WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- 7 Investigates conducted studio interviews with each of the five 7th Congressional District candidates between October 16 and 21, asking the same set of twelve issue and platform-based questions to each candidate, which included three Republicans and two Democrats. Click here for the complete methodology of the project. Jason Church's interview was conducted on October 16.
1. We’re seeing more and more issues get split along Party lines, which is leading to more issues deadlocked in Congress with no movement. What issue are you willing to cross party lines to address?
Well, one area I think that there is bipartisan support right now is the threat from China. China right now has behaved aggressively in Asia. Really what they’re doing is on two fronts: trade and on military issues. Militarily, they’re building islands in the South China Sea.They’re trying to interdict about 25% of the world’s shipping. They are bullying their neighbors with debt-trapped diplomacy, and they’re building out a navy with the capabilities of trying to reach global ports. And that is very concerning to me. And the trade issues that they’re bringing up--I mean, good gracious. Since they’ve been admitted to the World Trade Organization, they have stolen intellectual property, required the transfer of technology to state-owned enterprises. They’re behaving in a very belligerent manner, and that is one area that you’re seeing in Washington right now, cooperation on. Because it is a threat. It is a major threat. It’s not only a threat to the United States, but it’s a threat to the world.
2. Is the tariff-based approach to dealing with Chinese trade practices the most effective solution for Wisconsin consumers and producers?
One of the issues obviously is the President’s trying to find a way and a solution at the 35,000-foot level to China. And they have been abusing the economic system for decades now. And it’s led them, honestly, to quite a bit of economic wealth. He is right to target them in this fashion. They are behaving belligerently, and the response that he has put to China I think is bringing them to the table.
3. Dairy farms in Wisconsin are closing at a rising rate of hundreds per year. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s assessment that small family farms of 40 to 100 cows will likely go out of business. Do you agree with his assessment—and what legislation will you propose to address the dairy farming issue at a Congressional level?
Well with all due respect to Secretary Perdue, he’s not from here, alright? He’s not from Wisconsin. He has not seen or been with farmers up in the state. We have been through much worse than this, and we’re tough, and we make the best products in the world. So for him to make that prediction I think is just flat-out false. In terms of legislation at the Congressional level, I do think that ratifying the USMCA would do a lot of help for dairy farmers here in northern Wisconsin. The Canadians for years subsidized the milk industry. And that deal will help dairy farmers here. But it’s sitting in Nancy Pelosi’s Congress, and at this point in time I don’t think she’s willing to deliver President Trump a victory on the USMCA.
4. What’s your plan to continue to support Wisconsin’s low unemployment rate while addressing an aging workforce?
Well I think one of the biggest things for me is deregulation, from the federal level. I mean, one of the problems often is that local businesses just have a hard time starting up because they have to deal with a ridiculous amount of compliance costs. I mean, lawyers are expensive. And I think deregulating parts of the federal code would, quite frankly, be a boon to the workforce here, and would continue us on the path to prosperity.
5. How do you plan to make healthcare more affordable for the American family?
One of the things I see as problematic right now is -- I’ll answer the question. But I see one of the problematic things right now in health care is the proposals that are coming from the left about universal health care. I go to the VA. I am a product of social -- I mean, I go to socialized medicine. And to me, the fact that I have to go and basically prove that I don’t have legs every couple months to then get the supplies I need is, quite frankly, pretty silly. But that’s a system that occurs when you have -- when you have the people working there not accountable to the patient, the veteran, but accountable to a bureaucrat in Washington. So I found the proposals that they’re putting forth to be, just--very bad. Because the VA system extrapolated out to the entire country, to me, is a very scary thought. I think part of it would be--I mean, we should have repealed and replaced the Affordable Care Act when we had the chance to. That opportunity doesn't exist right now. And there are different types of plans out there that allow for more pooled coverage of doctors in regional areas, that cost families a lot less per month. And quite frankly, for what they need--especially as a young person for health care costs--I think it would help dramatically reduce the overall cost of health care in this country. Also, the other parts of it, you look at medicare, medicaid--all these programs just build up and exacerbate the costs of health care in this country. They don’t contribute to lowering it. They make it more expensive.
6. Our national debt hit 22 trillion dollars this year. How do you plan to reduce that debt—and does your plan include raising taxes?
So, the debt is a major problem. It’s a major problem to me personally because, as you’ve seen right now, the debt level in this country is the highest it’s been since the end of the second World War. That blows my mind. And at this point the trajectory that we’re on, we’re going to be taxing my unborn children. That’s just fundamentally unfair for generations of Americans who aren't even alive yet. I think a lot of this has to do with mandatory spending. I mean, as of right now, 70% of the federal budget in a given year is spent on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the debt. Social Security, you know for me, people have paid into that. That’s their money. They deserve that money. People who have paid into that system for decades, they rely on that. But people who are younger, like me? We’re living longer. So maybe raising the age for people who are under the age of 40 or so would probably be beneficial, and I think would alleviate some of these concerns. Getting rid of the fraud and waste in Medicare and Medicaid would be another way of reducing the burden of mandatory spending. So no, I wouldn’t raise taxes, because I think there needs to be a push in those areas of spending.
7. It’s been reported that hundreds of high-value ISIS detainees have escaped from prison in Syria. Do you support President Trumps withdrawal from Syria—and do you believe it sets the Islamic State up for a resurgence?
Let’s look at this a couple ways. First, I have been over in the Middle East, I have been in these areas, I have been in these endless wars. I’ve spilled my own blood in them. You’re not going to change 2,000 years in 20, okay? There are cultural issues that exist there that are not going to be changed by American presence. So yes, I do support what the President’s doing. I think that we have problems there that are not going to be solved, again, by spilling more American blood and treasure. The President sees this, again, as a 35,000-foot problem. We have issues going on right now, certainly with China, and we have very limited--as you mentioned before--with the debt and other issues we have right now--we have limited time, resources and money. Those need to be spent properly. And I think that needs to be a re-orientation.
I want to ask the second part of that again. Do you believe this sets the Islamic State up for a resurgence?
No, because at the end of the day, you can still -- you can still have surveillance assets. It doesn’t require us spending, quite frankly, the money and blood that would be necessary to overlook what’s going on in those areas. And at the end of the day, the biggest issue with us in that area would be what would happen if Turkey and the United States came into an armed conflict. This is a NATO ally, and I think that causes far more geopolitical rifts.
8. The Supreme Court is expected to rule next June on the President’s move to strike down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. If they end the program, would you support Congressional actions to protect current Dreamers?
Well, let’s look at this immigration problem on the whole, and then I’ll answer your question. One of the things that’s problematic right now--and I think actually it does answer your question. The President’s identified a problem. He’s identified a problem with our immigration system. He’s identified a problem at the border. Yes, we need to build a wall. Yes, we need more border patrol down there. And yes, we need quite frankly more resources and a judicial system--that is currently overrun with deportation proceedings. I mean, they are backlogged for months and months because thousands of people are crossing the border illegally every month. But part of the problem lies with the Congress. The statutes, the way they are written right now, they’re incentivizing illegal immigration. Again, the Congress could do something about it. But again, like I said, Nancy Pelosi’s not gonna give a victory to the President in this current predicament and environment. When it comes to people who have been here illegally, I think that there’s a couple issues here that need to be investigated. One, how do they get here? Is this a 16, 15, 14-year old that came over with a family? Like, come on, really? That to me is the same issue we’re dealing with, with people coming across the border on caravans. When it comes to younger children, again, I’d like to see more of the legislation and things that come down what the Supreme Court says on this. Because, this to me seems like, again, a one-size-fits-all solution by the federal government that’s not gonna work. So I would need to see, one, what the Supreme Court decides to do--I don’t want to play hypotheticals with what their decision’s going to be--because that would have some bearing on what I could do as a Congressman.
9. In the past year, President Trump has pulled out of the Paris Agreement, and continues to roll back environmental regulations, and the far left has introduced proposals like the Green New Deal. Where do you fall on the climate change spectrum?
So first, I think proposals like the Green New Deal are complete disasters. I mean, what this is--this is a piece of legislation that is drafted by someone like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents constituents who don’t know where the food they eat is produced, don’t know where the user-manufacturer, and that just almost horse-blinder look at life would be an absolutely crushing blow to people here in the 7th Congressional District. I mean, we are a heavy agriculture, manufacturing district, so a plan like that would be disastrous. I am of the mindset that the free market generally has produced the best results when it comes to innovation. Things that are dictated by the federal government, quite frankly, lead to fraud, waste and abuse. Innovation is what brought us the internal combustion engine, innovation will be what brings us forward to the later half of the 21st and going into the 22nd century.
10. Do you believe the President has done anything wrong in asking a foreign government to investigate political opponents?
Look, first, it’s illegal for a foreign nation to interfere in US elections. And I think what’s going on here, is Democrats who did not like the results of 2016, who didn’t find anything with the Mueller Report, didn't find anything impeaching Brett Kavanaugh--or excuse me, in going after Brett Kavanaugh, and are now looking for something else to grab onto. I’ll tell you that today, this is--it’s telling of how politically charged this is. Nancy Pelosi’s caucus just came back from their districts, the members of Congress were back for two weeks. And she decided to not press ahead with an inquiry on impeachment. Why? Because a substantial amounts of members in swing districts came back and said “Whoa, whoa whoa. Wait a minute. We don’t want to press this; this could be politically damaging to us in 2020.” So she’s not doing it. That to me shows that this is truly a politically motivated action. Truly politically motivated. When you see the reaction right now from the left and certain constituencies that just want to invalidate the president, they don’t like the man, but you know who they really don’t like? Is the people like up here in northern Wisconsin who elected him and put him into office. We’re the enemies of them right now. We’re the people that helped put Donald Trump into office. And I’ll tell you what. We’re not going anywhere.
11. We continue to see domestic terror incidents where perpetrators target their victims based on their differences. Do you believe violent political rhetoric plays a role in these cases, and do you believe your personal moral compass should impact who you align yourself with politically?
Well, terrorism in itself is a political act. Typically when people conduct terrorism, it's to further some cause that they believe in. So I think inherently, terrorism can be political. I think that all terrorism is bad. I think we should do whatever we can to eliminate that type of behavior. It is destructive. It's quite evident how horrible it is. And I think that we should do what we can with law enforcement and investigations and the legal system to prohibit people from doing that.
And I'm going to ask the last part again, do you believe your personal moral compass should impact who you align yourself with politically?
I think it does. I mean, isn't that almost self inherent?
12. What single thing do you want to have accomplished by the end of a full 2-year term?
I would like to bring a voice for people up here in Northern Wisconsin, to Washington. There are things right now that absolutely scare me. It's what's propelling me. It's what's motivating me to run, is I see young people flocking to the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and policies that have been absolutely destructive. I mean, absolutely destructive. You look at Venezuela, they were the richest country in South America. They've implemented very far left socialist ideas and nationalization, and they're the poorest country right now in South America, people are fleeing, right? These ideas are utterly disastrous, but people are flocking to them. I want to stand up and fight this and show that it's not--her way is not a good way. It's a destructive way. And for me, what I want to help--what I want to accomplish is bringing a face and an identity to younger people that want to be with more conservative-minded folks, that can bring good and prosperity to this country.