Interview with Republican Third Congressional District candidate Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is no political newcomer.
The Republican has represented the Third Congressional District since 2009 and holds positions on some key House committees. Luetkemeyer, from St. Elizabeth in Miller County, says his experience as a farmer and businessman in Mid-Missouri helps him represent the area in Washington.
The boundaries of Luetkemeyer's district changed this year to include part of Boone County and Columbia but it remains largely rural and politically conservative.
Erika McGuire: How do we prevent or reduce gun violence like what we saw in Uvalde, Texas?
Blaine Luetkemeyer: Well, I think it starts with trying to harden our schools to be able to keep the bad guys out. I think if you saw the video, the guy, the perpetrator, walked right into the school. As I go around my district, most schools have hardened entrances where they've got doors that you can't get in unless you are allowed in. They've got resource officers in the schools themselves. And I think you deter those folks from going in those places. That's the best way to do it. I think, if everybody, if all the school systems would harden their entrances and harden their facilities that would make it very, very difficult for the perpetrators to get in.
McGuire: What are Republicans' priorities if you retake the House?
Luetkemeyer: Well, I'm glad you asked that question. Because what we have is what we call a commitment to America, which was developed by the members themselves.
Leader (Kevin) McCarthy put together a group of working groups and from those working groups, we were listening to the constituents, as we go home each week, and bring back their, not only their problems, but their solutions to those problems, and put those together. And what we believe is a fantastic document here that basically has four pillars to it. One is that we want to keep the economy strong, we want a nation that's safe, we want a future that's built on freedom, and a government that's accountable. And if you go to commitmenttoamerica.com, you'll see under each one of those pillars, several items that we want to try and put in place when we take the majority in January, to try and address those particular issues.
So particular pillars, for instance, under the economy, fight inflation and lower cost of living, make America energy independent again, and strengthened supply chain and dependence on China that's under the economical. So I think we have good ideas, we have good policies. I've got a few bills, in fact, that go under some of these categories that we'll be offering, come January. Actually got a couple of them out there already, to address the situations that everybody in the country sees right now. Whether it's inflation, whether it's the high prices of energy, whether it's the open border situation, whether it's crime, whether it's fentanyl coming across the border, the lack of recognition of us as a military power, because of the weakness of our administration on an international basis. All of these things are addressed in this commitment to America here. And we feel that these are solutions that have come from the citizens themselves to the problems that they see with this administration and the country as a whole.
McGuire: How have you worked with Democrats to get meaningful legislation passed?
Luetkemeyer: Well, it's been a struggle, quite frankly, I can tell you that I'm the top Republican in the Small Business Committee. And up until a couple of weeks ago, we had 40 amendments that our team of Republicans offered on different bills, and that not a single one, not one had been approved by the Democrats. And these were not gotcha amendments. So it's been very difficult to work with them. That being said, I did work with the chairman, the past two or three separate pieces of legislation that have been signed into law that address small business issues. So in spite of the fact that they put up a lot of barriers and are very difficult to work with, in fact, don't ask for our opinion on hardly anything. We have been able to get some things done, but working across the aisle and trying to find some common ground. But it is very difficult whenever you have a group in charge that's very, very partisan, and unwilling to work with us on any level whatsoever.
McGuire: How how can the government give Americans relief from the pressure of inflation?
Luetkemeyer: Well, I think there are four pillars or four things that make up inflation. And I've discussed this with some economists over the last several months here. Number one is energy. We need to be energy-independent. Again, you can see by the price of gasoline and diesel fuel, it affects every single industry, every single business, every single household in this country, with higher prices and everything and the ripple effect of that through everything that you purchase.
Number two is regulations. This administration, their own figures show that they cost about $201 billion last year to comply with the first-time new rules and regulations they put in place. To give you a perspective in the Trump administration that was zero because if you remember, President Trump said for every rule you put on the books you take two off that under the Obama administration was about $100 billion per year. So when you put $200 billion more cost into the system that's got to have an inflationary effect.
Number three, it's the money supply. When you keep throwing trillion-dollar bills with all of this money into the system, the definition of inflation is too many dollars chasing too few goods and services. And so we have all this money flooding a system as well as the money that the Federal Reserve was flooding the system with until about a year ago, or six months ago, actually. You wind up with way, way more money in here than can be spent at the level that it was in the previous several months and years.