Promising straight talk and straight answers, US Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron) spoke to supporters Friday at the Second Street Emporium in Webster City.
"I say what I believe and I give people direct answers," stated King, a four-time incumbent who is being challenged by Iowa's former First Lady, Christie Vilsack for the newly drawn Fourth District seat in the 2012 election.
Since 2002, King has represented the Fifth Congressional District which covered 36 counties in western Iowa. But the Hawkeye State lost a congressional district after the 2010 census. When the Fifth District was eliminated, the Fourth District was expanded from 36 counties to include 39 counties.
Clara Hill, of Ellsworth, shares a story with with U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, during a campaign stop in Webster City on Friday at the Second St. Emporium. King, a six-year term member of Congress, had previously represented the 32 counties of the 5th Congressional District in western Iowa. The 2010 US Census resulted in the redistricting of the state and King is now running against former first lady Christie Vilsack in the newly formed 39-county 4th District.
Iowa's Fourth Congressional District now stretches from the Minnesota border, south to Harrison, Shelby and Audubon counties and from the Iowa/Nebraska border on the west to an eastern boundary which ends at Winnebago, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Floyd, Butler, Hardin and Story counties.
"We have a big task ahead," King said, noting that the new district includes 286 towns.
King told the crowd of 50 supporters that he was not born into the privileged class.
"I for sure was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth," he said.
After serving six years in the Iowa Senate, King ran for the Congress in 2001, representing Iowa's Fifth District.
King said his 2002 campaign promised fiscal responsibility and less government intrusion. So when constituents asked for more government money and hand-outs, he told them that was not what he had promised. Despite initial expectations by voters, King has carried all 32 counties in the past four elections with a 2:1 advantage.
Looking ahead, America's biggest challenge is the intergenerational debt of $15.6 trillion facing the country's children and grandchildren, said King.
"When we borrow money from the Chinese, they will ask us 'What is your collateral?'" said King. "It is the labor of our children, grandchildren and those not yet born."
King said the policies of the current administration are creating and expanding a dependency class. The only way to change that direction is by bipartisan support in the Congress.
"But I don't believe they believe the same things we believe," said King.
"I stand on the Constitution and American exceptionalism that was built on the foundation of liberty and freedom," said King.
The country has an opportunity to change the downward spiral if only the government adopted a constitutional amendment which requires a balanced budget, he said.
"But I do not believe the will exists in Congress," he said of the need for long term discipline when congressional members think only of short-term election prospects.
Currently, King said his first priority is to work for the repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act.
"It's got to go," said King.
Although there is speculation that the Supreme Court would eliminate the individual mandate but retain the rest of the bill, King said that would be like throwing all 2500 pages of the bill up in the air.
"No, it has to be pulled out by the roots with no vestige of DNA left," he said. "We have to decide if we are a Federalist system or not."
During his speech, several voters interrupted King with questions.
Answering a question on immigration, King said that the United States' immigration policy needs to stop the bleeding at the border by conducting nightly patrols and the establishment of a combination of walls and fences.
In addition, King has introduced the New Idea Act which would make hiring illegal aliens less appealing to employers. The bill protects employers who hire using E-verify, yet will not allow businesses to deduct those wages as a business expense.
"So that $10 worker becomes a $16 worker," said King.
King also proposes eliminating sanctuary cities which provide a safe harbor to illegal aliens and he supports eliminating the policy of granting U.S. citizenship to anchor babies.
King concedes there is a need to review the status of illegal aliens who already have deep roots in the United States. But he cautioned that future policy could not be based on emotional standards.
"If you look to the heartstrings, you will never establish the rule of law," he said.
Energy policy was another question posed by a voter.
"The president doesn't respect you and doesn't respect the constitution," said King of an EPA regulation created by fiat by an unconfirmed czar while the country was preoccupied with the health care hearings before the Supreme Court.
"We need a president who will make appointments of people who are like-minded (with the American public)," said King.
While the EPA was necessary during the 1970s to clean up the environment, the agency of today has overreached, said King.
"Environmentalists in the 70s - we needed to do something," said King. "But their zeal was applied to need. Now the zeal is far less needed."
King is developing legislation which will sunset all federal regulations over a period of ten years. Any agency which needs federal funding would have to submit an action plan to Congress.
King would also require that any regulation with more than a $100 million economic impact on a business would have to come before Congress for approval.
King was asked about the freedom lost by the establishment of smart meters.
While King applauded local power companies for their efforts to deliver lower cost-efficient power, he also noted that the United Nations has established a policy called Agenda 21. The policy would allow the UN to control power to an area or population.
"Somewhere between discounts and Agenda 21, who knows," speculated King, who noted that California may be close to power rationing.
King confessed frustration at the legislative process in which bills pass the House but are not introduced in the Senate. If the House does not pass appropriation bills, the government shuts down, he explained.
"Then shut it down." responded several audience members.
"(House Speaker John) Boehner is not vocal enough," said one voter. "Go ahead and shut it down."
Concerning the testimony of Attorney General Eric Holder before Congress, King said he supports Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on investigating the government's involvement in supplying arms to Mexican drug cartels in the "Fast and Furious" operation.
After the event, King responded to a question about the temperament of the voters.
"They see government making decisions and they trust themselves more than they do government," said King.