How do you assess the Trump administration so far?
Grigorian: To date, the Trump administration has undertaken certain initiatives that are good for Marylanders. Most importantly, this includes federal tax reform, which as put an extra $1700 in 73% of Marylanders’ pockets. In addition, he has taken a hard look at our trade agreements and is working to ensure American companies are not disadvantaged globally when they attempt to enter foreign markets. Finally, the Trump administration has begun to ensure that American laws related to immigration are enforced; although solutions are necessary to address the 11 million people living in the United States illegally, we must be sure that our country, which is founded on the rule of law, is operated in accordance with the laws passed by the U.S. Congress..
Do you support or oppose the federal tax cuts passed in 2017? What effect do you believe they will have on the economy?
Grigorian: I wholeheartedly support the federal tax cuts passed in 2017. For too long, American companies bore tax burdens that were significantly impacting their ability to expand and to provide important benefits to their workers, including healthcare and continuing education initiatives.
Is the level of national debt a concern? What, if anything, should be done to reduce it or constrain its increase?
Grigorian: The debt service burden we are placing on generations to come is troubling. Congress needs to work harder and smarter to curb spending and make the necessary choices so that our children’s futures are not mortgaged because our elected leaders failed to act on this issue. It is also important to note that, as the Fed raises interest rates, the amount of money Americans owe on our national debt also grows which will likely lead to a future drag on the U.S. economy.
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and if so, what should the federal government do to address it?
Grigorian: Economic inequality is a problem and those of us who live in Maryland see it, know it and live it. Now is the time for us to understand as a nation that creating better jobs is the key to creating stronger families. Our elected leaders must look at the areas where growth in future technologies seems likely (including alternative forms of energy and transportation) and create economic initiative sectors so that all of those in Maryland benefit when the “jobs of the future” become the “jobs of today.”
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how?
Grigorian: I am a supporter of the Second Amendment. I believe this country was founded on the idea that responsible citizens may keep a gun in their homes in order to protect themselves. I do believe, however, that our country needs to do a better job enforcing existing laws related to crime and guns. Additionally, I believe a stronger background check system should be implemented. With respect to “red flags” laws, I support those laws to the extent there are checks on the ability for people to recklessly assert that a potential gun owner should not have a gun in his/her possession and feel very strongly about the need to protect the due process rights of a defendant in such a proceeding.
What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act? Should it be strengthened, and if so, how? Should it be scrapped? If so, what if anything should replace it?
Grigorian: At the outset, the ACA needs to be modified to allow health insurance plans to operate across state borders. It is anti-competitive and a disservice to Americans to prevent market forces from coming into play in this sector of the economy. Additionally, there need to be new laws that better attack the waste and fraud in the American healthcare system – according to a Harvard Business Review study, if we were able to reduce “administrative complexity” and fraud in healthcare, Americans would save over 16% of the dollars we spend on healthcare. Initiatives to tackle these components of health care delivery in the United States should be undertaken quickly and efficiently.
What role should the federal government play in helping cities like Baltimore?
Grigorian: A rising economic tide raises all ships. We need to use the economic momentum we have with a lower federal corporate tax rate and find ways for the government to boost job creation in Baltimore – whether it is creating certain “initiative zones” where the federal government and the State of Maryland partner together to create economic opportunities (and jobs) in Baltimore or accessing more federal money for early childhood education programs in the city.
What can Congress do to address the opioid epidemic?
Grigorian: Congress needs to work with local communities to develop initiatives to combat this very real threat to Maryland families and children. Congress should also look at programs like Maryland’s own “Talbot Goes Purple,” an initiative started by Sheriff Joe Gamble, to educate students on Maryland’s Eastern Shore about the dangers of opioids, as a cost-effective model for educating America’s school-aged children on the dangers posed by these drugs.
What changes if any should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies?
Grigorian: We are a nation of laws. As such, Congress must study and assess the needs of our country and determine the appropriate levels and types of immigration opportunities available to those who seek to come here (I should note that my father legally immigrated to this country in 1960 from Poland so I am well aware of the promise of the “American dream” for those given the gift of citizenship in this country). Once those laws are passed, they need to be enforced with all deliberate attention. Finally, i am in favor of legislation that would require local jurisdictions to turn over illegal criminals who have been convicted of felony crimes in this country to federal authorities for deportation.
Should the United States continue with the free trade policies it pursued for the last several decades, or should it enact restrictions in an attempt to help domestic industries?
Grigorian: I believe in mutually beneficial, negotiated trade partnerships like the Trans Pacific Partnership and NAFTA and support both of these initiatives.
Do you support the Iran nuclear deal?
Grigorian: Iran has shown that it is not interested in promoting peace and democracy amongst its people as the “governed” in that country have repeatedly protested their treatment at the hands of a repressive regime. Additionally, Iran has shown that it is willing to work against American interests in the Middle East, especially with respect to Syria. It is time to reassess the 2015 Nuclear Deal and determine how its continued implementation benefits the American people and American interests globally.
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
Grigorian: The current Korean threat is an unacceptable outcome resulting from years of neglect. It is time for our diplomats and leaders to enter into discussions that incentivize Kim to demilitarize the Korean peninsula. America must also more fully address the role China has played in allowing this imbalance to occur. And, as always, America’s military muscle must stand at the ready if called upon to defend this country from Kim’s threats and aggressive actions.