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Iowa Press #2806 - Rep. Jim Leach and Bob Simpson
October 8, 2000

Borg: THE CAMPAIGN TO REPRESENT EASTERN IOWA'S FIRST U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT INVOLVES THE INCUMBENT CONGRESSMAN, REPUBLICAN JIM LEACH OF DAVENPORT, AND THE DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER, BOB SIMPSON OF IOWA CITY. WE'LL QUESTION THEM ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY: FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES, EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS. THIS IS THE SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8 EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: AS THE COUNTDOWN TO THE ELECTION OF 2000 CONTINUES, 30 DAYS NOW REMAIN UNTIL ELECTION DAY. VOTERS IN IOWA WILL NOT ONLY CHOOSE A NEW PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT, THEY'LL ALSO DETERMINE THE MAKEUP OF THE 79TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND THE REPRESENTATIVES IN THE 107TH U.S. CONGRESS. WELL, TODAY WE CONTINUE OUR REVIEW OF THE CAMPAIGNS TO REPRESENT IOWA IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. IN EASTERN IOWA'S FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN JIM LEACH OF DAVENPORT IS SEEKING HIS 13TH TWO-YEAR TERM IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. HIS DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER IS COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR BOB SIMPSON OF IOWA CITY. HE'S RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE FOR THE FIRST TIME. GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO IOWA PRESS.

GUESTS: THANK YOU. GOOD TO BE HERE.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE TABLE, QUESTIONS WILL BE COMING FROM POLITICAL REPORTERS DAVE YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND KATHIE OBRADOVICH OF THE LEE NEWSPAPERS.

Obradovich: MR. SIMPSON, WE'RE GETTING DOWN TO THE FINAL DAYS OF THE ELECTION. GIVE US A VERY BRIEF SUMMARY OF WHY YOU THINK VOTERS SHOULD CONSIDER YOU OVER YOUR OPPONENT.

Simpson: WELL, I THINK I HAVE SOME NEW APPROACHES TO QUESTIONS. I THINK IT'S TIME THAT WE TOOK A LOOK AT SOME OF THE MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES THAT CONFRONT THE DISTRICT. CONGRESS HAS DONE A GOOD JOB, BUT I WOULD BE MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVE IN PURSUING SUCH THINGS AS, FOR EXAMPLE, UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE; PRESCRIPTION DRUGS FOR SENIORS; DEVELOPMENTS THAT RELATE TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM; ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. THESE AND MANY OTHER REASONS, I BELIEVE, QUALIFY ME AND I ASK THE VOTERS TO VOTE FOR ME IN THIS COMING ELECTION.

Obradovich: CONGRESSMAN LEACH, PLEASE RESPOND FIRST TO MR. SIMPSON'S CLAIM THAT HE'LL BE MORE AGGRESSIVE ON SOME OF THESE ISSUES, AND THEN GIVE US YOUR 30-SECOND COMMERCIAL, IF YOU WILL, ON WHY VOTERS SHOULD PICK YOU.

Leach: WELL, FIRST, I NEVER PRESUME ON VOTERS. THESE ARE DECISIONS VOTERS MAKE. ALL I SAY IS I BELIEVE IN A GIVEN SET OF VALUES, WHICH ARE, LARGELY SPEAKING, MODERATE TO CONSERVATIVE ON FISCAL ISSUES, PROGRESSIVE TO MODERATE ON SOME OF THE SOCIAL CONCERNS. AND I BELIEVE THAT HOW ONE REPRESENTS A DISTRICT IS ANALOGOUS TO SPORTS: HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME MATTERS. SO THE ONLY PROMISE I MAKE IS TO TRY TO DO AS REASONABLE A JOB AS I CAN IN THE MOST IOWA KIND OF WAY. AND I BELIEVE VOTERS SHOULD MAKE DETERMINATIONS BETWEEN CANDIDATES. I NEVER ASK A VOTER FOR A VOTE. I ASK VOTERS FOR CONSIDERATION.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN LEACH, ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT'S REALLY IN FRONT OF VOTERS RIGHT NOW IS A QUESTION OF ENERGY PRICES, BOTH GASOLINE PRICES AND THE NATURAL GAS PRICE INCREASE IS EXPECTED THIS WINTER. WHAT SHOULD CONGRESS DO NEXT YEAR, THIS YEAR EVEN, TO LOWER ENERGY PRICES?

Leach: WELL, THERE ARE LIMITS ON WHAT CONGRESS CAN DO AND LIMITS ON WHAT GOVERNMENT CAN DO. BUT THERE ARE CERTAIN THINGS THAT I THINK WE ALL HAVE TO COME TO COMPREHEND, BEGINNING WITH, AS A COUNTRY, WE HAVE ABOUT 4 PERCENT OF THE WORLD'S CRUDE OIL. THAT MEANS WE ARE CRUDE-OIL DEFICIENT. FORTUNATELY, WE HAVE MUCH MORE NATURAL GAS, BUT THERE IS A CASE FOR LOOKING AT ALTERNATIVES, WHETHER IT BE ETHANOL OR SOLAR WIND, ET CETERA. BUT THESE ARE NITCH ALTERNATIVES, AND THEY ARE NO GREAT SUBSTITUTE. AND I THINK IF ONE IS HONEST AND REALISTIC, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE EMPHASIZING RESTRAINT. THAT MEANS BEING CONCERNED WITH AUTOMOBILE STANDARDS AND THAT ALSO MEANS THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL IN OUR FOREIGN POLICY, FIRM WHEN WE NEED TO BE FIRM AS IN THE GULF WAR AND ABLE TO WORK WITH OTHER COUNTRIES TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE IN AN INTERNATIONALIST KIND OF WAY.

Yepsen: MR. SIMPSON, SAME QUESTION. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO LOWER ENERGY PRICES?

Simpson: WELL, I CERTAINLY WOULD URGE CONSERVANCY. I THINK THAT THIS IS A VERY STABLE APPROACH TO THE QUESTION. I THINK, ALSO, THAT WE CAN PROBABLY USE MORE OF OUR CORN RESOURCE IN THE ETHANOL. I THINK WE CAN START THE PROCESS OF ALTERNATIVE FUELS. A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO, MANY PEOPLE REMEMBER THIS, PRESIDENT CARTER OUTLINED A REMARKABLE PROGRAM OF EMPHASIS ON ALTERNATIVE REVENUE -- EXCUSE ME, ON ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES. I WONDER WHAT OUR SITUATION WOULD BE TODAY IF WE HAD FOLLOWED THROUGH ON THE UTILIZATION OF SOME OF HIS PROGRAMS... IN WIND, IN SOLAR, IN THE USE OF METHANES AND THE LIKE. I THINK WE WOULD HAVE BEEN FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD TOWARD LESS DEPENDENCY. NOW, ADMITTEDLY, THESE ARE ONLY A PARTIAL SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM. BUT I THINK WE NEED TO USE THESE TO THE MAXIMUM. AND THEREFORE, OUR RESEARCH LABORATORY SHOULD BE WORKING OVERTIME IN AN ATTEMPT TO DEVELOP THESE SOURCES.

Borg: CONGRESSMAN, I'D JUST LIKE TO FOLLOW UP ON DAVE'S QUESTION AND YOUR ANSWER ON YOU URGE MORE CONSERVATION. WE ALL UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS, BUT THE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, MANY OF THEM, FORCE CONSERVATION WITH HIGHER TAXES. IS THAT A TOOL?

Leach: IT'S NOT AS GOOD A ONE FOR AMERICA AS IT IS OTHER SOCIETIES. AND THE REASON IT ISN'T IS THAT IN MANY OTHER SOCIETIES, ONLY WELL-TO-DO PEOPLE HAVE AUTOMOBILES, AND SO GASOLINE TAXES ARE WHAT MIGHT BE DESCRIBED AS PROGRESSIVE TAXES. IN OUR SOCIETY, GASOLINE TAXES ARE REGRESSIVE TAXES AND THEY HURT THE AVERAGE MUCH MORE THAN THEY HURT THE UNAVERAGE. THAT'S THE NATURE OF AMERICA BEING AS LARGE AT IT IS. IT'S THE NATURE OF THE WEST. IT'S THE NATURE OF PART OF OUR COUNTRY THAT'S SYMBOLIZED BY TRUCKING AND THE NEED TO DISTRIBUTE GOODS, AND IT WOULD HAVE MAJOR INFLATIONARY IMPACTS. SO I'M A LITTLE MORE INCLINED TO LOOK AT STANDARDS AS AN APPROACH.

Borg: MR. SIMPSON?

Simpson: GENERALLY SPEAKING, IT'S DIFFICULT TO MAKE A COMPARISON. I HAVE TRIED TO STUDY THIS SINCE LAST SUMMER?

Borg: WOULD YOU FAVOR HIGHER TAXES AS TO FORCE CONSERVATION –

[ SPEAKING AT ONCE ]

Simpson: NO, I WOULD NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. PERHAPS A MARGINAL INCREASE BUT NOTHING DRAMATIC.

Yepsen: WE'VE GOT A LOT OF ISSUES AND TOO LITTLE TIME, GENTLEMEN. MR. SIMPSON, ONE OF THE HOT ISSUES IN THIS STATE RIGHT NOW IS THE QUESTION OF IMMIGRATION, WHETHER WE SHOULD FOSTER MORE IMMIGRATION TO THE STATE AND WHAT SHOULD WE DO TO MAKE THE STATE MORE HOSPITABLE TO IMMIGRANTS. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?

Simpson: HIGHLY TRAINED IMMIGRANTS COMING INTO OUR STATE TO FILL SOME JOBS THAT ARE OPEN, IT SEEMS TO ME, IS A VERY ACCEPTABLE WAY TO FILL THOSE JOBS. I THINK CONSIDERATION IS BEING GIVEN TO IOWANS. THE IRONY IS THAT MANY OF OUR VERY HIGHLY TRAINED PERSONNEL, STUDENTS, ARE GRADUATING FROM THE UNIVERSITIES AND LEAVING THE STATE. THAT GAP MUST BE FILLED IN ORDER TO KEEP OUR SYSTEM WORKING.

Yepsen: MR. LEACH?

Leach: WELL, THE STATE OF IOWA HAS ONE OF THE LARGEST DEMOGRAPHIC PROBLEMS OF ANY STATE IN THE COUNTRY. WE NEED A NEW GENERATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE TO COME IN TO FILL THE CURRENT JOBS, LET ALONE LOOKING TO GROWTH IN THE STATE. I THINK THE EMPHASIS OUGHT TO BE ON ENTICING PEOPLE HERE PARTLY THROUGH OUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS, COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITIES, PARTLY THROUGH INCREASING NUMBER OF VISAS FOR HIGH-TECH KINDS OF JOBS, AND LOOKING AT THE LEGAL SIDE OF IMMIGRATION TO DEVELOP COMMUNITIES WHETHER IT BE CEDAR RAPIDS WITH SOME OF ITS ATTRACTIVENESS TO SOME PEOPLE OF MUSLIM BACKGROUND, WHETHER IT BE IOWA CITY WITH ITS GREAT UNIVERSITY BASE, AND OTHER KINDS OF HERITAGES... THE GERMAN, BELGIAN HERITAGE IN SCOTT COUNTY. BUT WE SHOULD AGGRESSIVELY BE OUT SEEKING EMPLOYMENT AND ATTRACTING PEOPLE, AND I THINK THE STATE HAS GOT TO BE THINKING ABOUT IT.

Obradovich: CONGRESSMAN, JUST JUMPING TO ANOTHER TOPIC REALLY QUICKLY. IN CONGRESS, RECENTLY, THERE WAS TESTIMONY THAT MOVIE STUDIOS IN HOLLYWOOD ARE TEST MARKETING R-RATED FILMS WITH CHILDREN IN THE AUDIENCE. IS THERE ANY APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THAT?

Leach: WELL, IT'S HARD TO HAVE A GOVERNMENT RESPONSE FOR EVERYTHING THAT'S FOOLISH IN AMERICAN SOCIETY. AND I THINK THAT MIGHT BE ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS WHERE SOME MORAL SUASIONS IS PARTICULARLY APPROPRIATE. WHEN YOU HAVE LEADERSHIP IN SOCIETY, YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE PEOPLE WILLING TO TAKE STANDS. AND I MUST SAY THAT'S NOT PARTISAN. WE HAVE VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE LIEBERMAN THAT'S SPEAKING TO SOME OF THESE ISSUES; BOB BENNETT ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE; GOVERNOR BUSH. I THINK THEY MUST BE SPOKEN TO, BUT IT'S PRETTY HARD TO PASS A LAW ON EVERY LITTLE THING THAT GOES WRONG. BUT I WILL TELL YOU, TEST MARKETING TO KIDS R-RATED MATERIAL IS JUST A HOLLYWOOD UMBRAGE, AND PEOPLE OUGHT TO TELL HOLLYWOOD.

Obradovich: MR. SIMPSON, DO YOU AGREE THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS NO ROLE WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS, THAT PROBABLY MOST PEOPLE WOULD AGREE IS HAPPENING IN HOLLYWOOD, DOESN'T SEEM TO BE SHOWING VERY GOOD JUDGMENT ON ITS OWN?

Simpson: KATHIE, AS IT APPLIES TO THE FIRST AMENDMENT, I THINK WE HAVE A VERY LIMITED ROLE. AND IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO MOVE THOSE CASES -- I'M NOT A LAWYER -- BUT CERTAINLY VERY DIFFICULT TO MOVE THOSE CASES THROUGH THE COURTS TO A SATISFACTORY SOLUTION.

Obradovich: WHEN YOU SAY A LIMITED ROLE –

Simpson: I THINK THE GOVERNMENT CAN INDEED, AS THEY ARE DOING NOW, SHOOTING SHELLS OVER THE BOUGH OF HOLLYWOOD AND TELLING THEM, "LOOK, WE'RE LOOKING AT YOU VERY, VERY CAREFULLY." WHEN I TALK TO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS -- AND I'VE TALKED TO A LOT OF THEM RECENTLY -- THIS QUESTION INEVITABLY COMES UP. THEY PREFER THE IDEA OF RECONNECTING WITH THEIR PARENTS AND THEIR PARENTS' VALUES, AND THEY WILL TALK TO YOU OPENLY. IOWA KIDS DO OPENLY ABOUT THIS KIND OF THING.

Yepsen: ANOTHER ISSUE IN THIS CAMPAIGN, MR. SIMPSON, IS THE QUESTION OF HOW WE PROVIDE A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT TO OLDER AMERICANS. YOU'VE ALREADY MENTIONED IT. HOW WOULD YOU DO THAT?

Simpson: I BELIEVE THAT THE VICE PRESIDENT'S PROGRAM OF ENABLING PEOPLE TO OBTAIN PRESCRIPTION DRUGS THROUGH THEIR MEDICARE PREMIUM IS A WAY TO GO AND PERHAPS THE MOST SUITABLE. I THINK THAT WE MUST EMPOWER THE MEDICAID PROGRAM IN ITS ENTIRETY TO HAVE THIS CAPABILITY. IT'S MY UNDERSTANDING THAT DOES FALL SOMEWHAT SHORT. I WAS NOT AWARE OF THAT UNTIL SOME PEOPLE BROUGHT THAT TO MY ATTENTION, BUT THE MEDICARE PROGRAM WHICH DEAL WITH OUR POOREST CITIZENS.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN LEACH, SAME QUESTION TO YOU. HOW WOULD YOU PROVIDE THAT BENEFIT?

Leach: WELL, FIRST, I THINK WE SHOULD JUST EMPHASIZE THAT HELPING IN PRESCRIPTION DRUGS I THINK IS A NEW NATIONAL IMPERATIVE. THERE ARE TWO PLANS ON THE HORIZON AT THE MOMENT, ONE BEING THE ADMINISTRATION AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE, AND ONE BEING THAT OF MR. BUSH. THE BIG PICTURE IS THAT BOTH HAVE CREDIBLE APPROACHES. MY OWN SENSE IS THAT I THINK IT'S LESS IMPORTANT WHICH APPROACH IS TAKEN THAN THAT SOMETHING BE DONE. I WOULD CERTAINLY WORK WITH WHOEVER IS ELECTED PRESIDENT AND WHOEVER CONTROLS THE CONGRESS. I HAVE A SLIGHT -- I THINK THERE'S SOME ADVANTAGES OF CHOICE TO THE BUSH APPROACH. THERE'S SOME ADVANTAGES TO SIMPLICITY TO THE GORE APPROACH, AND THESE CAN BE MELDED.

Yepsen: JUST A QUICK FOLLOW-UP TO THAT. DO YOU EXPECT THIS CURRENT SESSION OF CONGRESS TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE AT ALL, OR IS THERE TIME?

Leach: WELL, THAT'S A VERY REAL QUESTION. I THINK IT IS POSSIBLE AND I CERTAINLY HAVE LENT MY VOICE TO SAYING WE OUGHT TO DO THAT. WHETHER IT'S LIKELY, I PROBABLY WOULD HAVE TO SAY IT'S LESS LIKELY THAN OTHERWISE.

Obradovich: MR. SIMPSON, ANOTHER HOT-BUTTON ISSUE INVOLVING DRUGS RIGHT NOW IS THE FDA'S APPROVAL OF AN ABORTION BILL. I BELIEVE IT'S CALLED RU-486. WOULD YOU, IF YOU WERE IN CONGRESS, SUPPORT ANY KIND OF LEGISLATION THAT WOULD BAN THE USE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS FOR ABORTION?

Simpson: NO, I WOULD NOT, KATHIE. I BELIEVE THAT IS A QUESTION OF A WOMAN'S CHOICE. THE RU-486 DECISION BY THE FDA IS A CONTINUUM LEADING TOWARD THE SIMPLIFICATION, IN MANY INSTANCES, OF THIS PROCESS.

Borg: CONGRESSMAN LEACH?

Leach: WELL, THIS IS A VERY SOBERING ISSUE. AND I'M ONE THAT IS VERY HESITANT TO SAY PEOPLE IN GOVERNMENT OUGHT TO BE DICTATING MORALITY TO PEOPLE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. I DO BELIEVE THAT THERE'S A PROFOUND CASE FOR PROHIBITING WHAT ARE CALLED PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS. BUT IN THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE, I'D BE VERY RELUCTANT FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO STEP IN. THIS IS AN ISSUE FUNDAMENTALLY FOR INDIVIDUALS LOOKING AT THEIR OWN CONSCIENCE, THEIR OWN FAITH. AND THEY SHOULD BE SEEKING ADVICE FOR PEOPLE IN THE RELIGIOUS SECTOR, NOT THE POLITICAL.

Obradovich: MR. SIMPSON, DO YOU AGREE WITH CONGRESSMAN LEACH ON THE ISSUE OF PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS?

Simpson: I HAVE GREAT RESERVATIONS ABOUT PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION. I THINK THAT THE STUDIES INDICATE IT'S A NECESSITY AT TIMES, AND I THINK THAT EACH OF THESE CASES SHOULD BE VIEWED ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS, ON THE BASIS OF AN INDIVIDUAL'S CHOICE, ONCE AGAIN.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN LEACH, TIP O'NEAL ONCE SAID ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL. AND THERE ARE A NUMBER OF LOCAL ISSUES REALLY UNIQUE TO EASTERN IOWA, SO WE WANT TO GET INTO SEVERAL OF THOSE... LOCKS AND DAMS ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. THE AGRICULTURE COMMUNITY SAYS THEY'RE NEEDED TO TRANSPORT GRAIN. SOME ENVIRONMENTALISTS ARE SAYING THEY'RE NOT SO SURE. WHERE DO YOU COME DOWN ON THE QUESTION OF EXPANDING THE SYSTEM OF LOCKS AND DAMS ON THE MISSISSIPPI?

Leach: WELL, LOCKS AND DAMS BASICALLY LAST ABOUT 50 YEARS. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A CONTINUING APPROACH TO MAINTENANCE AND UPKEEP. IF ONE BELIEVES RIVER IS GOING TO HAVE LESS IN TRAFFIC, YOU DON'T THINK OF UPGRADING. I THINK IT'S LIKELY TO HAVE AN INCREASED AMOUNT OF TRAFFIC. INTERESTINGLY, FROM AN ENVIRONMENTAL POINT OF VIEW, IF WE DIDN'T HAVE THE LOCKS AND DAMS, WE'D HAVE FAR FEWER FISH. THE FACT IS, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU TAKE DAVENPORT WAS ON A RAPIDS; VERY FEW FISH THAT COULD SURVIVE THAT. SO THE LOCKS AND DAMS CAN, EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE UNNATURAL, HAVE SOME POSITIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT. THE KEY THING IS NOT TO DO THE FOOLISH, FOR EXAMPLE, THE DEEPENING OF THE CHANNEL. THERE'S NO CASE FOR THAT. BUT I THINK THERE ARE CREDIBLE BASIS FOR THE RIVER AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNITY TO COME TOGETHER AND TO MAKE SURE THINGS ARE DONE CAREFULLY AND WELL.

Yepsen: MR. SIMPSON, WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT LOCKS AND DAMS?

Simpson: I LOOKED AT THIS QUESTION VERY CAREFULLY, DAVID, OVER A PERIOD OF MONTHS. OF COURSE, THE STUDIES THAT HAVE -- THEY'RE RECOMMENDING VARIOUS SOLUTIONS -- HAVE BEEN GOING ON NOW FOR YEARS. WHAT THIS AMOUNTS TO IS A BILLION DOLLAR PROJECT, 500 MILLION OF IT FROM LOCAL PERSONNEL, 500 MILLION FROM THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. THE MONEY IS NOT REALLY THE QUESTION; IT'S THE LONG-TERM IMPACT ON THE RIVER, PARTICULARLY THOSE AREAS DOWN RIVER FROM THE MAJOR DAMS AND WHAT KINDS OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS THESE WILL HAVE. CERTAINLY FARMERS NEED A BROADER CONDUIT, IF THAT CAN BE ACQUIRED WITHOUT DESTROYING IT. I FAVOR, RATHER THAN GOING WITH EITHER OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT ARE THERE NOW, OF ENGINEERING A STUDY TO SPECIFICALLY ENGAGE THE PROBLEM OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS DOWN RIVER. I THINK THAT COULD BE ACHIEVED AND MAYBE WE COULD GET THE LONG-RANGE SOLUTION TO THIS THAT BOTH THE CONGRESSMAN AND I BELIEVE IS THE MOST USEFUL.

Borg: MR. SIMPSON, I'D LIKE TO STAY WITH THE TRANSPORTATION QUESTION, BUT BROADEN IT TO MOVING PEOPLE. THE AIR TRAVEL SYSTEM IN THIS COUNTRY SEEMS STRESSED, TO SAY THE LEAST. WHAT SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DO?

Simpson: WHAT SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DO WITH AIR TRAVEL? WELL, I THINK WE NEED TO LOOK CAREFULLY AT A REGULATED INDUSTRY HERE. WHAT IS DEREGULATION OF THIS INDUSTRY, TO THE DEGREE THAT IT HAS OCCURRED, REALLY HAPPENING? IS IT WORKING FOR PEOPLE? WE'VE ALL HEARD THE HORROR STORIES OF THE LONG LINES AT AIRPORTS AND OF PEOPLE UNABLE TO OBTAIN TICKETS, EVEN ON AN EMERGENCY BASIS. I THINK IT NEEDS A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION.

Borg: CONGRESSMAN LEACH?

Leach: I THINK WE BEGIN WITH RECOGNIZING THE PRINCIPAL OBLIGATION TO GOVERNMENT IS SAFETY. YOU NEED A CONTINUAL EMPHASIS ON SAFETY, NOT ONLY IN INSPECTION BUT TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE NEXUS OF INFORMATION THAT FLOWS FROM THE PILOT TO THE GROUND WORKS. SECONDLY, WE OUGHT TO BE CONCERNED WITH COMPETITION. THE COMPETITIVE ASPECT OF AIR TRAVEL TODAY IS DIMINISHING RATHER THAN INCREASING. I HAVE GRAVE RESERVATIONS, FOR EXAMPLE, ABOUT THE U.S. AIR/UNITED MERGER. AND THESE ARE THINGS THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LOOK AT. BEYOND THAT, WE HAVE VERY SPECIFIC IOWA PROBLEMS, AND THEY END UP BEING SURPRISINGLY RELATED EXCLUSIVELY TO COMPETITION. THE NOTION THAT YOU GET CHEAPER FLIGHTS FROM OMAHA TO GO EAST, WHICH IS A FURTHER DISTANCE, IS COUNTERINTUITIVE, AND IT RELATES EXCLUSIVELY TO COMPETITION. AND SOMETIMES THERE'S A HAPPENSTANCE OF WHETHER YOU HAVE A LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR, AND I'M VERY PROUD DES MOINES IS DEVELOPING ONE.

[ SPEAKING AT ONCE ]

Borg: WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?

Leach: WELL, THERE ARE NO "SOLUTIONS." WHAT THERE ARE, ARE APPROACHES. AND I THINK YOU NEED CONTINUAL ATTENTION TO ANTITRUST. YOU NEED A CONTINUAL FEDERAL ROLE IN TERMS OF SAFETY. YOU NEED A FEDERAL ROLE IN TERMS OF MAKING SURE THAT THERE'S MONEY AVAILABLE FOR AIRPORT EXPANSION. AND YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT STATES DO NOT LOCK DOWN THEIR AIRPORTS. EVERYONE HEARS ABOUT THIS WHOLE ISSUE OF DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ACCESS TO A TERMINAL. WELL, IF YOU CLOSE ACCESS TO COMPETITIVE COMPANIES, YOU HAVE NO COMPETITION. SO YOU BEGIN RIGHT AT THE BASICS, AND YOU INSIST THAT THERE BE OPEN ACCESS.

Obradovich: CONGRESSMAN, YOU MENTIONED OBLIGATIONS OF GOVERNMENT. ANOTHER ONE THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS HAD HISTORICALLY IS TO TAKE CARE OF VETERANS. THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF CLOSURES, AS YOU KNOW, OF VETERANS ADMINISTRATION'S HOSPITALS AND MAYBE A SHIFT OF SOME OF THOSE SERVICES TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR. IS IT APPROPRIATE FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO CONTINUE TO FUND SEPARATE HOSPITALS FOR VETERANS, OR DO YOU THINK THEY WOULD GET BETTER CARE FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR?

Leach: WELL, OF COURSE, THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION IS, IS THE CARE OFFERED NOT HOW. BUT IN TERMS OF THE HOW, I'M A STRONG ADVOCATE OF THE VETERANS HOSPITAL SYSTEM. IOWA CITY HAS AN EXCELLENT VETERANS HOSPITAL. WE ALSO ARE DECENTRALIZING. IN THE LAST HALF DOZEN YEARS, WE'VE MOVED TO HAVE OUTREACH FACILITIES IN OTHER TOWNS IN IOWA SO THAT VETERANS' CARE GETS DELIVERED IN A MORE DECENTRALIZED WAY. I'M FOR KEEPING THE VETERANS HOSPITALS. I THINK THAT VETERANS WHO HAVE DEMONSTRATED THEIR COMMITMENT TO THEIR COUNTRY OUGHT NOT TO BE LEFT BEHIND.

Obradovich: MR. SIMPSON, SAME QUESTION.

Simpson: INDEED, I WOULD SUPPORT AND TRY TO STRENGTHEN VETERANS HOSPITALS IN THE STATE OF IOWA AND THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY BY MY VOTES IN THE CONGRESS. I THINK IT'S WELL TO NOTE, IF YOU TALK TO PERSONS WHO ARE EMPLOYED AT VETERANS HOSPITALS NOW, THEY ARE EXPERIENCING THE SAME TYPES OF DIFFICULTIES AS IS THE CASE IN OTHER HOSPITALS. THE PROBLEM OF SHARPS, OF COURSE. THE PROBLEM OF LONG HOURS BEING WORKED BY NURSES AND THE LIKE. I THINK WE NEED TO NOT MEDDLE BUT I THINK WE NEED TO GET INTO THESE SYSTEMS. I THINK WE NEED TO INTERVENE AND TRY TO HELP SOLVE SOME OF THOSE PROBLEMS.

Yepsen: MR. SIMPSON, A LOT OF CONSTITUENTS THAT YOU WOULD REPRESENT IN THAT DISTRICT WORK AT THE ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL. THERE'S ALWAYS TALK THAT SOMEBODY IS GOING TO CLOSE IT OR SOMETHING. DO YOU SEE A PROMISING FUTURE FOR THAT ARSENAL? ARE THE JOBS THERE SECURE?

Simpson: I TALKED TO A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WORK THERE, A LOT OF EMPLOYEES, BOTH AFGE AND OTHERS, WHO WORK IN THAT FACILITY, AND THERE IS REAL CONCERN. IT'S BECAUSE OF THE EMPTY SPACE IN THE ARSENAL AT THE PRESENT TIME. NOW, THE CONGRESSMAN AND CONGRESSMAN LAYNE EVANS LAST SUMMER ENGINEERED A PROGRAM, I BELIEVE, WHICH HAS GREAT BEARING AND GREAT WORTH. AND THAT IS TO TRY TO SELL SOME OF THAT SPACE TO RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS AND OTHERS WHO MIGHT USE IT FOR PRIVATE PURPOSES... AND IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THOSE KINDS OF FACILITIES, WHILE WE'RE WAITING FOR THE NEW TYPE OF WEAPON THAT THAT ARSENAL CAN PRODUCE.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, SAME QUESTION: THE FUTURE OF THE ARSENAL?

Leach: WELL, ONE NEVER KNOWS FOR SURE. ODDLY ENOUGH, PEACE IS BAD NEWS FOR ROCK ISLAND, SO THE GREATER THE STABILITY IN THE WORLD, THE LESS THE NEED FOR ARSENALS. ON THE OTHER HAND, ROCK ISLAND IS THE ROCK OF ALL ARSENALS IN THE COUNTRY. IT COULD END UP BEING THE LAST SURVIVING NATIONAL ARSENAL, AND I BELIEVE IN MAINTAINING THAT BECAUSE IT'S THE WAY YOU CAN BUILD FOR THE FUTURE, IN EVENT OF A NATIONAL EMERGENCY. ROCK ISLAND IS ALSO NORTH. AND I STRESS THIS BECAUSE WE'RE DEVELOPING AN ARMY IN THE SOUTH, AND IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A NATIONAL ARMY, YOU WANT TO HAVE FACILITIES THAT REFLECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IN ADDITION, IN TERMS OF MANUFACTURING, IT'S THE NORTH THAT REALLY HAS THE MANUFACTURING BASE. THE QUAD CITIES ARE AN EXCEPTIONALLY WELL LOCATED PLACE TO DO ESSENTIAL MANUFACTURING, AND SO I SUPPORT THIS ARSENAL.

Obradovich: MR. SIMPSON, THE TWO OF YOU HAVE CARRIED ON YOUR CAMPAIGN IN A SLIGHTLY UNUSUAL FASHION IN THAT NEITHER OF YOU ARE USING TELEVISION ADS. I THINK MAYBE IT ALSO HAS EXTENDED TO RADIO IN THIS CAMPAIGN. HOW HAS THAT BEEN GOING FOR YOU? YOU'RE THE LESSER-KNOWN CANDIDATE? HAS IT BEEN A BIG HANDICAP?

Simpson: I HAVE NOT FELT AT ALL HANDICAPPED BY THAT.

Obradovich: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS?

Simpson: PERSONALLY, I'VE BEEN IN POLITICS AND AROUND POLITICS FOR A LONG TIME, AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT HAS ENCROACHED UPON US AND OUR POLITICS. BASICALLY THAT SPECIAL INTERESTS ARE THE SOURCE OF A LOT OF OUR SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY, AND IT IS IN USING THAT MONEY THAT SOMEHOW OR OTHER, THERE IS SOMETHING IMPLICIT, A COMMITMENT TO VOTE THAT WAY. AND NO ONE -- NO ONE WHO IS ELECTED TO OFFICE IS SUPERHUMAN. THIS WAS A PROTECTION MAYBE IN TRYING TO ADVANCE THE SYSTEM A LITTLE BIT, MAKE IS A LITTLE BIT BETTER.

Obradovich: CONGRESSMAN LEACH, YOU HAVE A FUND-RAISING ADVANTAGE, ALTHOUGH I KNOW YOU DON'T ACCEPT MONEY FROM PACs. WHY WOULD YOU AGREE TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS?

Leach: I THINK IF YOU LOOK AT HOW CAMPAIGNS ARE RUN AND YOU LOOK AT THE TELEVISION ADVERTISING, SOME OF IT IS NOT HELPFUL TO EDUCATING. IT'S THE EXACT REVERSE. IT'S COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. I WANT TO GIVE BOB CREDIT. BOB MADE THE INITIAL PROPOSAL AND I AGREED TO IT. I WOULD ALSO SAY THAT IF YOU LOOK AT THE SOURCE OF MUCH MONEY, THERE ARE IMPLICIT OBLIGATIONS THAT GO WITH IT, AND THOSE OBLIGATIONS GO A LITTLE BIT BEYOND JUST THE MONEY. THEY CAUSE CYNICISM OF AMERICAN POLITICS. YOU LOOK AT THE ADS ON TELEVISION -- AND THESE ARE ADS INTENDED TO DIVIDE, NOT TO UNIFY. AND THAT HAS BEEN A PROBLEM IN OUR SOCIETY THAT -- YOU TALK ABOUT MORAL UMBRAGES OF HOLLYWOOD; THERE IS A SPECTACULAR MORAL UMBRAGE IN THE AMERICAN POLITICAL PROCESS THAT ALL CAMPAIGNS ARE OBLIGATED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT.

[ SPEAKING AT ONCE ]

Obradovich: DOES THE GOVERNMENT HAVE ANY ROLE IN CONTROLLING THAT?

Leach: YOU CAN'T CONTROL THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THIS SORT OF THING. I WOULD SAY -- LET ME COMPLIMENT DAVID FOR A SECOND. NEWSPAPERS NOW, AS HIS, ARE PUTTING LITTLE ARTICLES IN ASSESSING ADS. I THINK THAT'S A VERY APPROPRIATE THING TO DO.

Yepsen: LET'S MOVE ON. WE'VE GOT JUST A COUPLE MINUTES LEFT. CONGRESSMAN LEACH, FEDERAL BUDGET SURPLUS. THE NEXT CONGRESS IS GOING TO HAVE SOME SURPLUS OF SOME SIZE; WE DON'T KNOW WHAT. WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH IT?

Leach: THAT'S THE $64 QUESTION. FIRST, THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THAT'S THE PROBLEM. ISN'T THAT A BETTER PROBLEM THAN HAVING A DEFICIT? WE HAVE THIS CIRCUMSTANCE BECAUSE CONGRESS HAS BEEN MORE DISCIPLINED IN SPENDING AND BECAUSE THE ECONOMY HAS GROWN. THAT COMBINATION HAS BEEN GOOD FOR THE FISCAL CIRCUMSTANCE. I'M A BELIEVER THAT YOU CAN PUT A LITTLE BIT INTO TAX CUTS. I WOULD RATHER DO THE BRUNT INTO DEFICIT REDUCTION. BUT THE ONE THING I'M REALLY LEERY OF IS ANOTHER GREAT HIKE IN FEDERAL SPENDING.

Yepsen: MR. SIMPSON, SAME QUESTION.

Simpson: I BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD UTILIZE THE SAVINGS THAT WE ARE HAVING WITH THE SURPLUSES TO BUY DOWN THE NATIONAL DEBT. AT THE POINT THAT WE BUY DOWN THE NATIONAL DEBT, WE WILL FREE UP A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF INTEREST THAT IS NOW BEING PAID ON THAT DEBT. WE CAN USE THAT TO STRENGTHEN SOME OF THE SOCIAL PROGRAMS IN OUR COUNTRY.

Yepsen: MR. SIMPSON, WE'VE GOT JUST A FEW SECONDS LEFT. I'LL GIVE YOU ABOUT 15 OF THEM.

Simpson: ALL RIGHT.

Yepsen: YOUR FINAL THOUGHTS. WHAT DO YOU WANT VOTERS TO REMEMBER ABOUT YOU AS THEY GO VOTE?

Simpson: WELL, I WANT THEM TO REMEMBER THAT I STAND FOR PROGRESSIVE PROGRAM. I STAND FOR CHANGE IN THE DISTRICT, AND I REPRESENT SORT OF A HAPPY WARRIOR OF THIS CAMPAIGN.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN LEACH?

Leach: WELL, I HOPE NO ONE THINKS ABOUT A SINGLE ISSUE... BUT ONLY TO SOMEONE: WORK HARD IN THE BIG PICTURE. AND I DO MY BEST TO REPRESENT IOWA AND IOWA VALUES IN THE MOST REASONABLE WAY I KNOW HOW.

Borg: GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU FOR TAKING TIME TO BE WITH US TODAY AND FOR SHARING YOUR INSIGHTS. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, WE FOCUS ON THE ISSUES INFLUENCING CAMPAIGNS FOR THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, AND WE'LL ALSO QUESTION THE CANDIDATES SEEKING TO REPRESENT NORTHEAST IOWA'S SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN WASHINGTON. DAVID YEPSEN, IN THE FIRST PART OF THE PROGRAM, DISCUSSES STATEHOUSE CAMPAIGN POLITICS WITH FOUR LEADERS FROM THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE, REPRESENTATIVE BRENT SIEGRIST OF COUNCIL BLUFFS, AND SENATOR STEWART IVERSON OF DOWS -- HE IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE IOWA SENATE -- WILL REPRESENT THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY. AND FROM THE DEMOCRATIC MINORITY LEADERSHIP, REPRESENTATIVE DAVE SCHRADER OF MONROE AND SENATOR MIKE GRONSTAL OF COUNCIL BLUFFS. THEN IN THE SECOND HALF OF NEXT WEEK'S ONE-HOUR IOWA PRESS, WE'LL LOOK TO THE ISSUES DRIVING THE CAMPAIGN TO REPRESENT NORTHEAST IOWA'S SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. AND JOINING US HERE AT THE TABLE FOR THAT INSIGHT ARE REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT REPRESENTATIVE JIM NUSSLE OF MANCHESTER AND HIS DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER, DONNA SMITH OF DUBUQUE. THAT'S A ONE-HOUR EDITION OF IOWA PRESS NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00 ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. JUST A REMINDER AS WE GO: IOWA PRESS IS NOW ON THE WORLDWIDE WEB. IF YOU'LL CLICK IN THERE, YOU'LL FIND TRANSCRIPTS AND MORE. THE ADDRESS IS WWW.IOWAPRESS.IPTV.ORG. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS NOR JOINING US TODAY. FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY: FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS.