U.S. Senate Candidate Questionnaire
Name: Thomas L. (Tom) Fiegen
Address: P.O. Box 279, Clarence, Iowa 52216
Phone Number: (319) 431-1668
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign Web Site: fiegenforussenate.com
Juris Doctor of Law, University of Iowa, May 1988.
Master of Arts (Economics), University of Iowa, May 1988.
Bachelor of Science, Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, May 1984.
Bachelor of Science, Speech, Kansas State University, May 1984.
Attended South Dakota State University, September, 1976 – May 1979.
Sept . 1996 – Present, Shareholder and President, Fiegen Law Firm, P.C
Feb. 1993 – Aug. 1996, Shareholder, Childers & Fiegen, P.C., Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Jan. 1990 – Feb. 1993, Associate, Childers & Vestle, P.C., Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
June 1988 – Jan. 1990, Associate, McCann, Martin & McCann, P.C., Brookings, South Dakota.
Sept. 1987 – May 1988, Student Law Clerk, Dumbaugh and Childers, P.C., Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Summer 1987, Student Law Clerk, Buchanan Ingersoll, P.C., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Spring 1992 – 2000, Adjunct Faculty, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Sept 1987 – May 1988, Instructor, Saturday and Evening Program, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
Sept. 1985 – May 1987, Teaching Assistant, Department of Economics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
May 1982 – Aug. 1984, Student Research Assistant, Konza Prairie Tallgrass Preserve, Division of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Elected Offices Held:
Iowa State Senate 2001-2003
Public Service Outside of Elected Office:
Tipton Lions Club – 2000 to present. Member of Wheelchair Ramp Building Team, food stand crew chief, Christmas tree sales, roadside cleanup, misc. fundraisers.
Coach/Volunteer – North Cedar High School Mock Trial Team 2004 -2009.
Co-organizer of Iowa City, Iowa Candlelight Vigil on children hunger issues prior to World Summit for Children in September 1990.
Sunday School/C.C.D. Teacher, St. Mary’s Parish, Tipton, Iowa 1995 – 2005.
St. Thomas More Parish, Brookings, S.D. 1988-1990.
Volunteer, Farm Aid Clinic, Hills, Iowa. Counseled financially distressed farmers 1985 – 1987. Testified May 1987 before the House Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit and Rural Development regarding the Farm Credit System bailout.
Advisory Panel, University of Iowa Rural Crisis Group. Authored newspaper editorials for group and advised underclass members during campaign to increase student awareness of farm economic plight, 1986 – 1988.
1. If elected to the U.S. Senate name the top three committees you would seek to serve on? Why?
Agriculture – to write the next Farm Bill with the goal of ending hunger, especially childhood hunger, increasing local food production and processing, mandating clean water plans for all farmers seeking federal subsidies, and increasing rural economic development.
Finance – to completely rewrite, simplify and make the tax code more progressive.
Judiciary – to change our criminal code, to confirm judges and bring back the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.
2. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Washington, D.C. staff?
I will look for the brightest progressive minds who will agree to help me 24/7 to radically change the direction of our government away from serving the 1% to serving the 99%. I want to build a team with drive, expertise and loyalty to me and the progressive cause.
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?
War as a last option. I will put a priority on international cooperation and consensus building. Former Senator Richard Lugar was a role model. I would only commit troops if the security of the U.S. or a treaty partner are threatened, or as part of an international multinational force to prevent/end genocide and similar atrocities.
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 will look to stop the revolving door between government and the private sector. I will look for appointees who have not only the right credentials, but also a commitment to making government work and be effective.
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?
Fewer, if any, prosecutors or former prosecutors. It is one of the reasons we have an expanding prison population – too many judges are former prosecutors who still think like prosecutors.
I will also seek to have the Executive Branch appoint federal judges from diverse educational, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
6. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will be your guiding principles regarding trade agreements and treaties?
Protect the national interests of the United States and ALL of its citizens, promote peace and international security and cooperation.
7. If elected to the U.S. Senate how will you construct your Iowa field operation?
Unknown. I understand that I can have up to seven (7) field offices. I am thinking about inviting Iowa communities to “bid” or submit proposals for why they should be the site of one of my U.S. Senate offices.
8. If elected to the U.S. Senate what will your constituent services look like?
Like Chuck Grassley’s. I actually hope to hire some of his constituent services staff.
9. What are your thoughts on the filibuster and when is it appropriate to use and not use?
I view the filibuster as a valuable tool that a single Senator can employ to slow or prevent the entire Senate from making a grave mistake. It is not appropriate for harassment or mere delay.
10. How has your experience as an elected official prepared you to serve in the United States Senate?
When I served in the Iowa Senate, there was one occasion when Governor Vilsack strong- armed me to support a bad piece of legislation he had negotiated with Republicans. It was a mistake. I will not make that mistake again. If the President is wrong, even or especially the President of my own party, I will tell them in private that they are wrong. If they decide to pursue a bad policy, I will publicly disagree.
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?
a) High quality and immediate medical care for our veterans.
b) Ending sexual assault/rape, especially in the military.
c) Funding for infrastructure, especially in rural areas.
12. What term best describes your political philosophy and why?
I am a prairie populist. George McGovern is one of my role models. I will always pick the side of working people over the wealthy and the powerful. Widows and orphans will always win in my political world.
13. What role should the federal government play in healthcare and why?
It should insure that every American has healthcare as a right. It should fund research and development into new cures. It should insure competition, competence, affordability, access and transparency.
14. What role should the federal government play in education and why?
It should set uniform national standards, like Common Core. It should assist states and communities in funding for at risk children and communities, and higher education. Like Bernie Sanders, I favor free college or technical training for all who qualify.
15. What role should the federal government play in economic growth and why?
I support the New Deal. I support a robust role for the federal government in stimulating the economy to full employment through infrastructure programs, the WPA, etc.
16. How should the federal government address illegal immigration and why?
Offer everyone here a path to citizenship. Offer dual citizenship to anyone from Latin America who pledges loyalty to the Constitution and learns English.
17. What should be the relationship between the federal government and the Federal Reserve?
Greater oversight and accountability for the Federal Reserve by the federal government.
18. What should federal taxation look like and why?
It should have more corporate and higher earner taxation and be more progressive.
19. Where do you stand on entitlement reform and why?
I don’t see the need for reform, except in the area of Social Security Disability.
20. Explain your position on our national debt, deficit and what you think should or shouldn’t be done about it?
We should have a balanced budget, and even run a surplus, in times of full employment. Conversely, I believe the federal government should run a deficit when we are in recession.
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 no longer trust any state legislature to do the right thing. Every federal dollar should be subject to guidance and oversight.
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 want to bring democracy into the 21st Century. I want to implement a smart phone app that allows citizens to track, comment on and vote/express their preferences on all pending legislation in the Senate and Congress in real time.
I also want to be the U.S. Senator that brings back a vibrant local food production, processing and marketing economy. In the 1920s, Iowa lead the nation in tomato and apple production. At the time, we had 11 Congressmen. Today, after ridng the corn and soybean roller coaster, we have four, if you count Steve King. Local food is the way back for rural Iowa.
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?
No amendments will pass in the current political climate, so it is a moot point. If there was even a glimmer of hope, I would reform the Second Amendment, bolster the privacy protections under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, especially as they relate to electronic privacy, and I would address the false premise that money is speech aka Buckley v. Valeo.
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?
Yes. To create a national sense of common purpose and to repair/rebuild things that are national treasurers, like our parks, that we can’t seem to find the money to preserve. Also to minister to and serve at risk populations.
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?
Let’s start by having the federal government partner with faith based groups and non-profits to meet the basic human needs of people in poverty. Included in that is to make ending hunger in America a national priority, especially childhood hunger.
Next, let’s look at creating economy opportunity. Raise the minimum wage, provide education and job training. Provide transportation, healthcare and childcare to low income workers. Make worker rights a priority in the workplace. Make collective bargaining easier and simpler. Rebuild crumbling infrastructure to create jobs. Create business incubators and mico lending programs. Aggressively enforce consumer protection and antitrust law to prevent overreaching by monopolies and oligopolies.
Why I Am The Best Democrat To Face Grassley
By Tom Fiegen
Citizen frustration has reached a boiling point in 2016. It is clear that everything in Washington, D.C. is for sale to the highest bidder. The disparity between the top 1% and working people has pushed our country to the breaking point.
I have represented working people all of my life. I see the frustration every day. I know the rules are rigged against them. I also know how to change those rules. I have the heart, the knowledge and the experience to be the next U.S. Senator from Iowa.
If we are going to preserve our democracy, the first step the next Senator from Iowa must take is to end the legalized bribery we call campaign contributions. Chuck Grassley has repeatedly sold his vote to people like convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Check out Abramoff’s interview on NPR about his $100,0000 contribution to Grassley: http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/12/20/144028899/the-tuesday-podcast-jack-abramoff-on-lobbying
Neither Rob Hogg nor Patty Judge will end the corrupt money in politics. The truth is no status-quo politician will end a system they rely on.
Iowa’s next Senator will write the next Farm Bill. Consumers are demanding food that is sustainable, local, fresh, healthy, includes GMO labeling and removes poisons from our environment. I have the extensive ag background and the fire to get it done. Do we really want Chuck Grassley, who has allowed the unparalleled consolidation of our farms sitting there another six years? How about Big Ag Patty Judge, or bank and insurance lawyer Rob Hogg?
The next Senator from Iowa must make the economy work for the 99%. It starts with rejecting bad trade deals, then passing Glass-Steagall, getting aggressive about antitrust, passing a minimum wage increase, finding an affordable college/student debt solution and improving retirement security. I have a Masters Degree in economics and taught college economics for almost ten years. I will approach all of these issues with an unconditional loyalty to working people.
The next Senator from Iowa will “advise and consent” on court nominations. I have reservations about Judge Garland’s pro-prosecutor bias and deference to the Executive Branch. Patty Judge said, “I’m not the lawyer. I don’t know anything about that.” That attitude alone disqualifies her from being a Senator. Meanwhile Rob Hogg has spent his professional life representing banks and insurance companies.
It is time for a U.S. Senator from Iowa to demonstrate unconditional loyalty to the working people of Iowa. I am that U.S. Senator.