1. What’s the most rewarding job you’ve held?
Scott Schaben: “That depends on how you define rewarding. Monetarily I made more doing my last job than anything else. But rewarding in the sense of increasing knowledge for the way things are in the world or maturity wise? Then it was when I was in the Navy. One thing I gained out of the military experience was self-confidence. I also helped my mom around the house as a kid and that was rewarding because it taught me the value of hard work and discipline. I actually did a lot of work at home because I got myself in a lot of trouble growing up, so I spent a lot of time right next to my mom.”
2. First job you ever had?
Schaben: “I worked for my uncle sweeping his floors on Saturday morning. I know it sounds stupid, but I can sit here and look at a floor that looks clean and tell you if it’s clean or not because of stuff I picked up from my uncle. I was basically his right-hand man. I worked for him from the summer of eighth grade until I joined the Navy.”
3. Describe your worldview and what role that would play in your decisions as U.S. Senator:
Schaben: “There are so many decisions, but first off you have to think of is this law or whatever we’re working on at the right level? A lot of what the federal government is doing is stuff that could be done at the state level. Where it comes from a worldly view and how does that affect us, one of those things you have to pay attention to is you have to look at how your decisions can affect your allies and your enemies. Are you going to help your enemy? Are you running guns to help one ally but in turn that helps out an enemy? You have to keep your eye open for everything to come back and bite you in the butt on the international side. This goes for every option when passing bills and why we have a diverse Senate and House. You want somebody who has been around the block a time or two and can give you a different point of view of things to look out for. Even if it’s something you think will never happen or only has a one-percent chance of happening — when you’re talking a billion of instances with 300 million people, one percent is still a sizable number. So you have to research, not to sound negative, but you have to research every angle on how something could backfire on you before you do it. But most importantly is this the right level of government?”
4. What is the purpose of the federal government?
Schaben: “The purpose of the federal government is to protect peoples’ rights and to provide broad guidance for the states. Freedom of speech, for example, is very simple. Say whatever you want. Now, if states want to interpret that their own way, OK, but freedom of speech is freedom of speech. The right to bear arms is the right to bear arms. The federal government needs to be a lot smaller and should not be in the business of providing exceptions. If the federal government is providing exceptions, then the state level can find more exceptions. When the federal government makes a rule, it should be pretty clear cut.”
5. What books, family influences and/or historical figures have had the most influence on you?
Schaben: “My parents and my uncle. I spent a lot of time with them growing up.”
6. What are the issues you consider non-negotiable?
Schaben: “The Second Amendment is huge. In my utopic world balancing the budget, because it depends on the layout of the land. If you’re in the majority you can dig your heels in and that’s the rules. Every Republican I know of wants to balance the budget, so you’d have a majority there.”
7. What is the law and where does the law come from?
Schaben: “We’ve created our own laws, the people. Our laws are based off of our Constitution, so that’s where they come from. What is the law is whatever it is. Paying taxes is the law. Don’t kill your neighbor is the law.”
8. At what point do you believe a human life is guaranteed the legal protections of being an American citizen and what would you do to ensure those protections are provided?
Schaben: “You have to error on the side of caution when it comes to life. So to answer that you’d have to say at conception. So, to help protect it, you’ve got to keep your eyes open, whether it’s defunding anyone who has anything to do with abortion and making sure they don’t get a dime of government money or making sure if it’s a company that has its right to their own religious freedoms and that sort of stuff. If they jam something down the throat of religious freedom then (those folks) will jam it right back at you. That’s something we’re starting to see a little bit of is the Democrat playbook backfire on them now.”
9. A lot has changed under the current administration with regards to the definition of marriage. What’s your position and what is your end game for the debate?
Schaben: “The end game is, for me, would be for people to move beyond it and not get hung up on it. To me it opens up a Pandora’s box of painting the Republican Party the party of hate when we’re not the party of hate. DOMA got struck down, so what can be done in the senate? Our hands are pretty much tied. I served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. President Obama repealed it. It worked perfectly fine for eight years under George W. Bush because he wasn’t going to touch it.You have to address the issue. To me you’re not going to (pass DOMA again). What are you going to do? Pass it 32 times to have it get shot down? It’s not going to happen.”
10. What is your position on ObamaCare?
Schaben: “You do everything possible to scrap it. You do everything possible to hit the reset button. Nobody likes it. They themselves don’t like it. If this was so great and so needed we’d already have had it implemented. They wouldn’t be pushing it back.”
11. What about illegal immigration and the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill?
Schaben: “Any sort of path to citizenship — amnesty — whatever you want to call it, it’s all pointless until we have our immigration situation under control. It goes beyond border security. Our southern border is one thing, but look at all of our shoreline. We’ve got more shoreline than anybody. You look at the northern border — there are a lot of different ways to get into our country. So you have to look at the whole picture and you’ve got to include with that student visas, work visas, green cards. We have to get that all buttoned up tight. If your visa expires we need to know exactly where you are. We don’t have those guarantees, so this other stuff is a waste of time.”
12. Can we prevent more mass shootings at schools, malls and movie theaters through legislation while preserving the Second Amendment?
Schaben: “You can’t legislate safety in that respect. Murder has been illegal for hundreds of years. So you ban murder, well now are we going to ban bad murder or mass murder? It’s still murder. It’s still illegal. You can’t write a law that says we’re going to ban all mass shootings so now we’ll all be safe. You have to create your own safety. There’s lots of different ways to create your own safety, but more importantly there are ways to minimize casualties. There are ways to train yourself, your kids and your family to protect them if one of these situations happens. It’s no different than teaching fire safety at home.You can’t write a law that says no house fires.”
13. What about the EPA, climate change, cap and trade and that issue?
Schaben: “I’m a big believer in leaving stuff the way you found it. I understand we need clean drinking water and clean air, however, at the same time you can’t be far reaching and you can’t have things that don’t apply to everybody. You can’t have situations and rules that make it hard just to do business. You have to have a fine balance of what works. Look at soil samples and the texture of the soil. Dirt in Iowa is different than dirt in Indiana. If you would talk to a farmer in Indiana and bring him to Iowa he’d think Indiana’s dirt was good until they saw our dirt. We’ve got a big country. We’ve got to have solutions that don’t hurt business and progress. Do I believe the earth is warming? Yes. How much of an impact is from humans? You can’t put an exact percentage on it. Have humans had an impact? I’m sure they have; however, can we pass enough laws here in the U.S. to save the world? No. One of the things I learned when I was in the Navy overseas is back in the day quarter pounders came in Styrofoam containers. I remember when they switched here. I remember the first thinking ‘what is this?’ A few years later in Spain I was at McDonald’s. The same company and the same sandwich, but it came in a Styrofoam container. So we’re saving the earth in the U.S. but not saving the earth in Spain? It’s the same planet. A lot of other places are doing a lot more damage to the atmosphere, to the water and to the land than what we’re doing here in the United States.”
14. What about the IRS?
Schaben: “It’s a necessary evil. It’s easy to give out the sound byte to abolish the IRS until you have an answer that’s going to pass the Senate, the House and the presidency. And it has to appease the masses. I don’t want to say it’s a waste of time, but you have to really think about it and figure out how to fund yourself. Before you implement anything you have to think is the IRS inefficient, yeah. Here again is a government agency providing exceptions to the rules for certain people. Guess what, any time you have an exception to the rule, nobody likes it. But I don’t know if getting rid of it is the answer.”
15. Have you ever supported raising a tax and if so which ones? Are there any current taxes you would support increasing?
Schaben: “I’ve never supported raising any taxes. However, I have lofty goals. My goal is to somehow provide a path to solvency for our country, not just to balance the budget and stay $17 trillion in debt. That doesn’t cut it for me. So you can cut to a certain extent, but at a certain point you have to raise funds. How do you do that? Do you put tariffs on exports only to have everybody else tax you twice as hard? Are you going to have to look at a federal Internet sales tax? I don’t know. You look at all the ways to raise money — taxing, tariffs, fees — either way you’re giving money to the government. So how you go about raising money is a fine balance.”
16. What about the NSA and balancing security with our right to privacy?
Schaben: “I used to have top-secret security clearance. I don’t have it any more, but people should have a reasonable expectation of a right to privacy. Every time I open my computer and get on Google it makes me wonder what is the government finding out. This capability has been around for over a decade. To take it a step further, you look at one of the top shows on TV right now and it centers around the FBI hacking into everybody’s personal computers to track down the bad guys. That show is drawing a lot of viewers, but do the viewers even realize it’s a violation of privacy? If they can do it to a bad guy, they can do it to a nicer bad guy. I have a big problem with not having a reasonable expectation of privacy. The government has been able to do it for a long time, it’s just now they got caught. So now it’s a matter of how do you make sure it doesn’t happen or it doesn’t become lucrative (to leak information)? If you increase fines for criminals people say the government is being funded by criminals. OK, fine. But you have to have responsibility. People aren’t being held accountable.”
17. What about the situation in Egypt, which has brought to light the issue of foreign aid?
Schaben: “This is another prime example of knowing what you’re getting yourself into before you do it. It’s better to look at all the negative side effects or how things can backfire or how someone can be getting played. Is somebody sitting there acting like a friend to get your help only to end up helping out the enemy? The world is a very, very dangerous place. In that sense it’s good to have guys like the NSA around to know about the bad guys.”
18. What role should the federal government have in public education?
Schaben: “The federal government should have very little role. It should be determined by the states. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say we have a right to elementary school and four years of high school. The Department of Education is too big. For those of us who have been through high school and college and spent any amount of time in the real world, we have a pretty good idea of what kids need to learn and what they don’t need to learn.”
19. What’s the role of the courts and what is or what are some of the worst decisions in the Supreme Court’s history?
Schaben: “The role of the courts is to determine the constitutionality of law. It’s simple. It’s a balance for the legislative and executive branch. What’s the worst decision? It’s pretty obvious what they’re thinking because they have to write it. So you understand their philosophy and what their thinking is or was.The easy answer would be Roe v. Wade. The most recent answer would be striking down DOMA and sending California back their law. When you think about it, you understand what they’re thinking, so I can understand why some people think one way and some people think another way. Their job is to determine the constitutionality of (law).”
20. Favorite politician in U.S. history?
Schaben: “Out of fear of having somebody take your words and run on them I’m not going to answer that. I’m not the second coming of (President) Obama or Bill Clinton. Obviously I’m my own guy. At this point in the race it doesn’t matter because at this point of the race (the objective) is to win the primary.”