I was asked recently by one of the people interested in my campaign to illustrate the differences between myself and Congressman Bishop, essentially why the people of Utah’s 1st District should vote for me. I do believe that is something important, and I will outline what some of our key differences are as well as areas we are similar.
First, I would like to address that I do applaud Congressman Bishop for many of the things he has done for America and the state of Utah. I do not look at Congressman Bishop as an enemy, and that should be made clear. He has championed many causes that do benefit our country and our state, especially in the area of Utah lands. He has been right at the forefront of ensuring Utah gets to decide what to do with the lands within our borders. That is important, because the people of Utah know what to do with the land better than the federal government. So, especially on that issue, I appreciate the fight he puts up for us in that regard, and is something I would continue once elected.
Congressman Bishop and I are both strong supporters of a secure border. We cannot even begin to address reforms to the immigration system until our borders are secure. I have not seen a plan submitted by Mr. Bishop as of yet, but I do know he wants to include a deal to have access to protected lands along the border that are currently off limits to our agents. I fully support that measure.
One thing I would I do differ with Bishop on is the use of our military at the border. One of the primary missions of the United States military is to keep our country safe. I feel that we send far too many of our troops abroad to various countries, when they could be better utilized here at home. I would like to take a serious look at the status of forces across the globe, and see where we would be able to bring troops home. I would then propose a border rotation schedule for military units to assist in the patrolling of the border. We are already paying the military, and they can receive vital real word experience from assisting in the security of the borders. This will also help alleviate the burden on our Border Patrol Agents, as there is currently not enough man power to secure the border. By utilizing the military, there would not need to be any further budget increases to meet man power requirements.
Energy and Environment
I believe that American resources need to be utilized plain and simple. The Department of Energy was created in order to decrease our dependence on foreign energy sources, and that mission has apparently failed. Rob Bishop has been fairly strong in his regard to using the resources we have available, and has supported an energy policy that would unleash our ability to be more self-sustaining.
I would like to take things a few steps further.
- I would push for the defunding and elimination of the Department of Energy. Many people have said that this would be a bad idea, but I have a method behind this. The Federal Government, I believe, would actually benefit from centralized decisions on drilling and energy being removed. (1) The states having the power to decide to drill and control the process would create an environment like we are currently seeing in North Dakota. If each state were allowed the opportunity, there could be a huge boom in state economies. Essentially it would be up to the states to decide how competitive they would like to be in the market for energy. This will help create an environment where innovation and new technologies are created. (2) This would remove a large chunk of our budget (2012 was $25.7 billion). The money used for nuclear weapons maintenance would be instead given to the DoD and personnel involved in that process transferred under the Defense Department.
- I would oppose any new attempts at granting green companies federal tax dollars. The private market allows for the best innovations, and when money is essentially given away, it is more likely to be abused. This was evident in the $90 billion given to various green energy companies that went belly up. While I do support clean energy, and I know eventually we will have the ability to produce cleaner energy, it takes time and is a process you cannot force by spending more money on it. If a company wishes to pursue the exploration of new technologies, they should seek private donations from people highly interested in the development of these sorts of products.
- When it comes to the current technologies available like solar and wind, it seems that many people and environmental groups have had a not in my backyard mentality. They sit and scream about us needing to produce cleaner energy, but when it comes to the actual implementation, there are blocks set up by these organizations. While I certainly care about the environment, I do not take the same approach. As a Boy Scout we were taught if you pack it in, you pack it out. I am also the kind of person that if you cut down a tree, you plant a new one in its place. We certainly do need to make sure that the impact to the environment is as small as possible, but in order to have the technology in place, we have to allow it to happen.
This is an area that Rob Bishop has been proposing ideas, many of which I agree, and while he has been fighting for reforms in the government, there are areas I would like to specifically address as to what I would like to see once elected.
- I will introduce a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. In my plan, if a budget is not passed, the first thing to go is congressional pay. There will be no checks issued to members of the House, Senate, or their staff until a budget is passed. This is something that clearly needs to be done, since we have gone so long with continuing resolutions being passed to fund the government. This is unsatisfactory and must be stopped.
- I will introduce a new pay limit on government salaries. For far too long people in the government, especially from more liberal ideologies, have talked about what’s fair. Well, my proposal is simple: (1) No member of Congress should make more than $60,000 per year. That is still a livable wage and also still more than the average American citizen. (2) No appointee will make more than $75,000 per year. There is no reason why government should make that much, when similar positions in the private sector make considerably less. It is the taxpayers’ money and it should be a service to the people to when selected, not a perk filled job. (3) The President and Vice President’s salaries should be cut in half. Again, you are elected to serve.
- I will introduce an amendment to the Constitution for term limits on office. It has become a career for many politicians where they are spending their lives in office. It is time for this to end. I believe that when office holders realize they will need to go back to a job at some point, they will govern more effectively knowing that what they do in DC will affect them in the very near future once back into the private sector. My proposal is as follows: 5 terms for the House, 2 terms for the Senate. That will still allow for 10 total years as a Congressman and 12 years as a Senator. This will make sure that the focus is not on the next election as well, but doing the job you were sent to do.
- I would like to propose a law that no Congressman or Senator can have family or friends apply for contracts within the Federal Government. Even McDonalds has rules like this with contests where family cannot participate. I feel that this will combat the sweetheart deals that many family members get. Essentially their family member in government gets to lobby on their behalf and has a vote to appropriate money. I do not think this is to the benefit of the American people.
- I would also like to introduce a law that essentially would make sure that any law passed by Congress would apply to its members. We have seen many times Congressmen and Senators proposing laws that do not apply to them, or after passed, exempt themselves from with follow up legislation. The way I look at it is, if it is a law good enough for the American people, it is a law good enough for members of the government.