PROVIDENCE — Sara Morgenthau, a former federal public servant with experience leading U.S. Peace and Commerce Corps initiatives, is one of six candidates for the position of U.S. Representative for the RI Dist. 2.
Morgenthau served as Director of Peace Corps Response under President Obama from 2010 to 2015, strengthening communities and providing resources for health care and education.
As Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Private Sector Office of the Department of Homeland Security from 2015 to 2017, Morgenthau has served as an intermediary between business and government – sharing national security intelligence and communicating with industry on critical technology needed to keep people safe. She also worked as a managing director in Washington, D.C. for Nardello & Co., a global investigations firm specializing in corruption-related investigations, white-collar civil and criminal litigation, asset tracing, strategic intelligence , political risk assessment and computer forensics. She won US Senator Corey Booker’s endorsementmember of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In the Sept. 13 primary, Democratic voters will consider which candidate is best to represent their interests, but also which candidate can do so while winning the general election.
To provide voters with greater insight into each candidate’s positions, ideas and views on the future, WarwickPost.com posed eight questions to each candidate, giving them equal time to respond. All of the candidates’ responses were published at the same time.
Candidates were asked to answer the questions directly: “An answer that skirts the topic or reads as a deliberate attempt to avoid the question will be recorded as a failure to answer the question.” Only three of the six candidates responded to the questionnaire sent on September 1: David Segal, Omar Bah and Morgenthau.
Here are Morgenthau’s responses:
1. What do you think of the candidates who did not participate in the debate phase at the WPRI Candidates’ Debate?
MORGENTHAU: Omar Bah is an important voice in this race. Like Omar, my mother was a refugee in this country, fleeing Austria in 1941 in the aftermath of Kristallnacht and amid growing anti-Semetic persecution across Europe – and my grandfather Henry Morgenthau beaten to establish the War Refugee Board during World War II.
I think WPRI missed an opportunity to present its point of view, but I also understand that it did not cross the bar set by the station to qualify for the debate.
2. You have indicated your support for a woman’s right to choose protected by federal law. What is your objection to the state-by-state approach?
MORGENTHAU: In Dobbs, the Supreme Court took away rights that women had had for 50 years. It’s outrageous that my 21-year-old daughter has less rights today than I did at her age. A state-by-state approach to abortion rights creates chaos and allows Republican-controlled states to pass barbaric and inhumane laws to target women, as we have already seen in the wake of this decision.
Allan Fung goes on to say that Rhode Island has enough state-level protections, but the truth is he could be the deciding vote on a nationwide ban on abortion, a policy that his new friend the Chief GOP, Kevin McCarthy, would bring to the ground if the Republicans took control of the House. We can’t let that happen, which is why this primary is so crucial. I’m the best candidate to beat Allan Fung, and the only candidate with the experience to deliver results in Washington on day one.
3. Is term limits the best way to curb the politicization of the Supreme Court? Please explain.
MORGENTHAU: I’m not convinced that’s the case. We need to reform the court, but given the excessive politicization of this process, I fear that term limits will lead lobbyists and politicians to have even more impact on the work of the court.
4. The race for that congressional seat in November was characterized as a choice between conservative and liberal concerns, although Republican candidate Alan Fung showed his support for former President Donald Trump during his abuse of political norms, his lack of respect for veterans, his rhetorical and material attacks. about America’s long record of peaceful transitions of power, its documented involvement in stirring up the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the unexplained delay and reluctance to defend the Capitol and Congress. Do you consider yourself a more conservative politician than Fung in this regard?
MORGENTHAU: If Allan Fung wins in November, this could very well be the seat that gives Republicans and Kevin McCarthy’s radical agenda a majority in the House. We know the Republicans in Washington are just too extreme and we can’t afford to put our democracy and our basic rights at risk. There is nothing “conservative” about attacking our democracy.
5. Whoever succeeds Congressman Jim Langevin representing this district in Congress will need to win bipartisan support for his efforts during an unprecedented time of divisive sentiment. How will you balance the need to work with Republicans as their party and their members embrace authoritarian ideas?
MORGENTHAU: The issues I’ve worked on throughout my career in government, as the first woman to lead the private sector office at the Department of Homeland Security and leading state travel and tourism States, have been largely devoid of partisan politics. We need to ensure that the Democrats control both houses of Congress, but I also know that there are areas such as cost cutting, investing in reliable infrastructure and comprehensive immigration reform, where we we can find common ground.
6. What legislation would be your first priority, and what is your plan to gain congressional support?
MORGENTHAU: Everything is too expensive, and Rhode Islanders are suffering. We need legislation to cut costs, fix supply chain issues and ensure people can make ends meet. We also need national legislation to codify Roe v Wade, and we need new investment in our blue and green economies to reduce our foreign energy dependence and protect our climate.
What is your plan to win congressional support? : Morgenthau did not answer this part of the question.
7. Who would you turn to for ideas on how Congress can curb inflation? Which efforts do you see as most likely to win congressional support?
MORGENTHAU: The Cut Inflation Act was an important first step in reducing costs, but families need more help and they need it now. Our main focus right now must be on making smart investments to uplift working families and small businesses. We continue to face the lasting economic impact of COVID and significant labor shortage issues. We must spend responsibly, but we cannot turn our backs on the middle class.
8. Where would you most like to increase domestic spending in Rhode Island?
MORGENTHAU: Having led travel and tourism for the United States in the Biden administration, I know the importance of investment in this key sector, which brought in $7 billion for our state in 2019 alone. I played a key role in shaping the national travel and tourism strategy the Biden administration recently rolled out, and I’m ready to get to work elevating the small businesses that drive economic activity across the state.
This investment should not come only to our largest communities. Take Block Island, for example. With just over 1,000 year-round residents, meeting the needs of up to 20,000 summer residents is daunting. We have the opportunity to provide significant federal funding to support Second District communities and meet the individual and unique needs of each, and we need an experienced leader who knows how to get things done in Washington to make this happen.
I also believe that we need to invest more in our blue and green economies. We should be proud as a state to be home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm at Block Island, and we should continue to be a leader in clean energy generation. We have the opportunity to not only protect our climate for future generations, but also create well-paying, unionized jobs in the process.
What is your plan to achieve this increase?
Morgenthau did not answer this part of this question.
9. President Joe Biden’s recent decision to forgive $10,000 in student debt has sparked much celebration and recrimination. Would you support rescinding the undue hardship requirement for student loans that was expanded with the support and vote of then-Senator Biden under the Abuse Prevention Act of 2005? bankruptcy and consumer protection?
Morganthau did not answer this question.