U.S. Senate Candidate Questionnaire
Address: Bob Krause, 2257 Walton Lake Drive, Fairfield, Iowa 52556
Phone Number: 515-657-0069
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign Web Site: www.krasuseforiowa.com
Facebook: “Krause for Iowa’s Future”
Education Background: BA, Political Science, University of Iowa, Work toward MPA at Iowa State University, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Coursework in Economics and Business, Buena Vista University.
This video link gives a brief overview of my life and work activities. If you have other questions about my background you may contact me directly.
Elected Offices Held: State Representative, House District 7, 1973-70. Waterloo School Board, 1999-2002.
Public Service Outside of Elected Office:
28 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve, retired as Colonel.
Regional Representative for the Secretary of Transportation in the Carter Administration.
District Planner for the Iowa DOT in eastern Iowa.
Instructor in Transportation-Logistics in the School of Business, Iowa State University.
Director, Center for Transportation (a think tank) at The Council of State Governments.
1. If elected to the U.S. Senate name the top three four committees you would seek to serve on? Why?
Senate Finance Committee. Because it handles both appropriations and taxation it is clearly the most powerful committee in the US Senate. Much can be done there.
Senate Commerce Committee. I have a strong background in transportation and infrastructure and would have a lot of expertise to offer. In addition, I firmly believe in infrastructure projects as job builders.
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. I have a very strong belief that we are not treating our veterans properly – especially those with PTSD.
Senate Agriculture Committee. Agriculture is still the bedrock of the Iowa community and I am knowledgeable in it.
2. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Washington, D.C. staff? Very good question. I will seek out Iowans rather than DC rotating staff because that is a double way to develop a bond between Iowans and policy makers. Those that do not live in Iowa will not have as good of a grasp of the nuanced problems that Iowans face. I will also work to have representation for all ethnic groups, and will attempt to develop issue specialists on my staff. This will include at least one specialist in the issues facing ethnic minorities in Iowa. I will start with Iowans to give Iowans a chance to develop national expertise and develop future Iowa leaders.
3. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you approach issues of national security, liberty and commitment of U.S. troops to combat zones or war?
a. First, we must insure that the US is absolutely safe from terrorism. We cannot compromise on that. At the same time, a great deal of the national security we seek is best found by reaching out to different cultures across the world rather than cutting them off. In fact, the ISIS strategy against us is built on provoking just the kind of strategies that Donald Trump advocates.
b. Any commitment of troops in a hot combat zone needs to have a Constitutional Declaration of War and a long term financial support for veterans after the war. Each war has a 70 year financial tail, because there will be a few veterans 70 years after the end of any war. This could be tied to the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance to make sure that we do not walk away for the many injured veterans that have PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury or Sexual Trauma.
4. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your approach to consenting to the appointment of key administration officials including cabinet members and ambassadors? I advocate a full floor vote on all appointees, regardless of the party in power. The floor vote should be automatic after a set period of time in Senate Rules. Congress, including Senator Grassley, has allowed special interests to gut the Senate “Advise and Consent” process by effectively gutting agencies that they do not like by stopping the appointment of administrators. The Department of Justice, the National Labor Relations Board, and others have been subject to what is an unconstitutional abuse of power. The Constitution clearly states that “with the advice and consent of the Senate.” It does NOT Say “with the advice and consent of one Senator” such as Charles Grassley.
5. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your approach to consenting to the appointment of federal judges, especially those being appointed to the United States Supreme Court?
I will advocate a floor vote an ANY Supreme Court or federal bench nominee regardless of which President makes the nomination. I will look at the traditional benchmarks of character, experience and professional accomplishment. Beyond that, I will be more inclined to vote for nominees that are progressive in their outlook, but will not vote against a nominee based on that one set measure. I likely will not support nominations with racist decisions in their background or give opinions that, in my opinion, unjustly narrow the voting franchise.
6. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your guiding principles regarding trade agreements and treaties?
My guiding principal on trade agreements is that they ought to help working people and the middle class more that they hurt them. That is not true of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization or the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership. NAFTA and CAFTA alone depressed the average wage earner salary by about $1800 per year according to the Economic Policy Institute. The winners have been large international corporations and stockholders. Losers have been workers. I will spurt re-writing existing trade agreements to strengthen worker protections.
7. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Iowa field operation?
That is still a bit early to work this through. But I will have regional offices as well as office in Des Moines. Some state-wide subject matter experts may be in different offices.
8. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will your constituent services look like?
Constituent services are very important. Staff longevity allows for the buildup of knowledge over time, so I plan to build a good team of experts in what appear to be the bread and butter issue areas – social security, veterans affairs, economic development and the like. I will develop an internal tracking mechanism to insure that all inquiries are responded to. Service complaints will be given attention.
9. What are your thoughts on the filibuster and when is it appropriate to use and not use?
Can you imagine allowing a filibuster by super-majority in a corporate board room, a convention or any kind of meeting not in the US Senate? It is a technique that has passed its time and wastes money. I will seek to have a fifty-one vote cut-off for debate on all topics before the Senate. The 60 vote super-majority to end debate does not serve us well.
10. How has your experience as an elected official prepared you to serve in the United States Senate?
Yes. During my six years in the Iowa House of Representatives, I was selected by the Des Moines Register as one of the 10 most effective state legislators in 1978. I also served as chair of the Iowa House Transportation Committee and passed several major bills including the establishment of the state’s regional public transit system which emphasized service to seniors and persons with disabilities. Although each parliamentary body is different, I am used to the give and take of a legislative body that is key to success.
11. While Senator Grassley and Senator Harkin had clear ideological differences they also
worked closely together on issues that impacted Iowa. What are three issues you would seek collaboration with Senator Ernst on that impact Iowa?
Infrastructure, Veterans, Iowa Economic Development.
12. What term best describes your political philosophy and why?
I consider myself to be an FDR Democrat. I believe that government, properly managed, can be used as an element to lift all Americans. Government is most effective when it gives a hand-up, not a hand-out.
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13. What role should the federal government play in healthcare and why?
ACA (Obamacare) should continue. It has met with great success in getting healthcare for many Americans that did not have it. Amazingly, the GOP, including Senator Grassley, has blocked ANY amendment to the original Act for six years now. This is unheard of for a piece of landmark legislation, and fits into the GOP strategy of seeking to kill ACA by discrediting it. I will work to amend ACA in the following areas:
The state insurance pool concept needs to be revised to insure adequate coverage and competition. Where only one or two companies remain in a state pool, consideration should be made to allow non-state carriers to enter the state pool. This could also include allowing Medicare to enter low-performing state pools. This would need to be accompanied by revisions in Medicare because Medicare is currently over-extended financially.
There has been too much medical centralization under Obamacare as written. Efforts need to be made to assure that small entrepreneurial practices are not shut out of the system.
More medical practitioners need to be trained to avert staffing shortages. There needs to be a funding initiative to do so.
The escalating cost of ACA insurance needs to be reviewed and strategies developed to reverse it. One of the first is to reverse Grassley’s prohibition on Medicare negotiating the price of prescription drugs. This has cost taxpayers and seniors nearly as much as the Iraq War cost the American taxpayer.
14. What role should the federal government play in education and why?
The federal government provides targeted funding teams for programs that do not fare well generally in state funding. The best example is in special education. The Free and Reduced Lunch program is another important federal program. The federal government also needs to take a leading role in data collection and the identification of innovative teaching. I think there is also a strong role in insuring that student performance excels for all races and nationalities. I think that the Core Curriculum concept should be maintained because it provides a tracker for mobile students that cross school district and state boundaries and need to be calibrated to find out what they know when they are placed in a new school. However, I feel that there has been a great over-emphasis on student testing and that “teaching to test” needs to be reduced, and “teaching to learn” needs to be expanded.
Most importantly, the federal government (outside the US Department of Education) needs to provide a new higher minimum wage that will help life children out of poverty. Poverty among the 42% of Iowa’s children eligible for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program reduces scores on standardized tests by 20% according to the Iowa Department of Education. The stress of poverty in this category, according to Science Magazine, reduces the IQ of these children by 13%. Sadly the IQ loss is permanent.
15. What role should the federal government play in economic growth and why?
The federal government plays an important role in funding infrastructure such as roads, bridges, public transit, water and sewer systems and the like. This needs to be given more emphasis. Also, the federal government needs to stop subsidizing the export of factories overseas by allowing untaxed money of US corporations to sit overseas. The money provides a major source of financing for new overseas factories that replace US jobs.
16. How should the federal government address illegal immigration and why?
Undocumented immigrants primarily come from people entering the US legally and then over-staying their visas. We need a better visa control system more than we need a wall. One of the areas that hurt the US workforce is documented workers that come over on work visas because supposedly, the employer cannot find US workers to accomplish the job. These positions are regularly used to drive down wages dramatically. And, because the people that come in on these visas are often workers with skill in demand, it is fairly easy for them to overstay their visas and melt into the work force.
People that we can gain productivity from immediately and who are already in the US system are the Dreamers – those that were brought over by parents as small children and stayed in the US through no fault of their own. They are US schooled, speak the language and usually have work skills form school or apprenticeship. They should be allowed to stay. In total there are about 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US. That is one for every 30 people. The cost to give those without a record a path to citizenship is far less expensive and much more productive and developing a special corps of neighborhood snoops to find them out and deport them.
17. What should be the relationship between the federal government and the Federal Reserve?
The relationship between the federal Government and the Federal Reserve should be the same as it is not. It is at arms-length from the government and has as one of its special responsibilities reducing unemployment through monetary policy.
18. What should federal taxation look like and why?
Federal taxation should be more progressive. The Bush-Grassley tax cut at the beginning of the Post 9-11 wars dramatically reduced progressivity, and the vast middle class received barely 10% of the cash benefit. It is one of the triggers for the large income gap that we have today.
19. Where do you stand on entitlement reform and why?
I believe that Social Security, Medicare, and Veterans Pensions should not be reduced. Social Security and Medicare should be reformed by raising the taxable income caps. Veterans’ pension costs should be reduced by not going to war.
20. Explain your position on our national debt, deficit and what you think should or shouldn’t be done about it?
At the end of Clinton’s term the annual cash balance was $250 billion per year to the good and there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Grassley as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee was instrumental in ripping that progress apart. He was the engineer of the Bush Tax Cut that eliminated the operating surplus. Then he took the Iraq and Afghanistan wars off-budget where they were filled with the most amazing pork barrel projects imaginable – all off budget. Then, in the construction of Medicare Part D (it pays for prescription drugs) he prohibited Medicare from negotiating the price of prescription drugs. Over the past 13 years, this has cost the treasury about $650 billion dollars – about 80 percent of the entire cost of the Iraq war. My fiscal strategy is to reverse the mistakes that Grassley has made. If I can do just that, I will have done more to reduce the deficit than any sitting Republican senator.
21. The federal government sends a great deal of money to states in areas like education,
transportation and Medicaid. Should the federal government provide direct guidance and oversight or send the money as block grants and let each state decide how best to use funds? Why?
I see no point in repeating Nixon’s block grant disaster on a grand scale. Nixon was the first president to advocate and pass the repeal of categorical grants as you discuss and replace them with block grants. He consolidated 123 programs into six that had few strings. Essentially it unhinged the money from its categorical advocates and within a few years the 123 programs were wiped out nationally and the six block grants were eroded to the point of extinction.
22. We have seen members of our Congressional delegation over the years use their office to create unique programs and engagement with their Iowa constituents, especially young people. If elected to the U.S. Senate what innovations will you bring to the office?
I would like to ask young people in Iowa high schools and in colleges meet in a conference or convention to create a Millennial’s Bill of Rights that outlines the needs of young people as they move forward into the next generation of leadership. I see a creative think piece coming out of the process that might give legislators such as me new views and perspectives on how this generation thinks and what government can do to relate to them.
23. Throughout our nation’s history the U.S. Constitution has been amended. Are there any
amendments you would add to the Constitution and if so, what would you add and why? Should any aspect of the Constitution be repealed? If so, why?
As to adding amendments to the Constitution, at this point, NO. We need to overturn Citizens United, but I think this will be best done through new appointments to the Supreme Court.
As to repealing anything in the Constitution, NO. There has been a push by the right to repeal the “natural born citizen clause in the 14th Amendment. This is dangerous for many reasons and I oppose it.
24. Presidential Candidate Martin O’Malley advocated national service for young people. Should the federal government mandate national service for young people? If so, why? If not, why?
A problem that I have seen from my 28 years in the military is that very few of the children of wealth serve. This is totally unlike it was during and shortly after the draft was abolished. I think that this has contributed to the sense of wealth entitlement that has caused so much divisiveness in our country. One of wealth can benefit from the wonders of our country and not have skin in the game to continue it. So yes, I do support some form of national service.
25. Many urban and rural communities in Iowa face high levels of poverty. The numbers were alarming under President Bush and have gotten worse under President Obama. What should the federal government do or not do to address poverty in America?
a. Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership and renegotiate NAFTA and other Trade Agreements that have destroyed small town manufacturing. Small town manufacturing not only provided jobs to small town residents, but it also provided supplemental income that small farmers relied on to keep farming. We may not be able to bring these jobs back to the US, but with effort, we can stop further erosion.
b. Raise the minimum wage to get people off of welfare.
c. Upgrade Iowa’s highways with aggressive infrastructure funding.
d. Develop more food processing jobs in Iowa to take advantage of our farm produce.
e. Build on our strong energy base in wind, solar and bio-fuels.
f. Improve access of ALL students to higher education by offering reduced or eliminated tuition to community colleges.
WHY CAN’T WE GET AHEAD ECONOMICALLY?
By Bob Krause
I am the candidate to beat Charles Grassley because:
From the very beginning, I have been the only Democratic Candidate for US Senate to consistently make this message my most important campaign message! While global warming and clean water are critical issues, they can only be accomplished if we take care of our economic wounds first. This is like a situation you might see in an airplane emergency. When the oxygen masks come down, the pilot will tell everyone to put on your own mask first before you help a child or companion. The political will and ability to do many socially progressive things does not exist without good income.
It is what all Iowans are concerned about – from the senior citizen struggling to get by on social security, to the plant worker worried that his or her job might go overseas, to the minimum wage work forced to go on welfare because wages are so low for so long, to the farmer who is losing $100 per acre this year, to the young college graduate who leaves Iowa because salaries are too low to pay off student debt. Too many Iowans are not getting ahead – and Senator Charles Grassley a big part of the problem.
As Democrats, we need to break the vicious cycle of decaying and stagnant wages by fighting for:
- A livable minimum wage that tracks with the cost of living,
- An end to worker un-friendly trade policies that benefit the stockholders while destroying the lives of workers
- Better protection for union rights and the right to organize,
- Tax reform that breaks the trend of massive wealth consolidation in America
- Better protection for hours and conditions of employment
- Restore the Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare as working parts of the social safety net
- Create new jobs through effective public infrastructure projects such as water and sewer, roads, bridges and public transit
WHO AM I?
I have devoted my life to making our world better. I am a veteran and a veteran activist. I have run a small business in Fairfield since 2002; I am part owner of a family farm that has been in the family since 1898. I’m a former legislator, school board member, international consultant to a Middle East government, and I served with pride in the Administration of former president Jimmy Carter. You can find more about me on:
Twitter @krauseforiowa “Krause For Iowa’s Future” “Bob Krause for Senate”