Where I stand
WORKING FOR YOU
It’s far past time for the dysfunction in our Capitol to end. The People’s work is not being done. There are admittedly very difficult decisions to make, decisions that may end up costing a politician his or her political career. All too often “having a seat at the table” is more important than doing the right thing. I recognize that if elected I would only be one voice, but we have proven something in Provo. Our voice can change things when it's genuine, innovative, and civil. Together we can change everything.
BALANCing the BUDGET AND cutting spending
As mayor of Provo I delivered a balanced budget every year. In my first year as mayor, we reduced the city budget by $5.5 million with the full support of city leaders. By increasing efficiency and innovation we decreased the number of city employees per capita while maintaining quality service to our citizens.
As a businessman responsible for tens of millions in sales and hundreds of employees, I know how to create a budget and stick to it by making cuts if necessary. My business experience has served me well as mayor of Provo and will continue to serve me well in Congress where we desperately need courage and creativity to make difficult decisions.
Everyone (okay, most everyone) knows that we simply MUST cut federal spending and balance our budget. We’ve been saying it is “unsustainable” for many years and we all know that to be true. The task seems insurmountable and whenever cuts are proposed someone is mad about it and threatens to vote supporters out of office. We can’t even make the simple—not easy, but simple—decision to cut the rate of growth of the spending!
Well, enough is enough. It’s time to at least take a first step even if it is a small one. Think of where we would be if we’d just started making small steps in the right direction a decade ago, or even five years ago! We cannot let the size of the task or political self-interest get in the way of doing the right thing.
Getting Public Lands Right
Even when we get to a desirable outcome if the process that gets us there is bad, we usually end up feeling cheated. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Utahns are upset with a president who skips public involvement and abuses a federal loophole to force his way. I am committed to working with our federal delegation to overhaul the current broken and politicized process and find a path to protect our natural beauty with transparency and key shareholder involvement.
Making Tax Reform a Reality
Plain and simple, we tax too much and our tax code is too complicated. To be clear on where I stand, let me say that again; we tax too much and our tax code is too complicated. Our tax system hurts American citizens, businesses and society as a whole. With Republicans controlling the House, Senate, and Presidency, we have a precious opportunity to create a simpler and fairer tax code. We had this opportunity before as Republicans and wasted it. It will take some out-of-the-box ideas, courage and leadership but we cannot let this opportunity slip through our fingers again.
The reality is that we have not had a free market healthcare system for many decades. Government involvement and regulation has distorted the market for a very long time and it is unrealistic to say we are going to roll everything back in the next four years. It’s a fact—Republicans weren’t ready when we got our chance to fix the problem. Frankly, I am frustrated and embarrassed that Congress had eight years to figure out how to repeal or fix Obamacare and they didn’t have their answer ready. Skyrocketing healthcare costs and lack of access are issues we cannot ignore, and the answer will come with more portability, flexibility, and transparency. It is time Congress got past trying to score political points and on to meaningful solutions for everyday Americans.
Prioritizing National Security
The Constitution makes it clear that the most important role of the federal government is to provide for national defense. As the threats we face evolve into more sophisticated terrorist and cyber attacks, we must be vigilant. Let's ensure that we have the people and technology in place to stay ahead of our enemies. Let's be sure that our military men and women have the tools and freedom they need to do their job, and that they have the resources and care that they need to reintegrate into their lives when they come home.
The blame for the lack of solutions on immigration resides with both the Democratic and Republican parties. The problem is, both sides are trying to use immigration to improve their own chances at the polls. Instead, we need to ask: what is best for the United States? Invariably, the answer is that we should make it easier for people to immigrate who will come here to be self sufficient, to help build our economy and become loyal, productive Americans. Our policies should be humane and reflect a spirit of inclusion toward our immigrant neighbors.
The election of Donald Trump proves a large part of the American public is concerned about an immigration system that is political, unfair, and inconsistent. We need stronger borders. We need more resources targeted at serious crime committed by illegal immigrants. We need to begin to remove politics from the equation. It is not about helping our political parties. It is about strengthening our country.
GROWING OUR ECONOMY
As a longtime businessman, I know that governments don’t grow the economy, entrepreneurs do. And entrepreneurs create more jobs when they are operating in a business-friendly environment. Our current corporate tax rate is too high and we are losing businesses to other countries with lower rates. Nothing will provide more economic relief and opportunity for people of all backgrounds than tax relief and regulatory reform for both individuals and businesses.
In Provo, I have found that when government gets out of the way it is amazing to see what incredible ideas can come to fruition. Our approach in Provo has been to encourage, facilitate relationships, and be a transparent resource when needed for our local business community. As a result we have seen $1.5 billion in new construction and development in our Downtown. Old buildings are taking on a new life. Companies like Google Fiber look to Provo because we have created an environment where they know they can be successful. Washington D.C. would do well to take a lesson from Provo. There is an energy and optimism in our community that is truly experiencing all the promises of the American dream.
Stopping CORRUPTION IN WASHINGTON
The most pressing problem in Washington is corruption. There, I've just said it. Donald Trump calls it "the swamp" and he wants to "drain it." The problem is, our federal government is in control of trillions of dollars, and companies all around the world line up to lobby Congress for laws and regulations that will help them get some of that money. Our regulations are intended to control and limit abuses in the market. But more often than not, they facilitate such abuses.
Unfortunately, lobbyists write the laws and Congress passes them. The businesses wealthy enough to afford the lobbyists, end up getting the cash. And we, the citizens, pay the bill.
This system needs to be reformed. And that reform will not happen until we are ready to:
- Truly reform the tax system. We need to stop trying to pass laws that make it so one demographic doesn't pay taxes and the other one does. Everyone needs to pay a fair and equal share of their own productivity toward the benefits they receive as citizens of the country.
- Limit the spending power of the federal government. We need a constitutional amendment to force the government to spend no more than it is able to raise in taxes. We need to bring down costs methodically, point by point, to spend no more than we are able to raise in taxes. It is immoral for us to borrow from our children, and sometimes even our unborn grandchildren so we can recklessly spend on anything that strikes our political fancy. That bill is going to come due, and unless we get it under control, the ultimate result will be disastrous.
- Place term limits on the U.S. Congress. The Founding Fathers never envisioned congress becoming a career. Over the years, the political parties have gerrymandered most districts in order to create a virtual lock on their political power. According to some statistics, only about 9% of congressional districts across the country are effectively contested. Members of Congress stay way too long, get way too entrenched in power, and are influenced way too easily by rich and powerful special interests.
Defending States' Rights
Our country was founded on the principle of a limited, constitutional federal government. This means the role of the federal government is meant to be limited to a few, well-defined and enumerated tasks. All other powers are supposed to be left to the states and to the people themselves. This principle is made clear in the 10th amendment.
In recent years, the political parties have brought more and more policy decisions to the federal level, attempting to solve every problem with a national policy. The problem is that people and states have different values and beliefs about a great number of issues. In reality, there is no reason we all have to do things exactly the same way in every state, county, or community. That's what is great about a constitutional republic. People can be tolerant of each other, and we can all do things our own way.
Our country is more divided today than at any other time, perhaps since the Civil War. This is a direct result of politicizing each issue, and then elevating it to the federal level. We need leaders in Washington who can step outside party politics and return our country to its constitutional roots: a limited federal government, which guarantees basic human rights to all its citizens, but otherwise defers most policy decisions to states and communities to decide for themselves.