Editor's Note: The Courier-Tribune continues its local coverage for the Nov. 4 election today with the U.S. House of Representatives, District 8, race. Incumbent Republican Robin Hayes faces challenger, Democrat Larry Kissell. Both candidates were given the opportunity to answer questionnaires. Only Kissell responded.
1) What is your reaction to the recent economic rescue/bailout that was put together in the Senate and passed by the House?
Larry Kissell: The bailout does not go far enough to ensure that families and small businesses will be protected from the adverse trickle down of the mistakes made by the multi-billion dollar corporations receiving money from the bailout, nor is there sufficient oversight placed on those corporations to ensure that this situation does not happen again. The stock market has fallen 8 of the last 9 days as I write this. The current crisis has it roots in the 1999 legislation, supported by Robin Hayes, that deregulated the financial services industry. We must be vigilant to repair the damage that vote created.
2) Do you believe this will resolve current instability in the marketplace? Why or why not?
Kissell: I do not. The major problem facing families and small businesses is the credit market. Congress and the Federal Government should move to loosen credit markets and encourage our trading partners and allies the world over to do the same so that the continuing crisis might be staved off by making credit available so that small businesses and families can remain financially viable.
3) What should the U.S. do about the high cost of healthcare?
Kissell: We must begin by caring for our children, our senior citizens and our veterans. Beyond, that I will only support a healthcare plan that can be paid for as we go. We need to use technology to decrease paperwork and reduce duplication. We must use the buying power of the people to bring more competition to the prescription drug market and we must negotiate lower prices without creating a government bureaucracy. We need to expand Medicare to include home health care so our seniors can live at home for as long as possible with security and dignity.
4) Do you believe the U.S. government has been able to get control of the unrest caused by militants in the Middle East? Are we ahead of the problem or are we just waiting on the next terrorist attack?
Kissell: America must re-establish its role in the diplomatic community as a leader of nations and once again become an honest broker in the trouble spots of the world, including the Middle East. We must remain ever at the ready to defend our nation from terrorist attacks and should continue to fund, in a wise fashion, the armed forces and intelligence services that endeavor every day to keep our great nation safe. Our courageous troops have accomplished every task set before them in Iraq: the search for weapons of mass destruction, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the establishment of a democracy. Now that each of those missions has been successfully achieved, it is time for the redeployment of American forces and to began to let the Iraqi people defend and pay for the freedom American lives and treasure have made possible for them. America's armed forces are without question the finest on Earth. We must now begin the process of redeploying from Iraq, require the Iraqis to govern and defend their own soil and freedom, and to begin to prepare our armed forces and our nation for the many other challenges that face us around the world, including the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
5) Should our focus continue to be on the Middle East or should it shift to Russia and the Baltic region? Please explain.
Kissell: America's role in the world as a defender of freedom and our interests as an economic power are too great to limit our focus to any one region over another. We must be engaged the world over in monitoring circumstances and encouraging peace and diplomacy. We must re-establish the credibility with our allies and the other nations of the world so that America can speak with the moral authority necessary to lead the world in these trying times. It is no coincidence that the regions of the world addressed by this question where so many problems exist for American interests are oil-producing regions. Only by regaining control of our energy destiny can we hope to rebuild our economy and secure our nation's place in the world. Green collar jobs, the exportation of new technologies and the savings of trillions of dollars now being shipped to hostile nations for oil will bolster our economy and help keep us free and in our rightful place in a leadership role in the world throughout the new century.
6) Manufacturing jobs are gone as a mainstay of North Carolina's economy. The promise of high technology and IT jobs is tarnished by the prospect of outsourcing. Realistically, what can you do as a member of Congress to address this uncertainty?
Kissell: My top priority in Congress will be to bring jobs back to our district. Since Robin Hayes took office in 1999, unemployment in our district has more than doubled (and in fact has tripled in three counties). I will be the chief economic developer for our district, working tirelessly to recruit industry and jobs to our area while supporting legislation and policies that assist small businesses to start and succeed. I will support a moratorium on all free trade deals until our district gets back the thousands of jobs it has lost due to the deciding votes cast by Robin Hayes on Fast Track and CAFTA. I will also support a comprehensive national energy policy that includes research, development and production of alternative energy sources and work to bring those jobs into our district.