King faces Democrat Vilsack, Independent Monroe
U.S. Rep. Steve King, 63, of Kiron, has been representing Iowa's 5th Congressional District since 2003, following two terms in the Iowa Senate. He founded King Construction and has three sons and five grandchildren with wife Marilyn.
King, a Republican, is being challenged by former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack and Martin Monroe, who was nominated by petition.
Vilsack, 62, of Ames, is a longtime educator who served as executive director of the Iowa Initiative from 2008 to 2011. She and husband Tom, the current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, have two sons and two grandchildren.
Monroe, 54, of Battle Creek, works for his church while pursuing an opportunity to sell life insurance.
Each candidate responded to the following questions:
Why do you believe you are the best candidate for District 4 of the U.S. House and what have you done that qualifies you to represent the district?
King: I am the best candidate because I have a simple plan to restore our American Dream that has been eroding under the failed policies of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi.
To restore our American Dream and create jobs, we must first repeal ObamaCare, a disastrous law that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, cuts Medicare by $716 billion, creates 20 new taxes on the middle class, and according to Ernst & Young eliminates 710,000 jobs.
Second, passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution may be the only way we avoid going over the fiscal waterfall. A balanced budget gives businesses the predictability to reinvest profit in a larger workforce.
Third, continue the effort to harness and harvest all forms of American energy. Harvesting all forms of American energy will lower our energy costs, eliminate our dependency on foreign energy sources, and make us more competitive in the world economy.
Since being elected to Congress, I've been proud to represent you in Congress and be an effective voice for western Iowa. In 2005, in an effort to assist Spencer and Clay County's economic development, I helped secure $5 million for the West Spencer Beltway Project, also referred to as the Hwy 71/18 Bypass. The Beltway Project helps alleviate traffic congestion through downtown Spencer, while increasing access to Spencer's industrial park and regional airport.
Vilsack: As Iowa's First Lady, I've not only represented every one of the 39 counties in the 4th District, but represented all 99 counties across Iowa for eight years. Traveling across the state to almost every small town and city to promote literacy and education provided me with the opportunity to get to know folks in small places. Growing up in small town Iowa, I know how important Iowa values are and this is what will guide me in Washington. Each of these life experiences will guide me as a representative for the 4th District.
I also have a plan to create layers of economic opportunity and rebuild the middle class in the small towns and cities across the 4th District. We can do this by using education to build new opportunities and train students for 21st century jobs. We must also focus on innovation by using the foundation we've created with wind and biofuels to create a new bio-based economy that uses the raw materials within 15-30 miles of our small towns and cities. Finally, we need to build connections. That means rebuilding our aging infrastructure -- including completing four-lane Highway 20 -- and connecting our small towns to the world with reliable high-speed Internet access.
Iowans deserve a representative who will focus on local issues that improve economic opportunity in small towns and cities. I believe that by rebuilding the middle class and bringing these small town values to Washington, we can make sure that our kids want to live, work, and raise their kids right here in Iowa.
Monroe: I am the best candidate for Iowa's Congressional District 4 because I am not an insider, nor am I beholden to any special interest. I'm running for Congress for love of country and it is my intention to fundamentally fix our dysfunctional house of representation.
I will stand up for the real issues not discussed at the Great Debates, which I was excluded from participating in, and unconstitutionally silenced. The thousands of people I have spoken to in our district agree that we need a jobs bill, term limits, fair elections with public financing, and no pay raises for Congress.
Iowans want open debates not controlled by big money, which include all the candidates, and speak to our American values of accountability, responsibility, and equality.
Iowans want to talk about our stolen protections, like FDR's anti-trust laws, the Glass Steagall Act and the Volker rules, and to our rights to privacy and self governance being denied by the F.I.S.A. policy, the Patriot Act, and the National Defense Authorization Act, which all violate the Constitution of The United States, and the citizens rights to participate in governance and to be protected from government abuses and denial of our constitutional rights and liberties.
What steps should Congress take to help improve the economy and create jobs?
King: Job creation must be rooted in private sector growth, which means businesses will be formed or grown only with the expectation of profit. Without profit, businesses fail and jobs are lost. Business adapts to competition, taxes, and regulation. In a global economy, excessive tax rates and regulatory burden can result in uncompetitive U.S. businesses. The key, therefore, to job creation is low, stable, and predictable taxes and regulations. Let business do what business does; generate a profit and invest in job creation.
Vilsack: The best thing we can do to improve the economy is provide businesses and families with stability and certainty. That begins with actually getting to work and passing legislation. Right now we don't have a Farm Bill, an infrastructure bill, an extension of the tax cuts for working families, or a plan for comprehensive immigration reform. All of this uncertainty affects everyone, from farmers and producers in rural America to the Main Street businesses across the 4th District. We must break the gridlock that has prevented action and I am willing to work across party lines to make that happen.
Monroe: Congress needs to break up all monopoly powers in America, including the big two political parties. Congress needs to develop a long-term vision to build a national fast rail system and modernize our decaying infrastructure.
The President should declare a National Employment and Homeless Emergency and Congress should respond in kind; by appropriating the funds, eliminating unfair labor laws, stop giving big banks free money as they need to take risk like the rest of us, start using trade tariffs again to protect American jobs and industries, stop giving subsidies to companies earning millions/billions in profits, stop bailing out banks and start bailing out the people this nation was founded for, prosecute all financial regulators and their cronies who have damaged America's financial security, and finally, the American citizens need to form their own Ethics Committee to keep Congress in line, since members have clearly demonstrated their inability to manage themselves with the Honor and Integrity that our United States Congress was intended to possess.
What is the best way to address the current budget deficit?
King: Under Nancy Pelosi and President Obama, our National Debt has increased by over $7 trillion. The share of our national debt owed by a baby born today is $52,288.
Forty-nine of the 50 states have a balanced budget requirement. Why shouldn't our federal government? I have long supported a bipartisan Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as perhaps the only effective means to get our spending under control. In Iowa we call balancing our budget common sense.
Beyond a strong Balanced Budget Amendment, America needs Congress to enact my CUT Resolution, which would establish a Congressional line item veto, allowing every member a chance to force a recorded vote to cut spending on unnecessary or wasteful programs.
A balanced budget creates jobs by giving American businesses the opportunity for profit and the predictability and stability to create jobs, invest in new technology and expand.
Vilsack: One of the most important issues facing us is our nation's deficit and we must take immediate steps to balance our budget and pay down our national debt. I've proposed a specific, balanced approach to begin doing this.
First, we must fight waste, fraud, and abuse in government. Common sense ideas, like allowing Medicare to negotiate for prescription drugs and streamlining government databases can save over $250 billion alone.
Creating a strong economy in rural America is essential to balancing our budget. That means we must also use targeted spending, such as investing in a new bio-based economy, as a way to spur economic growth.
Finally, I believe that those individuals making more than $1 million a year can afford to pay a little more, and I would allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for that income level.
Monroe: Congress should set an example and stop granting themselves pay raises and superior benefits denied to the majority of Americans. Health care, energy, prescription drug cost as well as the Department of Defense's unfunded and undeclared war continue to fuel our deficit problem. So the obvious remedy is to break up and control all Monopoly powers in America.
We can start by implementing an independent financial audit of all government agencies to weed out corruption, stop allowing special interest lobbyists to participate in formulating public policy, reform the banking system and more strictly enforce financial market fraud schemes.
We got into this mess because our representatives were not on the ball, or scarier, that certain members sold the American people out to the racketeers of big money interest, in which case these individuals should be brought to justice and jailed, impeached, or fired from their positions of trust. On Nov. 6 you have the freedom to choose real change or more of the same!
What would you do to reform health care?
King: I favor the full, 100 percent repeal of ObamaCare. The law cuts $716 billion from Medicare, establishes the dangerous IPAB board, raises 20 new taxes on the middle class, will cost Americans 710,000 jobs, and, when all the budget gimmicks are accounted for, significantly adds to the deficit and bends the cost curve up, not down.
I would instead expand choice and competition by allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines, instituting full deductibility for health insurance and health-related expenses (not just for employers), expanding HSAs, enacting constitutional tort reform, and supporting state high-risk pools.
Vilsack: I strongly believe that health care must be affordable, accessible, and high quality. While I disagree with the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, I believe the bill is a place to start and Congress must immediately begin work to reform it. I have introduced a series of ideas for reform, focused on making health care more affordable. For example, we can reduce the cost of care by allowing Medicare to negotiate for prescription drugs, and we could save more than a trillion dollars by switching to a coordinated care model, like the one that has been adopted in Oregon.
We must also ensure that seniors have access to quality health care. That means protecting the promise of Medicare, which is why I will oppose attempts to privatize Medicare or turn it into a voucher program.
Monroe: Health care in America has gotten out of hand because of corruption and manipulation of our long-standing constitutional principles and protections, like the Citizens United ruling making corporations people, or for example, today in The United States we allow 45,000 citizens of whom many are children to die every year, because they do not have health insurance.
However, we see nothing wrong with the big insurance monopoly mandating auto insurance, by the force of law. The Constitution of the United States clearly states it was the intent of our founding fathers to provide for the welfare of all our people. We cannot do this without cost control, which our Congress has the power to do, yet it is unconstitutionally refusing to act, because of big money's threats to cancel their contributions to their re-election campaigns so they can steal their congressional seat forever, just like a king.
The key to our future is in our past! We need to get back to enforcing the Anti-Trust laws and restore citizen protections, which were taken away by means of corrupt deregulation legislation over the past three decades by financial white collar criminals who now control America and the world market like a bunch of kings. All members of Congress who backed these schemes should be impeached, but how do you get Congress to impeach their own? It is the people that must figure out how to do this and currently your vote is the only remedy to effect real change.
What can America do to improve its standing in the eyes of those around the world?
King: America has the strongest and finest fighting force the world has ever known, and for the past several years, much of that fighting force has been focused on restoring peace and bringing prosperity to the Middle East and Afghanistan. That region, which has harbored the militants who attacked our nation on Sept. 11, 2001, is home to much instability and insecurity.
The recent attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Sudan and the tragic assassination of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and the murder of his staff serve as stark reminders of the volatility that grips the region. America and the world need leadership from the president of the United States when it comes to our nation's foreign policy, and President Obama has failed on this front. We need a president who will extract a high price from any who dare to attack Americans.
The best security for our great nation is a strong economy. We need our country to begin firing again on all cylinders with a robust free market economy, strong families, and strong values. With a strong economy and balanced budget, America will retain our role as the greatest and strongest country the world has ever known.
Vilsack: The United States is a global leader and a model for the world, however, we need to show the world that we're capable of working together to tackle the issues in front of us. Right now the gridlock and intense partisanship in Washington is getting in the way of every piece of legislation. Whether it's decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, balancing the budget to help build a strong global economy, or by new technological innovations -- each of these will increase our well-being at home.
Cooperation and working together also applies to foreign policy. We should work to build and maintain strategic partnerships around the globe to tackle problems abroad. For example, we've built a coalition, which is now enforcing sanctions on Iran. Building consensus and support in the global community will not only increase our standing in the eyes of the world, but it will make our actions more successful.
Monroe: America should be leading; in our ideas, our experiences, and our ability to get things done.
We need to bring all our troops home and stop sticking our nose in every nation on the planet's business. China and Russia need to deal with problems in their own region of the globe and we need to follow President James Monroe's Doctrine and tend to our own region. We need to get back to being outside advocates promoting an integrated strategy for dealing with the Middle East Region. All strategy should involve all actors in their region and must be comprehensive dealing with all interest, and not just ones we want, after all, it is not our country nor is it our right to interfere with another nation. We have plenty of problems to solve here in our own nation.
The key to our future is in our past! History has demonstrated that war is not the answer and the cost of war will be long-term and damaging to all parties involved. America is starting to be seen as an imperial invading force, which only incites other nations to build up their war capabilities and encourages nuclear expansion. The world needs to see the real America again, and not our war mongering elitists who profit enormously from their investments in the military industrial complex, and probably don't pay any U.S. taxes either.
What should be done to improve immigration policy?
King: Our immigration policy needs to be designed and enforced to promote the economic, social, and cultural well being of the United States of America. We are a very hospitable country and will continue to protect the dignity of all persons. And, we admit more legal immigrants than all other nations in the world -- combined.
We must secure our borders and shut off the job, citizenship and welfare magnets that entice hundreds of thousands of immigrants to enter our country illegally each year. Enforce the rule of law to ensure that American jobs are going to Americans--not illegal immigrants.
To help shut down the jobs magnet, I authored and introduced New IDEA (Illegal Deduction Elimination Act) to eliminate the tax-deductibility of wages paid to illegal immigrants, make E-Verify permanent and applicable to current employees, and establish an information sharing system between the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.
Vilsack: First, I believe that we must make our borders and ports more secure to stop the flow of people coming into this country illegally. And I support cracking down hard on employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. We should deport felons who are here illegally, but I think it's unrealistic to deport millions of illegal immigrants already living here. We should allow a pathway to citizenship only to those who pay a fine and pay their taxes, learn English, and go to the back of the immigration line, but ensure that lawful citizens have the first shot at jobs.
Measures such as the DREAM Act -- which would give a path to citizenship for those who were brought into this country illegally through no fault of their own, and have known no other country than the United States -- are an important first step. However, we ultimately need a comprehensive overhaul of our broken immigration system. It's shameful that Congress can't work out a compromise that will solve the problem, and rhetoric like Congressman King's isn't helping.
Monroe: Congress needs to enact a comprehensive immigration policy that reforms and modernizes our current system. We need to allow workers to come across the border to work and then go back home on the weekend. New border centers could be financed by fees paid by pre-screened and processed workers, and their employers who benefit the most. This would allow our Border Patrol to focus on real criminals or terrorists who have to come across illegally. This would also allow workers to legally drive, have auto insurance, and abide by all our laws because they are now here legally working, and not living here illegally.
We might consider having our Marine Corps do their desert training on the Mexican border, instead of in 29 Palms. This would be a natural deterrent to illegal border crossings as well.
We should not be "taking" American citizens' land in order to build a border fence or put in an oil pipe line, as both are clear violations of their Constitutional protection rights. My 2007 Immigration proposal can be reviewed at www.martinmonroe.com.