Ron DeSantis, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, District 6, answered questions via email and in a follow-up interview with The Observer.
1) What federal agencies, if any, should be converted into state functions?
Energy, commerce, K-12 education and housing.
2) What is the most important function of the Federal government, and why?
The most important function of the federal government is national defense because only the federal government can protect the lives, liberty and property of the American people against foreign attack.
3) Why should people vote for you instead of your opponent?
I am an Iraq veteran, a former prosecutor and an officer in the Navy reserve, but I am not a politician. I’m running for Congress to promote economic growth, to re-assert our founding principles, and to make members of Congress play by the same rules as the rest of us. We need new blood in Congress — and this need has never been more apparent.
We cannot tax, spend and borrow our way to prosperity.
If elected, I will pursue policies that will allow our economy to reach its full potential, such as 1) reducing bureaucracy and red tape to help small business; 2) expanding the production of domestic sources of energy to make us energy independent; 3) preventing tax increases from burdening individuals, families and businesses; 4) reforming our bloated 70,000-page tax code to incentivize entrepreneurship and growth; 5) repealing Obamacare to protect Medicare and replacing it with less costly patient-centered reform; and 6) reducing wasteful federal government spending.
I will take seriously the requirement in the oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. I will pledge not only to abide by the provisions of the Constitution but also to be faithful to the principles on which our nation was founded. To me, this means a society dedicated to individual liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the prospect of upward mobility; to government that is constitutionally limited to its enumerated functions and that is accountable to the people; and, to the preeminence of the rule of law over the rule of individuals in high places.
I will not embrace central planning, wealth redistribution or the expansion of government. I will also fight against the delegation of vast powers to unelected bureaucracies such as is contained in Obamacare (i.e., the unelected board empowered to reduce Medicare reimbursements without the approval of Congress) and Dodd-Frank (i.e., the unelected board that is not accountable to Congress, the president or the courts).
It is critical that members of Congress live under the same laws that they pass. Those elected to Congress are supposed to be citizen-servants of the people — not a ruling class that is separate and distinct from the citizenry.
Why should voters prefer me to my opponent? My opponent, Heather Beaven, has spent most of her time lashing out at me and at other Republicans (such as Jeb Bush) because she has nothing positive to offer voters beyond warmed-over Nancy Pelosi-style liberalism.
Her liberal positions — she seeks to spend more taxpayer money even though we are running trillion-dollar deficits, supports higher taxes even though we are taxed enough as is, opposes the Keystone XL pipeline even though gas prices are close to $4 per gallon, and claims that the U.S. does not face any conventional threats even though nations such as Iran, North Korea, Russia and China are building stronger defenses — are out of step with the views of most Florida voters.
I have run a campaign based on my positive vision for the future of our country. Voters should expect nothing less from a candidate for the U.S. Congress.
Following the questionnaire, we had each candidate come in for a follow-up interview. A sample of DeSantis' responses is compiled below.
Ron DeSantis considers sees one priority for the winner of this election to be to cut back the role of the federal government. “A lot of stuff that it’s doing, it shouldn’t be doing at all. … (It is) essentially crony capitalism. … The more you get the federal government involved, the more it will exert its power to condition behavior at the state and local level.” DeSantis specifically targeted the departments of commerce, energy and education as possible roles that could be cut back.
DeSantis contended that “the national defense of the country” is the most important function of the federal government. He also placed a great deal of importance on the budget, a responsibility he takes seriously for Congress. “No budget, no pay. … If you don’t pass the budget, then your pay ceases until you pass a budget. … I’ve said I’m not going to take a congressional pension because I don’t think politicians should be getting pensions, especially when we have $16 trillion in debt.”
When asked how to fix the economy, he said this is one place that provides a clear contrast between himself and Heather Beaven, saying: “She basically says … this is a new normal.” His priorities would be “tax reform … domestic energy production … reducing bureaucracy and red tape … getting the budget under control across the board.”
Beaven has referred to DeSantis’ plan as “radical austerity,” which he refutes. “I am not a Keynesian … I do not accept Keynesian austerity. … She thinks all of this is generated through Washington bureaucracies, and I don’t. … Her view of government is … more in tune with how a European would view it, somebody who sees the state as the No. 1 actor in society. … It’s just a different philosophy.”
“Beating Barack Obama is necessary, but that does not fix the country — that just gives you the chance to fix the country. … That’s really why I’m running, because I think we need to approach these things with a sense … and understanding of … the constitutional ethos that is the basis of our society. … I’m a conservative in the Reagan tradition. … The reason I consider myself a Reaganite is because of … limited government, more freedom, strong national defense, respect for traditional values. … Reagan was able to really appeal to … a broad coalition.”