Election 2016: Paul Mitchell Candidate Questionnaire

WDET sent identical questionnaires to Congressional primary candidates. Here’s how Paul Mitchell answered:

Why are you running for Congress?

I am running for Congress because our government is broken and career politicians have broken it. This nation was never designed to have a permanent political class, but that is what has developed over time. I am not a politician, but instead spent a 35 year career in the private sector creating jobs, building a business, and I understand how our economy works. In order to fix our broken government I think it is vital that people with real world skills participate in our government to focus on solving problems instead of simply working to make certain they are re-elected. In Washington I will work to provide solutions to our nation’s challenges and protect the interests of those here in the district I will be proud to represent.

What qualifies you to run for Congress?

I grew up in a working class family and became the first person in my extended family to either attend or graduate from college. I understand the value of hard work and focused my career on helping others get job skills they needed to succeed in our economy and provide for their families. I had the leadership skills necessary to grow a company, create hundreds of jobs, and help thousands find meaningful work. I know how to get things done. Government should be no different. While the goal in government is not profit, it must be giving taxpayers value for their hard earned tax dollars they send to the government. I have had to persist and make many difficult decisions in my career and I will not be afraid to make them in Congress if they help solve our nation’s problems. I am ready for the challenge.

What do you consider the major issues facing your district? Please name at least three.

The foremost issue facing our entire country is our national security, and the security of our communities. We face a growing threat from radical Islamic terrorists like ISIS and it must be confronted head on. This will require us to restore the Obama cuts to our military which threaten its readiness and effectiveness. We also need to provide unshakeable support for the brave men and women who serve in uniform to protect our security. Another important challenge will be to restore strong relationships with allies in the region so that we can support their efforts on the ground in fight to crush ISIS.

We also must provide that same support and commitment to the men and women who protect our communities as police officers. My son is a police officer and I am incredibly proud of the service he gives to the community. They deserve our respect and support.

We also have to grow our economy and create opportunity for our children and future generations. This will require reforming our overly complex tax code and reining federal bureaucratic regulators.

Finally, every member from Michigan has a special duty to protect the things that make Michigan strong and special. That means standing strong for our Great Lakes by fighting in every possible way to keep out invasive species like the Asian Carp, protecting against any diversion of our water, and doing all we can to keep them clean. I will also stand strong for Michigan manufacturing and agriculture which are central to our economy. And assist in the development of the military corridor, particularly in Macomb County, so that America can benefit from our incredible innovators and workforce. I will also fight to maintain and expand the missions of the Michigan Air National Guard based at Selfridge.

How do you plan to address those issues if elected?

On our security we have to get serious about the challenges we face. We must secure the border and I will work to enact legislation that does just that using fencing and walls where appropriate, and technology in other places. We also need to empower our Border Patrol to do their jobs to enforce the law.

For our military we need to restore the cuts put in place by the Obama administration which has left our army and navy smaller than at any point since before World War II. We cannot project American power or defend our interests with a military in decline. We also need to change the procurement policies of the Pentagon to make certain we are buying the tools that the war fighters want and need, and eliminate waste in the budget.

I have put forward the Mitchell Prosperity Plan which calls for three important steps to get our economy growing again and bring fiscal sanity to Washington to help improve the economy. The first step is to scrap our current overly complex and cumbersome tax code and force Washington politicians to enact reforms. I then would support a simpler and flatter tax that eliminates special interest deductions and allows us to lower rates for all. Any family or small business should have certainty to what their tax liability will be in a given year so that they can plan and grow appropriately.

The 10th District has been fortunate to have Candice Miller represent us in Washington for the last 14 years because she has been such a zealous advocate for the needs of our district, and fighting for the home team. I intend to stand strong for our industries and workers, our precious natural resources, and the brave men and women who serve our state and nation in the military and as first responders.

Are you formally endorsing a candidate for President?

Late last year my wife and I endorsed Carly Fiorina for President because we believed her experience in business both domestically and internationally would be very helpful in meeting the challenges in our economy. But, the people have spoken, including the people of the 10th Congressional District where Donald Trump won convincingly. Donald Trump will be the nominee of the Republican Party and he has my full support.

In broad terms, what do you believe is the relationship between the federal government and local units of government? What is in your record that supports and informs this philosophy?

I believe strongly that the federal government has become too big and all powerful in our daily lives. The 10th Amendment to our Constitution reserves to the states and to the people the responsibilities not directly given to the federal government by the Constitution. Take education for instance. Currently there are 43 different federal education programs all with their own rules and regulations. The money spent on these programs goes to support bureaucrats in Washington, bureaucrats in Chicago, and bureaucrats in Lansing before a penny ever gets into the classroom because Washington thinks we in Michigan aren’t smart enough to educate our own children. This is crazy. What I believe we should do is create 4 or 5 block grant programs and send that money directly to the states so that a far larger percentage reaches students in the classroom, and allow we in Michigan to decide how to best educate our own children.

That same story can be told on every issue from transportation to environmental protect, and everything in between. Washington does not know best.

I spent a 35 year career in a highly regulated private sector industry so I know of what I speak. A recent study by the National Association of Manufacturers shows

that the cost of federal regulation to our economy is around $2 trillion each and every year. Fully 1/6th of our overall economy. That government burden is a massive tax on job creation, innovation, wages, and opportunity.

It is little different with local and state units of government which struggle every day with compliance on federal rules in order to keep the money flowing from Washington. We need to ease that burden significantly and let those closest and most accountable to the people in our communities do more to govern our daily lives.

What is your opinion on:

Raising the age of Medicare eligibility?

Medicare is a sacred trust between the federal government and our senior citizens and must be protected. I believe that no rules should be changed for those at or nearing retirement age because people have planned their entire lives for a secure retirement and we can’t upset their plans at the last minute. We also have a responsibility to ensure that Medicare is maintained for future generations. I believe we need to take politics out of the discussion and have a bi-partisan way forward or else nothing will ever get done to protect this vital program.

Taxing investor income on municipal bonds?

I have put forward a tax plan that can be viewed at MitchellProsperityPlan.com. I believe we need fundamental tax reform that would scrap the overly complex and burdensome tax code. I would then work toward replacing it with a system that is simpler and flatter by eliminating special interest tax breaks so we can lower rates for everyone. I strongly believe instead of going into that debate with certain breaks protected we put everything on the table and make decisions that are in the best interests of families, job creation, competitiveness, and wage growth.

Establishing an Internet sales tax?

I am not interested in creating any new federal taxes and will oppose any effort to do so.

Transportation-related infrastructure and prioritization of road repair vs. transit vs. non-motorized projects?

For us here in Michigan our roads have to be our top priority. Far too much of the road tax dollars we send to Washington and Lansing are diverted to other priorities and we see the results every day we drive our roads. Getting more of those tax dollars delivered to the actual priorities of those I want to serve will be a top priority for me.

Energy policy and how it may support local investments in renewable power and support for financial incentives to increase energy efficiency?

I support an all of the above energy strategy that allows our nation to take advantage of all forms of energy reserves so that we can reduce prices for consumers, create countless good paying jobs in the energy sector, and grow our economy. There have been huge investments in renewable energy in the 10th

Congressional District, primarily wind and bio-fuels like ethanol. I feel strongly that we should not change current rules which were in place when these private sector investments were made. The government should also put a strong focus on the development of infrastructure for the delivery of energy across the nation. I also believe we should have more local control and community input over where future energy development is located.

Another factor that is often missed is the security of our current energy grid from cyber attack or other disruption by global adversaries. There needs to be a strong partnership between government and energy providers to make certain that we are strongly protected from an attack that could have a devastating impact on our economy and way of life.