Ed Matthews, Republican candidate for U.S. Representative 4th District

In light of the current economic crisis, what needs to happen to ensure American economic stability in the future? Congress needs to make the 2001 and 2003 tax relief permanent so that families and small businesses donâÄôt have a massive tax increase. That would be devastating to the economy. Can the United States achieve energy independence? If so, what steps do we need to take for that to happen, and how long do you think it will take? I favor an all-of-the-above energy policy; we need to explore for more American oil and natural gas. We need to explore clean-burning coal, nuclear, wind and solar power. If we explore for more energy in the United States, weâÄôll create tens of thousands of good, high-paying jobs, improve our trade deficit, improve national security and strengthen the dollar. We can have energy independence within a decade. With tuition costs rising, what, if anything, would you do to make college more affordable? The increased costs of higher education are directly attributable to the issues related to high health care costs and high energy costs. What is your stance on gay marriage? I believe that marriage is defined as the union between one man and one woman. What is your stance on abortion? As a civilized society, we need to respect life in all its forms, from conception until natural death. I am proud to be pro-life. What, if anything, would you change about the health care system? We need to reduce the number of government mandates so that consumers have more choice in health care, and until the states do that, Congress should allow people to buy âĦ health insurance across state lines. When you have more freedom in the marketplace âĦ prices will come down. How should the United States address the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? The surge, as implemented by Gen. David Petraeus and the brave men and women of our armed forces, has been an incredible success. We need to capitalize on that success by encouraging the Iraqis to step up and take responsibility for their own affairs. IâÄôm confident weâÄôll be able to draw down our troops in Iraq very soon, but I would defer to the generals on the ground to make those kinds of timing decisions. What is the most important issue our country must deal with today, and how do you plan to address it? The most important issue our country is dealing with right now is wasteful government spending, which is adding billions âĦ of dollars to our national debt. We need to end wasteful government spending. ItâÄôs time to be responsible and pay down our national debt.