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Shamus Sayed Says 50th District Needs An ‘Outsider’

Shamus Sayed, a candidate to represent the 50th District in the House of Repr...

Credit: Courtesy of Shamus Sayed

Above: Shamus Sayed, a candidate to represent the 50th District in the House of Representatives, is pictured in this undated photo.

Shamus Sayed Says 50th District Needs An 'Outsider'


Shamus Sayed, owner, Interpreters Unlimited


KPBS Midday Edition is interviewing candidates running to represent San Diego County residents in an effort to give voters the information they need to decide who to vote for in the June primary election.

Republican Shamus Sayed is running to represent the 50th District in the House of Representatives.

The 50th District comprises much of San Diego’s East County from Fallbrook and Escondido to Lakeside and Jamul. It also stretches into Temecula in Riverside County.

Sayed is a businessman who owns San Diego-based Interpreters Unlimited.

He joined Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss why he wants to represent the 50th District.

Q: First off, what are your qualifications for this congressional seat and why are you running?

A: I am a local San Diegan — I've been here for almost 40 years. I run one the oldest and largest language-service providers in the country. We need an outsider. Washington is broken. My experience is to create jobs. I know what it's like to sign the front of a check, as well as the back, and of course the integrity that comes along with it. My primary platform is small business. And what small business can do for the district is amazing, considering that small businesses make up 80 percent of all businesses and three quarters of the workforce are employed by said small businesses. So answer to your question, why is the ability to give back through those that are employing the district. And that's where my qualifications lie. I pay over 500 San Diegans in a given month. I run a company with multiple offices and almost 40 employees throughout the country. So, I know what it means, I know what it takes to run a company. The negotiation factors that goes into getting our objectives met, as well as understanding what it takes for people to manage their families.

Q: Congress has not yet passed a replacement for DACA. Would you support a bill, a clean bill, that provided a path for citizenship for people brought to the United States illegally as children?

A: In short, yes. It's not fair, it really isn't. Our goal is not to send people home. These are individuals that had no choice, no choice at all. I can appreciate what they are trying to do. They are trying to give back to the community through education, through entrepreneurship. You know when you look at the largest recipients of DACA, of course, are those from the Hispanic community. That demographic respectfully comprises by far the largest number of entrepreneurs in the country. So, when you look at what they can do, give them a chance and they're going to do more for us than we realize. We want to keep that expertise, we want to keep that drive, that passion here. And they're going about it in a very admirable way.

Q: If you're elected, what would your position be on funding for the border wall promoted by President Donald Trump?

A: As a business owner, we think every day on how to do more with less. Do we need something to secure our borders? Absolutely. We want to be cautious with the taxpayer resources. Thirty-plus billion dollars is a lot of resources. I'm not opposed to the wall, by any means. But, I simply beg the question, is that the best expenditure? San Diego is home to some amazing companies with some amazing technologies, some of which we haven't even seen yet. We could take a small amount of that and put it right back into the city and create a solution that could possibly be, very likely be, much much more effective than the wall.

Q: Republicans in Congress last year amounted a big campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Would you join in efforts to repeal Obamacare if you're elected or would you be open to fixing the Affordable Care Act?

A: I have to give credit to the previous administration, it's a first stab at fixing the problem. But in my case, and as many small business owners, it created a whole other problem. Providing healthcare of course is a good thing. It penalized us to a degree. Big government regulation really isn't the answer. There's 101 solutions that can be presented, whether it be allowing us to access plans that aren't accessible in California. We're locked into really a handful of carriers, right here in California. We could save a significant amount. I do feel that giving small businesses the responsibility of issuing healthcare and providing us some degree of a tax break to do so, I think is, in my opinion, the answer. Again, we do need the federal government's help in doing so.

Q: Would you support creating additional regulations on gun ownership? And by that, I mean national regulations on gun ownership.

A: The laws that are presently in place need to be enforced to start off with. I can give example, after example. Parkland shooter had 39 tips to the FBI. There was, some could argue, a failure of law enforcement. There needs to be an improved relationship between the law-enforcement agencies. Think of pre-9/11 and post-9/11 and the relationships at the federal level, and the communication that occurred. But, it took 9/11 to happen. We are already, by far, have way more examples than quite frankly we want. It's not so much of adding a law, rather enforcing those that we have in place and allowing the respective law-enforcement agencies to better communicate. And Parkland was a great example.

Q: Let me get a little more specific though. Would you support universal background checks or raising the age to purchase a gun to 21. Are those pieces of national gun legislation that you would look at and support?

A: Universal background checks would definitely be a step in a good direction.

Q: You've said you consider yourself a fiscal conservative but a social moderate. Which issues would you say demonstrate your moderate viewpoints?

A: DACA is an example. And not so much the black and white of DACA, but it's the human approach. We all have a heart. We are all human. So those social issues, where I am very moderately placed is those that surround those of basic humanity whether it's, some could argue, that of the LGBT community or whether it's the right to choose or again immigration. We have to keep in mind that we are all human. We all have a heart. We have to look at things from that place first before we act.

Q: You're trying to appeal to Republican voters in one of the most conservative districts in California. How are you working to get your moderate views to resonate with those voters?

A: By simply meeting with them. Showing that, though I am a Republican and running as a Republican in a very Republican district, we are truly people first. And yeah we may not see eye to eye on everything. But my commitment is to represent the district first. And to do the right thing, do the human thing. My views only go so far. But my job, the job I'm hoping to earn in the U.S. House of Representatives is to represent the district. And representing the district really only takes two things. Both of your ears to listen to the district and what they want.

Q: A Republican already represents the 50th District. You are challenging Republican incumbent Duncan Hunter. Why shouldn't Duncan Hunter continue represent the district?

A: First and foremost tremendous respect for the Hunter family, senior and junior, who have been a legacy family in the district for the better part of four decades. Trump got elected because he was different. When you have the same individual, in the same seat, with the same name for the better part of four decades, you are begging for a change. We are all begging for a change. Things are different. We're not the same place we were just a few years ago, on so many levels. I am a San Diego resident for nearly four decades. Equally important, I'm a father, I have two children, married for 11 years, small-business owner, I have very a different perspective. And a very different way of getting things done. All in line with my core values as a fiscal conservative, social moderate. We just need a change. We need a different way of trying to achieve the same objectives. We can all agree that Washington is broken. It's taking a long time to get objectives met.

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