The following is a short "Bio" from the Racine Journal Times
Slogan: "Forward Together"
Political heroes, role models: George McGovern, Howard Dean and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Occupation: Owner, Glacier State Distribution Services; hobby farmer.
Government experience: Never held or run for public office before.
Address; family; time in district: 7918 60th St., Kenosha; spends weekends on his farm in Brodhead; married, three children; since 1989.
I sent a short interview to all of the Democratic candidates who are running to defeat incumbant Paul Ryan (R) for the office of Wisconsin’s 1st District US Congressional seat. So far, Candidate Steve Herr is the first and only to respond to my questions. I decided to send out this mini-interview when I could find little information about how the candidates feel about the REAL issues – not just their name, age, and occupation. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal has officially endorsed Herr for this race. His interview is below….
What is the one big reason that spurred your entering this political race?
This is my service to my country. I originally go the idea when I volunteered for a campaign while in high school. My candidate didn’t win, but it gave me the idea that I could serve my country with ideas and leadership. I had toyed with the idea the last couple of elections, and I finally decided this is the year because I see the country is headed so badly down the wrong track.
What are the five major changes you would like to see take place in this state and /or country?
1. Public funding of campaigns. My business has bid on state road salt contracts. After the first winter, one of my competitors had an employee, from Kansas, send a $500 contribution to Governor Thompson, and then qa few weeks later, they sent a letter to DoT suggesting some changes to the road salt specifications – that of course didn’t cost them any money, but effectively made it very difficult for me to compete. The worst part was that the contribution came 6 months AFTER the 1994 election. As a result of that specification change, I estimate the state now spends $2 or 3 million more than is should for road salt. That’s just road salt – think about all the other things the state buys. Public funding of campaigns will be very cost effective.
2. Switch to renewable fuels and increase conservation. I’ve always been a strong supporter of the environment, and the benefits of moving to alternative fuels are tremendous – balance of trade, reducing our military costs in the middle east, and making us more competitive as oil prices rise.
3. A unified health care system that covers all people. Every person, from the Wal-Mart clerk to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is worthy of decent medical care.
4. Pull out of Iraq – like it or not, unjustified or not, our meddling in the middle east has been like poking a sharp stick in the eye of a pit bull. Osama bin Laden himself said it was America’s interference in Saudi affairs that led him to do the attack. Doesn’t justify the murder of 9/11, but that’s what caused it. We need to eliminate our need for oil so our foreign policy is not driven by oil, this will reduce the likelihood of future terrorist attacks against us.
What do you love most about Wisconsin?
That it’s green during the summer. I grew up in California where everything dries up during the summer and it usually doesn’t rain from May through September. I really appreciate the seasons here.
What is your opinion on the following issues and how would you or did you vote if these have or would come up for a vote:
Concealed Carry – I’ve asked a lot of police officers about this – virtually all urban police say they don’t want more guns roaming the streets, virtually all rural police officers say it really doesn’t matter in their environment. The police in the high crime areas don’t think it will help, so I’ll go with the police on this one.
Same Sex Marriage Ban – We seem to be perfectly willing to collect the tax dollars of gays, but shouldn’t they have equivalent rights if we’re going to charge them taxes? We straights may not understand homosexuality at a gut level, but that is not cause for discrimination. The Wisconsin amendment is particularly pernicious, in that it also bans equivalent rights for domestic partnerships. Not everybody wants to get married in the traditional religious/church sense, but if they want to make alternative commitments, we should support those commitments.
If we view marriage as an institution of the churches and religion, and there are some religions that are willing to marry gays, how does the government pick and chose which marriages it will honor with the rights and privileges granted by the government? If we view marriage as a civil institution of the government, how can the government use what is, in essence, a religious stricture against gay marriage if we are going to maintain a separation of church and state. Further, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, I still have yet to meet anybody whose leg was broken or pocket was picked by a gay couple who wanted to get married. My pocket gets picked every few days when I go to the gas pump. This is an issue the republicans have used to divide our country and garner donations from people they put unreasonable fears into, when there are many more serious issues to be addressed.
Abortion – Depending on what question you ask and how you ask it, polls of Americans over the last 30 years show that 45% to 65% support the right of choice. So we have no consensus that it is wrong. I am pro-choice pre viability, would support a ban on third trimester abortions by any method as long as there was an exception for the life or health of the mother, or severe deformity of the child. I do feel there is a loss of respect for life based on the sheer number of abortions done, but I would never be so presumptious to place myself in the shoes of a woman facing that decision and make the decision for her. Instead, we should be aware that abortions are merely the symptom of the problem of unplanned pregnancies, we should focus on solving that problem by making sure birth control is available to all couples and that our teenagers understand what gets them pregnant and how to prevent it.
Legalization of Marijuana – I understand that marijuana is about equivalent to alcohol in terms of its pharmacological effects, but my own observation is that it does tend to be an addiction of habit. I’m not in favor of legalization for recreational drug use. As to medical use, we have a lot of anecdotal evidence that it works for certain situations, but we don’t have the double blind experimental data to show it. We should do those experiments, do it with the synthetic Marinol, and see what the results are and decide from there.
Alternate Fuel – Biodiesel has a much greater energy return that ethanol, (about 3 to 1 compared to ethanol’s 1.5 to 1) so we should focus on biodiesel. However, there aren’t enough acres to supply our fleet. The only realistic form of fuel that could be in enough supply is hydrogen, I favor building the initial fueling infrastructure (GM says it would cost $15 billion – sounds cheap compared to the cost of another war).
How do you feel about the War in Iraq/Afghanistan? What are your thoughts on the best way for the removal of troops? – Afghanistan – we should have sent more resources to find Osama bin Laden. We also have to apply the lesson of Vietnam and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980’s – you can win against guerillas or an insurgency unless you have the support of the local population. We may be able to get the information we need to find bin Laden with bread, blankets, and building materials faster than with bullets and bombs. For Iraq, as any teacher will tell you, if you don’t set a deadline, the assignment won’t get done. The assignment for the Iraqis is to form a government that can be supported by all, and get their security forces ready to take care of themselves. I favor setting a 24 month timeline for our withdrawal, and sticking to it. I would pull them out faster if I don’t see any progress or if the Shiite majority is using us to provide security while they inflict a low grade genocide on the Sunnis.
Do you have ideas for a solution to the healthcare problems in our society?
Talked about that above. I would have employers pay about 25% of health care costs, so they still have an interest in keeping their employees healthy, some from a monthly deductible of $50 to 100, and the balance from general tax revenues.
If you felt very strongly about a particular issue – would you vote against the majority of your party? In other words, to you, are the issues or the Democratic Party your priority?
The issues. I find party labels to be convenient to indicate my general philosophy, but they don’t dictate my thinking.
Who do you feel is the best hopeful for the Democratic candidate in the next presidential election?
In terms of the best person, I think Russ Feingold is the guy. There are some questions as to his electability, but I think he can overcome those concerns.
If you could hand pick our next president, who would it be and why?
Feingold. The man has integrity and smarts.
Lastly, why do you feel Paul Ryan needs to be removed from his position?
It’s become clear to me that he is not listening to what his constituents want. He is not representing us, and the positions he takes are largely to benefit his campaign contributors.