In case you missed with Massachusetts Third Congressional District candidate Tom Weaver (R-Westford), here are some highlights. And make sure to catch our live chats with the other candidates for the Third District: Niki Tsongas (9:30 a.m., Friday, July 13) and Jon Golnik (12:00 p.m., Thursday, July 19)
Tom, the Lowell Sun reported last month on the several restraining orders filed in the 1990s by your former wife. Many conservative politicians frequently discuss family values, and I was wondering on your opinion there, given your past.
There are things that one has control, there are others that are beyond control... The nasty divorce is one issue, I have nothing to regret, I acted honorable, there are no issues with police -- nothing. I had control of that. As far as the reaction of (my ex-wife), I had no control, so there really is nothing that I can do.
You’ve talked about proposing a 20 percent across the board cut on the Federal budget, also citing a desire of the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education. Outside of those two departments, are there certain areas where you would propose cuts, or would the cuts be uniform throughout the budget?
I am a small manufacturing business owner. When times get bad, cuts need to happen across the board. Items need to be evaluated and if they are not doing what they were intended to do -- they need to be re-evaluated and possibly cut.
Simply stated, we need to live within a budget, so just like those at home, it applies to the federal and state governments as well.
What are your top priorities, if elected?
The top priority is to address the debt, the spending and the un-elected bureaucracies. We must get the budget under control. This debt is a national defense issue because we cannot do what is in our best interest -- similar to a family having too many credit cards at the max limit.
What are your thoughts on how we are taking care of our veterans after they come home from war? Can't we be doing better?
I was talking to the Veteran rep in Haverhill, he believes that returning veterans should be able to stay with their unit for a year -- the fellowship, bring down the family and let them transition. These men and women have seen hell in many cases, and they need to transition to peace. They are closer to their fellow veterans than family, so we must allow them the time.
One of the largest issues at the Federal level over the past few weeks has been the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. You were disappointed with that decision. Do you believe that voters in the Massachusetts Third District share that opinion, and if so, could you elaborate?
A long time ago, I learned that the Constitution is a rule book, the rules are to ensure that the government protects our right to freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Now I ask -- does Obamacare protect our rights to freedom or does it give the government power to take our freedom.
We need another way to reduce the cost of health care.
What should we do about people here illegally?
Enforce the laws and enforce the borders. We are a nation that believes in the Rule of Law -- if you want to become a citizen or come here to work in order to support your family-- then do it legally.
In the meantime, we do not have the funds to provide charity to people here illegally, so it must stop. We do not have the extra jobs for those here illegally, so it must stop. People say that they are low paying jobs -- well if we stopped taking advantage of illegal workers -- those jobs would be good paying jobs.
Congress recently averted what could have been (a) crisis for many college students when it comes to interest rates on student loans. Do you support keeping college education affordable?
Congress did not avert a crisis -- they simply kicked the can down the road -- yet again...
Since 1980, the cost of college has increased by some 450% while the federal aid has increased some 450%. Why the correlation -- it appears to be a direct relationship. What happened to the college endowments -- which are tax free to keep the cost down.
No, Congress simply authorized spending money we do not have without fixing the root problem..
One thing both parties during Congressional campaigns often mention is how they vote with leadership frequently. According to the Washington Post, Niki Tsongas voted with her leadership 95 percent of the time during the 112th Congress. What are your thoughts there, and if that is too high, where would you disagree with Republican leadership?
Andrew, the problem in Washington is due to both parties. This election is about either returning to the principles and values that made us great -- ie smaller government with local control --- OR we will continue on the path to total federal control. There are reps on both side that believe in government solutions -- I believe in solutions at the local level. So this election will decide local versus total federal control.
It costs a lot of money to keep people in federal prisons. Overcrowding is an issue as people are getting stiffer sentences for things like drug charges. Do you know of any solutions to this issue?
Perhaps if we focused on the sellers and the folks distributing drugs, versus the users, we would have more room. There is room to discuss legalizing certain drugs as in the early 1900's, I have not formed an opinion.
Some members of Congress have talked about eliminating the Department of Education. Do you support this?
The (Department of Education) was created to improve test scores. Has it happened? No! So yes, I love kids, (but) why send money to DC when we know how to educate our kids here, in the community, in Massachusetts