FULL INTERVIEW: Congressman Brad Finstad candidate profile

KEYC News Now's Sean Morawczynski sat down with Rep. Brad Finstad (R) for a one-on-one conversation ahead of the November election.
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 7:48 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - After a special election in August, the seat in southern Minnesota’s first congressional district is up for grabs again in the November general election.

One of those candidates vying for the seat is the winner of an August special election, republican Brad Finstad. KEYC News Now’s Sean Morawczynski sat down with Finstad.

You identify as as a pro-Trump candidate. What does that mean to you in terms of policy?

If you look at where we’re at today versus where we were three-and-a-half years ago from a policy perspective, during the Trump presidency, gas was $1.80, our 401(k)s were clicking right along, we had peace in the world stage and we had an economy that was working for families. You fast forward, right now the family pocketbook is getting just annihilated. We see it on the gas price and the food price, on the supply chain side. So for me, it was all about results and at the end of the day, it’s about making sure families have the opportunity to succeed.

Your first vote (as you are the incumbent now after the special election in August) was voting “no” on the Inflation reduction and can you explain that vote?

I just took the southern Minnesota farmer mentality to Washington. My first question on that was ‘does it reduce inflation?’ And the answer was no. So we had a $800 billion, almost a trillion dollar new spending package that the Congressional Budget Office told us that it didn’t reduce inflation, that was strike number one. Strike number two is it added 87,000 new IRS agents. It was an attack on the combustible fuels gas engines, it went the way of electric vehicles, and all of this under the guise of reducing inflation. So for me it wasn’t being honest with the American public and it wasn’t really hitting the mark of it when it comes to reducing inflation so it became an easy ‘no’ vote for me.

What would you suggest to reduce inflation?

First and foremost, start looking at these issues one at a time instead of throwing it all into one big bill and try to make something happen that way. I think from an inflationary standpoint right now, it starts with energy. Three years ago we were an energy exporter all over the world. We were trading energy sources with with the folks all over the world and right now we are reliant and energy-dependent on countries in some cases that don’t like us. So from an inflationary standpoint, it starts with energy because the energy cost, gas prices, are fueling so much of our pain. We see it play out on the supply chain see it play out on food cost. We’ve seen food costs go up 40 to 80% for me a starting number one would be the energy conversation.

How do you think the U.S. can insulate or protect itself from international events that have a impact on gas prices, the OPEC oil cuts or the war in Russia/Ukraine?

It’s exactly what I’m saying we can’t be so dependent on everyone else for our energy sources. When people say an America First agenda that actually means we have to take care of America first. So when we become energy dependent on countries that can hold us at the whims of if they like us or not. The reality of that policy is you and I end up paying four or five dollars a gallon of gas. If can rely on our neighbors right here in our country to produce energy for us, we can control some of that cost environmental standards of that and we can also then have the ability to have $1.80 gas.

Abortion has been on the top of the minds for a lot of orders what was your initial reaction when that Roe v. Wade decision came out?

It’s been 50 years in the making and I think a lot of people have been hoping for that decision to happen, to bring the conversation back here to our states and to have neighbor-to-neighbor conversation and in our state legislature and through the state process.

For me, I am a pro-life person, I have been my whole life and I have done a lot to help my neighbors. And I think that is really a part of this conversation that’s missing, that we should have more compassion, more understanding for those who are in crisis pregnancies and do what we can to help our neighbors.

In New Ulm, my wife and I and a bunch of our friends and family started a crisis pregnancy center, over 150 babies have been born through that center that were coming into this world in a crisis situation. We were able to lend a hand and be helpful to those families. I really know that the Dobbs decision has thrown the issue back to the states so in Minnesota nothing has changed.

Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a bill that would be an abortion after 15 weeks if that were to pass through it to the house, is that something that you would support?

Look, at as of right now I have no idea where the traction is on that but like I said the Dobbs decision threw the issue back to the state and the conversation should happen right here in our backyard, neighbor to neighbor.

As we sit here until January 6 committee has wrapped up all their public hearings on the Capitol assault that happened last year. There’s candidates from your party and across the country who are questioning the election results integrity. Do you have a message for those candidates or do you agree with that sentiment that the elections are not secure?

First and foremost, if people committed a crime and they should be prosecuted and held accountable. Whether it was the January 6 riots on our capital or whether it’s burning down a police precinct in Minneapolis. We need to restore law and order in this country. We need to have respect for our police. We need to have respect for the rule of law and the consequences of bad decisions. We owe it to our kids to do better as a society on that front.

As for the election, Joe Biden is our president, he is the worst president I have seen in my adult lifehood so we can do better than him. And we need to take steps in Congress to try to erase some of the bad policies he’s implemented.

Continuing, as President Trump had said last week that the election was still rigged. As a pro-Trump candidate, is that something you can support moving forward if he were to become the GOP frontrunner again?

The pro-Trump policies is what we just talked earlier. So you know the economy was booming during his four years as president. We didn’t see wars across the globe, we saw $1.80 gas, the family budgets were strong and we don’t have that right now. So we need to change the direction we need to focus on the family pocketbook issues.

Any other messages like to get out to the voters?

I just think you so much I’m humbled to sit in in the people seat. The people of southern Minnesota have this seat. It doesn’t belong to me, it doesn’t belong to a politician or a party but for the people in southern Minnesota. It’s just an honor to serve my friends, family and neighbors in Congress.