Interview with Chirinjeev Kathuria

Supplementary information to the Chicago Tribune  COL


Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, interviewed on cable talk show "Public Affairs" by host Jeff Berkowitz on  June 26, 2003.  Excerpts courtesy of Jeff Berkowitz

Jeff Berkowitz: And you are a practicing Sikh?

Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria: Yes

Berkowitz: Which means what?

Kathuria: Sikhism is very similar to Christian teachings. It is one of the world's youngest religions. We believe every religion is right and everyone has different ways of reaching God.

Berkowitz: The Sikh religion has an emphasis on- would you say family values??

Kathuria: Yes, family values are very strong. It believes men and women were created equal?

Berkowitz: As a part of being a Sikh, you wear a turban?

Kathuria: That is correct.

Berkowitz: Anybody who is a practicing Sikh would wear a turban?

Kathuria: I think there are a lot of Sikhs in the United States who don't wear turbans?
Berkowitz: Would you say you are 1000% conservative?

Kathuria: I wouldn't say 1000 % conservative, but definitely if you look at what the conservative values are in terms of tax relief- free markets help us trade our companies, tax relief definitely benefited us and family values are very strong, and ?from an educational point of view, parents played a very important role, so I would definitely say if you are looking at the national Republican agenda, I would fit pretty much toward the conservative side of it
Berkowitz: Would you ban those [partial birth] abortions except if the life of the mother was at stake or would you say except if the life or the health of the mother was at stake?

Kathuria: I think it is definitely, being a doctor, if the life of the mother is a stake-- That is something-- you don't want to kill a mother?as a doctor we take the Hippocratic oath and you know-- first, you shall do no harm.

Berkowitz: So, you would have supported it?I think it became legislation

Kathuria: Absolutely

Berkowitz: I think it became legislation this year. It was a ban on partial birth abortion that passed in this congressional term and I think it bans partial birth abortion except if the life of the mother is at stake. It doesn't make an exception for the health of the mother.

Kathuria: I mean health is going to be more vaguely defined? One thing is important. It [partial birth abortion] only accounts for maybe 2300 of the 1.3 million abortions.

Berkowitz: But you would have voted yes on the legislation if you were in the U. S. Senate?

Kathuria: Yes.

Berkowitz: Yes to ban partial birth abortion?

Kathuria: Yes.
*************************************************************Berkowitz: ?would you rather see
Roe v. Wade overturned by the Supreme Court?

Kathuria: ?I would respect the decisions of the Court.

Berkowitz: ?Would you like to see a country in which
Roe v. Wade was not the law of the land and individual states could decide for themselves whether they wanted to ban, or not, abortion:

Kathuria: ?I would definitely ban late term and partial birth abortions. I would respect the decisions of the Court. If they decided to overturn
Roe versus Wade, I would still respect those

Berkowitz: But, you don't necessarily support overturning
Roe v. Wade?

Kathuria: Like I said, I would just now support the decisions of the Court--whatever the Supreme Court goes with

Berkowitz: So, that would sound to me as if you are somewhere as a mix between pro-life and pro-choice?

Kathuria: Like I said, against late term and partial birth abortions?.
Berkowitz: Parental notice laws generally say that if she is under 18, you have to advise the parents [of the scheduled abortion]. Would you support that parental notice [law]?

Kathuria: Absolutely, family values are very important to us
*************************************************************Berkowitz: You favor gun control?

Kathuria: Like I said, I am pro the Constitution.

Berkowitz: Second Amendment?

Kathuria: Yeah, pro the Constitution.

Berkowitz: You support the Brady Act?

Kathuria: I am pro the Second Amendment.

Berkowitz: I know, but do you support the Brady act, that is legislation- would you like to repeal it or would you keep it.

Kathuria: Right now, I would be pro the Second Amendment, so I am going to answer it

Berkowitz: What is the answer? Yes or No? Do you know what the Brady Act does?

Kathuria: I definitely have some idea. But, right now, I am

Berkowitz: Background checks, do you favor background checks

Kathuria: Yeah, I know

Berkowitz: A federal law that says that people [who buy guns] must have background checks. Do you favor that?

Kathuria: I mean, absolutely, people should

Berkowitz: Do you favor closing the gun show loophole?

Kathuria: You see right now, let me just tell you, Jeff- I am pro the Constitution, pro the Second Amendment

Berkowitz: We are all pro the Constitution. That doesn't get us anywhere.

Kathuria: And, you have got to have background- people who use handguns for the wrong reason- they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Why do we have ten thousand handgun killings in the
U. S. and 43 in Canada?
Berkowitz: What about the Patriot Act? Patriot Acts I and II?Has the government been too harsh and perhaps have you and others who might be mistaken as bad guys because of your heritage, because of your turban--are you being unnecessarily and inappropriately discriminated against?

Kathuria: I think the federal government, including [Transportation Secretary] Norman Moneta, has gone out of their way to protect the civil liberties of people whether you are Asian American, Hispanic American, Polish American

Berkowitz: You think your civil liberties are being protected?

Kathuria: Yeah, absolutely.

Berkowitz: All people of middle eastern descent are having their civil liberties protected?

Kathuria: I think one of the

Berkowitz: Are some people being inappropriately detained?

Kathuria: Sure, there is always going to be

Berkowitz: What would you do to stop that?

Kathuria: I think, education, the reason for me- like running for the
U. S.

Berkowitz: Education? Is the legislation too broad? Is the Patriot Act too broad?
Berkowitz: The most recent Bush Tax cut-- that just passed. It was a roughly 350 billion dollar tax cut? Bush initially proposed something like 750 billion dollars [in tax cuts]. Did you support his [initial] proposed tax cut, or did you support the current one?

Kathuria: No, I would have supported (as you know, we have been building businesses)--I would have supported the entire tax cut.

Berkowitz: The 750 billion dollar tax cut?

Kathuria: Absolutely.
Kathuria: ?What people don't talk about is small businesses were allowed to deduct over $100,000. That was important?

Berkowitz: Why is that important?

Kathuria: ?Because if I could deduct $100,000, I could buy more equipment. If I could buy more equipment, I could grow my company and I would be able to employ more people?
*************************************************************Kathuria: And even on Wednesday when I was at Grover Norquist's Wednesday meeting, I signed the tax pledge that promised that if I get elected, I would not raise taxes.

Berkowitz: And that is just recently. We are taping this on June 26 and you were out in Washington, DC at the Grover Norquist meeting on June 25th, right?

Kathuria: Right

Berkowitz: And, that is the famous [weekly, Washington, DC Norquist] meeting of conservatives?

Kathuria: Absolutely.

Berkowitz: So, you qualify? They said you are OK, you are a conservative?

Kathuria: I think they liked what I had to say?

Berkowitz: Do you wear that label proudly as a conservative?

Kathuria: I think I wear the label proudly as the Republican Party. I think I told them at that meeting that the Republicans' best chance for holding the seat in Illinois is by me getting elected. People are going to cross over for me--whether it is the African, Asian moderate Democrats are going to cross over for me. They are not going to cross over for the other candidates?

Berkowitz: Why are they going to cross over for you?

Kathuria: I think when they see me as a candidate, they see the American Dream story, they see the opportunity of education--we were very involved during my college days with African American issues?
Berkowitz: Do you support affirmative action?

Kathuria: I support how the Supreme Court ruled.

Berkowitz: ?If you were on the Supreme Court and you got to vote, would you have voted the same way that the majority did, the same opinion that [justice] Sandra Day O'Connor wrote, the majority opinion?

Kathuria: Yes, absolutely, because I know ?
Berkowitz: So, you want to maintain local control of education?

Kathuria: Absolutely, the state of Illinois and the school district know exactly what is going on- they should have more control and I would support a financial incentive system to judge schools on how good their teachers are, how well they are performing- run it like a business.

Berkowitz: Do you support school choice, school vouchers?

Kathuria: I would support school choice, school vouchers, home schooling?
Berkowitz: You favor that? You favor changing the rules of the Senate making it harder to filibuster [judicial appointments]?

Kathuria: Yes, Yes, absolutely. What I would support is letting everyone vote. If they think he is qualified to be a judge- everyone deserves that right?

Berkowitz: ?You would support Miguel Estrada [for the DC Court of Appeals]

Kathuria: I would probably support both [Estrada, for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and Owen, for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals]?

Berkowitz: But, you don't know enough to say you would support them?

Kathuria: Right now, I would say that I would support them and I would let the vote go. That's the way you should decide.
*************************************************************Berkowitz: You supported the war in Iraq?

Kathuria: Absolutely?

Berkowitz: The fact that we have not found any weapons of mass destruction, yet- Does that concern you- since, was that the main reason why we went to war.

Kathuria: ..growing up and being to emerging markets, I know that if you have a dictatorship that is torturing their citizens, they want to live in a free and democratic society

Berkowitz: ?So it was a just and prudent war, but it may not have been an urgent war?

Kathuria: I think I would characterize it that

Berkowitz: just, prudent, but not necessarily urgent, but it is still OK?

Kathuria: it is OK


For almost six years, Jeff Berkowitz has hosted and produced, "Public Affairs," a cable television show airing (a) weekly throughout the City of Chicago on Ch. 21 (Every Monday night at 8:30 p.m.) and (b) in 34 North Shore, Northwest and West suburbs on Comcast Cable. See, below, for the suburban airing schedule.

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