Kevin Van Ausdal is the Democratic nominee for the 14th Congressional District seat. He’ll face the winner of the Aug. 11 GOP runoff in the Nov. 3 general election. Van Ausdal works in the financial technology industry. Learn more at kevinvanausdal.com.

Ransomware decimated our local courts; hackers are increasingly targeting hospitals, corporations, utilities and small governments. How will you help beef up cybersecurity?

Criminal hackers are exposing the weakness in our computer systems and they are using it to exploit us. We must work to protect our communities from these attacks. By working with our nation’s best technological minds and educators to train more Americans in the rewarding field of Cyber Security. To create solutions and make them available and accessible to those who need them in order to keep our nation safe.

Members of the National Guard and military reserves signed up for part-time duty but are increasingly being activated for long tours. Is this sustainable?

No, I don’t think so. We refer to our National Guard members as “citizen soldiers” but more and more we’ve asked them to set aside their civilian life — their families, education, careers — and give more service to our nation in the military. There will always be that aspect of sacrifice for all who serve, and we have an obligation to them, especially those who go above and beyond to serve in our National Guard. We need to be respectful of them, their time, and their commitment to our nation and honor them appropriately rather than asking them to spend more time as soldiers and less as citizens.

If you could shift $1 billion in federal funds, where would you pull it from and where would you put it?

I would want to take $1 billion in federal funds out of the more than $700 billion currently provided to the Department of Defense and provide it to the Department of Education to provide grants directly to local school districts. Our educational system has been severally underfunded for decades now and we need to correct that mistake. Education is the key to our progress as a nation, education creates opportunities and sparks innovation.

We must do a better job of providing for our schools, for our children and their teachers, to build a better America for tomorrow.

Millions of people are losing jobs in the midst of a global pandemic. Does that signal a need to look at some kind of portable healthcare not tied to employment?

Employment-based healthcare developed out of the hard work of labor unions for their members in a time when those workers had a strong voice in the work force. Our modern economy does not work like that, unions are now a fraction of what they used to be. Americans have little influence over what healthcare plans are offered to them.

Many Americans are unable to afford health insurance even where offered. Others struggle even with insurance, who end up having to ration medications, delay treatments, or post-pone diagnostics. We need a healthcare system that ensure every American can receive the healthcare they deserve, regardless of their wealth and employment status.

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