Question: Members of Congress are regarded so poorly by the public. Time-share salesmen are probably looked at more favorably. Is that a fair assessment overall, and why are you an exception to that?
I would have to say that this is a very accurate statement. Let’s look at a couple facts: members of both the Democrat and Republican Parties are known to “flip flop” their positions based on who is in the majority at the time and also in regards to who is in the White House. The easiest example is in regards debt ceiling increases. When President Bush was in office, the Republicans supported increases and Democrats opposed them. Now that President Obama is in office, it has reversed.
There are no principles in Washington, D.C. right now. We have two parties that constantly change their position to gain favor, votes, or what happens to be politically expedient for them at the time.
I am not tied down to one of these two parties, and the agenda I have isn’t Democrat or Republican solutions to follow a platform, but solutions that work for all Americans. I’m also not beholden to any special interest groups. Both Congressman Bishop and Donna McAleer have their donor base, and going through their reports shows where their bias exists. I avoid the appearance of evil by refusing to take money from anyone other than a single voter and the Libertarian Party of Utah.
Question: Is the state or the federal government more competent to make decisions on Utah’s public lands, and why?
Let me answer with a question, if you will. Why doesn’t the federal government believe that the people of Utah are competent to decide what to do with the land?
The fact is that Utah has some of the smartest people I’ve met. I’ve gone and talked to thousands of voters throughout Northern Utah, and I have met some of the most informed people in regards to the issues at hand in our nation. We are innovators, entrepreneurs, and have some of the best universities in America.
Congressman Bishop wants control of Utah lands to be in Utah hands, and I am inclined to agree. Donna McAleer is wanting control to be handled by a group of people a few thousand miles away, not connected to the issues that uniquely face Utah. I will always give the benefit of the doubt to the people who live in an area.
And let me state that the voters fully understand that we have to protect much of the land to preserve our tourism industry. That is one of the biggest economic factors in Utah, so to think that we are just going to strip mine and drill the place into oblivion is an ill informed position.
Question: Should teachers be allowed to carry arms in schools, and if not, what are some strong methods to protect our students?
I believe if they receive training on how to use a firearm, they should be able to carry. Currently, I do feel the standard for a teacher to carry in the classroom is far too low. All you really need is a concealed carry permit to be able to legally carry in a school.
I think a common sense approach would be for tactical training groups to teach the teachers how to properly respond to an active shooting situation. There are already groups who have offered such classes free of charge to teachers and faculty members, and I feel that it should be expanded as a requirement for the teacher to carry.
Ultimately, we are talking about the safety of children, and heaven forbid something like Sandy Hook happen at Ben Lomond High School or Lincoln Elementary. We protect just about everything with some sort of an armed presence, and our children are the key to the future. We should push for this training so the teacher knows how to properly respond.
Question: The recession is over, but there is a feeling of economic insecurity among the middle class. Adjusted for inflation, the median wage is the same as in 1989. What needs to be done to boost econmic security, particularly for the middle class and new college students?
I would argue that the recession really isn’t over, just a little better. It’s time to look at a cold, hard reality; the government has stuck its fingers where they don’t belong and it has prolonged the stagnation of the economy.
If you really want to have a booming economy, you have to get the government to stop interfering. We need to take a hard look at the regulations that impact business. Most big businesses can implement just about any change the federal government wants, but those small businesses are regulated out of business because it becomes too costly to comply with the demands.
We also need to take a real look at the tax code. I worked at the IRS in the business division for three years, and I am going to tell you that businesses are suffering in a very real way to stay afloat. If you aren’t a Walmart, Exxon, or other big business, you are on the verge of going out of business. I witnessed it with my own eyes.
My solution is to get rid of all forms of taxation and replace it with the Fair Tax. This is a point of purchase, or consumption tax on all new goods. This of course would exclude things like food, since that is a requirement to live, but all discretionary spending would have a sales tax (so to speak) placed on it.
This puts more power in the wallet of the person and ensures that the poor and middle class are not affected since the necessities are not taxed, but they keep 100% of what they earn. The more frugal you are, the more money you have.
Question: As we embark on what looks like another long chapter in the War on Terror, what will Hill’s role be? Do you feel that you can represent the base well and protect it from Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) elimination and cuts?
Before I address Hill Air Force Base’s role, I would like to state my opposition to what is happening in Iraq and Syria. I have been one of the “boots on the ground” as a Marine Corps infantryman and seen what American foreign policy leads to when we start intervening around the globe. The results are not pretty. I have been there when innocent people are caught in the crossfire and I lost twenty three men I served with in Iraq, only so that we can go back again? It’s absurd and it’s time we realize that we cannot get involved every time something happens around the world.
Now, as for Hill, since we are involved, obviously we are going to be the hub for the new F-22, which has successfully been involved in combat missions in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks. Since the Congress and President decided we are going to be involved in the conflict, Hill’s mission becomes very critical at this point to ensure our pilots have well maintained aircraft that accomplish the mission and get them back home to see their families.
As a veteran from the ground side of a military campaign, I know how important air support is, and Hill has one of the best groups in the armed forces. When you are pinned down by enemy fighters, those F-16s coming in are a lifesaver. Every member on Hill, civilian and Air Force, are vital to national security and making sure we get our beans, bullets, bandages and air support.
Question: Are you satisfied with current efforts to improve air quality in our state? If so, why, and if not, what do we need to do to improve it?
I am not satisfied with efforts the state has been making. I have an asthmatic step son and it is the same routine every winter: we will end up at the hospital several times for him to get breathing treatments.
Now, Congressman Bishop would like to blame it solely on geography, and to an extent, it is true. The basin does trap a lot of pollution, but we need to address the causes of that pollution to ensure people can breathe better.
Now, federally, there isn’t much more we can do. There are EPA regulations that are supposed to be followed, and I would have to assume that they are enforced. So what more can be done? I do have one thing I would like to do that would help lessen the impact, and it is in regards to federal buildings.
I would like to see every building the federal government uses in Utah fitted with solar paneling so that they produce more of their own electricity. I would also like to see a change on the lights in federal buildings. When I worked security at the Junction in Ogden, I would regularly see the IRS buildings and federal office building on 25th street. I worked graveyards and regularly saw lights remain on my entire shift, long after the last employees would leave. This causes unneeded electricity to be used, which not only impacts our air, but the wallets of the taxpayers. It’s real easy on that one: turn off the lights.
Question: If elected to Congress what could you do to improve education in Utah?
Education is so important, because our children literally are the future of our nation. What they learn today will impact our tomorrow. How do we address the future? By getting out of the way. We have spent so much time focusing on teaching children to pass a test (for money for the school) that we have stopped teaching them how to think, and instead teach them what to answer. This practice needs to stop.
We also need to stop having teachers be assessed by those tests. I have seen amazing teachers in my life step beyond the test and truly teach children, only to be chastised by the administration because that class didn’t deliver the results for more grant money. I’ve seen the opposite hold true as well, where teachers who only teach to the test are rewarded for essentially holding our children back.
We also need to have school districts be able to get rid of bad teachers. My brother told me a story of one of his teachers that essentially just handed a packet to the class and had them read on their own. No teaching, just reading a packet. That is not a teacher, and someone like that should be fired. On the flip side of this coin, good teachers need to be recognized often and publicly so they get the credit they deserve.
Finally, we need to address the problem of parental involvement with the student. A teacher can only do so much. Parents really need to step up and be involved with their kids. I think once the economy improves and one parent can again be home with the kids, things will get better, so the economy really ties into this since in many cases both parents work.
Question: If the case is accepted, how should the U.S. Supreme Court rule on Utah’s gay-marriage ban?
The Supreme Court really has no business being involved. Neither does any level or branch of government. The only role for government is contract enforcement when there is a harmed party. Two people signing a contract that they will take care of one another, regardless of their sexual preference, should have no government influence unless there is a breach of that contract like cheating, abuse, etc.
We cannot bar consenting adults from forming a contract that would allow for them to have protections given married individuals. It’s time for the argument of who gets to define marriage to be left up to the people, but no one gets to restrict a union.
Question: What would you ask your opponents?
Congressman Bishop: I would ask him why he only became fiscally responsible after President Bush left. I mean, when you go back to his beginning of holding office, he marched lock step with the Republican Party, getting a dismal rating of 44% by the New American. Now all of a sudden he’s the Tea Party, fiscal conservative champion? Sorry, but I have a longer term memory.
Donna McAleer: I would ask her what she honestly would do different than towing the same talking points offered by countless Democrats that have added to the gridlock and partisan politics in Washington, D.C., because as of now, I haven’t seen anything that counters what Democrats already do.Dwayne Vance: I’d ask him why he think we need another lawyer in Washington, D.C. It’s already infested with lawyers. We need more people of diverse career paths.