Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Clay Aiken
Full legal name, if different: Clayton Holmes Aiken
Date of Birth: 11/30/1978
Campaign Web Site: www.clayaiken.com
Occupation & Employer: Self employed
Work Phone: 919-297-8466
Twitter handle, if applicable: @clayfornc
1. If elected to the House, what is your highest priority for the next Congress? Please discuss what you would do to help it be achieved.
My highest priority will be to take on the dysfunction that is paralyzing Washington and hurting the American people. We have to break the gridlock in Washington in order to create jobs, strengthen the economy and give each child in America access to a good education and the opportunity to succeed. The American people are suffering because Members of Congress refuse to compromise and work across party lines to get things done.
As a Congressman, I will fight for our workers, veterans, students, educators and every person in my district whether they voted for me or not. But our Representatives in Washington can’t accomplish anything unless they stop arguing and start working together to take action on the important issues affecting our country.
2. Some House candidates favor term limits and pledge, if elected, to limit the number of terms they will seek? Is that a good idea? Will you, if elected, impose terms limits on yourself?
My goal is to persuade the voters to impose term limits on the incumbent Congresswoman. I don’t believe we should have career politicians, and I’m not trying to be one.
3. As a result of Citizens United and related factors, so-called “dark money” is pouring into American political campaigns without voters knowing where it came from. Do you favor or oppose measures to require that contributors be identified when their money is used to pay for political ads and other activities?
I support more transparency in our campaign finance laws. There is too much money in politics these days. If wealthy political contributors are allowed to spend exorbitant sums of money in our elections, the American public should at least be able to track where the money is coming from.
4. The American economy is not producing enough jobs for everyone who wants one, especially not enough jobs that pay enough to support a family. Conservative critics say the reason is too much federal spending which crowds out private investment. Critics on the left say there’s not enough public investment in job-producing sectors, while private capital is flowing to other countries. Where do you come down on this issue?
When American citizens take out loans to send themselves or their children to college, they think of it as an investment in their future that will continue to pay off years down the road. When we invest in our economy and the American worker, we’re taking out a loan that will continue to pay off for years to come.
Investments like an infrastructure bank will provide jobs and perform much-needed repairs and maintenance on bridges, highways and airports. Too many companies send our jobs overseas. And even worse, they are rewarded for doing so. We need to support legislation and programs that focus on providing funding, resources, training and jobs for the people back home.
5. Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage? If so, to what amount? And should it be indexed for inflation?
Yes. I support raising the minimum wage and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Combined, a minimum wage hike and the expansion of the EITC for all workers making less than $50,000 a year will move more Americans above the poverty line and into the middle class. I support increasing the minimum wage to an amount that provides a livable wage for Americans. I do not think solely indexing the minimum wage for inflation is the most effective option for promoting a livable wage for our workers.
6. On the Affordable Care Act, what should the next Congress do? Repeal it? Change it? If so, how?
Democrats need to acknowledge that the American people have serious problems with parts of ACA, and those need to be fixed. But we must not repeal the valuable and important parts of ACA that protect Americans.
Supporters of ACA regularly discuss popular provisions of the law like allowing children to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 and preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions. There are many other provisions that are rarely discussed but receive wide approval from the American public. Things like requiring hospitals to tell a patient how much they’re being charged for treatment and preventing doctors from being paid by pharmaceutical companies to prescribe certain medicines receive a lot of support from the public but are rarely mentioned as essential provisions that should be preserved.
But there are deficiencies in the health care law that need to be addressed. We need to do more to broaden the pool of those signing up and encourage more young, healthy Americans to enroll. There’s currently a mandated 3:1 ratio of most-expensive to least-expensive plans. This artificially increases the cost of plans for young and healthy people. I’d be interested in discussing a proposal to change the ratio to 5:1 to encourage more young and healthy people to enroll.
7. Should undocumented immigrants be offered a path to citizenship? If so, what requirements would you impose? How should the law treat undocumented young adults and children who’ve grown up in the U.S. after being brought here by their parents?
I am a staunch supporter of the DREAM Act, and I support the bill that passed the U.S. Senate last year with bipartisan support. I believe we should give undocumented immigrants legal recognitions similar to those of green card status while they pursue a path to full citizenship.
8. Do you think climate change is a serious, even urgent problem? Do you think human beings are causing it? What environmental policies should the U.S. adopt to combat climate change, if any?
Climate change is real, and we have to reduce man-made carbon emissions. I support increasing emissions standards for automobiles and moving away from the use of coal by utilities.
9. Is it time to pass a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to protect the rights of LGBTQ people in the workplace?
10. Should union organizing be facilitated by changes to labor laws, including the proposed Employee Free Choice Act (ECRA)?
The process for certifying unions to represent workers has become too contentious and subject to manipulation, and I would vote for measures to streamline that process.
11. Do you support or oppose increasing tax rates on the wealthy, either to reduce federal debt or as part of a package to raise money for public investments and/or cut taxes for the middle-class?
I believe it is fair to ask more of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. They have benefited disproportionately from state and federal tax cuts and loopholes unavailable to many middle- and working-class Americans. They need to step up and do more to fund projects that create jobs, improve public education and reduce the federal deficit.
12.What do you think of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s idea of expanding Social Security benefits as private pensions become less and less common?
Social Security benefits are a vital part of our commitment to seniors, and we must protect and expand these benefits. With employer pensions becoming less common and the average American receiving less income to put into retirement savings, we must explore options to expand Social Security to ensure we protect hardworking Americans after retirement.
This is a perfect example of an issue where both parties need to come together and develop a bipartisan, comprehensive plan to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security, not only for today’s retirees and near-retirees, but also for generations to come. Among the components that should be considered are a change in the way that inflation (called “chained CPI”) is calculated, progressive reforms to the payroll tax, and protections for low-income families and the elderly. Even the Bowles-Simpson plan, which would sharply cut benefits, called for revenue-raising reforms to the payroll tax. I would strongly oppose any effort to solve the long-term shortfall in Social Security by cutting benefits alone.