U.S. Senate candidate says border security is a priority
Dr. Kelli Ward essentially advised an enthusiastic, overflow audience at Wednesday's Mohave Republican Forum that she has to rely on individual voters, and not special interest money, if she is to unseat U.S. Sen. John McCain in 2016.
"I tell the lobbyists, if people don't elect me, I won't be back," said Ward, a Republican state senator from Lake Havasu City. "Lobbyists say they won't support me if I don't do what they say."
Ward said her campaign to defeat McCain is "going amazingly well." She said "Team Ward" has members in every Arizona county. She also said the campaign is "doing great" at raising money, but she didn't offer an update on the state of her war chest. Political analysts mostly agree a run for the U.S. Senate costs about $10 million.
Ward touched on a number of subjects that concern her. They are:
Ward said her chief priority if elected is to secure the U.S. and Mexico border. She mocked McCain, who famously said, "Build the dang fence" during the 2010 election.
"He got back in office and headed - not joined - the Gang of Eight," said Ward. The gang of eight is a colloquial term given to eight senators, four Republicans and four Democrats, who in 2013 initiated a plan to reform immigration laws, including a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally.
Ward implied McCain's efforts to provide such a path for undocumented immigrants was a "slap in the face" to Arizonans.
She likened the current response to unlawful immigration to an overflowing sink. "Do you think, oh, what kind of mop should I use ... or do you first turn off the water?" Ward advocates for a combination of measures, including the building of a physical wall in some places, surveillance cameras and people, including the National Guard, on the border. She also said the U.S. must destroy tunnels migrants use to cross.
The Affordable Care Act
Ward said President Barack Obama's health care law contains a "tiny bit" of good, but "mostly it's very bad and ugly." Ward, a family practitioner, said the situation would only get worse. She said providers and health care companies are leaving "Obamacare and Medicaid" because they are not getting paid, and that means people's choices have been reduced.
"Obamacare is the biggest assault on liberty and freedom in history," she said. "People should get what they want rather than what the government is willing to give them."
If elected, she would advocate for the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Social Security, Medicaid
"If we don't reform Social Security and Medicaid we are doomed to economic failure," she said.
Ward said when Social Security was enacted, 39 working Americans supported one person on Social Security. The number now, she said, is two to one. "It's not sustainable."
She said she favors privatization and allowing Americans, particularly younger workers, the option of investing the portion of their check that normally goes to Social Security.
Ward said the tax code is far too complicated and "gives the IRS way too much control over Americans.
"I like a flatter, fairer tax code."