Candidate addresses issues

By GARRETT NEESE

gneese@mininggazette.com

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP – Jason Allen of Traverse City, one of the Republican candidates looking to fill outgoing U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek’s seat next year outlined his position on several Michigan issues during an interview with the Daily Mining Gazette on Saturday.

Allen’s priorities include bringing the country’s debt and deficit under control, rebuilding the country’s military and taking care of veterans.

“When you sit down and talk with a lot of the veterans that have to drive from Rudyard to Saginaw, when they have the challenges to get all the way over to Iron Mountain, you’ve got to increase accessibility,” he said during Saturday’s talk.

Before addressing the federal budget, Allen said, Congress first has to be able to pass one.

The Enbridge Line 5, which carries up to 23 million gallons daily of crude oil and natural gas through the Straits of Mackinac, has been an environmental concern due to concerns over adverse effects if the 63-year-old pipeline were to rupture. Lon Johnson, former state Democratic Party chair and a Democratic candidate for the 1st District seat, has called for the shutdown of the pipeline until it can be declared safe for operations after an independent review.

“The purity of the Great Lakes is critical,” Allen said when asked if he agreed. “We’ve got to protect it … I also am cognizant that there is a lot of natural gas that flows into homes in Houghton. So that is the other thing we’ve got to be cognizant of. If we can come up with a way to make sure that that occurs, then that’s part of the equation.”

On efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, Allen said he thinks the federal government should have only limited involvement in wages. Instead, he said, they should be determined at the state level.

“I think if people work hard, they should get paid better…” he said. “Certainly, the minimum wage is solid, but it limits the ability for people to improve.”