Questions by Columbian staff writer Kathie Durbin
Q: Economic recovery: As a member of Congress, how would you work with other House members, the Obama administration and Washington state leaders to help small businesses and create jobs in Southwest Washington?
A: I disagree with the premise of this question. It has never been the prerogative, obligation nor expertise of House members, the Obama administration or Washington state leaders to create jobs. The majority of those in government, including the Obama administration and even Obama himself, have little if any experience in the private sector. I find it absurd that a President, who has never spent a day of his privileged life working in the private sector, would arrogantly assume that he has any understanding of the job creation process. Government officials have proven time and time again, that the only thing they can grow is the size of government.
I agree with one of our great founding fathers, Mr. Thomas Paine. Government, in its best state, is but a necessary evil, and in its worse, an intolerable one. When government makes any attempt to “help small businesses” or “create jobs,” the wisdom of Pain’s words becomes transparently clear.
To create jobs in this nation, we must unshackle our citizens and our businesses from the intolerable chains of government control and free private industry, small businesses and entrepreneurs to peruse their own ambitions.
Government’s proper role is not as a creator of progress, but rather a silent witness to the affairs of its citizens and an impartial guardian of the rule of law.
Q: Columbia River Crossing: Our congressional delegation warns that the window for securing federal funding for a new I-5 bridge over the Columbia is rapidly closing, and that the region’s failure to reach consensus on a bridge design and the local funding match could kill the project. Do you believe a new crossing is essential to the growth of Southwest Washington? If so, what would you do to break the political gridlock? If not, what if anything should be done to improve the existing spans?
A: I believe that a new I-5 bridge connecting Washington and Oregon is crucial to the development of Southwest Washington and the financial stability of the state of Oregon.
Oregon enjoys the enormous benefits of taxes paid by Washingtonians who work in Oregon and receive little, if any benefit for their hard earned tax dollars. At the same time, citizens of Multnomah County, Oregon demand cost prohibitive features on any new bridge such as light rail. If Oregon wants light rail, they can pay for it themselves.
I strongly believe that Oregon should use part of its tax windfall from Washington workers to fund any new bridge project. I am absolutely opposed to any project that would raise taxes, place tolls, or increase the debt of Washington commuters who already face taxation without representation in Oregon State.
Q: Energy: Describe briefly your vision for the nation’s energy future and the region’s. What new energy sources should the federal government promote/subsidize? Do you believe it’s possible for the U.S. to wean itself from fossil fuels? Regarding the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, what steps, if any, would you support to hold BP accountable, repair the environmental and economic damage in the region, and strengthen federal spill prevention rules?
A: Any nation that lacks the ability or political will to provide for the energy needs of its own people is a nation that will find itself at the mercy of foreign governments.
The U.S. has a tremendous amount of untapped oil, coal and natural gas resources as well as the potential for the use of safe nuclear power. New discoveries of plentiful supplies of energy providing fossil fuels and minerals are being found at an accelerated pace. By some estimates, the U.S. has more unused natural resources capable of producing energy than any other nation in the world, and larger quantities of oil than even the Middle East.
For our country to wean itself off foreign supplies of energy, we must increase the use of resources found right here at home. Burdensome government regulations based on phony science has prevented our nation from achieving energy independence for far too long. As a Congressman, I will fully support an energy plan that greatly eliminates restrictions on U.S. energy exploration and production.
Companies, including energy companies, have an obligation to pay for damages in the event that they injure or damage a third party. These damages should be determined and assessed in a court of law, in the light of day and not in back-room meetings at the White house where unlawful pressure is put on leaders of companies to conform with political agendas. In the specific case of BP, they have the responsibility to cover any and all damages caused by their corporation permitted under law.
Q: Financial reform: What is your plan to protect American consumers from a recurrence of the abuses committed by Wall Street investment banks that led to the Great Recession? Do you favor reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act or something similar?
A: I find this question to have an inherent bias. Wall Street did not cause our recent economic problems. These problems were caused by our Federal government whose regulations and subsequent actions created an environment where risky investments were encouraged and often rewarded.
Politicians within our government are well known for this kind of circular strategy that increases the size and scope of government at the expense of individuals and small businesses. First, they create a problem through excessive government regulation and then, attempt to solve the problem with yet more government regulation causing an even larger problem.
To end excessive risk-taking in the markets, companies must be allowed to succeed or fail based on their own merit. The recent string of government bailouts where government chooses winners and losers at the expense of the American taxpayer must stop. This only serves to encourage the next round of poor decisions by business leaders who make the judgment that there is no risk for poor decisions.
I agree with Ronald Reagan. Government is not the solution to the problem. Government is the problem.
Q: Immigration reform: Assuming Congress does not act this year, what is your vision for strengthening our borders and dealing with the 12 million undocumented immigrants who are in the U.S. today? Do you favor amnesty? Deportation? A path to citizenship for illegals? What is your take on the Arizona law?
A: I absolutely oppose illegal immigration and any attempt to reward illegal immigrants with amnesty.
Our Constitution specifies very few, specific things that the Federal government must do. I find it more than a little ironic that those serving in our Federal government do so many things they are prohibited from doing by our Constitution, and at the same time, abdicate their responsibility to do things such as border protection that are specifically required by that same document.
The notion that illegal immigrants do work that Americans won’t do is absurd. This lie has been told for some time. In this economic environment the truth is becoming clearer: illegal immigrants are stealing jobs from unemployed American workers and depressing wages across the nation. They are also risking our national security with their lawless border crossings. This must stop! I fully support immediately using U.S. troops and Border Patrol acting within their respective, lawful roles to defend our border.
I fully support the recent law passed in the state of Arizona. With political leaders in the Federal government ignoring their constitutional obligations and tripping over themselves to pander to the illegal community, states like Arizona are left with no other option than to enforce the law themselves. Arizona has set a courageous and honorable example that the remaining states in our union should follow.
As a U.S. Congressman, I will be on the front line in the fight against any attempt to grant amnesty to any individual whose first act in this country was to break our laws by entering this country illegally. Illegal immigrants should not be rewarded; they should be deported.
Q: Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: President Obama announced in March 2009 that he would withdraw most combat troops from Iraq by August 2010, deploy 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban and train Afghan troops, and begin withdrawing military forces from Afghanistan in 2011. Do you agree in general with those goals? Briefly, what in your view should be the nation’s future military and political objectives in these two countries?
A: Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, but it does not give them the power to authorize, force, or conduct the operations of a war the U.S. is engaged in. That power is left the President of the United States as Commander and Chief.
If I have the opportunity to speak to the President, I will stress these facts and demand that he act like a leader and make a strong decision. This half-in, half-out strategy with timetables and reduced troop levels must stop. American soldiers are not to be used as political pawns. Asking them to fight with one hand tied behind their back to avoid offending voters on either side of the isle, is wrong. The Commander and Chief must analyze the intelligence about the nature and extent of the threat and then, commit to victory or get our brave men and women home and out of harm’s way.