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‘Take our country back’: Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina campaigns in northwest Iowa

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa -- As the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses loom on the horizon, Carly Fiorina made a campaign stop Monday afternoon at Frontier Bank in Rock Rapids to outline her six-point "blueprint" for turning the country around while attempting to turn...

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Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina speaks Monday at a campaign stop in Rock Rapids, Iowa. Robin Baumgarn/Daily Globe

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa - As the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses loom on the horizon, Carly Fiorina made a campaign stop Monday afternoon at Frontier Bank in Rock Rapids to outline her six-point “blueprint” for turning the country around while attempting to turn would-be conservative voters to her name on the ballot. 

Fiorina began her speech by thanking Iowa voters for giving the much-needed boost her campaign needed in its infancy.
“When I launched my campaign on May 4 of 2015, I was 17 out of 16 candidates,” Fiorina began. “I say it that way because nobody would even poll for my name. Less than 3 percent of Republican primary voters had ever heard of me, and so the pollsters didn’t ask my name.
“Here I am now - in the latest poll that came out, I am sixth nationally, tied for fifth here in Iowa and New Hampshire. That’s thanks to the people of Iowa, because you listened. You took me seriously,” she said.
Fiorina shared her background of starting out as a secretary in a small real estate firm before working her way up as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, noting only in America could that rise take place. However, she said many no longer see America as a land of “endless possibilities” and instead have “settled” for the status quo.

“This has always been a nation that never settled for the way things are,” Fiorina said. “We’ve always, as a nation, as a people, focused on and achieved what could be - what should be. We’ve always focused on moving forward.”

Radically simplify our tax code
Fiorina’s first step in restoring America would be to simplify the country’s tax code. Fiorina said the current tax code is 73,000 pages long. Many of the complexities of the code are confusing to the average person and even to professionals trained in the code, such as accountants.
Fiorina proposed to reduce the code down to three pages. She said a plan calling for that very solution has not been acted upon by Congress for two decades. She added that by simplifying the tax code, the government could reduce the number of IRS agents that she says exceeds both FBI and CIA agents combined. According to Fiorina, a simplified tax code would also aid small business.
“Every year, I hand my taxes off (to the accountant),” Fiorina explained. “They come back. I close my eyes, I sign and pray. I don’t have a clue what I am signing - most Americans don’t. Isn’t it crazy that 70 percent of the American people need professional help to give the government your money?”

Pass zero-based budgeting
Tying in with her plan for simplifying the tax code is establishing (or re-establishing) a system of budgeting where the government does not spend beyond the money it receives - a practice generally maintained by most with household budgets or in the marketplace.
Reducing the size of the IRS, to start, would decrease salaries within the federal government, which in turn could save money. Fiorina compounded on that idea by saying if she were in office, she’d review each department from the top to the bottom to make cuts.
Fiorina noted that the government’s spending has been out of control for the past 50 years, and both Republican and Democratic leaders had a hand in creating the problem. She added that it would take time to see a reduction in the deficit, but the only way to do so is to make more income and reduce spending. By analyzing what is working, and not working, in various parts of government, Fiorina said money earmarked for something that isn’t helping the American people can be reallocated to something that is.
Again, Fiorina alleged that a bill exists to follow zero-based budgeting, but it has not seen a vote. However, she has a plan to make Congress take action - the voice of the American people.
With the help of technology and social media, Fiorina says as president, she’d ask the people via polls or an app to vote, should this be passed, yes or no. That information, along with phone calls to elected officials, would force elected representatives to take notice and listen to their constituents back home.
Later in her presentation, Fiorina noted how the outcries of the American people led to legislation involving the Veteran’s Administration when it was learned that the government had been altering records to show vets were receiving care.
As people took to social media outlets like Facebook to voice their frustrations and outrage, Fiorina said Congress was able to pass a bill and have it signed into law within three weeks. There was just one catch - the bill called for the 400 top ranking officials to be allowed to be fired for ”dereliction of duty.” Fiorina said only one was actually cut. Once Americans turned their focus onto the next big story, the momentum fizzled out.
Fiorina answered questions from the audience during the town hall portion of her campaign stop.
Regarding immigration, Fiorina said the U.S. should not allow unknown refugees into the country.
“I’ve said for some time we can’t bring refugees into this country unless we know who they are, and we don’t know who the ones from Syria are,” Fiorina commented.
Further, she noted that the entire immigration system should be reviewed and overhauled. The country’s immigration issues include people who arrived on valid visas and overstayed, and there is currently nothing in place to track those individuals, she said.
She stressed that, as president, her use of technology could provide an answer to that issue. She also pointed out that those with European passports are granted easier access to the United States than from other areas, and there is no way of knowing who may or may not be a radicalized terrorist.
When asked if she’d consider being another competitor’s vice president, Fiorina was direct in her response.
“We have to have a nominee that will unite our party, not divide it,” she said. “We have to have a nominee that will unite our nation and who can beat Hillary Clinton. And then, we have to have a leader who can actually do this job.
“So with all due respect, sir, there are many running that I might consider as my vice president.”

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