A Mini-Interview With Rightroots Endorsed Candidate David McSweeney
David McSweeney is taking on Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean in the Illinois 8th District. This is a district that Bush won 56% to 44% in 2004 and it’s a great pick-up opportunity for the GOP.
Earlier today, I got together with David McSweeney to do a short interview. What you are about to read is an edited transcript of that conversation:
John Hawkins: If a voter from your district were to come up to you and say, “David, give me 3 differences between you and the incumbent, Melissa Bean, that would convince me to vote for you, what would you say to him?”
David McSweeney: The first one is tax cuts. The key to creating jobs for the United States is to keep taxes low. I want to make President Bush’s tax relief package permanent and she refuses to take a stand on that which means that effectively, she supports the largest tax increase in the history of the United States…
The second important issue is lawsuit reform. We need to keep our doctors and our specialists here in Illinois. I support federal lawsuit reform. Melissa Bean opposes it.
On energy policy, I support wind and solar power and doubling the tax credit for hybrid cars. We also need to address the supply. I support safe drilling in (ANWR). I support safe offshore drilling. Melissa Bean opposes that and that’ll be a big difference in this race. I want to bring gas prices down and she has no position on that.
John Hawkins: Now, tell us a little bit about your opponent, Melissa Bean. A lot of people from around the country will be seeing this interview and they’re not that familiar with her. What are we seeing from her in Congress?
David McSweeney: …She’s been with the liberal Democrats 83% of the time. Her first vote is for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. She voted against lawsuit reform. She voted against legislation that would help bring gas prices down. She has voted for the final passage of a couple of Republican bills, like, for example immigration reform and class action reform. But, what she’ll do is vote against them effectively…(by also) voting for the Democratic alternatives. It’s the old John Kerry, “I voted for it, before I voted against it.”
The people of this district are looking for a consistent leader who’s going to stand up for the principles of lower taxes, less spending, and a strong national defense. That’s what my campaign is all about.
John Hawkins: Now in the blogosphere, I’m seen two things come up over and over and over again when conservatives talk about why they’re not happy with the performance of Republicans in Congress: deficit spending and illegal immigration. Tell us a little bit about where you stand on those issues.
David McSweeney: I think Republicans in Washington have lost their way on the issue of spending. We need to cut spending in Washington, D.C. We have 9 trillion dollars worth of public debt. But, if you look at it the way a business does, we have 65 trillion dollars worth of unfunded liabilities in this country.
The first place we should start is with Congress itself. Congress spends 4 billion dollars a year on its operations — on the mailings, the automated phone calls, all the self-promotional materials. We should cut that by 25%.
We need to reduce the operational administrative budgets of each Federal Department and agency by 10%, excluding national defense and Homeland Security.
So, we need to cut spending. We need to be brave about eliminating these anonymous earmarks once and for all. That’s a big part of my campaign.
On the issue of immigration, …I’m a big supporter of legal immigration, but I believe we need to secure the borders and I support legislation to do that.
John Hawkins: So, would you say you’re more of a fan of the House plan or the Senate plan?
David McSweeney: I’m a fan of the House plan. I would have voted for that. Sensenbrenner, the chairman, has asked for modifications that would reduce the penalties from a felony to a misdemeanor. I think that’s very reasonable and I definitely support the House approach over the Senate approach.
John Hawkins: Now there’s an independent in the race. Tell us a little bit about that and how you think it will impact the race.
David McSweeney: Melissa Bean, when she ran in 2004, took the unions’ money, she took their workers, and she took their support, promising that she would oppose CAFTA. (But), she voted for it. That’s what creates cynicism in politics. I’m a supporter of CAFTA, but I tell everybody that up front.
Because Melissa Bean betrayed her base and sold out…to the big business interests in return for her vote, it created a great deal of problems within her base because people want to be told the truth.
Bill Scheurer is running as an independent. His platform is repeal the Bush tax cuts, immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and support for the union agenda. …I respect him. I would disagree with him on almost every major issue, but unlike Melissa Bean, he’ll take a firm stand and it’s going to be a very interesting dynamic in the race.
John Hawkins: Now you’re in a district that Bush won in 2004, 56% to 44%. Your race is considered to be one of the best Republican pick-up opportunities in America. How do you think you’re doing right now?
David McSweeney: …Very well. I had a big victory in the primary. We have a unified party. We’re working on drawing issue distinctions with Melissa Bean. We have a couple of candidate forums coming up in the next week and I plan to draw those…distinctions on taxes, spending, (and) national defense.
I’ve been to over 3,000 households, knocking on doors since the primary. I knocked on 5,000 doors during the primaries. I think that’s going to be the key to victory. Getting our voters out (and) drawing the…distinctions. Things are going very well on the fund raising side. I was the top Republican challenger with fund raising in the second quarter. I out-raised Melissa Bean. I feel very good about where things are at.
John Hawkins: That’s it. Thank you very much, David!
If you would like to help David McSweeney beat Melissa Bean, you can contribute to his campaign through Rightroots.