Personal: Wife Vicky, two children
Occupation: Defense strategist; served 25 years in the United States Marine Corps
Political experience: Elected to Congress in 2002, currently serving as U.S. representative for Minnesota’s 2nd District
If elected, what is your top priority for the 2013 Legislature?
The most important issue facing Americans today is the struggling U.S. economy. Increasing government interference in our daily lives and Washington’s addiction to wasteful spending are piling up an insurmountable debt for our children and grandchildren, while threatening our way of life and our national security.
Elected representatives must embrace economic policies that will grow the United States and Minnesota economies and put people back to work. We must earn back taxpayers’ trust by carefully weighing every dollar we spend and setting priorities to ensure America continues to thrive in the competitive global economy.
Federal health care reform has been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Should the law stand in its current form, or should it be changed?
Over the past two years, the president’s health care law has sent the nation down a costly path of bureaucracy and broken promises. Job-crushing mandates, higher costs for families, and more government control — all of which threaten health care coverage for millions of Americans — are the growing legacy of this flawed law. Minnesota families shouldn’t be at risk of losing their health care, and employers should be able to focus on creating jobs, not filling out paperwork.
I favor repealing this fundamentally flawed law and replacing it with common-sense reform that lowers costs and expands access. I have joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives in voting 33 times to repeal, defund or dismantle ObamaCare. I am pleased we have successfully repealed the 1099 reporting requirements that placed a financial burden on small businesses and independent contractors.
We must also repeal IPAB, a panel of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats tasked with reducing Medicare costs through arbitrary cuts to providers and do away with a $29 billion medical device tax and limitations on reimbursement of the over-the-counter medications.
I am committed to achieving these reforms without raising taxes, killing jobs, or putting bureaucrats between Americans and their doctors.
What role should the federal government play in ensuring that U.S. graduates can compete in the global economy?
As chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, I am committed to ensuring young Americans have access to a high quality education that equips them to succeed in the increasingly competitive global economy. Perhaps the best thing the government can do to protect the financial security of young Americans is to prevent the mounting burden of debt they will face if the government doesn’t cure its addiction to wasteful spending.
Social Security/Medicare: Should these entitlement programs be left status quo, or should be they scrutinized for budget cuts?
Medicare and Social Security provide critical support for the most vulnerable among us. Unfortunately, the deteriorating financial conditions of the programs are threatening beneficiaries’ access to benefits. In their most recent report, the Medicare Trustees projected that the account that funds Medicare’s hospital benefit will go bankrupt in 2024.
We must reform Medicare and Social Security in a way that avoids disruptions in benefits for current seniors and strengthens the programs for future generations.
The national economy remains sluggish. What steps do you support to stimulate the growth of jobs?
Minnesota families and businesses should be allowed to keep more of their hard-earned money — the less money kept by individuals and job creators, the slower our economic recovery. Accordingly, Washington must work toward creating an environment that helps families by preserving tax relief and providing economic certainty so private sector employers can create jobs and put some of the 12 million unemployed Americans back to work.
Should changes be made to current agriculture subsidies?
Agriculture has always been a vital part of our country’s economy and identity. In Minnesota, our agriculture tradition is rich with family farms and large producers. Having helped manage my wife’s fourth-generation family farm in southeastern Minnesota for many years, I am acutely aware of the challenges faced by the farming community.
Smart, deliberate reforms in the next farm bill can ensure we can meet the needs of the agriculture community while protecting taxpayers. I have always advocated for reduced government spending and rooting out waste, and I am particularly troubled to see so much spending in the farm bill dedicated to programs entirely unrelated to farming.