Meet The Candidate: Steven Machat
Hometown: New York City
Party affiliation: Independent
1) Why are you running for U.S. Senate?
I am motivated with that belief that I can represent and protect the people of Florida with a priority for their health, education, welfare, equality and safety to the best of my ability. I am an Independent and both share and defy some of what the Republicans and some of what the Democrats believe in. No one is 100% correct or incorrect/right or wrong.
I am visiting all 67 counties to go face to face and interact with Floridians.
You can hear or you can listen. You can hear yourself talk or you can make a commitment to do whatever is in your power to help make the changes that are necessary.
2) If facing a deficit, what parts of the budget would you cut and what would you promise not to cut?
I have a background in accounting and have thought long and hard about this very topic. I would cut the interest to the Federal Reserve and associated banks, our foreign affairs giveaways and domestic spending within the complicity of our administrative agencies.
There is an incredible amount of duplicity that requires a face to face with each agency to find out exactly where monies are being spent, who they are being spent with, what they are being spent on and what can be alleviated or budgeted realistically.
I would not cut, but instead perhaps recalibrate and increase health, education, welfare, the environment, equality and safety.
3) What would you do to strengthen Florida's economy and create more well-paid jobs?
People need to be treated equally; with respect, dignity and appreciation for a job well done. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want the opportunity to wake up each morning with a sense of purpose and go to sleep at night knowing they have contributed in some small way to themselves, their friends and family, their community.
If you own a business, you need to operate that business with a responsibility to yourself, your family, your employees and your community. You need to pay your fair share of taxes and a fair wage, with benefits; not a minimum wage.
If you are employed, those same basic principles apply; show up each day, on time, with respect for yourself, your fellow workers, your employer. We all have a right to work, but we also have to equally recognize our responsibilities.
We need to continue the tax incentives to keep film and television production here and not lose it to Atlanta, the Carolinas and Canada. The trickle down from that alone creates double digit millions in jobs, tourism and what’s called “below the line” opportunities and training.
I will protect our terrain from the abuse of companies volunteering short-term profits that turn into long-term disasters. I have a plan for Big Sugar that you’ll see below under #6.
Where exactly is the $30 billion dollars the state lottery claims was dispersed to education since 1988 gone? Why is Florida currently ranked 30th in the nation on education quality with an overall grade of C-minus? It is a disgrace and an outrage. $30 billion and we can’t we attract more teachers nor support those we currently have in our public school system so we don’t lose them? Our public school systems employ not only teachers, but those that open the doors, turn on the lights, feed the students, and clean up when the day is done.
4) Should the Second Amendment have limitations?
Yes. The Second Amendment was written and published in 1790. A gun then is not a gun now. I would love to see the day we live in peace in a “gun-less” society.
Objectively, I understand that people disagree with me and I want to engage conversation to discover why they disagree. What is our federal government not providing that people believe they need guns? That is the real challenge.
A) More of fewer than it has today?
B) Do you support prohibiting gun sales to people on an FBI terror watch list?
Absolutely. I cannot understand how anyone could say no to this question.
C) Banning certain types of weapons for civilians?
There are those that belong to gun clubs where firearms are kept under lock and key; and hunters that complete a life cycle by eating what they hunt. I don’t understand it, but it is their right to do so. There is absolutely no reason for any private citizen anywhere to own an assault rifle or automatic weapon. http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/
5) Please explain your position on energy. Do you support drilling off the coast of Florida/ the Eastern U.S.?
No, I’m on record and do not support drilling, fracking or any type of environmental invasion towards our earth. We need to learn how to use the resources we have now: sun/solar, water and the wind. We need to stop our dependence on fossil fuels and be aware every day how every, single thing we do has an effect on a clean future.
6) What should the federal government be doing to combat rising sea levels and other effects of climate change?
First we have to recognize and acknowledge that there is climate change as there are those in Florida; in positions of power; that not only adamantly refuse to use the words climate change; they won’t allow that phrase, nor ‘sustainability’, ‘global warming’ or ‘sea level-rise’ to be used in agency reports.
Florida was dug up from the sea and if we don’t take care of it, nature will reclaim its territory.
We need to stop deforestation; reinstitute the growing of hemp (which was required for all landowners when Florida became a state in 1845); preserve nature where possible and conserve when that is our only recourse.
Big Sugar has to be stopped. Now. They have decimated our waterways and have been allowed to continue to do so. I’d make it a priority to have them fund the cleanup by the hiring of those in need of jobs. I’d make Big Sugar responsible first for the education of those that will be hired to clean up their mess; followed by the purchase of American-made equipment necessary to do the job. They’d then have the option to either present a plan on how they will move forward in a responsible way to protect the environment and provide a realistic wage with benefits for their workers, or no longer be allowed to conduct their business in Florida.
Monsanto must be stopped. Our food needs to be sourced from plants and nurtured by farmers not factories, instead of our citizens becoming science experiments buried under an avalanche of GMOs.
7) Do you support Common Core education standards? Please explain.
No. Children need the freedom and dignity to discover; how to use their imagination and in doing so, will want to learn and share their knowledge. Teachers in Florida cannot be directed by someone in Oregon as to what will work best in their classroom thousands of miles away.
The billions of dollars used to integrate the Common Core standards into our schools could have instead been used to build new ones in the neighborhoods where our children live. Instead, our schools are crumbling; we’ve lost kindergarten, art, music, phys ed and intramural sports; our teachers are purchasing school supplies out of their personal bank accounts; our students are being bussed miles away from home. They’re being given hours of homework and standardized tests instead of the opportunity to learn by engaging with their teachers and their classmates
Knowledge is power. Creativity is freedom.
8) What is your position on the Affordable Care Act?
It’s a beginning and we need help. We need a single pay health care system, not health insurance. Health insurance is a business. Business is in business to profit first, service second. None of us are second-class citizens and should not be treated as such, especially when it comes to our health care.
9) Florida's median income hasn't kept pace with inflation over the past decade. What policies do you advocate to change that in the decade ahead?
Nationalize the Federal Reserve.
Nationalize our utility companies – our electric, gas and water companies provide the basic necessities of our everyday life and yet treat our citizens as hostages rather than customers.
We need to stop the debt placed on the distribution of our paper currency and nationalize those deemed “too big to fail.”
10) Should the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba be eliminated?
Yes — immediately.
a) With any conditions?
I welcome the opportunity to debate Florida’s Republican, Democratic and Independent candidates for U.S. Senate following the primary election in August.
b) Watch list?