Monday, August 09, 2010

Bryan Lentz on CBS Newsmakers with Chris May

This morning, Bryan Lentz, Democratic candidate for the 7th congressional district, appeared on CBS Newsmakers with Chris May. This is a synopsis of their conversation; it is not intended as a complete transcript. The interview is available online and those interested are encouraged to listen themselves. The video is only a few minutes long. As always, I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

CM: Good morning and welcome to Newsmakers. I’m Chris May. Joe Sestak’s decision to run for Senate has sparked a battle for his seat. Bryan Lentz is in his 2nd term in the state legislature, served in Iraq and Bosnia, graduated from Temple School of Law.
Why are you the best person to run

BL: Our priorities. right now should be job creation, job creation, job creation. In the previous 20 years Washington focused on wealth creation, getting the stock market to increase. I’m most focused enough on job creation here in 7th district. I’m the guy who’s going to be focused on job creation and the middle class.

CM: What are the key differences between you and Republican candidate Pat Meehan?

BL: Meehan is primarily focused on recycling old ideas: extending tax breaks for those earning more than $250K, continue to spend on the priorities of the Bush administration. He wants to go back to economic policy that we’ve seen tried and failed miserably, particularly in the area of creating jobs in US and expanding manufacturing sector in US, I’m focused on job creation, the kind of jobs that help middle class.

CM: This race is of national significance. Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have raised money for you. Meehan says you will be a rubber stamp for Pelosi’s agenda.

BL Meehan says that because he doesn’t have other ideas to talk about. He’s not running against Nancy Pelosi. He’s running against Bryan Lentz. I’m talking about real things not political theater. I’m focused on how we can get local businesses to create more jobs and improve our economy.. I have a record of standing up for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. I stood up and called for the resignation of Democratic leadership in Harrisburg to step down because they had lost [missed this]. Meehan ran Rick Santorum’s campaign and Arlen Specter’s campaign. Meehan has a zero record of standing up to party apparatus. I have a record of standing up and I’ll do that in DC.

CM: Sizable problems facing the country. unemployment up, debt and deficit at a record level and going higher, concern about tax hikes coming. How would you rank how Obama and Congress have handled problems.

BL: Everybody in Washington gets a poor grade. They failed to face tough problems. I’m talking about solving problems. I’m open to ideas from Republicans, Democrats and Independents to solving things like national debt and unemployment. I’m going around talking to area businesses, talking with people at the train station every morning going to work. Meehan is not doing that, talking to voters, having public meetings. He’s issuing press releases that contain the same thing we heard for 8 years from Bush: cut taxes on wealthiest Americans, and continue to spend on priorities of people in Washington. I think people will want people to represent them..

CM: How does Congress create jobs?

BL: In the short term we need to give businesses a little bit of certainty. If they invest in equipment, facilities, and people we’ll let you write things off in the next year. If you use you capital to purchase more trucks or purchase equipment you use to manufacture your product, train employees to move into new jobs within company. We should use tax policy to provide certainty. We should create markets for their goods and invest in our infrastructure. To remain vibrant we have to invest in our infrastructure. That has an immediate impact if you require goods to be purchased locally, like steel and cement. We should have research and development tax credits. I’ve been to several local companies The common thread for those companies that export their product. is that they have the best quality products.

CM: You served in Bosnia and Iraq. Was it a war worth fighting? How has that experience shaped you?

BL: I don’t ever like to comment on the worthwhileness of that fight because people have lost loved ones there. It’s not for me judge. People fighting for their country is always worthwhile. I believe Iraq War was a mistake. We should not invade a country unless they pose an immediate threat to our nation and Iraq did not. It shaped my experience because I saw how bad decisions affected people on the ground. There is a disconnect between rhetoric in Washington and what happens on the ground. If I make it to DC and am at the table when things like veterans benefits are discussed, I’ll bring real world experience and will call out those with bad ideas.

CM: Should we continue our commitment in Afghanistan?

BL: I think we should wrap it up. I’m in favor of a timetable. We’re spending $100B a year, we’re losing soldiers in a fight for the Afghan people. You have to step up and take charge of your country. We shouldn’t abandon the region. We should have a role in stabilizing the region.

CM: Jim Schneller, a tea party candidate. People are saying your supporters spearheaded efforts to get him on the ballot to siphon votes from Meehan

BL: Pat Meehan, who has been on the government payroll his entire adult life is arguing over who is the tea party candidate. The tea party has some radical ideas that are not good for a lot of middle class people in the 7th district. I didn’t ask Jim Schneller to run he’s been running for some time now on a lot of tea party ideas. [May mentions a specific Democrat who gathered petition signatures.]. The people who gathered the petitions, their names are on the petitions. They were filed by Jim Schneller in Harrisburg. There really isn’t any mystery about who got him signatures. The real question is why is he running. He’s got a lot of tea party ideas. There’s an argument between Pat Meehan and Jim Schneller over who is the tea party candidate. I will not be arguing about whether I’m the tea party candidate. They can argue who has the mantle of the tea party.

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