Pete Ashdown |

Pete Ashdown


Please differentiate yourself from your opponent.

There are many ways my opponent and I are different. I am a native Utahn, born and raised in Bountiful, went to Utah schools, and built a successful business in Utah. As an entrepreneur, I know how to balance a budget, pay for health care, and give back to our community. Since founding XMission, I have seen changes in Utah’s economy and society — changes my opponent doesn’t recognize. I am a father, with children whose future I want to be better. With all of these items, I bring a different perspective on what government can do and what it should do. It should always balance a budget; secure our borders and ports; establish accountability for the incompetent and fraudulent; and inspire our children to be productive, intelligent, active citizens.

We also significantly disagree on how our government should work. He believes in retaining office through a system that depends on keeping the general public uninformed and cynical towards politics. Enabling the American voice to focus on our toughest problems will eliminate apathy towards our government. Implementing transparency in our representation will ensure that American public interest comes before private. This change will start by electing Pete Ashdown.

1. Some want to do away with the federal estate tax, oftentimes dubbed the death tax, which the opponents say is unfair. Please discuss your view of the tax. Should it be repealed? If so, how should the federal government make up for the lost tax dollars?

1. I believe that the estate tax should not be repealed. A repeal unnecessarily benefits the rich and does nothing to balance the federal budget.

2. Please describe your opinion of the effectiveness of federal immigration rules, with particular emphasis on those governing the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Please describe one immigration reform you would support.

We need to streamline the legal immigration and set limits based on realistic worker demand and student vacancy. Border patrol and enforcement should be a responsibility of the Department of Defense. The cheapest form of immigration reform is giving tools to employers to verify residency, perhaps through a blind-verification Web site, then making them accountable. Most responsible businesses will utilize such tools in a regular fashion to make sure they are in compliance with the law. Businesses who do not act in a responsible fashion should be penalized. They should be issued green cards with tracking technology, making this essential part of our economy legal. In regard to the existing tens of millions of illegal immigrants already here, they should not receive priority immigration (commonly referenced as amnesty) over people who have applied through legal methods. Also, they should not receive priority health nor education benefits over American citizens.

3. Please discuss the circumstances under which you would support sending American troops into battle. What factors will be of most concern to you? Are there any places where American troops are needed but are not deployed or where they should not be stationed but are?

I would demand three things from an administration before voting for a declaration of war or appropriating funds for an action. First, that our intelligence agencies indicate a clear, present and imminent threat to our physical nation or American citizens or if we have been attacked. Second, a clear definition of what victory in the conflict would entail and what it would cost. Third, more than adequate funding has been appropriated for recruitment, retention, troop protection, veteran’s benefits and other related activities. American troops may have beneficial roles in areas such as Darfur, but current deployments preclude U.S. military involvement now. I will leave decisions about redeployment activities to the military and the nations where they currently are stationed.

4. The national economy has rebounded since the period after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but people have mixed optimism about the economy. Please discuss one method the federal government can boost the economy. In your answer, please address whether tax policies need to be changed in an effort to support the economy.

Investment in education, energy independence, and a renewable economy are needed to ensure national economic success. Especially important in Utah, where we have the minds in our schools (both students and educators) and the resources available (wind, sun, geothermal, nuclear fusion) to lead the nation in economic growth, educational achievement and energy development. If we use these goals in the same way JFK challenged our nation to go to the moon, we will inspire our children and bring our nation together. If not, we will continue to enslave ourselves to nations we owe debt and from whom we must buy oil. I will not cede our future to the whims of China, the oil markets in Iran or Saudi Arabia.

I propose a "true" flat tax, one that carries no exemptions, deductions, or loopholes. Businesses send checks to the IRS for a percentage of all salaried wages, income and dividends.

5. Americans have suffered through high gasoline prices and proposed solutions vary, from exploring for oil in America s natural treasures to promoting alternative fuels. Please describe a platform for addressing the energy situation, including the alternative fuel you expect will be the most successful and how the federal government can assist in that success.

America can dramatically increase its energy supply without drilling for more oil or natural gas. By increasing our investment in research and in the construction of green energy facilities, America can begin to wean itself off of its addiction to Middle Eastern oil. Solar power, wind power, geothermal power, biomass power, ethanol and bio-diesel are all areas of tremendous potential growth within the United States. By building renewable energy power plants, America will generate jobs that can’t be outsourced, preserve our air, soil and water for future generations, free ourselves from many of the political demands of the Middle East, and actually reduce the size of the check we have to send to the electricity company every month. The most successful alternative fuel will be nuclear fusion, if we fully fund research activities (including those already showing results at USU and Sandia Labs).

6.The Israeli-Palestinian dispute in 2006 suffered one of its worst flare-ups in years, as Israel waged a campaign against what it described as militants based in Lebanon. Which side is responsible for the hostilities this year and why? Please describe a plan that could result in long-term peace in the Holy Land.

There is more than enough blame to go around. Israel could have allowed more time for negotiations for prisoner release. Lebanon could have reined in Hezbollah’s activities, asserting more control over its own borders and citizens. The United States could have pushed harder for a quicker peace; Iran and the U.S. could have stopped weapons shipments to the area.

Middle East policy has been lacking diplomacy as of late. Although we must not sanction the killing of innocents in any form, it does not leave out the ability to have open dialogue with ruling governments. We grant so much more to countries with sordid records on human rights and democracy. Balancing the equation to demand reforms with the countries friendly to America and beginning discussions with countries that are not will define America as a beacon for liberty and freedom throughout the world.

7.The No Child Left Behind Act is meant to ensure that students achieve their best but critics worry about how much it costs and whether it standardizes education too uniformly. Please discuss the successes and failures of the act. Should changes be made or are you pleased with its effects?

No Child Left Behind is a failure and I will advocate its repeal. Following a model of public education that works is one way to address current problems. I am certain there are public and private schools in the United States that are succeeding with broad educational goals. The federal government should be an engine for promoting rather than enforcing methods. This means changing the focus of the Department of Education from a body that enforces a federal curriculum to one that promotes successful programs. This would reduce the department’s size but free up resources to promote programs.

8.America continues to occupy Iraq, after the fall of Saddam Hussein and post-Iraqi elections. Please describe what you see as the troops’ mission now, particularly in the context of the potential of worsening sectarian violence. Under what condition should American troops leave Iraq and when do you expect that to happen?

The answer to Iraq is simple: let the Iraqis vote on how long they want the U.S. to stay, then do what they say. If they say leave, then the military leaves within 60 days, to friendly countries to monitor Iran. If they say stay, then there is a mandate. The referendum should be executed with maximum transparency to the American people and the rest of the world.

President John F. Kennedy stated in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, "Men and nations will pursue a variety of roads, that each nation will evolve according to its own traditions and its own aspirations, and that the world of the future will have room for a diversity of economic systems, political creeds, religious faiths, united by the respect for others and loyalty to a world order." We must give the Iraqis the opportunity to evolve, and a referendum on our involvement will allow this.


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