By MICHAEL C. BAILEY
By his own admission, Adam G. Chaprales of Marstons Mills is a reluctant candidate for US Representative of the Ninth Congressional District.
“I don’t think anyone wants to be a politician. I don’t think anyone wants to run a political campaign and go through the hardships you have to go through,” Mr. Chaprales said, “but people like myself, that don’t necessarily want to go through what we’re going through, has a passion inside to want to change the community, and that’s why I want to run, because I want to change the direction of where our community’s going.”
“I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and swear at the TV every night because I’m so fed up with what’s going on, I want to be the person that’s actually going down to Washington and championing the issues,” he said.
Mr. Chaprales is emphasizing the fact he is a lifelong Cape Cod resident and says his deep Cape Cod roots make him better suited to represent the region than his immediate Republican rival Christopher Sheldon or his potential general election opponent, Congressman William R. Keating (D).
“I’m not a carpetbagger like most of the people running in this race…I didn’t just move into this district to run,” he said. “I’m in tune with this community. I’ve been in this community my entire life and I know what people want here in this district.”
He also pointed to his experience in local government. At 21 years old Mr. Chaprales became the youngest ever member of the Sandwich Board of Selectmen, defeating a long-term incumbent in the process. He served one term, from 2005 to 2008, and did not seek re-election.
“I have a track record,” he said of his time on the board. “When I ran for selectman, I told the residents of Sandwich what I was going to do when I got elected, and I did everything I said I was going to do.”
Mr. Chaprales criticized not only Mr. Sheldon’s lack of similar credentials in public service but his lack of a solid work history. “Unlike my opponent, who’s had job after job after job,” he said, “I’ve held the same job (at New York Life) since 2006, worked my way up as a partner.”
“Chris is a nice guy. He’s a good kid, he’s smart, but he’s not ready for this,” Mr. Chaprales said. “I am far more experienced than he is, on every level.”
Conversely, he criticized both Rep. Keating and C. Samuel Sutter — Bristol County’s district attorney and Rep. Keating’s primary opponent — as out of touch with voters due to their lengthy careers in public service.
“What we need in that office is one of us. We don’t need another politician,” he said. “We don’t need someone to move into this district that can talk slick, that has years of political experience, we need a representative who is one of us, accountable to the people.”
Local Job Creation
Mr. Chaprales said his top priorities in the campaign are “jobs and the economy, number one,” and said he has become more keenly aware of how economic issues affect him and his growing family; Mr. Chaprales and his wife Aynaz are expecting their first child in early 2013.
“I feel the pinch, the economic pinch. I know what it’s like to put gas in my car and see the gas prices go up,” he said. “I know what it’s like to see the electricity bill going up. I know what it’s like to say gee, should I pay this bill or that bill and wonder if I’m going to get to this bill because I don’t have the money for it.”
During his time with the Sandwich Board of Selectmen, Mr. Chaprales served as the board’s liaison to the Sandwich Economic Development Initiative Corporation (EDIC), and he said community EDICs are underutilized in local job creation.
“We need to start working in collaboration with them, and start getting federal funds over to them and state funds over to them, and help them so that way they can stimulate the economy locally, in all part of our district,” he said.
Similarly, programs like Coastal Community Capital, a program of the non-profit Cape & Islands Community Development, are not realizing their fullest potential due to the lack of funding – for which he faulted Rep. Keating. “Why isn’t Bill Keating working on getting more federal grant money over to [the program]?”
Another part of the formula is stability and predictability in the tax codes, which he said scare businesses away from investing in themselves. “A lot of these businesses are afraid to hire more employees and to invest in the infrastructure of their businesses, because if taxes go up, they’re in big trouble,” Mr. Chaprales said. “People feel victimized to our taxes…there is no predictability right now with our current tax code. Our tax code needs to be reformed and simplified.”
Part of that simplification would involve maintaining the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers, he said.
Mr. Chaprales said he would prioritize helping the small business community over large corporations, noting that on Cape Cod “we are comprised of small businesses, and if you think that we’re comprised of large corporations where were are, you’re wrong…we’re comprised of mostly mom-and-pop-type businesses, and that’s what we need to stimulate the economy.”
However, the candidate drew the line at getting the government directly involved in job creation through investing in particular companies or industries. “The government should always step aside and let the free market do what it needs to do. The federal government should be an assistant and not a big brother,” Mr. Chaprales said.
“If you want a big loser, get the federal government involved,” he said, citing as an example the “biggest loser in history,” the California-based Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan from the US Department of Energy before filing for bankruptcy in 2011. “The government is terrible at investing.”
This ties into Mr. Chaprales’s desire to see the size of the federal government shrink and shed itself of costly bureaucracy, duplicated services, and wasteful programs.
Mr. Chaprales said his basic strategy would be to keep government spending focused on public safety, the military, and infrastructure needs, with additional consideration for necessary safety net programs “to help people get back on their feet and get back to work.”
Within that latter goal Mr. Chaprales said it would become necessary to review Social Security and consider raising the retirement age, but he stressed that any changes to benefits should affect only future beneficiaries, not anyone currently collecting Social Security.
He did not outline a specific game plan for accomplishing his goal of shrinking government, and said only he would “stand up and fight for the best interests of my district…I yell, I scream, I kick, and I make noise, and I think my colleagues down in Washington, if I’m lucky enough to get voted in, will understand and back me up, because people are fed up.”
The candidate did not express a desire to reduce military spending. “We’re the number one nation in the world, and that doesn’t come without cost,” he said. “You can’t have both, you can’t have a weak military and be the strongest nation…if you want to be the strongest country, you have to have a big military.”
Mr. Chaprales, like many Republicans, advocates a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, often called “ObamaCare.” “It shouldn’t have been approved the way it was approved. It shouldn’t have gone through reconciliation,” a process that allows bills to pass with only 51 votes n the Senate rather than the usual 60, he said. “That’s just another way of our President bullying Congress and bullying the American people.”
He said many elements of the plan are undesirable and unaffordable, and would prove burdensome to businesses. Mr. Chaprales agreed health care reform was necessary, but said it should focus on promoting competition by allowing taxpayers to purchase insurance across state lines, increasing transparency by making costs clear and understandable, and addressing tort reform for malpractice insurance.
He added that the government should not force anyone to purchase health insurance. “That’s unacceptable. I wasn’t a fan of the Massachusetts health care law” championed by former governor and current Republican presidential candidate W. Mitt Romney, which includes an individual mandate provision, “and I’m certainly not a fan of ObamaCare.”
When asked how he would avoid the divisive and often inaccuracy-laden public debates preceding the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Chaprales did not offer a specific strategy. “I think that’s an unfair question to answer” because of its hypothetical nature, Mr. Chaprales said, but said he did not anticipate such a recurrence.
“I think that the Republicans agree that we need to do something with our health care. I think the Democrats agree that we need to do something with our health care. I think that we can all agree that we need to work across the aisle and get something done,” he said, “and I think that the people who are going to get elected for 2013 are going to wake up, smell the coffee on both sides, and say ‘We got to start getting the job done’…and I will be shocked if our American people vote in a Congressional body again with people that are going to be divisive and not want to work for the better part of Americans.”
To learn more about the candidate, visit Mr. Chaprales’s official campaign website at www.adamforcongress.com.
Other Issues At A Glance
Wants states, not the federal government, to determine educational requirements; promoted strengthening community colleges to increase access to higher education.
The Middle East
Mr. Chaprales said he “trusts the military” to do its job properly and should respond appropriately to threats against the United States. He added, “I am not someone who wants to go to war.”
The federal government should not get involved in social issues such as women’s reproductive rights and same-sex marriage, and should allow state governments to enact their own laws; Mr. Chaprales called most current political discussions on such issues “a smokescreen” to distract voters.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.