A candidate for U.S. Congress visited Waupaca County last week, looking for votes in the Sept. 14 Republican primary.
Terri McCormick is seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, the Democratic incumbent who was first elected in 2006. But first she must defeat her opponents in the Republican primary, Reid Ribble and Roger Roth.
McCormick served in the state Assembly from 2001 to 2007, representing the Appleton area. In 2006, she was defeated by John Gard in the Republican primary. Gard then lost to Kagen in 2006 and 2008.
In a straw poll conducted by the Waupaca County GOP at the county fair in August, McCormick trailed the other two candidates, with Ribble receiving 47 percent of the vote, Roth 31 percent and McCormick 22 percent.
Ribble lives in De Pere and owns a roofing business that he sold in order to campaign full time.
Roth was elected to the same Assembly seat that McCormick once held. His uncle, Toby Roth, was a member of the Wisconsin congressional delegation from 1979 to 1997.
McCormick is running on her credentials as a committed conservative. She has been endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus of Wisconsin, American Liberty Coalition, and Wisconsin Right to Life. Her campaign manager, Will Johnson, was a tea party-endorsed candidate who lost the June Republican primary in Iowa.
“I believe at this time in the economic crisis we’re in, the nation is at a crossroads,” McCormick said.
She criticized Congress “for business-as-usual politics. They’re spending the American people into bankruptcy.”
McCormick believes “political decisions are being made at the expense of solid public policy in the best interests of the people.”
She criticizes the federal bailout of private industry and accuses Washington of “meddling in the free market in order to exchange special favors for votes in Congress.”
If elected, McCormick said she will vote to “stop spending on government programs that we don’t need and can’t afford.”
McCormick has signed a pledge promising never to vote for a bill that increases taxes and to support bills that decrease the deficit and lower taxes.
She has also pledged to “stand up to my own party when they violate fiscally conservatives’ principles, like when they vote for bank bailouts.”
When asked about the situation in Afghanistan, McCormick said, “I’m a constitutional Republican. I believe we need to declare war before we send men and women into combat.”
McCormick has a niece and a grandnephew currently serving in Afghanistan.
“We need to make decisions in the best interests of our national security,” McCormick said. “In Afghanistan, we haven’t defined the mission or the objectives.”
McCormick said jobs and the economy are the top concerns she is hearing from voters while campaigning in 2010. She said her experience as chairwoman of an Assembly committee on economic development gave her some insights into how to encourage job growth.
“We pushed back regulations that interfered with small business by passing the Small Business Reform Act,” McCormick said. “The law required any well-meaning lawmaker to write a report on the economic impact of new regulations and how many jobs would be lost if the law was enacted.”
McCormick attributes the growth in jobs during her last two years in the Assembly to the law that limited business regulation. She said her efforts to reform regulation strengthened manufacturing and agriculture in Wisconsin.
“That’s how we grow jobs in this state – by making something. If you don’t have a GDP (gross domestic product), you don’t have jobs,” McCormick said. “We need to return to free market principles and stop the cycle of the government making decisions about the economy.”