most determined. I am the grandson of immigrants and son of WWII veterans who began with little more than a dream. I believe in immigration.

However, our immigration system is broken. Congress has failed to act, and my opponent refuses to distinguish between people who obey our laws and those who violate them.

Waves of illegal immigration increase horrific human trafficking while suppressing wages for working Americans. Every democratic nation has borders to protect its citizens. They must be enforced to be effective. Let us speed the legal immigration process, removing bureaucratic barriers and restoring our proud immigration heritage.

As your congressman, I will work to enact sensible immigration and asylum policies that end the gaming of our laws; increase H-1B visas to attract Ph.D. technical talent to grow our industries and prosperity for all Americans; and increase border security by using technology and meaningful barriers to stem the flow of illegal crossings.

How would you address the massive national debt hanging over America’s future?

America’s runaway debt equals the size of our economy: $27 trillion. China owns $1.1 trillion of U.S. debt, and every American owes $70,043 as their share. My opponent and his party want to massively increase our debt, promoting a multi-trillion-dollar spending spree to win favor in an election year. This is both unsustainable and unconscionable.

Balancing a budget is a big part of creating productive jobs. The outrageous federal deficit spending must end. Crushing debt saps our national vitality and mortgages our children’s future.

During the eight years Scott Peters has been in Congress, the government has shut down three times and the debt ceiling has been raised above the legal limit nine times. Shutdowns and deficits cost American taxpayers billions of dollars in lost wages and opportunity. Yet Congress keeps their perks as our country suffers.

We Californians are already taxed at the highest rate in the nation, compounded by federal taxes. First, we must stop the bleeding and pass balanced budgets every year. I propose stripping Congress of their paychecks until a balanced budget is passed to avoid any more shutdowns. Second, as Americans live and work longer, we need to provide balanced reform to put Social Security on long-term, financially firm ground. Lastly, we need to fix our costly and inefficient healthcare system, which harms Medicare recipients and drains our savings.

Why should voters choose you over your opponent in this election?

I am Jim DeBello, a successful business leader, not a career politician. While Congress talks about jobs, I have created them. When Scott Peters talks about climate, I have delivered solutions. I understand important issues that affect our daily lives — the impact of skyrocketing homelessness, the rising cost of living and the vital need for public safety.

I am an advocate for all independent-minded voters whose voices are not being heard. Our current representative has demonstrated neither passion nor performance. San Diego has changed; we are a dynamic hub of innovation, diverse businesses, with military and veteran needs. I bring experience that meets the demands for the 21st century.

I co-invented mobile check deposit; it represents the kind of practical solutions I will bring to elevate our future. I have run companies in six countries and am an expert on foreign trade, data privacy and U.S.-China relations. These are critical issues that impact our nation and our community every day.

We are not a racist country, but we must work to ensure equality and justice for all, and act on our principles. I am against California’s Prop 16 that would allow discrimination and preferential treatment and will work to keep discrimination out of laws in Washington.

We must rebuild our economy, improve education and restore faith in the American Dream. I will deliver real solutions. Vote for change. Help me turn visionary ideas into genuine action.

I would be honored to represent you and receive your vote.





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