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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 39

Photo of Steve Cox

Steve Cox

8,286 votes (4.8%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Defeating both parties and bringing actual representation to the people and then starting a wave of non-partisan politicians, who take no corporate money, so the parties will have to stop playing people off of each other and actually produce results.
  • Introducing legislation to base congressional pay on the median wage in the district/state they represent, so congress doesn't get a raise until we do. Donating my own pay above the median to teachers in the 39th district. $94k/year at present.
  • To force both parties in congress to take back their constitutional authority over warfare and put an end to these endless wars and militarism so that we can use those resources to improve Americans' lives here at home.



I was born in Fullerton, California, in 1977. A few months later, my mother, Jeannette - originally from Virginia - and my father, Dennis - originally from Iowa - moved me and my older sister, Denise, to Chino Hills, where I've lived almost ever since. I graduated from Ayala High School, in Chino Hills, in 1995, and went to Mt. SAC community college in Walnut, where I studied the fire sciences to become a firefighter. Soon after I graduated from Mt. SAC's EMT school and 22nd Basic Fire Academy, I got a job at a motorcycle magazine and stopped trying to get a job as a firefighter. I grew up riding and racing motocross, so the job was perfect for me. Over 20 years later, I still work in the motorcycle industry.

My wife, Erica, and I just welcomed our first (and likely only) child on Christmas Day, 2019. Her name's Daphne, and she's our entire world.

My father served in the US Marine Corps, serving three tours in Vietnam before working as a truck driver and then a construction superintendant (the latter of which was a skill he learned working as an apprentice to my grandfather on my mother's side, Norman Karn, who was a master brick and stone mason, and was responsible for building some of the add-on buildings for the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, as well as the brick buildings across the street from Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park). My mother spent most of her professional life in banking, starting as a teller in the 1970s and eventually becoming a Vice President.

I'm self-taught. I have an insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge and spend my time reading almost entirely non-fiction, from history (US history is my favorite subject) to physics, biology, philosophy, sociology, economics, and more. But I'm a regular person just like most people in the 39th district. And as you can see from above, I have incredibly deep roots here.

My father has been fighting cancers associated with Agent Orange exposure from his time in Vietnam for about 13 years now. To date, he has overcome five different cancers, and not only did the health insurance nearly bankrupt him prior to his qualifying for Medicare, but in 2016, the VA cut my father's disability benefits in half, justifying it by saying his cancers are in remission so he's "less disabled" now. This has put an undue burden on my parents, and that was the final straw that caused me to decide to run for office the first time during the 2018 election. And I'm going to keep running until we win. Because it's important.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (3)

What financing method(s) would you support to repair or improve roads, rails, ports, airports, the electrical grid, and other infrastructure in the U.S.?
Answer from Steve Cox:

I have read a lot of economics and I believe proponents of Modern Monetary Theory are correct - or at least more correct than any other current economic school of thought. Our nation's infrastructure has been ignored for decades in favor of an ever-increasing budget for fighting wars in foreign countries, and the truth is we could take a huge step toward fixing our infrastructure in every way just by ending our militarism and focusing on true defense instead of global imperialism. I believe that Bernie Sanders' version of the Green New Deal comes closest to properly addressing these things while simultaneously putting focus on the ever-increasing threat of climate change. And it is real. I've explained it face-to-face, in simple terms, to more conservatives than I can count. They understand it as well as anybody if people take the time to explain it. But, again, the goal from the two parties is to ridicule the other side, which causes division, which allows those parties - and their big-money donors - to maintain control. Conservatives have a lot of valid complaints, as do liberals. What they don't have is a government willing to address those complaints.

What programs or legislation, if any, would you support to help Americans of all ages to secure affordable health care?
Answer from Steve Cox:

As a nation, we currently spend 18% of our Gross Domestic Product on healthcare. That means for every dollar earned by every person and every company in our country, 18 cents goes toward healthcare, and we still leave over 10% of our people completely uninsured and millions more underinsured. The highest this number is anywhere else among OECD nations (western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada) is 12% of GDP, and the average among those nations is 9% of GDP. The highest paid doctors in the world are in the Netherlands, which spends about 11% of their GDP on healthcare.

Currently, the best healthcare proposal is Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All program, so I support that, but although it makes things much, much more affordable for 90% of the country, I still think it costs too much, because it only drops our spending to about 16% of GDP. If other nations can do it at 12%, so can we, so I will vote for Medicare For All, but I will consider it the first step toward whatever additional changes must be made to get us down to 12% of GDP at the absolute highest.

But even with Medicare for All, a person with a taxable income of $100,000 per year will pay a total of $2840 per *year*, including copays and deductibles. My bet is we all spend more than that unless we're at an income level where we can get subsidized through the ACA. But at that income level, the yearly cost of Medicare for All is $0 per year.

As for the "how will we pay for it?" question that always gets dragged out, it's a cost-saving measure that will save almost $400 billion *per year* on average, so the correct question really is how can we afford not to do this?

Describe an immigration policy that you would support if presented to the House of Representatives.
Answer from Steve Cox:

Currently, to enter our country legally from south of our border, with a high school diploma and a legal family sponsor already in the US, on average, it takes 20 years. Nobody is going to wait that long, especially when their families are in danger in their home countries.

Instead of locking people up at the border and/or putting up a wall that people will either climb over or tunnel under, we should be investing in State Department infrastructure to process people, vette them, check their documents, and allow them to enter the US with visas. After all we can't be "the land of the free and the home of the brave" if we lock up our borders (not free) for fear of immigrants (not brave).

The fact is that it's US policies causing most of these people to attempt to immigrate to the US in the first place. We sanction and put political and social pressure on countries like Chile, Venezuela, Hunduras, and more, which victimizes regular people in those countries, with the end goal of forcing those governments to do business with American companies. In addition, our war on drugs here at home has created incredibly rich and powerful drug cartels who run many of the governments altogether south of our border. Those cartels exist to serve a black market for drugs almost entirely in the US. If we stop meddling in the affairs of other sovereign nations and we end the war on drugs, we wouldn't just have far more resources to use for the benefit of our own people here at home (no more money going to foreign interference as well as far less money going toward policing and imprisoning people here), but the influx of immigrants from south of the border slow to a trickle as well. (To be clear, I don't have any problem with people wanting to immigrate here for a better life. I believe immigrants make us stronger. They're just used as a scapegoat by the powerful in order to skirt blame for what ails the people of our country. That blame properly lies at the feet of the powerful themselves.)

Again, we don't need authoritarianism to fix these issues. We need the opposite. We need to empower people to make choices for themselves instead of forcing their hands and then punishing them for doing exactly what we've caused them to do.

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Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

As far as I'm concerned, any valid political philosophy must be consistent from one subject to the next. It took me at least a decade of constant effort to figure out what I believe and why I believe it. My political philosophy is also consistent with the philosophy I live by every day, which I believe is as it should be.

The first point of my political philosophy is that all people are the same at their core, regardless of where they're born, what language they speak, what religion they adhere to, their gender, sexual orientation, or any other immutable characteristic. All people want three things: To be able to live and raise a family in relative safety; to be accepted for who they are; and to be respected. It's that simple. And if we all keep this in mind when we meet someone different from us - that we are all human beings, and as such are the same at our core - I think it becomes much easier to not only accept, but celebrate our differences.

My second point is that I believe in honesty even when honesty is inconvenient. One of my favorite quotes is, "That which can be destroyed by the truth should be." Today, we live in a world where people who tell the truth about the misdeeds of our own government are treated quite literally as "America's Most Wanted" while the people who commit said misdeeds are not punished in any way whatsoever. This is indicative of a massive problem within our government, and both parties perpetuate this idea. Meanwhile, the same government tells us that it's okay for the government to spy on us under the provisions included in the USA PATRIOT Act because "You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide." If this government is ever going to be "by, for, and of the people" again, it's the government that should live by that adage, not the citizenry. If we don't know what our government is actually doing here and abroad, we cannot be expected to use our votes and activism to guide our government. And if our votes don't guide our country, this isn't any kind of democracy (republic or otherwise).

My final core belief is in the importance of actual "liberty and justice for all." We, the people, must take ownership of the behavior of our government, because if we won't, who will? We must also take ownership of our own lives. I am running for office to empower people, not to take power from them. I have definite beliefs about how to fix almost every problem we face as a nation, and I can explain those things to anybody who asks, in as much detail as they want. But everything I believe is rooted in the belief that we, the people, are capable of making good choices if only given the education and opportunity to do so. I get the feeling sometimes that the two, corrupt parties that run our country think we're stupid and that their job is to take care of us, but I prefer a world where we are empowered through education and economic security and then expected to make good decisions for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Keeping these things in mind, here are two of my positions to illustrate how I believe things should be done in government:
Abortion: Pro-choice. Almost 3/4 of women who have abortions cite financial hardship as a primary reason. If we fix the financial hardship, we drastically reduce abortions; but it must remain each woman's choice to make.
Guns: Pro-2nd-Amendment. Gun crime, like all violent crime, is a direct result of a lack of affordable healthcare (including mental healthcare) and other social structures that most first-world countries have (and we lack). Fix those things, you fix gun crime, but it's not smart to take guns from people to protect themselves and their families in a society that is this dangerous. And gun owners will never go for it (and they shouldn't).

Those two issues (among many others) are used to polarize the public against each other and keep the two parties in charge using the age-old strategy of "divide and conquer". But banning abortions, or guns, won't actually address, or even significantly reduce, abortions or gun-crimes. The fact is we can address and reduce both with essentially the same policies. Almost every "wedge issue" the parties use to divide us up is similar to this. Neither party has the actual solution. They just have a *marketable* sound-bite solution that would change nothing.

It's way past time we stand together as a community and demand actual solutions. It's time we vote independent and kick these parties out.

Videos (1)

— January 23, 2020 Steve Cox For Congress

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