Opinion

Utah Lawmaker: GOP is the Party to Address Urgent Bread & Butter Issues Today

US House of Representatives. (File)The Republicans are close to winning the House, while the Senate’s fate is hanging in the balance. As the midterms are likely to end up in a divided government, the White House needs to put the interests of the American people above the partisan struggle in the coming two years, Kera Birkeland, a Utah GOP state representative, told Sputnik.Sputnik: What has changed since the 2020 presidential election? Are we seeing the “red wave” in the US?Kera Birkeland: I don’t think we’re seeing quite the red wave people were predicting, and that’s unfortunate, in my opinion. However, I think what’s changed is people are very frustrated with the state of the economy, with our taxes, with our law enforcement system, with our criminal justice system, with so many different things. They’re frustrated with just so many things being pushed upon them. And we’re not seeing Republican candidates who come out with solutions – strong solutions. They spend a lot of time just talking about why their opponents are bad and not about what they’re going to do. I think most Americans are to the point where they’re done with the divisive rhetoric and they just want to hear how you’re going to represent/help them.Sputnik: Can the GOP deliver new hope to ordinary Americans who are struggling with ‘bread and butter’ issues?Kera Birkeland: Absolutely. I think Republican principles, our platform is designed to address these bread and butter issues, right? Taxes: we know what it means to try to keep food on the table, to keep more of the money that we worked so hard to use to support our families. And we understand these issues.I think – it’s just my opinion – that since the last few years, we’ve spent so much time defending ourselves and why, you know, why we’re not this or why we’re not that. And so instead of talking about what we are, who we are as Republicans, because we are the everyday American and we care about these issues because the Republicans are the ones with the large families, these bread and butter issues impact them so much more than many other people in the political spectrum. We have the solutions. We just have to start talking about them in a way that isn’t so divisive.Americas118th Congress: What Will New GOP-Dem Balance Mean for Biden & Nation?10 November, 12:20 GMTSputnik: How would you estimate the Republicans’ performance in the midterms, given that more than 70% of US voters are dissatisfied with Biden’s presidency, according to exit polls?Kera Birkeland: Well, I think at the state level, Republicans will do very, very well – when it comes to the legislature, when it comes to executive offices, Republicans are going to do very well across the nation. I think when it comes to congressional and Senate races, national races, it’s going to be a lot harder because there’s a lot more divisiveness involved. And Republicans are getting caught up in a lot of that rhetoric and they’re not talking about and connecting with the people. So, I feel like we could do better there in that area when it comes to recognizing that people are dissatisfied with President Biden in large numbers. So, let’s speak to their concerns. And I think, again, we’re doing it well on a state level. Nationally, we’re not doing it well as a Republican Party.2022 US MidtermsHow Political Gridlock in Washington Will Affect US Economy10 November, 14:16 GMTSputnik: If there is, in fact, a “red wave”, what does the future hold for the Biden administration and the Democratic Party? How will a Republican majority impact Biden’s initiatives and what can it bring to Congress?Kera Birkeland: Well, I think, you know, we will see some good Republican nationwide races won. Senator Mike Lee winning the Utah race and [is] being reelected. Here is just one great start to what we’re going to see as far as a red wave. Biden’s administration and the Democratic Party, I think, [are] in trouble.I think that they need to recognize that they’re not addressing the needs of the people. It’s great that, you know, the Democrats have a supermajority right now. But the problem is they’re in their own box, their own echo chamber. So the global issues and the global things that they think they’re so proud of and the American people care about, they don’t.So the everyday people who are showing up to the polls to vote in their mayors, voting their council members to vote in their legislators, they’re unhappy with Biden and the Democratic Party right now. They see record high inflation. They see the rocketing prices to do and live anywhere. And it’s only going to impact them more and more. And so while we may not see a massive red wave right here, right now, I think next year and the following year, it’s going to be a trickle effect where we’re going to consistently see not just people voting red, but people leaving the Democratic Party and becoming Republicans or unaffiliated because they just feel unheard.I think, you know, on a state level, I think something we could do is looking at cutting the food tax. If your state has a sales tax on food, let’s get rid of that. Let’s make it more affordable for people to buy food. You know, have a gas tax holiday. We could decrease or end property taxes for some states that have that. Anything that we can do as a government to give more of the money back to the people, that’s going to let people see who’s in control, who’s leading this effort. Is it Republicans? Is it Democrats? Typically, it’s going to be Republicans when it comes to tax cuts. And that will help them see that it is the Republican principles that really are going to help them be successful and give them the things that they’re hoping for and seeking so much right now, which is stability. And we have lacked stability across our nation over the last couple of years.2022 US MidtermsDems Growing Weary & Disgruntled With Biden9 November, 19:05 GMTSputnik: Biden said in his speech: “If we lose the House of Representatives and the Senate, it will be a terrible two years. The good news is that I will have a pen to sign the veto.” How great a power of veto as president does Biden really have?Kera Birkeland: It’s not so great. It’s not so great, number one. Number two, the American people should be very fearful. That means essentially that we’d have a lame duck [House of] representatives and Congress and president, where all we’re doing is just stopping any good policy and progress. Sometimes we just need to just let the House be in control, whether it’s the Democrats or Republicans, let them go forward, let them be as successful as they can be and try to come to the table and find solutions where we have serious concerns. I just think so many people like me we’re tired of this. It has to be the Republican way or the Democratic way. No, we just want it to be the people’s way. And so I think the Biden administration, what they’re saying to me with that statement is that nothing’s going to happen in the next two years. We will see no real, genuine policy that brings hope to the American people.

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