The half dozen candidates seeking the Republican party’s nomination in Iowa’s third congressional district met in a televised forum this evening, voicing unanimous support for gun rights and unanimous disdain for the Environmental Protection Agency. Candidate Monte Shaw, who is executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, argued there are few policy differences among the six candidates, so voters should evaluate the “skill set” each candidate would take to Washington.
“I have a track record of finding ways to bring people together and getting real solutions done,” Shaw said. “We can’t just vote no while our economy and our country goes over the cliff. We need real people to come together and turn this so we can have a better future for our kids.”
Candidate Robert Cramer, a construction company executive from Johnston, said he “won’t back down on social issues,’ like his opposition to same-sex marriage, but his priority as a member of congress would be to balance the federal budget.
“This election is about jobs, jobs and jobs,” Cramer said, “so I think if we can get this economy turned around and do that by balancing the budget, by eliminating some of these crazy regulations and removing that fog of uncertainty and allowing the private sector to really take off, that’ll help everybody.”
Matt Schultz, a former Council Bluffs city councilman who is serving as Iowa’s secretary of state, repeatedly called for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.
“And I believe that we should pass the ‘Penny Plan’ to actually pass the budget. That’s cutting a penny from every dollar of federal spending and capping spending at 18 percent of (the Gross Domestic Product),” Schultz said. “We could balance the budget in three years and start paying down the debt after that.”
Brad Zaun, a state senator who once served as mayor of Urbandale, argued for term limits.
“I will go out there to do a job, to make tough decisions,” Zaun said. “…There’s too many people out there making careers out of this and worrying about their reelection. We have got to stop this irresponsibility that’s going on in Washington, D.C.”
David Young, a former chief of staff to Senator Chuck Grassley, said near the end of the 90-minute forum that many of the country’s “biggest problems” need a “bipartisan approach.”
“You can be an honest broker and come to the table and stand your ground and you don’t necessarily have to compromise your conservative principles,” Young said. “…I’ve got my issues with the government. I don’t want to blow it up, but I do want to take a stick and whack it.”
Joe Grandanette, a physical education teacher from Des Moines who was the other candidate to participate in tonight’s event, joined in criticizing the culture in the nation’s capital.
“The rest of my opponents are political insiders,” Grandanette said in his opening statement. “How’s that working for us in Washington, D.C.?”
The forum was sponsored by KCCI News Channel 8 in Des Moines, and aired live in prime time, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.