Greg Ryan at the Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District Debate

Eight-term DFL incumbent Betty McCollum, Republican-endorsed Greg Ryan and Legal Marijuana Now candidate Susan Pendergast Sindt all attended the forum with moderator Margot Rheinberger of Stillwater.

Racial Tensions

Greg Ryan blamed the U.S. Justice Department for much of the racial tension between minorities and law enforcement that has come to light in recent years, saying the department is “meddling” in the affairs of local police departments.

Ryan believes police departments should be left alone to do the work they’ve done for years.

“You’re always going to have a couple of rogue police officers that don’t do the right thing, and I think we’re focusing way too much on that,” he said.

National Debt

Ryan came out swinging, saying to blame McCollum and the rest of Congress for the increasing national debt.

The problem, he said, is “the burgeoning of our government agencies and the growth of our government agencies and the lack of Congress’s ability to say, ‘Stop, we’re not going to grow this budget any more.’”

He said Congress needs to pass a realistic budget instead of simply approving continuing resolutions, which are essentially stopgap funding measures.

“They keep kicking the can down the road,” he said.

Ryan said the American people were fed false promises about the Affordable Care Act and that the law is a complete failure.

“This is devastating to the 4th Congressional District, especially in the area that I work, down in St. Paul,” he said.

Ryan said some people have told him they have to make a choice between making a mortgage payment and paying for health insurance, and insurance prices keep increasing.

He also said the Affordable Care Act was too long and complex.

“If I’m going to have a bill that more than five pages, I’ll say, ‘No, I’m not going to sign it,’” he said. “It’s got to be simple. It’s got to be something everybody can understand.”

Economic Growth

“The stimulus act — do you remember Solyndra?” Ryan asked. “We funneled tons of money to them, and they went out of business with our money.”

He also attacked the Union Depot project, saying it sits empty and was a poor investment.

“We need to leave it up to the American people to spend their own money with their own checkbook,” Ryan said.

He said Congress doesn’t have the discipline to spend money wisely and frugally like businesses do, and he didn’t seem to think much of public-private partnerships, which he called subsidies.

Terrorism

Ryan said the U.S. needs a strong leader and strong Congress that will be tough on terrorism. He blamed the proliferation of terror at least in part on the withdrawal of troops from “foreign nations that are havens for terrorists.”

He wants terrorists to look at the U.S. and say, “we don’t want to mess with those people.”

He also the U.S. is bringing in too many refugees who aren’t being vetted sufficiently.

Immigration

Candidates disagreed sharply on immigration.

Ryan argued that current laws should be enforced, saying the government hasn’t been doing it’s job. He said employers shouldn’t have the burden of verifying legal work status, and that illegal immigrants are taking jobs from legal residents.

Excerpted from the Stillwater Gazette, read the full article here.