REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE - DUNCAN HUNTER
Duncan Lee Hunter is an American politician who has been a Republican member of the House of Representatives since 1981 from California's 52nd congressional district in northern and eastern San Diego. Hunter was the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during the 109th Congress. In the 2006 general election, he defeated Navy veteran/minister John Rinaldi, a Democrat, and Michael Benoit, a Libertarian. Hunter was re-elected with 65% of the vote, a 33-point margin over Rinaldi. His family attends First Baptist Church of Alpine, which is affiliated with the San Diego Southern Baptist Association.
Hunter was born in Riverside, California to Lola L. Young and Robert Olin Hunter. He briefly attended the University of Montana and the University of California, Santa Barbara before enlisting in the United States Army. He served in the Vietnam War in the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 75th Ranger Regiment. Hunter married the former Lynne Layh in 1973. That same year, utilizing the G.I. Bill, he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law (at the time known as Western State University Law School) and earned a BSL and JD in 1976. Hunter worked farming and construction jobs to supplement his income while finishing his degree. After graduation, he opened a storefront legal office where he often provided free legal assistance to the area's Hispanic community. He was admitted to The State Bar of California on December 22, 1976, but has held inactive status since January 1, 1983. Inactive members have chosen this status voluntarily and may transfer to active at any time upon request.
In 1980, Hunter was recruited to run for Congress in what was then the 42nd District against 18-year incumbent Democrat Lionel Van Deerlin. Hunter was initially an underdog, but his attacks on Van Deerlin's record on national defense gained traction in a district dominated by military bases and personnel. Van Deerlin did not respond quickly enough, and Hunter narrowly defeated him. He was one of many Republicans swept into office from historically Democratic districts as a result of the "Reagan revolution." Van Deerlin had been the district's only congressman since its creation in 1963. After the 1980 census, many of the more Democratic areas were cut out of Hunter's district, and he hasn't faced serious opposition since. In his district, he consistently gets over 60% of the Hispanic vote and nearly 70% of the Democratic vote.
In 1994, Hunter legislatively mandated the construction of 14 miles of security fencing on the international land border separating San Diego County and Tijuana, Mexico. As a result, San Diego's crime rate decreased 53% from 1994 to 2006 and the smuggling of illegal immigrants and narcotics decreased by over 90%, according to the FBI. Hunter became chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in 2002. As such, he has sponsored legislation authorizing defense department fiscal year activities from FY2004 to FY2007. During consideration of the FY2006 Defense Authorization Act, Hunter offered an amendment to the bill clarifying enacted policy restricting women from direct combat units. According to The New York Times, Hunter's efforts would have "barred women from nearly 22,000 jobs". Hunter's amendment codified existing Army policy enacted in 1994 under former Defense Secretary Les Aspin that prohibited women from submitting or migrating into combat units or operations. The amendment was subsequently withdrawn in order for a study to be conducted on the rationale and future implementation of the policy.
On April 28, 2004, Hunter introduced legislation that he said could "turn parents into prosecuting attorneys fighting a wave of obscenity." HR 6390 IH, also called the "Parents Empowerment Act", would allow the parent or guardian of a minor to sue in federal court anyone who knowingly disseminates material "that is harmful to minors", or specifically, "any pornographic communication, picture, image, graphic image file, article, recording, writing, or other pornographic matter of any kind", if it is distributed in a way that "a reasonable person can expect a substantial number of minors to be exposed to the material and the minor, as a result to exposure to the material, is likely to suffer personal or emotional injury or injury to mental or moral welfare."
In November 2004, Hunter and Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner withheld their support for a bill creating a National Intelligence Director (DNI) until specific conditions were met. Hunter argued that the military is the biggest consumer of intelligence and any reforms enacted, including the creation of a DNI, must not endanger the lives of troops on the battlefield. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which created the DNI position, was passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush later that year.
Hunter introduced H.R. 552, The Right to Life Act, on February 2, 2005. The purpose of the bill is to "implement equal protection ... for the right to life of each born and preborn human person." In the 109th Congress, the legislation collected 101 cosponsors. Hunter states that The Right to Life Act "would legally define “personhood” as the moment of conception and, therefore, guarantee all constitutional rights and protections, including life, to the unborn without utilizing a constitutional amendment." Hearings for H.R. 552 were scheduled for December 12, 2006, but were cancelled right before the House adjourned.
In a House Armed Services Committee hearing on November 9, 2005, Hunter strongly criticized a Defense Logistics Agency "prime vendor" buying program that led to the purchase of $20 ice cube trays and a tiny refrigerator for $22,797 (initially exposed by The State). Hunter stated that he wanted explanations from the companies in question and the government purchasing agents who had approved the purchases, accusing the latter of "absolute incompetence." He further stated that the purchases are "a real slap in the face to the guy making $13,000 a year who is engaged in a firefight in Ramadi," and claimed that "A fairly large amount of incompetence is embedded into the system."
In November 18, 2005, in response to Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha's resolution to terminate the deployment of United States forces in Iraq, to redeploy the forces already involved in Iraq, and to "pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy", Hunter and other Republicans drafted a two-sentence counter-resolution which read: "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately. Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately." The bill was defeated, 403-3, in the House of Representatives.
On January 31, 2007, Hunter held a press conference on the 2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test, stating that it "represents the commencement of a new era of military competition in space." He contended that the United States' ability to engage in warfare depends heavily on its space assets, and opined that the country must take steps to "ensure our forces cannot be targeted through an adversarial space strike."
Hunter has repeatedly voted against international trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO. Hunter contends that free trade policies directly impact America's manufacturing base and contribute to the country's trade deficit. Hunter cites that China has a 17% subsidy for its manufacturers, a 17% tax on U.S. imports, and the Chinese devalue their currency at 40 percent, making Chinese goods cheaper and leaving U.S. manufacturers at a 74% disadvantage.
Due to the success of previous legislation that Hunter had mandated in 1994 to construct 14 miles of security fencing on the international land border separating San Diego County and Tijuana, Mexico, Hunter introduced new legislation calling for the construction of a reinforced fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. After successfully adding an amendment to a House-passed bill that ultimately stalled in House-Senate negotiations, Hunter's amendment was later incorporated into H.R. 6061, the Secure Fence Act, introduced by New York Congressman Peter King. Hunter has said that if he becomes President, the 754 mile double layer border fence will be built in less than 12 months.
In March of 2007, Hunter announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of the current session. His son, Duncan Duane Hunter, is campaigning to succeed his father, although he has not yet officially announced his candidacy. In a March 2007 South Carolina straw poll conducted in the Spartanburg area, Hunter finished a close third (by six votes) in a statistical tie with McCain (1st) and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (2nd). Commenting on Hunter’s showing, Spartanburg Republican Gerald Emory said, “Now we have a true Ronald Reagan conservative that we can support. This is a proud night for the Grand Ole Party.”
On April 17, 2007, Hunter won the Anderson County (South Carolina) straw poll with 48% of the vote. South Carolina is the nation's third primary state. He defeated former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (25%) by more than two to one, and McCain (7%) by nine to one. Giuliani (5%) came in a distant fourth. Hunter also tied for second place in Geenwood County and second place in Pickens County. Hunter stated "I am grateful to the great conservatives of Anderson, Greenwood, and Pickens Counties for giving our campaign a huge boost."
DUNCAN HUNTER QUOTES
“Our success in protecting America from terrorists is completely dependant upon our ability to obtain and utilize reliable intelligence data. Our national intelligence and defense communities must be provided with the tools necessary to identify, track, stop and prosecute terrorists before they have the opportunity to strike. The fact that America has not been attacked since September 11th indicates to me that we are on the right course. I am confident we can remain on that course by providing our intelligence agencies with the resources they need while, at the same time, maintaining our commitment to the continued protection of our civil rights.”
"The cornerstone of our responsibilities as elected officials is to defend and protect the American people. This was reinforced with the attacks of September 11th, which immediately made border security a national security issue. Protecting our homeland begins at our nation’s borders and it is imperative that our border enforcement agencies be provided with the necessary resources to ensure that we know both who and what are entering the country. I believe in providing Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement corps with sufficient strength to secure our borders and providing for interior enforcement throughout the country because it is imperative in our fight to protect Americans. To not do so can only be characterized as irresponsible."
“American workers are the most productive and innovative labor force in the world. Unfortunately, they are asked to compete in an unfair environment against other workers who make only a fraction of a living wage and are employed by companies that face few, if any, responsibilities to the environment or the long-term prospects of their employees. Our domestic manufacturers are forced to compete against foreign companies that benefit from their country’s currency and regulatory regimes. Ominously, China is cheating on trade and using billions of American trade dollars to build ships, planes and missiles at an alarming rate while, at the same time, taking millions of American jobs. I will reverse this “one-way street” with a new policy of fair trade for the American worker."
"I have significant concerns with federal funding provided to the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). As many Americans know, the NEA provides direct grants to art institutions, programs of national significance and a few limited individual grants for literature and music fellowships. I believe the creative arts can play an important role in the expressive and cultural development of our society. At the same time, however, I strongly oppose using these federal funds for any group that produces material that has questionable artistic, scientific or political value. For that reason, I have consistently voted against funding increases for the NEA and I have supported, and will continue to support, efforts to transfer NEA funds to school art programs."
"America’s one-way-street trade relationship with China and other nations has reduced manufacturing jobs severely in the U.S. I would change the one-way-street into a two-way-street by putting the same charges on foreign goods that they put on ours. My basic philosophy is to teach and train and inspire rather than simply give government “hand outs.”
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Duncan Hunter Official Website
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