Please differentiate yourself from your opponent.
Besides differences in basic philosophy and how much of an interfering role the government should play in our lives, I would say one of the biggest differences is experience.
I spent 16 years in the state legislature, including a term as speaker of the house, dealing with legislative issues and solving problems.
I spent 28 years in the classroom, teaching kids American government and history. I will continue to work to stop the federal government from infringing on the rights of parents or the flexibility of schools to meet the needs of kids. And I have spent the past four years in congress representing northern Utah and defending our common values and interests.
I have brought together interest groups and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to find solutions and pass legislation — including funding for projects in Summit County and our bill to preserve open space in Park City. I have a proven record of real results when it comes to strengthening our national security, defending our military installations, cutting taxes and reducing the deficit, and looking after our public lands. Experience, combined with the right values and principles, does make a difference.
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 Should it be repealed?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?
I support elimination of the death tax. Death should not be a taxable event. To me it is one of the most immoral taxes. It s as if the greedy federal government is reaching into the coffin to take one last swipe at a person s hard-earned living. This hits families at the most difficult of times, when they should be left alone to deal with and mourn the loss of a loved one. And it hits family-owned farms and small businesses the hardest, penalizing and often preventing families from passing on their enterprise to the next generation.
This is not a tax that affects the Bill Gates and Jessica Simpsons of the world. They are rich enough to hire accountants and lawyers to protect their money and avoid the tax. This is a penalty on hardworking American families and small businesses and it should be eliminated.
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.
Illegal immigration is a problem and our current system needs fixing. First, we need to better enforce the laws already on the books. Next, we need to secure the borders.
As the House has already voted to do, we should increase the number of border agents, patrols and resources and the amount of border fencing. We must end the useless catch-and-release policy. We must reform our current system of legal immigration to make it less cumbersome for those coming for the right reasons and tougher on those coming for the wrong reasons.
I oppose amnesty and giving current illegal residents the ability to cut to the front of the immigration line.
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?
The decision to send troops to war is probably the most sobering judgment an elected official can make — and when it happens, Congress should make an official declaration of war. Regardless of the conflict, I m proud of those, particularly from Utah, who serve our country. While each situation will have its own set of international intricacies and require special insights, there are a few general principles that can guide us. Two of those principles, where I think troop deployment is generally justified, would be when America or its troops are attacked or when there is a clear, significant and imminent threat to our national security. I was not in Congress at the time authorization was passed to allow for military action in Iraq. Since that decision has already been made, our responsibility now is to make sure that the military has what is necessary to be successful.
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.
As the rebound has shown, one of the best things we can do for our economy is let individual Americans and businesses keep more of their own money. Governments don t create jobs. Individuals, entrepreneurs, big and small investors, and independent businesses and companies do.
Government should be concerned with simply trying to create the best environment for people to enjoy economic freedom and for the free market to function. And history shows that when money stays in the market, investment and growth occur, which means there is more to tax and tax revenues to the federal government actually increase. Making the current tax cuts permanent is one of the best things we can do to encourage continued economic activity and keep this economic boom going.
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.
I support a comprehensive energy policy, and have voted for such in Congress. I support increased domestic exploration that is safe and environmentally sound. We need to be less dependent on foreign sources of oil. When the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was designated, a very small portion of land with tremendous potential for oil was specifically set aside for exploration. I support this and believe exploration should take place there. I have also supported initiatives that provide incentives for alternative fuels, including sources such as wind and solar. Nuclear energy, and the developments in safety and technology in that field, must also remain a piece of our energy puzzle. Finally, we should look within our own state at resources we can develop right here, particularly coal and oil shale. We must diversify our energy supplies and we must become less dependent on foreign sources.
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.
We have often used land as the attempted basis for a permanent peace policy there. It is now very obvious that in addition to land, there must be a commitment to stop the terrorist bombings, kidnappings, and attacks. Once the terror attacks have ceased, then finalizing a land policy can be successful. The Israelis demonstrated a desire to move that process forward by complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Now the Palestinian leaders need to put forth the same type of good faith effort by seriously and permanently cracking down on the terrorist bombers and attacks.
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?
As a teacher for almost 30 years, I ve seen many education ideas come and go. The best results come from getting the federal government out of local decisions, allowing parents the control to help their children, and giving teachers flexibility to meet the needs of kids. I was not in Congress when the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, but I wouldn t have supported it then and I do not support it now. It is well intentioned, but will not lead to the best form of true reform. For starters, it has three overall shortcomings. First, testing is good for diagnostic purposes but does not drive systemic change. Second, the provisions in the original bill empowering parents with choice were eliminated before passage. Finally, NCLB tests and tracks schools, not kids. The federal government cannot be allowed to mandate a universal, one-size-fits-all, factory model on local schools.
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?
I was not in Congress at the time authorization was passed to allow for military action in Iraq. Since that decision has been made, our responsibility now is to ensure the military has what is necessary to be successful. If we have learned anything from history, it s that combat situations require decisions be made by military leaders in the field who understand the whole picture, not by politicians in Washington trying to set their own agendas. In a historical perspective, our military is making incredible progress there. An evil dictator has been removed, the Iraqi people are freer, a government is set up and elections are ongoing, America is more secure, the Middle East is showing some signs of more stability and democracy is on the move. Setting artificial deadlines for withdrawal would only benefit the enemy. Those types of decisions should be made by the military leaders on the ground.
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