Republican candidate for U.S. Senate George LeMieux wants to go back to Washington. Can he shake the image among Republican primary voters of former Gov. Charlie Crist's right-hand man?
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Republican candidate for U.S. Senate George LeMieux has unveiled a campaign platform that generally follows the Republican handbook of lowering taxes, reducing government regulations and spending less.
LeMieux called the platform the "Four Freedoms Plan." It focuses on restructuring the nation's tax system and closing corporate loopholes, reducing government spending and debt, limiting the country's dependence on foreign credit and energy, and getting rid of regulations or laws that negatively impact business growth and people's pocketbooks.
LeMieux said spending in Washington is out of control and must be capped. He wants a balanced budget amendment for Congress because he says the national debt has jumped from about $5 trillion to $14 trillion over the past decade.
"If we do not curb our spending, we are going to lose our American way of life. My four kids, your kids and grandkids are not going to succeed in this country. They are not going to have the opportunities that we did."
LeMieux said he thinks the nation's corporate tax rate should be lowered from 35 percent to 25 percent. He calls the current tax code ridiculous.
"It needs to be fairer and flatter. By doing that, the total budgetary cost of the 80 separate corporate tax expenditures in our tax code right now is $660 billion over a five-year period. If we cut a majority of those loopholes and giveaways, and make the system fairer and more just, we will have dollars that we can then use to lower the corporate tax rate."
LeMieux also suggested raising the retirement age to 69 for workers currently under the age of 55 because he says Social Security won't survive without reforms.
He wants means testing for Social Security for people 55 and younger and he candidly says that means people who make a lot of money in retirement would get less. LeMieux said the program was designed as a safety net for people so Congress should make sure it operates as a safety net.
LeMieux also wants to repeal the national health care law because he believes it's limiting small business growth and he supports oil drilling at least 100 miles offshore.
LeMieux served in the Senate from 2009 to January of this year after being appointed to the position by former Gov. Charlie Crist.
He also served as chief of staff for Crist and once described himself as a "Charlie Crist Republican." But he backed away from that statement after Crist became an independent.
He was asked how he will overcome that comment, and video clip, among Republican primary voters who now consider Crist an outcast.
"I have a good conservative record and I think what people will look at is not who I used to work for but what I did when I was in office. I'm the only person in this race who never voted for a tax increase. I'm the only person in this race who never requested a wasteful earmark and I have a good, principled conservative record in the U.S. Senate."
Florida Democrats are blasting LeMieux's plan. They call it the worst of all the plans from the Republican Senate candidates because it would delay the retirement age to 69, they say it would endanger Florida beaches with offshore drilling and give millionaires tax breaks.
The candidates for the Republican nomination for Senate are LeMieux, Adam Hasner, Mike McCalister and Craig Miller.
First Coast News