With only one day remaining until 10K signatures are due for placement on the December 8 primary ballot, the Republican party still has a lone official candidate: Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown. Senator Brown is our subject this morning the latest edition of "Kennedyseat.com Meets the Candidates."
As a reminder/disclaimer: my goal in reaching out to the campaigns is to try and capture a slightly different picture of the candidates as people and politicians. I am not asking them about their positions on specific issues because a) I don't have the opportunity for follow up questions, and b) if I want a stock answer I can just look at the website. Instead I'm trying to gauge their personalities, passions, and sense of humor.
For the time being I will let their answers speak for themselves, and hope readers will weigh in with their thoughts in the comments.
Without further ado, I give you my exclusive email interview with Republican Senate candidate and Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown, uncut, unedited, unspun:
KS: You have served in both the House of Reps and the State Senate - what is the most challenging aspect of legislating, and how has the experience prepared you for success in Washington?
Brown: Being a minority member in the Legislature can be challenging but I relish taking on the status quo. I have found it beneficial to work hard, be accountable, approachable, and work across party lines to get the job done. If there is a good idea, I do not care who sponsored it. I will vote for it if it makes sense. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about how a vote would affect the narrow interests of a certain group. Instead, I ask whether it is good for my district and good for Massachusetts. There is no doubt that I would bring a different perspective to Washington than my Democratic opponents; I would embrace bipartisanship and a desire to see the best solutions brought forward regardless of which party they came from.
KS: Who is your political role model?
Brown: John McCain, JFK, Ronald Reagan. All three subscribed to the belief that tax cuts can lead to economic growth.
KS: Recession, war, health care: What is the greatest challenge facing the United States and how can you help to address it?
Brown: I would say the economy is the number one issue. Unfortunately, the stimulus bill ended up stimulating the government and not the economy. In Massachusetts, we now have the highest unemployment since the 1970s. As a U.S senator, I would make sure further efforts to stimulate the economy are directly tied to job growth and don't end up increasing the size of government. I also oppose cap and trade, which is essentially an energy tax on the American people.
On Afghanistan, we need to finish the job. We cannot permit the Taliban to threaten America's security by allowing this country to be used as a base for terrorism.
On health care, I am opposed to the public option and opposed to higher taxes on insurance plans. I believe we should strengthen the private market system to get coverage to more people, as we did here in Massachusetts.
KS: You are a Republican in Massachusetts, a rare breed: How can the GOP begin to rebuild its numbers in the state?
Brown: Without a healthy two-party balance, too often bad decision-making results. This is what we see with recent tax increases in Massachusetts that have made it harder for families struggling to cope with a major recession and harder on businesses that want to grow and add jobs. As a party, we need to do a better job of articulating our pro-growth message of lower taxes and less wasteful spending. We are the party of free enterprise and job growth. If we can clearly communicate that message, we can increase the size of our party over time and restore balance to Massachusetts politics.
KS: When you look back over your years of service in the National Guard, what is the number one thing you have learned/taken away from that experience?
Brown: A sense of duty and pride in contributing to the security of Massachusetts and the United States. In the nearly 30 years I have served, I have met so many wonderful people, challenged myself and others, and had the opportunity to do things that I never would have never done had I not served. I will miss it when I retire.
KS: If elected, what can you do about that giant traffic jam every fall Sunday on Route 1?
Brown: There are no easy fixes to our traffic headaches. As someone who spends a lot of time in his truck, I share your frustrations. A good first step would be take the stimulus funds that have been set aside for infrastructure repair and actually spend them. The recent report that ranks Massachusetts 49th in the nation in getting highway stimulus dollars out the door is shameful, considering the poor state of our roads and the number of construction workers on the unemployment line.