2010 Election Guide: Jim Meffert, DFL

Conor Shine

How will you address the federal budget deficit?
Well, first of all, youâÄôve got to be honest that there are no easy answers.
The first thing is if we get people back to work and create jobs âÄî private, public sector, whatever it takes. [Then] weâÄôve got more people paying taxes and fewer people who require unemployment and health care benefits. So you look at both sides of the ledger, youâÄôve got more coming [in] and less going out.
And then weâÄôve got to get real about deficit reduction, the three cents on the dollar for everything over a quarter million dollars that we could not extend âÄî you know, the part of the 2001 tax cuts that we donâÄôt extend âÄî that shows that weâÄôre serious about deficit reduction.
How would you work with members of the other party to reduce the gridlock in Congress?
YouâÄôve seen in our campaign weâÄôre not going up with the lies and the distortions and the accusations of the other side that make people cynical and that make it hard to work together âĦ
So thatâÄôs the first thing. ThatâÄôs why weâÄôre not doing that, thatâÄôs why weâÄôre having a serious discussion.
The second thing is, I was chair of the College Republicans at St. Olaf [College] and on the state board of the College Republicans.
IâÄôve worked with people on both sides of the aisle for years. So I know exactly how we need to sit down and really face these issues.
Would you support a second stimulus bill?
The first stimulus bill cut taxes by $400 a person so that more people could put food on the table, to get money going in the economy. It kept police and firefighters and teachers employed and it helped fund projects like the [Highway] 610 extension and the [Interstate]
494/694 interchange.
If it does those kinds of things which help us create stability for families and keep police and firefighter and teachers employed and find ways to leverage dollars to get jobs, to help the private sector create jobs, yeah, IâÄôd support that.
What should federal immigration reform look like?
It should create a much clearer and easier pathway for people to become citizens of this country.
One of the frustrations right now that people donâÄôt understand is a lot of the folks who are in this country working here who donâÄôt have legal status are paying taxes, they have federal I.D., theyâÄôre paying into this system.
We should make it easier for them to be here, and not hide and become citizens.
ThatâÄôs what it should look like to me âÄî a much clearer pathway.
The DonâÄôt Ask, DonâÄôt Tell policy was recently overturned by a federal judge. Do you agree with that ruling, and what would you do for gay rights on the national level?
IsnâÄôt it ridiculous that we have people fighting for this country, fighting for our freedom, who have to hide who they really are and who have to lie about who they really are?
ThatâÄôs absolutely ridiculous.
So whatever it takes to get that overturned so people who are fighting for this country can be honest about who they are is something that needs to happen.
The court battles that go back and forth are frustrating, because it seems like we have a pathway to change those things and now itâÄôs gone back and forth, the appeals court has the stay. Honestly, letâÄôs just get it done and move on.
Do you support the health care legislation passed last session, and should there be further federal action on health care?
This is a process. This is the beginning of a reform process. To think that one bill is going to change and reduce costs and get us to the place where we have a system that isnâÄôt killing jobs anymore is ridiculous. âĦ
It begins a process of trying to reduce costs in the system; it creates the kind of pooling mechanisms [and] insurance exchanges that are going to help small businesses.
Those are steps that everyone knows are good and we need to continue. ItâÄôs not done.
Do you support cap and trade legislation?
I go back to the 1980s and 1990s when we had cap and trade that reduced sulfur emissions and got rid of acid rain.
It set goals and allowed the ingenuity of the private sector to figure out how to get there and helped the economy and created jobs.
ThatâÄôs what cap and trade is âÄî itâÄôs a completely private market, free market, ingenuity model for solving a problem.
ThatâÄôs what itâÄôs there for. ThatâÄôs what it does.
Do you agree wth the Supreme CourtâÄôs Citizens United decision? Why or why not?
Absolutely not.
We need a Constitutional amendment that says that corporations do not equal individual voters and we need full disclosureof whoâÄôs paying for what in ads and political speak.
I mean, seriously look at the money weâÄôre spending right now on these campaigns âÄî $4 billion in this country and we donâÄôt know where itâÄôs all coming from.
ThatâÄôs ridiculous. It has got to change. ItâÄôs got to be real, individual people who are financing campaigns.