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Minnesota - 7th Congressional District (2012) Survey

What should the federal government do to stimulate job creation and economic development?

The very first thing the Congress should do is pass an actual budget, which has not happened in over 3 years. Without a budget agreement, the appropriations process is totally out of control, leading to years of trillion dollar deficits, and projections of trillions more. Reforming the tax code should be the very next step, streamlining the current unwieldy system.
We have to get the federal budget under control and on a sustainable path. Every day we wait adds $11.4 billion to our debt, prolongs the economic slowdown, delays the creation of millions of private-sector jobs, and risks the credit rating of the federal government. We need a bipartisan and bicameral solution that puts everything on the table; tax reform, defense spending, domestic spending and entitlements.

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Where are three specific areas where federal spending should be cut? Are there any specific areas where federal spending should be increased?

The first thing we should do is quit bailing out failing companies, and subsidizing others which cannot prove themselves in the marketplace. We have wasted billions of dollars in recent years doing just that. We should wind down the wars and the billions more we spend overseas. Third, we should prohibit earmarks.
I believe that everything must be on the table; tax reform, defense spending, domestic spending and entitlements. I've supported a balanced budget amendment, voted for across-the-board spending cuts, and worked to reinstate "pay-as-you-go" rules into law.

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Do you support extending the Bush-era tax cuts? If so, all of them?

Yes, but only as a stopgap. We should reform the tax code and eliminate the death tax, which harms small businesses and farmers.
Yes, all of them should be extended. But only for another year while greater budget reform is accomplished.

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Do you support the farm bill passed by the Senate and awaiting action in the House?

No. Instead, I support the $383 million version passed by the House in August -- with the exception of the supply management provisions regarding dairy producers.
Yes. Many farm bill programs expire at the end of September or the end of the crop year. Without the certainty of a 5-year farm bill, it is difficult for farmers and banks to make plans and decisions. Additionally, starting the farm bill process over in a brand new Congress will likely result in less money for farm and conservation programs.

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What should be done with the Social Security program?

Reform it for people under age 55 in order to make it solvent into the foreseeable future.
It must be reformed in the interest of keeping it solvent and helping balance the federal budget.

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What types of changes should be made in the health care system?

Obamacare should be repealed. In our district we need to focus on ensuring greater access to providers and more health care options for people. Leveraging innovations such as telemedicine will increase access and reduce costs.
I will support reform that will bring down the cost of health care without increasing our country's growing debt. I will support the fair implementation of Obama's health care reform bill.

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What changes, if any, would you support in Medicare?

First, I would vote to scrap Obamacare, which steals over $700 billion from the Medicare program. Long-term we have to reform the system for younger recipients to ensure solvency. I support a system that looks similar to the one members of Congress have.
I would support additional efforts to control the rising cost of medications by requiring Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, like they do at the VA.

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What changes would you make to federal education policy?

Federal education policy has largely failed. Since President Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education in the 1970s, hundreds of programs and mandates have been created in order to improve student and teacher performance. During that time, performance has stagnated.
I believe we should fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to make sure our school districts aren't overburdened with rising special education costs.

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What changes would you make to federal energy policy?

The government should quit subsidizing energy production, be it conventional or non-conventional. In turn, permitting should be much easier for energy production, and federal lands should be made accessible for drilling for oil and gas. America can be energy independent if we exploit our natural resources (oil, gas, biofuel, etc.), and our economy will benefit from cheaper energy.
We need to keep the Energy Department and EPA from over-regulating new energy source development, including renewables.

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Should the federal government's environmental protection efforts be changed? If so, how?

The EPA should be overhauled so that environmental protection is not just a code word for restricting economic and job growth.
The EPA needs to reclaim a commitment to transparency and accountability. The process is seriously flawed and it is leading to damaging results out in the countryside.

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Where do you stand on legalized abortion?

I oppose it.

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Should same-sex marriage be legal?

No.
I believe that this issue is best left up to the states.

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What are your views concerning immigration?

I support legal immigration and guest workers.
I support comprehensive immigration reform that enforces existing immigration laws, that includes reforms to the work visa programs, that makes e-verify permanent and will address illegal immigrants that are already here. While I do not support amnesty, I believe that we need immigration reform because America is losing its top immigrant job creators -- particularly those in science, technology, engineering, and math -- to our competitors abroad.

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What would you do to end the contract stalemate at American Crystal Sugar?

I would strongly encourage negotiations between the parties. In general I oppose government-imposed solutions to contract disputes.
Our region has a history of working together during difficult times. It is time to do just that and settle this contract.

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