As we’ve done with Jeff Landry and Hunt Downer, we asked Congressional candidate Kristian Magar, who’s running against Landry and Downer for the Republican nomination in the 3rd District seat being vacated by Charlie Melancon’s Senate run, 20 questions about the race, its issues and what he’s hoping to achieve if elected. Magar’s candidacy is something of a long shot given the comparative financial statements of the three – Landry’s last financial disclosure had him sitting on $379,000, Downer $245,000 and Magar just $20,000 – but in a crazy election year when a message might trump all, Magar could be someone to watch anyway…
1. Why are you running for Congress? What should 3rd District voters take from your candidacy in terms of qualifications, expertise or ideas?
There are a number of reasons why I have decided to step forward and run for U.S. Congress here are three:
- I am a father of 4 children and I want them to be free from the oppression of debt.
- I am a 9 – 12 candidate and I am running to restore our nation to our founding principles.
- Typically, we have two choices in congressional elections. We can vote for a career politician or a lawyer. More than 50% of the current members of the U.S. Senate are lawyers. Combined, lawyers comprise 40% of the U.S. Congress. This profession is over represented and part of the reason we get 2000+ page bills that the people cannot understand. Its why the healthcare bill did not include lawsuit reform. It is why we have to consider getting sued before we do nearly everything in life. I work in the oil and gas industry. I am not part of the ruling class. I am the only candidate in this race that is not a lawyer. I am running so that the people will have a choice.
In terms of my qualifications. My education is in engineering and technology. I have a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering. I am a District Manager for a major oil and gas manufacturing and service organization. I have experience developing budgets and then living within the means of those budgets to maintain a profitable and successful business. I believe these experiences and knowledge are sorely needed in the U.S. Congress. I have also served in the Louisiana Army National Guard as a non-commissioned and a commissioned officer where I obtained leadership experience.
2. What do you think is the most important issue in the race this year?
When I initially entered the race the most important issues were the debt, deficits and healthcare. Since April 20th the most important issue to the people in the 3rd district seems to be the tragedy which occurred on the Deep Water Horizon, the oil spill, the moratorium, defacto moratorium, and the re-moratorium.
3. What are your thoughts on the possible loss of the district in redistricting, and how might that affect this year’s race?
I have traveled all over this district talking to people in every town possible. It shameful to say, but it is a reflection of where we are today as a society, the truth is there is a large percentage of the population that has absolutely no idea which district they live in, much less that it will be redrawn after the census is complete. They have no idea who their representative is, and they don’t vote!
Having gotten that off my chest, the answer to the question is that redistricting will not have a major effect on this year’s race. The data from the census is going to be compiled and due to the fact that citizenship status was not collected on the forms it is likely that states in the west with high numbers of illegal aliens will pick up seats in the House of Representatives and other states like Louisiana whose population did not grow as rapidly will likely lose seats in Congress. This should concern everyone because it means that illegals will in effect be represented in Congress. This issue will have a tremendous effect starting in 2012.
4. With your background in the energy industry, can you tell us what a Kristian Magar energy policy would look like?
I believe that we need to have less government interference in the energy market. The Department of Energy was created in 1977 based on the assumption that it would develop and promote a sound energy policy. At that time we imported 35% of our oil and gas. Today we import over 50% of our oil and gas. This adds to our trade imbalance. It transfers wealth from the U.S. to nations which are not friendly to America. We have the resources here to fuel our economy. We are not running out of places to drill. We are running out of places the government will allow drilling. Most of the land in the western portion of the U.S. is federally owned or protected land. Almost 85% of the waters off the U.S. coast are off-limits to oil and gas exploratory drilling.
My view is that we need to remove the arbitrary restrictions and turn the free market loose. This is true for refineries, nuclear energy and coal powered electrical generation as well. Environmental regulations have made obtaining a permit to construct a new refinery in the U.S. impossible. They have also made major improvements to existing refineries cost prohibitive. If we are truly willing to do remove the barriers we can significantly improve our energy independence.
If alternative energy sources can compete with existing energy sources without being subsidized by the government then people will use them. However, we should not impose any legislation or issue any regulations that would impose limits on carbon emissions (no Cap and Trade) in an effort to artificially increase the cost of fossil fuels so that alternative energy sources are competitive.
5. The federal budget is unbelievably out of balance. Can you offer a plan to bring it into line?
The solution to this problem is not elusive. The solution to this problem is not secretive. Anyone who has ever run a household knows that you can’t spend more than you earn. If you do, you accumulate debt. If you accumulate enough debt and cannot afford to pay your bills you are bankrupt. This basic principle of money also applies to the federal government despite what the administration and the privately owned federal reserve bank would lead us to believe.
While it is true that we need a balanced budget amendment we also need to go a step further to place a cap on entitlement spending based on a percentage of GDP. This will ensure that we do not allow spending to continue to grow while the Congress simply raises new taxes to balance the budget. Additionally, we need to audit the federal reserve and take a hard look at our current monetary policy. Allowing the current trend of printing money to continue, will inevitably lead us to out of control inflation (see Argentina, Germany, Zimbabwe for case studies)
6. Congress’ approval ratings are through the floor at present. What would a Congressman Kristian Magar propose to restore respect and confidence to the House of Representatives?
The approval ratings of Congress have hovered around 20% for several years. However, the reelection rate of U.S. Representatives has been 93% since 1964. How is this possible? It is possible because of the way elections work. It is a small group of individuals and groups that donate big money to campaigns. If you look at most campaign finance disclosure forms you will see that some candidates receive hundreds of thousands in a quarter. If you look closely, however, most of that money comes from a couple hundred people or special interests. These candidates then have money to buy big yard signs, radio and television commercials to put out an image or perception that they want voters to see. Many voters are lazy and do not take the time to question what they see and hear. This cycle then perpetuates itself and here we are.
This is why I am the only candidate in this race who has publically supported the need for term limits in congress. We have to break this cycle!
With regard to restoring respect and confidence in the House of Representatives the only solution I know is to send a different breed of people to Washington. Send someone who demonstrates their principles and values. Send someone who lives their life the way you live your life.
7. If you were to win this race, you’d succeed Charlie Melancon as the 3rd District’s representative. What is your opinion of the job Melancon has done?
Mr. Melancon’s refusal to face his constituents and conduct town hall meetings during the health care debate played a large role in my decision to run. This job is by definition a job to represent the people of the 3rd district. This can only be accomplished if you are willing to sit and listen to the people. This does not just apply to the people who are registered in the same political party as yourself either. I believe it is imperative that the person who succeeds Mr. Melancon be willing to maintain an open and honest dialogue with everyone in the district.
I don’t make many campaign promises. I like to under promise and over deliver, but I would like to go on record by making this commitment. I will not hide from the people of the 3rd district. Every opportunity I get I will be there to meet and listen to their concerns.
8. Obviously, coastal restoration is a major issue for the 3rd District. Can you describe for us what your agenda might be on that issue?
This is a complex issue, however, what we need to do in order to restore our coastline is no mystery. Scientists have understood this issue and how to correct it for many years. The Mississippi River has historically been responsible for creating and maintaining the land development along Louisiana’s coast. In the name of flood control and to improve commerce on the river we created levees along the river. Now the river empties into a very deep area in the Gulf of Mexico.
In order to address the loss of land we will need to increase the fresh water flow from the river into other deltas and marshes along the coast. If we do this, over time new silt deposits will be formed and new land will be created. This is happening right now in St. Mary Parish at the Wax Lake outlet. We can use fresh water diversion projects like the Davis Pond project to help facilitate this process. However, introducing this water flow creates other problems for land owners who now have water front camps. When silt and sediment deposits fill in the open water in the marshes water front property now becomes land locked and some property owners fight the projects.
Also, introducing fresh water changes the salinity in the water which affects the shrimp and oyster populations so some commercial fishermen take issue with the projects. It is often proposed that we rebuild barrier islands with dredging projects. These projects are often costly and still do not address the additional loss of land due to wave action behind the barrier islands due to the fact that so much land has already been lost. Finally, you have to consider funding where will it come from? The federal government is broke. The state government is working on an unrealistic budget. They have used one time money to balance this year’s budget. Next year when that money is gone and tax revenues fall off due to the effects of the moratorium the state will be broke.
My agenda for this issue is simple. We need to bring all the stakeholders together to work on some logical solutions. Everyone is going to have to give up something and sacrifice a little in order to preserve our way of life for future generations. In order to do this we are going to have to have honest and open conversations to come to a consensus. What we cannot do, however, is waste more time and money on studies! We have studied this to death. We know what needs to be done. We just need to be willing to make it a priority and do it.
9. Can you talk about your interactions with national GOP organizations like the NRCC to date? What kind of response have you received from them so far?
I have not spent any time with national GOP organizations. I have spent 100% of my available time outside of work and family obligations meeting with people of the 3rd district.
10. You’ve got a primary race against a political veteran in the district, Hunt Downer, and a fairly well-financed opponent in Jeff Landry. How do you see that race shaping up?
As a grass roots TEA party type candidate going against the political establishment that is financing Mr. Landry and going against someone who has been around in politics as long as Mr. Downer is not going to be easy. I realize what I am up against. However, I was in this race before either of these gentlemen and with the help we have been receiving from the members of the TEA party groups from around the district I feel as though we will have an opportunity to reach the voters with our message. It will be up to the voters to decide who they believe is most like them and who they feel is best able to represent them. Since this is a closed primary we do not have to try and reach everyone in the district we only have to reach the 85,000 registered Republicans who can vote in the primary. We need 12,000 votes to win the primary so that is our focus. If we can get people to the polls who believe in our platform (fiscal conservatism, adherence to the Constitution and faith in God) then we have an excellent opportunity at victory not only in a campaign but in fundamentally restoring America’s principles and values.
11. It looks like the general election opponent will be Democrat Ravi Sangisetty, who like you is a first-time candidate for Congress. Any thoughts on Sangisetty as a Democrat opponent?
I am not focused on that just yet. The Saints couldn’t play in the Super bowl until they won the NFC Championship. Therefore, I need to win the primary before I worry about the general election. If I keep doing what I am doing and stick to my principles and values I feel we will be successful.
12. It looks like immigration might be one of the major battles in Congress this year, and in all likelihood it will be a major issue in 2011. What’s your stance on that issue, and what do you think of Arizona’s controversial new law on the subject?
There are a few aspects to this issue that should be discussed. First, we need to discuss the people who are coming here illegally with the intent of providing a better way of life for their family. The truth is most of us would do the same if necessary. I went to the border earlier this year and I spoke with a retired border patrol agent. The most important thing I took away from that visit was that to solve this problem we need to remove the incentives that cause these individuals to come here illegally. If they can’t find work, get access to free health care, get access to free social services, or obtain access to a free education all at the expense to the American taxpayer then they won’t have a reason to come illegally.
Once we actually enforce our existing laws and solve this portion of the problem our border patrol agents and immigration and customs enforcement agents can focus all of their attention on the second part of this issue which is the people who come here with the intent of causing harm to the citizens of the United States.
The third piece to this issue worth discussing concerns anchor babies. Some estimates indicate that 500,000 to 600,000 babies are born to illegal aliens in the U.S. each year. We really don’t know the true amount because so many sanctuary cities do not capture this data. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was written after the Civil War to ensure that children born to former slaves would not be denied citizenship. This has been extended to all children born in the U.S., even those born to illegal aliens. As long as this interpretation remains in place people will continue to come here illegally to have their children in the hopes that those children will be able to remain in the U.S.
With regard to the Arizona law, in my opinion they are simply trying to solve a problem the federal government is either unwilling or unable to address. More Governors should be so bold as to remind the federal government that it is a union of the states which forms the federal government.
13. Republicans are universally opposed to Obamacare and should a GOP majority take hold in the House there will undoubtedly be a move of some kind to do away with some or all of it. How far would you go on a potential rollback? Do you favor a de-funding of Obamacare? A full-fledged repeal? Tweaks at the edges?
The health care law must be completely repealed. The discussion on this issue should be reset and an honest and open dialogue should take place. Free market principles should be applied to this issue and the federal government should simply remove any barriers it has created.
14. Comment, if you would, on the Tea Party movement. How important will they be in the 3rd District race this year? Are you a Tea Party candidate? Will you actively seek endorsements from Tea Party groups?
The lack of principled leadership in both major political parties has led to the development of the TEA Party movement and the TEA Party has revealed for us the long suppressed 4th branch of government. This 4th branch of government was so important to our founding fathers that it was included as the first three words of our Constitution, WE THE PEOPLE. The Tea Party is WE THE PEOPLE and yes we will have an important effect on not only the 3rd district race, but all races this year. We are tired of the political ruling class giving us the best candidates money can buy.
Many TEA Party groups do not endorse candidates as an organization, and I respect their stance on this issue. I have received a great deal of help in our campaign from TEA Party leaders and members. I have also received support and assistance from individuals associated with organizations dedicated to liberty and freedom. I have and will continue to accept and welcome personal endorsements from TEA Party leaders and members. I will also welcome endorsements from TEA Party groups who are willing to step out and make an endorsement.
15. Is there a particular leader or historical figure you model yourself from as a candidate or from whom you draw inspiration?
Obviously, I have a great deal of respect for many historical figures like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, Dr. King, Eisenhower, MacAurthur, Schwartzkof, and Regan, but I do not intentionally model myself after anyone specifically. I simply try to learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others with intent of not repeating them. I simply try to be the best person I can be. I draw my guidance and inspiration from God and while I know that I fall short of his expectations, I work continuously to improve.
In our campaign we have often drawn parallels between what we are doing and 1 Samuel 17 the story of David and Goliath. At most events where I have an opportunity to speak I hand out marbles and remind people that David was a boy, he was not a warrior, he could not fit the king’s armor, but that he stepped forward when no one else would. I then remind them that he took down Goliath with a sling and a smooth stone. I ask people to talk about our campaign with their friends and family and if they happen to meet someone who thinks what we are trying to accomplish is impossible I ask them to give their marble away and remind that person that through God all things are possible.
16. How important are social issues to you as a candidate, and how do you think they’ll play out in this race?
Social issues are very important to me as a candidate. I think that one of the primary reasons we are in the position we are in is due in large part to the lack of respect for human life and the systematic dismantling of the fundamental unit of the American way of life and that is the American family. We have developed social programs which provide a disincentive to marriage. We reward single-motherhood by providing even more assistance to individuals who have multiple babies out of wedlock. There are people who do not join in marriage intentionally because they know their benefits will either be cut off or reduced if they were to get married. This creates a society where marriage is non-essential and fathers are disengaged from the parental process. Mothers then become dependent on the government. When left unchecked the cycle perpetuates itself and becomes increasingly worse in each subsequent generation. For examples please see New Orleans and other such cities around the U.S.
To reverse this cycle and break this trend we must reestablish personal responsibility. We have to revisit these policies and ensure that we do not create rules and programs that continue to degrade the value and importance of the American family.
With regard to how social issues will play out in this race I am not sure. So much attention is being placed on the moratorium and on the spill cleanup that I think this will drown out many other important issues because the impact of the moratorium and spill is immediate.
17. One national issue which has generated a lot of local attention is the Obama administration’s proposed policy change on recreational fishing. The administration has already come down pretty hard on commercial fishing in various areas around the country. With so many of the district’s voters being fishing enthusiasts or even making their livelihood from the state’s fisheries, where do you come down on the proposed changes?
What authority in the Constitution does the federal government have to regulate recreational fishing?
The states need to band together and put the federal government in its place. Again, the federal government is made from a union of the individual states. The Constitution provides for us the 9th and 10th Amendments to ensure that the federal government remains in its proper role and that rights reserved to the states and the people remain with the states and the people. We need governors, state legislators and sovereign citizens of each state to stand together on issues like this and refuse to comply when the federal government has clearly over stepped its limitations.
18. Melancon’s race against David Vitter this year has brought to light a contrast between two leadership styles one often sees in elected representatives. Melancon bills himself as a behind-the-scenes worker whose effectiveness can be seen in bringing resources back to his constituents and making bills better, while Vitter sees himself as fighting for a legislative agenda that would improve the lives of his constituents. While the two are not mutually exclusive, which of the two would you say more accurately might categorize your style as a Congressman?
For years we trained our Congressmen to fetch earmarks and we rewarded them with reelection when they did it. Today our nation is broke. We cannot continue to elect people who are bought and paid for by big political donations. We cannot continue to elect people who will owe favors (government contracts) to people who have given these big political donations.
I have not taken big political donations. I have done this deliberately. I want people to know that I will represent everyone’s interests equally. I am only accepting small donations which are necessary to help us get our message out. I want to make sure that in Congress I am free to express my thoughts and ideas without worrying about which big donor might be offended. I want to represent the people of this district and not just a few people’s interests.
My style is very direct. I say what is on my mind. I will not be behind the scenes doing anything. People do this when they have something to hide. You will know what I am working on and where I stand. I expect to have an open an honest dialogue with everyone in the district.
19. Do you have any thoughts on the controversy surrounding the Justice department’s handling of Gitmo terrorists and the potential closure of that prison?
Obviously extending rights to these detainees is a bad idea. Likewise, closing Gitmo and transferring those individuals to prisons in the U.S. is not going to sit well with Americans. We should not under any circumstances bring these individuals to the United States. Individuals in Gitmo who wish to do harm to the U.S. must remain incarcerated.
20. Finally, the President’s financial reform package is drawing howls of opposition from Republicans. What are your thoughts on “too big to fail,” and what size role should the government have in the financial sector?
There is no such thing as too big to fail. When you know that there is a safety net you tend to take more risk. This is in part what happened in the housing market. With so many loans being backed by the government more people were willing to take greater risk and accept loans from individuals who simply could not afford the homes they were purchasing. Now we want to extend a similar safety net to banks in exchange of course for over burdensome and over bearing rules and regulations which make it harder to do business. The more the federal government intervenes in private business the more problems it causes.