Two Republicans challenge each other--and Farr--in the 17th District.
Thursday, May 14, 1998
Imagine if you will, a 28-year-old Republican cook representing the 17th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. That''s the goal of Mark Cares, a red-headed, enthusiastic young Republican who''d like the chance to sit in Congress with a group of lawyers and businessmen, serving up a plate of radical reform like the abolition of the federal income tax and the legalization of drugs.
Assertive, charismatic, and very serious about his role as a potential representative, Cares believes that his background in restaurant management and cooking, combined with 10 years of nationwide travel, have put him in a position to know what Americans really want.
"During the past election cycles," says Cares, "I discussed politics with people in classrooms, coffeehouses, in the restaurants I worked and even in the bank lines."
"I realized that 80 percent of Americans agree on 90 percent of the issues, but the politicians in Washington are arguing over splinter issues like abortion and political scandals, while the larger issues fail to get addressed. We need to confront the problems that face everybody. Once we do that, the smaller problems will take care of themselves."
The other Republican candidate on the ballot for the House seat is Bill McCampbell, a businessman who heads an international law practice, and works as a small business consultant. McCampbell has already run for office three times. The first time was in 1992 against incumbent Congressman-turned-White House staffer Leon Panetta, then in the special 25 candidate primary to replace Panetta. Then in 1994, he ran against the incumbent Congressman Sam Farr. McCampbell actually beat Farr in Monterey County by 3,000 votes in the November, 1994 race, although he ended up losing to Farr. McCampbell and Cares are running in a district that registers 146,177 Democrats to 81,793 Republicans, making their numerical odds alone very challenging.
Nevertheless, this year''s "open primary,"--which allows voters to cross party lines--could help McCampbell and Cares overcome the partisan handicap.
McCampbell, the better-known Republican, says he''s most passionate about running a race based on values. Rob Roberts, a local resident and controversial former talk-show host for KSCO in Santa Cruz says "Bill McCampbell is a nice guy with a good message. But he''s uninspiring to a lot of people. We need to energize people again, particularly in an area where the democrats rule."
Roberts, who is himself managing the campaign for 27th Assembly Republican candidate Phillip Chavez, believes that Cares is the guy who can do that. "I admire Mark for undertaking a quixotic quest," says Roberts. "He''s a normal guy just like you and me and the kind of candidate the Republican party needs. He''s energetic, he''s passionate, and he can cross the party line."
Ron Chessire, representative for the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee, does not think Cares has a chance. "Mark Cares is new, he''s unknown, and he has no financial backing."
Criticism aside, both candidates have at least one major issue on their platform which calls for radical change and both candidates have come up with a possible solution.
McCampbell''s biggest national concern is Social Security and he has a plan which he says will put a million dollars in every worker''s own personal Social Security account. "Every worker would put 10 percent of his or her wages into his or her own personal account. A worker making $20,000 a year would have $1 million saved by retirement. The only exception to this would allow the worker to withdraw funds to buy a house."
Cares would like to see the federal income tax abolished. "The American federal income tax was created to help finance the Civil War," said Cares. "Everybody was taxed equally and then after the war, the income tax was removed. But, after the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment, which allowed the government to tax Americans'' income indefinitely and disproportionately, the federal income tax became the government''s main source of income."
Cares believes the way the government soothes America''s discontent over the income tax is by creating its own wars. "During World War I, World War II and the Korean wars, the federal government found that the people would not get so upset over taxes if they were used to save some guy''s life. So during the ''60s, they started their own wars. That''s why we have the war on crime, the war on drugs, the war on poverty and so on. I want to end these wars and reduce the government to such an extent that it can afford to get by without the income tax."
The primary on June 2 will narrow down the representatives competing for a spot on the ballot. That Republican challenger will then have to go up against incumbent Farr, who already has a formidable war chest of PAC contributions. Stay tuned. cw