Last week, the Republicans looking to face Congressman Chet Edwards for his seat in the US House were live on KBTX answering viewer questions. Now, we've got even more responses to questions you submitted.
Rob Curnock and Bill Flores appeared on Brazos Valley This Morning and took questions submitted to KBTX.com over the course of the previous week. Some of the other questions we couldn't get to were forwarded on to the campaigns for them to answer.
Below are the responses in their entirety on topics ranging from agriculture to taxes to term limits to the environment.
To watch the forum in its entirety, click here.
Tom in Bryan: A lot of the ads have noted that Mr. Edwards votes in favor of the Democratic agenda about 95% of the time. What do you estimate that your support of the Republican agenda will be?
CURNOCK: I don’t think we go into this with a particular score or percentage in mind. Many of the problems in this country are a result of Republicans acting like Democrats, and when I see that happening I won’t stand for it. I will vote 100% of the time with conservatives on the issues that are important to the people of District 17.
FLORES: That depends if the Republican agenda will be a conservative agenda similar to what I would propose we do to reduce taxes and regulation, allow our economy to grow and the private sector to create jobs, cut federal spending to reduce the deficit and eventually decrease our debt, protect our social values and return to strict adherence to the Constitution. I consider myself a conservative before being a Republican. If I am elected, I will always fight for conservative changes that respect the ideals of limited government.
John in College Station: Would you agree that agriculture crop insurance should be a private enterprise operation and not subject to federal subsidies or regulation?
FLORES: This is a question that has complexities. While I typically prefer private systems to federal subsidies, agricultural producers are in a somewhat unique position and our country cannot accept a major negative impact to our domestic food supply. Many producers rightly complain about the slowness of implementing the programs and delays in agency processing, and I will work to ensure that USDA improves their efficiency. But fundamentally most producers take comfort in knowing that the USDA crop insurance program exists to provide insurance at an affordable cost. Additionally, in order for producers to be eligible for most disaster payments, they must retain proof of crop insurance.
CURNOCK: My general philosophy is that business works best when government stays as far out of the way as possible. Farms are businesses too — some small, some larger — and I’m in favor of limiting government regulation and red tape. That said, our agricultural economy in this country is the strongest in the world, and we feed not only ourselves but many others. When those who produce our food need help due to drought, freezes, floods and other conditions, I believe the government should step in and help in limited ways.
BK in Bryan: Why are we not drilling for oil and natural gas in the USA and its continental shelf, and should we dissolve the Department of Energy, which has wasted US tax dollars?
CURNOCK: We’re not drilling for oil and natural gas because those in power in Washington don’t want us to, plain and simple. I’m a big fan of domestic energy production, which includes oil and natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, and efforts to research clean coal technologies. I believe our federal involvement with energy needs to be directed to those ends.
FLORES: On the campaign trail I have advocated for ending the Department of Energy which has not produced a molecule of energy in its existence. The recent decision by the Obama administration to open up very limited areas to offshore drill is a baby step in the right direction. Instead of limiting offshore drilling and pushing for job-killing climate change legislation, when elected to Congress, I will propose a realistic, comprehensive energy plan that includes the following:
1) Greatly expanding access to domestic supplies of energy to create tens of thousands of American jobs by producing American energy, lessening our dependence on foreign sources of energy
2) Greatly increasing the availability of baseload electricity generation from nuclear power
3) Over time, expanding the use of alternative fuels, including solar, wind, biofuels, and other renewable sources
Charlene in Franklin: The estate tax is a real issue in the gas boom counties where they are putting high values on gas wells for what a well is expecting to receive. What is your opinion on the estate tax? Will this tax go away or will families be forced to sell their farms and business to pay this tax?
FLORES: I strongly support a permanent repeal of the Estate Tax. As people have said, we should Kill the Death Tax. Double taxation is fundamentally unfair
CURNOCK: I am a strong supporter of tax reform, to include lower taxes across the board and abolishing the death tax and capital gains taxes. Ideally, I believe we should move away from production-based taxes like the income tax and toward a consumption-based tax like the Fair Tax — instead of the income tax, not in addition to it. It will take enormous political will to make that happen. While we work toward that, we should reduce taxes across the board.
Donny in Somerville: Do you support term limits and would you sponsor or co-sponsor a bill to implement term limits.
CURNOCK: Yes, I support term limits, and would co-sponsor a bill. I would need to really get into the details of such a bill to determine how long the limits should be for House and Senate members, as well as other related provisions such as bans on lobbying Congress for a number of years after service, for example.
FLORES: Our Founding Fathers never intended for Congress to be an institution of career politicians. They believed, and I agree, in the concept of citizen legislators – people who have experience outside of the government who lend their talents and expertise for a period of time to help improve our country. And then, go home! The Congress we see today is dominated by people who have never had a real job in the private sector. The result is “leaders” in Congress who have lost all sense of our values and principles, and whose focus is on their own interests rather than the public interest. It is time for Term Limits. Because our elected officials have proven they cannot control themselves, it is time we put in place measures to control them. By instituting term limits, we can bring new blood, new ideas, and new energy to a Congress, which has institutionalized the mismanagement of America. As your Congressman, I will agree to a set number of terms at the end of which, I will come home. During that time in Congress, I will fight every day to pass legislation that will limit the power of the federal government and empower individuals, small businesses, and families. We can start reducing the corruption and mismanagement in Congress by doing several things:
* Passing a balanced budget amendment;
* Cutting wasteful or duplicative programs;
* Giving the President the Line Item Veto to remove unnecessary spending;
* Eliminating the practice of earmarking;
* Cutting taxes to help families and small businesses and;
* Preventing the government from expanding its powers beyond those enumerated in the Constitution.
Storm Rider: What is your opinion on creating more water for Texas? Texas is likely to run low on water. The Gulf Of Mexico has plenty if it is treated to make it fresh water. Are you willing to get the funding to do the research and anything else needed to get water where it is needed?
FLORES: Just like I believe the production of more American energy resources is a critical national priority, I believe having reliable and sustainable water resources is critical for our country and families. I agree that the federal government can and should play a role in funding research for critical national priorities such as this.
CURNOCK: Water is going to be more important as our population continues to grow, and I believe this is an important research area for the federal government to step in and help. I would support reasonable initiatives to develop methods for securing good water supplies, not only for Texas but other areas of the country.
Alan in College Station: Texas is currently one of only six states in the US that does not allow some type of "Open Carry." (Meaning that all Texas would have the same rights to carry a side arm in a holster much like what police do.) What are your personal views on making it legal in Texas?
CURNOCK: I believe the right to bear arms is a specific right guaranteed in the second amendment, and my plain reading of that would include open carry as well. I would encourage Texas legislators to move toward that for the people of Texas.
FLORES: RESPONSE FORTHCOMING
John in College Station: What environmental plans do you have to improve and sustain the quality of life in the Brazos Valley? What will you do to bring clean and energy efficient technology to aid in the growth and development of the area?
FLORES: The Brazos Valley is our home. Like every parent and father, I want our children to be able to grow up with clean air, water, and soil. Having worked for nearly thirty years in the energy business, I know a balance can be struck to help our nation produce new energy both cleanly and responsibly. However I oppose a punitive system like Cap and Trade that will kill jobs, raise taxes on families, and not help our country become energy independent.
CURNOCK: From my time working on the small business advisory panel for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, I know first-hand the challenges we face in balancing care for the environment with a need for more energy and less regulation on business. I will bring that experience to Washington and focus on common-sense solutions that empower businesses to grow, energy companies to explore and develop innovative means of producing energy, while keeping our water clean and our outdoor spaces friendly to families.