Jan Schneider runs for Congress again in Sarasota By Mitch E.Perry

02/02/06

According to fundraising figures released this week, Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson has about 8 times more cash on hand for his campaign for his re-election than his Republican challenger, Congresswoman Katherine Harris.

Records show that Senator Nelson’s account is over 8 million dollars, while at the last year, Harris reported having about 1 million dollars in the bank.

Harris Senate bid leaves her Congressional seat open, and there are 7 candidates 4 Republicans, and 3 Democrats who are in the race trying to succeed her in the District, which is comprised of Sarasota Hardee, and DeSoto counties in their entirety, as well as most of Manatee County and a part of Charlotte County.

One of the best known names on the Democratic Ledger running is Jan Schneider, who was successful in winning the Democrat nomination in the District the last 2 times against Katherine Harris, but lost to her in the general election.

Jan Schneider visited the WMNF studios yesterday to discuss her candidacy. Before Harris took over the seat, Republican Dan Miller represented the District for a decade. We asked her why does she think the seat will switch over to the Democrats this time around?

Jan Schneider: "We are building up constituencies. We're doing better and better. The issues are with us this time. We can't run on a big heavy Democratic presence this time. What I'm running on are issues that are of interest of the people of this district. The first issue is we are the second oldest district in the country in age terms. Social Security Reform had the Bush plan goen through would have been a financial as well as a social disaster for our district. MEdicare is a huge issue. I had the great privilage and pleasure to work with and for the great Claude Pepper for a number of years. I'm running on a Claude Pepper platform. What ever comes across my desk in Congress I will look at from a Senior prospetive. Because its not just Medicare and Social Security. Its housing-- affordable housing, taxation, the Alternative Minimum Tax, age discrimination, transportation equity. All these issues."

Mitch Perry:"Well Jan lets stay on those big issues. Lets talk about Social Security. Now President Bush is taking about a commission, some that President Reagan did back in the 1980's. Obviously privatization is not the way you think we should go to changing the situation. Do you agree that there is a problem with the solvency of the program not in the next five years but in the next 20 to 40 years the is a problem with the solvency of the program and things need to change with where we're going with it?"

J.S. "There is a minor problem with the solvency of the program that can be fixed to changing the cap to where its historically been to about a 95% of salary level, which would be abot $140,000 in current dollars."

M.P."Which would be up from $90,000 today."

J.S. "That's correct. That would take care of it for about 60 to 70 years. I don't think the United States congress can plan for longer that that. There are some other minor adjustments we can make such as including new hired State and local employees becuase they are the only one left out of the system now. But, no I don't agree that its fundamentaly flawed. We have much more serious problems with the Medicare Trust funds but Social Security is a relatively easy fix."

M.P. "Jan talk to us about the solvency of Medicare down the line."

J.S. : "The current precription drug program is a disaster. Nobody can figure it out. But there are much more fundamental problems with the Medicare Trust Funds. We have an aging population, we haven't been adaquately accounting for them. We don't have to bring new revenue into that system.I happen to move in the direction of national health insurance. My poistion is much more moderate than it was 2 or 4 years ago because the country has an $8 trillion national debt. What I would like to do see this country do is afford people the oppportunity the let Medicare prove itself. Let people 55 to 65 buy into Medicare at cost. Let us demostrate that this is one of the things that government can do cheaper and better than provate industry. Health inusrance is unique. We want it to be portable, we want it to be adaquate, we want it to be affordable. Let it have the opportunity to prove itself. Let progressive younger people the opportunity to buy in. "

M.P." We're talking to Jan Schneider who's ran for Congress the last 2 times in 2002 and 2004 against Cathrine Harris. No Cathrine Harris this time because she's running for Senate, its a very contested field this time. Let talk about energy because it was mentioned in the President's State of the Union Address. The President mentioned Nuclear Power last night. Some enviornmentalist say it can be looked at again because the are problems with fossil fuels and global warming. You wouldn't have a problem there. Youy would have some other problems. Are you total against it totally."

J.S. "No. In fact I wrote a book about the Ozone layer and global warming. And if you do out the number I think that in the mid term you may have to go to more nuclear power. But we're putting it backward. Before we build another nuclear power plant or do anything further you have to deal with the waste disposal issue. Just carting it off to Yucca Mountain is dangereous. Its dangereous in route its dangereous keeping it there. We're approaching this backward. I am not total against nuclear power, but I am if we're not first putting resources into the waste issue."

M.P."Let's move on to foreign policy. Let's talk about Iraq for a moment. Democrats have been accused for being all over the place on the Iraq issue. Where do you stand on Iraq right now?"

J.S> "Can I back up one step right now and distinguish between the war and veterans? One of our major campaigns in our platform is veterans rights. Full concurent reciept, benefits for veterans families. I happened to have disagreeed since before the beginning. But we have people fighting and dying for it and we ought to keep our promises to them. That is a major aspect of our platform. Have said that I do think we need to pull out. For everyone we trained we should be our troops pulling back. If not all the way to the United States. We built how many bases there? 30 and 3 superbases. We have bases in Iraq. If we have anymore obligation to promote stability in the region we should be withdrawing our troops to our bases. I think by now. By now the Iraqis are going to have to take over responsbility for their own government. We cannot be be the policemen of the world. "

M.P."So that sounds a little like Mertha's plan; deploying in region but getting out of Iraq."

J.S."Perhaps deploying to bases in Iraq because we have undermine the stablility in the region. There is no doubt that we have made Iran enormously more powerful relatively by waht we've done in Iraq adn we can't afford to ignore that fact. But likewise we can't afford to be policemen to the world, which we're doing in Iraq and making ourselves tagerts."

That’s Jan Schneider, attempting to become again the Democratic nominee for Congress in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Schneider will face Christine Jennings and Michael LeVerers in the September primary….On the Republican side, Vern Buchanon, Tramm Hudson, Donna Clark, and Nancy Detert have all announced their candidacies. WMNF hopes to interview each and every one of these candidates on the Evening News in the coming weeks and months.

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