Kelley & Co, Cory Gardner, 8/25/2011

Station: 710 KNUS

Show: Kelley & Co.

Guest: Gardner


Date: 8/25/2011

Topics: Congressional Pensions, Congressional Pay, Libya, Immigration, Economy.

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KELLEY: These congresspeople are so busy, contrary to what you might think.  I’m sorry. Congressman Corey Gardner is with us on Kelly & Co. good morning Sir.

GARDNER: Hey, good morning. Thank you for that though. Thank you.

KELLEY: Yeah a little shot there. As if the approval rating of Congress in general isn’t all all-time low. Hey how does that make you feel? Why don’t we start there? How does that make you feel being a congressperson with the all-time lowest approval rating?

GARDNER: I ran for office because I was not happy with what Congress was doing. I felt that they were doing the wrong things, focusing on the wrong areas, and that is why I ran for Congress. I certainly think that there are still people that are not quite with it yet in terms of getting our economy back on track and cutting government spending. I understand why people are frustrated and angry, I am one of them.

KELLEY: Before we start, I think I would be remiss, and we will talk with Mike directly about it, but no doubt you will have a thought or an opinion being sort of a new guy on the block there, Mike Coffman your colleague in the same party is suggestion Congress follow millions of American workers and give up their pensions. What say you?

GARDNER: I agree with Mike Coffman. That’s one of those things that many Americans have had to tighten their belts. They’ve take sacrifices. Businesses around the country certainly have. And I think Congress should to. We have cut our congressional budget by over 10 percent this year and we have got to do more.

KELLEY: How does that work, you’re tenured after five years and you get your pension? Is that how it works?

GARDNER: I believe that is the case. I think that is the case and that is better than most Americans have it and that is something that shouldn’t feel… we should be under the same rules and same circumstances as everybody else of the country is.

KELLEY: Now that sounds good rhetorically but as a practical matter, you don’t make a ton of money necessarily, relatively speaking, with time you could be doing. Time spent in your job in Washington. Don’t you feel that a person in your position should get some type of retirement plan?

GARDNER: I will never complain about what a member of Congress makes, what members of the state legislature makes, because we know going into it what it is. And I think it is certainly to make sure that anybody is able to run for Congress and that is what it ought to be about.

KELLEY: But you would be willing to give that up completely?

GARDNER: I certainly think that we ought to reduce our salaries just like everybody else in the country has. In the state legislature I actually reduced my pay according to the per diems that I was eligible for according to the amount times that state employees were furloughed to try meet to sacrifices they were baking.

KELLEY: Let’s just see here, these unemployment figures now at 9.1 percent. We just had the jobless rates, jobless claims up 5,000 to 417. Looking at the markets, the Dow as I look is now down 34 from being up in the early morning. We will just have to see how the pans out. Not that the market is a dictator of the economy but it is a component. This statistic that came from I believe came from the Congressional Budget Office, unemployment will not see anything close to below 8 percent until 2014. Did you read that?

GARDNER: I was at the Colorado Water Congress yesterday and I saw that on the news and I look forward to reading the details of the report. But this is something that I have growing more and more concerned about. Several years ago when the stimulus bill was passed, the promise of the stimulus bill was that it would get unemployment down below 8 percent or that it would rise above 8 percent. And here we are, we are at our 30th month of unemployment above 8 percent. This is a tough economy and Congress has got to get into gear to get it back into economic health.

KELLEY: Well, we will be talking about this over the next 15 months here, no doubt. And what you think, in terms of what… we have talked about it already: tax incentives, reducing regulations on small businesses and things like that. I was just handed this by Sonny our producer, rebels are claiming that Gadhafi is surrounded in Tripoli. This is just being handed to me. Your comment Congressman?

GARDNER: Certainly I think that Gadhafi has been a ruthless leader of that country and has done great harm not only on his own citizens but at times the United States as well. This will be a circumstance where we may not have appreciated the circumstances, the end run around Congress, certainly his departure will be welcome.

KELLEY: Should you be tried or should he be eliminated?

GARDNER: I think that everybody is entitled to a fair hearing and the circumstances of the findings of that sentence should be carried out whether that the… whatever that findings may be.

KELLEY: The rebels want his hearing to be the last thing he hears as a gunshot. But anyway, if you are just tuning in, the rebels are claiming Gadhafi is surrounded in Tripoli.  So if true that is some breaking news here. We are talking with Congressman Corey Gardner we’re going to take a quick break…

KELLEY: The vacuum, Congressman, what if any influence should we have and how should we handle the vacuum that will no doubt be part of Libya and for that matter, most of the Middle East during this Arab Spring?

GARDNER: I think that we have to be very cautious about what we do in terms of how we are perceived in the Middle East. Whether we are pushing different leadership, whether we are opened in terms of who the successor aught to be. I had the opportunity this past week meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel and talking about what kind of actions can be taken, whether it’s Lebanon or Syria, to promote democracy, and whether or not it is helpful or hurtful for the United States to be a visible supporter of one particular leader or not. So that is well we have to look at, how do we promote democracy and we promote principles that lead to greater freedom for humanity but also do it in a smart way.

KELLEY: But what did Netanyahu say in terms of applying the right kind of pressure, if you will, or if you want to change that, the help that no doubt people in the Middle East are going to need after being under the THUMB of a dictator for 42 years.

GARDNER: That is where things like making sure that our foreign aid is not going to groups that want to do us harm or their own people harm. That where making sure that we are continuing to have eyes on the ground to find out what is going on, to know what’s going on. And to build those relationships where we can with those principles of freedom.

KELLEY: What happens if the Muslim Brotherhood takes hold in Egypt? Because they are going to have an election here in not too long. What do you do? What you guys get together in Congress and say behind the scenes, if you will, without compromising any secrets of course.

GARDNER: That is a very big concern. Clearly when it comes to foreign aid to Egypt or anywhere else, making sure that it doesn’t fall into the hands of people who aren’t friends of the United States and we have got to make sure that that is not the case, not falling into those hands.  That is something that we are certainly paying attention to in the Middle East as are our greatest allies like Israel.

KELLEY: What is your take on the president’s vacation during this tough time?

GARDNER: I am not going to begrudge the president for taking time away from Washington. Now that being said, I do think that we should all be focused on the job end, and that is moving our economy forward. While he is working on the economy on vacation I think it is important that be the message. Not that he is just out having fun.

KELLEY: No, the White House travels with the president. I don’t think anyone would begrudge him a vacation. Just curious and yet right before the Friday before going up to Maine there his immigration policy, basically halting the deportation of 300,000 illegals to look at and see if they deserve something basically called hardship. You must have a strong opinion about that. We talked with Sheriff Joe Arpaio Monday and he is diametrically opposed to this.

GARDNER: I think one of the most important things that we do is to secure our borders and make sure that we haven’t immigration policy that works. And that means that we have a consistency that follows the needs of public safety. And that is where I am really interested in getting people into the policies that the president is pursuing and talking to folks both here and in Colorado as well as in Washington D.C. about the direction that the president is heading on immigration.

KELLEY: I’ve got Sheriff Joe’s private cellphone number, all you have to do is talked him.

GARDNER: Sounds good

KELLEY: He will straighten us all right out from his pink handcuffs and underwear for the prisoners. Talk about the GOP battle here in the last couple minutes we’ve got together. How do you shake this thing up? It seems like the effort is still trying to focus out on the Obama administration but at some point Perry has so taken the oxygen out of the room for Romney that they are going to have to start going at each other and I do not know where Bachman, Cain and everyone else figures into that. What are you guys thinking?

GARDNER: I saw an article today where the headline, I can remember what was, said something about Perry vying for front-runner status and so certainly this is a horse race. There was an article in a blog by the Washington Posts, I think his name is Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post a couple days ago that was talking about recent Gallup Poll findings that had the president leading Michelle Bachman and Ron Paul by only two points. They have said from the get go that the president is in trouble when he is just against a generic candidate but when you actually put names against him, he really doesn’t have any problem. Well now they’re putting names against him, specific names, and he has got some major issues.

KELLEY: Here we have shifted it towards Obama again. But the reality is at some point the GOP candidates to become a nominee will have to really start to go after each other.

GARDNER: And that is part of the primary process. It is part of the caucuses coming up, really laying out the differences between philosophies and records. You are dealing with two CEOs of their state- Massachusetts and Texas and the others involved in the race and they are going to be talking about what they did, why they are proud of their record and how to explain things. Romney has got some areas to explain dealing with health-care and certainly Perry has some areas to explain as well. I think this is going to be good. Hopefully they can do it with the Reagan commandment in mind, which is don’t do harm to fellow Republicans.

KELLEY: If you had to, and again it is not fair to ask because I know it is too early, but do you have a leading? Who do you really kind of like of the eight or nine that are out there right now?

GARDNER: You know it is too early. It is too early for me. I look forward to asking some very tough questions of people like Perry and Romney and some of the others in the race that I am interested in. But I think it is too early and this vetting process has a long way to work its way out.

KELLEY: I knew I was not going to any news out of you on that one. Just a little leading, one-way or the other.

GARDNER: I will not however be voting for President Obama. I will tell you that.

KELLEY: Oh we might have broken some news there. Congressman Corey Gartner will not vote for the current administration. All right, I think we have hit all fields. You are on your way to Pueblo what is up down there? Actually say hi to my son who is at CSU Pueblo right now.

GARDNER: I certainly will do that. I will give a shutout as we drive by. But I am heading down to Action 22; it is a group of southeastern counties, businesses and organizations that represent the southeastern Colorado. I am going to be talking to them about the initiative that we just launched this week called “One More Job.” It’s our idea to solicit feedback businesses, job creators around the…what policy change, what tax change, what regulatory reform would it take for you to hire just one more person because if every business hired one more person, just one more person, we could create tens of thousands of new jobs in Colorado alone.

KELLEY: That will be very interesting to see the outcome. In fact, e-mail us as to what if there was any theme that you are hearing. We talked about regulation, tax incentives that all that. We’ve got one more minute here, I didn’t realize I had a natural minute here.  Just your opinion on Jeffrey Immelt, who is the quote Jobs Czar.  CEO of General Electric sending, I mean, GE sending that big x-ray technology headquarters-115 years on our soil now going to China. What do you say to a guy like that?  Are you going to hold any kind of committee hearings and question this Jobs Czar on something like that?

GARDNER: I think we have a lot of work to be done in this country. Whether it’s Immelt or others who are sending jobs overseas because why are they doing that?  What is wrong with doing business in this country and that gets to the fundamental question of making America competitive again.

KELEY: This is the Jobs Czar!

GARDNER: Yes we have to ask some very hard questions.

KELLEY: Congressman, this is the jobs, this guy is put in the role of creating jobs and he is sending out how many jobs to China?

GARDNER: Yea, the Jobs Czar just said nyet at the jobs.