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Federal office questionnaire
Name: Brett Guthrie
Educational background: Bachelor's Degree, U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Master's Degree, Yale University
Work Experience: U.S. Army; U.S. Army Reserves; V.P. of Human Resources, Trace Die Cast
Family Information: Wife Beth, children Caroline, Robby, Elizabeth
Organizations (church, civic groups, etc.): Church of Christ
1. Why did you decided to run for Congress?
Our nation faces several serious challenges, most importantly the need to improve the economy. We must create an environment to grow our economy and give future generations a better America than what we inherited from our parents. We need Members of Congress who will put politics aside and find solutions to critical problems. I am the only candidate in this race who has created jobs, provided employee benefits, and really understands what it takes to get our economy moving again.
2. If you are elected, what would you consider your priorities during the next two years?
Congress must focus on growing our economy and creating jobs. We must ensure that employers have certainty in the business climate so they can resume creating jobs. Today, because of the out-of-touch Washington liberals, small businesses face health care legislation that will drive up costs, the looming threat of higher taxes, and a desire by the President and his congressional allies to levy a national energy tax. This is leading employers to hold back on hiring and we need to change that immediately. I also think we must reign in federal spending and work towards a balanced budget.
3. The economy remains a concern for many Americans and many Kentuckians. What can the federal government do, if anything, to encourage a recovery and to spur job creation?
The federal government is stifling job creation through higher taxes, a health care bill that drives up costs, and creating uncertainty in the business climate. My plan would restore certainty and stability to the business climate, and also provide job training so workers can acquire new skills and find better jobs. Congress adjourned without extending tax cuts for all taxpayers and small businesses, and we need to make those tax cuts permanent. Finally, we must not drive up energy costs through cap-and-trade. This legislation would be a disaster for Kentucky, yet President Obama and Speaker Pelosi continue to push for it. The federal government is out of control in many ways and it is hurting job growth.
4. It's been years since the federal government had a balance budget. What should be done to balance the budget again? Can you give some examples of changes you would propose or support?
The fiscal irresponsibility in Washington must end. We cannot continue to spend more than we take in and mortgage our children's futures for reckless, temporary spending. I support restoring non-defense federal spending to 2008 levels, which saves $100 billion in the first year and nearly $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Additionally, through the House Republican Conference's "You Cut" program, I have voted for over $130 billion in specific spending cuts on the House floor. At town hall meetings I attend across the second district I hear one thing over and over: we must cut spending and reign in the deficit. We are burdening future generations with crushing debt and it must stop now.
5. The health care reform bill that was approved last year divisive, to say the least. What is your opinion of the plan and what should be done regarding health care in the future?
I voted against the President Obama's and Speaker Pelosi's plan because it took the wrong approach to addressing challenges in our health care system. The Obama/Pelosi bill did nothing to address the high cost of health care and will actually cause insurance premiums to go up for many families. The bill also made dramatic cuts to Medicare, which I did not support. I strongly support repealing the health care bill and replacing it with common sense reforms that actually lowers costs for families. This was another example of Speaker Pelosi ramming through legislation that a vast majority of the American people opposed. I think this bill - along with several others - will ultimately be why the American people elect a conservative majority in Congress this November.
6. For the time being American troops remain in Afghanistan and Iraq. What should the military do in each of those countries? And, how long should the United States maintain its military presence in those countries?
I have visited our troops in Iraq and have seen first-hand the dedication of our men and women in uniform and the progress that continues to being made there. The War on Terror has no borders. We must continue our efforts to stabilize Iraq and aggressively pursue the terrorist network in Afghanistan, and wherever else they plot against the United States. As a graduate of West Point and a veteran of the 101st Airborne Division, I strongly support our troops and will fight in Congress to ensure they have the tools they need to succeed in their mission. I think tactical military decisions are best made by the commanders on the ground, like General David Petraeus.
7. Immigration reform is another issue that has been discussed for years. While many people are concerned about illegal immigration and security, migrant labor also provides most of the agricultural workforce. What steps should be taken with regard to immigration?
Any effort to address our nation's immigration problem must begin with securing our borders and enforcing our current immigration laws. After that, we should thoroughly examine the existing programs through which we accept migrant workers. We need to keep better track of those who are coming into the country so we know where they came from, where they are going, and when they are leaving. We also must do a better job helping farmers and businesses verify whether job applicants are in the country legally.
8. The federal government has departments for agriculture, commerce, education, energy, defense and transportation, just to name a few. What kind of involvement, if any, should the federal government have in these areas?
I am supportive of the Republican Conference's efforts to require that every bill include a reference to its constitutionality. I believe the federal government does have a role in providing for the national defense and in some areas of commerce. It is, however, explicit in the 10th Amendment that any responsibilities not given to the federal government are reserved for the states and the people. We must respect the rights of states and ensure that the federal government does not overreach. The Obama/Pelosi health care bill, for instance, was a vast overreach by the federal government and should be repealed and replaced with legislation that addresses the problem without placing sweeping mandates that have been challenged as being possibly unconstitutional.
9. What is the best way to meet our future energy needs, and should nuclear energy be included in those plans?
We need an all-of-the-above energy plan that focuses on reducing our dependence on foreign oil and utilizes Kentucky coal. We enjoy some of the lowest electricity rates in the country and cannot allow the Democrats' proposed cap-and-trade plan, which is nothing more than a national energy tax, to become law. Cap-and-trade would cause energy rates for Kentucky families and businesses to skyrocket, and it would cost Kentucky thousands of jobs. I do support nuclear energy as part of a comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy policy.
10. Are there any other issues you'd like to mention?
While Kentucky families have struggled, the current Congressional leadership has spent the last two years spending too much tax money, running up huge deficits, and proposing regulations and legislation that hurt job creation. We must reverse this climate of uncertainty and enact policies that will grow our economy and encourage job creation.
This election is a choice between the Obama/Pelosi direction for our country and a more conservative path that focuses on restraining spending, keeping taxes low, and encouraging economic growth. I strongly oppose what Speaker Pelosi has been doing in the House and believe most people in the Second District are ready to replace her with more conservative leadership. If you are unhappy with Speaker Pelosi and want to send a strong message to the President that you disapprove of his policies, then vote for me in the November election. I have a plan that would actually spur job creation and help workers acquire new training and skills.
11. Anything else you would like voters to know about you?
I first ran for Congress because I was hopeful about what I could do for my children and future generations. It has become increasingly evident that strong leadership in Congress is necessary to get our country back on track. I have steadfastly opposed the Obama/Pelosi agenda of out-of-control spending, cap-and-trade legislation, overreaching federal regulations, and the burdensome and costly health care bill. I do support common sense policies that will improve our economy. I also support new congressional leaders who will move our country in the right direction.
I am proud to have several endorsements in my campaign. The National Right to Life PAC has endorsed me because of my 100 percent pro-life voting record. I was honored to be endorsed by the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police for standing up for law enforcement. And I was named a "Friend of Farm Bureau" recently for my pro-agriculture positions. I think my record and values match the values of most people in the second district.
I always say that political offices belong to the people, not the politicians. I am running an aggressive campaign that is communicating with as many voters as we can about our pro-growth agenda. This is a choice between more of the same anti-growth policies of Pelosi and Obama, versus a pro-growth agenda that can get our nation back on track.