Quist hosts town meeting
WORTHINGTON -- Repeatedly citing a balanced budget as his top priority, U.S. House of Representatives candidate Allen Quist urged about 15 people at a Tuesday evening town meeting at Worthington High School to support his effort to unseat three-term Democratic incumbent Tim Walz.
Quist, a former Minnesota state representative for six years who has also twice ran for governor and on one other occasion for U.S. House, stressed he is a "numbers guy" who can utilize that trait to demonstrate the peril of growing national debt. Displaying a graph he said he was taken from factcheck.org, he noted the interest on national debt now "costs consumers 29 cents out of every dollar the federal government collects" with no sign of the trend reversing.
"This is extraordinary irresponsibility," Quist said. "This is banana republic-type governing. I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not. ... If this trend continues, in five years we will equal what Greece was a year ago when it went into default."
Quist said he told the Rochester Post-Bulletin last week his top priorities in Washington would be to, "No. 1, balance the budget, No. 2, balance the budget, No. 3, balance the budget." He added Tuesday he hears from constituents in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District that a balanced budget is the issue most important to them.
"I'm the guy who wants to balance the budget and do so in five years or less," said Quist, noting he always introduces himself this way at parades and other events. "I have not yet gotten one negative response. Why? This is something that so obviously needs to be done."
Quist said the federal government must set a limit on how much it can spend each year and not raise taxes in order to attain a balanced budget. Legislators in Washington must also refuse to pass legislation such as a proposed five-year, $500 billion farm bill.
"Almost 80 percent of it (farm bill) is for food stamps," Quist said. "Let's call this what it is -- a food stamp bill with an agriculture rider. ... I insist this bill has to be divided into two parts -- a farm bill and a food stamp bill. If we aren't willing to bring that kind of legislation under control, we have lost control."
Quist showed attendees another graph that he said illustrated how the federal government has grown 10 times faster than personal income, utilizing a metaphor familiar to rural Minnesotans to make his point.
"Up until about 2002, 18 percent of the gross domestic product was utilized by the federal government. Now, it's up to 24 percent. The engine of free enterprise can pull 18 percent, but it can't pull 24."
Quist cited changes Australia made "about 15 years ago" as a path the U.S. should follow. That nation, he said, clamped down on fraud, rolled back regulations and refused to spend money it didn't have.
The St. Peter resident also reiterated his firm opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act, saying he would work to repeal the legislation. He offered a reminder of his discovery of an "incredible tax on married people" in the measure, adding that several organizations have verified this claim as truthful.
"The Affordable Health Care Act will destroy marriage for the middle class, just as welfare destroyed marriage for the poor," Quist said, adding, "I'm the guy that was willing to go out in front of 300 million people and say what no one else was saying."
Quist first has to defeat Mike Parry, a state representative from Waseca, in the Aug. 14 Republican primary, in order to face Walz in the November election. GOP delegates failed to endorse a candidate earlier this spring following a 14-hour debate.
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