by Don Greene
On a trip to the Ohio State Legislature, Doug read – with great delight – the name “Douglas Applegate” on the voting board. That Doug Applegate was an Ohio State legislator who would later become a member of the House of Representatives. Our Doug Applegate is following in the footsteps of the Ohioan to whom he’s not related. “He had a great career and had no scandals,” says our Applegate. “You couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Our Doug Applegate is running against Darryl Issa for the 49th District seat in the House of Representatives. He knows that this is a daunting task, but he’s accustomed to facing big enemies. Doug is a retired colonel in the United States Marines and comes from a middle-class background that instilled a strong work ethic and desire to give back for the gifts that he received. He is an Iraq War veteran and has been representing/defending people in his law practice for a number of years.
Doug grew up in a middle class family. His mother worked at a neighborhood convenience store and was an independent insurance agent. His father, a World War II veteran, worked a bread route and as a security officer in a local GM plant. Doug grew up knowing what it meant to work hard in order to live the American Dream. Today, just as his parents did, he works hard to provide for his three children.
As we spoke on the phone, I asked the Economics major turned attorney what his views are, why he’s running, and to name his top three issues.
“We need a Congress that doesn’t toe the line for the Republican far right,” he says without hesitation. A recurring theme in our talk, Applegate doesn’t see the sense in supporting a party that wants to continually shut down the government. And the frustration he has with the Republicans in Congress is reflected in his top three points.
Campaign Finance Reform
Applegate’s top issue is black money that is spent in campaigns across the country. His major concern is the use of corporate dollars to finance campaigns and then have the taxpayers pay in the end. “Tax exempt, for-profit organizations are allowed black money as a business expense,” he says. The organizations spend the money and then are allowed to write the losses off of their taxes, which looks more like a subsidy for political speech than an actual expense.
The crux of the problem, he feels, is the 501(c)(4) organizations that corporations form for the purposes of their “members” but end up using the organization for political purposes. His solution? “We need to have no tax deductions allowed for campaign expenditures.”
Applegate understands from his military background that energy independence is a vital step forward that our country needs to take. The US military has quietly lead the way on the development of renewable sources for power generation and supply so that they can effectively disconnect from the main power grid. Applegate supports this concept and believes that a fully integrated system, from generation to distribution, is necessary.
“If we would have spent the $3 trillion on renewable energy sources instead of the Iraq War, we would be in a great position for energy independence. We need a fully integrated system that can answer the demands of our future energy needs,” says Applegate. He suggests that solutions like the one found on Camp Pendleton, in Area 52, are feasible and possible.
Area 52 in Camp Pendleton has been, for a number of years, experimenting with renewable generation and distribution. Currently, there is a solar array that generates 1.1 megawatts of energy and powers the entire area, day and night. The company which is partnering with the Marine Corps has developed a system by which there is no degradation in storage capacity over the life of the installation. Applegate says, “If we could develop this technology on a larger scale, we can meet our energy and carbon reduction goals.”
Priority number three is passing meaningful immigration reform. Applegate believes that until Congress can get serious about passing a reform program, the President should use the power of Executive Orders and get the job done. “The Emancipation Proclamation was an Executive Order,” Doug explains. “If we can end slavery with an Executive Order, we can end the horrible situation that immigrants face.”
The key to passing reform in Congress, he believes, is in shaming the Republicans over their lack of action. He points out, “If they (Republicans) can vote over and over on repealing the Affordable Care Act, we (Democrats) should keep pushing immigration reform, over and over again.” He also would like to go after employers who, as he says, “depress the economy” by hiring undocumented workers.
“As long as employers can hire undocumented workers, pay them lower wages and not have to participate fully in the economy, we will never end the problem of immigration,” says Applegate. “We must make the road to citizenship easier so that employers cannot exploit the undocumented worker as they do now.”
Applegate is aware that he has an opponent who will be difficult to beat. When asked why he’s running, the answer is simple. “I’m running against the richest, most-entrenched Republican in Congress because we desperately need a government that works for everyone.” With his background and experience, he will fight for everyone he will represent.
In the last election, Issa won the 49th District in San Diego County 57% to 43%. “This goal is attainable,” according to Applegate. “I will be a leader who will work every day to make sure any American who works hard and wants to get ahead can have the opportunities to succeed.”
For more information visit his campaign website.