Get to know the candidates: 2nd Congressional District
Republican Jason Lewis and Democrat Angie Craig are running for Congress in the state’s 2nd Congressional District.
Lewis won the seat in 2016 after John Kline retired. He was a talk show radio host for two decades before entering politics. Craig started her career as a newspaper reporter and now owns part of a startup company in St. Paul.
If elected, what is your top priority for the 2019 Congress? Why are you running?
As I travel around the Second Congressional District and speak with voters about their experiences, it is clear that the rising cost of healthcare is one of their top concerns. At times growing up, my own family went without health insurance. I worked for more than 20 years at two medical manufacturing companies and managed our employee health plans at one, so I have the background and experience necessary to meaningfully contribute to fixing our nation’s broken healthcare system. I’ll work to stabilize the ACA and lower health care costs, especially the cost of prescription drugs.
I ran for office to help protect the American dream by jump-starting our economy and protecting our constitutional rights. I am proud of the work we did in Congress to reduce burdensome regulations and pass the biggest tax cut in decades. All of this has led to historic economic growth, and I am running for Congress to continue this trajectory and build upon the work we have started.
How do you grade President Trump’s foreign policy record?
We cannot conduct foreign policy through Twitter. In order to maintain our leadership throughout the world, we need a tough foreign policy agenda that protects the U.S. and at the same time preserves the shared American values of privacy, liberty, and diversity. We also must return to a diplomacy-first mindset and work to restore the strong relationships with our allies. We’re at our safest and strongest when we’re leading a coalition of countries committed to peace and freedom. That means using diplomatic means to advance our values, putting pressure on countries that don’t share our values, and returning to the steady, predictable leadership that America has always shown abroad.
When it comes to foreign affairs, the priority must always be what is in the best interest of the American people, and I appreciate that the President has made this his priority. It is important that our allies invest in their own defense and do not solely rely on the strength of the U.S, and the President rightly highlighted deficiencies in our NATO partners. While we must be skeptical and vigilant when having discussions with North Koreans, I hope that the current talks will lead to a more stable Korean peninsula. That being said, after over 50 years of failed policy towards Cuba, we should begin opening up trade and increase American access to Cuba, which in turn will help both the American people and the Cuban people.
Federal entitlements are the main drivers of rising U.S. debt. What specific steps can be taken to keep programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid solvent and still serve those in need?
We just gave large corporations a more-than $1 trillion tax break and that debt will be directly passed on to future generations and is driving up our deficits. The economic growth promised by Congressional Republicans to offset those tax breaks has not materialized. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are programs that Americans have paid into over a lifetime of hard work. Some Americans pay into these programs on all of their income and others who make more than $124,800 annually do not. I propose that we ask Americans to continue to contribute to these programs equally on all of their income. I oppose any changes that would cut, privatize, or jeopardize Social Security and Medicare and cause hardship for America’s seniors.
First, I believe we must keep our promise to our seniors and those approaching retirement. Then we can look at what reforms need to be made to ensure the programs remain solvent for future generations. We also have to protect these programs for those it was meant to help. Medicare for All would destroy Medicare as we know it. Doctors would have to face an immediate cut of roughly 40 percent for the treatment of patients, and in turn patients would face rationing of care. Moreover, it would actually be illegal for employers to offer private health insurance benefits and competition from the private sector to provide health insurance would be illegal. Medicare for All will just further hurt the solvency of Medicare and threaten the program for seniors.