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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 6 years ago

Q & A: Heather Beaven, U.S. House District 6


Heather Beaven answers questions via email, as well as in person, with the Ormond Beach Observer.

What federal agencies, if any, should be converted into state functions?

State and local governments can and do any number of services on behalf of or instead of federal agencies.

It is not a matter of capability; it's generally a question of affordability, uniformity and equality. For example, many tea party activists, including my opponent, have called for the end of the Violence Against Women Act. Now, let's imagine that we do just that and, thereby, push that responsibility down to local communities. What happens when a sheriff can't afford to train his or her deputies on how to handle a domestic violence call? It is one of the most dangerous and unpredictable situations for officers; they deserve to be fully prepared for it.

Or what happens when a judge decides agrees with Phyllis Schafly that "married women can't be raped" because they consented on the day of their wedding? Or what about cyberstalking across state lines or even internationally?

It isn't that I don't think there are things the federal government does that it doesn't need to; I just don't think simple soundbites to win elections are responsible. These are serious questions and the consequences — intended and unintended — have to be fully aired out in front of the American people. It is, after all, their money.

What is the most important function of the federal government, and why?

The mission statement of the federal government is clearly stated in the preamble of the Constitution: to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty."

Why should people vote for you instead of your opponent?

I think it is an amazing time to be an American. We are weathering a terrible storm but, like the storms of the past, we will come out better, stronger and more united. We will dominate the new global economy if we fight together to harvest American energy and repair our crumbling infrastructure. We will once again dominate the world in innovation if we fight together for education, entrepreneurship, small business growth and research and development.

My opponent champions a radically austere plan, which to me reeks of fear of the future and doubt in the American spirit. This is the United States of America. We went broke in a civil war and came back stronger thanks to railroads. We smashed Hitler into the ground and came back stronger thanks to highways. We killed the world’s most dangerous terrorists, and now it's time to come back stronger.

Following the questionnaire, we had each candidate come in for a follow-up interview. A sample of Beaven’s responses is compiled below.

Beaven feels she and DeSantis have a very different outlook on the role of the federal government. For example, when asked about home rule, Beaven responded: “Everybody wants to box you into this ‘if A or B.’ … Sometimes it’s not A or B, sometimes it’s in the middle. … It’s the people in your community who know the needs of your community. If you can get it to the state, great, but better yet get it to the county and the city. … I think the federal government already really does that (through block grants).”

DeSantis has been an avid supporter of making significant cuts to reduce the deficit, including cutting the Department of Education. Beaven, when asked to address this, said: “to say … that education can be run by school districts as far as standards, national standards, is nonsense.”

Beaven views one of the most serious problems facing local governments as being the unfunded mandates passed down from federal to state to local governments: “They are not allowed by law to pass things and not pay for them. … local school districts have been taking it on the chin for 50 years.” From her perspective, Congress should “foot the bill” for legislation it passes.

“I think it’s time to mend the federal government, not end it. … The Constitution lives and breathes, and we do better when we know better as a country. … I don’t know that you can say that there are things that the federal government shouldn’t be doing; I don’t know that you can even say that there are things that the federal government should be doing. … In my perfect world, Congress would be able to pass legislation in even years and have to go back and clean up the stupid things they passed in odd years.”

“I don’t know that there’s whole functions or whole agencies that I would just cleanly wipe out like my opponent would, but certainly there’s plenty of things that we can go back and say, ‘Is this what it’s meant to be for a modern world?’”

“You have to send people to Congress who will level with the American people. … This is America; we’ve done this before; we’ve got this. ... I think both parties are wrong … and I think both parties are right. … There is a lack of willingness to think innovatively and act collaboratively and not care who gets credit. …

(DeSantis has) boxed himself into a corner where he can’t be collaborative. … He’s not going to be voted in as the go-to guy for problem solving and moderation.”

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