Yes, I am specifically attached to this race since I live in the district currently served by Leonard Boswell (D).
Leonard came into office in 1997. When he first entered Congress, he promised that he would serve no more than 4 terms. He has served 6 already. He votes along party lines over 95% of the time. Although he has supported President Bush on some key bills that served a more conservative agenda, he also voted with Bush on the $700 Billion Bailout. Reviewing his record, he appears to be both socially and fiscally moderate to slightly liberal.
Kim Schmett (R) has served as the chief administrative law judge with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, the investigations division administrator for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, as the director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals in 1996 in Gov. Branstadâ€™s cabinet. Schmett served as chief of staff to Congressman Greg Ganske from 1999 until 2003. And most recently, Kim has served as the executive director for the Coalition for Family and Childrenâ€™s Services in Iowa. Kim’s positions on most of what we consider the key issues of the day are strongly conservative and family oriented.
We are voting for Kim Schmett.
I had an opportunity to sit down with Kim one day and discuss his background and positions.
Kim is a lawyer. Like Boswell, Kim served in the military. While serving as Gov. Branstad’s management representative to the Employment Appeal Board, Kim recommended consolidating Iowa’s administrative law judges system, eliminating conflicts of interest, reducing the staff while substantially increasing it’s productivity, and this led to his role as the state’s first Chief Administrative Law Judge.
Kim was also responsible for improving Welfare Fraud investigations in the state, receiving national recognition.
Kim’s most recent role on the Coalition for Family and Children’s Services exemplifies his desire to serve others when he could just as easily make his money at private practice.
One of the big issues that Kim said he got into the election was the recognition of marriage in government as being one man and one woman. He supports a constitutional amendment that expresses this relationship clearly.
Kim’s position on abortion is that it should not be allowed except for rape, incest or the life of the mother (I do not support this position… I believe the only exception should be for life of the mother). We talked about what can really be done to address the abortion issue. Kim did an excellent job of discussing the various recent Supreme Court decisions and the importance of the makeup of the court. I asked Kim he thought about decisions such as Roe v. Wade where the Court essentally hands down more than a situational decisions, but actually creates law. He said that it is not the Court’s place to legislate. I asked him how we can prevent the Court from taking this type of action, and he said we really can’t, except in nominating candidates that will respect the proper role of the court.
Kim has a sharp eye on fiscal issues, and on getting past the headlines to the facts. He’s not a fan of bailouts. Our interview preceeded the events directly leading up to the $700 Billion Bailout (although we have had more recent discussions on this topic, and he opposes the law that was passed), but we did discuss the Housing Bill that was passed in the summer, which he didn’t like any more than I did. Kim raised concerns around some of the uses of money that the GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) earn… foundations for things unrelated to housing seem both odd and an inappropriate use of government secured money.
When we had this interview, Kim believed the two most issues in front of us are energy and health care (obviously, the economic situation has changed this view slightly). He supports domestic drilling for oil, along with continued support for alternative fuels. Kim supports continued tariff protections for ethanol, with eventual repealing of tariffs as the US industry matures and can sustain international competition. And he supports the most recent Farm Bill.
On the health care front, Kim’s is concerned on three fronts:
- Rural health care infrastructure. Better and closer availability for rural residents is needed, including facilities and health care professionals.
- Economics, and personal accountability. Too much of the time the more expensive treatment is chosen when a less expensive treatment is just as appropriate
- Critical/end of life care. Need to look at issues around treatments meant to extend life versus those that enhance the quality of remaining life.
On Immigration: Seal and improve management of the borders, make employers responsible, improvements needed to immigration policy.
On Earmarks: We should require public sponsor associated with any spending amendment, and conference committee reports should not have anything that was not already approved by either house. Most state legislatures work this way. Kim believes earmarks should be confined to infrastructure or nationally vital efforts, rather than to benefit business or other private interests.
Kim is one of two political candidates that I managed to get some time to talk with and get to know a bit this year. I also got a chance to interact with Kim’s wife Connie at the Iowa State Fair. Kim and Connie are both very engaging, and clearly committed to seeing Iowan and Americans be successful.
Although I have a small difference with Kim on abortion, he has the right overall mindset to represent Iowans in the 3rd District, has solid conservative credentials, and has experience working in Washington. If we send him to Congress, I think he will do a remarkable job.