U.S. Congress 11Th District - Republican
Mark Ambrose, an investment banker with Wells Fargo Bank, ives in Bloomfield Township. He served in the U.S. Army, earning the rank of captain. He is a graduate of West Point Military Academy, and received an MBA from Columbia University Business School and a master of international affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He has been involved with Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metro Detroit and Homes for Autism.
Both political parties have consistently offered support for Israel, initially as it was the lone democratic state in the Middle East. However, in the last decade there has been a growing divide in that support, with the rise of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses, continuing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, and the lack of focus by this and the last administration to address the two-state solution. Where do you align on the issue of Israeli and Palestinian concerns and economic support of Israel? Is it a religious issue or a democracy issue?
First, I would disagree with the premise that the last administration had a lack of focus when it comes to Israel as President Trump’s administration achieved the historic establishment of our embassy in Jerusalem. My response to this question is not anecdotal but very personal and based on experience as I have stayed in Akko, Israel (an Arab town near the border with Lebanon) and I have traveled to Nazareth, also an Arab town within Israel. The people living there are full citizens of the state of Israel, enjoying all the rights and freedoms of that country. They have representation in the Knesset, and the Israeli-Arabs I spoke with had no interest in moving to either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. When I traveled to the West Bank, it was a starkly different situation. It was chaotic, poorly-governed by Fatah, and there did not seem to be any real protections for religious minorities. We must stand with democracies and those countries that protect all their citizens, regardless of their ethnic or religious group. It is for that reason that Israel has my unwavering support. The Palestinian people must stop electing terrorist groups, like Hamas in Gaza, in order to be eligible for any type of support from the United States.
Build Back Better Act
Is the $1.9 trillion spending plan known as the Build Back Better Act dead or is there a chance that it can be revived yet in 2022? What aspects of it do you feel are imperative for the Democrats to enact for voters?
In this period of extraordinary inflation, this administration’s “Build Back Better Act” is irresponsible. It would only add to the pain that Americans would feel as prices rise more than they have in 40 years. The price tag is actually well beyond $1.9 trillion as different types of accounting gimmicks were used to try to make the advertised cost more palatable to the public. The price spike we are experiencing was set in motion by the partisan American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. That $1.9 trillion package was unnecessary in an economy that was already well into a recovery. Not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted for it, so Vice President Harris broke the tie and the Democrats pushed the reckless package through. One of President Obama’s top economic advisors, Larry Summers, derided that bill as the “least responsible economic policy in 40 years.”
Title 42, which allowed the federal government to turn back immigrants at the border during a public health crisis such as COVID-19, was due to expire at the end of May. Estimates are that Title 42 allowed the U.S. to turn away some two million immigrants in the past couple of years. Southern states in particular are concerned, along with critics in general, that the current administration lacks a clear policy of how to deal with immigrants at our southern border. Further, several groups are calling for a complete overhaul of the immigration policy. What do you feel is needed in terms of an immigration policy at this time?
This administration’s neglect of the crisis at our border is hurting both U.S. citizens and illegal immigrants. It is irresponsible and cynical. I am a strong supporter of legal immigration and support those who wish to abide by our nation’s laws and processes to become lawful citizens of the United States. As an Army reservist, I served along our southern border in Arizona. I was shocked at the violence this small Arizona town endured due to human trafficking and drug smuggling. This is not sustainable, and it is killing U.S. citizens and illegal immigrants alike. Our priority must be to secure our southern border.
National health care insurance
We often hear the concept that health care is a right for everyone. But it would appear that candidates have a slightly different approach for how to handle health insurance. Please explain in detail your health insurance policy position and the potential cost to the government/taxpayers for this.
From a Constitutional standpoint, legal minds with years of experience still argue over whether healthcare is a right or not. While we often hear of healthcare described a right, that does not mean it is universally accepted. It is, however, the right and decent thing to do to care for those who are unable to care for themselves. We need to have a safety net to protect our most vulnerable neighbors, but the government should not mandate the type of coverage that the population at large is allowed to have. Government is inefficient in its allocation of resources. We must trust families enough to make their own decisions as to what healthcare package works best for them. Additionally, until we settle on a more moderate solution to our healthcare problem, it is virtually impossible to estimate the potential cost to taxpayers. What is clear is that the current unfunded mandates and costs associated with “Obamacare” are unsustainable. This is another reason I have posted a debt clock on my website so people can see (in real-time) the costs we are placing on our future generation’s shoulders due to Washington’s inability to find better solutions to our most pressing problems like this.
Student debt issue
Payments on college student loans have been delayed during the pandemic but loan payments are expected to resume later this fall. At the same time, there has been a steady call for part or all of student debt to be forgiven. Do you favor forgiving student loans? If so, should this be accomplished through executive order or passage in Congress? Please explain.
I am opposed to forgiving student loans. The government would be disproportionately favoring the wealthy and those with advanced degrees over those who never had the opportunity to go to college or graduate school. There are also many who sacrificed and tightened their belts to pay off their student loans. This is an irresponsible proposal that gives preferential treatment to one class at the expense of another.
Congress during the last administration lowered the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent but the Biden administration wants to restore the top tax rate for 39.6 percent for joint filers making $450k and individuals making $400k. Do you support the increase in the top tax rate? Are there other tax reforms that you support? Please explain.
I am in favor of the government living within its means and eliminating wasteful spending. I do not support any tax increases. Tax increases often create incentives that have the opposite effect of what was intended.
2020 presidential election results
Do you accept the presidential election results of 2020 in Michigan? Will you accept the results of the 2022 primary and general election? Explain why or why not.
Two principles that are foundations of our democracy are 1) Civilian control of the military and 2) The peaceful transfer of power. While Democrats questioned the validity of the 2016 election and Republicans questioned the results of the 2020 election – rule of law asserts we must accept the results of the elections of the past and work toward taking steps which will restore confidence in our electoral system in the future. I will argue strongly for reform that will strengthen our belief in the credibility of our elections, such as voter ID requirements and strict rules around absentee voting and the chain of custody for ballots. Voting rules should never again be changed by executive orders and the rulings of judges. Rule changes must be voted on by state legislators. Otherwise, too much power flows to the executive or judicial branch in each state.
Your top issues
What would you list as your top three-five issues that you hope to address in this next term of Congress?
Reduce inflation and improve our economy through responsible economic policies. Security: Border Security, Public Safety, and Honoring our Police. Build our military, so that it will never be challenged. Create jobs for Michigan and America through fair trade and economically encourage business to invest, build and manufacture in the United States. Cure Autism – dedicate resources to ending this disease.
Why voters should select you
Tell us why voters should select you over your opponent in this race. Please be specific in drawing your comparisons.
I believe I have the strongest likelihood of defeating either Andy Levin or Haley Stevens in the general election due to a background that can address some of the most pressing challenges we have today: Reducing inflation – I earned an MBA from Columbia University and have worked in banking for 24 years, also earning my designation as a Chartered Financial. I understand economics and the causes of inflation. I know how to fix it. Military – I am a graduate of West Point and served as a tank officer in the U.S. Army overseas and here at home. Border security – While in the Army Reserve, I served along the Mexican Border in Arizona and witnessed the violence and crime that a porous border invites. Foreign Policy – I earned a Master of International Affairs at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs with a specialization on Russia and the Post-Soviet states.
Matthew DenOtter is a realtor living in Highland. He received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Calvin College.
We must continue to support Israel and our Middle Eastern allies. Without a strong foundation, the US would not be able to maintain our interests in that region of the world. The issues facing Israel and Palestine are clearly religious and political, but not insurmountable. I believe a peaceful solution can be had.
Build Back Better Act
I do not believe in passing Build Back Better (BBB). This bill would be a disaster for the already strained transportation and supply chain industries. Hidden inside of this package is a bill to do away with 1099s. This would upend our trucking industry and create chaos in several others like agriculture.
While I do believe in an overhaul of the current process, we must continue to discourage and turn away illegal immigration and encourage legal immigration. This administration is failing both the American people and the honorable people looking to come into our country the right way.
National health care insurance
President Trump put us on a great path forward to allow for true competition in the marketplace, lowering drug costs and in some cases outright making them free. Medicare for all and Obamacare are not viable options for our country moving forward.