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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : local February 26, 2015

8/17/2012 9:55:00 PM
Q&A with the CD4 candidates: Political spending, birth control, forest health
Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 4th Congressional District verbally answered a series of questions posed by The Daily Courier newspaper. Some of their answers are paraphrased.

Three Republicans and two Democrats are seeking the job. The Republicans competing in the Aug. 28 primary are Lake Havasu City business owner Rick Murphy, Arizona Sen. Ron Gould of Lake Havasu City, and U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, who moved from Flagstaff to Prescott so he could continue to represent Yavapai County when the boundaries of his district changed this year with redistricting.

The Democrats are Golden Valley teacher Mikel Weisser and Johnnie Robinson of Florence. Robinson did not respond to numerous requests for an interview.

Question: Do you support or oppose the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court which prohibits the government from restricting independent political spending by corporations and unions? How has it helped or hurt the elections process?

Gosar - I support it. This gives an opportunity for everyone to have a say in elections. In the past, unions had an unfair advantage.

Gould - I support it. It actually put everyone on a level playing field in the election process, including businesses and unions.

Murphy - I support the constitutionality of the ruling but I'm uncomfortable with it. The way it's structured has driven qualified candidates out of the process because political action committees can dominate the airways with so much money. There are no checks and balances on the truth meter in the ads, either.

Weisser - I oppose it and want to see it overturned. Groups that can afford more advertising can sway an election, even if they're lying. This ruling will only accelerate the process of Congress doing more for the rich.

Question: What is more important, females' right to access birth control pills or employers' right to refuse to cover the cost of the pills in their healthcare insurance plans? Why?

Gosar - Neither. Employees should pick their own healthcare plans and get employer contributions.

Gould - The government shouldn't mandate what healthcare insurance should cover. Employers should write a check as a contribution toward an employee's own healthcare policy. Then employers wouldn't have a say in what the policy contains.

Murphy - As a Republican, I think government intervention is at an all-time high and I struggle with the issue. I don't want government telling businesses what their healthcare policies must cover or not. The free market should make the decision.

Weisser - Employers have no right to judge a person's morality. Allowing employers to deny contraception coverage for employees is an example of people using the law to push their religious values on others. I'm outraged by the efforts on the right to restrict birth control.

Question: What is the best way to restore forest health in the Southwest?

Gosar - We need to thin out the forests. We lost half of the spotted owl nesting sites and population in the Wallow fire area, and we lost $2.5 billion worth of wood that could put people back to work.

It took six extra months to award the Four Forests Restoration Initiative contract. The contract was awarded to someone from Oregon, and now the Center for Biological Diversity is threatening a lawsuit. The center profits from lawsuits against the federal government, and the U.S. House of Representatives is reviewing complaints about that.

My Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act, H.R. 5744, would reduce government bureaucracy and red tape to expedite cattle grazing and forest-thinning projects.

Gould - I read that our forests are about 10 times denser than they were a century ago. We used to have lightning-caused fires that burned until rain put them out. Then we started suppressing the fires, and now we have too much fuel and huge fires. We need an intelligent plan for timber harvesting. We have too many trees. Indian tribes have more freedom to manage their forests and they do a better job. Environmentalists fight timber harvesting on other federal lands.

Murphy - We need to select high fire hazard areas and harvest part of the forest, mainly through timber sales. Environmentalists are making it difficult.

Weisser - Wildfires are part of nature and they need to occur, as long as human life and property is protected. But I support thinning out trees to make space for the remaining trees to grow larger and help prevent catastrophic wildfires.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012
Article comment by: Artis Gilmore

Thank you Mikel Weisser for speaking out against Citizens United... too much corporate money from supposed unknown sources is trying to make false statement campaigns the norm. Rick Murphy is close to correct, also. Gosar & Gould are speaking the Tea Party nonsense.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Publius 2012

So I'm guessing Weisser also opposes the union spending in our elections that's been going on for years right? Or is it just rich people that cant exercise their first amendment rights to speak their mind by buying advertising for the candidates they support? And employers have every right to judge a persons morality as well, its their money and they shouldn't be forced to give it to someone who lifestyle they don't agree with. People get fired all the time for bad moral behavior, its the right of the employer to protect their good name by screening the character of their employees. If they employee doesn't like the moral standards of an employer they have every right to find a different job.

Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

Therefore, Gould and Weisser seem to be onto something.

Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

Clearcutting has caused regrowth that causes too high a density. Wild fires are typically a result of too many trees growing back in a higher density. The trees are usually smaller and in greater numbers. Now that the damage is done, thinning seems to be the way to go even though it's more expensive than clearcutting.

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