Q: How should we hand the immigration problem with Mexico? What do you think of the Arizona law?
We must secure our borders. The failure to accomplish this is one of the biggest failures of the federal government and both political parties. Additionally, we must not grant amnesty to those who enterred this country illegally.
Due to the failure of the federal government to address the serious problem of illegal immigration, states have been forced to take action. I worked with my colleagues in the Missouri legislature to pass strong legislation on the issue in recent years. I support an aggressive approach to this problem, but we must also protect the Constitutional rights of all Americans who are in this great nation legally.
Q: How can the Congress promote economic growth and jobs?
By getting government out of the way. Government does not create beneficial jobs, it can only create a climate in which Americans have the confidence to take the necessary risks to create jobs for others in our communities. Washington must stop creating uncertainty among job creators and must stop pursuing policies that punish those who risk their own earnings to create jobs for others.
Washington must keep the tax burden low and leave more money in the hands of those who will create jobs with it. The burden of such flawed policies as the recent government takeover of healthcare and proposals like "cap & tax" leave job creators unable to grow, out of concern that the government will be taking the earnings that could be spent on additional payroll.
Q: What can Congress do to make our education system more effective?
The best thing that Congress could do is return education to the state and local level. The federal Department of Education should be eliminated. The people of our local communities know better than bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., how to teach our kids and use our resources.
Q: Earmarks: what do you think about them and why?
I am against Earmarks under the current appropriations process used by Congress. We have seen too many times that the system can be corrupted and lead to wasteful spending and projects. Last year, I called for a moratorium on all earmarks until the spending process can be reformed to bring openness, transparency and accountability.
Q: Health care: where do we go from here now that the U.S. has reformed health care?
If elected to Congress I have pledged to fight to repeal the harmful components of the recently passed healthcare legislation. While we do need to work to make healthcare more affordable in America, we are still the best nation in the world for healthcare. We must work to solve our problems without destroying all of the parts that work so well.
We must restore patients to the driver's seat in their healthcare decisions, freeing them to shop the marketplace for the best quality care at the best price. The bureaucracies of government and insurance companies have displaced patient's from this position and hurt competition.
Q: What is your opinion of drilling for oil in national park land and how do you prevent another Gulf oil slick?
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a terrible disaster with serious consequences, but we should not halt the domestic exploration for oil and natural gas based on this event. Gas prices are again inching toward $3 a gallon, and probably beyond. America must have an “all of the above strategy” to free ourselves from our current dependence on foreign oil. We cannot continue buying oil, sending money to people that hate us, or we will see ourselves facing much more severe problems down the road.
Q: Discuss the balance between personal privacy and individual freedoms versus protection from terrorists.
It is important to be aggressive in discovering and preventing terrorist activity. It is also important to protect the fundamental freedoms of American citizens. The government must be careful to strike the appropriate balance to protect the safety and freedoms of Americans, which will be an ongoing, difficult task.
Q: How can our government realistically cut the federal debt?
In Missouri, we are forced by the State Constitution to have a balanced budget. During my service in the state legislature, I have worked through many tough choices to reach that balanced budget. Although it is difficult, the balanced budget requirement forces government to live within its means like many American families and businesses.
The federal government needs to remember that it does not earn the money it spends. It simply takes money from those who do earn it. The federal government must drastically cut spending and implement a balanced budget amendment on the federal level before we can even address our debt problem.
Next, we have to look at all aspects of the Federal Government and start making the tough choices like we have done in Missouri. Our debt is at such a level that is will soon be a national security risk. It will take generations to pay off our current levels of debt, but if we grow our economy and slash spending, it can be done.
Q: How can the federal government reform Social Security?
Social Security must be treated as a trust fund. Washington politicians must stop robbing the fund to pay for other things. We must be sure there are resources to make good on the promise made to all who have been forced to pay into the system. I also support giving workers the choice to invest a portion of their withholdings into other programs that offer a better return.