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7th Congressional District Candidate Profiles: Ilario Pantano

Candidates' Forum - 7th Congressional District, April 17, 2012
Candidates' Forum - 7th Congressional District, April 17, 2012

In his second run at the 7th Congressional District seat, Ilario Pantano hopes to face Democratic Incumbent Mike McIntyre in November. 

Originally from New York, Pantano has served in the Marine Corps, traded for Goldman Sachs, and held a job as a deputy sheriff in Wilmington – where he now lives with his family.  Pantano did not respond by our deadline to multiple requests for an interview as part of our Candidate Profile series, so WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn compiled material from an earlier interview. 

Pantano aligns himself with Congressman Paul Ryan and the Ryan budget plan.  The plan, says Pantano, simplifies the tax code, lowers corporate taxes, and makes this country more competitive on a global scale.  One of the big problems with the Democratic approach to economics, he says, is a misplaced focus.

“Republicans aren’t focused on fairness, they’re focused on job creation and stimulating the economy… short-term solutions like wealth redistribution to make a certain segment of the electorate happy – that’s not going to create jobs.” 

Pantano agrees that the level of vitriol on Capitol Hill is impeding the work of federal lawmakers.  And, he says, extreme right and extreme left-wing media contribute to the divide. 

“That wasn’t available 30 years ago.  It was Walter Cronkite and if you didn’t like it, read a book.  And now you can go wherever you want to have an ideology reinforced and often it’s not even news – it’s just reinforcement of the things you already believe.”  

But ideological differences don’t stop Pantano from trying to appeal to a range of voters across the political spectrum. 

“Do you think I haven’t run into people who don’t agree with me?  The challenge for someone who wants to represent you and your family is how can I best communicate ideals that maybe we don’t agree all the way -- but can I paint a picture for you that maybe you’ll understand and you’ll buy in and support my idea?” 

The electorate is solving the divide in its own way, says Pantano, through partisan majorities in Washington.