Dave Hughes Debates Incumbent Collin Peterson on Prairie Public
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Karlstad, MN) -- Dave Hughes, the Republican Party Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District, debated 26-year incumbent Democratic Candidate Collin Peterson on Tuesday, October 11th, 2016. Matt Olien of Prairie Public moderated.
Opening statements started with Peterson, who won the coin flip. Peterson concentrated on the divided nature of Congress and our 2016 political climate. He desires a return to regular order. The last time Congress operated in regular order was 1998. Clearly sending the same players to the table does not move budgets through, and we end up with Continuing Resolutions leading to Omnibus bills that corrupt Congressman pack with pork, leading to increased debt and corruption. If we want regular order Mr. Peterson, we need people committed to passing bills in a responsible way. Peterson’s fellow Democrat, Harry Reid, won’t allow the Senate into regular order unless the Republican controlled House gives him and Obama everything that they want.
Hughes’ opening remarks consist of a personal introduction as a native of Karlstad, father of 7 and USAF Combat Vet. Hughes blames the gridlock problems on sending the same people to DC.
Important topics were raised in the debate by Olien. Of course leading off on the debate was the top issue in the 7th District -- Agriculture. Hughes believes exports are the area for growth in our Ag sector. Hughes desires to eliminate the corporate income tax, which will greatly help our farmers. Peterson, the one trick pony of Ag, says that the last farm bill was good. He desires to get the farm bill done early with hopes of additional funds. He wants to continue crop insurance and safety nets (which is already in place, notes Hughes). He wishes for tax reform which hasn’t been addressed since 1986. Peterson has not ever led a tax reform effort in his 26 years in Congress. Sure, we can find a vote here, or his co-sponsorship of the medical device tax repeal in the summer of 2015. But certainly Peterson is not and has not in his 26 years in Congress led the “Peterson Tax Reform” bill. He is not leading, and after 26 years we believe he will not.
In response to Olien’s further pressing, Hughes responded with an agreement on moving from direct payments, but would like to see a change of the federal subsidization of crop insurance. Hughes wishes to increase crop insurance company competition, knowing that competition always drives down prices. Hughes looks to nations like New Zealand that moved away from Ag subsidies and has very successful Ag programs and prosperous farmers. We need to increase exports. Peterson responded that the current bill doesn’t limit diversification on today’s farm, and believes that is freedom within the farm bill. He believes we need the crop insurance subsidies.
Next up Olien asked about terrorism. On issues like ISIS, Peterson seemed torn about the desire to help those that ISIS is murdering, but believes the US should get out of the Middle East. Peterson believes the US is causing more trouble than solving. He believes ISIS should have a regional solution. For homegrown terror, we need a better vetting system. Hughes responded with his vast military service and understanding of the problem. Hughes blames the Democrat leadership in their failure to execute a serious effort, which doesn’t necessarily mean boots on the ground. He means the failure of Democratic ideas of refugee vetting. The DHS cannot even say the name “Islamic Extremism”, so how can they know who and how to question?
Onto the Fargo/Moorhead diversion, Hughes lead on the topic that the engineers should lead on the solution, and just questions what role the federal government should have. Peterson spoke of his knowledge of the DNR denying the permit and moving water from ND to MN, which is not legal. Peterson showed concern for the hazards of the dam. The project needs to be changed so the DNR will permit.
Olien then led on the topic of gridlock in DC. Peterson led stating all one man can do is go to DC and work hard on a bipartisan process. Peterson prefers the committee process should lead on their areas. Hughes responded with attacks on Reid not returning the Senate to regular order. Hughes suggests a budget by Easter and appropriations before summer break or Congressman shouldn’t go on break. Hughes detests the pork of the omnibus bill. Hughes then attacked Peterson for not working on a Constitutional basis. Peterson noted he can only work on the Ag Committee, and the Ag Committee works on regular order. The upper leadership has their hands out of the Ag Committee. He wished other committees worked like the Ag Committee. Hughes pressed Peterson because most Congressmen serve on 2-3 committees. Hughes has been active over the spring, summer, and fall speaking to people and hearing that the voters are concerned that Peterson isn’t representing them in other areas. Hughes wishes to be on the Ag Committee for sure, but also House Armed Services, Intelligence, or Ethics Committee. Hughes goes on to attack Peterson that he is failing the district because a US Representative is supposed to represent the district in the context of what’s best for the entire nation, not just the district. “Collin is not the Ag Emperor of Western Minnesota”, stated Hughes.
In regards to health insurance rates, Olien expressed concerns over raising healthcare costs in MN. Hughes calls Obamacare an “unmitigated failure without one bright spot”. Premiums are highly concerning. The lies that were used to pass it were unethical. Hughes says “There isn’t anything good about it!” Peterson responded saying he voted against it, claiming he read the entire bill. He believes that since this is the President’s signature legislation it cannot be repealed. Peterson’s voting record shows that with over 60 attempts to repeal it he has never been in favor of repealing it. Maybe it could be repealed if the people demanded their representatives vote to repeal it. Dave Hughes will vote to repeal Obamacare. Hughes responded that the Congress just overrode a presidential veto, and could do so again with a repeal of Obamacare. Hughes points out that Obamacare funds elective abortion, and questioned how Peterson can call himself a Pro-Life Blue Dog if he will not repeal Obamacare. Peterson responded that he didn’t vote for Obamacare (but won’t repeal it!). Typical politician games and play of words.
Olien then asked about making Social Security safe for the future. Peterson lead thinking that Social Security and Medicare are good, necessary programs. He sees the problems down the road. Peterson wants to fix the Social Security insolvency by taxing earnings more. Typical tax and spend liberalism coming from Peterson. Hughes responded with an example from Galveston County, TX. They removed themselves from the Social Security program and allowed people to invest their own money for their own retirement and it has been wildly successful. He also brought up the changes the nation of Chile did under the direction of Milton Freedman. He suggests looking at these programs for ideas on how to successfully improve the Social Security. Hughes bemoans the members of Congress, Peterson included, that have kicked the can down the road for too long and not innovated our social security program. “It is now a train wreck!” When Social Security began it wasn’t even planned for anyone until after the average life expectancy. Now Americans live longer. Hughes then rejected Peterson for his big government tax and spend ideology. Hughes does not want to affect current recipients, but wishes to take active measures to update and innovate our social security program.
Olien then moved to closing statements. Hughes stated he is not a Politician, and Peterson has been in office far too long. He is so far removed from the District and out of touch with the Constituents. Peterson has not done a town hall in years. The members of the district feel he is out of touch. Hughes promises to lead with “extravagantly sacrificial service” if he gains the districts vote on November 8th. Peterson then thanked the district for trusting them and hopes they can again. Peterson believes the primary focus will be the farm bill and is ready to write the next one. He is also concerned with healthcare and education. And then again thanked the district for their trust in electing him in the past.
Hughes hopes the voting block of the 7th Congressional District will check youtube by searching “Face to Face: Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District” to see the debate for themselves. Then compare and contrast the 2 candidates and choose the one that best represents them. Hughes has his website full of information at www.HughesForCongress.US, he can be emailed at DaveHughes@HughesForCongress.US or called or texted on his cell at 218-452-3214. Hughes has been busy all over the district with Town Halls, Parades, Fairs, Meet N Greets, Tea Party Events, College Republicans, and others. He is already more accessible than Collin Peterson. That will be continued when a new freshman Congressman Hughes is sent to DC in January. Hughes will do numerous Town Halls in different areas of the very large district annually. He will return to the district to be with his family as much as possible and not get involved in the DC nightlife or games. Peterson will only debate Hughes twice and has declined upwards of 7 or 8 additional debates different media have offered. Peterson is truly inaccessible. If you are ready for a change, vote Dave Hughes for US House of Representatives in the 7th Congressional District of Minnesota. Until then we invite you to find him on Facebook by searching Dave Hughes for Congress or follow him on Twitter @DHughesCongress.