Michael J. Barrett - Republican
Terrorism: Rate the effectiveness of the current war on terrorism. Do you support a specific timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq? If so, what is it? Will you vote to end the war in Iraq?...
Terrorism: Rate the effectiveness of the current war on terrorism. Do you support a specific timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq? If so, what is it? Will you vote to end the war in Iraq?
I believe we are waging a successful fight against terrorists. We have not been attacked since 9/11 and recently recovered letters from Al Qaieda show they acknowledge their failure. I support the patience necessary to win in Iraq and would not vote to set a timetable for withdrawal. I would not vote to end either the War in Iraq or funding for it.
Homeland Security: Are Americans more secure through efforts of the Homeland Security Department? Are federal anti-terrorism funds being distributed equitably among states?
I believe that the Patriot Act and the NSA Terrorist Surveillance program are important tools that have allowed the Department of Homeland Security to keep us safe from another terrorist attack. I believe funding for anti-terrorism should be directed to cities most likely to be a target. To just equally divide this money is not a good policy for keeping us safe.
Agriculture: What actions can be taken to ensure U.S. farmers are on a level playing field in the international marketplace?
We must continue to secure new markets for our products. We must also protect our farmers from unfair foreign competition. I believe that any future 'free trade' agreement must also be a 'fair trade' agreement that no longer uses agriculture as a throw-away in negotiations and I will fight to see that this happens.
Social Security: The Social Security trust fund is scheduled to become insolvent as baby boomers retire. Should Social Security be privatized? If not, what solutions do you propose?
I believe that people under the age of 50 should have a choice to privatize part of their payments into Social Security. I do not believe anyone should be forced by government mandate to privatize part of their payments into the system. Any person choosing privatization must have their money be placed in approved, safe investment portfolios.
Health care: Do you support universal health care coverage? Will the Medicare drug discount card bring prescription cost relief to senior citizens?
As a Pharmacist, I can see the dangers of universal health coverage. There would be a lack of compassion, efficiency and timeliness. We can't have people with an acute gallbladder attack be expected to wait 6 months for surgery like it would be with universal coverage. Medicare-D was a poor first step that let the drug companies set the prices instead of allowing lower cost purchasing. I would propose legislation that would require purchasing at 'lowest available cost' similar to what Medicaid and the Veterans Administration do now. The billions of dollars saved could then be used to help eliminate the 'donut hole' that is impacting many Seniors.
Education: What should be the federal government's role in enacting education standards and providing accompanying funding?
I believe the federal government has a role for limited funding of education. I also believe that the federal government has no role in establishing standards for local education. I will vote to overturn No Child Left Behind and return control of our schools to people who know your children's names.
Energy: Should the United States expand domestic oil production? What should be the parameters? What should be done to promote alternative energy sources?
We should explore and use all of our domestic energy reserves. We must also greatly expand refinery capacity to handle biofuels being mixed with petroleum based energy. The federal government should begin a crash program to encourage the use and conversion to alternative energy. Biofuels will be the greatest economic boom my District has ever seen and I will be a leading proponent for it.
Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.
Pharmacist, 1978 graduate, North Dakota State University College of Pharmacy
Pharmacy Manager, 1987-present, Long Prairie Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home, Long Prairie, MN
Legislative Co-Chair, Drumlin Hills Coalition of Private Landowners, Minnesota's Largest
Author, Minnesota Pharmacist's Conscience Clause, 2006
No previous elected office, but active in lobbying for many years on behalf of private landowners