U.S. Senate Candidate Interviews
Posted: Monday, May 28th, 2012 at 6:49 am
by Diana Hartman
As we head into the primary, candidates are aggressively targeting voters to communicate their message to them. Given the number of U.S. Senate candidates, it is shaping into an exciting race. There are nine Republican candidates vying for the U.S. Senate seat, along with three libertarians, one independent, and three Democrats. Consequently, it may be cumbersome for voters to follow each candidate and/or understand their position on the issues. Thus, I decided to interview as many candidates as possible and publish the findings here.
The questions are as follows:
1. The economy and jobs.
Obviously the economy and jobs are at the fore of voter thinking next Tuesday. Given the economic crisis, please tell me what your fiscal policy is and how it relates to restoring economic health to our country? Cite an example or two, please.
America throws more money at education than any other industrialized nation. Yet, our kids are not better educated for it; so, obviously, money is not the problem. In your opinion, what is the problem with public education and what is the remedy for it? Cite an example or two, please.
From a Tea Party perspective, most folks would agree that Congress and the President have maneuvered away from the Constitution. What is your position on the Constitution and what, if anything are you prepared to do about: a) protecting states’ rights; b) unconstitutional executive orders through administrative agencies; c) legislation that violates the Bill of Rights (i.e., NDAA, Drones, Buildings and Grounds Act)?
Please state your position on Obamacare. Do you agree that part of healthcare costs turns on medical malpractice insurance and trial lawyers? What are you prepared to do to contain healthcare costs? Please cite an example or two, please.
What are your thoughts on voter ID’s? Do you support placing military along the borders? Are you for amnesty? Are you for constructing a wall? Can you contribute any other insights on how you would contain the influx of immigrants into the U.S?
What is your energy policy and how are you prepared to implement it?
7. How you would differentiate yourself from the other candidates?
The San Antonio Tea Party does not endorse any candidates. As such, each candidate was contacted and given the opportunity to participate in this interview. For those who responded to my request, the interview was composed of seven standardized questions, covering a broad array of subjects. To avoid the appearance of impropriety, I arranged the candidates in alphabetical order and separated them by party affiliation. Again, all candidates for the U.S. Senate Seat were invited to participate in my inquiry. If a candidate was contacted, and no response was received, the information is documented under their name.
The San Antonio Tea Party and I thank all the candidates who took the time to educate us about their position on the issues and we wish them well in the primaries.
Glenn Addison (Republican)
- The economy and jobs. Mr. Addison stated that his approach to the problem has “two angles.” First, administrative agencies are not authorized by Article 1, Section 2, of the Constitution, yet these agencies cost taxpayers vast sums of money. Second, these agencies impose oppressive regulations, which negatively impacts businesses and job growth. For example, Mr. Addison claims he supports clean air and water, but agencies like the EPA have instituted burdensome regulations, at the federal level, which typically result in exorbitant fines being levied against businesses. In sum, it is an assault against right-to-work states. Fundamentally, regulations and enforcement belong to the states, as they are equipped to implement common sense solutions. Therefore, he is for the dissolution of all agencies that are repugnant to the Constitution.
- Education. Mr. Addison wants to abolish the Department of Education and return education to the state level. In that way, states are equipped to compete internally and externally. Ultimately, he would like to see the 50 states’ compete amongst each other. According to Mr. Addison, there is a direct relationship between the quality of education and the business community. If businesses refuse to establish themselves in a state, it will hurt the economy, and hence the quality of education. There should also be internal competition, focusing on innovation and a dualistic approach to education. This dual approach to education provides both vocational and college training. The only means of restoring education is to return education to the states and allow for school choice – competition will follow.
- Constitutionalism. Mr. Addison is very clear on this position. He believes in the restoration of states’ rights, repealing vast amounts of unconstitutional legislation and dissolving unconstitutional administrative agencies. To this end, he is disinterested in opinions about whether certain agencies are beneficial to the country; rather, his question turns on whether it is constitutional. The Constitution grants Congress the right to pass laws, not the President and administrative agencies. Executive orders increase spending within administrative agencies, and Congress needs to address the spending issue. In short, if a piece of legislation is unconstitutional, Congress should refuse to appropriate money for it. When asked about the constitutionality of the NDAA, Mr. Addison likened it to Nazi Germany and regrets that Republicans passed such legislation. Without a doubt, the NDAA needs to be repealed and he would be willing to introduce a bill to do so.
- Obamacare. Mr. Addison identified this as another piece of unconstitutional legislation. The bill needs to be repealed, and authority for healthcare must be returned to the states. Ultimately, the states are responsible for licensing their own doctors and they must be responsible for it, if anything to prevent “quacks” from practicing medicine in the state. If healthcare is returned to the states, the private sector is fully capable of innovation, which creates a climate of competition within the healthcare industry.
- Immigration. The immigration policy in the U.S. needs a radical overhaul. When speaking to voter ID’s, Mr. Addison backs this initiative. He also refuses to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. From his perspective, the Fourteenth Amendment needs to be modified, such that it reads: one parent must be a U.S. citizen and no more anchor babies allowed. To curtail illegal immigration, he suggests that illegal immigrants, who have lived here a long time, be required to apply for citizenship and be issued a green card, but only if they are producers and speak the English language. While awaiting citizenship, they will be fined and taxed while working in the United States, but are otherwise deported back to their country. In terms of securing the border, he believes in “boots on the ground” and that border patrol is in charge of securing our borders. He does not prohibit military intervention, but the military must witness the illegal entrance into the U.S. and, only then, are they given authority to apprehend, detain, and release illegal aliens into the custody of border patrol.
- Energy. The U.S. Department of Energy needs to be abolished and returned to the states. Mr. Addison cited the gulf oil spill and explained why states have a vested interest in regulating it. The federal government failed to act after the gulf spill and, as a result, many industries suffered along the Gulf Coast. The federal government should only play a role in energy regulation if it pertains to international waters. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy has no constitutional authority to negotiate treaties; the authority to negotiate treaties resides with the President and the State Department, and they must establish treaties that are consistent with the whole of the Constitution.
- How do you differentiate yourself from your opponents? He describes himself as an “uncompromisingly strict constitutionalist.” He rejects words like “reform” because it suggests that unconstitutional acts are acceptable legislative practices. The Constitution means the same thing today as it did in 1787, when it was written, and 1789, when it was ratified.
Joe Agris (Republican)
Curt Cleaver (Republican)
Ted Cruz (Republican)
- The economy and jobs. Mr. Cruz spoke very precisely to this issue. According to him, our spending is out of control and career politicians are responsible for it. To reduce spending, Mr. Cruz strongly suggests that we eliminate unnecessary administrative agencies such as: the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Energy, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the I.R.S. Second, he is a proponent of tax reform to assist both businesses and consumers. Currently, the corporate income tax rate is 35%, but the tax rate is doubled when companies invest profits in America. Therefore, he is committed to slashing the corporate tax rate to 15%. Additionally, he supports a flat tax, but prefers the fair tax, as opposed to the onerous and incomprehensible tax laws contrived by the IRS. Overall, he lays out a twelve-point strategy to spur economic growth, which includes but is not limited to: a) stop the abuses of administrative agencies, like the EPA; b) repeal legislation, like the Dodd-Frank Act ; c) champion tax reform; d) pass entitlement reform, and; e) audit the Federal Reserve. To view his full 12-Point Plant, CLICK HERE.
- Education. Mr. Cruz seeks to abolish the Department of Education and return it to the state and local level. School choice is the vehicle to improve the quality of education, as schools respond to competition. Prior to his position as Solicitor General, he was the Director of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission and he and his colleagues released a study which demonstrated that school choice improved the quality of education for children and benefited the school system as a whole.
- Constitutionalism. Mr. Cruz states that he is an unequivocal constitutionalist. One of Mr. Cruz’s most notable cases was Medillin vs. Texas. In Medellin, he successfully defended U.S. sovereignty before the Supreme Court, which held that the World Court cannot bind the U.S. justice system and the President cannot order the state courts to obey the World Court. He also referred to unconstitutional legislation, such as the NDAA. The NDAA allows for the indefinite detention of citizens on U.S. soil and deprives them of due process of law. While Mr. Cruz states that we must guard against terrorism, we must also protect the writ of habeas corpus. To access more information on Mr. Cruz’s position on the Constitution, please CLICK HERE.
- Obamacare. Mr. Cruz emphatically believes that the only solution for Obamacare is to repeal it! He pledges to present this as his first bill, if elected. In part, healthcare costs have risen due to trial lawyers who abuse the system and the cost of medical malpractice insurance, but nationalized healthcare is not the solution. To reduce healthcare costs, he is a strong proponent of tort reform, which he fought for in Texas and won, thereby capping damages and punishing attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits. He will do the same if elected to the U.S. Senate.
- Immigration. First, Mr. Cruz vigorously supports immigration reform and has always opposed amnesty, despite allegations to the contrary. According to him, his opponent falsely accused him of sitting on the board of the Hispanic Alliance for Progress and working in tandem with the organization to promote amnesty. Mr. Cruz categorically denies being a board member and never supported amnesty through this organization. Second, he defends the Voter ID law, which is both constitutional and reserved to the states. Third, in order to implement effective immigration policy, three measures are requisite: a) walls and fences; b) infrared technologies used in conjunction with helicopters and drones, and c) boots on the ground, with three times as many border patrol agents to secure the border.
- Energy. Mr. Cruz proposes the dissolution of the Department of Energy and returning it to the states, in an effort to stop Obama’s war on drilling. Under the Obama administration, federal regulations impede the ability of private energy companies to explore new sources of oil and natural gas, which drives up prices and increasingly steers the U.S. into dependence upon foreign oil. To reverse this trend, Mr. Cruz insists that the moratorium on offshore drilling be lifted immediately. In addition, he wants to restrain abusive environmental policies, especially the EPA’s intent to ban hydraulic fracturing, which would cost thousands of jobs, while leaving us more dependent on foreign oil.
- How do you differentiate yourself from other candidates? He is the only candidate who has a demonstrated track record of fighting for conservative principles and winning the battle, while his opponents only talk about it. As Solicitor General, he worked alongside Greg Abbott to defend the Ten Commandments monument at the state Capit0l Building and won. He fought for U.S. sovereignty against the World Court in Medillin vs. Texas and won. In sum, his track record defending constitutional principles is unmatched by any other candidate in the U.S. Senate race.
David Dewhurst (Republican)
- Economy and jobs. We have to provide businesses with a stable, predictable environment where they can operate and invest without fear of the rules being changed mid-stream like we have in Texas. The lack of predictability in Washington is suffocating economic growth and killing jobs. According to the Wall Street Journal, non-financial corporations have $2 trillion in cash sitting on the sidelines. Once we give businesses the confidence to invest that money, our country could see the greatest economic expansion in our history. Additionally, I believe we need to reform the tax code and I have been a strong advocate for cutting the corporate income tax in half, from 35% to 17.5%.
- Education. The problem with public education is that the federal government continues to fund agencies like the Department of Education, which, to my knowledge, has not educated one child in Texas. It is the job of state and local governments, along with parents, to educate our children. As a U.S. Senator, I would work to dramatically reduce the size and influence of the Department of Education and stop the federal government from trying to influence how states teach our children.
- Constitutionalism. I am a strong believer in the freedoms and rights enumerated in our Constitution. Over the last three and a half years, President Obama has trampled on our freedoms and Constitutional rights. I want to go to Washington to restore faith in the Constitution and our free-market principles. The Obama administration has consistently infringed on States’ rights here in Texas, by blocking our voter ID legislation and implementing burdensome EPA regulations that kill jobs. If elected to serve in the U.S. Senate, I will stand up to the Administration and make sure they no longer violate our rights.
- Obamacare. I strongly oppose Obamacare and believe it’s unconstitutional and one of the worst pieces of legislation ever passed. Since it was passed, I have been at the forefront in leading the fight to repeal the measure in Texas. I believe we need to implement a permissive, free-market system to replace Obamacare. I also believe we should expand the insurance market so consumers can buy plans across state lines and reform medical malpractice laws to limit lawsuits against health care providers.
- Immigration. In 2011, I helped passed voter ID legislation requiring voters to have photo identification. I am categorically opposed to amnesty; to do so rewards illegal immigrants for breaking the law, which is wrong. As Lt. Governor, I have been a strong proponent of cracking down on sanctuary cities and have directed millions of dollars to help secure Texas’ border. In Washington, I will work to enforce the law, which the federal government has fundamentally failed to do, and I will propose tripling the size of the border patrol to help secure the border.
- Energy. We must fully develop America’s energy resources to help relieve our dependency on foreign oil and increase our national security. I would stop the EPA from interfering with hydro-fracking of oil and gas wells, which is completely safe, and streamline oil and gas drilling regulations to allow for more drilling. We must re-open the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas exploration and we must allow projects like the Keystone Pipeline to move forward immediately. To encourage more drilling for natural gas, we should open new markets for liquefied natural gas and encourage the building of ports, pipelines and other facilities that can handle the transport of LNG. This will create millions of new jobs and help our economy.
- How do you differentiate yourself from other candidates? I am the only veteran and lifelong businessman in this race who has actually done what the other candidates only talk about doing. I started my own business, met a payroll, and know what it takes to create jobs in the private sector. As Lt. Governor, I have worked alongside Governor Rick Perry to balance five consecutive budgets, reduce spending and taxes by billions, and create a predictable business climate that has helped Texas become the best job creating state in the nation. I will take the Texas model to Washington to oppose President Obama’s radical agenda and help put Americans back to work.
Ben Gambini (Republican)
Craig James (Republican)
Tom Leppert (Republican)
Lela Pittenger (Republican)
Robert D. Butler (Libertarian)
John Jay Myers (Libertarian)
Economy and jobs. Both fiscal and economic policy have more to do with the proper use of government power than just a vague notion of “cutting spending.” If government limited itself only to those functions that it should do, and that it has the Constitutional authority to do, then a free market economy would actually exist to provide work and our fiscal problems would be solved.
One of the biggest problems in this regard is our foreign policy. We need to defend ourselves, but we’re engaging in trillion dollar nation building enterprises, in order to fight people with dynamite in their underwear. The government is using the undeclared “War on Terror” as a justification to subsidize the war machine and the oil and construction industries, while making new enemies around the world and violating our freedoms at home. Military Keynesianism is still Keynesianism and it destroys the economy. The savings from a non-interventionalist foreign policy would go a long way to getting our fiscal house in order.
There should also be no bank bailouts, no government ponzi schemes, and no more corporate welfare, even if that could be done within a balanced budget. Those are just not the powers of government and we need to attack the illusion that they are. My fiscal goal is not just to cut the costs of these government programs, but to eliminate these government programs.
Education. If you go to the website of the National Archives (the government’s own website), there is an article with questions and answers about the Constitution. One of the questions is, “Where, in the Constitution, is there mention of education?” The answer: “There is none; education is a matter reserved for the States.” So as a candidate for U.S. Senate the biggest problem I see is a federal Department of Education that steals $68 billion per year from taxpayers, and then uses the money to hold parents, teachers, and students hostage with mandates. We may spend more than any other industrialized nation, but how much of that money is wasted complying with government mandates such as No Child Left Behind?
The choice of how best to educate children should be left to individuals. With that principle in mind, my goal is to remove as much central power over our children as possible. I will introduce legislation to eliminate the Department of Education, and I will oppose any measure that grants more power over education to the federal government.
Constitutionalism. The Constitution should always be viewed as a limit on government. The general welfare, interstate commerce, and necessary and proper clauses have been used as excuses to essentially give government a blank check to do whatever it wants. The president and Congress, controlled by the same establishment parties for decades, have not just “maneuvered away from the Constitution,” they have raped and ravaged it to the point of rendering it meaningless. And if we don’t turn this around soon, then it’s over for America.
a) Only individuals have rights, and the sole duty of government, at all levels, is to protect those rights. To that end, governments have powers, and Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution enumerates very limited powers for the federal government. Every time a bill comes up for a vote, I will open my Constitution to this section and compare it to the bill. If the contents of the bill cannot be found in that section, I will oppose it. And I will introduce whatever legislation is needed to eliminate the unjust and unconstitutional powers government currently exercises.
In this way, I will reserve those powers not granted to the federal government to the states’. But, there are many things that no government should ever do. For example, I would not want Austin to dream up a socialized medicine scheme either. The most important phrase in the tenth amendment is the one most often forgotten, that powers not granted to the United States should be reserved to the states “or to the people”. Putting power back in the hands of individuals, by leaving them free to make their own peaceful choices is my main mission.
b) Administrative law is one of the greatest frauds of government, as it is now, and executive orders are not the only abuses. Congress alone has the authority to legislate. The main way to fight the abuses of the executive branch is to reduce the power government has in the first place. Removing federal programs that do not fall within Article I, Section 8 will prevent the administration from using those programs as vehicles for centralizing power.
c) Legislation such as the Patriot Act and NDAA need to be repealed immediately and I will sponsor bills to do so. Other examples include the National Firearms Act, the Gun Control Act, and the Brady Bill. These assaults on the right to keep and bear arms, along with other similar measures targeting other rights, are often forgotten due to more recent assaults on our freedoms, but we need to fight back against them as well. The Bill of Rights are sacred human rights and not negotiable in my mind.
Obamacare. Obamacare must be repealed immediately. Medicare is also unsustainable and is responsible for artificially inflating demand for health services and therefore the costs of healthcare. The out of pocket costs are more now than they were for the people calling for Medicare in 1965, even when adjusting for inflation. Government spending through programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, along with occupational licensing and FDA regulations, are far more responsible for the ballooning healthcare costs than malpractice insurance. Malpractice issues should be handled by the states, the courts, and the people, not federal mandate.
Immigration. It is not unreasonable to verify voters, but the voter ID laws have been used as a political wedge issue targeted at minorities and immigrants that do not solve any real problem. Ballot access laws, gerrymandering, and straight party voting all skew election results more than unverified individuals walking into a polling place. Besides, it’s far easier to corrupt the counting of votes than it is to gather enough fraudulent voters to make a difference, as the recent resignation and replacement of a Dallas County Elections Administrator illustrates.
We do not need to militarize our border, though I suppose guarding our own borders would be superior to guarding those of Iraq. Nor do we need to construct a wall. The walls already constructed along some parts of the Texas border have not stopped illegal immigration, but they have damaged or isolated the properties of American citizens on our side of the border.
My solution to problems will always be in less government, more freedom direction, and immigration is no exception. Illegal immigration is only a problem because the federal government blocks legal immigration. In order to believe that immigration is bad for an economy, you would have to believe that the economy works best with no people in it. We need to have a simple process to screen immigrants for violent criminals, etc., but we should let them come into this country to work without restricting them to artificial quotas. The fact that illegal immigration has significantly reduced in recent years, due to the poor economy, proves that people will not enter this country unless work is available. Restricting peaceful immigrants is hostile to a free market economy and foreign to nation built by immigrants.
Energy. As a candidate for United States Senate, I have no energy policy. No authority over energy is granted to the Congress, by the Constitution. I believe the Department of Energy and the EPA should be eliminated. We need to understand that government should not decide which sources of energy are the best. That is for the people to decide for themselves, through a real free market. Looking at countries like France that get almost 90% of their energy from Nuclear power it is clear that our Department of Energy has done nothing to help the energy crisis, and by subsidizing their friends and actually restricting alternative energy sources they are to blame for most of our energy woes. Government subsidizing the oil industry also plays a role in our current dilemma, electric cars start looking real good with a free market in energy. If you take our wars and subsidies into account, gas is costing the average American $15-20 a gallon.
How do you differentiate yourself from other candidates? I am hardcore against government as an agent for change. Only freedom can help. I simply want to limit what government can do. The main difference between me and other candidates is that I do not make exceptions to freedom. The establishment candidates out there all want to abuse government power in some way to pander to some constituency, while all the real problems are actually created by government. It’s time to end the wars, end corporatism, and to live your life as you see fit, not how your government sees fit.
Michael Champion (Independent)
Addie Allen (Democrat)
Sean Hubbard (Democrat)
Paul Sadler (Democrat)
Grady Yarbrough (Democrat)
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