Dr. Helen Horvath, candidate for the 50th Congressional District.
Helen Horvath, candidate for the 50th Congressional District. Photo via Horvath

Helen Horvath voted for Donald Trump and had a special interest in attending Monday’s debate of four Republicans running for the 50th Congressional District seat, including indicted incumbent Duncan D. Hunter.

But she wasn’t happy to hear their anti-abortion stances — triggering a walkout of 40 women at the Town & County Hotel in Mission Valley, she says.

Her special interest? She’s running against them.

Despite massive attention given challengers Carl DeMaio, Darrell Issa and state Sen. Brian Jones, as well as Democratic hopeful Ammar Campa-Najjar, Horvath aims to leverage her true outsider status in the East and North County district that stretches into Riverside County.

Helen Horvath has voted in San Diego County since 2004, according to Registrar of Voters records. (PDF)

Alpine resident Horvath, 60, has been registered as an independent — no party preference — since at least 2010, according to voter records.

A high school dropout who eventually got her GED and joined the Army, Horvath earned college degrees, including a psychology doctorate at Alliant International University. She worked 22 years in the federal government and started her own business.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob named Horvath to the San Diego Military and Veterans Advisory Council and was nominated to be the chair in August 2017. That leadership role ended in September.

Horvath covered a lot of ground in an 8,000-word response to Times of San Diego questions.

In a 765-word reply to one — whether she’s an “anti-vaxxer” — Horvath rejected what she considered the slur but was sympathetic to issues raised by parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated.

“I believe that there are risks and benefits that are tradeoffs with the administration of vaccines to the general public,” she said, citing a “lack of information and solid scientific research that is longitudinal with key data” on the efficacy of vaccines.

“That … needs to be accomplished before parents are able to be provided informed consent,” she said.

A counselor to NFL players, she says she might have been able to help save the late Chargers linebacker Junior Seau.

“I know what it takes to thrive personally and professionally as I have worked with other athletes in similar situations,” she said. “Suicide, at times, is the ultimate form of communication and lack of hope.”

As an independent on Capitol Hill, would she caucus with Democrats or Republicans?

“I would meet and collaborate with all members of the House and Senate to ensure that key legislation is accomplished,” she said, citing her “key relationships” in the military. “My ‘caucus’ would be based upon the legislation and issue being put forth.”

She has an interesting take on the impeachment debate — noting names besides Trump’s.

“No one is above the law, not Speaker Pelosi, not any congressional representative or senator, not former Vice President Biden or his son, not even the president,” she said. “As a citizen and registered voter, I often wonder what the political motivations are that have brought our nation to this circus.”

Horvath dislikes the Affordable Care Act but also looks down on progressive plans for Medicare for All, promoted by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (whose recent San Diego “town hall” she attended, for sake of collecting signatures).

“It will take a deeper examination of all of the processes and systems involved to create a well formulated change to the healthcare system,” she said.

She posits a creative path to Congress, relying on a “strategic plan.”

“In 2018, there were 211,000+ voters [in the 50th District primary] who did not vote,” she said. “We are doing good old-fashioned political campaigning by reaching out to constituents directly, through social media, and also through events. Building community trust is key to the successful outcome in the primaries.”

Before she can make the March 3 ballot, however, she needs 2,000 signatures. She expects to have them by Oct. 31.

“We have had some hiccups with the data file of voters that were purchased that were resolved on or about Sept. 20,” she said. “Our voter base has been Republican, Democrat, No Party Preference, Peace and Freedom and a sundry of the 34 parties currently registered in the county.”

This interview was conducted via email.

TIMES OF SAN DIEGO: When did you decide to run for Congress? Did anyone encourage you to do this?

In 2002, I was an adjunct professor encouraging students to be successful in the field that they chose. A student who worked at the Office of the Capitol Architect gave me an architectural rendering of the Capitol Dome. He said it was for my future job. I have held on to the rendering and recently had it framed when I was ready to take on the challenge of interviewing for the congressional representative position with the community.

I decided in July 2019 that I wanted to definitely run. Yet I waited until we were able to get everything lined up procedurally. This took until Aug. 14, 2019, when we sent out our first media alert.

There are many leaders in various sectors of industry that encouraged me to apply for the position by running for office. I have relationships with NFL athlete families, small and large business owners/managers, and also family members who encouraged me to apply for the position and run for office.

Tell me about your Army service. Where and when were you deployed, from what base? Were you injured in service? What’s the nature of your disability?

HORVATH: I joined the Army in 1976 at 17. My mom signed my permission to join the military. I was a high school dropout who entered service with a GED. During my first term in the Army, I obtained my high school diploma. I later earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bowie State University and later a PsyD (doctor of psychology in organization development) from the California School of Professional Psychology from Alliant International University.

I was stationed in the 1st Armored Division in West Germany during the German Autumn – 1977. During 1977, we were constantly on alert due to the murders and terrorists from the Palestinian Liberation Organization, now the Palestinian Authority, and the Red Army Faction. It was a period of high terrorist activities where the West Germans, as our NATO allies, were under constant siege.

Upon re-enlistment, I served in Hawaii at the U.S. Army Communications Command and then Forces Command for military police investigations – in forward or forward defense area units. I held a secret clearance for most of my military and federal career. I was injured in Germany — the nature of my disability is private.

I received two honorable discharges, one for each enlistment.

Post military government service.

I spent a total of 22 years in the federal government before moving to the private sector due to my master’s degree in counseling psychology and marriage and family certificate. Of that time, I spent approximately 15 years as a military spouse traveling around the globe. I worked once in Southern Virginia and once in Northern Virginia, Palm Desert area, Guam, Hawaii, and in the District of Columbia. Through this experience, I worked in the following federal government operations career fields:

  • Administration – federal human resources support and administration of HR regulations
  • Social Security Administration
  • Research and Design – Navy
  • Health Benefits Advisement and Healthcare Management (part of the team that designed
    and deployed the change from DoD’s Gateway to Care to Tricare Northeast – the precursor to the current Tricare program).
  • Computer Systems Instruction and Training Design
  • Pension Benefits
  • Equal Opportunity Employment specialist – GS-11 (Agriculture and Foreign Service
  • Adjunct professor – Psychology, sociology and technology

Military Commands I have worked in as a civilian federal employee include:

  • Computer Systems Command
  • Joint Typhoon Warning Center – Guam (classified operations)
  • Navy Headquarters – Research and Design Directorate
  • Military Sealift Command
  • DeWitt Army Hospital – health benefits
  • 89th Medical Command at Andrews Air Force Base – computer systems

In May 2016, you retweeted a remark by GOP chairman Reince Priebus saying Donald Trump “will be presumptive nominee, (and) we all need to unite and focus on defeating Hillary Clinton.” Did you vote for Trump? Do you support an impeachment inquiry now? What are your current thoughts on the president?

I first want to state as a soldier for life and veteran, I respect and support the Constitution of the United States. I also respect the Office of the President. I voted for Trump because I did not want Hillary Clinton in office due to her involvement in Benghazi. I also knew staff who worked for the former secretary of state as she lived in D.C. alone while her husband was in New York alone when I lived in the D.C. area. Twitter is not the place to conduct foreign or national policies that includes all branches of government.

We need to work together before announcing a personal policy that has international implications.

As a nation, it seems as if we are spinning our wheels until Congress officially and actually acts upon the allegations. We have a congressional media circus with threats and counter threats. It has become so contentious on Capitol Hill that we are not getting the business of government accomplished. There has been a gun reform bill that was approved by the House that has not been worked upon by the Senate.

That said, I think that we are continually spending taxpayer dollars on investigation after investigation. We are often bombarded, in this social media age, with half-baked information that is designed to incite instead of informing.

Just like in this election, people make up their mind on their candidate without taking time to dig deeper into what the candidate has done to improve their lives. Instead, many rely upon social media quick reads to decide upon their position and choices.

No one is above the law, not Speaker Pelosi, not any congressional representative or senator, not former Vice President Biden or his son, not even the president. As a citizen and registered voter, I often wonder what the political motivations are that have brought our nation to this circus.

Congress and all federal offices need a change that does not involve people who have worked in the system or are self-motivated to better their power through a position. This is what we have with other candidates; each has a motive that is self-serving while I ask the community to interview me and continuously speak with me to get to know each other.

In this context, I would love to say “not my circus, not my rodeo.” Yet the reality is that I pay attention and will do whatever is constitutionally required based upon the evidence presented to create, uphold or modify the laws of this land when in office. Not the gossip of the press.

Impeach or not, it will be my responsibility for this and other presidents, when elected – do the right and ethical behaviors to govern appropriately while staying away from the media circus.

I’m unclear on what your business ILKA Technologies does. Can you share a specific example of what you do on behalf of clients? What does ILKA stand for?

ILKA Technologies Inc. is a service disabled and veteran owned small business. We are a boutique organizational development consulting firm. We provide organizational related services such as examination of how a program or firm operates then we follow the money (cost) to determine key efficiencies.

We make recommendations for strategic change within the organization to improve profits and also create cost savings.

Part of ILKA’s work is to provide leadership training. We focus upon authentic and transformative leadership; basically, teaching leaders to be transparent and fact based. This means that we teach people not to lie in business and government. One of our clients who is an Army major general spoke about the fact that lower level leaders only tell just enough information to get a product or service approved (financially and otherwise).

We call this the just-enough syndrome — not telling the entire truth with facts. It is a recognized yet unacceptable practice in leadership that we address in our work.

Within ILKA, we also provide innovation and design training services. We created a program entitled the DITM© Process that uses design thinking factors along with ILKA designed theories to create new products and services. The program shortens the development or redesign lifecycle for new programs and services.

Our staff worked with the Army to assess programs and services with the DITM© process. Over a 30-day period we were able to coach the five teams to a $4 million savings in the FY17 federal budget that took four days of class work and approximately 40 total hours of online coaching with each team.

ILKA also has proprietary career transition software and programs. Our programs help military spouses and active duty personnel smoothly transition from one career to another. Our program is a “psychosocial” program and is designed to address Navy SEAL and Special Forces issues upon transition. With our firm, we are also psychological assessors where we design and deploy key psychological testing to determine career readiness, mental health issues, and also examine for behavioral issues to create systemic change.

We will be launching our P2Careers program in January – a membership site designed to act as a central community for military spouses, active duty members and veterans.

ILKA means “the bright shining one” in Hungarian – it is a derivative of Ilonka or Ilona – my name in Hungarian. Helen also means the same. We use ILKA because the meaning is about what we can provide society – a beacon of hope, a shining light, and fact.

Tell me about your kids. Any grandkids?

Our family adopted two biological siblings – a boy and a girl when they were both toddlers. Between my children, there are four grandchildren – two boys and two girls.

Are your parents still alive? If so, where do they live and what do they think of your candidacy? Are you in contact with any Hungarian family members?

My parents left communism in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution and ended up in the United States through Operation Mercy. They stayed six months in Austria at a refugee camp and then were transported to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey – part of Fort Dix. My dad was a butcher and then factory worker and my mom was a factory worker and cleaned houses on the side.

My parents were inspirational in my life. My mother was the family rock and often worked two jobs to make ends meet; my father also.

My father died in 1995 and my mother died in 2003. My favorite memory as a child was every September we would stomp grapes for Hungarian wine. Thank goodness for calf length socks – purple harvest feet were not a great fashion statement in Pennsylvania schools.

I have Hungarian cousins around the country and also in Hungary. One of my aunts died at 95 while I was a military spouse. She came here through Ellis Island in the late 1890s or early 1900s and resided in Ohio. We used to go to Cleveland to visit frequently when I was a child. I speak to my cousins in Hungary once in a while. She is so proud that Hungary is not a communist state anymore. She works in Switzerland for an international sporting operation.

My mother learned English by watch “Peyton Place,” an old school soap opera.

What are your top accomplishments with the San Diego Military and Veterans Advisory Council?

I was appointed by Supervisor Dianne Jacob as a member at large and am still on the council. I was nominated to be the chair in August 2017 and ended my term on September 1, 2019.

At the time of my nomination for the chair position, Ben Dillingham was on the council. There was a lot of discontent with how the council operated since the San Diego Military and Veterans Advisory Council was a “coffee and donut” monthly meeting.

The group lacked leadership and direction.

Prior to my nomination as chair, there was discussion of several people wanting to leave the council. I voiced concern over several issues surrounding the bylaws and management of the council that were addressed during my tenure as chair.

Dillingham provided key information about past unsuccessful efforts to change how the council operated. I led the council through an “organizational change” that addressed key council members concerns through a bylaw change effort. Ben stated, before he left the council, that with my leadership the council will be in good hands.

Through collaboration, I led the council to create a systemic change in how the council operated. I ensured that the council members stayed within the regulatory requirement to adhere to the Brown Act and also adhered to the organizational conflict-of-interest laws relating to membership on the council.

The plan included:

  • 1. Sought out qualified candidates to fill open positions; developed relationships with Board of Supervisor staff. a. Developed a process so that we would have a full council consistently.
  • 2. Modified bylaws that met current regulatory requirements (last bylaw total review was in 1988 when the Veteran Advisory Council was begun).
  • 3. Instituted action that removed individuals who did not attend regular meetings according to the bylaws (1988).
  • 4. Improved the job description to provide senior advisory services to the Board of Supervisors.
  • 5. Created a marketing plan that would increase attendance at the meeting.
  • 6. Diversify who we serve by inviting key county leaders to discuss issues such as integrative services and housing (i.e. Omar Passons and David Estrella).
  • 7. Coordinated community speakers to address key issues in the community such as veterans who are incarcerated and their special needs.

On July 9, 2019, the Board of Supervisor approved our new bylaws at a regularly scheduled meeting. The BOS previously approved the new county ordinance that changed the name of the council to be more inclusive of military families, active duty and veterans.

As part of my council duties, I attended meetings across the county to represent the council as a military subject matter expert and as chair. I participated in the semiannual chair meeting with the director of HHSA and other county chairs.

I represented the council as a member of the OneVA Community Advocacy Board, where I advocated and provided healthcare input to the VA Regional Healthcare Systems CEO, Dr. Robert Smith. I also provided input to the director, VA Regional Office, Patrick Prieb, relating to benefits issues.

I also participated as a member of the HHSA Alzheimer’s Care Project being appointed by Supervisor Jacob. I decided not to continue when I made the decision to run for office.

As chair of the SD MVAC, the work took approximately 40-80 hours a month of volunteer time that I juggled around my business.

I am a member of the VetWow movement and also provide, outside of the council, advice to women veterans relating to benefits and claims. I am supported in my quest for Congress by Mary Ellen Salzano, California Military and Family Collaborative.

How do you propose to reduce the national debt if you want to protect Social Security? What parts of the defense budget or domestic budgets would you cut? Can government efficiencies reduce the debt sufficiently?

I am very concerned that our mandatory spending is currently at 70% according to the Congressional Budget Office. It is projected to increase over the next 10 years along with the gross domestic product. Mandatory spending is dominated by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

About 57% of Medicaid (or Medi-Cal in California) expenses are paid by the federal government. In Jan. 1, 2020, Gov. Newsom allocates a reported $98 million for Medi-Cal funds to illegal immigrants through age 26 on the plan. Although the money is allegedly from state funds, the federal government pays a large chunk of the Medicaid costs to the state and the state manages the funding for Medi-Cal/Medicaid.

The Congressional Budget Office states that funding for Social Security has the potential to end by 2034. This will make the Treasury bonds issued to fund Social Security basically worthless paper unless Congress acts. There was a warning 30 years ago when Congress funded a study, yet nothing was done in the ensuing years.

Social Security is a pay-as-you-go benefit system where the current generation of workers pays for the older generation of workers. It is a tax that is tied to a benefit; yet we may not have a benefit unless we create the necessary changes to the entire Social Security benefit system that will not impact those who anticipate receiving the benefit.

The goal is to protect current beneficiaries while examining efficiencies and process improvements to create systemic change that will change and improve the program to work towards maintaining the Social Security system.

What can we do to stem the tide of out-of-control spending?

1. Instead of simply teaching design and innovation, actually practice the process. OPM has a design thinking lab in DC; yet, DoD continues to spend and spend. By utilizing innovations instead of the status quo, federal employees will become empowered to make organizational changes and process improvements to government.

2. Use of efficiencies. Our nation has gone from the Reagan presidency where there were attempts to create smaller government and more individual responsibility to a government that is ever expanding and spending money as if there is a blank checkbook. We need to curb spending substantially in order to meet the needs of the nation. This includes moving towards a smaller and more cost effective government.

This is accomplished in the following manner by creating efficiencies:

a. Social Services. Create requirements for individual who receive welfare or TANF to participate in a job work experience in order to maintain benefits. The goal is to get people off welfare and back to the workforce.

b. Education. Examine how the federal government has become the greatest debt holder for college education. The default rates are high-the question will be in the resolution of the default on student loans. Part of this may be to examine high school core curriculums to include additional vocational programs and services as a stepping stone to college or a trade. Our nation is struggling to fill technical positions in the workforce.

c. Veterans Administration.

(1) The VA is part of an interagency group of 13 agency members led by the Department of Defense that is tied to the DoD’s Transition GPS. It is estimated that the VA duplicates services to veterans that are already available through DoD to the tune of $69 million annually. This increases the costs of active duty and veteran transitions combined to over $411 million in order to save approximately $303 million in unemployment costs enacted by Congress.

(2) The VA benefits program can operate more efficiently than it currently does. Under Title 38, the VA has a duty to assist VA beneficiaries to process claims. There are claims errors being reported to the Senate and the National Congress of American Indians through a funded research visit.

(3) The claims errors surround the employee requirement to process a certain number of claims per month or the employee will receive a less than successful performance evaluation. This type of claims behaviors are impacting the employees and their ability to sustain employment. If the monthly quota is not met, then the employee will move towards a poor performance evaluation that may lead to removal from the VA as a federal employee.

(4) The claims errors are leading to denials that increase the cost of the claims processing by the veteran going to the Board of Veterans Appeals.

(5) The VA benefits programs continue to use less than qualified disability examiners. For example, in California a nurse practitioner is required to work under the supervision of a medical doctor. This means that the medical doctor is technically required to sign off on the disability evaluation.

The VA is attempting to save money by using this practice without the signoff by a MD. Yet the reality is that the VA potentially increases costs for claims processing by not assigning the appropriate medical specialty and expertise to examine the veteran for benefits approval. This is a procedural issue that is tied to a contracting issue.

(6) VA healthcare. An individual authorized to receive VA healthcare should not be required to sign up for Medicare as the VA is required to care for a Veteran’s disabilities.

d. Department of Defense.

(1) Discretionary spending. During the Obama presidency the military expanded programs and services. I honor military spouses, service members, and veterans. At the same time, DoD has created services that are duplicated and not cost effective. Again, the DoD Transition GPS/TAP is an example. There is a single program that is open ended.

The program is supposed to meet all needs of the departing service member; yet, DoD and many military services offer additional courses and training that is unnecessary to departing service members. In 2016, my firm estimated that $4 million was spent by Navy on contracts that duplicated services.

(2) Unemployment. By better managing the career transition of active duty and reservists, there is a potential cost savings available based upon our research of $55M-$110 million annually. If minor changes are made in specific human resources processes, over a 10-year period the costs for the program will be reduced or eliminated. Will require appropriate legislation and passage of changes.

(3) Military sexual assault/trauma. There is a three-part suggestion that I presented to Sens. Duckworth and Gillibrand’s staff in the summer of 2019 to work towards resolving the military sexual assault/trauma issue. The suggestion involves human resources talent acquisition changes, organizational culture changes, and improvements to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice that goes beyond the changes put into law in January 2019.

(a) Moral Injury. Moral injury is part of the military sexual assault/trauma cycle. Moral injury, as defined by the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, “in the context of war … may stem from direct participation in acts of combat, such as killing or harming others, or indirect acts, such as witnessing death or dying, failing to prevent immoral act … carried out by an individual or a group.”

I mention moral injury because the conflict of conscious impacts the decision to participate in organizational culture actions, such as group sexual assaults or war crimes, will potentially create the foundation for further justifications for crimes.

(b) Examples of Moral Injury. “Transgressions of peers and leaders who betray expectations in egregious ways.” Navy SEAL Teams and special operators are placed in a position to kill. Yet unfortunately in recent times there have been reports where the behaviors of specific team members has negatively impacted the Navy and national defense.

Examples of this are when a Marine Raider and Navy Seal planned a sexual assault on a Green Beret – special operator – that ended in the death of the Soldier. These behaviors lend to the factors associated with organizational climate and culture. Break the “brotherhood” code and consequences will happen either privately or publicly leading to further codes of silence.

(c) Failure of Leadership. Sexual assault in a command can be considered a failure of leadership. Vice Admiral Moran retired recently due to sexual misconduct while active duty. There are other cases where sexual misconduct is front and center in the leadership arena in the military.

These issues are also tied to corruption in the Navy and other DoD agencies. Examples of these are the “Fat Leonard Scandal” where prostitutes, money, etc were provided to Naval Officers in exchange for lucrative contracts in Singapore.

It is not enough to investigate and charge military and federal government officials with fraud or violations of ethical standards; rather, it is time to have a military force that is not put between a rock and a hard place when attempting to ‘do the right thing’ as service members.

(d) Ultimately, these behaviors and choices are part of the military conundrum to follow leadership who are misbehaving, violating laws/regulations or choose to act with honor and integrity. My hope for the military service member at any level is that the choice will always be to do the right thing based upon laws and regulations.

By doing the right thing, as a military community, we are actually empowering service members to “be the change” within an organizational culture. If we are to have a healthier veteran departing service; leadership and changes to organizational culture within the military are key to a successful post military lifestyle.

Note: In 2018, there were more than 30,000 sexual traumas in the military services combined. Of these traumas 7,000+ were men the remainder women. If each person assaulted in the military is approved for disability benefits for service connected trauma the costs are exponential over the life of the veteran. These are part of the mandatory costs to government.

e. International Affairs – State Department. Currently the federal government pays the largest share of the United Nations costs and costs of war or international conflicts. These costs are passed onto the taxpayers. We need to ensure that our treaties are beneficial to the United States and then the global community.

We need to start taking care of ourselves before we can take care of others — not an isolationist view; rather, a realistic view that we are putting other countries and unauthorized or illegal aliens ahead of our own citizens and legal residents. Examination of the various programs and services that create “fat” to the budget is warranted along with contracts that continue to increase federal costs.

f. War and conflicts. As I have stated, the defense of our nation is strategically critical. At the same time, we have, as a nation, been at war or conflict for 224 out of 241 years of being a nation. This has created an ever expanding economy of war or war-related products and services.

The question turns into how we can create systemic change in the economy so that we do not rely upon war or conflict to sustain our economy. We need to diversify services, manufacturing and innovative sustainable products and services that will become valuable to society. This would create opportunities for the economy and society to expand beyond war as an economic base.

War is big business and negatively impacts our budget and governmental costs. I am pro-business large and small. Yet we need to examine better methods to create economic growth so that our economy is not so tied to war and conflict.

Defense industry must evolve along with how society evolves and changes. It should be the most logical and well thought out voices that are at the forefront of our government. We need to create more positive discourses to resolve societal and government budget issues.

Other costs are the duplicated services. For example, the VA is operating a “new program” that is part of the current DoD program and may duplicate services. There were 13 agencies involved in one program with each taking a piece of the program.

What kind of healthcare system should the U.S. adopt? Would you keep the Affordable Care Act? Would you modify it? Or would you want a single-payer national system?

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, costs were generally lower. When the government mandated a systemic overhaul, we have to ask who paid for the overhaul? The government, the business or the consumer? Costs are typically passed onto the consumer in these cases within the costs of medical care and premiums. Nothing is free even when mandated by government.

I am not a fan of the Affordable Care Act — especially the mandate to provide proof of insurance. Yet it is a healthcare program. The problem is that the program costs are becoming unmanageable by seniors before full Medicare age or young families with children. It has been reported by constituents that a single payer may pay between $600-$1,200 a month for health insurance and families can pay up to $2,000 a month or more for health insurance.

In the past free market system, the healthcare was available at lower costs – yet tied to preexisting conditions for approval.

There is a proposal for Medicare for All that is essentially Medi-Cal/Medicare for all. Yet the Office of Management and Budget reports that between Medicare and Medi-Cal/Medicaid costs are at $3.6T (yes trillion) annually. This means that as a nation we are being paid $1.4-$1.5T in premiums with the negative deficit going towards Medi-Cal/Medicaid and payments for the Marketplace.

This creates problems for Ammar Campa-Najjar’s recommendation to have Medicare for everyone 55 or older. The country is already not collecting sufficient premiums to cover the cost of Medicare. When coupled with the state of California allegedly authorizing $98 million for undocumented aliens/illegal immigrants, we are not in a great “head space” to create a business decision that impacts the entire nation.

The current proposed single-payer system mandates that all legal residents and citizens pay for healthcare based upon their income through a progressive tax that is based upon income and wealth. The system sounds good. Yet all residents may not require the healthcare due to being eligible for the Indian Health Services, VA Healthcare, employee based programs, or Tricare for Life.

A national healthcare insurance or benefit does not guarantee or ensure equal access to healthcare. Reducing the medical sector from a free enterprise system tends to reduce the overall quality of healthcare. This system will create a greater divide between the low and moderate income families and those who are wealthy or well off.

This basically will create another large government operation that will be open to potential fraud, waste and abuse as the federal government decides who will qualify to receive care such as organ donations, surgeries, and other medically necessary healthcare services.

On the surface it sounds good. Yet the reality is that the program has the potential to lead to the greater divide in medical care in our country. Additionally, the cost to the Medicare beneficiary may increase with the new program. There will potentially be more cost increases to the government’s budget due to the “reform.”

This may increase instead of reduce the deficit. Cost controls are important. Yet as with anything that is a change there needs to be a deep examination of what is the end game in the creation of a healthcare system. I am not with either the Affordable Care Act nor the Medicare for All proposed Act at this point. It will take a deeper examination of all of the processes and systems involved to create a well formulated change to the healthcare system.

Social medicine will increase the costs and kill the free market that is the hallmark of our Democracy. At this point, I will adhere to the Constitutional Requirements of the Affordable Care Act until we can design something better and more cost effective for the Government and also our constituents.

In a Valley Center article, you were quoted as saying: “We shouldn’t be in parents’ lives telling them they have to get immunizations for their children. Immunization should be a parental choice.” Do you consider yourself an anti-vaxxer? Or do you agree with health officials that all children should be vaccinated?

The term Anti-Vaxxer is very pejorative. I am a realist in what we need to accomplish in this great nation. I know the value of vaccines. Yet there is not enough research available for parent to make an informed decision nor received informed consent for the medical procedures known as vaccines.

Parents take their children to the doctor and ensure that they have appropriate care. Doctors provide informed consent. Yet in the case of vaccines, the information relating to side effects and potential hazards are not provided since research is sketchy at best.

The only study currently available that describes side effects that we found was from the Center for Disease Control that is mentioned in the medical journals of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons.

Parents want what is best for their child, but we are not providing the necessary researched data relating to the side effect and potential outcomes if the immunization is administered. The government is dictating that a parent must have their child vaccinated — even when the informed consent is not accurately provided. This creates a stark confrontation between individual rights and public health that causes a series of scientific questions relating to the efficacy and outcomes of those who are administered immunizations.

The CDC states “The United States’ long-standing vaccine safety system ensures vaccines are as safe as possible (emphasis added). As science advances and new information becomes available, this system will continue to improve.” If someone reads the quoted CDC statement, there is not a guarantee of informed consent and safety to the child/adult being vaccinated. (Source: CDC)

The AAPS “has since 2000 endorsed a patient’s right to refuse medical care … even if it is recommended by their physician.” This stance deals with informed consent that includes risks and benefits of treatment with any additional alternatives to the treatment. Parents want their children to be safe. Yet there is a hysteria about individuals who do not vaccinate their children due to health concerns tied to lack of informed consent.

Vaccines are a medical treatment. Like any medical or invasive procedure, patients are provided informed consent about side effects and potential dangers. The AAPS doesn’t advocate not getting vaccines; rather, it is attempting to create scientific studies that provide the information to create the mandated and ethical requirements for informed consent.

There is a conflict of interest when a pharma firm states they have a new medication. Yet the goal of the medication is to bring the product to market with minimal testing.

An example of this issue is the increasing pressure to provide HPV vaccines to female school children. In order to enter school in some states, a female student may be mandated to take an HPV vaccine for admission to the sixth grade (Texas). Gov. Rick Perry later recanted the mandate, stating it was a “mistake.” The mandate presumes that all sixth-graders are sexually active. Yet there is no consideration for the males that transmit HPV.

I question why a newborn is given a hepatitis B vaccine when the mother is not infected. Why doesn’t the immunization wait until the baby has had time to develop an immune system? Why is the practice of giving hepatitis B vaccines continued when babies scream for days or may die without another explanation?

Why are doctors censured for report potential side effects? Why is a medical inquiry into the efficacy of an immunization product along with side effects causing loss of careers?

I believe that there are risks and benefits that are tradeoffs with the administration of vaccines to the general public. That the lack of information and solid scientific research that is longitudinal with key data that will determine the efficacy of a vaccine needs to be accomplished before parents are able to be provided informed consent.

As a society, we are faced with a physician’s right to give or withhold informed consent; a fundamental requirement in medical ethics as well as U.S. and international law that is being sacrificed through lack of appropriate research.

Research by vaccine manufacturers can be seen as being fraught with conflict of interest since the manufacturers are paying for the research, even when monitored by the CDC.

The Hippocratic Oath states a physician must strive to do no harm, not even in the guise of the collective good. I recognize that the threat of infectious diseases is real. Yet we are faced with a lack of appropriate research that will create true trust in the public health immunization policies. As a nation, we need more robust public health research and measures, better vaccines, and improved public knowledge and awareness that is tied to informed consent.

In a 2013 Fox 5 report, you said: “We could have helped Junior Seau’s situation. The key to the Junior Seau situation and situations like that, is the issue of hope. We don’t sell hope, we bring the person hope. There’s a difference. Success brings hope.” How specifically could you have prevented Seau’s suicide?

First, I have not treated or diagnosed Junior Seau with a mental health or degenerative disorder. The simple fact is that I have expertise in the psychology field working with individuals who have transitioned from one career field to another and also have worked as a behavioral therapist/coach.

NFL athletes face a unique challenge — their identity is wrapped in football. When their career goes away or the money is no longer there, life changes drastically – impacting self-worth and self-esteem. On the surface, many athletes act as if nothing is wrong. Yet they suffer internally and physically as they attempt to create a new life outside of sports.

In order to thrive away from sports, the athlete must learn to develop a new identity that is not about football — rather about what the athlete has to offer the community. These become the athlete’s assets and hope for the future. Yet when an athlete exhibits neurodegenerative behaviors, the assets and hope become mired in a feeling of loss and sometimes lack of understanding.

The athlete knows something is wrong yet cannot put a name to the issue. Based upon conversations, prior to Seau’s suicide, with his key close friends, I became concerned about his mental state and demeanor. There were ongoing reports of impulse control issues (anger, assaults, verbal outbursts, etc.) in the news from 2004-2012. Sweet in demeanor one minute and angry the next.

I was not in his network directly, so it would have taken time to connect. I could have helped him. I am not a savior; rather, as a psychological practitioner, I know what it takes to thrive personally and professionally as I have worked with other athletes in similar situations. Suicide, at times, is the ultimate form of communication and lack of hope.

The athletes I have worked with who have brain disorders are alive today because they choose life and were able to have an anchor to life instead of choosing death. I teach people how to be or have an anchored to life.

On my campaign website, in the article “Tree of Life” I write in part (in times of chaos and crisis) “we save ourselves by saving each other… not one of us, not anyone, has ever been saved alone.” It is about hope, life, and love provided by the community that brings people together to not just live; rather thrive as a community and society.

On Oct. 2, 2018, you tweeted: “Our choices for Congress are a man whose grandfather is tied to the Munich Massacres or a Congressional representative who has been indicted for campaign fraud.” Given that Ammar Campa-Najjar is Christian and never knew his Muslim grandfather, why did you suggest agreement with Hunter’s attack that some have called racist? Do you regret this tweet?

I didn’t agree with Hunter’s attack. I was speaking to the facts of who Ammar is versus who he attempts to have people believe he is. Facts are not racist; some people choose to make a statement racist in order to justify their own behaviors.

Ammar’s information is available in a Clarion Report where he has tweeted admiration for his grandfather and his actions. It is not racist to read his resume that is available on Wikileaks or the Arutz-Sheva article that outlines Ammar Campa-Najjar’s life as a child where he spent a great deal of time in his developmental years going to a Catholic School in Gaza and then returning to San Diego to allegedly attend the Islamic School in San Diego.

The Artuz Sheva article outlines his relationship to his father who was allegedly adopted by the King of Morocco and worked for the Palestinian Authority/PLO. His father allegedly worked with Yasser Arafat if I understood the article correctly. He has a relationship with his father based upon my question on August 18, 2019 at an Alpine Community event.

This is not an issue of racism, religion or his grandfather; rather, it is about facts that are well-researched.

On NBC San Diego’s “Politically Speaking” show with Alex Presha, you said you looked up Democrat Campa-Najjar’s “government service rating for the job he held, and it’s not what it says.” What did you mean? Where can this rating be seen?

As I stated, his resume is on wikileaks. Feel free to publish the resume. I have responded unofficially. It goes to the requirement of time in service to reach the management position in the federal government. The Hatch Act does not permit candidates to work for the federal government when running for office.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ammar Campa-Najjar responds: “With all due respect, Horvath’s fringe conspiracy theories are just that, and don’t deserve to be dignified with a response. Anyone with a computer can easily find out that her assertions have been widely disproven and disputed. While the other candidates fight each other, I’m focusing on fighting for the voters in my district and providing them honest representation.”

What kind of gun-safety laws do you advocate? Ban on assault-style weapons? Ban on large ammo clips? Universal background checks for all sales, including private and gunshow? Any other ideas to reduce gun violence and death tolls?

I believe in the purpose of the Second Amendment – supporting the right to bear arms. Yet I will not step aside for those who think that the Second Amendment should allow us to deter enactment of better gun safety legislation. Gun safety begins not with legislation but rather with people.

We are faced with a national crisis, that at times is based upon illegal weapons coming across the border and a lack of control relating to who is permitted to own a weapon in this country. There are more than 500,000 illegal weapons at any time in this country.

Solution: Examine current laws and how they are written. Do they say should or could? Or does the law say this is what “will” be? How Congress writes our laws determine the ability challenge or enact the law. I will be committed to stopping the illegal flow of guns into our nation while providing law enforcement and prosecutors with the tools that will crack down on the illegal gun trade.

I plan to collaborate with other legislators to create legislation that will create deterrents to gun trafficking. This includes the creation of internal border security measures tied to illegal weapons and also immigration.

I am concerned about assault-style weapons. I have always questioned what the purpose of the assault style weapon in our society other than to cause harm. When hunting do we need to have an assault weapon to kill an animal for food?

Solution: One life lost is one life too many. I would favor a potential limitation on assault style weapons tied to current and future research from the federal government to determine the number of illegal assault style weapons used in crimes compared to those weapons that are purchase legally and used in crimes.

Ban on large ammo clips? What do you mean by this? I know what an ammo magazine is and how it is used (Army gave me an M-16 with an ammo magazine); yet what do you consider large a large ammo magazine?

Universal background checks. I will support universal background checks for every gun sale regardless of where the sale takes place and do not believe that sellers should be able to proceed with a sale without a completed background check. This includes private sales and also at gun shows.

Silencers. I will continue to support the legal requirements under the National Firearms Act to only be able to purchase silencers from Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. I will support restrictions to gun silencers while increasing the use of technology and cyber terrorism techniques to reduce incidents of gun violence and death.

Background checks and strengthening laws. I agree with conducting background checks before being permitted to actually take home a weapon. Yet the reality is that the law only stops people who follow the law. An example is the incident in El Paso where the individual did not pass the background check yet still obtained possession of the weapon.

Other thoughts – Mental Health. Prevention efforts that are directed towards developmental risks in children and families will reduce the relatively rare occasion when severe mental health illness contributes to homicide or the more common factors associated with suicide.

Understanding why the majority of perpetrators are men. According to the American Psychological Association, changing social norms (societal cultural beliefs) about what it means to be masculine may lead to reductions in intimate partner and sexual violence that is tied to weapons.

Other thoughts – Working to reduce gun violence prevention on three levels – individual, community and policies.

For those with a mental health disorder, we must recognize that most people with mental health disorders are not dangerous. For those with a risk of violence (suicidal thoughts, feelings of desperation, or lacking a psychological anchor to life) treatment should be a priority.

Individual responsibility beyond mental health. When an individual exhibits behavior that is irrational or tied to mental health behaviors – society should say something to law enforcement.

Law enforcement should follow through and not only assess the situation, as they could have in El Paso when the mother called law enforcement, they should have a legal mechanism to temporarily remove a weapon from the home based upon the assessment.

Creation of community based collaborative community based problem solving models to address reduction or elimination of gun violence in the communities. This will entail public health messaging campaigns on safe gun storage and also further development of mental health crisis training in the community. We need to stop living in a vacuum or silo – we need collaboration.

Tied to this is the fact that parents should work to raise emotionally health children. Let’s face the fact that life happens. Yet our children will often mimic our behaviors. The end game is to have efforts that identify and intervene with troubled individuals who threaten violence.

The possibility of gun usage greatly increases the possibility that there will be a fatality. We need to continue to strengthen background checks and the licensing of handgun purchasers, and the tighter oversight of retail gun sellers to ensure that weapons are not sold to domestic violence offenders, persons convicted of violent misdemeanor crimes, and people who have been adjudicated with mental health disorder that are considered a threat to themselves (e.g. suicides) or others.

Ultimately, the gun violence issue will require a multifaceted approach and intervention that include legislation, public health, public safety, community engagement, and health services. By continuing to collaborate with these multiple systems, we will be able to inform, evaluate, and create legislation that makes sense to protect our communities while permitting gun ownership as appropriate.

Do you agree that human-caused climate change is a crisis? If yes, what would you do in Congress to avert the worst predicted impacts? What do you think of the Green New Deal?

Based upon research through NASA and other scientific community members, there are multiple factors involved in climate change. Yet based upon key research points I do believe that human activity over the past 50 years has warmed the planet. This is based upon the industrial activities that we as a society depend upon.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the increase in human produced greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide may have been the cause of the increase in the Earth’s temperature in the past 50 years.

Scientist have not advanced the theory that the sun has caused the increase warming over the past century without the inclusion of the increases in greenhouse gases. I also want to say that I remember Pittsburgh as a toddler and child in the 1960s. It was totally dark and sooty as we drove through the city on our way to Ohio from Pennsylvania. This was part of the greenhouse gases in the 1960s.

Green New Deal. I am concerned that the Green New Deal is tied to jobs, medical leave, etc. It seems as if a group of legislators caucused to create a wish list of things instead of focusing upon the environment.

I would support the following initiatives in Congress:

  • a. Access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food and nature.
  • b. Developing an infrastructure system that reduces our reliance upon fossil fuels while further creating an infrastructure that uses equivalent to a smart grid working to further eliminate pollution and greenhouse gases (goes to the Pittsburgh effect of the 1960s).
  • Note: I would also examine any proposed contract tied to a federal investment in infrastructure to ensure that both small and large business are able to participate equally in the work. Will work to bring infrastructure and sustainable energy jobs and businesses to the community as legally appropriate.
  • c. Examine the current transportation system to create process improvements that will reduce or eliminate pollution and greenhouse gases through zero-emission vehicles, infrastructure, and work with corporations to reduce pollution footprints.
  • d. Community based collaborative solutions – e.g. solutions to pollution along Route 52 in Santee that affects air quality and quality of life.
  • e. Other researched solutions. All of these initiatives, like in Pittsburgh in the 1960s, will take time to create environmental change. Yet, change is possible and will be done with appropriate legislation and more importantly community action/buy-in.

Do you support the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision making most abortions legal? Should states have ability to restrict abortions beyond the Roe rules? (Bonus Q: Are you an active member of any church? If so, which one?)

That’s a loaded question. I firmly believe in God. I don’t personally like abortion. Yet I believe that the Constitution of the United States protects a woman’s liberty to choose their life style, education, what they do with their bodies, and ultimately if they will procreate.

I believe, based upon constitutional law, that we have a duty to protect a women’s rights and liberty whether pregnant or not. Roe v. Wade is a case that held that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment granted a right to privacy when deciding to have an abortion or not.

The factors that seem to be in dispute are tied to the former balancing test and the three trimesters of pregnancy that were addressed in the 1992 Supreme Court ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This case again reaffirmed Roe v. Wade’s holding that a women’s right to choose is constitutionally protected.

In our country, we have a religious debate that is actually a Constitutionally Protected Activity. As a congressional representative, I am required to uphold the laws of this country. Women period should not have their constitution rights taken away by a religious group.

I have been Catholic and am a Christian. My faith is deep. Yet I also believe that I cannot dictate a women’s choices as I defend and protect the Constitution of the United States.

What are the titles of your books? When and where were they published?


  • Book: “Put a Period to IT: When Divorce is the Option” (2009). Amazon.com
  • Dissertation: NFL Professional Development: A Model for Career Transition for NFL Athletes (December 2013). Chair Dr. Sherry Camden-Anders (340 pages).
  • Spring 2015 Special Edition, International Journal of Organizational Development and Change, International Society of Organizational Development and Change. Topic: The Intersection of Technology and OD Consulting in Professional Sports.
  • Conference Speeches and Lectures – 2016: Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Anaheim, CA. Government Contracting: Creating a federal contracting firm/business. April 2016.
  • Conference Speeches and Lectures – 2014: Serious Play Conference, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. The intersection of technology and psychology: Why people do what they do. July 21, 2014.
  • American Psychological Association Annual Conference. Invited Speaker. August 8, 2014. NFL Professional Development (impact of traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and mental health disorders upon NFL Career Development and Transition).
  • GameTec Conference, Orlando, FL September 2014. The intersection of technology and psychology in game development with a focus upon invisible disabilities such as traumatic brain injury and mental health.

Anything else readers should know about you or your candidacy?

I am here to serve the community. There will be times that we may disagree on a topic. That does not mean I did not hear what you said. Rather, we will discuss and create community understanding regarding issues and concerns.

The door will be open through community discussions, online open dialogue, constituent work through our congressional constituent staff and ongoing service to the community. It is time to be collaborative, demonstrate honor and integrity in this position while serving the needs of the people through constitutionally sound legislation and recommendations.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. Oct. 21, 2019