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Joe Torres on pressing issues

Here are Joe Torres' thoughts on some hot topics:

On immigration: “My parents walked here from Mexico, got green cards and did it the right way. I’m all for doing it the right way. Whether you sneak into a movie theater, the ballpark or America, if you came in illegally, you don’t belong here.”

On English: “I remember the teacher pinning a note to my shirt saying, ‘This kid needs to learn English.’ If you pinned a note like that on a kid today, they’d have you in irons.”

On Measure S: “We’re probably going to need it, but only if (transportation leaders) do what they say.”

On presidential pick: “I favor Mr. McCain. He looked right at the camera and said, ‘Joe the Plumber, I’m talking to you,’ so I took it personal. But it’s more of a gut feeling. I don’t think he’s aggressive enough, but he’s an honorable man and I hope he’ll do what he says. Mr. Obama is a young man and I don’t think he has the ability, but they’re surrounded by top heads in the world to counsel these guys.”

On buying a home: “We saved years to buy a house with a $14,050 down payment, but we didn’t have the $700 for closing costs. The owner said, ‘Don’t worry, pay it back when you can.’ We paid it back within the year with me making $1.75 an hour and we had two children and a $114-a-month mortgage. We did the best we could, and God blessed us.”

On mortgage crisis: “The government said, ‘Take the requirements off because everyone should get a loan.’ So up popped all the mortgage companies who will get you in a house for zero down, but in five years (the premium) is going to double. So who are you going to blame? Greed sticks its ugly head in there and gives a person a false feeling that he can afford more. ... “Life teaches us some of these things. If you can’t afford it today, it’s foolishness, it’s just a pipe dream. Everyone owning a home sounds good, but they didn’t earn it, they had it given to them.”

On work ethic: “The best education I got in my life was from a father who never went to school, but he instilled in me a work ethic that’s benefited me all my life. … I was laid off during an economic downturn in ’59. Me and my brother-in-law stood in the employment line ’til noon, then they said, ‘You’re in the wrong line.’ I said, ‘Johnny, I’m not going back,’ and I never received a penny. We got a job digging post holes for 95 cents an hour. Whoever heard of such a thing? But it was better than standing in line.”

On state budget: “When you do your job, you don’t need a pat on the back. You’re confident enough to know you’ve done a good job. But people think they’re entitled to it. (Legislators) come up with a budget late and they need a pat on the back. They need to be penalized.”