This site is meant to facilitate the upward flow of information to help our elected officials stay in touch with those they represent. Also as a means to help us (the voters) help our leaders lead.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Interview With Bill Cooper for Congress

Interview With Bill Cooper
Candidate for the 2nd US Congressional Seat.

The upcoming general election in 2010 and the Primaries are promising to be long, wild and wooly affairs, with several contentious races from top to bottom.

Bottom Up Politics hopes to be able to help our readers learn about the candidates themselves who are running by what they are saying and doing through interviews such as this. Let the candidates and not the media tell the voters what they stand for.

I hope to interview as many candidates as possible before the primaries, from the Townships on up to State wide candidates; also the US House Seat as well. This site is after all called “Bottom Up Politics”. Please see my side bar for a list of interviews, it is growing.

I also hope to re interview the same candidates as we get closer to the election.
Before introducing our next interviewee, I want to make a point of saying where I stand at the time of each interview. I will simply say Positive, Negative, or Neutral. This may change as I along with my readers learn more through this process.

Our interview today is with Bill Cooper a candidate running for the 2nd Michigan US House District. Entrepreneur Bill Cooper is hoping to win the Republican Primary and replace the Hon. Peter Hoekstra in Michigan’s 2nd US House District. I am Neutral in this race.

The Interview proper

(Bottom UP) - Hello and welcome Mr. Bill Cooper to “Bottom Up Politics”. Thanks for making the time to do this.

Reply – Thank you for giving me this opportunity, Bob.

(Bottom UP) – Before I go further, for my readers, here is a link to Mr. Cooper’s website, and twitter.

Below is a map of the 2nd US Congressional District for my readers.

(Bottom UP) – I’ve been in a County wide campaign and thought it involved a lot of running around, now I’m trying to cover the “Five Counties” of Bottom Up Politics and find it nearly impossible. You sir have to try to cover all the counties above. How can you manage?

Reply – Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District includes all of nine counties and part of two. Good time management is critical, which is a skill I’ve developed in owning and managing businesses. Fortunately I have a great team around me that keeps me on schedule and where I am supposed to be. I also have strong supporters in every county that let me know when there are important events taking place.

(Bottom UP) - In an article from the Detroit News dated 7/23/09, it was stated you had owned several varied and I might add successful businesses in the past and your current venture was AMG Business Center in Muskegon. How will this business experience help you in the upcoming primary battle?

Reply – My experience has taught me to run my own campaign and remain “a person rather than becoming a product.” I have 25 years of experience, assembling teams, setting priorities, negotiating contracts, leading people and delivering a message. Most important, learning how to manage time and working hard isn’t something I needed to learn how to do for this election, it’s what I’ve been doing my entire adult life. I don’t know how a candidate could avoid becoming little more than a “product” created by a political consultant, if they didn’t have experience doing these things for themselves.

(Bottom UP) - The campaign for the 2nd District Primary has been in full swing now for awhile. Since that early article above, what if anything has evolved as the main question in this primary.

Reply – I have been finding that people are trying to determine who will go to Washington D.C. and will be able to do what they say they will do. All of the candidates in this race are claiming that they are fiscal conservatives and will rein in federal spending. Voters need to decide, based on the background of each candidate, who is most likely to actually be successful in making the tough decisions.

(Bottom UP) - From your business experience can you give a specific example of what as a US Congressman you would fight to change? What from your personal experience has caused your business efforts the most harm as far as government intervention is concerned?

Reply – Spending. I believe that the biggest economic issue, the greatest national security issue and the most critical social issues all revolve around the unsustainable level of spending. Congress has proven, since the budget rules changed in 1974, that they do not possess the discipline to not spend more money than they take in. For that reason, I would be passionate about putting limits on spending so that Congress no longer has as much discretion.

I have found a way to be successful despite the government. I have never owned a business that depended on government funding or subsidies. The greatest challenges have usually been determining the volumes of paperwork that must be generated and regulations that must be followed to stay within conformity.

(Bottom UP) – I must say your use of campaign monies has been unique and I appreciate the good that it has done. All candidates could take a page from your book. I’m talking about your “Thanks a Million” campaign. Could you briefly sketch out for the readers of Bottom Up Politics what that program is and what inspired you to come up with it?

Reply – I have committed to distributing one million pounds of food to those in need in West Michigan, over the course of a year through a program called Thanks a Million! West Michigan.

When I was being encouraged to run for Congress, my first natural question was, “how much will that cost?” When the answer I heard was, around a half a million dollars, my next natural question was, “where does all that money go?” When the answer was; TV, radio, newspaper ads, stickers and pens, I decided to do something different. I knew that I needed to get to know the people of West Michigan. I wanted to meet people in need, but just as important, people who were willing to help the people in need. I had just recently sponsored a mobile food pantry for my wife’s birthday. I saw the positive effect it had on us, and our family. It was then that I decided that if I was going to pursue this, I was going to do something that would really make a positive difference in the communities I was asking to serve.

So, I purchased a semi-tractor, a beverage trailer, and started Thanks a Million! West Michigan. The events are non-political and I do not do any campaigning before, during or after them. We do not allow any other politicians to campaign at them either. Politicizing them would not be illegal, but I believe that the importance and significance of what we are doing would be greatly diminished if they were. I cannot guarantee what will happen in the August election, but I can say that I have never done anything in my life that feels more right than Thanks a Million! West Michigan.

(Bottom Up) – Bill, I see you at some of the Tea Party events and meetings in the scope of the “Five Counties” of Bottom Up Politics. Two questions, what do you think of the Movement in general and how will this play in your campaign?

Reply – I think it is a revolutionary group, and a great time for a movement like this to happen. It is good to see people getting involved in our republic and reading and appreciating our Constitution and other founding documents. I believe that these people have the potential to have a significant impact on the upcoming and future elections.

When I meet with Tea Parties I feel very comfortable. I do not have to change anything about my message. I can be exactly who I am, and believe that my story resonates with them. The Tea Parties seem to be looking for electable people who have track records of fiscal conservatism, leadership and a desire to get involved for the right reasons. I believe that I am the candidate that most closely resembles what they are looking for.

(Bottom UP) – Since this explosion of Tea Party interest in the Constitution; almost every Republican candidate is espousing limited Constitutional Government. What if anything concrete as far as legislation would you propose?

Reply – Constitutional restraints on spending, the Enumerated Powers Act, earmark reform, and limits on the Fed and monetary supply. I believe that without commitments to these issues, our country is at great risk of completely abandoning our Constitution.

(Bottom UP) – In researching this interview I ran across a link to Milton Freedman in your website. For my readers, . He and Hayek are the two people I’ve learned the most from in my political thinking. Newt Gingrich at CPAC 2010 in his impassioned speech mentioned F. A. Hayek when he said this of corruption, “that it (corruption) is the logical extension of centralized planning in the government of Great Britain, which was proof of Hayek’s principle that Central Planning inherently leads to dictatorship.”
First does this make sense to you, and if so how would you propose as a newly elected United States Congressman to put a halt to Central Planning?

Reply – I am a firm believer in and supporter of states’ rights. The Enumerated Powers Act would contribute to returning power to the states where it belongs. Central planning does not allow for the experimentation that was intended to occur in the individual states. Then when central planning fails, the intent of the program becomes the new justification for the continuation of the failed program.

(Bottom UP) – By most everyone’s measure the Republicans will be picking up quite a few seats in the US House in 2010. Some are predicting (myself included) picking up a majority. I’m betting 46 seats. That would make for a huge Freshman class. If you were part of that class; what would your plans be? That would be quite a mandate.

Reply – I am currently developing a plan that would help to make the 112th Congress’ Freshman Class one of the most successful in history. I will share more of the details of that plan as they come to fruition.

(Bottom UP) – There has been a lot of talk among the Candidates for the 2nd District about the Michigan Business Tax. I understand the motivations of all sides; frankly that is a state issue. I’m interested in what the candidates; you in particular will do in the US House of Representatives regarding making the business climate more favorable for all business on the national level.

Reply- I am first and foremost a small businessman. Despite the fact that I have had more than 500 employees over the past 25 years, my companies have always been classified as small businesses.

The single most important factor in turning our economy around is the reduction of federal spending. Businesses fear instability. Instability is created when government has unlimited resources available to artificially support specific industries by picking winners and losers, create unfair playing fields, or use government support in exchange for political favors. There are several specific issues that I would fight for, as previously stated, but the single greatest issue facing business today is the unsustainable level of government spending and redistribution.

(Bottom UP) – On a more personal level, the ever increasing intrusiveness of the government into all aspects of our daily lives seems incurable. Is it? If not what first steps would you take as a US Representative to try and curb it?

Reply – We have the power and ability to stop it almost immediately. The decisions that have so many Americans’ disillusioned, are being made by less than 550 people. Every two years we have the opportunity to replace 468 of them (435 Representatives and 33 Senators).

The challenge currently is that the bottom 50% of income earners in this country pay 2.89% of the Federal taxes collected. When more than 50% of the electorate has little to no immediate financial consequence in voting themselves anything they would like from the Treasury, other arguments must be made. We must now begin the process of explaining the damage this phenomenon has on a free market economy. When the penalty for success and risks are too high, as I believe they are becoming now, there will be less risks taken and less success achieved. The free enterprise system that has created the greatest wealth in the history of the world is now on the verge of collapse. We need to elect leaders that understand the importance of fostering the entrepreneurialism that is the answer to economic prosperity for Americans above and below the 50% line.

(Bottom UP) – With all the talk in the 2008 election cycle about earmarks and how startling bad they are; the only thing in 2010 that we have seen is how startlingly they have increased. Jason Chaffetz a Freshman Congressman in Utah was the only Congressman to actually not put any earmarks in the new budget. Since then he has openly withdrawn from that absolute prohibition on earmarks to a “only good earmarks” approach. Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a non-profit watchdog group; said the following "But there is no good earmark in our view." What are your views on Earmarks?

Reply – I agree that there are no good earmarks. Unfortunately, when there is a huge pile of money just sitting there, are you going to be the only Congressman that just stands by and watches everyone around you fleecing the pile? It is for that reason that we need to send people to Washington D.C. who are committed to reforming the earmark process. Until earmarks are eliminated for everyone, they will continue to make fiscal responsibility in Washington D.C. impossible.

(Bottom UP) – Thank you Bill Cooper for taking the time to answer these questions, I appreciate it and I hope my readers do as well. Also, again for my readers here is your website; In closing I would like to throw the floor open to you. What have I missed about your candidacy that you would like to tell my readers?

Reply – Your questions were well thought out and elicited thorough responses. You know I can go on all day, but should probably just say that if anyone reading this would like a more in depth answer to any policy issue please contact me through my web site
Also, my Web site provides a lot of valuable information about my candidacy, including testimonials from former employees about my leadership in business. I encourage everyone to view it at their convenience.

(Bottom UP) - Thanks again Mr. Cooper for your time; and with regards, Bob Carr.


Anonymous said...

Very good interview and responses from the candidate. From a name recognition standpoint I was leaning toward Jay Riemersma. But the idea of putting a businessman who has a history fiscal responsibility in Congress, I think is a good one. I am reminded that the definition of stupid is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Maybe it is time to stop electing politicians and instead elect a businessman or farmer or housewife for that matter- someone who will stop wasteful spending and get America on the right track. I like this guy.

Anonymous said...

It is so refreshing to see someone running for office who is not striving to pander to everyone like someone packaged by image consultants and insiders. It is simply not possible to be all things to all people. We need someone who IS who they appear to be, and someone that WILL represent the will of the people who elected him. It seems as if Washington causes amnesia in elected officials. Let’s elect someone who won’t forget why he was elected.

Anonymous said...

Great interview with Mr. Cooper. I was growing more and more pessimistic on the future of our District until I heard Bill Cooper's ideas. We cannot afford to re-elect career politicians that put us in this position nor can we afford to gamble on a football player to bring jobs back to our country and state.

This should be the most simple election in the entire country. Our district, state, and country are all in dire straits financially as a result of job loss. Bill Cooper is the only person in this race that knows how to correct any of those mistakes and failed policies we currently have.

it's so simple. If you want things to continue in the direction we're heading, vote for the guys that have been there before. If you want a football coach for your son's Pop Warner team, vote for the football player. If you think we need to turn things around and bring jobs back to Michigan and the United States, Bill Cooper is the choice.