Sargis Sangari: Candidate profile, U.S. House 9th District
Republican Sargis Sangari of Skokie, head of a think tank on Middle Eastern affairs, is challenging incumbent Democrat Jan Schakowsky of Evanston in the race for the 9th Congressional District, which spreads from a significant part of Chicago's North Side west into parts of Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Skokie and Wilmette.
Q. What has Donald Trump's unconventional leadership taught us about politics in the United States? What is the best thing his presidency has done? What is the most significant criticism you have of it?
A. Politically President Donald Trump has not done anything that others have not done. As for the best thing he has done, he has brought jobs back to America, has started to heal the wounds of globalization, and is in the process of bringing peace to the Middle East. He has done in four years what 50 years of negotiations did not achieve. As for any criticism of the POTUS, he can try to be more diplomatic in his speech.
Q. Many critics of governmental process complain that both Barack Obama and Donald Trump governed too much through executive orders rather than in collaboration with Congress. Is our system in danger of veering toward authoritarianism? From a structural standpoint, does Congress need to place stronger limits on the power of the presidency? If so, be specific on what some of those limits might be. If not, please explain your view.
A. There are already checks and balances in place. Congress needs to do its job! The same as the executive and the judiciary branches do their jobs.
Q. Protesters have massed in the streets throughout America calling for greater social justice. How significant a role does systemic racism play in limiting equal opportunity in America? To the degree that it exists, what should be done about it? Do you favor reparations? Should police be "defunded"?
A. Systemic racism is alleviated when all parties have open dialogue and are receptive to what all parties say. Dialogue must be open and must be receptive to all parties. Economic opportunity alleviates all forms of racism in a capitalistic society. I favor equal economic opportunity for all, and the police should not be defunded given they are essential.
Q. Does today's climate of polarization reflect a natural and necessary ebb and flow in the tone of civic debate? Or does it reflect a dangerous divide? What, if anything, should be done about it?
A. It reflects a dangerous divide. When one person does not listen to what another person has to say, it leads to a dangerous divide, situation, and or hate. This is why I am a moderate.
Q. Is there a "cancel culture" in America?
A. YES! Those who do not learn from the lessons of history are condemned to relive them.
Q. What do you see as the most important issues to address regarding immigration reform? If you oppose funding for a wall, what steps do you support to try to control illegal immigration?
A. We must enforce the laws that already exist!
Q. Please define your position on health care reform, especially as it relates to the Affordable Care Act.
A. We have to look at the Affordable Care Act in detail, analyze it, keep what works and have the conviction to throw out what does not.
Q. Should everyone wear a mask? Should our schools be open? What has the country done right about the pandemic? What has it done wrong? How optimistic are you that we'll ever get back to "normal"?
A. Science tells us that we should wear a mask inside when we are within six feet of people. If science says we should open our schools, then of course they should be open, but all science needs to be studied closely at all times.
This is a unique situation in history, and at this point, we are doing all we can. Again, this is a completely new situation and the country has done what it can. No one is coming up with something better on what we should do.
I am extremely optimistic that we can win given whatever America works toward it achieves. We will get over this pandemic and the next one and everyone has to work together to achieve this goal.
Q. What do you consider America's role in world affairs? What are we doing correctly to fill that role? What else should we be doing?
A. America has traditionally been the peacekeeper of the world. I believe we have done a good job of that. The main hot spots in the world are in the Middle East and the current POTUS is bringing them together as demonstrated with the peace agreements between nations of the Middle East.
Q. Do you believe climate change is caused by human activity? What steps should government be taking to address the issue?
A. While science has evidence on both sides, one being natural phenomena, and the other human activity, it is possible that it is a combination of both.
Q. What role does Congress play with regards to the growth of conspiracy theory groups like QAnon?
A. Congress plays no roles and its job is to serve the people.