“As a business guy, I see a lack of understanding of how the economy works,” McDonald said, explaining that he wanted to see a candidate with a proven business track record along with some kind of life experience. “I didn’t see anybody in (the 9th District) who met that criteria.”
The 43-year-old entrepreneur is building his campaign from a group that helped elect Jass Singh to the Mountain House Community Services District board in 2010. Though in the early stages of campaigning for the 9th District seat, which includes Mountain House, Stockton, Lodi and Antioch, McDonald said his primary goal is to focus on making the structural changes needed to boost America’s economic fortunes. (Tracy will soon be in the 10th Congressional District.)
McDonald, a self-professed conservative Republican, says he has the business chops to understand what businesses need from government. He boasts three successful endeavors in a row — including Cypress Microsystems and SiTime, which designs timing products to replace quartz-based timers.
McDonald believes businesses and investors need a stable environment in which to make long-term decisions, not stop-gap solutions like the president’s recent stimulus plan.
“Too often, these plans coming down are not structural changes,” McDonald said, adding you can respond to a crisis with stimulus, but not deep-seated problems. “I don’t even see this as a Republican or Democrat kind of thing.”
McDonald wants to increase the chances people can make money on their initial investments, and one way to do that would be decreasing the taxes paid on capital gains. McDonald argues making investing more profitable and less risky via a lower tax rate would encourage economic growth — the capital gains tax rate for investments that last longer than a year is 15 percent, and will climb to 20 percent if current federal tax policy isn’t extended past 2012.
“You have to make the return on investment better for venture capitalists,” McDonald said.
He also wants to limit what he sees as the often-damaging effect of environmentalists on the business community. He also advocates for a liberalized immigration policy that allows more people into the country legally.
McDonald faces two opponents in the 2012 race: Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, who now serves in the House of Representatives for the 11th District, and Ricky Gill, a 24-year-old Republican and Lodi native.
McNerney has won three straight terms in Congress, and plans to move to San Joaquin County as part of his desire to represent the area — the 11th District seat he currently holds represents Lodi, Tracy, and most of the rural parts of the county, as well as some stretches of Stockton.
Gill, a Princeton graduate and student of law at University of California, Berkeley, has raised $755,956 so far and $674,878 on hand — more than McNerney, who has raised $639,791 and has $613,711 on hand. Gill is also part of the Republican Party’s Young Guns program for up-and-coming politicians and is getting support from the National Republican Campaign Committee.
But McDonald, whose fundraising information was not available via the Federal Elections Commission, said his message should gain traction with people looking for someone with real solutions that are based on experience.
“I think that people are looking for someone with solutions,” he said. “Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, our economy is so bad … our answers are getting even more stark.”
• This is part of the Tracy Press' ongoing coverage of the candidates and issues in the 2012 campaign season.