Meyer touts common sense philosophy
“Most of the solutions are common-sense solutions found in the great middle.”
That could very aptly summarize the political philosophy of Kurt Meyer, Democratic candidate for Congress. Meyer met with Emmet County Democrats Saturday at Hy-Vee to discuss issues over eggs, taxes over toast, and pork barrel legislation over bacon.
You might say there was a lot to chew on.
Meyer was quick to link incumbent 4th District Congressman Tom Latham with the Bush administration. Calling Bush’s administration a “toxic partisanship”, Meyer said bipartisan and nonpartisan efforts are needed to bring about change.
However, Meyer found a doubling of caucus-goers across Iowa in January a good sign that Democrats will turn out in droves in the fall.
Meyer drew a contrast between those who are currently being served by the Washington and who is not.
“We have a government that works best for people who need government least,” Meyer said.
Rather, it is the poor and elderly who need help, said Meyer.
“Those are the people that need government looking out for them,” Meyer said.
Meyer used most of his time to address questions and concerns by over a dozen people at the table.
Regarding health care, Meyer said that while America has the best quality of health care available, accessibility is another matter.
“One of the things we have in the country is an incredible quality of health care,” Meyer said. “The problem is it’s expensive and it’s not always accessible.”
Unfortunately, said Meyer, only those who have good health care coverage or who are affluent can have health care in the U.S. Instead, he said health care should be available to everyone. “That to me should be a basic birthright in this country.”
Meyer also took on the issue of the economy, saying that items such as gas and food will continue to go up without improved economic conditions.
He said some of the money going toward the war and Iraq could be put back into the nation’s infrastructure to improve bridges and roads, something that would also create local jobs.
Meyer favors making high-speed Internet available to everyone throughout the nation. He said those who live in urban areas are twice as likely to have access to high-speed Internet, something he said is essential to compete in the global market.
Meyer said the American people are going to have to adjust their driving habits as fuel shortages become more severe. As an example, he said 65 percent of workers in Winterset County commute 35 miles each way to Des Moines.
“That’s a lifestyle we all kind of buy into,” Meyer said. “We’re in the lower half of the gas tank.”
Meyer said rail should be considered as a viable option. He said a ton of lumber can be transported 400 miles on one gallon of diesel fuel. Passenger rail is another option to be considered, Meyer said.
“For these reasons and others we are talking about a critically important election,” Meyer said. “This may be the most important election of our lifetime.”
With Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate heir-apparent, saying the country could be in Iraq for an extended time and 81 percent of the American people saying the country is headed in the wrong direction, Meyer called for changing the status quo.
“We have a rare opportunity as Iowans to turn the 4th Congressional district blue,” he said. As for Latham, said Meyer, “He has been a very dependable vote for the Bush administration.”
Meyer said Latham had voted for big oil, the military-industrial complex, big pharmaceutical companies, and to increase the federal deficit. The result, he said, will affect future generations.
“I don’t know that I’m passing off to them a world that has the same chances and opportunities that I received,” Latham said.
If spending is not reined in, Meyer said taxes will have to be increased further. Should that happen, he said upper-income earners should be targeted.
If McCain is elected and Meyer defeats Latham, Meyer said he would vote to defund the war, something he said current incumbents have been afraid to do since they did not want to be viewed as “cutting and running”. He said instead he would vote his conscience.
“If a job is worth having, it’s worth risking to do the right thing,” Meyer said. “There are issues where you have to stand up and do the right thing and speak your conscience.”
While he said he respected former President Carter who is trying to broker peace with the Palestinians, Meyer said he is also worried about Carter’s efforts.
“Our commitment to Israel is an important part to the stability to the region,” Meyer said. He also acknowledged that there were “nuances in funding that could help tip the balance” as the United States continues to assist Israel militarily. “I think the United States has to be at the table.”
Meyer also addressed the issue of earmarks. He said it’s not likely that a congressman can be an effective “grant maker” and congressman at the same time.
Meyer said oil companies “have been pretty clever about enormous profits.” He said he would favor higher tax rates for oil companies.
Meyer said he did not want to set a timetable for Iraq withdrawal. He said he would try to bring BAATH party members into the new Iraqi government.
Following his meeting with fellow Democrats, Meyer addressed a number of issues one-on-one with the Daily News.
Meyer said Latham’s biggest weakness is his consistent voting with the Bush administration and agenda.
Meyer said funding for health care would come from the savings by reducing last-minute catastrophic care for indigent people that taxpayers ultimately pay for anyway. Instead, he would focus more on preventive care.
Regarding the nation’s growing prison population, Meyer said better ways need to be found to deal people with mental health and self-medicating issues.
On the immigration issue, Meyer said the nation needs to better monitor its borders. He said the federal role has to be to set immigration policies and enforce them, including situations where people overstay their visas.