La Quinta resident, Massachusetts native and Republican Stephan Wolkowicz is the third candidate in the race in Congressional District 36. He joins incumbent Dr. Raul Ruiz, Democrat, and California State Sen. Jeff Stone, Republican.
In this “top-two” primary, the two candidates who get the most votes move on to the general election. Wolkowicz, an accountant by trade, acknowledged in a phone interview that he is facing an uphill battle to move on to the general election.
“For me, it’s about name recognition in this run,” said Wolkowicz. “I’d been talking to people for three years about the possibility of making this race. Stone did not decide until January. But once I filed papers and was in, I had to follow through.”
Asked what his key issues are and why he is running in an expensive race, he said, “My primary issue is the economy. The deficit has to be cut. It’s not financially responsible or possible to have trillions of dollars in deficit. Look at what happened to Greece. We have to do something. I’m the accountant, the financial guy who can get the money moving again back into the hands of the middle class.”
Wolkowicz recommended that every $100 million expenditure that comes before Congress must be separately reviewed and voted on. He also favors reworking both the personal and corporate income tax structures.
On other issues, Wolkowicz favors a path to citizenship for responsible, undocumented immigrants as long as they have not committed a crime. “It’s not very human to deport those who have not committed crimes,” he said.
He said he would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “There has to be a better solution that would not be so burdensome on the whole society.”
Although he said he disagrees with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on several issues, he plans to vote for him in the coming election. “I will always vote Republican, even for Trump,” he said. “Economically, he may be good for the country. He’s a good businessman.”
Wolkowicz said he is self-funding this campaign, noting that most large Republican donors have moved in Stone’s direction since he entered the race.
Wolkowicz has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas Christian University with a major in accounting. He has lived 34 years in Southern California and 17 years in the Coachella Valley. He has worked in the financial and hospitality industry for most of his career and is currently the controller and finance director of the Embassy Suites in Palm Desert. He has volunteered for seven years for AYSO soccer in La Quinta.