Political Profile Bruce Poliquin

Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 7:08 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -1. What are the first three things you would do if you’re re-elected.

Bruce Poliquin: First thing, Kelly, is that we would, defund 87,000 new IRS agents that Joe Biden and my opponent, Mr. Golden, and others have voted to hire. We don’t need 87,000 new IRS agents harassing the middle class. So that would be the first thing we do. We would defund them. Secondly is that we would stop this crazy spending, trillions of dollars that we don’t have that is either borrowed or printed. And that of course drives up inflation, which is hurting all of our families up here in the county and really throughout the country. We would then reopen our supplies of diesel and gasoline and heating oil. When you increase the supply of these energy sources, you drive down the price. And so that would be the next thing we do. And the fourth thing is that we would secure our border with Mexico. This border has been wide open for almost two years now, and now we have several million people who have come into this country illegally. They’ve been allowed to stay for the most part, and now we have to care for them. I don’t think that’s fair to the people of Maine. I don’t think it’s fair to American citizens. I think we ought to take care of America first and the state of Maine first, and also this open border what this has done, Kelly has allowed a flow of fentanyl to come in our country, which is killing our kids. And now, right before Halloween, they’re coming up with rainbow colored fentanyl pills right before Halloween to entice our kids. We need to secure that border. That’s top of the agenda also.

2. I’m going to skip ahead to a question that I had that really goes along with that, and that is how important to you is visiting your constituents in their towns and city in person, while in office.

Bruce Poliquin: It’s very important. For example, we came here last night to the county. We’ll be here for three days. We’ve been meeting with folks all day today, and will be for the next three days. We’ll be at the Twin Rivers Paper mail up in Madawaska. We will go over at JM Huber just outside of Presque Isle will be at Columbia Forest Products. And on and on. It will be at the Irving Sawmill in Ashland. So we’re meeting with as many people as we can. And when I was serving in Congress for those four years, Kelly, I slept in my office on a Murphy bed. Now I’m 68. I’m not going to do that again. But I did that to make sure I didn’t become part of that Washington mess. And I would come back every weekend or just about every weekend and meet with the people of Maine that are the customers. When you work in Congress, you serve the people, they’re your customers. It’s very important we do this. And for the past year, since I’ve been running for this office again, every day we’ve been meeting with as many people as we can, to listen to them. And what they’re telling me, Kelly, is that we need to make a change. We cannot go on like this. We need to stop this very extreme agenda that we’re on. And again, stop the spending. Stop the planned tax increases, secure the border, reopen our sources of heating, oil and gasoline to drive down the price We need to do that, but we need to make a change in order for that to happen.

3. And if reelected, what committees would you plan to serve on and why?

Bruce Poliquin: I’d love to go back on the Veterans Affairs Committee because we have so many veterans throughout the state of Maine. I really enjoyed that. I was very proud to work with Senator Collins to make sure our veterans were able to receive their healthcare close to home at the local hospital or at their local doctors so they don’t have to drive down to Togas if they don’t want to and they’re not feeling well. So the Veterans Affairs Committee would be very important. I’d also want to go back on the financial services committee because that deals with all of the financial part of our economy and unless we have credit, unless we have the ability to borrow money to buy a home or to run a business, then it hurts our economy. I have 40 years in the business community so I dealt with a real world economy every day, whether it be inflation or spending, or taxes or interest rates. So being on that committee can help our state, help the county, help our country by me bringing that business experience on that important committee.

4. So you mentioned what your first three things would be that you want to do, but what are the priorities that you have going back?

Bruce Poliquin: Overall priorities, is to bring some common sense back to Congress. When I was serving with all humility, our voters and our citizens in the state of Maine and in this country were better off. We had the strongest economy in 50 years. We had the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded in the state of Maine, and we did it Kelly, almost with no inflation. But now, because we have this one party majority, in Washington, were a very extreme group of Democrats pushing this very extreme agenda on us. We are now in a recession. We have the highest inflation in 40 years, so our seniors are having to choose between buying heating oil, gasoline, or their meds or groceries. We have an open border with a flood of fentanyl coming into this country. We have 87,000 new IRS agents about to breath down the necks of the our folks in this country. We have to make a change. We can’t keep living like this. These problems that we have did not fall from the sky. They were created by individuals who are controlling everything in Washington. So we need to make a change, and when we make a change, we’ll be able to be on a different path.

5. And kind of going off of that, you mentioning, people are already there. How willing are you to compromise and work with everyone regardless of political affiliation to get the work that needs to be done, done?

Bruce Poliquin: I’ve always done that. When you work in the business community as I have for 40 years, you have to get along with your partners and your employees, customers and your vendors, and you learn that because if you don’t do that, then you go out of business. I think bringing those business skills to Congress again, as I did is something that will be very helpful to the county and the state of Maine. I’m very proud of the work I did across the aisle with Democrats as well as Republicans to help create one of the strongest economies we’ve had in my lifetime. And again, we did it with almost no inflation.

6. So moving on to energy and heating questions. How concerned are you about people living in Aroostook County heading into the cold winter months?

Bruce Poliquin: I’m very concerned. Some of the stories I’ve heard are very alarming. Some folks I’ve talked to and other folks that know them have mentioned that some folks want to bring outdoor grills inside to stay warm this winter. Please don’t do that. That is so dangerous. You cannot do that. Please don’t do that. It’s important that liheap is fully funded. I’ve always supported that, but that really doesn’t fix the problem. Unfortunately, we are now in this real pickle where the cost of gasoline, when I was serving was about $2 a gallon. It’s now approaching four. Heating oil was $2 a gallon. Now in some places it’s $6 a gallon. Our electric bills have doubled. So we’re in really a bind here. But we’ve got to be safe. We’ve got to take care of each other. Look out for your neighbors, your parents, your friends, the folks you go to church with. Make sure everybody is able to stay safe and get through this winter, because remember, God willing, and I hope, and I expect that I’ll be serving again after this election on November 8th, but I don’t get sworn in until early January. So there’s nothing that really can be done until that time, to change this direction. But one of the key things we have to do, is remove this red tape and regulations and restrictions on energy companies so that they can produce more heating oil, more gasoline, more kerosene, more diesel, increase the supplies of all energy. Then you drive down the prices, but it’s going to take a while. We’ve got to get through this winter. Kelly, I’m very concerned.

7. So you kind of started answering this one a little bit, but as energy and heating oil prices continue to sky rocket. What can you do to try and fix this for county folks who could freeze this winter?

Poliquin: A lot of this has got to take place at the local level. So our sheriffs have to be involved. Our local police departments have to be involved. We have to have our social services organizations, our churches involved. But the sad reality of this is there’s no need of this, we did not have these problems a couple years ago, so we’ve got to start on November eight to put the brakes on this very extreme agenda that’s shutting down our supplies and driving up the price. But in the near term, it’s got to be fixed at the local level, and I would not be serving until early January. But that’s a predicament that Mr. Biden and Jared Golden who votes with Mr. Biden 87% of the time, and the other folks who are making all the decisions in Washington, they’ve got us in this pickle and we’ve got to get through this as best we can with the help of neighbors and friends in our churches and other folks that can help out.

8. With so much need in the state that you mentioned and that it may not be able to fund that itself. Do you agree with the amount of aid being sent over seas? Especially as part of that bill that was just going through the House and Senate.

Poliquin: We want to make sure that the Ukrainians are able to defend themselves and hopefully keep their country a sovereign country that are being overrun by Russia. However, we need to make sure we don’t get involved in a war over there, where we don’t belong. And second of all, we need to be very careful of the funding that goes overseas. We need to take care of our people in this country and in Maine, in the county, first. I see no need of sending, now it’s up to $80 billion that we’ve sent over to Ukraine, for example. We need to have the European Union step forward, hungry and Poland and the other countries in that neck of the woods that is in their backyard. It’s to their best interest to help the Ukrainians. Now we want to help everywhere we can. It’s got to be reasonable, but we have to take care of Maine and America first.

9. So moving into economy and inflation, how concerned are you about inflation and the possibility of a recession?

Poliquin: Well, we’re in a recession now, Kelly. We’ve had two quarters, calendar quarters, of our economy shrinking, and when our economy contracts for two quarters, that’s the definition of a recession. So we had a strong recovery coming out of this pandemic with almost no inflation, about 1.4% inflation. Now it’s running at about eight or nine percent. We had the very low unemployment, we had very low heating oil and gasoline and diesel costs. But now that’s all backwards and it’s backwards in great part because of all of this spending that’s taken place. And remember, when Congress decides to spend trillions of dollars that we don’t have, they either have to borrow it or it needs to be printed. And when that happens, that drives up inflation. And you know, inflation is a tax that nobody can avoid. And it’s most hurtful on seniors who are on a fixed income or lower wage workers who still need to buy that dozen of eggs or that gallon of milk or the other groceries that they need to get by. But they can’t avoid paying higher prices for this is what happens. Frankly, if I may say, with all the humility I can muster. This is what happens when you have people who are career politicians running our economy. They have clearly no business experience, no business skills, or they wouldn’t do this. You don’t spend trillions of dollars, you don’t have. Because when you do that, you have to print it or borrow it, and that drives up inflation. We need to put the brakes on Kelly, but right now, that’s the condition we have to live with. And I am committed to helping fix this. I know how to fix this. I’ve dealt with these problems before. That’s why I’m running for congress.

10. Do you think continuing to raise the interest rate to the potentially more than 4% that it’s been estimated it could be, or is the answer or part of the answer.

Poliquin: Well, the reason why the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates is because Congress has spent all this money that’s driven up inflation. And when the Fed raises interest rates, they try to bring down inflation. So they’re in this together, the Federal Reserve, Congress, who did the spending and started this problem in the first place. So I’m a very direct person and very honest person. Unfortunately, this is going to continue unless we make a change. So as long as congress, and Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi and Jared Golden and the Democrats who control the White House, the House of Representatives in the Senate in Augusta, they control everything, as long as they continue to spend money, inflation will continue to go up. The Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates to bring down inflation that has put us in a recession, and it’s going to get worse. We need to make a change on November 8 get new elected officials who understand this and are committed to fixing this, we then would be sworn in in early January, and that’s when the work starts. But it’s going to be very difficult to do. But if we do not do this, if we do not make a change on November 8th, and we keep the people that we have right now in office, including Mr. Golden, who votes 87% of the time with, Mr. Biden, if the same people stay there, then we’re going to get more the same. Higher energy prices, higher electric bills, an open border with fentanyl pouring over here, higher inflation, more spending on those 87,000 IRS agents who are going to go out there and harass the middle class, that’s wrong. There’s no need of this. We need to make a change.

11. So in addition to that interest rate, short term goal, what should be done to help Mainers today as we face the winter with inflation, and then businesses as well?

Poliquin: What we have to do is, there are really two or three things we can do. First is remove regulations that raise the cost of families living and businesses doing business because when there’s more and more red tape on small businesses, they need to charge more for their products. And that’s passed along, as far as higher prices are concerned. And that’s inflationary of course. Second of all, we need to reopen our domestic source of gasoline, heating oil, and diesel because companies need to stay warm. They need to keep their employees in their shops, in their factories, warm, they need to pay for electricity. All of this is causing inflation because the supply of those sources of energy have been constricted by Mr. Biden and the folks who run everything that’s driving up the prices. So we need to reopen that. And then we also, Kelly, we need to cancel these tax increases that are going through. In August, for example, Mr. Golden voted for the most recent monstrosity of a spending bill and that included more taxes on heating oil and gasoline and diesel. And it causes our electric bills to go up also. So we need to cancel those tax increases to keep down inflation so businesses can produce their products at a cheaper price and it’ll be cheaper for us to buy them. And it will also help our families get through the winter and get through this recession. They need to keep more of their money, this isn’t the government’s money. People work hard, especially up here in the county, in Maine for their income. My philosophy is very different from Mr. Golden’s. We need to keep taxes low so our families keep more of their money because they know how to spend it best in their families. Not a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington.

12. Do you support student loan forgiveness?

Poliquin: No, I don’t. I think it’s a bad idea to forgive student loans because what if somebody is a server at a diner or is a diesel mechanic, and they’re taking care of their families and their kids. They did not go to college, or they chose not to go to college for whatever reason. They didn’t have the option, you know, that additional layer of education. Why should they pay for the education of someone who did go to college? That’s not fair. So, no, I do not support the forgiving of student loans.

13. And what solutions do you have, I mean Aroostook County is joining much of the state in a housing crisis, affordable housing crisis and homelessness crisis, what solutions are there out there for that?

Poliquin: The first place we can start is making sure people come into this country legally. We don’t want to do what Mr. Biden has done and the Democrats have done, which is invite everybody to come into our country. Legally or not. The folks know this. They come into our country, most of them illegally and they’re allowed to stay.

We have now three or 4 million people in the last two years alone who’ve come over our border with Mexico. Mostly illegally and most of them are allowed to stay. When that happens, Kelly, we need to feed them. We need to provide them housing, we need to give them clothing, we need to provide them healthcare, on and on and on.

That is one of the reasons, why hotels throughout the state of Maine, including the county, many of these hotels are now filled with folks who have come from outside the country, many of whom illegally, and we have to take care of them. What about our veterans who are homeless, living in the woods? What about our teenagers who are living in shelters? I think we ought to save the welfare dollars we have, the housing we have for the people of Maine, for the people of this country who are in this country legally.

14. What is one policy that you agree with from each of the other two candidates? From Tiffany Bond and from Jared Golden.

Bruce Poliquin: Boy, I’ll tell you, I’m stretching a little bit.

I don’t know Tiffany Bond well. I don’t agree with her policy of forgiving student loans. I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree with her providing universal basic income. Which everybody gets a paycheck, whether or not they work. I don’t believe in her position about defunding the police. I don’t believe in any of that.

I really don’t. I salute her if she wants to run for Congress, but that’s her decision to do that. So I guess I agree with that. If she wants to do that. With Mr. Golden, you know, I’m trying. I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy. Kelly. But he’s just not doing a good job representing Maine or the county.

You know, if you vote 87% of the time with Mr. Biden, that doesn’t share my values. Speaking of values, if I may, I am very proudly pro-life. My wife died when Sammy, our only child, was in diapers. And I understand how fragile life is, and I always stand up for life and religious liberty.

Now I know, you know, other folks have kids too, and that’s fine, but I really do not agree with Mr. Golden’s position of passing a national ban, rather allowing a national law allowing abortion rather in wiping away all state laws because that allows abortion until birth. Abortion until birth paid by taxpayer funding. Mr. Golden has voted for that twice. It passed the house twice. Thank goodness it didn’t pass the house. So, I just don’t agree with that there to be honest with you. I’m sure he is a nice enough guy, but I can’t think of a lot of things that I agree with him on. If I did, I would tell you.

***Following this interview, Mr. Poliquin did want to clarify one of the policies he said Tiffany Bond Supported.

“On the police issue and Ms. Bond, here is the background. While she says that rural police need more funding to pay for all of the reforms she called for, further down her same Tweet stream she states that police should not participate in social services. In communities where that is happening they are actually cutting police budgets to fund counselors. In most cases – most cases – that is not working by the way. Crime is going up, not down.   Here is the tweet link. “I believe qualified immunity needs to end or be drastically curtailed” Twitter Pro-Abolish QI”***

15. So, finally, why should the voters of Aroostook County vote for you?

Poliquin: I hope the county, the voters of Aroostook County do vote for me because I represent a different path. I’ve come out of semi retirement for my business career to run again because our country’s in deep trouble. Our state is in deep trouble. Kelly, The county’s in deep trouble and we’re in deep trouble because of this agenda that’s being pushed by Mr. Biden and Mr. Golden and Nancy Pelosi, and the others who are making all the decisions to keep our border open. So now we have to take care of millions of people. We don’t know who they are. There’s a flow of fentanyl over our border because that’s open, inflation is at a 40 year high, so our seniors and our families are struggling to try to make ends meet. And I really don’t agree with shutting down our supplies of traditional forms of energy like gasoline and heating oil That’s driving up the price. I offer the people of the county a different path. I served you for four years and when I did, we had the strongest economy we had in my lifetime. We had almost no inflation. Heating oil and gasoline and diesel were very inexpensive and our border was as secured as It’s been in 30 years. That’s what I will go back to.

Get back to the basics, bring common sense down to Congress to represent the county and represent the state of Maine. We can do this. I know we can fix these problems. We have done this before. These problems were created by human beings. That are now representing us. We need to make a change in order to start fixing this. I ask everybody in the county to please vote for me, and we do have ranked choice voting, but don’t be scared about it. It’s very easy. Just vote for me as your first choice. If you want to vote for me as your first, second, and third choice, that works too. But you do not have to rank the candidates. Now, if there is somebody, there are voters who do want to support someone who’s unenrolled, like Tiffany Bond, then I ask for your second place vote. But you do not have to rank the candidates, unless you want to.