BOUNTIFUL, UT- Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, Chris Stewart, addressed the Bountiful Exchange Club last week about the challenges facing our nation and the bright hope for the future.
“We live in very troubled times, don’t we? Crumbling economies around the world. Constant struggles in the Middle East. Some of us are worried about our family finances. Some are living in homes that are worth much less than we now owe. Many of us are worried about our jobs or employment. But, America is a special place. There is hope in the future. We just need to make some critical choices to set us back on the right path,” Stewart said.
Stewart is the president and CEO of a small business that is nationally recognized for its consulting expertise in energy and the environment, as well as government anti-terrorism training and corporate security and executive preparedness consulting. He also served for fourteen years as a pilot in the Air Force, flying both rescue helicopters and the B-1B bomber. During the meeting, he shared with the group some of his experiences abroad and his belief in the idea of American Exceptionalism.
“I think people should be proud of their own nations. I hope they feel a duty to the places they were born. But, there is something different about this country. Something exceptional. Something powerful,” Stewart said.
According to Stewart, that belief is unique to Americans. In a recent survey, three-quarters of U.S. citizens said they are proud to be Americans, while less than a third of the people in France, Italy, Germany, or Japan claimed to feel the same about their country.
However, Stewart holds that some critical changes need to be made in order to keep that belief alive. He plans to address economic concerns by creating a more business-friendly environment.
“Small business is the heart of the U.S. economy, creating roughly 65-percent of jobs over the past 20 years. Yet, government regulations make it nearly impossible for small businesses to thrive. As a small business owner, I know what conditions are necessary for small businesses to flourish. That involves getting government out of the way, ” Stewart said.
Stewart plans to control and eliminate hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations that have never received the direct blessing of either voters or Congress but were instead put into place by disconnected Washington bureaucrats.
“Federal regulations are a $1.6 trillion deadweight on our economy–the last thing we need as we struggle to create jobs. To reduce the intrusion of these regulations, we should implement a five-year Sunset Rule, during which time we review every rule and regulation. Those that can pass Congressional muster should be kept. Those that don’t pass a vote in Congress should be automatically eliminated at the end of the fifth year,” Stewart said.
Stewart supports permanent reductions in business taxes. He also supports simplifying the personal tax code by creating a new code consisting of just three rates for federal income tax: 10%, 15% and 25%.
“Taxes are simply too complicated. Even the head of the IRS has someone do his taxes for him. My proposal would give Americans the option to choose a system that would literally allow them to file their taxes on the back of a post card. Few things would invigorate our economy like tax simplification would,” Stewart said.
At the top of Stewart’s agenda is slashing the federal deficit.
“Of every dollar spent by the federal government about forty cents are borrowed. This clearly would not be economically sound for a household, and it is not economically sound for our nation. We have witnessed the downgrade of our credit rating, and if we do not control spending, we will witness further economic hardship,” Stewart said.
As part of his plan to reduce the federal deficit, Stewart supports ratifying a Balanced Budget Amendment and enacting real entitlement reform.
“Getting the federal deficit under control is going to take work from both sides of the aisle. Government spending is out of control. Part of the problem lies in entitlements, which already consume 66-percent of our federal spending. I have a plan to reform Social Security and Medicare to save the systems in a cost-efficient manner while protecting those who rely on the programs,” Stewart said.
Stewart has never made it his goal to run for Congress, but ironically his experience in small business and in the military make him the ideal candidate. Less than 20-percent of the members of Congress have military experience, and Chris’ Air Force experience would add perspective to critical national security policy.
“I wish I could say that the world is a safe place, but the truth is hostilities are growing in many corners of the world. Insurgents are gaining power in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran is on the verge of a nuclear weapon. Pakistan is unreliable and sitting on a nuclear arsenal. We must remain militarily strong. However, the military will undergo the same scrutiny as the rest of government. The military can sustain some spending cuts without hurting national security. Cuts could include closing some overseas bases and streamlining operations,” Stewart said.
Stewart says although we are facing a number of challenges, we have been through tough times before: Jamestown, the American Revolution, the crafting of an inspired Constitution that has been a model to the rest of the world, the Civil War, the Great Depression, WWII.
“All of these were great challenges that we were able to rise above, and I am certain that we will rise above this too. We are still as Ronald Reagan said the shining light upon the hill,” Stewart said.