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The Aug. 4 primary election has three Democrat candidates for the 8th Congressional District.

Rep. Debbie Lesko was the only Republican to file in District 8, which includes parts of Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Waddell, Glendale and Peoria.

The three Democrats on the primary ballot for the 8th Congressional District: Michael Muscato of Peoria, Bob Musselwhite of Litchfield Park and Bob Olsen of Surprise.

Kyle Martin of Glendale filed as a write-in candidate.

The Glendale Star emailed the candidates questions about their backgrounds, priorities and styles.

Last week’s Glendale Star published the first part of their answers. Here is the second part:


What experience do you have with managing spending?

Debbie Lesko: In my position as the Arizona state Senate Appropriations chairman I helped guide the development of Arizona’s $11 billion budget. In my current role in the U.S. House of Representatives Rules Committee, I have an informed voting role on all budget bills in the U.S. Congress.

Michael Muscato: For the past decade I have overseen multi-million-dollar entertainment projects that require performance and delivery standards to be met. As a small-business owner, I work on daily, weekly, monthly and annual budgets.

Bob Musselwhite: I was county administrator of Upshur County, West Virginia, where I managed large capital improvements for the county such as the building remodeling of the county detention facility, a large regional library, a large county recreational complex built in conjunction with the county schools, the extension of water lines into the county, preparations to build a new county airport, and other public projects built in cooperation with the federal government.

As town administrator of Biltmore Forest, putting the budget together and implementing the budget were my responsibility, including property tax collection. This was done while seeing to the reforms that the mayor and town commission were elected to accomplish in public safety services.

As city manager of Litchfield Park, I was handed a fiscal problem that quickly would have resulted in the insolvency of the town had fundamental changes in the way things were being done had not been changed. Namely almost all of the city functions had been placed on private contracts. Since the mayor and city council had hired me for my experience and they realized the problem, they gave me free reign to do what needed to be done to bring the city back into the black. That was accomplished by bringing most services back “in house.” Within the year the budget that I recommended to the mayor and council and the town back in the black and we were getting reports of vastly improved services to the community. Since that time a surplus has been built and the yearly budget has been rarely overspent. All of the initial calculations and the first budget were my work. I supervised the finance officer from there every year.

Bob Olsen: While in the military I was heavily involved with developing budget requests and allocating the funds received to best support our mission. As fire captain and training officer I submitted detailed requests for funding of my training and safety programs and I maintained accurate ongoing spending records and planning to ensure the budget allocated covered the costs of running the training and safety programs. Frequent reevaluation of spending priorities occurred as unforeseen challenges arose during the fiscal year requiring me to adapt to maintain the maximum level of training possible.

What new ideas do you have?

Bob Olsen: I will fight to improve the efficiency and capabilities of federal government. By combining three of the largest federal health plans (Tricare, Federal Employee Health Benefit and Medicare), each of which use the same contracted medical providers, into a single organization we can reduce the administrative costs and bureaucracy.

I would revamp the funding mechanism of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) by requiring the PTO receive a payment 1% on the sale of protected merchandise. By eliminating PTO fees to the patent and trademark process, anyone with an idea or product would be able to obtain protection without cost. This would allow the office to fund expanded support of inventors and creators in getting their products to market.

The federal government invests billions in the development of new products and materials without any return on the investment. When the federal government funds research resulting in new medicines or invests in the development of military equipment, the government should receive a payment equivalent to 1% of the sale of each of these items or the items protected by patent and trademark.

Beyond this there is tremendous room for consolidation and increased efficiency throughout the federal government, and I have other great ideas on how to achieve this.

Michael Muscato: My platform lays out proposals to address immigration reform, health care reform and provides Arizona specifically with an opportunity to drive thousands of high-paying jobs in energy production, infrastructure and environmental reform.

Bob Musselwhite: I believe the “new” ideas that I have are actually old ideas of honest service to the public that were held up high during the progressive era that followed the last Gilded Age. The success of the government is not and should not be judged by how much money those in power make for themselves using the power the people have on loan to them. Honest public service in an old idea that might sound quaint, but it needs to be brought back.

Debbie Lesko: I continue to work with my congressional colleagues on legislation to help get people back to work, save small businesses, help people that are out of work because of the coronavirus crisis, increase funding for health care and protective equipment related to the coronavirus, and get students back to school in a safe fashion. 

In addition, I am introducing legislation to crack down on criminals and mobs that are destroying and defacing our national monuments.  


Why should someone vote for you?  

Michael Muscato: I  believe the job of Congress is to represent the people of the district and not just a political party and its leadership. There is no candidate more suited to represent this district than me. I’m born and raised here. Everything I am and everything I will be is right here with my hometown. I believe that our hometowns and our country are always worth fighting for. Regardless of political party, each and every person here in CD8 can rest knowing I will be working as hard as I can to make our lives better for everyone.

Debbie Lesko: I believe people should vote for me because I am hardworking, honest, care for my constituents,  have the experience, and I stand up for the principles and freedoms that have made our nation great.  

Bob Musselwhite: I believe that I have a good education and rounded experience in public service and understand what it should be about. I also have experience in private business. I believe you can look at my record and find a lifetime of integrity and commonsense problem solving. I also will not be diverted from our American ideals by the call of personal aggrandizement. I believe that my age, 68, is pretty close to the age of many who reside in CD8, and so I believe I am a match for the people who live here. I understand what good government should be, and due to my experience here, I understand our people.

Bob Olsen: I have a lifetime of experience dealing with and resolving tough problems. As a veteran, first responder and attorney, I have developed a strong ethic of taking problems head on and working hard towards a solution. In life this often requires well-thought-out and developed compromise, while staying true to your beliefs, in order to move organization or process forward. I have the skills, the experience and the desire to be the next U.S. representative for Congressional District 8. I will fight for the West Valley and for each and every one of you. Elect me and help me lead Arizona into the future.