Neeraj Nigam (Ind.)
HOMETOWN: Sterling, Va.
FAMILY: Pratibha (spouse), Anchal (son), Rajarshi (son)
EDUCATION: BS, PMP
OCCUPATION: Senior Systems Analyst/Manager
CAMPAIGN ADDRESS: 2005 N Amelia St., Sterling, VA 20164
CAMPAIGN PHONE: (703) 507-3982
BEST BOOK YOU READ THIS YEAR: Mathematics for the Millions
FAVORITE MOVIE: Brewster's Millions
QUALIFICATIONS: Certified Project Management Professional, 25 years management experience. Know how to get the job done on time, on budget under extreme conditions.
1. Was the Iraq war a mistake? Why or why not?
The Iraq war was a mistake. This only diverted attention and resources from those we should have gone after, those who attacked us in our own homes. Our arbitrary and capricious action has caused an increase in terrorism by showing the world that we cannot be trusted. A country, however despicable its leadership has been changed from one of relative safety to a terrorist hotbed. That said, now that we are there, we need to finish the job, not prolong it. Our soldiers are capable of doing this. Our government does not appear interested in finishing it quickly.
2. Five years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, what more could be done to protect America? What limits on civil liberties are acceptable?
Five years after Sept 11, not much is being done against terrorism. Vast amounts of personal data on Americans is being collected. But analyzing it will take so much time that it will not help catch a single terrorist. Americans are paying a high price while the terrorists are freely doing whatever they want. No civil liberties need be suspended to capture the terrorists. We have laws in place for these types of contingencies. Benjamin Franklin, the author of the constitution himself said that those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.
3. What is the nation's best long-term strategy in combating terrorism?
The only way to combat terrorism is by being pro-active. We need to out-think and be one step ahead of terrorists instead of reacting to them. Terrorism is an abhorrence to everyone in the world, and we need to capitalize on it. We can get the support of the world by going after terrorists and protecting the innocent from them. Only when the world is united against terrorism can the end of terrorism be seen and we can start to feel safe again.
4. In light of recent corruption scandals in Congress, do you believe reforms are needed? What would you propose?
I have not yet studied this in detail. I can say that a balance of power between the three branches of government along with a strong and free press should be able to identify corruptness and publicize it. After that the voters can provide the best justice.
5. What should be done about the 45 million Americans who are living without health insurance?
Affordable health care is important for all Americans. We are paying more and more for less and less. We need find out why health care is so high in America as compared to the rest of the world. Why is the same drug available at one tenth the cost to the rest of the world. Then we need to do whatever is needed to eliminate the problem. When health care costs become reasonable, then everyone will be able to afford it, or even better, not need it.
6. President Bush's signature education law, No Child Left Behind, requires high-stakes testing in all public schools. What is your view of the law? Should it be reformed? Why or why not?
This law is a failure. Teachers are teaching to the test just to be able to get funds. Education should be about instilling critical thinking in children, not to pass a test. The ability to analyze situations, arrive at solutions and then be able to select the best from them should be the basis of education. Short term tests should be used to identify where additional training is needed, not as a basis for reward or punishment of teachers or schools.
7. The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the federal deficit will grow to $286 billion in 2007 and to $1.76 trillion over the next decade. How would you address this?
I cannot claim to have an answer to this. I do know that it is easy to spend some one else's money as the government is doing. As we are already paying almost 50% of our income in taxes, raising them in any shape or form is not the answer. We have to cut costs. The government can get out of doing things for us that we can do ourselves. I will work towards reducing our deficit and hopefully our debt.
8. What is the best way to deal with the record high oil prices of recent years?
The high price of oil is due to our increasing dependence on it. We need to encourage development of renewable energy sources. We need to encourage purchase of alternate fuel vehicle so that their costs are commiserate with that of oil dependent vehicles. We need to encourage car pooling and mass transit.
9. While the economy has grown in the last five years, the wages of middle- and low-income Americans has stagnated. How would you address the income disparity between the very wealthy and the rest of the working America?
The current government is very business oriented. They have favored policies that favor big business over the individual. Big corporations have grown at the expense of the individual. By passing more customer oriented laws, we can address this issue and help reduce the gap. While I am against government interference in private industry, I do say that the prime job of the government is to protect the individual and will spare no efforts in this regard.
10. Opinion polls suggest that the international community views the United States in a negative light. Does this matter? If so, what can the United States do to repair its standing with the rest of the world?
As the leader of the world, international opinion of the United States is important. Only when they respect us will they follow us, and work with us to do what needs to be done. We can achieve this by talking softly instead of trying to use force. If we are reasonable the world will listen.
For the following questions, please respond with a yes or no answer.
1. The minimum wage has been $5.15 since 1997. Is it time to increase it?
2. Congress is considering the elimination of the federal estate tax, which requires the wealthiest 2 percent of all Americans to pay taxes on inherited property. Do you believe the estate tax should be discontinued?
3. Is global warming real?
Global change is real
4. On Nov. 7, your name will appear on the same ballot as a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Considering the full text of the amendment, will you vote for it?
5. If President Bush's tax cuts are made permanent, $2.2 trillion would be added to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. Would you vote to extend the tax cuts past the 2010 expiration date?
No, budget needs to be cut instead
6. Should the United States have higher fuel economy standards for vehicles?
7. Do you believe in evolution?
8. Should electronic voting machines be required to have verified voting paper trails?
Yes, and these should be randomly checked for verification
9. Do you believe the sectarian violence in Iraq is a civil war?
No, it is terrorist based
10. Should the federal government fund stem cell research?
11. The United States is one of the few countries that has refused to sign a global ban on land mines. Would you vote to sign the treaty banning the use of land mines?
Why have we not signed? I need to study this
12. California has enacted the nation's toughest restrictions on air pollution, requiring a 25 percent reduction in carbon dioxide pollution. Should similar action be taken for the rest of the country?
Yes, but flexible and after study and consquences
13. Do you support "Net Neutrality," which would guarantee that every website on the Internet loads at an equal rate of speed?
14. Do you believe that Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision that overturned state laws banning abortion, should be overturned?
15. Would you support a guest worker program for illegal immigrants that would lead to citizenship?