Government

Christopher Peters, candidate for Iowa's 2nd Congressional District

Christopher Peters is a Republican challenger in Iowa 2nd Congressional District, photographed in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Christopher Peters is a Republican challenger in Iowa 2nd Congressional District, photographed in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Name: Christopher Peters

Party: Republican

Residence: Coralville

Age: 58

Occupation: Physician

Education: M.D., University of Kansas

Website: DrPetersForIowa.com

What are the three most important issues facing Iowans and our country, and how would you address them as a U.S. representative?

• Health care costs

• Immigration

• Government dysfunction

In health care, I hope to bring actual medical experience that Congress sorely lacks to promote patient-centered reform that allows decisions to be made by patients and doctors, and not by special interests in Washington. Immigration has to be the biggest bipartisan issue to build a comprehensive plan, and I would be proud to be a part of that. Meanwhile, Congress is broken. We don’t have regular order, we haven’t passed a budget in 21 years, and career politicians are putting special interests above their constituents’ interests. That needs to change.

Do you support President Donald Trump’s approach to trade and tariffs? Why or why not?

President Trump identified a serious issue on trade, but I can’t say I would have gone about resolving it the same way he did. Iowa farmers should never be used as a pawn in trade disputes, and I intend on working with the president in Washington to make sure that is no longer the case. No so-called resistance can achieve that. We can address these issues individually, with free trade as an end goal, without sacrificing our agricultural and manufacturing industries.

What will you propose or support in Congress to protect and promote Iowa’s farming economy?

The biggest thing we can do right now is work on trade to ensure Iowa farmers can compete on the world stage. Recent developments from Taiwan and the USMCA are good news, but there are still trade barriers to take down in regards to China and the EU, and I hope to work hand-in-hand with every Midwestern representative and senator, regardless of party, to make sure our farmers’ needs are prioritized.

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What steps are needed to help grow and retain Iowa’s workforce, especially in more rural areas?

The foundation of our workforce has to be education. We have more job openings in Iowa than people looking for work, and that is largely because of the lack of emphasis put on trade skills. The future of education is likely going to be decentralized and technological, so what we can do legislatively is take down the barriers inhibiting that currently, and work on a certification process to allow us to move away from brick-and-mortar institutions. I also support expanding legal immigration.

Do you believe Congress should increase the federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25?

Wages are currently rising, along with benefits, because of the growth in our economy. This, along with falling unemployment, is great news for Iowa’s workers. The experience in Seattle has shown that a sizable increase in the minimum wage resulted in a decrease in hours and benefits to the point that workers aren’t taking more home, and the burden it places on small and new businesses is crippling. Accordingly, a one-size-fits-all top-down solution is not the best option going forward.

What steps are needed to control the rising costs of health premiums and health care?

The rising costs of health care services is the core problem, as coverage costs rise accordingly. To address costs, we must advocate for transparency in health care service costs and promote greater competition among health care service providers. These trends can be advanced by legislation that provides more choice for health care consumers, to include greater availability of high-deductible insurance for most Americans, and the ability to contribute to health savings accounts (HSAs) for all.

What is your approach to immigration reform? What steps will you propose or support in Congress?

We need a comprehensive immigration bill to address all concerns. We should secure our borders in a cost-effective way. We should also reduce the barriers and speed the process for legal immigration to meet our workforce needs. Immigrants who came here illegally but are living peaceful and prosperous lives in our communities should be offered a path to permanent status. For those who are not, and particularly those involved in violent crime, they should be deported to their home countries.

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If you are elected, what efforts would you make to listen to and include those who have political beliefs which don’t match your own? How would you communicate with your constituents?

I have pledged with the Town Hall Project to hold four town halls over my first term, but I would like to take that a step further. I will host a town hall in all 24 counties in my district in my first term, planned a month in advance and published in local newspapers to make sure that every constituent has a chance to be heard. My opponent has never done a public town hall during his 12 years in office.

Why are you the best candidate to represent this district in Iowa?

I am not an extreme partisan. As a surgeon, I’m a pragmatic problem-solver. This involves being willing to take the time to fully study complex subjects, to weigh the risks-and-benefits of each potential option, and to always put my country and constituents first. Because of my willingness and ability to look at policy issues anew, without partisan lenses, I am able to arrive at novel solutions. My opponent, in contrast, often takes the standard partisan view.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.