Mark Hansen, a Council Bluffs business owner, is running in a contested Republican primary in Iowa Senate District 8. The winner on June 7th will have the opportunity to run against Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs).  Iowa Senate District 8 includes most of Council Bluffs and Carter Lake.

Hansen has volunteered with numerous campaigns ranging from school board to the U.S. Presidency. Hansen has been a member of the Pottawattamie County Republicans representing the 12th precinct.  He has also been elected as a delegate through the convention process and has served on the rules committees at the district and state levels.  In 2012 he served the state of Iowa as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Hansen graduated from Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, and graduated from Coe College as a double major in economics and business administration. Hansen has spent his entire career in the private sector.  Before becoming a managing partner of Rodeo Saloon, he spent the previous decade working his way up the corporate ladder at TD Ameritrade spending most of that time as a senior broker.

This is the first time Hansen has run for office.

Hansen is the second of four brothers, all of which are Eagle Scouts.  His father is a retired union electrical technician and his mother ran a small business, a dance studio where she taught what seemed to be the daughters of everyone in town. Although he may have picked up a few dance moves in his younger years, he moved on to other activities including soccer, cross country, track, speech, trumpet, and is even known to pick up a karaoke microphone.  He has a younger brother who serves on the Council Bluffs Community School District School Board.

Hansen completed a questionnaire that Caffeinated Thoughts sent.

Why do you want to serve as a state legislator?  

Honestly, I wouldn’t say I want to serve as a state legislator as much as I see no alternative to making the needed changes to our state government without running for office.  I believe the only people who truly want to serve as state legislators are those seeking personal power and personal opportunity.  The power I seek is to regain personal liberty and personal responsibility.  I’m unhappy with the state government dictating how to live my life and run my business.  Sen. Gronstal has served long enough and it is time for him to pursue other opportunities.

Describe your worldview and what role that would play as a state legislator:  

I believe that a free market system is far superior to a government micromanaged system.  However; there are times when government may act as a convenience.  In those situations, it is important to ask, “Can this issue be handled by the family?”  “Can this issue be handled by the church or local government?”  If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” the state government should stay out of the issue.  I also believe the federal government has crossed the lines of constitutional authority and it is up to the us to fight and reclaim our rights.

Your top three issues of concern are?  

My top three issues of concern are the past, the present, and the future.  History is written by the winners, but just because they may have won, doesn’t mean they were right.  The past has created many pieces of bad legislation based off propaganda written at the time.  The private sector is being held back by laws written 50, 80, or 100 years ago which may or may not be relevant to the current society.  We need to roll up our sleeves and update difficult legislation to take our government to the year 2016.  

In the present, we are seeing falling agriculture tax revenue but higher spending demands.  We are seeing higher levels of debt but lower return on savings.    Although we have plenty of issues we can discuss economically and may be stable for now, I don’t expect it to last much longer.  Our state government is being run with half the people walking along the left side of a train track, while the others are walking along the right, but no one is warning of the freight train barreling down at full speed.  We still have time to fix things, but the status quo condition or idea of a bigger, more powerful, top down state government of ever higher spending and higher taxes will eventually end in disaster.  

So what about the future?  If a large market correction happens, do we truly believe that our current government pension programs will weather the storm?  I don’t.  We need to stop trying to predict the future and set policies that don’t rob future generations for present day gains.

What is your position on education, in particular Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, Iowa Core and high stakes testing?  

Our current education system is flawed.  I don’t understand why some person in Washington D.C. or some person in Des Moines is telling parents and teachers how best to educate a child.  Most likely, neither of these individuals have met many if not any of the children in question.  We elect local school boards, but yet they have to ask for the state’s permission to do anything.  This needs to end.  Although I personally oppose forcing schools to adopt Common Core, Iowa Core etc. if the local schools wish to adopt a program, feel free.  With advancements in technology, I expect more home based education and more experimentation.  We need to find ways to keep the cost of education down while improving the ability for future generations to succeed.

How do you define local control in education?  

Children are the responsibility of their parents or guardians.  As such it should be up to these individuals to insure basic needs and education of children are met.  Local schools should act as a tool to assist, but studies have shown parental involvement is key to success.

When does someone become a person and at what point should they be granted all constitutional protections of a person under the law?  

Although an opportunity for life starts at conception, I believe a level of sustainability is required to be considered a person.  A person should be guaranteed all protections as soon as implantation of a fertilized egg occurs.  Legally, this allows for contraceptives including the Plan B pill.

Do you support recently passed legislation in the Iowa House allowing kids under 14 to use handguns with parental supervision:  

Absolutely.  Kids should be taught gun safety.  I believe gun owning parents are intelligent enough to know when their children are ready to learn how to properly use firearms.   

Do you support Constitutional carry and the Second Amendment:  

Yes, I support Constitutional carry and the Second Amendment.  I also support Stand Your Ground and the Castle Doctrine.  Protecting yourself is an unalienable right.  If a person is deemed too dangerous to own a weapon and live peaceable in society, they should be in prison.

Do you support raising any taxes. And, have you supported raising any taxes in the past? If so, which ones?

In general I don’t support tax increases.  In the past, I have supported local bond issues for specific projects with sunset clauses i.e. schools, a veterans affairs building.  

What will you do as a state legislator to lessen the tax burden on farmers and small businesses?  

The burden for farmers and small businesses would be better lessened by removing restrictions on operation than by small manipulations of the tax code.  When the previous session passed a business property tax reduction, it did nothing for my business as my landlord kept the extra profit instead of lowering my rent.  If we focus on shrinking the amount of restrictions on the private sector, we will shrink government spending and eventually be able to lower tax rates.

Do you support traditional marriage and is there anything you hope to do as a state legislator regarding marriage and how?  

The government is an immoral entity and should not have control over moral issues.  I don’t believe that a man wishing to marry a woman with church and family permission should have to ask the permission of the state.  We need to end marriage licenses in Iowa as it is another example of an outdated law that should have never been created.

What is your position on Christians refusing service at same-sex weddings?  

As a business owner, I find it counterproductive to refuse customers.  The exception to this rule is customer behavior.  If a customer is detrimental to the business due to behavior, they should be shown the door.  

What will you do as legislator, if anything, to strengthen religious liberty?  

The biggest issue to religious liberty is the gag order placed on ministers.  There are many politically questionable subjects that preachers should feel free to share to their congregations without fear of sanctions.  

Do you support allowing Syrian refugees into Iowa?  

One of my favorite members of the US House of Representatives, Justin Amash, is a 2nd generation citizen of Syrian decent, and I don’t believe a total shutdown of immigration from the middle east is needed.  But before we allow people to assimilate into our society, it would be perfectly reasonable to put them through a vetting process.  We should expect refugees to come as settlers, not as immigrants.  We should expect to only need to offer a hand up, not a hand out.  And most importantly, we should make sure the safety of our citizens is given priority.

What types of pro-life legislation would you support?

I believe the only bill that should be passed is a personhood bill.  Incremental change on life issues has a tendency to accept the idea that abortion is legally acceptable.  

Should taxpayer money pay for Planned Parenthood?  

If Planned Parenthood continues to perform abortions, sell baby parts, or continue a number of other immoral activities, they should not receive tax dollars.  

In what circumstances would you go against the leadership of your own caucus if elected?  

If the Republican caucus decides to continue a policy of tax increases, corporate subsidies (I support tax breaks), higher spending, or dictation of people’s personal liberty, I’ll most likely find myself eating alone in the cafeteria.  

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