By Andy Ouriel
A Huron resident is devastated that irresponsible politicians have spent this country into near ruins. So Steven Kraus, a Bowling Green State University graduate, wants to change Congress.
The Gulf War veteran is seeking to become the newest 9th Congressional District representative.
Kraus, an auctioneer and real estate agent for Prudential Stadtmiller Realty in Sandusky, will first try to win the Republican nomination in March.
If he wins, he'll face the Democratic winner in November to determine the ultimate victor.
Kraus recently discussed his policies and opinions with the Register in an exclusive interview.
Q: Why have you decided to run for office?
SK: I'm ashamed that I'm leaving my children and my grandchildren in a country worse off than what my father and grandfather gave to me. Congress is out of control, and it's insanity. They are spending money -- our children's and grandchildren's -- they don't have. There is supposed to be a debt ceiling, but they don't abide by it. I'm willing to go up there for a couple years to hold the line and try to bring some common sense to an uncommon world. Today's politicians will tell you the sky is green and the grass is blue and expect us to believe it.
Q: What would you do to begin erasing Ohio's $8 billion deficit and the national $15 trillion debt?
SK: Freeze spending and make across-the-board cuts. There is no reason why we can't cut spending 1 percent. You do that for seven years and you can balance the budget.
I worked in the federal government, with the military and a military contractor, and I saw the fraud and abuse, even seeing people throw away things so they spent all the money they had in a year. Then the next year they ask for the same amount to spend plus another 15 percent.
Q: What are your other platforms?
SK: Get rid of the (U.S.) Department of Energy. After 33 years, they were supposed to bring cheaper fuel and energy. Do you think they have been successful? We need to shut them down.
Q: If elected, what's one thing you'll champion for in Erie County?
SK: We have natural resources in Lake Erie. Canada has been harvesting for over 60 years, but we can't harvest it because of the EPA. Even with government taxes, gas would be $1.60 a gallon versus the $3.50 per gallon or $3.75 per gallon we're paying right now. So I would neuter the EPA and take away their regulatory power. (Kraus later clarified he wants the U.S. to harvest natural gas found in Lake Erie similar to what Canada does.)
Q: What are your thoughts about running against Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as "Joe the Plumber," who gained national fame during the 2008 presidential election, during March's primary?
SK: He is a nice guy. I believe, though, the country needs substance over symbolism. What he did in 2008 was very symbolic, and he symbolizes the working man. However, if we are going to turn this around, we need someone with substance to get a job done.
Q: When congressional boundaries were redrawn, the new district forced two longtime representatives -- Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo; and Dennis Kucinich, D-Cleveland -- against one another in a primary. What are your thoughts of both representatives?
SK: It's the career politicians driving this economy into the ground. Together, they have 70-plus years of political experience. Now with Congress at a 5 percent approval rating, don't you think Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich are part of the problem?
Q: Why should people vote for you?
SK: I am the person that has the tenacity to go to Washington, D.C., and stand up to the career politicians and bureaucrats and say they cannot behave like this anymore. I would like all the voters -- Republicans, Democrats and Independents -- to join the winning team and vote for Steve Kraus.