Andrew Watters for Congress

Hi, my name is Andrew G. Watters. I am a lawyer, music/film producer, web application programmer, and entrepreneur from San Mateo, California with a variety of experience and interests.

I'm running for Congress in 2022 to fill the Honorable Jackie Speier's seat representing the 14th District of California, which she is expected to vacate when she retires in 2022. As a non-politician, non-billionaire regular citizen with centrist Democrat views, my platform is radical honesty in government, in which the government and its personnel either have to say nothing (due to bona fide concerns about national security), or tell the truth to citizens. I believe that honesty in government and government service would form a more perfect Union and lead to better customer service to citizens, while preserving American strategic advantages in the areas of technology and the military with appropriate classification of information.

Campaign office:

Andrew G. Watters, Esq.
555 Twin Dolphin Drive, Ste. 135
Redwood City, CA 94065 - map it
+1 (415) 261-8527

My policy positions on what I consider to be the top issues are as follows, with the color key indicating which side I better identify with (green is for neutral):

Artificial IntelligenceDue to the expected rise of Artificial Intelligence in the near future, I believe the future will be either our greatest dream, or our worst nightmare, for the reasons stated in this series of posts on a popular and well-researched blog. Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is a major issue, but A.I. is a lot more dangerous to humanity than COVID-19. In summary, there is no reason for A.I. to stop at a human-level of intelligence; in all likelihood, A.I. will rapidly improve itself to become Artificial Superintelligence within a very short time. A.S.I. may be millions of times smarter than a natural person. I am personally very concerned about what the future holds in a world potentially run by A.S.I. that has its own agenda and "beliefs," as well as robot bodies that could certainly resemble the Terminator. While A.I. could make the human race essentially immortal, it also presents a risk of extinction. I think this is an area where the Government needs to intervene in some fashion for safety-- not to prevent A.I. research, but rather to agree in advance on what to do if/when an Artificial Superintelligence arises on Earth. I would start by adopting the recommendations of the Future of Humanity Institute, which studies this area and others.
Role of governmentThe government should be run as a customer service-focused public enterprise where every citizen has a voice and their expectations are reasonably met to the extent the law and the budget permit. I will implement customer relationship management tools in my office and, if possible, at all levels of government, in order to ensure that citizen requests and complaints are properly handled instead of substantially ignored or halfheartedly responded to. The Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act should both be expanded, and also made more effective for citizens who wish to discover information. If elected, I will pursue using Congress's power to declassify information to create releasable versions of the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and have them released to Congress and the public on a daily basis in order to keep citizens informed of current developments and the Executive Branch's assessments of same.
Defense strategyThe might and power of our government and military, supported by the will of the people, have brought peace and justice to our lands. We face aggressive and competitive challenges from all corners of the globe, and these challenges must be met or else American power will fade. To that end, I would adopt all of the recommendations in the 2018 National Defense Strategy Commission report and employ a whole-of-nation strategy aimed at maintaining the global order. I propose increasing the defense budget, increasing the size of the U.S. military, increasing retention bonuses for excellent service members, amplifying incentive-based compensation initiatives, increasing incentives to serve, and modernizing the forces through streamlined acquisition processes, as well as drastically increased small business innovation research grants intended to spot, assess, develop, acquire, and deploy radically more efficient and effective technologies. I think more U.S. technology should be exported to allied nations (the export license fees earned would be substantial), and our relationships with existing allies should be deepened in order to surmount future threats that we all face and share the burden of the common defense. I strongly support the concept of the NATO alliance, the ANZUS treaty, and full U.S./Canadian interoperability. The F-22 production line should be restarted and the fighter should be exported to Canada, the U.K., Australia/New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea. The M1A2 main battle tank and future variants should be exported to Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, and Germany. NATO forces should establish a larger, permanent presence in the Baltic countries to deter Russian aggression, and NATO should invite Australia, Finland, Sweden, Austria, and Ireland to join the alliance. As for China, we must decrease our reliance on Chinese money and manufacturing, which has caused us to become dependent on the easy flow of investment funds and cheap goods. China's whole-of-nation strategy is working, and we have to compete better with that in order to maintain American power at late 20th century levels.
Gun controlI am a shooting sports enthusiast and a card-carrying Patron Member of the National Rifle Association. I am against gun control beyond existing Federal law. I also think State and Federal firearms laws should be rolled back to pre-1986 levels, and be uniformly drafted in a Uniform Firearms Code with strong recognition of the individual right to keep and bear arms. I fully support concealed carry and right-to-carry laws, and I think all citizens should be treated equally under the law. I feel saddened when mass shootings happen, but there is no easy solution that would not infringe on civil liberty. I think the rest of my party is dead wrong on gun control, especially Gavin Newsom, who is essentially my foil on this issue with his history of invasive policies that violate our rights and do nothing to stop criminals. I legally own one AR-15 and two AR-10's, and I think these standard firearms should be protected under the law on a nationwide basis through Congressional action permitting every law-abiding American age 25 or older to own at least one AR-15, notwithstanding contrary state laws.
Foreign policy prioritiesRussia, North Korea, and Iran are at the top of my list, and I would increase the pressure of our cyber campaigns against those nations. I propose a "grand bargain" with China, in which (1) North Korea and South Korea reunify, (2) Taiwan becomes a special administrative region of China, and (3) Sino-American trade and educational programs are streamlined and amplified. This would accomplish a lot, starting with eliminating the need for American involvement in Taiwanese defense, preventing the nuclear threat from North Korea from continuing, and helping to stabilize the whole region. In terms of North America, I would be in favor of a monetary union or an outright merger with Canada due to strong shared cultural interests, extremely deep economic ties, and parallel strategic interests. However, Canada would have to guarantee Second Amendment rights to its citizens in order for this to happen. As for Mexico, I would cut the red tape on U.S. advisers, training, and equipment and encourage Mexico to become less corrupt and more effective at law enforcement. The Middle East deserves substantial attention, but I think this area will become less important in future decades due to lower reliance on oil by all nations and the vast reserves in Canada and the U.S. that will become recoverable due to technological advances. This does not mean we should withdraw from the Middle East; it means we should be honest about priorities. Syria is a disaster and I would propose a U.N. peacekeeping force rather than unilateral operations. Saudi Arabia is a friend of convenience, not of actual necessity, and I personally dislike the Crown Prince for his obvious role in the premeditated murder of his prominent critic Jamal Khashoggi. I would cancel all defense contracts with Saudi Arabia due to its human rights abuses, clear connection to 9/11, and consistently two-faced leadership.
ManufacturingThe government should encourage American manufacturing by granting tax credits and exemptions to individuals and companies that manufacture goods in the U.S. and/or create manufacturing jobs for Americans.
TradeTrade barriers should be reduced when goods achieve a certain level of quality that is competitive with American manufacturing, in order to encourage quality for the consumer. Cheap goods and junk should carry tariffs to discourage the manufacturing and importation of cheap goods and junk. High quality Chinese goods or components should be exempt from tariffs, or granted tariff waivers if the American manufacturer cannot economically make the components in the U.S.
AbortionI am generally in favor of women's option to choose, but I am against Federal funding for abortion programs. I believe State and local government should offer assistance programs to low-income individuals in order to prevent the perpetuation of poverty-level family life, which is a heavy burden on local government due to social assistance requirements and the greater likelihood of juvenile delinquency. I think insurers should be required to offer free or low-cost birth control.
Mass surveillanceI oppose the indiscriminate collection of private information on U.S. citizens, but I fully support government programs that collect intelligence on foreign nations, foreign nationals, and guests/visitors to the U.S. in order to advance American and allied interests. Snowden is not a patriot-- he committed espionage. He unraveled a gigantic government program that cost billions of dollars because he felt uncomfortable, and it was unjustified (though I of course do not support the government lying about its surveillance). The government should be honest about what it collects and why, and there should be a better resolution process for individuals who have objections to government programs for ethical reasons. Spying on allies is necessary to verify that allies are trustworthy, which is why I support that aspect of U.S. programs as well.
The Judicial BranchFederal judges are generally egomaniacs who are obsessed with their own status and power, so I would propose a law requiring the administration of personality tests such as the MMPI-3 to Federal judicial candidates in order to appoint individuals who are healthy and non-megalomaniacal. To ensure appointed judges stay healthy, I would remove the appointment-for-life concept (except for the U.S. Supreme Court) and require a renewal of the appointment every ten years.
ReligionI am a non-practicing Catholic who is unsure of God's existence. I strongly believe in separation of church and state, and therefore I believe the government should not recognize, nor give any benefits to, religious organizations (except for non-profit status, if appropriate). "Under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance due to its compulsory nature, but references to God on coinage and other government instruments, and documents, don't bother me. Of course I am happy to sing "God Bless America."
Military serviceI support men and women serving equally in all roles in the service, provided that unbiased physical standards are maintained and individuals serve in their gender at birth. Although I support the All-Volunteer Force, I believe the government should more strongly enforce Selective Service registration to underscore that freedom is not free, and for possible future wars.
Capital punishmentDue to the proven non-zero risk of executing innocent people, I currently oppose the death penalty in cases in which eyewitness testimony resulted in a conviction, however, I support capital punishment in cases proved by DNA evidence or provably reliable digital/video evidence. I generally support capital punishment for the existing slate of offenses for which it is authorized, including but not limited to murder, terrorism, and "kingpin" level violent drug trafficking. I also think forcible rape should be a capital crime.
EuthanasiaI support an end of life option for competent adults who wish to end their suffering.
Freedom of speechI support nearly absolute freedom of speech, with only limited restrictions on defamation and criminal threats. I am against educational institutions such as colleges limiting freedom of speech on campus through "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings," which have absolutely no legitimate place in our campuses and schools, are completely inconsistent with honesty, and only perpetuate the fallacies behind political correctness.
Gay marriageI think people should be able to marry each other regardless of their sexual orientation, and I support domestic partnership laws also.
TaxesThe tax law is adequate as-is. However, the government should eliminate the tax exemption of Scientology and other dangerous cults, and audit corporate tax returns more closely to capture income that is currently being suppressed through creative tax strategies and Hollywood accounting. There should also be an incentive to tell the truth on tax returns instead of an incentive to lie.
Universal Basic IncomeI do not think the Federal government should give individuals free money. The Federal budget is too big as it is, and those funds would be better spent on defense, law enforcement, and education. Existing social assistance programs are adequate and should be maintained, to the extent possible.
ImmigrationI support the enforcement of current immigration law, which permits exceptional individuals to immigrate and denies entry to the undesirable, who have little to contribute to our nation. However, I think what the government has done with family separation and mistreatment of detainees is a travesty and something that should never happen in America. Illegal immigrants should receive no benefits or status under the law, such as driver's licenses, professional/occupational licenses, or health care beyond basic first aid-- or any rights inuring from illegal employment. I do not support the concept of "sanctuary cities" where people unlawfully in this country are shielded in any fashion. Providing benefits to illegal immigrants is an undue burden on Federal, State, and local government, and it should be illegal.
NASAWe should return to the Moon and go to Mars as well, in order to ensure the future survival of the human race. The large bill for these missions is worth it, just as going to the Moon in the 1960s was worth it. The difference is that I would make Moon and Mars missions international efforts in order to spread the cost around. In this arena, I would want to avoid what happened in particle physics-- European dominance due to American reluctance to spend appropriately on particle accelerators in the 1990s.
Student loansSTEM degrees are more valuable than liberal arts degrees. Therefore, we should be encouraging STEM careers by offering incentives on student loans for students who are able to study in STEM fields. I see no problem with the government charging lower interest on loans for educations that are valuable to our country. Every student should take a STEM screening test to see whether they are cut out for a STEM education as well.
BankruptcyThe current bankruptcy law permits a Chapter 7 discharge once every eight years. I think Chapter 7 should be limited to one case per lifetime unless the debtor has less than $100,000 in debt (excluding medical debts), with repeat filers above this amount converted automatically to Chapter 11 or Chapter 13. I do not think student loans guarantied by the Federal government should be dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Drugs"Winners don't use drugs." I am against the use of recreational drugs and I support existing law against the manufacture, distribution, and sale of hard drugs. I can tolerate the legalization of marijuana for recreational use due to its lack of harm to society and lower risk of addictive damage than other drugs have. At some point, the Government needs to drastically change its approach to the War on Drugs, which appears unwinnable at this point, but I don't know yet what that solution looks like.
GamblingGambling that affects interstate commerce should be illegal at the Federal level, with only local card rooms remaining instead of the vast complex of corporate casinos that capitalize on excess greed and harm people through gambling addiction.
UK/USA issuesThe U.K. has the most intrusive government surveillance apparatus in the world, and they should dial it back. Although I support the Five Eyes intelligence partnership, I think France and Germany should be admitted due to their shared interests with the Anglosphere. As for the U.K. Royal Family, they should all abdicate and renounce the concept of royalty, and become regular citizens of their country. I support the concept of knighthood being the only title an American may receive from a foreign prince, and no American shall kneel to a King or Queen to accept this honor.

I know in my heart that man is good; that what is right will always eventually triumph; and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.
- Ronald Reagan

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q. Why are you running for Congress?

    A. I think a regular citizen like me would do a better job than any professional politician. Check out the Yelp reviews for my law practice and you'll see that I care deeply about customer service.
  2. Q. Do you really tell the truth all the time?

    A. I practice "radical honesty" in which I either say nothing, or I say the truth. Yes, that is how I live my life. The truth is efficient, while lying is inefficient. This does not necessarily mean I answer or say yes or no to every question; this means giving the questioner the sense and understanding that their question is answered with the truth, even if I can't say yes or no. Of course there are situations where I don't answer, due to privacy or otherwise.
  3. Q. How would you handle classified information?

    A. I would say I cannot answer a question due to a substantial risk of exceptionally grave damage to national security. This is assuming that there actually is a risk to national security; I do believe that the government over-classifies embarrassing information, and reviewing those decisions is something I would certainly do to the extent Congress is able.
  4. Q. What is your financial situation?

    A. I earn significant income from my law practice, which is also worth real money. I own a condo through a family trust. I co-own a small photography studio as well. Between those three assets, I'm doing well. But I will be relying mainly on donations for this campaign.
  5. Q. How is your health?

    A. Generally excellent. I do not have any health conditions that would disqualify me from Federal office, though I am not able to serve in the military due to a disqualifying health condition for which I have been in remission for a decade. My dream is to serve our country in some capacity, and this campaign is what I came up with to get there.
  6. Q. Do you have a family?

    A. Unfortunately, I have not been blessed with a family yet. As a result, I have plenty of time to devote to this role and I would work the hardest out of all the candidates. I can also promise personalized email correspondence with citizens through an innovative platform that I am personally developing.
  7. Q. Do you have any baggage?

    A. No. I am exactly who I say I am. I have never been arrested or convicted of any crimes, except a couple of traffic infractions over a 20-year period (not DUI's). I have never been married, and also never been sued. In terms of "behaving badly" or #MeToo concerns, I am within normal limits for a male who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, and I'm about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. I have a personal conduct rider attached to all my contracts, including this campaign, and that policy requires 100% positive personal conduct within the last seven years. I am in total compliance with my own policy, which is re-printed here:
    This policy announcement follows a wave of sexual harassment/sexual assault/lewd conduct allegations against various figures in the entertainment industry. Without necessarily judging these individuals for their bad behavior, or minimizing the very real harm that victims have suffered, it’s obvious to me that these incidents and figures all share at least one thing in common: an abuse of power or position of influence by the perpetrator in an effort to directly impact the victim, or at least include the victim in the inappropriate conduct. Without naming names, it’s not a surprise to me that this type of behavior goes unreported, because there is just so much profit in these various bad actors’ work and a huge incentive to suppress the truth. I am writing this message to announce my own policy on misconduct in the event there is either a concern or a question about what my policy is. My policy is simple: I don’t work with anyone who has, or in the last seven years has had, any incidents of sexual harassment, assault, or lewd conduct (or other serious incidents), or in the last ten years has had confirmed incidents of financial dishonesty or moral turpitude (theft, fraud, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, etc.). A person does not need to be convicted or found civilly liable for this policy to apply; the focus is on the underlying conduct, not whether the person got away with it or not. This zero-tolerance policy is easy for me to administer and provides an appropriate balance of victim sensitivity with my need to work with brilliant people who may have behaved badly in the distant past. Regarding work that has already been done, if I work with someone who later turns out to have been a serial sexual harasser/abuser or a fraud, I reserve the right to discontinue any professional relationship, including credit for prior work done, at any time. Anyone who has a concern about any aspect of any project is welcome to email me at with their concerns, or call me directly at +1 (415) 261-8527. Meanwhile, I look forward to continuing our work together free from any charges of bad behavior, which is unprofessional and simply unnecessary to creating whatever it is we are doing.
  8. Q. Where are you from?

    A. I was born in San Francisco, spent a couple years as a toddler in Washington, D.C. and Hawaii while Dad was in the service, three years in Marin from 1985-1988, and then I lived primarily in San Mateo from when my family moved here in 1988 (and continuously in San Mateo starting in 2013) until 2021. I now live in Belmont, with my office in Redwood City/Redwood Shores. I've spent time in L.A. for college (1998-2002), Santa Rosa and Marin for my first legal jobs (2006 to 2009), and Santa Clara while I was working in San Jose from 2010 to 2013. I consider San Mateo my hometown because we settled here when I was in the third grade and I've spent at least 20 of the last 32 years here.

Official playlist

  1. RUSH - 2112
  2. Toto - Hold the Line
  3. Ben E. King - Stand By Me
  4. Marina - I'm a Ruin
  5. Stevie Nicks - Stand Back
  6. OMD - If You Leave
  7. ABC - The Look of Love
  8. Metallica - Master of Puppets
  9. Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Lucky Man
  10. Hubert Kah - The Picture
  11. Phil Collins - In the Air Tonight
  12. Prince - Purple Rain
  13. Sia - Diamonds
  14. Adele - Skyfall
  15. LoNero - Burning of Ideals

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© 2021 Andrew G. Watters

Last updated: November 24, 2021 15:20:20