Arthur A. ("Art") Gardner (R)

Q1: Name:

Arthur A. ("Art") Gardner

Q2: Currently in Georgia, and around the Nation, there is a shortage of talent to fill open technology positions. TAG feels part of this issue is due to current H1B Visa policies that hinder highly educated foreign students from staying within the United States to work. What is your position on H1B Visas as well as border protection and illegal immigration? Would you be willing to address the H1B visa issue as a standalone issue in congress?

I am not opposed to expanding H1B Visas. As for border protection and illegal immigration, I am in favor of a practical approach (as opposed to the usual "amnesty over my dead body" approach, which results in de facto amnesty). I propose that we register the illegal aliens and require them to pay taxes in order to stay. This will convert net benefit recipients into taxpayers and reflects the reality on the ground (we as a society are not effectively deporting the more than 10 million illegals). This will also level the playing field for unskilled labor (presently, it is cheaper to employ non-citizens than to employ citizens due to taxes). I would not, however, afford them citizenship as a reward for being here illegally. The only way an illegal would gain citizenship would be by serving in our military for 5 years and obtaining an honorable discharge. All others can only have a registered (non-citizen) status. Of course, first the border has to be enforced in an effective manner. Finally, we need to end the practice of considering a child of a person here illegally as a legal U.S. citizen -- if the mother isn't here legally, the child should not be considered a citizen of the U.S. For more details on this, see my published article at http://zpolitics.com/a-practical-approach-to-the-illegal-immigration-problem/

Q3: Ensuring students have a 21st century digital infrastructure with access to broadband internet, and fourth generation (4G) wireless networks has become a critical issue nationally. How do you feel congress can address this access issue? Do you feel the federal and state government can work together to bring access to Georgia’s students?

I feel that this is better addressed by the state, rather than by the federal government. The state could make this a priority and if successful in developing a state-of-the-art broadband infrastructure for its citizens, it would be a real drawing card for attracting new residents and especially new businesses. Just as good schools, roads, fire departments, etc., can attract new residents and businesses, this could be a strong draw for the state of Georgia.

Q4: Cybersecurity has become an issue not only for consumers (i.e. Target’s recent data breach) but also for small and medium sized companies. Do you feel there should be a blanket approach to setting regulations regarding cybersecurity? Should companies be held accountable for the information they lose? How can our government assist in protecting consumers and business owners from these types of security breaches?

In general, I am in favor of less regulation, not more regulation. But in this area, perhaps we need to look at whether the marketplace can effectively protect individual and corporate data without government regulation. In all candor, I am not sure. I'd want to study this question some more.

Q5: STEM education has become an important part of Georgia schools and is crucial in filling US jobs. As a nation, the United States has dropped in the STEM rankings among other nations. How can we better prepare STEM students for the 21st century work force? How can congress assist schools in the implementation of STEM? What ideas do you have to make STEM a priority nationally?

STEM education, like education generally, is largely beyond the reach of the federal government to make a positive difference. The Department of Education has been in existence for several decades now and has spent untold billions, while academic performance has declined. The best that we could do is to provide some incentive for kids to pursue STEM, such as by providing lower cost loans or outright grants for STEM students. Personally, as an engineer myself, I am very much in favor of STEM education.

Q6: The House of Representatives passed a bill addressing patent reform (The Innovation Act HB3309, which was overwhelmingly bipartisan with a 325 yea-vote and 91 no-vote count), and the issue of patent trolling. Currently, the bill resides in the Senate. If this legislation is not passed during 2014, what steps will you take to insure this legislation continues to move through the process?

Patent "reform" should be approached with great caution and care. I know -- I have been a patent attorney for 26 years and have represented small companies and individuals in intellectual property litigation over that time. We need to be especially careful against adopting bills that on their face seem like a step forward (a reform), but in reality are a move by one group to gain an advantage over another group. Patent litigation is expensive and all of the players in this space know it. By shifting the costs of litigation to the loser, patent litigation will be discouraged among all but the largest of parties. The net effect of that is that patents owned by individuals and small companies would become less enforceable (as a practical matter) and therefore less valuable. So simply looking at this cost shifting proposal aspect of HB 3309, one can see that it benefits large organizations over smaller ones (including tech start-ups). Moreover, the whole notion of "trolling" is an unfortunate misnomer. If you are a start-up company and you have a patent that is being infringed by a mega-corporation, what are your options? The large company may well decide that you can't afford to sue, so they may choose to infringe and dare you to do something about it. That is where the so-called trolls can level the playing field and force the larger party to respect your patent. They can give patents owned by individuals and start-ups their true worth. I have seen this first-hand. Sure, there are arguments on the other side. But if we as a society pass legislation to make it more difficult for patent owners to enforce their legitimate rights, it is likely that the net losers in that case will be small companies and individuals and the net winners will be large conglomerates. I am not sure that this is the direction we want to go. As a result, I view efforts to curb so-called patent trolls with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Q7: What ways do you feel our government and, you specifically, can encourage entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial spirit in America? President Obama stated “We should be making it easier and faster to turn new ideas into new jobs and new businesses. And we should knock down any barriers that stand in the way. Because if we’re going to create jobs now and in the future, we’re going to have to out-build and out-educate and out-innovate every other country on Earth.” After reading this statement, what reactions do you have to his ideas on assisting entrepreneurs?

The President's words belie the reality on the ground. It is harder to open a new business in this country than it has ever been. There are just too many regulations to comply with, which create a substantial barrier to entry into business. So we need to reduce and simplify the regulations that apply to new businesses, especially under a certain size. Perhaps we should look at giving a new small business a waiver of certain regulations for a few months so the business can get on its feet before we require onerous regulations to take effect (especially paperwork requirements).

Q8: If elected, how will you work to balance our nation’s budget? Will you support innovation and technology within the budget?

This is my NUMBER ONE PRIORITY! In fact, this is the issue that got me off the couch and in this Senate race. I have spent the last 2 years studying the budget problems and how to solve them. I have proposed a detailed plan for balancing the budget and published it on my website at www.GardnerSenate.com. Other candidates say they are for balancing the budget, but won't say how they propose to do it because they fear voter backlash -- they are just talk. The problem is a spending problem, not a taxing problem (we spend too much, not tax too little). We have taxed as much as we realistically can. Over the last 75 years we have never collected more than 21% of GDP in tax revenues, no matter what we have done with the tax rates (and they have been very high at times). So 21% is the max budget and we need to live within that. Unfortunately, we are spending a lot more than that and are on a trajectory to exceed that by a LOT. In short, our current path is unsustainable and will lead to the collapse of our system. We need to cut spending in all areas of government expenditure. But since 60% of government spending is entitlements (mandatory spending), we will have to make cuts in those areas also. Any politician who says he will balance the budget simply by eliminating waste is lying to you -- we will have to actually cut spending. Sorry, but that is the truth.

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