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April 28, 2008

Virginia 8th District GOP Primary: An Interview with Amit Singh


The race for the Virginia 8th District congressional seat has seen two candidates vying for the Republican nomination and the opportunity to unseat nine-term Democratic Congressman Jim Moran. This week, I interview one of the candidates, Amit Singh. My interview with his opponent, Mark Ellmore, will be published next Monday. The primary is on June 10.


Paul Ibrahim (P.I.): Mr. Singh, thank you for doing this interview. Can you, in one sentence, explain why you are running for Congress?


Amit Singh (A.S.): I am running for Congress because our politicians are leading America in the wrong direction and those who are supposed to use conservative solutions to get the country back on track are ignoring the core principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and personal freedoms.


P.I.: What would you say is the single biggest disservice Congressman Jim Moran has done the Virginia 8th District, and how would you undo it?


A.S.: He has sold the 8th District to special interests. One of the most flagrant abuses included accepting $17,000 in campaign contributions that led to a $35 million contract with the Navy for magnetic boats they did not even want. It’s difficult to undo the damage already done but we can prevent future damage by not accepting special interest money. I was the first in the country to sign the Change Congress pledge organized by Dr. Lawrence Lessig to not accept special interest money for the campaign.


P.I.: Would Mark Ellmore, your opponent, be a suitable replacement for Congressman Moran? What aspects of his candidacy made you want to challenge him in the primary? Would you support him if he is nominated?


A.S.: While I do feel Mr. Ellmore would be an improvement to Mr. Moran, I am running because Mr. Ellmore does not truly understand core American values of limited government and fiscal responsibility, as we can see in his call to expand the health care system, Medicare and SCHIP. If Mr. Ellmore asked for my support and committed himself to core conservative values, I would support him.


P.I.: Would you describe yourself as a member of the “Ron Paul Revolution?”


A.S.: I believe that Ron Paul and I have a common source of inspiration in the core conservative values and in the tradition of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, to include limited government, fiscal responsibility and personal freedoms.


P.I.: There has been little discussion of social issues in your campaign. Do you support overturning Roe v. Wade?


A.S.: I do support overturning Roe v. Wade because I believe it was an overextension of federal powers.


P.I.: What was your position on Virginia’s 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage?


A.S.: I do not support the government dictating to consenting adults how to live their lives. I believe in traditional marriage and when laws are put in place to “protect” it, it ends up doing the opposite. Social institutions are stronger when the government is not involved.


P.I.: Would you support a ban, whether state or federal, on the adoption of children by homosexual couples?


A.S.: No, I would not support such a ban. Ultimately, loving parents regardless of orientation are better than no parents at all.


P.I.: Let us move on to foreign policy. You call for an end to the “occupation” in Iraq. How is that label consistent with the democratically elected Iraqi government's wish for U.S. presence to continue?


A.S.: I hardly believe it is the Iraqi government’s “wish” for the U.S. presence to continue. But given their current state they would rather let the U.S. pay for the rebuilding of Iraq and subsidize their military.


P.I.: Would you still say we “won” the Iraq war if we withdraw and, not unrealistically, Iraq collapses into an anarchic threat in the Middle East?


A.S.: I am not advocating a complete and immediate withdrawal from Iraq. But rather that we engage the other aspects of this conflict, including those economic and political, so that our troops will be able to leave in a safe and responsible manner. This conflict is no longer primarily a military conflict but rather an economic and political goal which must be achieved. At this point, building a stable middle class in Iraq is the responsible exit strategy for the U.S. which is possible with the Iraqi government investing their $25 billion surplus into their own economy.


P.I.: We will conclude with some Virginia questions. Mark Ellmore has endorsed the Tysons Tunnel. What are some of the reasons for your preference of the elevated rail option, and how would you address the concerns of those who worry that elevated rail will hurt property values and quality of life in Tysons Corner?


A.S.: My concern is that the current tunnel proposal, which is a single unsolicited bid, may not be approved by the federal government for a significant amount of time and may jeopardize the overall project. An elevated rail proposal would also have to consider alternate paths and number of stops to optimize property values and quality of life.


P.I.: Why did you not vote for George Allen in the 2006 Senate elections? Did the “macaca” incident affect your vote?


A.S.: The fact that George Allen called the student a “macaca” was not offensive to me personally because I do not get offended by such comments. When he did not simply say he was sorry and made a number of excuses for what he had done, I just did not think he was being honest to the public which is unfortunate given we agreed on so many issues.


P.I.: Would you seek George Allen's endorsement if you win the primary?


A.S.: If George Allen wished to endorse me based on my conservative credentials, I would welcome it.


P.I.: Thank you, Mr. Singh.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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