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Uppal says issues are complex, would like to debate McClintock

By: Margaret Snider, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Jack Uppal, Democratic candidate in the California 4th Congressional District, stated at his first town hall meeting that issues are complex and there are no easy solutions.


The meeting occurred on June 26 at Timbers Lodge in Roseville.


He characterized himself as a moderate Democrat who is for equal rights and individual liberties, and against government overregulation.


Thus far, he said, opponent Tom McClintock has not agreed to meet in open debate to discuss issues.


“What all of you can do is insist that there be such a debate,” Uppal told the approximately 80 people who attended the meeting. “ … We need to have those debates, it’s for the public good.”


Peter Lorenzo of Sun City Roseville, who attended the town hall meeting, said that he would give the current congress an overall C-plus, and that Uppal is ready to run and ready to serve.


“He was knowledgeable and answered every question with professionalism and a positive attitude that is sadly lacking in our current representative,” Lorenzo said.
Uppal has not previously held public office. He has a Ph.D. in chemistry from MIT, 28 years in the semiconductor industry as an engineer and a project and people manager. He lives in Lincoln with his wife Kate.


Regarding the fact that Uppal is not a professional politician, Cleo Kocol of Roseville, who also was present at the meeting, said that for her it doesn’t make a difference, either way.


“It’s what the man says and what he professes, in various and sundry ways through his talk and through his life,” Kocol said.


Uppal’s next town hall meeting will be on July 10 in Jackson.


The November election is the first under the new 4th District reconfiguration, which now includes Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer and Tuolumne counties.


Only Uppal and McClintock ran for this position in the primary on June 5. Uppal garnered 35.4 percent of the overall district vote as opposed to McClintock’s 64.6 percent. Placer County results showed Uppal with 37.6 percent, and 62.4 percent for McClintock, according to semi-official election results reported by the California Secretary of State.

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The candidate’s views
Responding to questions raised at the meeting, Uppal described his views on some salient issues.


• Regarding long-term job creation, he cited the examples in the past of government producing jobs in industries such as aerospace and the mapping of the human genome.


“The government did not invest in companies in those projects,” Uppal said. “They created projects that the industry would carry out. That’s the way to grow jobs in this country.”


• He is in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.


• On abortion, he believes that the government should not interfere in a decision that is between a woman and her conscience.


• Uppal said that Social Security is in fairly good shape.


 “All that really needs to be done to improve Social Security is either raise or update the cap that we have on contributions into Social Security,” he said. “If we just do that, Social Security is going to be solvent for a good, long time, longer than any of us or any of our children are going to be around. That should be a good, permanent fix for Social Security.”


• On the environment, Uppal stated that everyone wants to preserve the environment, but it’s a matter of balance.


An example, he said, was the California Water Board’s decision to preserve the rivers to 75 percent of natural unimpeded flow year around. The facts, he said, are that we have never had a year when we had enough water to allow 75 percent flow. We would run out of water.


“The world is different,” Uppal said. “You can’t take things back to the way they were naturally years and years ago.”


• On farm subsidies: “Subsidies to guarantee prices for certain agriculture, no,” Uppal said. “Generally I’m not in favor of those.”


• To the questions “Are you a Muslim, and are you an American?” he replied that there is a requirement in the House of Representatives to be a United States citizen, so that is an appropriate question.


“I am a United States citizen, and I do consider myself American, as well,” Uppal said.


He did not like the tendency toward hidden motivations in questions regarding faith and religion, he said.


“I’m a Muslim. I’m a Christian, too. I’m also a Mormon. I’m also a Buddhist. I’m a very spiritual person …” Uppal said.


 He said that religion plays a big part in establishing a person’s moral views, and morality and ethics are badly needed.