Leonard Boswell met with residents of the new 3rd Congressional District over the weekend in what may be seen as the first baby steps of the 2012 Congressional campaign season in western Iowa. The weekend’s stops were all within the newly-fashioned 3rd Congressional District and outside the boundaries of the current 3rd Congressional District, which Boswell now represents. Saturday’s stops included Atlantic, Corning, and Creston.
In Creston, Rep. Boswell was greeted by a friendly crowd (Boswell at one point described the weekend’s events as a weekend trip “driving around to see old friends”) of 20-30 who were eager to hear from their new candidate. The event lasted just over an hour and a half, with Boswell passing up several opportunities to make himself appear more liberal, as well as several opportunities to directly address his likely opponent, Rep. Tom Latham.
However, Boswell did take some fairly wide brush strokes on policy measures. Some highlights:
Government spending – Boswell wasted no time making very clear that that he feels much of the blame for the fiscal situation should lay with the Bush administration. With regard to current budget negotiations, Boswell made a clear reference to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, saying “We don’t have to take Medicare to zero.”
Afghanistan – Boswell, a Vietnam veteran (something he mentions often) was repeatedly very clear about his desire to bring American forces back from Afghanistan. While relating several incidents from a previous trip to Afghanistan – including meeting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and members of the Afghan parliament – Boswell reiterated his position that it is time to leave Afghanistan, saying “I think it’s time to come home from Afghanistan.”
Energy – Citing current oil and gas prices, Boswell praised the renewable fuels industry very highly, making particular mention of an algae biofuels plant in Shenandoah that he thought looked promising. While eliminating dependence on foreign oil was also a major theme, no mention was made of offshore drilling or domestic oil production.
Obamacare – When pressed, Rep. Boswell defended the liberal record of the Pelosi Congress, particularly and repeatedly citing the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). During one exchange regarding critics and reception of the new health law, Boswell said “I make no apologies fro working very hard on the Affordable Care Act.”
High-speed rail – When questioned about infrastructure and high-speed rail in particular, Boswell was optimistic, saying that with a little cooperation from Governor Branstad’s office “I think it’s going to happen.”
Taxes – Directly questioned about whether he supported a sales tax on goods purchased on the Internet, Rep. Boswell responded positively to the idea.
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