Dr. Syed Taj, a current Canton Township Trustee, is running as a Democrat for the U.S. Congress to represent . Taj will be on the Aug. 7 primary ballot, facing LaRouche PAC-endorsed Democrat . If he wins the primary, he will face the winner between , and the (write-in) for the Republican candidacy in the November election.
Here are Taj's responses to Patch's candidate questionnaire:
Sofia and one son, Asad
How long have you been a resident of your town?:
What is your prior political experience?:
Canton Township Trustee 2008-2012
What is your prior professional experience?:
Physician 40-plus years
What made you decide to run?:
I decided to run for Congress because, as a small business owner and physician, I've dedicated my career to helping others less fortunate than myself. I have been very blessed to provide for my family and put my son through college. However, many of my patients, while hard-working and full of integrity, have not been afforded the same opportunities and access to the upward mobility so many in this country have been fortunate to experience.
I know Michigan has the talent, expertise and work ethic to compete in today’s global market place. As a physician, I understand how the financial and the medical sides of our health system work. We cannot continue believing that prosperity for some must come at the expense of others. This means recognizing that to prosper as a community, we must embrace our differences and work together for our future generations. This will be my duty as a Representative from Michigan’s 11th District.
What issues do you see affecting your district?:
The biggest problem confronting this state is a sluggish and unstable economic recovery. Our unemployment rate has moved toward the national average but our overall economic outlook remains tepid, especially with recent slowdowns in Asia and Europe.
We have a vast network of entrepreneurs throughout our state, a second-to-none automotive supply chain, and a fantastic university system that still produces the nation’s finest engineers. In recent years we’ve seen an influx of life sciences firms, alternative energy and advanced manufacturing companies to in the 11th District, largely because of the quality of life, economic resources and talent pool that our district, and the Metro-Detroit area, has to offer. My job as a representative of Michigan’s 11th District will be to support these growing industries and help create a friendly business and working environment.
Here are some policies I support and will fight for as a member of Congress to benefit my district:
- Increased tax incentives for small businesses to hire new workers.
- An expansion of the State Small Business Credit Initiative, a highly successful and innovative program to facilitate lending to small business and manufacturers.
- Improving public transportation, especially to connect Detroit and its surrounding suburbs.
- Lower corporate tax rates while eliminating loopholes for major corporations.
- Support the Outsourcing Accountability Act of 2012, which requires corporations to disclose their job outsourcing activities to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Fight the predatory mortgage lending practices that led to a devastating rate of foreclosures in our neighborhoods.
- Introduce fair trade legislation to level the playing field internationally, ending the unjust policies that leave our manufacturers at a disadvantage.
What national issues would you like to influence as a member of U.S. Congress?:
There are three main national issues I will devote my expertise to as a Representative of Michigan’s 11th District.
1. Health Care:
The Affordable Care Act is projected to reduce Medicare costs from 6.8% to 5.3% by 2017, but I think we can do better. We can begin by introducing legislation to streamline medical records to reduce overhead costs, and create more incentives for preventative care. The ACA the law is not without its flaws, and as a member of Congress I will advocate a patient-outcome model of health care based on patient outcomes and quality care in conjunction with the ACA.
2. Veteran’s Issues:
Too often as our soldiers return from their exemplary duty in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere, we wave our flags in salute but overlook the staggering unemployment, emotional disorders, rates of homelessness and financial hurdles so common among veterans. Young veterans, ages 18 to 24, in Michigan face an unemployment rate of nearly 30%. In Congress I will introduce legislation to establish public partnerships with veteran's advocacy groups who help identify and treat PTSD, suicide, and homelessness among our vets. We should expand veterans programs and incentives on higher education, worker retraining, trade schools and community colleges, so the remarkable work ethic and moral character of our veterans can benefit the nation’s workforce to astonishing degrees.
3. Political partisanship/gridlock:
Hyperpartisanship is a critical problem and is undoubtedly driving Congress’ unprecedented low approval ratings. Our government’s aversion to compromise was one of my foremost motivations for running for Congress. Obstructionist political tactics only make our country worse off and over the past decade both parties are equally responsible for it. I am willing to have a conversation about the constitutionality of the Line-Item Veto Act as a potential safeguard against congressional gridlock, freezes in Congress’ pay during government shutdowns, and public finance reform.
What are your thoughts on on your newly redrawn district lines?:
Overall I would prefer to see Congressional districts drawn in a way that minimizes any partisan advantage, as gerrymandering can have very unhealthy effects on our democracy. However, I am very comfortable with the new boundaries of the 11th District and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to represent so many of my friends, colleagues, and neighbors in Congress.