Q+A With 6th District Congressional Candidates Ben Cline and Nicolas Betts
Q: Why did you decide to run for office?
Cline – A:Two years ago, I was urged by constituents across the 6th Congressional District to enter the race to succeed Rep. Bob Goodlatte in the House of Representatives. Humbled by the trust placed in me by the voters back in November of 2018, I have sought to put my past experiences as a state legislator, attorney, and small businessman to use in Congress to address the needs of the 6th District. Right now, that top priority is fighting to defeat COVID-19, and pursuing a vaccine while helping families and small businesses hit hard by the virus. Other priorities include pushing to fund improvements to our local infrastructure, particularly the widening of I-81, and supporting our local farmers and institutions of higher education that contribute so much to the economy.
Betts – A: I wanted to make sure constituents of the 6th District had a choice on the ballot. I think it’s important that there’s at least two choices in every election. I wanted to make sure that folks had a choice in November.
Q: If you could change one piece of legislation without failure, what would it be?
Cline – A: I believe Congress’s reliance on Continuing Resolutions and Omnibus legislation to fund the federal government rather than a comprehensive, balanced budget is irresponsible and wasteful. Every dollar the government spends is taken from our constituents and should be managed responsibly. In order to resolve our current debt crisis, Congress must balance its budget and cut wasteful spending or we will leave our next generation holding the bag.
Betts – A: One thing I think we need to do is make sure we have healthcare options. I guess the best way to put it is, I’m in favor of a low-cost, affordable public healthcare option that enrolls everybody automatically but allows them to opt out to keep private health insurance if they choose to. I want to make sure that everybody has access to healthcare and they can opt out rather than opt in.
Q: What will be the first piece of legislation you will work on if elected?
Cline – A: My first priority if re-elected will be helping our country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This starts with developing and distributing a safe and effective vaccine. Prior to this pandemic, America was experiencing unprecedented economic prosperity due to our emphasis on free market policies. Addressing the health crisis and restoring our economy go hand in hand.
Betts – A: I want to make zero percent interest rates on student loans permanent. So what that would mean is, I don’t think that the federal government should be profiting off the people seeking to educate themselves so I think loans should be offered at zero percent interest rates.
Q: How do you plan on changing or maintaining your district?
Cline – A: The citizens of the 6th District want a limited government that protects their rights, performs its core functions aprs outlined in the Constitution and otherwise leaves them free to live their lives. It is my mission to restore the constitutional limits on the federal government and free the citizens of the 6th District to live, work and raise a family as they see fit.
Betts – A: One thing that I want to fight for is for businesses to have the economic flexibility to hire workers and do clean energy jobs, such as wind and solar technology. I believe these are the jobs of the future. They’re well-paying jobs that will also protect the environment.
Q: Will your bipartisan cooperation depend on the President elected in November?
Cline – A: Since getting elected to Congress, I have introduced several pieces of legislation which were signed into law with bi-partisan support. There are many areas in which Republicans and Democrats can find common ground such as transparency, lobbying reform and infrastructure projects. I have co-sponsored over 100 bills with my Democrat colleagues and recently introduced a bipartisan package of legislation aimed at reducing corruption in government.
Betts – A: Whoever the President is, whatever the makeup of Congress is, I’m going to work hard with whoever’s there to have legislative solutions that benefit the American people.
Q: How do you interpret Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution?
Cline – A: Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to levy taxes to fund public programs. Congress should aim to place as small a tax burden on individuals as necessary to accomplish the core functions of government.
Betts – A: So what that means to me is that the federal government has the power to tax and spend to benefit the general well-being of the American people. What I think that means is making sure you live up to the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and giving people the tools that they need.