Wednesday morning prior to his debate with Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA) in Shenandoah in Iowa’s Third Congressional District Race I interviewed Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA) in his campaign office in Urbandale, IA to discuss his views of the race and where he stands on particular issues. You can watch the full interview above. When I asked him should he be sent back to Washington, DC to represent the newly drawn Iowa 3rd Congressional District what would his top priority be. He said that jobs, the economy and debt would be in his primary focus. “When we look at the $16 Trillion (in debt) we’ve got to have a dramatic change in long term direction for this country and that means addressing mandatory spending in the budget, tax policy that encourages job growth, getting this economy going again to provide certainty for the job creators – the small business owners out there,” Congressman Latham said.
Congressman Latham also addressed spending cuts, but didn’t specify particular programs that he would cut. He said he would look at each program and evaluate their worth. He discussed how the federal government could be made more efficient and how he proposed doing that. “I would much rather reform the way the Federal government works,” Congressman Latham said. “I have a bill called the ‘Less Government Act’ which actually would put in place government-wide practices which have been extraordinarily successful in the private sector and apply it to government and we can save at least 25 percent of the administrative costs which is hundreds of billions of dollars.”
He also stated that he is against permanent entitlement spending, and looked at his Cash for Clunkers vote with regret, but said at the time local car dealers were “under siege by the administration” as they were picking winners and losers.
He also favors regulatory reform and has a bill that would create a commission who would “clear the brush.” He also favors that any agency that creates a regulation which has an impact on our economy of $100 million or greater would need to justify it with real numbers. He believe there needs to be transparency in regulation making, and he believe Congress should vote regulations up or down. Latham said that unfortunately Congress doesn’t get into the nitty gritty of a bill and instead inserts which he deems the most dangerous words in any piece of legislation – “the Secretary shall determine.”
With energy policy Latham favors continuing wind energy tax credits, but believe they should be phased out over time. He also believes that we should pursue all forms of energy in order to achieve independence. He scoffed at President Obama’s claim that energy production has increased due to his policies. He noted that the Obama administration has issued 50% fewer permits for exploration than the Bush Administration has. He noted the production increase is happening on state controlled and private land. Congressman Latham said that the Obama administration “have done everything they can to stand in the way of energy independence in this country” citing shutting down the Keystone pipeline, EPA regulations and a decrease in federal land permits.
With education he favors state and local control. “I really think that we’ve got to bring the power and control back to the state and certainly to the local school district,” Congressman Latham stated. “That has been the strength of education in Iowa ever since they settled here in Iowa.” He is concerned about the fact that while school districts’ revenue only consists of anywhere from 5 to 7 percent of Federal funds that they have to deal with regulations of which 70 to 80 percent come from Washington, DC.
He also plans to support a prolife agenda by making sure that the Mexico City Policy is enforced, and federal funding for abortion is defunded. He also said one of the primary taxes would be repeal Obamacare which he said has been an assault on religious liberty through it’s various mandates.
Congressman Latham also said that by the United States’ leading from behind that we’re losing our credibility in places like Libya of which he noted he still hasn’t seen any policy coming from the Administration toward them. He believes that we haven’t gotten the full story on the Benghazi attack and that the Administration is sending mixed signals to everybody as far as who the United States stands behind. He would support any possible way to bring those responsible to justice should they be identified. Regarding Syria he doesn’t support military action, but believes the United States needs to send the message that we support the people trying to get rid of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who has been a brutal dictator and a friend to Iran.
Regarding Iran he also said that should Israel decide to bomb Iran’s nuclear reactor that the United States should support and back their decision. Speaking briefly about Afghanistan that if we don’t have a clear mission or strategy for victory, and that if victory can’t be defined which he said seems to be the case then he supports an immediate withdrawal of troops instead of just having them over there biding time until the scheduled pullout.
Prior to my interview Congressman Latham and Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J. Spiker presented an award to John Condo who has made 25,000 phone calls on behalf Iowa Republicans. I spoke with him, Spiker and Congressman Latham regarding the importance of grassroots volunteerism.