I sat down for an hour this morning with David Young, a Republican candidate for the 3rd District Congressional Seat. We met for coffee at Timbuktuu on EP True Parkway in West Des Moines.
My project: My goal is to have a discussion with each of our candidates for the 3rd District U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate to improve my understanding of where they stand on some of the key issues. I do basic research on their positions so I can focus our discussion time on issues or positions that are of interest to me and other likely primary voters. I prioritize issues where I disagree with them and/or where they appear to disagree with the 2012 Iowa GOP Platform. I then write as concise a summary as possible for sharing in social media. I am not a professional journalist so set your expectations accordingly.
#1. My feeling is that Iowans are aware that David Young has worked in Washington for quite a few years. So I asked him to help me understand how has remained in touch with the folks here at home.
He shared that after graduating from Drake he worked for a short time at Norwest bank. He almost immediately got involved with the Bush-Quale campaign working nearly full time as a volunteer and that “set the hook” for his interest in politics. He went out to Washington DC and “beat the bushes” for his first job and has several jobs with House and Senate members advancing to his current position. He has maintained a residence in Iowa throughout his career. Most importantly, he said that as Grassley’s Chief of Staff, every day his office was filled with Iowans visiting or meeting with the Senator. He felt it was a great way to stay in touch with the people and understand what they were thinking.
#2. I feel that tax reform and health care reform are closely connected. I asked him to comment about both and to focus more on what he supported than what he opposed.
He referred me to a DM Register Op Ed that he wrote on February 19th. I will check that later. So, health care: portability, tort reform, crossing state lines, price transparency and site neutrality. That is pretty standard stuff so I asked “How do we handle the lowest quintile for care?”. He would favor tax advantages that would allow individuals to purchase policies at a price similar to the after tax cost enjoyed by corporations who provide policies for their employees. He would achieve portability by implementing “high risk pooling”.
#3. Immigration is a big issue for me. I would support comprehensive immigration reform if we had a President who I could trust to execute the law. I asked him to hit the key points of his beliefs.
He is sensitive to the human aspects of the current situation and believes most immigrants are simply pursuing a better life for their families.
He wants border security as the highest priority but does not have confidence that the Secretary of Homeland Security should be the authority to “certify” states that have achieved it. He supports a broader and stronger guest worker program with better “e-verification” tools and aggressive prosecution of employers who hire illegals.
I prodded him to confirm that he agreed with my belief that we need large numbers of immigrants to sustain our economic growth in the decades ahead. He qualified his agreement to the extent that the jobs are available.
I prodded him to confirm that we should do something with (legalize or deport) the 10 or 15 million illegals in the country. He said he was not sure about the right actions, but reinforced we are a “nation of laws”. We did not have time to discuss this further.
#4. Mostly as a nod to the platform, which advocates elimination of 9 Cabinet Level departments, I asked him which one(s) he would eliminate or throttle back.
He said the EPA was far too powerful and too resistant to congressional oversight.
Key Point: David emphasized that his years working with Senator Grassley have given him a unique and critical capability to execute congressional oversight. He said he knows “what can be done” and “how to do it”.
#5. I wanted to talk about energy and returnable fuels because I am of the opinion that the subsidies for ethanol and biofuels are too expensive and can’t be justified. It turns out that the Republican platform agrees with me. I also knew that he was a strong supporter of ERF and I believe most candidates share that view.
He said that the oil monopoly (speaking of the energy industry being dominated by carbon fuels, not a monopoly as typically defined) has been around for so long that we need competition for it. He feels that all of the returnable fuels should be supported enough to establish long term viability in a 5 to 7 year timeframe.
#6. I asked him about education, specifically “common core”. Time was very short, so this is a short summary.
He said that parents are most responsible and therefore should have substantial control. He felt that the Federal Education Department was too strong and that local control was critical. He is not a fan of “common core”. It restricts teachers too much.
Overall Conclusion: David Young is an articulate well prepared candidate. He comes across as sincere, thoughtful and unpretentious. He is an across the board conservative with respect to fiscal and social issues. We did not have time to discuss foreign policy, military readiness or global commerce.
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