Cravaack on the issues

The Minnesota Newspaper Association distributes a survey every two years, asking for feedback from candidates for congressional and judicial offices. Below are the complete responses from 8th District Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack.

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.

Incumbent Chip Cravaack, 8th Congressional District, Minnesota

Name: Chip Cravaack
Occupation: U.S. Representative (MN-8), former Navy captain and airline pilot
City of residence: North Branch, MN
Education: United States Naval Academy (’81), M.A.-Education from University of West Florida
Elected and civic experience: U.S. House of Representatives (MN-8) 2011-current, former Northwest Airlines union representative, former PTO President.
Family: Wife: Traci, Sons: Nick, Grant

Top priority: If elected, what is your top priority for 2013? Why are you running for office?

I am seeking office to represent the good people of Minnesota’s 8th District. I am concerned about the direction of our country. When I ran for office in 2010, I knew Washington was broken. When I joined Congress, I realized just how dysfunctional Washington really is. With runaway spending and an ever-encroaching federal government, it’s more important now than ever to send representatives to Washington that will fight for common-sense solutions to the challenges facing our country, including sound economic policies that will incentivize job growth for Minnesota workers and their families.

Right now, the most important issue facing citizens in the 8th District is jobs and the economy. Importantly, I am running for office to bring about a more conducive environment for economic growth and job creation, as well as achieve long-term fiscal sustainability and debt reduction. While our anemic economy gave rise to the slowest recovery since the Great Depression and federal unemployment above 8 percent for 43 straight months, it’s time for our representatives in Washington to support policies that will turn our economy around and bring quality jobs back to our district. Mining wages are some of the best paying jobs in our district, and coupled with our strong timber harvesting and tourism industry, the 8th District is blessed with rich resources and hardworking citizens that are ready to move our economy forward.

Foreign affairs: Do you support the current schedule for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan? Should Congress and the president pursue additional trade pacts? If so, with whom?

Because our troops haven’t been given the ability to complete the mission in Afghanistan, I am in favor of bringing them home as quickly as we can. I support expanding free and fair trade with our allies and enforcing the rules against chronic trade cheaters.

Health care: 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? If you support changes, be specific.

The President’s health care plan should be repealed and then replaced with patient-centered reforms whereby you can keep your health insurance policy from employer-to-employer and state-to-state. Such a plan would cover pre-existing conditions, would continue coverage of dependents to age 26, and would maintain lower costs for prescription drugs. We need to reform our tort laws to minimize frivolous lawsuits which drive up the cost of care. In addition, hospitals should be required to disclose the costs of the services they provide. This will give patients more information in managing their own health care.

Education: What role should the federal government play in ensuring that U.S. graduates can compete in the global economy?

The federal government should ensure accurate data is available to parents on the performance of schools and serve as a repository of the best practices of the best schools. The federal government should also allow innovation to take place in schools, preventing entrenched special interests from shutting down efforts to reform educational opportunities for students in areas with failing schools. Also, in terms of federal action, I passed legislation (H.R. 5544) to increase the Minnesota school trust fund through a land exchange to free trapped school trust lands from within the BWCA.

Energy: Do you agree with the science of global warming? Should the United States be more or less aggressive in its pursuit of renewable energy sources?

The United States should be aggressive in pursuing all energy sources, including renewable energy in parts of the country where it is cost-effective and makes sense. We should build the Keystone XL pipeline immediately.

Social Security/Medicare: Should these entitlement programs be left status quo, or should be they scrutinized for budget cuts?

Social Security is a program that was promised to our seniors and those that have paid into the program for years. For those people, we must live up to our commitment of Social Security as an earned benefit. As for Medicare, we must protect our commitment to our seniors and those nearing retirement. The bipartisan plan in the House ensures that Medicare will be around for future generations. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office shows that if no changes are made, the program could be bankrupt in as soon as 10 years. This program is too important ignore, and we must act now to save the program.

Economy: The national economy remains sluggish. What steps do you support to stimulate the growth of jobs?

The best thing the federal government can do to stimulate our economy is to allow individuals and small business owners to grow and expand their businesses by lowering taxes, reducing regulation, and promoting a pro-growth economic environment. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and the federal government has been too involved for too long with excessive restrictions and red tape. Only when we allow employers to reinvest and hire new employees will we see sound economic development.

Agriculture: Should changes be made to current agriculture subsidies? Be specific.

We should preserve a safety-net for America’s farmers by limiting subsidies for large-agribusiness. I voted for the Blumenauer amendment to H.R. 1 that would have capped agricultural subsidies at $250,000.

Immigration: What should be the tenets of any immigration reform legislation?

1. Do not reward or incentivize breaking the law.

2. Secure borders to prevent illegal immigration.

3. Simplify the legal immigration process and attract the best and brightest to cast their lot with America.

Other issues: Are there other issues you want to address? No response.