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The candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in North Dakota are debating the issues

(Fargo, ND) – All four candidates for the sole U.S. House seat – Republican Party-backed Alex Balasz, former Miss America Cara Mund, Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak and former state lawmaker and Bismarck plastic surgeon Rick Becker – gathered in Fargo Thursday night for their final debate before Election Day. The debate, hosted by The Flag and WDAY, was moderated by Steve Hallstrom and Scott Hennen. Several topics important to North Dakotans heading to the polls this election season were discussed.

Cutting federal funding

All four candidates were asked what specific area of ​​federal funding that has led to the nation’s $35 trillion debt burden they would pledge to cut.

Becker said he would cut foreign aid – something he called a “giveaway” to the countries.

“We see that in Ukraine’s spending, funding a government that we know is corrupt,” he said. “It goes to government officials, it doesn’t go to fighters.”

Mund also said that combating “ongoing reckless spending” is important, but “we have to be very strategic in how we do that.” She specifically discussed loans.

“Something I’m very much against is the loans that have been made and student loan forgiveness,” she said. “As a student, someone who recently came out, I am significantly thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. But when I took out a loan, I took on the responsibility of paying back that debt. And so I believe that when a loan is made, it should be repaid.”

Balasz said cutting the federal payroll is important.

“All the senior executive services that Obama has entrusted to us, he has doubled the size of the senior executive services. And Trump is going to have to pull us back because they’re not going to do what Trump wants them to do, because they’re bureaucrats sending these rules to the states that everyone doesn’t want to see,” he said.

Fedorchak said she would scrap the Environmental Protection Agency.

‘They are completely inexplicable. They’re way too involved in everyone’s business,” she said. “They are doing a devastating job to our energy sectors here in North Dakota and to agriculture.”

Federal regulations

The candidates were asked about their feelings about the worst federal regulations and how they would fight to end them.

“I have been very vocal against the EPA and their recent regulations,” Mund said. “I support North Dakota’s energy independence, and that is something I will fight hard for.”
She also talked about agriculture.

“When I ran for this exact position, I’m the only one here who ran for it. In 2022, we were fighting for a farm bill, and Representative Armstrong and I were debating the farm bill,” Mund said. “And here we are two years later and we still don’t have a farm bill. And these farmers and ranchers rely on that. When you send a representative to Congress, you must advocate for your people. You can’t keep pushing the can down the road and hope that eventually someone will solve the problem.

Mund said a “problem solver” is needed.

Balasz said EPA regulations require states to fund alternative energy and the accreditation should be stopped.

“It’s almost embarrassing that we quote it in the 2023 election report and say politics and industry will decide where we go in North Dakota,” he said.

In addition, Balasz said the EPA should drop “restrictions and controls on carbon emissions from ethanol plants and other plants that are not vehicles or energy-producing plants.”

“I don’t consider ethanol plants to be energy producing until you reach the coal level of natural gas. And then you have to lift the EPA restrictions on the coal and natural gas industries, because we’re already in compliance with most of those things, most of the regulations that give you clean air and clean water, but they’re still pushing us further down. he said. “And those regulations are based on this climate agenda. And the climate agenda is based on a wrong premise.”

Fedorchak said the Biden administration and the EPA are setting tailpipe emissions standards.

“It’s basically an attempt to make the combustion engine obsolete and force people to buy electric cars,” she said. “It is terribly devastating to our oil and gas industry.”

She said the recent greenhouse gas rules are “terrible.”

“We have worked hard with grid operators, the Public Service Commission, through the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, of which I am chairman. We told the EPA this doesn’t work,” Fedorchak said. “The technology isn’t available for what you’re trying to achieve. It will drive up costs, it will reduce reliability. It will pose a threat of brownouts and blackouts.”

Becker said the EPA’s restrictions are hurting many industries.

“It’s unbelievable what they’re doing to Americans, especially the fossil fuel industry. Coal and oil,” he said.

Becker said 45Q and carbon neutrality are also both issues.

Conservatism

The four candidates were asked to define what a conservative is.

“I think you have to be constitutionally conservative,” Balasz said. “You have to follow the Constitution and understand that the federal government cannot overreach with states’ rights. Anything not in the Constitution, a conservative knows, should not be handled by the federal government, but by the states.”

He also talked about fiscal conservatism.

“We should be taking those funds every chance we get and watching out for taxpayer dollars,” Balasz said. “We have to be a steward of that.”

Fedorchak said she believes conservatism “is a mentality and a way of life.”

She said she was raised by “diehard conservatives.”

“Trust yourself first, do the very best with what God has given you, do the very best with the resources, have a sense of community,” Fedorchak said of her values. “That then translates into the government.”

Becker said that conservatism means “to preserve.”

“I think at our core we are protecting freedom,” he said. “And the way to preserve freedom is to limit government. We want to preserve our communities. We want to preserve the nuclear family. We want to preserve the moral tradition. We want American sovereignty. That’s what we want to preserve. We want to preserve the rights of the state.”

Becker said that “maximum freedom” is achieved by “applying philosophy and adhering to principles.”

Mund said being a conservative is truly limited government.

“That means taking the government out of doctor’s appointments and out of your bedrooms, not controlling women, but giving them the right to their own health care. It means fewer restrictions and energy independence and it means I have to do the work, and that’s exactly what I did in 2022,” she said.

Conception

All four candidates were asked whether life begins at conception and which exceptions they would support.

All candidates say they believe life begins at conception.

However, Mund said her personal beliefs “will not dictate my legislative policy.”

“I am not going to say from my personal conviction that this is the best for our country. And especially when you look at the fact that these exceptions are not enforceable in the state of North Dakota,” she said. “I understand that we are losing doctors and the mother’s life. I don’t want to bleed trying to know if my life matters.

Fedorchak said she supports exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

“I think these are very reasonable and important exceptions,” she said. “I also think it is appropriate what this Supreme Court has done on the pro-life issue.”

Becker said there are no exceptions.

“That’s the only logically consistent position you can take,” he said. “If you believe the baby is a baby at the time of conception, it is not okay to kill it at any time.”

Balasz said there are no exceptions for rape or incest.

Mass deportation

President Trump has called for a mass deportation of all illegal immigrants on the first day of a future presidency. All four candidates were asked whether they would support Trump’s position.

“It is an illegal invasion of our country,” Becker said. “It really breaks down the fabric of our society. We have to be a country of law and order. We have to be a country of rules.”

Becker said securing the border is also important.

Mund said she would also support Trump’s position.

“We need to encourage people to come here legally, and this is one of the biggest criticisms I’ve had of Biden,” she said. “The fact that we have these open borders. We are not securing the border.”

Mund said she would have supported the bipartisan border security bill.

“This was a huge opportunity for Republicans under a Democratic president to actually get funding to do something about the issue,” she said. “And instead we see many of them pandering to Trump or using it as a political point to help them get elected.”

Balasz said deportation must happen.

“There are a few key pieces of information you need to have about this,” he said. “And that is that it will take a while to catch all the criminals.”

Fedorchak said she would fully support his work on the border and his policies.

“We have to close the border,” she said. “We have to build the wall, whether it’s a physical wall or a virtual wall, we have to secure our border.”

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