Originally Published: October 11, 2014 6:02 a.m.
Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 4th Congressional District verbally answered a series of questions posed by The Daily Courier newspaper. Some of their answers are paraphrased below.
Democrat Mikel Weisser is challenging incumbent Republican Paul Gosar for the 4th Congressional District seat in the Nov. 4 general.
Weisser also ran against Gosar two years ago, when Gosar decided to seek the CD4 seat after redistricting instead of sticking with the CD1 seat where he already had served one term. CD4 has a stronger Republican contingency.
Question: What should the U.S. do about ISIS?
Gosar: I voted against the (successful) amendment to train and supply Syrian opposition on Sept. 17. I want the president to ask Congress for a declaration of war, and tell us what he wants to accomplish by when. I voted against arming violent death squads that have no loyalty to the U.S. or our values. We shouldn't help one terrorist group fight another terrorist group. And I didn't like how the amendment was attached to a continuing appropriations resolution.
Weisser: War is against my Christian values. War takes money from social services and benefits contractors. Violence creates more violence. Use diplomacy to isolate the terrorists.
Question: What changes in immigration policy do you support?
Gosar: Secure the border before providing amnesty. We can secure the border. Give the governor money to call up the National Guard. When a business hires illegal workers, there should be consequences. I'm willing to look at a guest worker program, especially for agriculture. But I don't want one huge immigration bill. I can't say whether I'd vote on other immigration measures before the border is secure.
Weisser: I support registration of undocumented resident aliens. We shouldn't allow anyone on our terrorist watch list to cross the border. But otherwise, if they don't have a felony record, we should provide them with ID and let them in. I want others to have the same opportunity as my grandparents. More people pay more taxes.
Question: Congressman Gosar visited the Bundy family Nevada ranch in April after their armed standoff against the BLM because the family has refused to pay grazing fees on public land since 1993. Then Gosar publicly criticized the BLM for the way it handled the situation. Congressman Gosar, why didn't you publicly criticize Cliven Bundy for trying to claim public lands as his own, or for saying "Negro people" were "better off" as slaves? Are you concerned that you appear to be supporting the armed takeover of federal lands? Candidate Weisser, what do you think?
Gosar: Bundy was wrong, too, but he didn't deserve the federal government's sniper rifles. I don't know who brought out the guns first, but the BLM blew up the situation. The local sheriff should have taken care of it. Federal law says warrants should be delivered by the local sheriff. The only reason I was there was because I was speaking in Las Vegas at the time. Why didn't the federal government respond with guns when the Occupy Wall Street protesters took over public lands?
Weisser: I hope it was empty grandstanding on Gosar's part. If not, he's a traitor like Bundy. He's saying we don't have to care about the government, we have to care about angry people who hate the government.