On the Record: The policy positions of Republican congressional candidate David McKeon
It happens like clockwork.
Candidates announce their bids for office. Then the attack ads follow in short order, unabashedly targeting their voting records and more.
We’re here to help. The Nevada Independent already produces fact-checks for political advertisements and off-the-cuff remarks, but we also want to get ahead of the campaign game.
When politicians announce their candidacy for public office, we’ll roll out “On the Record” — our look at their voting history and stances on a broad array of subjects.
Now up: Republican congressional candidate David McKeon, the son of longtime Southern California Rep. Buck McKeon who decided to run for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District in December 2015. Issues are in alphabetical order.
McKeon says he’s pro-life.
“I have two boys turning 17 and 18, and I remember the days they were born,” McKeon said. “The best days of my life.”
McKeon called cybersecurity “one of his biggest concerns,” particularly as it relates to identity theft, securing online business transactions and overall protecting information in the cloud. But he said he would rather like to see the free market send a signal to Facebook rather than having the federal government step in to regulate the social media giant and other similar companies.
“The problem is if you have to regulate everything it just stifles innovation,” McKeon said. “That's why the economy and people make the decisions. I firmly believe that if you tell people the truth, they'll make the right decision for themselves.”
Asked whether there are any restrictions he’d feel comfortable placing on guns, McKeon said he doesn’t “negotiate the Bill of Rights.” And asked whether he’d support a ban on bump stocks — the devices used to make semi-automatic weapons operate more like automatic ones that were used in the Las Vegas shooting — he said it wasn’t the bump stock that carried out the shooting from Mandalay Bay, it was the individual.
“You’re never going to be able to eradicate evil,” McKeon said. “We can keep writing law after law after law, people are going to find a way to do the evil that they intend to do.”
McKeon said that, after the 1 October shooting, he and his wife got their concealed weapons permit and upped their life insurance policies. He also said that he’s met with security professionals a several casinos in Las Vegas and that they had become “complacent with their security measures and did not have the protocols in place to be able to deal with these types of issues.”
McKeon supports ongoing efforts to complete Interstate 11 and said that he would like to see more trucks that deliver goods to Nevada not leave empty but instead filled up with products made in Nevada to transport elsewhere.
“Expanding the I-11 interstate would be a great help to increasing that,” McKeon said.
Asked whether he agrees with President Donald Trump’s proposal to invest $20 billion in school choice, McKeon says that he supports school choice but does not believe that the federal government should be involved in children’s education. He said education is the state’s responsibility and that states should solve those issues themselves.
“My goodness, we keep spending more money, but are we actually solving a problem?” McKeon said. “By all accounts we're not solving any problems and I don't see us getting off that hamster wheel.”
He said that if school administrators are in competition with one another, “I think you’ll start to see things change.”
McKeon said that the United States should be “open to all the different forms of energy that can benefit us as a nation.” He praised a provision in the recent Tax Cut and Jobs Act that mandates that the federal government hold lease sales in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, opening the area up to oil drilling and energy development.
“I think as a nation we should be open to all the different forms of energy that can benefit us as a nation and, quite frankly, our allies,” McKeon said.
He also said he supports ongoing development of technology to find ways to make the country’s natural gas reserves last longer. It is estimated that the U.S. has enough natural gas to last about 90 years.
McKeon said that he is in “full support” of a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act and that he does not believe that the federal government should be controlling the health-care industry. He believes that if the federal health-care law is repealed, people working part-time jobs will be able to find an employer that can provide a full-time job for them because the employer “wouldn’t be so burdened” by the responsibilities they are given under the law.
He said that he would like to see other alternative health-care options, such as a health insurance policy that can follow you from job to job, or religious-based groups that provide health insurance.
“I think we've done a disservice to our country by expecting the federal government to answer all of the problems,” McKeon said. “I'd love to see more of the people in the community and the religious organizations get back in touch to handling those types of services because I believe we can do a better job locally than expecting some far off bureaucrat to be able to make a decision for us.”
He said that the old ways of providing health insurance aren’t going to work for future generations and that the government should allow the free market to come up with new solutions that the government hasn’t contemplated.
McKeon also said that the United States needs to stop subsidizing drug prices for the rest of the world with its high drug prices.
McKeon said that he supports President Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border through a combination of both a physical barrier and some form of electronic surveillance. He also would like to see Congress implement an immigration policy that ensures that there is a pathway to citizenship for immigrants to go through the process legally but in a “reasonable” time frame.
“I met people here in town that told me the nightmares they've gone through trying to follow the process the legal way,” McKeon said. “It's almost like we penalize the people that try to do it the right way and we give benefits to people who do it the wrong way. It's completely backwards.”
He said that he’s spoken with companies in Las Vegas that try to do everything right to help their employees stay in the country and they’re unable to. McKeon said that the U.S. needs to create an immigration policy that “supports the innovation of those that want to assimilate in the American culture.”
He said that for children who were brought to the country illegally by their parents and were able to stay and work in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are “trying to do things the right way” should be able to get a green card.
“For DACA recipients, a green card, yeah,” McKeon said. “But the path to citizenship, you have to go through it the right way.”
Asked about Trump’s proposal to end so-called chain migration, or family-based immigration, by limiting immigration sponsorship to spouses and minor children, McKeon said that he wanted to look into the proposal in more depth, but said that he believes that families should be together. He also said that jurisdictions that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, often called sanctuary cities, should not receive federal dollars to “undermine the efforts of the federal government to enforce the law.”
McKeon said he would like to see Congress take action on marijuana and leave whether or not to legalize the drug up to the states. He said that states that want to keep marijuana illegal should be able to continue to enforce the law, while states that have legalized it either for medical or recreational use should be respected so long are they are handling legalization “responsibility.”
“That’s the 10th amendment,” McKeon said.
But he said that the federal government still has the full right to arrest anyone at the border who is bringing drugs into the country illegally. He also said that local jurisdictions need to be involved in ensuring that there is community involvement in deciding where marijuana-related establishments open up shop.
“I think it's just a matter of separating responsibilities and letting the states take care of their problems while letting the federal government take care of its responsibilities,” McKeon said.
McKeon said he would like to see the federal government turn some of Nevada’s public lands over to Nevadans to develop, with the goal of spurring economic development and generating additional tax revenue.
“That would be one of the ways that we can as a state create more revenue to help with our education," McKeon said.
Taxes and government spending
McKeon said he supported the Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed by Congress last year “100 percent,” calling it the starting of an “age of entrepreneurialism.”
“I think anybody that has either worked for a company and has seen the struggles they have gone through to survive and help a business succeed so they can still have a job, they support it,” McKeon said. “I think a lot of the people who have received bonuses in their paychecks do not see that as crumbs, they see it as real dollars.”
He also praised the bill’s one-time “deemed repatriation tax” of 15.5 percent on cash held overseas, calling it “one of the greatest parts” of the law.
McKeon said that he also supports passage of a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, and that the recent $1.3 trillion omnibus bill passed by Congress “frustrated a lot of people” over what many viewed as excessive domestic spending. However, McKeon did praise the omnibus bill for providing permanent funding for the military for the next two years without the looming threat of a continuing resolution.
McKeon said that the United States needs to make itself more independent from countries overseas and be able to produce on its own the goods needed to defend the nation. He pointed to concerns over defense contractors purchasing microchips from China, which is angling to become a major player in the global chip market.
“I think that it's important that America starts mining and creating the tools we use to build our own weapons systems to defend ourselves,” McKeon said.
McKeon said that the U.S. needs to take better care of its veterans otherwise it will be difficult to continue to find people willing to serve in the military. He suggested the Department of Veterans Affairs hire more veterans to improve the quality of assistance the department provides.
“They know the problems they are facing,” McKeon said. “They know what other veterans’ needs are.”
McKeon would not outright say that he supports storing high-level nuclear waste in a nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain. However, he says that he is “open to discussing the proposition” and that Nevadans “can’t keep burying their heads in the sand.”
He lamented Sen. Dean Heller’s efforts to keep the $120 million Trump proposed to restart licensing on the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository out of the budget and said that he would like to see the state and federal government restore trust to “develop a process that ensures the needs and concerns of the Nevada people are met.”
“Nevada, in the past, we stood up to solve the big problems for our country like we did in World War II,” McKeon said. “Nevada, we can solve the problems again for our country in these ways.”
McKeon said that he believes the scientific and transportation concerns of Yucca Mountain have been or are being addressed and that Nevada is “not going to be taken advantage of as a state.”
Updated 4-15-17 at 10:35 a.m. to correct that David McKeon would like to see immigrants follow the immigration process legally but under a reasonable time frame.