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Herger and Reed: Three questions
Siskiyou Daily News October 28, 2010
California — The Siskiyou Daily News recently asked incumbent California District 2 U.S. Congressman Wally Herger, R-Chico, and his challenger, attorney Jim Reed, D-Fall River Mills, to respond to three questions. Their answers appear below.
1) What are the two top reasons you are a Republican?
Herger: First and foremost, I consider myself to be a conservative. As a rancher and small businessman from Northern California, I believe in limited government, personal responsibility, a strong national defense and traditional values. The Republican Party is the best means of working to advance these values. It is a party that wants to restrain government and takes the Constitution seriously; that does not see it as an outdated artifact, but views it as an incredible gift.
The tendency of government is to grow more, tax more and regulate more, smothering personal and economic liberty. I want to be a part of a party that pushes back on that tendency and respects traditional values. Although the Republican Party has had its failures, there is a night-and-day difference between the two parties on how big a part government should play in our everyday lives. The current Democrat president and Congress believe government is the answer to all of our problems, when in reality it is the source of most of our problems. As a result, they have taken spending and regulation to epic levels. I am fighting to reverse this destructive course.
A second key reason I am a Republican is national defense. I believe my party better understands the threats to our nation, and is resolved to respond with unflinching strength. We are not afraid to use the term “war on terror.” Terrorism is not a “man-caused disaster” or some other euphemism heard coming from the Obama administration. I am appalled when the leaders of the other party wince at facing the reality of our enemy.
1) What are the two top reasons you are a Democrat?
Reed: Democrats generally are concerned about what is good for all people, whereas Republicans tend to be more concerned with their own personal benefits.
I think of the Democrats as the middle class and Republicans as the rich or people who think they will be rich some day.
2) In what situations are you willing to cross the aisle and make an agreement with the other party?
Reed: I am willing to cross party lines on all issues. As a moderate Democrat, I expect to vote with both Republicans and Democrats about equally. It is not important which party originates the idea; it is only important whether the idea is a good one. See my website, reednow.com, where I discuss why I will not sign any pledges; pledges cause gridlock in Washington because they tie a congressional representative’s hands from reaching compromises.
Herger: I believe first and foremost in working to advance conservative principles. As my record reflects, where Democrats agree on those principles, I am willing and eager to work across the aisle.
For example, I have worked closely with Sen. Dianne Feinstein to address forest health issues and other natural resource challenges in Northern California. The House and Senate passed legislation of which Sen. Feinstein and I were the primary authors (the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act) on a strong bipartisan vote, and it was signed by a Democrat president. The legislation requires the Forest Service to implement a fuels reduction pilot project on approximately 1.5 million acres across the Lassen and Plumas National Forests and part of the Tahoe National Forest. While the law didn’t go as far as I originally envisioned, in the end it represented a strong, bipartisan effort, and I continue to work with Sen. Feinstein to ensure full implementation of this law and other forest health projects to protect our citizens from the threat of catastrophic wildfires.
I also worked in a bipartisan manner to help pass legislation creating the “Secure Rural Schools” program, a critically important safety-net for rural counties that have seen funding for local schools and roads plummet as our federal timber program has been decimated. Since the original bill was passed, I have worked with other members of Congress from similarly impacted districts to reauthorize and continue funding for this critical program. I strongly believe that the federal government must offset the devastation that federal environmental policies have caused to our once thriving timber communities.
Most recently, after a hearing in which the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General (IG) revealed a loophole in the Medicare system that allowed for repeated fraud, I partnered with my Democrat counterpart on the Ways and Means Committee, the chairman of the Health Subcommittee, to successfully pass the “Strengthening Medicare Anti-Fraud Measures Act.” The bill, which passed the House and is pending in the Senate, will help the IG better combat Medicare fraud. Specifically, it gives the IG the authority to ban corporate executives from doing business with Medicare if their companies were convicted of fraud. It also authorizes him to exclude parent companies that may be committing fraud through shell companies. Medicare fraud is a crime that hurts senior citizens, law-abiding health care providers and every American who pays taxes.
3) Many Siskiyou County residents oppose Klamath River dams removal. (Measure G on Tuesday’s ballot asks whether county voters approve of or oppose dam removal.) And many have stated they also feel excluded from the decision-making process. They feel that the federal government has a bias in favor of dam removal. If dam removal proceeds, how can you help mitigate the impacts to the county?
Herger: I have always been, and always will be, a strong supporter of dams and hydroelectric power. The benefits that dams provide through clean, low-cost energy, flood control, water storage, local tax revenue and recreation are invaluable. It is hypocritical and indeed destructive that federal and state laws and regulations would embrace a policy of destroying this clean, inexpensive and abundant form of energy.
Current environmental regulations make it extremely difficult and costly for owners of hydroelectric facilities to obtain a federal license to continue operations. Faced with the prospect of spending staggering sums of money for environmental mitigation, and at the end of the day not receiving the necessary permits, PacifiCorp has made a tentative decision to decommission its dams because it does not believe that the mandated costs of relicensing are justified by the economic value the dams provide.
I believe the proposed dam removal agreement requires extensive congressional oversight, in-depth hearings, peer-reviewed science, transparency, coordination with county government and a thorough cost-benefit analysis. California Congressman Mike Thompson has requested the Department of the Interior to draft legislation that would implement the KBRA/KHSA, but this legislation has not yet been introduced. In an effort to be proactive, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors has provided a preliminary list of mitigation measures they would like to see included in this legislation.
Should legislation move forward to implement dam removal, I will work closely with the county board to try and amend such legislation in an effort to mitigate the very substantial impacts on the county and the affected communities. And I will continue to fight for reform of the unbalanced laws and regulations that have forced this situation upon us and serve as a continuing barrier for utilities to provide clean, renewable and low-cost hydroelectric power.
Reed: I oppose the removal of the dams. However, if they are removed, the federal government should fund remediation, restoration and flood control.
Page Updated: Sunday October 31, 2010 01:14 AM Pacific
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