As tuition costs rise, what, if anything, would you do to make college more affordable?
Moving forward — and you’re already seeing this forming — parents and students are going to become aware of more options outside of the traditional four year degree. Trade schools, two year associates degrees, professional schools, a private education, even online degrees are all going to be viable options for students that want to find specific careers.
As a congressman, I’d work on policies that would allow for more options for higher-ed and more healthy competition among the competing models so that education is really curtailed and aimed towards the individual in that particular career that he or she wants to pursue.
What is your stance on “Obamacare”?
The proponents of the Affordable Care Act say that it’s going to lower the cost of insurance for working class families and increase coverage, but both of these remain to be seen. So I’m worried about implementing the Affordable Care Act here in Minnesota because what we have in Minnesota is already working decently when you compare it to the rest of the country.
In totality, I think that a lot of the aspects of Obamacare just aren’t going to achieve its objectives, so overall I’m against it.
What direction should America go regarding Afghanistan?
I’d be in favor of defunding the war and bringing our troops home immediately and bringing them home with honor.
I believe they accomplished a mission many years ago, and by us staying there longer we’re just complicating the problem. It’s time to let the Afghan people decide their destiny as a country.
What role do you think the U.S. should play in foreign affairs, particularly Iran and Israel?
I believe that there is a significant and historic relationship between Israel and the United States. I believe that Israel is a key ally of the United States and we should come to the defense of Israel if Israel is attacked in its own borders.
I don’t want another war with Iran. There is no threat right now, so I don’t think that we need to do anything drastic and we don’t need to do anything aggressive in order to instigate another war.
In November, Minnesotans will vote whether to constitutionally define marriage as solely between one man and one woman. What is your stance on gay marriage?
In terms of the actual amendment, I think that it’s a good thing that the people of Minnesota are going to be deciding this issue. It’s an issue that strikes close to home for a lot of people. I feel that the people of Minnesota are very well-educated and sensitive on this issue so it’s a good thing for the people to decide on the state level.
Students have cited the economy as one of their main concerns. What would you do to ensure a stable American economy as they search for jobs after school?
I believe the best thing that we can do for … students to get jobs after they graduate starts with Congress.
We need people in Congress who are willing to collaborate and work together to build policies for certainty in the future. That means tax reform.
My feeling is let the Bush tax cuts expire and let’s usher in tax reform immediately so that we can keep taxes low for the middle class.
Can the U.S. achieve energy independence? If so, what steps do we need to take for that to happen and how long do you think it will take?
The steps that we can take include finding the areas like North Dakota where [we’ve found a lot of oil]. We need to go after more areas like that. I’m not quite in favor of offshore drilling, especially offering foreign companies contracts for that.
Also alternative energy — I believe we have to advance our research and development on the university system level to explore alternative energy methods and also to find ways that they can be marketable and successful.
What is the most important issue our country must deal with today and how do you plan to address it?
The number one threat to our national security is the national debt. There’s no doubt about it — it’s a ticking time bomb. This cannot go on for much longer. If it does, the whole debt level is going to break. Congress must act with a balanced approach and a cooperative approach, which they have failed to do up until this point. [That’s] why I think we need new representation in Congress.
We need members to be focused in on ways that are going to increase revenues and also responsibly, compassionately reduce spending. We absolutely have to do both of those and it’s going to require people working together and compromising on this.
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