Election 2012: Who are Wayne Iverson and John Stahl?



The La Jolla Light

recently spoke with Republican congressional candidates Wayne Iverson and John Stahl to discuss their bids to represent the newly redrawn 52nd District. Interviews with the remaining candidates in the race — Democrats Scott Peters and Lori Saldaña and Republican Brian Bilbray — which ran in previous editions of the


, can be viewed at

By Pat Sherman

Though perhaps not as well known (or funded) as their rivals in the race for San Diego’s 52nd District congressional seat, Republicans Wayne Iverson and John Stahl both believe they have something to offer constituents of the newly redrawn district, which includes La Jolla. The

La Jolla Light

spoke with both candidates last month via phone. To read the interviews in their entirety, visit

Wayne Iverson

A physician with offices in Poway and La Jolla who specializes in heart attack and stroke prevention, Iverson spent the past several years challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) — often referred to derisively as “Obamacare.” Iverson, a graduate of Chicago’s Northwestern University Medical School who completed his residency at Scripps Mercy Hospital, contends that the law was “poorly crafted” and “overreaching.”

The Tierrasanta resident helped establish the graduate medical education program at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, serving as its chair for several years.

La Jolla Light:

You want to see a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. What would you like to see in its place?

Wayne Iverson:

There are some real significant things that could be done. Medicaid could be sent back to the states in block grants (federal lump-sum payments to states), and let the states decide how to handle indigent care.

In California, we’re facing this problem now. Governor Brown would be very much in favor of that, so that’s a nonpartisan issue.

The other thing would be to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. If they could do that, it would give the consumer a chance to have the insurance companies compete. That would be beneficial to people.

We also want to make certain we hang onto health savings accounts, because people can put money into these accounts and then have some tax benefits with that and use that judiciously to purchase medical care.

There is good legislation that’s been written by (Georgia Congressman) Tom Price — H.R. 3000, the Empowering Patients First Act. This puts the patients back in control of their healthcare. Unfortunately, in the prior congress, while Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker of the House, this bill (was) turned down. We’d like to bring that back again.

La Jolla Light:

What do you see as your opponents’ primary deficiencies?

Wayne Iverson:

I consider my opponents to be Scott Peters and Lori Saldaña. I think I offer a significant alternative to these people. The Democrats have been taking us in the wrong direction for the last two election cycles and ever since President Obama has taken over the country has had a great deal of difficulty.

It may be unfair to say that it’s all the Democrats’ fault. However, there’s certain ways of judiciously budgeting and spending that are consistent with a stronger economy and better jobs. Basically, I think that I have a better alternative to the Democrats I’m running against.

Peters is going to have to run on his record of public service in the downtown San Diego area. I think that you can go back and take a look at how he performed when he was on the city council. Right now the city of San Diego is facing terrible budgetary problems related to the pensions. He was at the control of the city council at the time that a lot of these things were brought in.

There’s other ways of building up businesses through the Port of San Diego and while he’s been there (as chairman) we haven’t had as much business come in the port as we could have, had somebody with more of an economic perspective been at the reign.

La Jolla Light:

How to you plan to combat Bilbray’s power of incumbency?

Wayne Iverson:

I think Brian Bilbray has served the community well while he has been a congressman … but if you go back and take a look at his voting record, he hasn’t been as conservative as Duncan Hunter or Darell Issa. Bilbray is what you’d consider a moderate Republican. I think in past decades there was some thought that moderate Republicans had something to offer the community, but with the terrible economic situation we currently have, the thing that I’ve been hearing from the community since July is that they want somebody to take a stronger stance against spending and a stronger stance about cutting the deficit — and that’s where I think I present a significant advantage over Congressman Bilbray.

La Jolla Light:

Are you aligned with the Tea Party?

Wayne Iverson:

Definitely. I’m the co-organizer of the National Doctors Tea Party. We had our tea party over at Spanish Landing in August of 2010. I’m (also) affiliated with a conservative organization that has physicians all across the United States, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. We’ve had town hall meetings and doctors’ tea parties in other places in the United States. I’m trying to go to D.C. and to make a difference myself, and a lot of these are core Tea Party issues.

John Stahl

Former Naval Aviator John Stahl spent 30 years in the semiconductor industry, transferring to San Diego with Raytheon Semiconductor as vice-president of worldwide sales in 1995.

A resident of Del Mar, Stahl characterizes himself as a pro-life, fiscal conservative and has vowed not to collect Political Action Committee (PAC) money from special interest groups.

The year before moving to San Diego, Stahl ran unsuccessfully for Congress, challenging fellow Republican and incumbent Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr. Stahl also considers himself aligned with the Tea Party.

La Jolla Light:

Two of your key issues are lower taxation and cutting federal spending. How would you accomplish these?

John Stahl:

We have to look at these bureaucracies. Most of them are doubling in less than 10 years, quadrupling in less than 20. We’ve got to make sure we’re efficiently spending our dollars.

The GAO (U.S. Government Accountability Office) came out with a report about a year ago that said there was at least $300- to $400-billion of outright duplication and redundancy in the federal government. So, just like any large bureaucracy, once in a while, someone has to look at it and ask, ‘Why do we need 32 departments to do customer service?’

I’m not saying I would absolutely be opposed to raising taxes if nothing else works, but when I hear that we have 82 federal job training programs and 200 military installations that are still in Germany … we have to look at it.

A bureaucrat wants to grow the size and scope of their bureaucracy because it feathers their nest more. When they’re looking for a new secretary of such and such, they say, ‘Well, this person spent $40 billion and this one spent $52 billion.’ The guy that spent $52 billion is probably the one that (will) get the job. Their mindset is spend all the money I was budgeted and ask for more money next year. That’s how they work it. Business people look at it and say, where is the bang for the buck?

The other thing is we’ve got to get the economy growing. We’ve got to get people back into the workforce, generating taxpayers.

La Jolla Light:

You’re pro-life (and Bilbray is pro-choice). What are some of the other issues that make you a strong conservative?

John Stahl:

There are 374,000 registered voters in this district. … I’m feeling very strongly that there are enough fiscal conservatives in the district — Democrat, Decline to State, Republican — that will say, ‘Hey, here’s a fresh look at this, we can’t just send another career politician back to Washington.’

Bilbray has no private sector experience. He’s never worked at a company producing a product. My feeling is that I compare very easily with him, and I compare very easily with the two Democrats that have filed. Bilbray’s used PAC money, he’s used the franking privilege, he’s used the wall of incumbency. …

I don’t think Bilbray’s had a town hall meeting in anyone’s recent memory. My deal is that every month I’m going to have a town hall in the district … vet the ideas, listen to them. That’s who I work for. It’s not me going down to Boca Raton to play golf with a couple of lobbyists who just bundled $100,000 together.

La Jolla Light:

What did you learn from your experience running for Congress in 1994?

John Stahl:

I learned about gerrymandering, I learned about safe seats, I learned about the wall of incumbency. Eighty-five percent of these Congressional seats are already classified as being non-competitive. Look up your favorite or least favorite congressperson. Most of them have an opponent who has raised less than $10,000 when they’ve sent out a million dollars of PAC money. Instead of these districts being crafted to be uncompetitive, the law should require them to be competitive. This is why I’m excited about running in this race. It’s the only unsafe seat in San Diego County.

La Jolla Light:

Say something about your affiliation with the Tea Party.

John Stahl:

I would prefer to call it a ‘conservative coalition.’ There’s the Tea Party in San Diego, there’s the 858 Tea Party, there’s the North County Conservatives, there’s the Election Integrity Project. I look at those groups as basically fiscal conservatives who, half of them care about social issues, some don’t. I find them to be regular folks. Most of them are working people, taxpayers, retired — there’s not a lot of young people there. I don’t see them as radical; I don’t see them as extreme.

The Tea Party gets a little bit of a negative tone to it sometimes, but I look at this group as a conservative coalition. I have my own campaign team. It’s all volunteers. Basically that’s my army, my navy. I look at the other groups as my national guard.

I’m going to use these groups (in other areas). I’m going to talk to them (and say) ‘There’s only one competitive Congressional district in this county, so if you want to see if we can make a change, you’ve got to help me.’