Bret Richards is seeking the Republican nomination for Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District. You can learn more about his candidacy here.
1. What is the purpose of government:
You don’t need to look any further than our founding documents to understand the purpose of our federal government. It’s twofold: to secure the rights of the people and represent their interests. And that’s it.
Deep within the DNA of our Constitution, everyday Americans, and our Founding Fathers is the sincere belief, summarized by Jefferson, that “the government closest to the people serves the people best”. There are many, many, many powers that the federal government should abandon at once, considering that the 10th Amendment is violated on a daily basis. And let us always remember that our government derives its just powers from “the consent of the governed”. And that no government constructed for We the Politicians can possibly represent We the People.
2. What issues do you consider non-negotiable:
As a commissioned officer in the United States Army, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. For me, that oath never expires. Upon entering Congress, I will yet again swear that same oath. I will never waiver from my commitment to the Constitution.
And as a Christian and a father of three, I believe every life—regardless of the circumstances of its creation—is a miracle from God deserving of protection. I will never negotiate away this principle or dilute my 100% pro-life stance.
3. What one thing would you most like to accomplish should you earn a seat in Congress:
I believe politicians need to be held accountable for failing on their promises. So, I’ll make one with you right now. If in five terms (10 years) in Congress, we don’t put term limits on Congress I’m coming back to my hometown of Irwin. But it’s easy for me to make that promise because I’ll lead by example for the cause of term limits and keep myself to as many years.
Career politicians are the problem with Washington, DC, and if we’re able to erase that term from the dictionary, we’ll make significant gains on the causes of life, border security, the Second Amendment, and a balanced budget. Term limits is the missing link that would solve most of the problems plaguing our nation.
4. What, if anything, would you do to strengthen religious liberty at the federal level:
It’s no secret that the secular Left is on a tireless mission to denigrate, defame, and destroy the religious foundations of this country. America has always been a refuge for the faithful and must remain so. In Congress, I’ll defend our First Amendment rights to free exercise and religious liberty by expanding conscience protections in the healthcare field, abolishing the Department of Education to give parents more choice on how they educate their children, and oppose Big Government concoctions like the so-called Equality Act.
5. There are efforts to increase the federal gas tax 25 cents a mile, is this something you’d support:
No. In an ideal world, I would like to see the federal gas tax transitioned into a road use tax. The purpose of the gas tax is maintaining our interstate highways and infrastructure, but as fuel efficiency increases in cars those who drive hybrids or electric vehicles are not paying what they owe.
We also need to stop all foolish government spending. Instead of allocating infrastructure money like giving out gifts on Christmas, we must prioritize repair over ground up builds. There is a 6:1 return on our investment when we repair roads, bridges, and levees instead of building them brand new.
6. How do you suggest balancing the budget and working toward elimination of the national debt:
Only government would find it excusable to justify more spending to keep up with current spending levels. Nothing frustrated me more as a business owner than to see Washington politicians print money with no intention of ever making payment.
And now, they’re acting like spending $1 trillion a week is pocket change. There’s no floor debate. No discussion. Pelosi just makes the decision and it’s final. That is NOT how representation works.
Real cuts need to be made. I’m not just talking about eliminating the Department of Education either. Their budget is $68 billion, a fortune for you or me, but a drop in the bucket on a $4.5 trillion annual spending package. And just balancing the budget, which would be a welcome change of pace, also won’t be enough to put us on good financial footing. In order to pay down $26 trillion in debt, we have to start talking seriously about making cuts to defense spending and reforming healthcare. Otherwise, it’s a generational crime to shovel a mountain of debt to our children and children’s children.
Every September in the Army, if we underspent, we were told to make a wish list of items to order so we could get the same amount of money next year. That’s what I call waste. And I have no doubt that’s close to habit now in almost every area of the federal government.
Along with rolling back our spending on unnecessary foreign wars, we have to reexamine the welfare state that costs us over $1.2 trillion a year. For too long, some have seen our entitlement programs as a handout rather than a hand up and they’ve sapped the system. Let’s get our economy moving again and our people working again so that we can actually start to pay down the mountain of debt career politicians have piled up for decades.
7. Are there any scenarios where you would support a pathway to citizenship and/or amnesty for any illegal immigrants in America:
No. Our family business employed over 300 Iowans in rural communities across western Iowa. We complied with all the paperwork, the I-9s, and every directive from the government to make sure every employee was here legally. The rule book is important to Iowans. If we don’t like a law, we don’t break it. We go through the process to change the law, and if that doesn’t succeed, we have to live by it. Otherwise, you tell me which laws I don’t have to follow.
So, as an employer and just an everyday Iowan, nothing frustrated me more than to watch these huge companies get busted on TV for employing hundreds of illegal workers while they scoff at the rule of law. They’d pay a measly fine and then they’d go back to employing illegal immigrants again. We absolutely need a wall on the southern border. But this pool of cheap labor is going to keep pouring into our country until we get serious about these bad employers. Fines have to be hired, and, frankly, I wouldn’t be opposed to prosecuting habitual offenders criminally.
Before, I used to wonder how big corporations got away with employing hundreds of illegal immigrants. I used to wonder who they needed to pay off. I don’t wonder anymore. After seeing how pro-amnesty special interest groups operate and who they choose to endorse, I know it’s been weak-kneed politicians holding the door open for illegal labor the whole time.
8. Do you believe sanctuary cities are a danger to the citizens who live in them and what, if anything, would you do in Congress to either encourage or discourage sanctuary city policies:
Absolutely. Sanctuary cities are a flagrant violation of the rule of law. Anyone asking for sanctuary cities is openly engaging in a violation of federal immigration authority. In Congress, I’ll make sure current federal law is enforced and followed. Our nation can’t afford anymore Angel Moms.
But I’m not going to tell you my position on immigration and then tell my out-of-state donors I’ll do something different. We have a career politician in this race going around claiming he banned sanctuary cities in our state when we all know Iowa still has 11 sanctuary counties, including three in the Fourth District. There’s also a clear difference between defunding something and banning it. Apparently, not even his efforts to defund sanctuary cities were effective or proven.
9. What federal action would you support in terms of climate change, if any:
The Green New Disaster would lead to economic devastation for our country. Socialist Democrats want us to negotiate with them so they can control the narrative, not address real environmental issues.
10. Would you support any red flag gun legislation:
No. I became an NRA member when I turned 18 and I’m proud to have received the highest rating from the NRA for a non-career politician. I taught my three kids how to shoot and I understand, coming from a rural county, that the right to protect yourself and your family is fundamental. I support constitutional carry, and will always stand in defense of the Second Amendment since it protects every one of our other rights.
Red flag laws violate almost every amendment in our Bill of Rights, and they play right into the hands of the accusation obsessed Left. Who is to say that one day a bureaucrat might see a red MAGA hat as a red flag and deny someone’s constitutional right to carry?
And unlike another candidate in this race who is trying his best at self-parody, going around repeating a line about “delivering conservative results; not campaign rhetoric”, I haven’t taken a dime from pro-red flag law special interests. And just as we’ve seen happen to career politicians over the years: if Senator Feenstra gets to Congress and a gun rights vote comes up, there’ll be a knock on the door from the same liberal, out-of-state groups that bought Feenstra the seat, collecting on their payment.
11. Give a general rundown of your on American foreign policy:
In two words: America First. Stop endless foreign wars, bring our troops home, and maintain the US military as the fiercest fighting force in human history. Peace through strength is the right idea, but we don’t need to stretch thin our resources engaging in nation building around the globe for our own nation to be secure.
Over the decades, Congress has ceded far too much of its constitutional powers to the presidency. Perhaps the most obvious is the authority to wage war. Over the past four years, President Trump has used our military judiciously to eliminate ISIS, take out Iranian terrorists, and reassert the United States as a nation to be feared and respected. We didn’t need to sink trillions of dollars into the sand. It was decisive, strong military action that wiped our enemies off the map and drove fear into the hearts of any other foe who would dare challenge us. America as a weary policeman of world has been taken advantage of. America as a sleeping giant is not to be trifled with.
I also appreciate President Trump’s initiatives to roll back the power and authority of the United Nations. I wholeheartedly support his decision to move the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and look forward to a continued bilateral relationship with our greatest ally in the Middle East.
Without a doubt, there is a rot within the State Department. It must be downsized and audited so that no future president suffers from rogue deep state actors disobeying his directives.
12. Do you support term limits for Congress:
Iowans know we MUST put term limits on Congress. Over 80% of Americans want term limits, but the politicians won’t put their plush jobs at risk. Most candidates in this race say they’ll support a constitutional amendment for term limits. But when the question is put to them about their own political career, they duck and cover. It’s a different thing to say you support something and then actually live by it. I’m committed to serving no more than five terms (10 years) in Congress and then coming back home to Irwin.
I will lead by example on this issue and make the case to my colleagues that in order to restore the House of Representatives to the People’s House, we need to chip away at the stranglehold career politicians have over our country. Our Founders never wanted politics to be a career. It’s about public service, serving your community as a citizen legislator, and returning to normal life. A government not of our betters, but of our peers.
13. What are your thoughts on the Electoral College:
We in the United States are fortunate to have had the most perceptive Founding Fathers the world has ever seen. We live in a democratic republic, not a direct democracy, for a reason. We respect the will of the people, but we also understand our nation is a union of states and that the tyranny of the majority, swept up into a crazed frenzy, can attempt to suppress and silence the voices of the minority.
What a majority of the voters consumed by passion believes isn’t always right. Hillary Clinton would have been a disaster for this country as would have Al Gore. The Electoral College is one of the institutions our Founding Fathers set up to guard society against the oppression of its temporary rulers in government. The media and Hollywood might be controlled by a very loud and present liberal coastal elite, but with the Electoral College, we can rest assured that the Left’s quest to control all of society for socialist means will be stopped.
14. What issue can you envision working with Democrat members of Congress on right away:
Healthcare reform. It’s shocking (I know) but there are still some Democrats out there who don’t support socialized medicine like Medicare-for-All.
Almost every American can agree that our healthcare system is broken, insurance premiums continue to skyrocket, and—emerging from this pandemic—we’ll need people with healthcare experience in there who know how it all works to make sure it’s done right. As the board chair of a regional hospital, I’ve seen first hand the consequences of lobbyists writing Obamacare so that doctors spend more time on the phone with insurance companies than they do with their patients. It’s wrong and we must replace Obamacare with a conservative solution to healthcare that brings down the cost of prescription drugs, includes tort reform, and opens up insurance markets across state lines.
Other candidates say they want insurance sold across state lines, but take money from Iowa’s largest insurer (Wellmark).
In the Army, it never mattered whether the guy next to me was a Democrat or a Republican. We were mission-driven and focused on making sure the objective was completed. In the business world, I’ve needed to work with all sorts of people—regardless of their political beliefs—to craft deals and get the job done. In Congress, I’ll seek out fellow veterans and businessmen across the aisle and say to them, ‘Look, we have a problem with out-of-control spending. We have a problem with our healthcare system. We have a problem with immigration.’ I won’t ever abandon my core principles and beliefs, but there is common ground that can be found.
15. What excites you most about possibly representing Iowa in Congress:
Second only to being Jill’s husband, it would be the honor of my life to represent Iowans in Congress. And you can be certain, I won’t be there for long; just long enough to make a difference. I look forward to standing up for life, liberty, and conservatism as well as meeting and hearing from Iowans all the across the district. Over the past 16 months and after driving 73,000 miles to go to over 250 campaign events, I know Iowa neighbors know best how to tackle the problems of Washington. Because they live with those problems day in and day out. I’m excited to bring Iowa values to DC and help President Trump drain the swamp of career politicians.
I want anyone reading this to have my email ([email protected]) and cell phone number (712-579-4753) too. To learn more, visit RichardsForCongress.com.
Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District: