Incumbent, 3 others seek Skelton’s 4th District seat

Democrat Ike Skelton has been west-Central Missouri’s congressman since 1977.

This year, Republican Vicky Hartzler, Constitution Party candidate Greg Cowan and Libertarian Jason Michael Braun all seek to move Skelton into retirement.

Read the full article in our newspaper or e-Edition for Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010.

COMPLETE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR THE CANDIDATES

Democrat Ike Skelton

1) Why are you running for this office?

I would like to build on my strong record of standing up for military families and rural Missouri.

As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I have successfully fought to provide better training and equipment for our troops and to protect the health insurance benefits that our service members and veterans rely on; I have pushed for the expansion of Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base, both of which are economic engines for the state; I have earned the U.S Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Free Enterprise Award for my support of pro-job policies; and I have received the Friend of Farm Bureau Award seven times in recognition of my pro-farm efforts.

As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I lead one of the most bipartisan committees in Congress.

The annual defense authorization bill has passed out of the committee unanimously every year I have served as chairman, because looking out for our troops and their families is not a partisan issue.

As a life-long resident of rural Missouri, I understand the need to stand up for our rural Missouri values.

2) What do you think the biggest issue(s) will be if you’re elected?

Defending our nation and growing our economy are our top priorities.

Our military is engaged in two wars, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan, the epicenter of terrorism in this world.

We must protect our homeland and our American freedoms.

3) What is/are your solution(s) to those issue(s)?

We must provide our men and women in uniform with the training and equipment they need to carry out the mission.

We must also stand up for our military families and veterans who have sacrificed so much for our nation.

As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I have promoted the growth of local businesses.

Earlier this year, I announced two new missions for Whiteman Air Force Base, including a Predator drone mission that will bring about 280 military and civilian personnel to the area.

And the growth of Fort Leonard Wood continues to support local jobs and businesses.

In addition, I host an annual conference in Missouri that helps local businesses take advantage of Defense Department contracts.

4) Some economists say the nation’s economy would be worse today if the federal stimulus had not been passed in February 2009. Why do you agree or disagree with that viewpoint?

The tax cuts and infrastructure spending helped keep a bad economic situation from getting much worse.

5) What do you think Congress should have done differently?

Economists will debate the causes of the recession.

In the mean time, I will continue to work to bring jobs to Missouri.

Whiteman Air Force Base contributed $621 million to the local economy in 2009, and Fort Leonard Wood has an annual economic impact of more than $2.1 billion.

This local investment supports jobs and small businesses throughout central Missouri.

Through my work on the House Armed Services Committee, I have been able to bring new missions, like the new Predator Drone control mission, to Whiteman, which will keep the base strong.

In addition, I have directly helped Missouri small business owners take advantage of the more than $12 billion in federal defense contracts that are awarded to Missouri companies each year through my annual procurement conference, which brings these small business owners in contact with Defense Department procurement and contracting officials.

I have also supported tax cuts for small businesses, because I know they are the backbone of our economy.

6) Many people say the nation needs a new energy policy, and Congress has debated — but not passed — a bill that some call “Cap and Trade” for its limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Why do think this was/was not a good bill?

I voted last year to stop EPA from implementing regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy bill to which this provision was attached is going nowhere in Congress, so I have been working with Republican Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson to stop or slow EPA down.

7) What do you think Congress should do/should have done differently to modify energy policies without generating the anger the bill has created?

Focused on reigning in the EPA.

8) The President ran on a platform that included major health care reforms, and Congress passed many of those — but not the bill originally discussed in the 2008 elections. What is right/wrong with the federal health care law as passed?

I voted against the health care bill both times it came before the House of Representatives.

Since its passage, I have voted to eliminate the individual mandate and to eliminate burdensome reporting requirements for small businesses.

9) If a new Congress were to change that law, how do you think that change should be made?

I have voted to eliminate the individual mandate and to eliminate burdensome reporting requirements for small businesses. I will continue to support efforts to repeal portions of the new law that could harm rural Americans.

10) What changes, if any, should Congress require in national military operations?

Congress has the constitutional responsibility to raise and maintain the military.

As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I lead one of the most bipartisan committees in Congress.

The annual defense authorization bill has passed out of the committee unanimously every year I have served as chairman because looking out for our troops and their families is not a partisan issue.

The Defense Bill authorizes everything for the Department of Defense, and I will continue to work with Democrats and Republicans on the committee to fight for the defense of our nation and the well-being of our men and women in uniform.

11) What changes, if any, should Congress order in the missions of Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base?

Some in Washington are talking about the need for another round of base closures.

I oppose this, and should another round of base closures occur, I will fight, as I have successfully done in the past, to keep Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood off of any base closure list.

I have long fought for the growth of Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base.

Already this year, I have announced two new missions for Whiteman, including a Predator Drone control mission, and an additional $111 million in construction funds for Fort Leonard Wood.

12) What other issues do you think Congress must address in the next 2-5 years?

Congress should focus its attention on jobs and national security.

13) The candidates’ positions appear to be so similar on the issues of gay rights, abortion and guns/second amendment concerns… Do you need to explain your position on any of those (or other) issues?

I have always been an independent voice for the people of rural Missouri.

I voted against the health care bill because I thought it was wrong for rural Missouri.

My strong defense of the values I share with my neighbors has earned me the endorsement of groups like the National Rifle Association PVF, Missouri Right to Life, the VFW PAC, and Missouri Corn Growers.

I have also earned awards from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for work on behalf of small business owners.

14) Why should voters pay attention to the endorsements given to any candidate?

The endorsements I have received are a result of my work to defend the rural Missouri values of the people of the Fourth District.

15) What do you think people most misunderstand about this office and what it does?

I believe the people of the district deserve to be represented by someone who understands and respects the military, veterans, and our rural Missouri values.

16) If voters remember only one thing before they vote Nov. 2, what do you want it to be?

I am an independent voice for the people of the Fourth District and I fight every day for our men and women in uniform, our veterans, and Missouri’s military bases.

Republican Vicky Hartzler

1) Why are you running for this office, and why do you think you re the best qualified for it?

To create jobs for our people and build a real future for America and generations to come, the people must make big changes in liberal Washington now, while we still have time.

Start with the dismissal of Pelosi. The Fourth District needs one of us, a proven job creator, and not the Skelton record of party-line backing for the extreme agenda of Pelosi and Obama.

2) What do you think the biggest issue(s) will be if you re-elected??

Halt and reverse the reckless spending and debt that is making this terrible recession worse than it ever needed to be.

Repeal and replace government-run health care with its huge new burdens on our seniors.

The issue is what kind of nation we want for ourselves and our children and grandchildren.

If elected to the U.S. House, I will vote to fire Nancy Pelosi, repeal and replace government-run health care, give job-creating tax relief to Main Street small business employers, and begin rolling back the failed Ike Skelton-Nancy Pelosi policies that are burying us under a mountain of debt and deficits, endless double-digit joblessness, and job-killing tax increases.

3) How do you think that/those issue(s) should be resolved???

Read the bills.

Vote every time for freedom, constitutional government, and the good sense and values of the Fourth District.

4) Some economists say the nation s economy would be worse today if the federal stimulus had not been passed in February 2009. Why do you agree or disagree with that viewpoint????

Because the Skelton-Obama-Pelosi stimulus is an obvious failure.

They promised 8% jobless if it passed, and delivered 10% joblessness and worse.

5) What do you think Congress should have done differently?????

Don t vote to try to borrow ourselves out of debt and spend money we don t have.

The Fourth District knows this can t possibly work, but Skelton didn t.

New spending must be paid for with reductions in other spending.

6) Many people say the nation needs a new energy policy, and Congress has debated but not passed a bill that some call Cap and Trade for its limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Why do think this was/was not a good bill??????

Skelton supports cap-and-tax, which is a national energy tax.

It would be the largest job-killing tax increase in our history, and a disaster for agriculture, manufacturing, and anyone who buys gasoline.

This reckless legislation must be stopped immediately.

7) What do you think Congress should do/should have done differently to modify energy policies without generating the anger the bill has created??????

The Pelosi-Skelton House and the President should stop trying to take over the energy sector.

We need an all of the above policy that increases production of all forms of energy here at home, including gas and oil, clean coal, nuclear power and alternatives.

8) The President ran on a platform that included major health care reforms, and Congress passed many of those but not the bill originally discussed in the 2008 elections. What is right/wrong with the federal health care law as passed????????

It is a government takeover of our health care.

It must be repealed and replaced with patient-directed care that imposed real competition on insurance companies.

http://vickyhartzler.com/issues/6/

9) If a new Congress were to change that law, how do you think that change should be made?????????

Repeal, and replace with a plan following Hartzler positions. http://vickyhartzler.com/issues/6/

10) What changes, if any, should Congress require in national military operations?

Our goal must be a national defense capacity second to none.

11) What changes, if any, should Congress order in the missions of Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base?

The GOP leadership of the new House intends to sponsor me for the House Armed Services Committee.

As a majority member of this panel, she will be a vigorous and effective advocate for the bases and new missions that advance American national security.

12) What other issues do you think Congress must address in the next 2-5 years??

Balanced Budget Amendment referred to states, so that no future Congress can inflict the harm done by Skelton, Pelosi and Obama.

Restart the American jobs machine with what works, free enterprise.

Downsize federal government power and spending for the long term.

13) The candidates positions appear to be so similar on the issues of gay rights, abortion and guns/second amendment concerns.

Do you need to explain your position on any of those (or other) issues???

Do you think issues remain important ones with voters in deciding which candidate to elect, since the positions are similar???

How do you think a voter should use those issues to help determine their final vote, where your positions are so close to each other???

Voters should know that both candidates are A-rated by the National Rifle Association, that only Hartzler is endorsed by Gun Owners of America and Western Shooters Alliance.

Voters should assign the weight they choose to the fact that Skelton falsely claimed a Hartzler vote in the Missouri House as anti NRA, and that the NRA itself has stated in writing that she voted FOR the NRA, and gun-owner, position.

Voters should know that Skelton says he opposes repeal of DADT, but did nothing to empower the troops to be heard on the issue, and opened every door he could open for Pelosi in the Armed Services Committee.

14) Why should voters pay attention to the endorsements given to any candidate????

Voters should judge the organization for themselves, and study the issues directly unless they have confidence in the organization.

15) What do you think people most misunderstand about this office and what it does?????

((No answer provided)).

16) If voters remember only one thing before they vote Nov. 2, what do you want it to be???

I will change the nation s direction, fire Nancy Pelosi, and help get us back to freedom, common sense and economic growth through private sector jobs.

Ike Skelton s only plan is more of the liberal policies that already have failed us so badly.

Constitution Party candidate Greg Cowan

1) Why are you running for this office, and why do you think you re the best qualified for it?

I am running because our politicians have failed to represent the 4th District of Missouri, the United States of America and in their duty to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The current politicians have piled up a national debt that will be difficult to pay.

They meddle in foreign affairs as if they represent countries other than the United States.

They freely give our money as foreign aid to countries around the world.

Our politicians pass trade legislation, which is negotiated by the World Trade Organization in the UN, which places our jobs at risk.

They have ruined the greatest economy and impoverished the most prosperous people the world has ever known.

I am running to make a better future for my son and his children.

I am the best qualified because I have never held political office before.

The two major parties that created and caused these problems are not likely to solve them.

2) What do you think the biggest issue(s) will be if you re elected??

I believe the biggest issue is the economy.

The bad trade legislation of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, including the free trade agreements like NAFTA, has caused the loss of thousands of jobs in Missouri and the loss of millions of jobs in the US.

3) How do you think that/those issue(s) should be resolved???

We should repeal or significantly modify trade legislation, which has left Americans without jobs over the last 30 years.

The definition of free trade today is for our government to give foreign aid to some country that buys a product made in another foreign country, while our government subsidizes large American companies that have moved their factories to foreign countries and subsidize small American companies that are to small to move their production lines out of America.

If one considers the cost of foreign aid and the cost of subsidies to American companies, we are paying a huge price for products made outside the US.

That should put a whole different perspective on the cheap imports.

We have lost thousands of jobs because our government dropped import tariffs and failed to protect American businesses.

Congress has given their responsibility for regulating international trade to the World Trade Organization in the UN.

That must stop. We must put America first and we must negotiate trade agreements that benefit American workers.

4) Some economists say the nation s economy would be worse today if the federal stimulus had not been passed in February 2009. Why do you agree or disagree with that viewpoint????

I agree, the economy in 2009, would have been worse but I believe it would have been worse for a shorter period of time.

The thing that made it worse was the legislation that was passed.

The bailouts and the stimulus did little to nothing but add to the debt.

Doing nothing is not the first choice of politicians in the Republican and Democrat parties, but that should have been their first choice.

Their meddling and mismanagement caused the crisis we faced in 2008 and their efforts did little to alleviate the crisis in 2009.

We have a national crisis on main street today, despite the soaring stock market and record profits on Wall Street.

5) What do you think Congress should have done differently?????

They should have addressed the job crisis, energy crisis and security crisis of the United States many years before we had the collapse of 2008.

6) Many people say the nation needs a new energy policy, and Congress has debated but not passed a bill that some call Cap and Trade for its limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Why do think this was/was not a good bill??????

It is not a good energy bill because it drives up the cost of energy for Main Street.

Cap and Trade isn t an energy bill.

It is a transfer-of-wealth-bill from mid-America to the coasts.

It is as bad as the trade legislation that transferred jobs from Missouri and other interior states to states along the coasts and to foreign countries.

We have an energy crisis in the United States, but capping greenhouse emissions will not solve it.

We must drill for oil and expand our domestic energy production, and the Federal Government should get out of the way.

The Department of Energy should be eliminated. Its sole purpose was to make the US energy independent.

It has failed in its mission.

The Federal government should return the control of land to the states and promote a policy that will make the US energy independent.

7) What do you think Congress should do/should have done differently to modify energy policies without generating the anger the bill has created???????

Congress should have addressed the energy crisis of the 1970s and every energy crisis since. Their failure to address the energy crisis has made the problem worse.

The anger that is exhibited towards this particular bill and towards Congress in general, is the result of incompetence and inactivity in Congress to solve basic national issues.

8) The President ran on a platform that included major health care reforms, and Congress passed many of those but not the bill originally discussed in the 2008 elections. What is right/wrong with the federal health care law as passed????????

It is completely wrong. Congress does not have any constitutional authority to legislate on health care.

Health care is an individual prerogative and it is a state-by-state issue.

If the people of a state want their government to determine their health care, then it should be up to the people of that state to make health care a part of their state government.

9) If a new Congress were to change that law, how do you think that change should be made?????????

If the American people want their health care to be determined by the Federal government, then Congress should pass an Amendment to the Constitution.

There is an Article V process for this. That should be the first step.

Otherwise, Congress does not have any constitutional authority to legislate on health care.

10) What changes, if any, should Congress require in national military operations??????????

First, our military should be used for our national defense only.

We should use the military to secure our borders before we try to secure another nations borders 10,000 miles from our shores.

Second, our military should not be used as the international police force.

We are currently deployed to dozens of countries around the world.

There is no constitutional basis for that.

Third, our military should not be sent to war unless there is a Declaration of War by Congress, as our Constitution mandates.

11) What changes, if any, should Congress order in the missions of Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base???????????

The missions for training soldiers and airmen should not change significantly.

The national policy of military interventionism should be changed and the missions of the Fort and the Air Base should be to provide for our national defense.

If elected, I will work with my peers to ensure both bases remain in Missouri.

12) What other issues do you think Congress must address in the next 2-5 years????????????

Trade Legislation that benefits America should be an ongoing effort.

Debt resolution and energy independence must be achieved within ten years.

Security of our borders must be achieved immediately.

13) The candidates positions appear to be so similar on the issues of gay rights, abortion and guns/second amendment concerns.

Do you need to explain your position on any of those (or other) issues?

Our positions are not similar at all.

Our party platforms are completely different.

There is a huge difference among the three candidates on these issues.

Neither the Democrat nor Republican leadership will take a stand on one of government s fundamental duties the protection of innocent life.

I believe the 2nd Amendment is clearly written and easily understood.

The other candidates and political parties allow for restrictive legislation on guns, ammunition and gun ownership.

I believe the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

That s pretty clearly written. That is constitutional.

Do you think issues remain important ones with voters in deciding which candidate to elect, since the positions are similar??

Our positions are not similar. Yes, these issues should remain important to voters.

How do you think a voter should use those issues to help determine their final vote, where your positions are so close to each other???

Our positions are not that close to one another.

Our party platforms and our positions are very different.

14) Why should voters pay attention to the endorsements given to any candidate???????????

They shouldn t pay attention to the endorsements.

Endorsements are skewed to support the two major party candidates and to exclude a viable third party candidate.

Two examples I will give are the Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Right to Life endorsements of the Republican candidate.

The Constitution Party s platform is almost identical to the Farm bureau s 2010 policy statement and the Constitution Party candidates are 100% pro-life.

I feel we should have received both endorsements.

15) What do you think people most misunderstand about this office and what it does????

People sometimes attribute certain qualifications as a requirement to be a representative of the people in Congress.

Professional politicians encourage this habit.

Professional politicians would have us believe that one must be from a certain family, or be a lawyer, or be

wealthy, or be a state representative or state senator before serving the people in Congress.

It is just not true. There are constitutional requirements and that is all that anyone of us should have to meet.

This office represents the people of the 4th district. That is as hard as it gets.

16) If voters remember only one thing before they vote Nov. 2, what do you want it to be???

I hope the voters remember the loss of jobs caused by the passage of trade legislation in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.

I hope they remember the factories that once provided jobs.

The 4th district has lost thousands of jobs and scores of factories.

Before the free trade legislation, the 4th district was prosperous with small factories in nearly every town.

The Republican and Democrat candidates do not have any plan to create an environment that encourages businesses to grow and hire. The Democrat plan is to stay the course and hope things get better. The

Republican plan is to cut taxes and hope things get better. Neither of their plans will work.

Their plans do nothing to address the root cause of the job losses the bad trade legislation of the 70s, 80, and 90s.

I ask that we all take a serious look at our country and compare our country today to our country 30 or 40 years ago.

If we elect another Republican or Democrat to represent us, will we get more of the same?

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