Election View: Celis concerned about debt, health care, federal 'overreach'

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 8, 2014 

In this year's congressional elections, voters will make a critical choice about the direction we want for our country.

Many people worry that America is headed in the wrong direction. I share their concern and I know this feeling transcends partisanship. The yearning we all feel to revitalize the American dream is why I decided to run for Congress, because, as someone who found my own path to the American dream, I know something about what it takes.

I left Mexico as a young man with nothing but a bag of clothes and a box of books. It was hard and I was gambling. But I chose that difficult course because too many obstacles were standing between me and a future I wanted to be excited about.

So I emigrated to the United States of America. I came here legally and went through the long process to become an American citizen. I found work in Silicon Valley, then at Microsoft.

Since 1998, my wife Laura and I have made our home here. Laura put her own significant academic background to work giving our four children a first-rate home-schooled education. I became the chief technology officer for SQL Server and ultimately retired from Microsoft as a distinguished engineer. I have shared in the development of more than 15 patents. I say all this because I fully recognize how fortunate we have been to live here, in America.

Now, the country I love is transforming into a place where obstacles to opportunity and success are far too often the product of failed government policy. Our federal government is dangerously out of control. It is genuinely an impediment to opportunity and a threat to personal freedom. These are not just alarmist cries, and we must not simply accept the status quo. We need independent, activist voices in D.C. driving real change and that is why I am running for Congress.

Consider just three examples of a nation on the wrong track:

Obamacare is not just a website that failed on launch. The sweeping government policies that now dictate how we can receive healthcare have - as so many predicted - produced higher costs, fewer choices, and will cost our flagging economy billions of dollars and millions of jobs. I am optimistic that we can repair the broken promises in Obamacare by giving individuals the right to take back control of their own healthcare coverage while still implementing reforms to control skyrocketing costs. I will work tirelessly to accomplish that in Congress.

Our soaring national debt and runaway federal spending are leading us toward American insolvency and pose a real threat to our ability to defend ourselves at a time when our enemies appear to be gathering strength. An America that values fiscal responsibility will be a stronger country, one that can protect the least fortunate among us. We must balance our federal budget to let our economy regain its footing so that we can rise to the challenges that lay ahead.

Government regulation and overreach do stifle creativity and opportunity. We have experienced job-killing obstacles first-hand in our indigenous forest industry and our energy and transportation sectors. Families are being denied the opportunities to work hard and earn a living wage because some are content to make issues like the coal export terminal a political football. I believe we are all made better when more people are working, earning and able to invest in their own futures.

Yes, these are hard problems to tackle. To make progress, we need a representative in Congress who is independent. We need someone willing to work with, and find common ground with, others who share the goal of revitalizing America. I will be that representative, working for you.

We need our vote in Congress to represent our common interests, but that can't happen if it's being used 94 percent of the time to rubber-stamp the extreme agenda of a president whose policies are increasingly failing. Americans want real leadership from people who understand the struggle and share the optimistic spirit of our nation. The hard-working people of the 1st District deserve better than what they're currently getting. It's time to make some changes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This is one of a series of commentaries from candidates in the Aug. 5 primary election. Pedro Celis, R., is a candidate for U.S. Representative for the 1st Congressional District. The top two vote getters in the primary will be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. The 1st District includes nearly all of Whatcom County outside Bellingham, plus portions of King, Snohomish and Skagit counties.

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