Sunday, July 25, 2010

GOP hopefuls make case to face Kirkpatrick

Debate photo of Dr. Steve Mehta by Matt Brabb
By Matt Brabb
Mogollon Connection Editor

Eight Republican hopefuls looking to unseat U.S. Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick took part in a debate at Payson High School on Saturday. Each was given a chance to make his or her case to GOP county committeemen by answering a series of questions posed by conference attendees.

Republicans seeking Kirkpatrick's 1st Congressional District seat include Bradley Beauchamp of Globe, Rusty Bowers of Superior, Paul Gosar of Flagstaff, Sydney Hay of Munds Park, Joe Jaraczewski of Cottonwood, Jon Jensen of Prescott Valley, Steve Mehta of Show Low and Thomas Zaleski of Sedona.

The candidates were each asked five questions confronting current members of the U.S. Congress. The questions and answers from each candidate are given below.

Question 1: What do you think the chances are for repeal of the healthcare bill, finance reform, and cap and trade?

Gosar: We’re not going to be able to repeal them in the next two years. We could choose to not finance them, but that’s not good enough. We can start to undermine them with a series of small bills.

Mehta: Repeal is unlikely, but that is what needs to happen. Far too much discretion has been given to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. We just don’t fund it. We need to bring the free market back into health care.

Beauchamp: Simply de-fund it. I read the entire bill, it’s a horror story. De-fund it, and move toward repeal. Tort reform should have been in the bill, and I’m an attorney!

Hay: We need to pass (Arizona) prop 106 so Obamacare can never impact you or your family.

Zaleski: Obamacare will not be repealed until Obama is not the president. We simply de-fund it.

Jaraczewski: When do we go on offense? We don’t have a plan. We need a plan. It’s not one item; you have to send someone to Washington willing to do the right thing.

Bowers: The federal government does not have the power to create a health care system. We have to go back to the document (U.S. Constitution), no matter what we do.

Question 2: What is your stand on immigration and anchor babies? How would you protect the border?

Mehta: It’s frustrating to have to talk about having to close the border. This is one of the things the federal government is actually tasked to do, but they are too busy doing other things. We are the only country that allows for the concept of anchor babies.

Beauchamp: I addressed this issue as a candidate. I have a seven point plan that includes a double fence, more agents, helicopters, and common sense realistic goals. The 14th amendment (giving babies born in the United States citizenship) has been grossly misinterpreted.

Hay: Illegal immigration is illegal. We have the technology, a double fence in San Diego proved it works, what we don’t have is the political will. It is a matter of national defense. Known terrorists have crossed the border, and (illegal immigration) is also an ecological disaster.

Jensen: Partly done, is not done at all. We need to finish the fence. Shoot to kill if you have to. Guys in boot camp should serve six months on the border. Anchor babies? Sorry kids, you’re out until you pay and come in the right way.

Zaleski: Anchor babies? No, they are not citizens. We need to look at Israel. They did it, with multiple layer fences. (Maricopa County Sherriff Joe) Arpaio has 800 terrorists in his jail. I have two clients that are Green Berets who would rather go to Afghanistan than go to the border.

Jaraczewski: We have actually gotten to the point in this country that there are more takers than makers. The time for lawsuits is over.

Bowers: The double fence is a great piece of architecture, until they break through. We need manned patrols, bases along the border, and canine patrols. We need to open up the dialogue about the 14th amendment.

Gosar: I’m tired of rewarding bad behavior. We should reward those who have done it the right way.

Question 3: How would you shine a light on deal-making in Washington? How would you stay in touch with your constituents?

Beauchamp: I would let America know what the deals are. It’s (a congressman’s job) to point that out. I would hold town halls where I would actually show up in person. A lot of people have my cell number. That number is not going to change.

Hay: We need to shed the light of day on what happens in Washington. We need fighters, and term limits. We need to take away the incentives for career politicians to stay. My number won’t change, it’s 928-286-1128.

Jensen: People want trust. They are tired of piggy-backing. Technology makes it easier to stay in touch with constituents. We need to spend time answering their questions.

Zaleski: Respect. There is simply no respect for your views in Washington. I have been active in the formation of the Congressional Freshmen Caucus in the House of Representatives. I’m for term limits. Once I’ve balanced the budget, I’m coming home.

Jaraczewski: One guy is not going to fix this. What you see is what you get; I have the political courage to make changes in Washington. If you want to reach me, I’ll be at Rumsey Park every Saturday while my daughter is playing softball.

Bowers: To shed light on deal-making, you should be able to find foot-notes in every bill passed in Congress. I found exceptions in the Clean Air Act. Who put them in there? I get great ideas to add to legislation by listening to the people.

Gosar: I represent you. It’s time you were heard. I speak two languages, English and Hick. I want (legislative language) that is plain and simple. Let’s use many eyes and make light work.

Mehta: We are a representative democracy. We need to get back to representative government. We do that through communication, and our precinct committeemen.

Question 4: Do you support term limits?

Hay: I was on the committee for prop 107 in 1992. We need a citizen legislature. You go, serve, and come home. An eight year limit seems to work.

Jensen: I’m split right down the middle on this. We need to help Arizona. I’m against it because I think people are educated enough to vote the wrong people out. I think we should trust them.

Zaleski: This is one of the few things I disagreed with Congressman Kolbe about. So many deals are done in Congress. Term limits are a laudable goal, but I don’t see it happening. We’d have to get 2/3 of the members of Congress to fire themselves.

Jaraczewski: I’m in favor of term limits.

Bowers: I supported it in ’92, but I believe we empowered government agencies. They would say to me ‘you’ll be gone in four years, but we’ll still be here.’ Putting an arbitrary number on it does not solve the problem. The founders said it was up to the people to be vigilant.

Gosar: Think of the unintended consequences. I believe in accountability and responsibility. You won’t have to tell me twice, I’ll get it done.

Mehta: I support them, and here is why- I don’t think the founders saw serving in Congress as a pleasurable experience. The job isn’t supposed to be fun. I think 12 years is a reasonable limit.

Beauchamp: I’m against them. I have a constitutional right to vote for whomever I want to, and no one can take that away from me. Term limits will exacerbate the problem. You don’t need term limits to know that Ann Kirkpatrick is the wrong woman for the job.

Question 5: How well do you know the U.S. Constitution? How important will it be in your decision making as a member of Congress?

Jensen: We need clarity to make sure we are following the constitution. When they bring up health care, the first thing they should do is see if we’re allowed to in the Constitution.

Zaleski: It’s a pretty simple document. I believe in a balanced budget amendment. Our biggest threat is an unconscionable debt. We’ve been asleep.

Jaraczewski: Right is on our side. The Constitution and the Bible is on our side, but we’ve got to start putting up candidates that are electable.

Bowers: God inspired the principles in the Constitution. I would not promote any legislation that is not constitutional. It needs to lead our decisions; it was given by a God who loves us.

Gosar: The Constitution is a template that we need to use to help form our decisions.

Mehta: American exceptionalism is a product and consequence of the Constitution. We’ve gotten away from it. Every law needs to pass the constitutional test.

The Republican primary will be held on August 24.

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