Name: Richard Speer
Occupation:Nuclear security consultant, currently working for Progress Energy although on leave to do campaign
Time in district: 23 years
Amendment 1: “Personally I believe that marriage is a religious institution not a legal institution. And as a religious institution marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.”
What do you think is the central issue for this election?
I think the central issue for this election is the struggle between big government and private enterprise. And creating jobs. And the fact of the matter is, the larger the government, the fewer jobs we’re going to create because government simply sucks up too many resources.
What are the specific issues facing your district?
It’s very broad district. You get up into Lee County and you’re more agricultural, you’ve got brick manufacturing. Chatham County you’ve got much the same, although you do have their power plant up there which is a big utility base, Progress Energy. You’ve got Moore County, it’s more tourism, if you will, associated. Golf is a big piece out there. So I think it’s very varied and I think there are some interdependencies where those people. And as people don’t have money, or don’t have as much disposable income, generating tourism is more difficult. The environmental regulations that are laid out have certainly hurt places like around Siler City with the various agricultural activities in and the restrictions that have been placed on it. So I think it’s really broad spread.
Why should your constituents elect you?
I think the biggest reason is because when I tell them I’m going up to Washington to do something, that’s what I’m going to do. We’ve got to reduce the size of government and that’s my number one issue. And that’s across the board. Historically, we’ve never been able as a country to raise more than about 18 percent of GDP in revenue. It doesn’t matter how we going about trying to raise taxes on the rich or raise taxes on business. Ultimately, within a short period of time, actual revenue is back down to 18 percent of GDP. And the fact of the matter is right now, government expenditures are — depending what number you look at — are between 23 and 27, 28 percent of GDP. And as long as we’re doing that, we’re not going to create jobs and create opportunities for next generations.
What are the biggest accomplishments and failures of U.S. House during the last two years?
I can’t think a terrible lot of accomplishments. The biggest failures were the failure of the Republican House to stop the debt ceiling, the raising of the debt ceiling and to bring to the continuing budget resolution. Those were opportunities Congress had to stop the expanding role of government. And the fact of the matter is, they caved in on the issue. So I don’t think we can point to a lot of successes, but certainly we’ve failed. In that in just past, oh, three years, a little over three years, we’ve raised the national debt by about 60 percent or about $6 trillion. That certainly is a failure. We’ve not done anything with Medicare or Social Security and the fact of the matter is that if something serious isn’t done those are two systems that are going to collapse and when that happens it’s going to be calamity for a lot of folks.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I don’t know that I take a lot of time off to do that. I try to take evenings and relax a little bit.