Complete Transcript: RURAL TOWN HALL with Carly Fiorina

Complete Transcript: RURAL TOWN HALL with Carly Fiorina

The following is a complete transcript of Senator Carly Fiorina's appearance on RFD-TV's RURAL TOWN HALL hosted by Mark Oppold.

Announcer:  RFD-TV news and Mediacom bring you Rural Town Hall – a conversation with the presidential candidates on issues important to rural Americans, with the declared candidates for President of the United States. Our guest, Carly Fiorina, Republican and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

Mark Oppold:  And from the beautiful Stine Family Barn in west Des Moines, Iowa, welcome to this Rural Town Hall meeting, produced by RFD-TV News and Mediacom. I'm Mark Oppold, and for the next hour we will be spending time with just one candidate discussing issues of interest and concern to rural Americans, whether farmers, ranchers, or just folks who choose to live in the small towns that make up this great nation. The questions come from a variety of interested parties, including most of the major organizations representing different sectors of agriculture. In fact, some of the questions will be asked directly by members of our audience who have come to Des Moines, Iowa today. The focus of our discussion may be rural, and in a completely objective context, but also an opportunity to ensure better understanding and better communication between rural and urban Americans. We will start with key agricultural issues, and extend to other topics like rural healthcare, rural education, government regulation, and much more. These are not debates, these are conversations. That said, RFD-TV and Mediacom welcome our Town Hall guest. She is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and a Republican candidate for President of the United States. Welcome Carly Fiorina.

Carly Fiorina:  Thank you. Thank you.

Mark Oppold:  Let's see, welcome. Good to have you here.

Carly Fiorina:  Well, not your typical barn. Pretty gorgeous.

Mark Oppold:  I want to start out first of all by thanking you for accepting our invitation to spend this hour talking about issues important to rural America and those here gathered and watching around the country on RFD-TV. So thank you for joining us.

Carly Fiorina:  It's my pleasure.

Mark Oppold:  And in fact we want to start out with any opening statement you might have, Carly, that addresses rural America. An opening statement of the issues that pertain to these people here and those watching.

Carly Fiorina:  You know, I want to start by telling you something about my day today. I started out in the northwest corner of Iowa, and I drove to Des Moines. And every time I'm here in Iowa, driving through Iowa, I'm struck by its beauty. Maybe I was first drawn to Iowa because it reminds me of rural Texas, where I would spend my summers with my grandmother, but over the course of the last year or so I've been drawn to the people as well as the beauty of Iowa. But as we drove those three hours, I thought about the fact that the landscape I was seeing was not just beautiful, it's productive, because Iowa, of course, feeds the world. And so, what's going on in rural Iowa is not just important for the communities of Iowa, it's important for the entire world. Literally, rural Iowa feeds the world. And so, the issues you mentioned in your opening statement that, in some ways, unite rural and urban America… perhaps there are a lot of Americans, maybe even some Iowans, who don't understand the vital role that rural Iowa plays for the world. Not just for this state, and not just for this nation. I started out as a secretary in a nine person real estate firm, and I'm keenly aware that it's only in this nation that a young woman can start out typing and filing in the middle of a very deep recession, and go on one day to become the Chief Executive of what we turned into the largest technology company in the world, and run for the presidency of the United States. That's only possible here. And it's possible here because this has always been a nation that valued the individual, the one who believes that every individual has God-given gifts and tremendous potential, and believes in possibilities for every American, regardless of their circumstances. A lot of those possibilities have come from rural America. Whether it's the possibility of being fed, or the possibility of raising your family with a lifestyle that you cherish over the generations. And I'm running for President because too many possibilities are being destroyed for too many Americans. We're actually crushing the potential of the nation. And nowhere is that more true than in what's going on now, thanks to the Federal Government, in rural America. The Federal Government controls more and more of what an individual farmer should control. And that scares me, and I think it scares the people of Iowa, and if we don't start making a change in some of these things, then we will have a less prosperous nation with fewer possibilities. And I worry about my two granddaughters not having the same possibilities that I had.

Mark Oppold:  Very well. We hope you enjoy the hour.

Carly Fiorina:  I'm sure I will.

Mark Oppold:  It's a conversation, as we mentioned, not a debate, and we look forward to the conversation. In fact, our tradition has been, Carly, to start with the next generation who are going to feed this world. Something that is very important to RFD-TV:  the National FFA Organization. Welcome once again. Go ahead.

Mikayla Dolch (FFA):  Hi. Well good evening Ms. Fiorina. My name is Mikayla Dolch, and I am serving the Iowa FFA Association as the southwest state Vice President. The National FFA Organization has exploded into more than 629,000 members who are gaining leadership skills, and developing hands-on employable experience. But ag education programs are often cut due to funding issues. What would you propose could be done to help stop the loss of these programs?

Carly Fiorina:  Well of course these programs are very important, and most of these programs are funded at the state level. One of the things that I am going to do as President is to re-examine what it is the Federal Government actually does, because the truth is, the Federal Government does way too many things. It does most of them poorly now. We have a kind of big inept, corrupt Federal Government bureaucracy, and so it's easy to say, "Well the Federal Government should do something about this." But in truth, the Federal Government needs to stop doing a whole bunch of things. But one of the things I would examine is, instead of spending all this money in the Department of Education, maybe we ought to be spending less money there, and more money in states and communities focused on educational programs that we know work.

Mikayla Dolch (FFA):  Thank you.

Carly Fiorina:  You're welcome.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you very much. We go to the American Soybean Association for our next question, and we welcome them as well.

Ray Gaesser (ASA):  Good afternoon.

Carly Fiorina:  Hi.

Ray Gaesser (ASA):  My name is Ray Gaesser. My family and I grow soybeans and corn in southwest Iowa. I am currently serving as Chairman of the American Soybean Association. At the American Soybean Association we represent U.S. soybean farmers on policy and regulatory issues. And my subject and my question for you is about regulatory issues. Given your role as a business executive, do you feel government regulations hinder business development? And how best can the public and private sectors work together to achieve a balance of responsible regulations that don't inhibit innovation?

Carly Fiorina:  Well it is kind of the question that we face as Americans because we actually are no longer a nation of laws, we've become a nation of rules. And a lot of these rules are rolled out by nameless, faceless bureaucrats who aren't elected by anyone, and aren't accountable to anyone. The EPA is of course a classic example. Let me tell you a little story, if I may, because you're a soybean farmer. The last time I was in a soybean field, I was on a combine. I took a combine ride through a soybean field. It was totally cool. First of all the combine was cool, but I was really fascinated in how much high technology is now in agriculture equipment. And so, riding along with the owner of that soybean field, and the owner of that combine, he was looking at his computer screen, and I saw on the screen squiggly blue lines, and I said, "What are those?" And he said, "Oh, those are waterways." And I said, "Those are the waterways that the EPA now controls 99% of in this state, and throughout the United States." He said, "That's right." I said, "Would you take me and show me one of these waterways?" So he drives his combine, and he shows me a waterway that the EPA now controls. And what do I see? I see an area, it was about as big as this platform, of grass. Green grass. So somewhere under there was moisture, enough for green grass, but that's a waterway that the EPA now controls. The truth is, we have to have a top to bottom review of every regulation on the books, and every dollar we're spending in every single agency. Because the EPA just is one example. The EPA, the NLRB, the FCC, you name it, they are rolling out rules. No one's overseeing them. No one's wondering about the cost versus the benefit. And this set of rules, this thicket of rules, is crushing. It is crushing farmers, it is crushing small business owners, and it is crushing possibilities in this nation. So a bunch of them, honestly, including the waters of the U.S. that have been rolled out under executive order unilaterally, honestly by President Obama, I will roll back unilaterally. But we cannot stop there. We have to do the top to bottom review. We have to have sunset provisions. We have to give Congress authority to oversee some of these things.

Ray Gaesser (ASA):  Thank you.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you very much from the American Soybean Association. Des Moines Register here has a question. Thank you.

Courtney Crowder (Des Moines Register):  Good evening. I'm Courtney Crowder from the Des Moines Register, and I have a two part question here. Part one, should the Federal Government or State Government have responsibility for environmental protection? And part two, what would you do to help improve water quality, and polluted rivers and streams?

Carly Fiorina:  Wow. So you know, of course we need to be good stewards of our planet. And of course we need to protect our environment, and our land, and our water. But on the back of that very common sense statement, more government over-reach, at both the state and the federal level, has occurred. I lived for a long time in the state of California, another agricultural community, and honestly, state and federal control over water is in the process, literally, of destroying the agriculture industry in California. I worry very much that the EPA, with this waters of the U.S., is going to put such stringent conditions on controlling and protecting the water. And of course, honestly, I think it's an over-reach of local government when the Des Moines Waterworks starts to sue farmers for a claim that farmers are not adequately managing the quality of their water, and the quality of their runoff. Let me just start with the basic principle. If someone owns a parcel of land, and their family is dependent on that parcel of land, and they know that that parcel of land and the water that runs through it is going to be the drinking water for their family, not just now but for generations, I actually trust them to manage the quality of that water better than some bureaucrat from long ago and far away. In other words, I think we have to go back to a basic understanding that if your livelihood, your family, your community depend upon you doing a good job, defending the water, protecting the water, protecting wildlife, protecting the quality of the air. If your family and your community depend upon that, which rural families and communities do, I am prepared to make the bet that you're going to do a better job managing those things, than a nameless, faceless bureaucrat thousands of miles away, who actually doesn't understand anything about the local conditions. That's the bet I'm prepared to make.

Mark Oppold:  See her question had to do with should the Federal Government or State Government be involved in these regulations. It sounds like it should be kind of a balance, and the state would have a closer look at things in their particular area.

Carly Fiorina:  So first I think all decisions are best made closest to the people impacted by those decisions. That's why in a business, you know, you tend to give decisions to people who understand the local situation. So, on that basis, the state government clearly will have more understanding of the local conditions, particularly rural conditions in Iowa, than the Federal Government miles away. So I start with that. On the other hand, the other principle that I was trying to articulate is that somehow we have gotten to a place, after 50 years of government growth, to more government spending, more government power, more government control under Republicans and Democrats alike. Where many, particularly on the progressive left, make the assumption that a bureaucrat who knows nothing about something, is going to be better able to manage something, than someone whose livelihood depends upon it. So let me give you another story. You know, I met a poultry farmer here shortly after the Avian Flu epidemic, and he knew what to do to protect his flock, to euthanize the infected birds, he knew what to do, but the Federal Government told him, "No, you can't do that. We're going to tell you what to do. So you wait six weeks until we tell you what to do." That assumption came from a belief that somehow the bureaucrat who didn't know anything about poultry farming could tell this poultry farmer better how to protect his investment, not to mention his family.

Mark Oppold:  A lot of heads are nodding, and agreeing here in the audience, and I'm sure around the country. We're going to take a break here. We are just getting a good start here. We've dealt with some very important issues, needless to say, in our first few minutes. We'll tackle others equally important, including rural energy, trade and more. Back with our Rural Town Hall with Republican presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina, after this.

Announcer:  RFD-TV's Rural Town Hall. Produced in association with Mediacom, the power to simplify.

Mark Oppold:  Welcome back to Rural Town Hall on RFD-TV. I'm Mark Oppold. Thank you so much for joining us. We are talking to Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina during this hour. We appreciate the opportunity to have her here to address issues important to you, farmers and ranchers, and those of you who choose to live in rural America. We've already addressed some very important issues. Moving on now to a new topic, and we welcome our next guest. Go ahead.

Marji Guyler-Alaniz (FarmHer):  Good afternoon. I'm Marji Guyler-Alaniz, and I'm president and founder of FarmHer, and FarmHer focuses just on the women in agriculture. So at nearly a million strong, women are a significant and growing part of agriculture. However distribution of resources and equitable access to capital needs more attention. The current administration has made significant efforts to increase awareness about women in agriculture. What could we expect to see from your administration regarding ways to further that dialogue regarding women in agriculture?

Carly Fiorina:  You know, it's so important because women are half the nation, and that means women are half the potential of the nation. And our nation is best off, better off, when every American has the opportunity to fulfill their potential. Before I ran for the presidency of the United States I was Chairman of an organization called Opportunity International. We were the largest, still is, the largest micro-finance organization in the world. We lent $6 billion, $150 at a time, and lifted millions of people, mostly women actually, out of poverty in the developing world. Why do I start there? Because we know in the developing world that if you get more women engaged in agriculture, food production goes up. If you get more women engaged in education, literacy goes up. If you get more women engaged in disease eradication or conflict resolution, things get better. In other words, the more everyone gets to participate in improving a society, and that's true here as well, the better it gets. So people shouldn't be afraid of more farmers, we should celebrate more farmers, men and women. I think one of the things that we need to recognize, is that access to capital is critical. In the organization I was just speaking of, Opportunity International, we were providing very small loans to women who had no access to credit. And imagine how difficult it would be to get started if you literally had no access to credit. The problem is this administration's policies have made access to credit for everybody, not just women farmers, far more difficult. So if you look at Dodd-Frank, for example, a piece of legislation that was passed that was supposed to take care of all the excesses of Wall Street... The reality of that legislation, like every other big government program, is that the big get bigger and more powerful, and the small get crushed. Ten Wall Street banks became five even bigger, more powerful Wall Street banks, and meanwhile, 1,700 community banks have gone out of business. Why does that matter? Because community banks are where so many farmers get their line of credit, their helping hand. These banks are the backbone of a community for women and for men. So honestly, I think the Federal Government isn't going to do any better a job than you are in making sure the people of Iowa are aware of the important role that women farmers play. But what the Federal Government can do is make access to capital harder for women farmers, or easier for women farmers. And unfortunately, this administration has made access to capital far harder by making the Wall Street banks bigger, crushing the small community banks. That is the impact of big government, always. The big and the powerful get bigger and more powerful, and the small and the powerless get crushed. And it's why we have to take a different direction now.

Marji Guyler-Alaniz (FarmHer):  Thank you.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you for being here. And our friends from Agri-Pulse are following up here. And welcome.

Sara Wyant (Agri-Pulse):  Good afternoon Carly. I'm Sara Wyant. I'm the editor and publisher of Agri-Pulse Communications. We cover farm and rural policy issues on Capitol Hill, and around the countryside. I know in previous conversations you've mentioned your desire to phase out federal subsidies for things like farm programs and renewable energy, but one of the programs that farmers universally tell us that they want as a bedrock of a farm safety net is crop insurance. If you're elected President, would you continue the public-private partnership that currently provides crop insurance? And if not, what type of mismanagement program would you support for farmers and ranchers?

Carly Fiorina:  So first, one of the things that I have said, just so that everyone understands what I've said about renewables is that government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, it shouldn't be in the business of manipulating prices, and it shouldn't be in the business of guaranteeing or prohibiting access to markets. On the other hand, government has to be even handed. So I support the renewable fuel standard, because renewables have to have the same chance as oils and gas, for example. But what I've said is, over time the government needs to get out of this role. It's not the Federal Government's role to pick winners and losers, and that's what the Federal Government does. Oil and gas was a winner for a long time until pressure was put on government to say, "You gotta level the playing field." And so what I've said is, I would support the continuation of RLS until 2020, but at that point we need to give every industry the opportunity and the transition period to say, "This isn't the Federal Government's job." So get ready. Federal Government needs to get out of these kinds of programs... But let's do it in a time when the playing field is level. Let's not give advantage to one fuel over another in the meantime. Crop insurance. Obviously people need crop insurance. The problem is when the Federal Government gets into these programs, they can use their power to decide when somebody gets the money. So remember I was telling you about the poultry farmer? Why did he have to wait for the USDA to show up and tell him how to euthanize his birds, even though he knew the right answer? And keeping those birds alive for a six week period made the Avian Flu worse not better, because the feed trucks were going in and out of his farm, and every other poultry farm. Why did he have to wait? Because USDA held the money for his insurance, that's why. And so, it's always a problem when the Federal Government is a holder of money, it has power. In the meantime we have to protect our farmers, and yes I support the continuation of crop insurance, but the ultimate fact is, we have to have a competitive free market in crop insurance. Not the government in there because the government is incapable of spending money without also wielding power. And that power gets to be a problem over time. Just as it was for that poultry farmer who could have euthanized his birds six weeks earlier and saved far more of his flock. But no, the government wasn't just in the business of giving him insurance money. The government was in the business of telling him, "This is how you have to do it, and if you don't do it this way, you're not going to get your insurance money."

Sara Wyant (Agri-Pulse):  Thank you.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you for being here. This is submitted by one of our programmers on RFD-TV. It's Brian Hefty of Ag PhD. Here’s a question for a lot of those watching around the country with GMOs. What are your feelings about biotechnology, and GMO traits in crops?

Carly Fiorina:  Well GMOs are safe. GMOs are safe, and, you know, you have Nobel Prize winners here from Iowa who dwarf wheat. GMOs have improved food production. They've fed millions and millions and millions of people. And so, this is an issue that's being raised by people who maybe don't understand, or maybe they don't want to understand, but it's yet again a problem that's being raised to provide power and control to government. So I don't think labeling is necessary, because I think the science is pretty clear that this is not only safe, but it's a benefit to people all over this nation, and all over the world. The sad truth is this. I know the Farm Bureau, for example, supports a piece of federal legislation that would, instead of getting the government out of this business, almost protect farmers from a patchwork of different states having different rules. And I get why a farmer wants to say, "Look. I can't deal with, you know, one set of rules in California, and one set of rules in Iowa, and one set of rules in Rhode Island." I mean I understand that, but isn't it a shame when farmers have to go to the Federal Government almost in defense against State Governments, and put government into a business that it doesn't need to be in? All of these questions, honestly, and they're all fantastic questions, but they're an illustration of why I'm running for President. We have had people talking about reducing the scope, the size, the power of government for 50 years. We've had Republicans talk about it, and we've had Democrats talk about it. But the truth is, it never happens. Over the course of the last 50 years, government has gotten bigger, more powerful, more expensive, more inept, and yes more corrupt in every conceivable way. And so 75% of the American people now think the government's too big and it's too corrupt. So we have to turn the page. We have to try something new, and that means rather than layering more, and more, and more regulation or legislation on top of what already exists, in some cases defending against our own government. We need a top to bottom review of every regulation we have, of every piece of legislation we have, of every dollar and every dime we spend in the Federal Government, with the express purpose of ‘what can we roll back?’ What can we get rid of? What can we stop spending? What can we maybe send to the states? And let us start with some basic principles. What's safe is safe. Let's not ignore the science, GMOs are safe. The scientific evidence is clear. And let's also start with the basic principle that says, "You know, if your livelihood, if your community, if your family depends upon an investment and an asset, let's assume that you're going to do as good of a job as you're capable of doing to protect and defend and manage that asset well." Instead of assuming that someone far away, who doesn't know much about it, is going to do a better job.

Mark Oppold:  Yeah. You know, on an ongoing basis, RFD-TV and folks at Mediacom want to keep connecting urban and rural America. And GMO I think is a great example. What as President would you do to underline and circumvent all of the miscommunication that you just said? The GMOs are safe, but how do we get that message out to folks maybe in urban areas that don't believe that?

Carly Fiorina:  Well it is an ongoing challenge, obviously, and I know that you are engaged in educating people on this, I know the Farm Bureau is involved in educating people on this, and I will be engaged in educating people on this. There's so many examples of where science is quoted, but science is twisted. GMOs are one of them. Global Warming is another, where the fine print of the science is clear. Even all the scientists who agree that climate change is real and man-made, also agree that a single nation acting alone can't make any difference at all. And they all agree that with current technology, to make an infinitesimal difference would take a global effort, coordinated over three decades, and costing trillions of dollars. What are the chances of that happening? Zero. And yet, that part of the science is never described. In other words, it's so often true that science is quoted, but in fact what's being pushed is ideology. And that's, I believe, what is going on with GMOs.

Mark Oppold:  We could probably spend an hour on climate change and those kinds of topics. We want to go over to our friends from the Iowa Farm Bureau, I believe, that are here with a question. And we welcome them today as well. Go ahead.

Audience (Iowa Farm Bureau):  Thank you for the opportunity to come and visit with you and ask a question. You pretty much have covered most of the GMO questions that I had, however I would also like to ask you, what steps would your administration take to support the GMO crops in foreign markets, and to approve further advancements in GMO crops?

Carly Fiorina:  Well you know, there is such great work that goes on at Iowa State, for example, and other rural ag colleges around the country. This is an area where, while I believe we must spend less money overall in the Federal Government, a lot less money overall. Which is why we have to go to some version of zero-based budgeting so that we can know where every dollar is being spent. That's the only way that you spend less money overall and invest more in key areas. But one of the places where I actually think the Federal Government can invest more is in research, in conjunction with some of our fine universities. And GMOs is an area where I think between the federal funding of research in universities like Iowa State makes so much sense. Look, we have technology and innovation to solve pressing problems. The problem of course with government is it crushes innovation, always. That's what bureaucracies do. They're not very innovative. And when you have regulations and legislations, they punish innovation instead of rewarding innovation. And yet if we are going to feed the planet, we have to continue to innovate. We know this. So I think we ought to be spending more money, less money overall, but investing more in federally funded research in conjunction with important universities like Iowa State. And we need to be pushing the frontiers of science and GMOs, not saying, "Oh, they're dangerous. Let's regulate them. Let's label them so that we get less innovation," which will be the consequence of all of this, instead of more innovation. That's how we lead in the world, and that's how we feed the world, through innovation and problem-solving.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you for being here. Folks who feed the world are Iowa Pork Producers, and they are here today as well and have a question for you.

Cody McKinley (Iowa Pork Producers):  Good afternoon Ms. Fiorina. I'm Cody McKinley with the Iowa Pork Producers Association and, you know, over the last couple of decades we've had incredible opportunities with Free Trade Agreements, opening the doors to many different countries, and giving us the opportunity to fill some voids, and some bellies at that. As President, will you support the negotiation and implementation of the Free Trade Agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Carly Fiorina:  So free and fair trade is incredibly important, and yes I support free and fair trade. I also know that not all of our trading partners live up to their agreements. So the Chinese for example, who we've entered into a lot of different agreements, don't live up to their end of the bargain. They punish our food producers in this country, and they get to play by rules in our market that we're not allowed to play by in their market. On the surface, of course I would support the TPP. Unfortunately, I don't know what's in it. None of us know what's in it. And that's the problem. When there is no transparency, then people lose trust. The TPP has been negotiated in secret for 18 months. Its 30 chapters long. The people who negotiated it, the congresspeople who are supposed to approve it, don't get to take it out of a special room. They don't get to tell the American people what's in it. So honestly that makes me suspicious. I would love to support the TPP, but what I will do as President is make sure that we negotiate as many free and fair trade agreements as possible, because when the American people – the American producers, whether they're pork producers, or corn producers, or manufacturers – get to compete, we win. Because we have the best innovation. We have the most productive labor force. I just need to know what's in these agreements, because this administration has demonstrated very candidly its inability to negotiate good deals on behalf of America. They've negotiated a bunch of really bad deals. So let's see what's in this one. But I hope it will help us.

Cody McKinley (Iowa Pork Producers):  Thank you.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you for being here. We had the FarmHer Organization earlier, we have another group called the Iowa Women In Agriculture who are joining us today. Welcome to you.

Deb Schuler (IWIA):  Good afternoon Carly. Thank you for taking time to come to Des Moines and to RFD-TV to highlight ag issues. I'm Deb Schuler, President of Iowa Women In Agriculture and member of American AgriWomen. My question today has to deal with infrastructure. At times harvested grain cannot access the desirable markets due to infrastructure and transportation challenges. What are your thoughts to improve our country's infrastructure?

Carly Fiorina:  You know, it's such an important question. Have you ever noticed how the Federal Government spends more money every single year, and never has enough money to do the important things? Roads and bridges, infrastructure, is a Federal Government responsibility, actually. You know, there are lots of things the Federal Government does that it shouldn't be doing, but this is one they should be doing, and yet they never have enough money. They never have enough money. So we have to go through Iowa State Gas Tax, all these things, to try and fund a responsibility of the Federal Government. Of course the Federal Government has loads of money, but they never prioritize it. This is why we have to now undertake systematic and systemic reform. It's why I keep talking about zero-based budgeting, which will require an act of Congress, and I will ask the citizens of this great United States to help me pressure Congress to go to zero-based budgeting. But if we don't know where our money is being spent, and we don't, then we can't prioritize our money. By the way. Does anyone run a family budget without knowing where you're spending money? Does anyone run a budget for anything without knowing where you're spending money? Of course you don't. And yet we do in the Federal Government. And every year at an appropriations hearings, we don't talk about all the money. We never talk about all the money. We talk about the rate of increase over last year's budget. And so all the money that's being spent never gets examined. We just keep spending it. And so when we need to do something new, when we have an investment that needs to be made in roads and bridges and infrastructure, we don't have enough money to do it. We must invest in our roads and bridges and infrastructure, and we must spend less money in the Federal Government overall, therefore, we have to go to zero-based budgeting, and we have to say, "You know what? This is money not being spent well, and we shouldn't be spending it all. We're going to cut this, and we need to invest more in roads and bridges."

Deb Schuler (IWIA):  Thank you.

Carly Fiorina:  You're welcome.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you for being here. We've covered some very important issues. We're going to take another break here, and take a look at other ideas and interests of those in rural America. Still to come, we'll ask Ms. Fiorina about rural broadband, antibiotics in livestock production, and more. You're watching Rural Town Hall on RFD-TV.

Announcer:  RFD-TV's Rural Town Hall. Produced in association with Mediacom, the power to simplify.

Mark Oppold:  Welcome back to Rural Town Hall on RFD-TV. I'm Mark Oppold, and we are talking to former business executive and Republican presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina about some topics important to you, rural America – those of you who just choose to live in this great country in our small communities. Our next topic is from one of our partners here, Mediacom. Welcome once again.

Jeff Angelo (Mediacom):  Hi Carly. I'm Jeff Angelo from Mediacom. Back in January President Obama came to Cedar Falls, Iowa, and he encouraged municipalities to build broadband companies to compete with private companies. I was wondering what your feeling was about the public sector competing with the private sector in the area of broadband development?

Carly Fiorina:  It's a really bad idea. It's a bad idea because government is never as innovative or as effective as the private sector, because the incentives in government are totally different. It's a bad idea because when the government decides to do it, it makes it too hard for the private sector to do it. It's a bad idea because he made that pronouncement right at a time in Iowa where the market for broadband in rural Iowa is really picking up, because agriculture is becoming high tech. Really high tech. And so the need for broadband is now creating a really attractive market, whether it's for private media companies, or Telecom companies, or electric co-ops. All these providers are people who would be interested in putting together a plan and selling it to consumers in rural Iowa, but they won't. They won't make those investments. They won't make those innovations. If the government says, "We're gonna do it," nobody gets to compete with the government effectively because the government gets to set the rules, and then play by their own rules.

Jeff Angelo (Mediacom):  Thank you.

Carly Fiorina:  You're welcome.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you. Again, our friends from Mediacom. Iowa, or the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association are here.

Jim Gossett (Racoon Valley Electric Co-op):  Thank you for joining us. I'm Jim Gossett with Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative. What ideas on strengthening rural America are unique to your campaign that would be of interest to our Electric Cooperative member consumers?

Carly Fiorina:  Well first I hope you get into the broadband business, because I do think there is a market there. I remember that combine ride and all that high tech. There's a real market there. Look, I think... I'll be very honest with you. I think the policies that I'm talking about, the policies of remembering who's best able to make a decision or investment, the policies that say bureaucrats generally aren't very good at a lot of things, so let's get them out of all the things they're not supposed to be in. Let's understand how our money is being spent. These policies apply to rural America, just as they apply to urban America, and all of America. When you have government playing a role that it isn't intended to play, and playing it badly, that crushes opportunity for everybody, in rural America and urban America. And that's what we see going on today. Ours was intended to be a citizen government, and we've come to this place where we have an out of control government bureaucracy, and we have a professional political class that has sort of gone along with this for 50 years. And this isn't just me talking, and it's not just you talking. 75% of the American people now think the Federal Government is corrupt, as well as inept. That's a huge percentage. 82% of the American people now think we have a professional political class that cares more about the protection of its own power, position and privilege than it does on getting anything done. And what we have actually is people who have been tinkering around the edges of these problems forever, but we never actually solved the problems. Get government out of the business it shouldn't be in. So, I hope I've demonstrated in the course of this interview that rural America is a hugely important part of this nation's potential. That rural Iowa, in particular, is not only a hugely important piece of this nation's potential, but it has a hugely vital role to play in the world. If we care about our security, if we care, if we are compassionate people, rural Iowa needs to continue to feed the world more and more and more effectively. But I think all of the policies that I'm talking about, including remembering who will make the best decision on behalf of their family investment, and their family and their community, someone who is impacted by it every day, or somebody thousands of miles away, I think all of those policies benefit rural America. And because I'm not a politician, and because I've spent a lifetime, a lifetime, challenging the status quo, solving problems and producing results, that's how you go from secretary to CEO. I think I can do that in the Oval Office as well, in partnership with the citizens of this great nation.

Jim Gossett (Racoon Valley Electric Co-op):  Thank you.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you for being here. We heard earlier from our Iowa Pork Producers, now we go to the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. Welcome.

Sparky Wellman (Iowa Cattlemen's Association):  Welcome to Iowa, Carly. I'm going to call you Carly because I'm not sure I can pronounce your last name.

Carly Fiorina:  You just call me Carly, please.

Sparky Wellman (Iowa Cattlemen's Association):  So, on August 28th the expansive Waters of the U.S. rule went into effect in 37 states, including Iowa. Recently, however, a stay was granted preventing the implementation of the rule entirely, and making cattlemen and landowners' heads spin. Under your administration, what would the outcome of this poorly designed and executed rulemaking be?

Carly Fiorina:  We'd roll it back. We would roll it back. How did Lotus get rolled out? Was there any discussion among the people's representatives? No. The EPA just rolled it out. That's why I said we've become a nation of rules, not a nation of laws. One of the things that I've encouraged Congress to do is pass something called The Raines Act. The Raines Act would give Congress the authority and the accountability to oversee every new regulation. Because when you just have regulators who get to come up with their own rules, you're going to have Lotus. And of course, it's purely partisan, it's based on an ideological point of view about how water should be controlled, that is fundamentally damaging, not to mention disrespectful to the farmers of Iowa who understand how to control and how to manage their water. So they need to be rolled back. But then we have to put safeguards in place so that this doesn't happen again. That's why the Raines Act is important. Give Congress, the people's house, the authority and the accountability to oversee each new regulation, and make a cost benefit trade-off. Go back and put in place Sunset Rules so regulations don't just sit on the books forever. Can you remember a single regulation that we've ever repealed? I mean the last set of regulations that were repealed were under Ronald Reagan. Since then all we've done is roll out more, and more, and more and more. And the cumulative impact of that weight of rules is crushing, and this is the latest example. So they got rolled out in lawless fashion, they're going to get rolled back, but then we have to put in place the safeguards. And that includes one last point, if I may, a top to bottom review of every single regulation that's on the books today. We haven't done that, I'm not sure we've done it ever, but we've certainly not done it in the last 50 years. We don't even know what those rules are, so how can you possibly be expected to understand what rule you're breaking, when you don't even know what the rules are anymore?

Sparky Wellman (Iowa Cattlemen's Association):  Exactly. Thank you. And honestly I don't think I introduced myself, and I was supposed to do that, so I am Sparky Wellman. I'm a regional Vice President for the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, and we welcome and thank you for being here.

Carly Fiorina:  Thank you Sparky.

Mark Oppold:  And thank you for being here as well. Animal Ag Alliance is here, and kind of a follow-up topic in a way. Go ahead.

Kay Johnson Smith (Animal Ag Alliance):  Sure. Hi Carly. Thank you for being here. I'm Kay Johnson Smith, President of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. We're based in the Washington D.C. area, and our role is really to help bridge the communications gap between farm and fork. So there are consumers and some organizations, as well as members of the media, that have concerns about the use of antibiotics in food animal production, and yet they are critical tools for ensuring the health and well-being of the animals, as well as our safe food supplies. So what are your thoughts on the use of antibiotics?

Carly Fiorina:  So let's go back, once again, to first principles. The people who are raising this issue as a concern don't really know much about it. It is a tactic to ensure more government intervention and regulation. And yet I'm willing to bet on a livestock producer who has to pay for those antibiotics, who makes an investment year after year after year in the production, in the safety, in the quality of their herds, because their family and their communities depends upon it. I'm willing to bet that you're using antibiotics because you think it is the best way to both protect your consumers, and protect your investment. So I don't think the Federal Government should be engaged in this because I think it is a false problem. You know, this is how socialism starts, honestly. Government creates a problem, and then government steps in to solve the problem. And in the process of stepping in to solve the problem they take more power. So a bunch of people are creating a problem. Antibiotics and food supply is an issue. And now government wants to step in and solve that problem. "We need new regulation," and the result of that is going to be more decision making and power in the hands of where it doesn't belong.

Kay Johnson Smith (Animal Ag Alliance):  Thank you.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you very much. Yeah, and we could spend an hour on that topic as well, but we're going to take a break. We're nearing the home stretch of this edition of Rural Town Hall, Republican candidate Carly Fiorina. Still to come important issues like Social Security and much, much more. You're watching Rural Town Hall on RFD-TV.

Announcer:  RFD-TV's Rural Town Hall. Produced in association with Mediacom, the power to simplify.

Mark Oppold:  Welcome back to Rural Town Hall on RFD-TV. I'm Mark Oppold. It's been a fast hour talking to Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina about topics important to you across rural America and our communities as well. Time for one last question, and it comes from our friends from AARP. Welcome.

Robert Host (AARP):  Hi Carly. My name is Robert Host and I'm a volunteer with AARP. We know that rural America is more dependent on income from Social Security in our nation's cities. What is your plan to address Social Security's financial shortfall, and update the program to put it on stable ground for rural America, and for future generations?

Carly Fiorina:  How long have we been talking about reforming Social Security? We talk about it every election cycle, don't we? And every election cycle, politicians roll out some plan, and it's never been implemented. And why hasn't it ever been implemented? Because to implement any Social Security reform will require actually challenging the status quo. So here's what I believe. Number one, there are lots of great ideas about how to reform Social Security. Let's start with the fact that people are dependent upon Social Security now, and some will soon be dependent on it, so we can't touch anything about it because we've made a contract with those people. But I'm not going to start there, and I'm not going to roll out a plan to reform Social Security. Where I'm going to start is to assure the American people that we actually can spend their money wisely and well. Because while we talk about Social Security each and every election, the reality is 30% of an enormous federal budget is being mismanaged. Every year we have reports of tens upon tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars of fraud in Social Security, in Medicare, of waste, abuse. We now learn that the Federal Government has overpaid inappropriately a trillion dollars to people in payments who never should have gotten them. If we can't clean that up, then why should the American people believe we can do anything complicated and important? So let's start with making sure that the Federal Government is doing its job with excellence, and it is accountable to the people who pay for it. When we can prove that, when no longer 75% of the American people say the government is corrupt, then let's have a conversation together about how it is we should make sure that some of these programs are solvent for the long haul. And if I can just use your question, sir, to make a couple closing comments here. You know...

Mark Oppold:  About a minute to go.

Carly Fiorina:  Yeah. All these festering problems we've had in Washington D.C. for a long time under Republicans and Democrats alike, it reminds me of the difference between management and leadership. Managers are people who operate within the status quo. They never really challenge the system, and so they don't ever really solve festering problems, they tinker around the edges of problems. It's not that they're bad people, it's that they're managers. But leaders challenge the status quo. And what we need now in this nation is a leader who will work with the citizens of this nation. Ours was intended to be a citizen government. We need that to finally solve these festering problems, and create a government that is responsive to the people who pay for it.

Mark Oppold:  Thank you very much, and thank you Carly Fiorina for being here. You are welcome on RFD-TV any time. Please come back and see us.

Carly Fiorina:  Thank you so much for having me, I really enjoyed it.

Mark Oppold:  Alright. That's going to wrap things up here in Des Moines Iowa. Thanks to the Stine family for this beautiful surrounding once again, to have this Rural Town Hall. Thank you so much for joining us as well. Rural Town Hall, another reason we mean it when we say RFD-TV is rural America's most important network.

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