I got the following set of questions from KBJR television today and sent these replies back. (Oh and I went in along with Pete Stauber and the other congressional candidates yesterday for a seven minute interview with Dan Wolff. Its supposed to show up early Sunday morning on television and pop up on their website later. I’ll link to it when its ready.
Here are the Q&A’s:
1. Tell us about who you are, your work and political experience and why you are running.
I came to Duluth 44 years ago to teach in the Proctor Schools and pursue politics -Republican Party politics. It was not a great time to be a Republican after Watergate and it only got worse for the next quarter century as the Republicans began purging moderate candidates until Republicans became the party of Fox News and the Tea Party. I turned my attentions to non-partisan races like the Duluth School Board, on which I served for 12 of the last 22 years and occasional independent campaigns for Congress. This year I filed as a protest candidate to President Trump’s erratic bullying and economic mismanagement.
2. What’s your take on current immigration and border security issues? What needs to change? How?
Tens of thousands of Latin Americans have died crossing the deserts from Mexico into the US and yet it is estimated that 11 million illegal residents live in the United States doing work for wages often far below those generally accepted by American born workers. Except for the part about dying while trying to sneak across our border this is how it was when I was born in 1950. Successive Democratic and Republican administrations tolerated this condition to keep food prices affordable for Americans. The new world may require a stricter enforcement of border crossings but not at the cost of America’s reputation for fair play. President Obama was sensibly putting the brakes on illegal immigration. What’s going on now is hideous, unnecessary and counterproductive. America should help Central American nations invest in their own economies in order to depress the desperation that drives their people to the north.
3. What’s your plan to combat the opioid epidemic?
The deregulatory Trump administration are more inclined to reward the pharmaceutical makers who pushed Opioids instead of holding them to account. No matter the drug addictions, whether Opioids, methamphetamines or narcotics, the United States preference for punitive rather than medical intervention has only encouraged the growth of a drug culture and driven it underground. It is ironic that rural America, where the first two of these substances have become commonplace has become dependent on a privatized prison industry for employment. We have incentivized punishment. It would make much more sense to set up treatment centers instead and give addicts hope and a new life.
4. What’s your stance on copper-nickel mining? Is there a balance when it comes to jobs and environment?
I am an agnostic on this subject. On the one hand, sulfite releasing mining across the world has left a catastrophic environmental legacy. However, it is not clear to me, that this damage is preordained considering our growing scientific and technological knowledge. The permitting process seems to me to have been slow, thoughtful and thorough, very much in keeping with Minnesota’s strong history of environmental regulation. I don’t trust the people on either side who have gotten hysterical. As this potential mining project proceeds I will keep in mind this fact. The 300 “good paying” twenty-year mining jobs must be weighed with the hundreds of million of dollars of tourism money that comes into Northeaster Minnesota. Mining this ore is only an opportunity not a necessity.
5. Are the recently enacted tariffs by the current administration helping or hurting the 8th district?
They are hurting. One of the biggest users of American iron is the auto industry which is also one of the first victims of the Trump tariff. If foreign buyers avoid American cars and motorcycles American manufacturers will buy less steel. Furthermore, the retaliation of other nations will further depress not only the American steel industry but every other manufacturer in the United States. This was a lesson that was learned in the 1920’s but Donald Trump must have missed his class at the Wharton School of Finance the day they talked about the Smoot-Hawley Tariff.
6. If you don’t advance in the primary, will you throw your support behind the primary winner?
I will enthusiastically support any candidate who is prepared to challenge Donald Trump. Sadly, I am the only Republican Congressional Candidate in the Eighth District that meets that criteria.