Where I stand on the Issues
Read below to find out where I stand on the issues important to you. When you are done, please share your thoughts with me on our Contact Page.
Jobs and the Economy
Taxes placed upon small business is one of the chief deterrents to job creation in Minnesota. It curtails entrepreneurial business ventures as well as job innovation and business expansion. Until Minnesota becomes a more business friendly state we will be stuck in a self-perpetuating bureaucratic quagmire that promotes increasing taxes rather than promoting growth.
Currently Minnesota ranks 6th in the country for total state tax revenue per capitia. Creating a business friendly environment and thereby increasing total taxable revenue can reduce individual and business taxes. Business growth creates jobs, which create personal wealth, which increases demand for products and services. This in turn creates more business stability, which creates yet more jobs and the cycle continues. It is a win-win for the citizen and the government. Conversely, I have yet to see a nation, state or economy tax itself into prosperity. I have seen however free market economies using sound market principles — without government interference — bear true fruits and raise all people to a higher standard of living. Even at minimum wage, the American worker is still one of the wealthiest people in the world, but just as importantly, we live in a country where everyone has the potential to do even better if they so desire. One has to ask at this point, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” If the answer to that is “No”, then to keep doing the same thing over again is a lesson in futility rather than a leap into prosperity. Indeed, Albert Einstein opined that the very definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.
The PolyMet Project on the Mesabi Range is a typical example how government has created hurdles instead of highways for the miners on the Range and the tax base for Minnesota. This project holds great promise for the futures of both the Range and for all of Minnesota but government bureaucracy and national special interest groups have held this project hostage for 5 years. The NorthMet Project near Hoyt Lakes represents the vanguard of the rebirth of the Iron Range; this time as a producer of nonferrous metals like nickel, copper and platinum. It is not helpful that Congressman Oberstar’s proposed America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act (ACCWA) will further introduce obstacles in bringing prosperity to the Range. The ACCWA will erode the possibility of hundreds of direct support jobs and thousands of ancillary jobs to an area to which the fruits of an economic recovery have proven elusive.
The National Debt
Our current National Debt stands at $13.3 trillion. That is a bill of over $42,900 for every U.S. citizen, man, woman and child.
In addition to our National Debt we face $50 trillion in unfunded liabilities and entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
The national debt increases 3.8 billion dollars a day just on interest alone.
The system as we know it is unsustainable and it will collapse unless we quickly change the way we do business in Congress.
Within the last year the Federal Reserve has printed 120% more money compared to the amount of money that was in circulation 2 years ago. Contrast this to the Carter presidency when the Federal Reserve increased printed money volume by 13%. During the Carter years inflation rose 12% and interest rates rose to 20%. Economists state that it takes 2 years to start to feel the affect of inflation. Unless Congress has the courage to make radical changes quickly we are set up to see inflation and loan rates increase to unparalleled levels.
The idea of borrowing more money to pay off money that we previously borrowed is demonstrated by Bernie Madoff and his special version of unsustainability— and why he went to jail. It is an absolutely ludicrous economic policy that we need to spend more money to save money.
Within the last year the current administration has pushed through a $787 billion-dollar stimulus plan, is contemplating another stimulus bill, passed $33 billion expansion of the S-chip program, a $410 billion omnibus appropriations spending bill, spent $80 billion in car company bailouts, has sponsored a $820 billion cap and trade bill in the House and now is on the verge of passing a $1 trillion-dollar healthcare bill. This is in addition to an already 12 trillion-dollar deficit. It is not helpful that Jim Oberstar continues to push relentlessly for his $500 billion transportation bill with money earmarked for his bike trails that we simply can not afford. We have to stop spending money we do not have. It will be the demise of our country.
The benefits of the American culture, the American political system, the U.S. Constitution, the American system of private property ownership and our uniquely industrious economic system belong to individuals who worked for it, paid for it, own it and those that we invite to share it with us through our well-organized system of immigration policy. Illegal entry, illegal presence, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit employment fraud are not admirable traits for potential immigrants. I find these statements uncomplicated.
Illegal aliens are hired by unscrupulous employers who are unwilling to pay minimum wage and benefits to Americans who are looking for work. Most deeply impacted are minorities and the poor Americans striving to put food on the table and provide a better life for their children. It is sadly naïve to say that the presence of millions of illegal aliens hurts no one.
Our nation spends approximately 4.7 billion dollars a year on healthcare for illegal aliens and 30 billion to educate illegal aliens in our schools. Again this is not a victimless crime; we all pay the price.
The most troubling aspect of the illegal alien crisis, is that illegal immigration is being used as a known conduit for terrorists illegally entering our country. Illegal immigration is not only an economic concern but it is also a fundamental national security concern as well.
What many are calling the immigration debate is actually not about immigration at all. The issue is really about law and order. Because the federal government has bungled immigration reform year after year, relief from the problem has fallen to the states. In the first half of 2009, state legislatures introduced and considered 1,400 bills that were immigration related. The left has been very successful in framing this debate as a humanitarian, economic and cultural issue. That is simply not the case; it is about laws that protect our country and those that violate them.
I believe that the United States has the most innovative and patient-oriented healthcare system in the world. We are a beacon of leadership and the envy of other nations in the manner in which we provide medical care to our citizens. Our system isn’t perfect, but I would much prefer to be ill here in the United States than to be ill anyplace else. I believe we can improve what works and eliminate what doesn’t work; but scrapping a system that 85% of Americans are happy with is both reckless and playing politics with people’s health and welfare. Click here to read more.
The United States is blessed with great mineral wealth. Failure to apply current environmentally friendly technology to tap into these resources is short sighted and destructive to our national economy.
Presently we import over 70% of our oil from foreign countries. We are frequently transferring our nation’s wealth to countries that are not exactly fond of our way of life or existence as a free country. The majority of these foreign governments have little if any environmental concerns when extracting oil or harvesting any other materials. Both as a matter of National Security and as a matter of economics, we must stop transferring our wealth to foreign hostile governments.
Taxing domestic oil production at higher rates will only decrease oil production, all but eliminate oil exploration and further increase the price of fuel at the pump. In addition, oil companies will move their operations to foreign countries with a more favorable tax environment. That also means that primary jobs will be lost in addition to ancillary jobs that support the many and varied components of the oil industry.
Harvesting our abundance of coal, oil and natural gas creates jobs, which creates revenue, which helps pay down our escalating national debt.
We cannot expect technology to create cost-effective, reliable, clean energy sources overnight. If the technology were present today, just like the iPhone, the competitive market would be selling it as rapidly as it was manufactured. Until that time occurs however, we need to develop our own resources and in the process create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in additional revenue for our country.
Congressman Oberstar has voted in favor of the Cap and Trade bill. This bill, at the insistence of special interest groups, is based upon scientifically corrupt data and upon computer modeling of climate trends that have failed to accurately match observations, let alone predict future environments. This bill will increase commodity prices across the board and send countless primary and ancillary jobs overseas to less restrictive economies. The United States Cap and Trade bill will be a boon for foreign developing countries. This includes China, that is eager to invite businesses and jobs leaving the U.S into their economy. This will prove economically devastating to Minnesota citizens and the U.S. economy. Jim Oberstar’s vote for Cap and Trade is a shrine to his disregard for the people he ostensibly represents.
Education is the key to success for us as a prosperous nation. We all have a vested interest in the educational achievement of the next generation.
I believe that teachers are the core element of any successful school. Teachers are the essence of our children’s educational experience. The current system deters the rewarding of excellent teachers and artificially protects underperforming teachers who would benefit by seeking employment elsewhere. A teacher’s pay should be based upon performance and not upon a longevity model formulated in the 1920’s.
I believe education is a states issue and that revenue that is taxed on the auspices of education in Minnesota should stay in Minnesota. Transferring the power of educating our children from local and state entities to federal control puts our schools at risk for becoming a target for lobbyists and special interest groups. As a parent, I feel much more confident in assisting in the direction of our schools at a local level than I do following an impersonal, and at times implausible, mandate from the Department of Education in Washington, D.C.
I feel that the dollars assigned to each student within the state of Minnesota should follow that student to any school that student’s parents feel is in the best interest of their child. Competition between public, private and charter schools serve as a catalyst for better performance of all schools and will provide a better educational product for our children.
As the second largest employer in Minnesota, the agriculture and food industry is vital not only in feeding the people of Minnesota but in providing them with a good profession. In Congress I will do all that I can to ensure American agriculture stays competitive in international markets by easing the burdens of over-taxation and overregulation that the government places on America’s producers. Click here to read more.
I have been a member of the Airline Pilots Association for over 19 years. In the past I have been furloughed, walked the picket line and been on strike. I have seen my company go through a leverage buyout and a bankruptcy which resulted in my pay being cut in half and my pension frozen. I have also been a union representative for all Minneapolis based Flight Engineers. I understand the good, the bad and the ugly about unions. I have seen them at their best and at their worst. But I have found that there is one indelible theme in unions, the dedication and patriotism of the union member.
Minnesota Democrats’ principal support comes from numerous competing national environmental interest groups that unduly inhibit and stall job creation. We have seen this in the PolyMet Project in Hoyt Lakes. In addition, Democrats, by supporting the Cap and Trade Bill, demonstrate that they are willing to eliminate current jobs and send them overseas rather than support the American worker. Regulations authored by Congressman Oberstar’s Clean Water Restoration Act will further prevent job creation in the Range by hampering the harvesting of timber and other mineral resources.
As a union member and former steward, I am personally against card check and believe in the sanctity of the private ballot. The secret ballot is the cornerstone of democracy and that ideal should be reflected within the union.
I believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death.
I do not support embryonic stem cell research. I believe that adult stem cell research has shown great possibilities and one that does not trade one life to save another.
2nd Amendment Rights
I believe the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is unambiguous. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed under the Constitution. The right to keep and bear arms goes beyond the collective right of militias and is, in fact, an individual right.
Those Who Serve
There are many components of this great nation that keep our country free and safe from those that wish to do us harm. From the mountains in Afghanistan, to our borders, from our streets at night, or when the fire siren calls, there are brave men and women willing to risk their lives to serve the rest of us. We as a nation owe them the deepest gratitude and are indebted to their service and self-sacrifice.
We must never let go of the fact that these men and women have sworn to defend this nation up to and including their life if necessary. We must never forget to ensure that they and their families will be taken care of in the case they are ever killed or wounded in the line of duty. To do otherwise is unconscionable.
We must act now to regain our country and the freedoms that we cherish. The government is creating a modern version of indentured servitude; just on a more massive scale. By the government placing our children and us in unrecoverable financial debt, we will never be able to regain our freedom and must rely on the benevolence of the government for survival. We formed our government to promote the general welfare. Now too many Americans see the purpose of government to be providing the general welfare.
We must stop spending money we do not have. We just cannot continue to add to the national debt no matter how small the increase. It is that simple.
We must immediately start to pay down the national debt.
We must use a non-partisan, non-beneficiary source to streamline our government for inefficiencies and fraud.
I am a strong proponent of term limits. Term limits, I believe, will alleviate the affects of lobbyists and special interest groups that seem to have taken over from the will of the people and the representatives we send to Congress. Congressman Oberstar receives 94% of his campaign funding from out of state sources. It would be naïve to assume he is not influenced by forces external to Minnesota and in possible direct conflict with the desires and needs of Minnesota citizens.
I also believe that any laws enacted by Congress must be directly applied to all members of Congress. The members of Congress should live by the laws they pass. When we start using the terms “them” and “us” we have lost the intent of the founding fathers that representatives should be of the people. Representatives should live where we live, how we live, and feel the direct consequences of governmental actions.