Posted Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, at 11:19 AM
While I was in Colorado I connected with the campaign of Ryan Frazier, an Aurora, Co. city councilman running for the 7th district congressional seat. The race fascinated me because CO-07 is the sort of district Democrats thought they were locking down -- liberal-minded, suburban, with unemployment well below the national level. And for much of the year they thought they had Frazier where they wanted him, well behind Rep. Ed Perlmutter. But Frazier's tied in polls and getting an 11th hour assist from American Crossroads, making this one of the House seats that could flip to the GOP. I talked to Frazier; here's a partial transcript of the conversation. (Photo is a screenshot of his latest campaign ad.)
SLATE: Bank stocks have been falling for two days after we've learned that they cut corners on foreclosing homes. Would you support a moratorium on forecloses?
FRAZIER: Obviously the first thing we have to do is as I see it is to get the economy going so people have jobs and can afford to stay in their homes. Short term, you know, if there are banks putting forward moratoriums on forecloses, I think that's their business. I think there are a number of things we can or should do for people who might be facing foreclosure or getting ready to get to that point. Right now we need to allow a temporary tax measure on penalties on any money people might want to use to cover their mortgages and tax extensions; for example, for anyone who'd like to leverage their 401(K)s to protect their homes.There are some assistance programs in place right now, and those programs need to be leveraged and utilized.
SLATE: You're a senior partner at Takara Systems. What exactly does the company do? [The Denver Post endorsed Frazier despite having trouble confirming exactly how successful the business was.]
FRAZIER: This is a story that, for whatever reason, the Democrats have been peddling. I know they've been going after you guys and saying, 'ask about Ryan's business.' I've heard that through the grapevine. I have a technology start-up that develops a software designed to help small to medium sized businesses operate.
SLATE: I have heard this from voters on the trail, though -- they are splitting their ballots but they're voting against you "because you outsource."
FRAZIER: It does not facilitate the outsourcing of American jobs, as my opponent claims. We've got four partners. We can't outsource anything. Ed Perlmutter has been running this commercial for well over a month now that that's the case, but it's not true.
SLATE: Democrats in Colorado are criticizing the Chamber of Commerce and groups like American Crossroads for running ads on behalf of Republicans without disclosing their funding. Are you okay with ads being run on your behalf without people knowing how they're funded?
FRAZIER: I would put it in these terms: This is very typical of the administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress. They have consistently attacked business, and in particular small business, through their rhetoric as well as through their policies that have really shaken up the confidence of the American entrepreneur. That can be evidenced by the fact that the Wall Street Journal reported two weeks ago that $1.8 trillion is being sat on my companies right now.
SLATE: But you do support total disclosure for donors.
FRAZIER: I think it's a bit disingenuous that the Democrats wait until 2010 to raise this issue when it quite possibly is a legitimate issue, in terms of disclosure. Why did they have to wait until this year when the environment is against them and their backs are against the wall? And were these groups not prevalent in helping elect Democrats in 2008? These organizations, or similar organizations, that were evading disclosure standards in 2008, were on their side. Look, disclosure is a good thing, and we should look at ways we can open up that process.I do think that the next Congress should look at ways in which we can ensure that outside organizations disclose information so that we can protect the integrity of our elections process.
SLATE: In your debate on Thursday you criticized Perlmutter for voting for health care reform when it cut $500 billion of projected Medicare spending. Will you restore that spending if elected?
FRAZIER: We've got to make sure Medicare is solvent and has sufficient funds to make sure Medicare is solvent. That said, we need to take a hard look at what was hundreds of billions of dollars redirected from Medicare. I want someone to explain to me how you can do that and keep Medicare meeting the current needs of our seniors.