Ted Simons: Republican Congressman Paul Gosar represents the 4th Congressional District which covers western and northwestern parts of the state and stretches through the Phoenix metro area. Good to see you again.
Paul Gosar: Good seeing you, Ted.
Ted Simons: We talked about Tesla, what's happening at the state level. Considering this big old battery plant, I guess, for Arizona. The entire congressional delegation signs off on this, let's talk about this.
Paul Gosar: Isn't that amazing? We can agree on something. This is very, very important, 65,000 jobs. We want to show that Arizona is open and willing for business. So this is a good move.
Ted Simons: Is there concern about that state law that requires a dealership to sell a vehicle? Is that something that needs to be looked at?
Paul Gosar: I think it's from the standpoint of the governor and the commerce authority and the state legislature to look at. As a federalist I want to make sure the states have their jurisdiction and work with them. That's always what we've tried to do. We've had lots of inquiries from other companies and manufacturers and we want to push them the same way. We don't want to pick and choose winners but we want to make sure there's a job market open right here in Arizona.
Ted Simons: We've worked hard to create one of the best business environments in the country by removing obstacles and we just went through a time where a lot of folks were making fun of Arizona, right or wrong, that image, how are we doing well by that image? People mentioned Tesla, they may not want to do business in a state with that kind of image. Does that make sense to you?
Paul Gosar: I don't know that that's the image, Ted. We came into this image as the last of the Lower 48 coming in. The one thing you've got to do that we are having a maverick type attitude in this state -- and I think that's what necessary for this next new generation of Arizonans to embrace and be the power of the southwest. I don't run from that, I run to that. We're willing to ask the questions.
Ted Simons: Was it concerning to you, though, a firm that looks at diversity and acceptance like a Tesla might be concerned about an SB 1062?
Paul Gosar: In a business model they ought to look at this. It's a golden opportunity for them to be part of an historic movement in Arizona. We've got blue skies, batteries that are state of the art. Here we are the mining center of the United States? It's time to play business.
Ted Simons: One more note on this the letter says a highly skilled workforce was mentioned but others are saying highly skilled workforce, right now education in Arizona is not emphasized enough to make that kind of a claim.
Paul Gosar: I disagree. I think we have our own aspect of growing pains and in education. We've got three great Universities, NAU, ASU and U of A. They are great steppingstones and on the forefront of that. We want oversight of our educational system at the K-12 level. We're tired of the status quo. Instead of teaching to the mediums, we want to teach to the excellence.
Ted Simons: Tesla is expected to decide when?
Paul Gosar: Here shortly. They are given notice they are in the final evaluation. It could be any time.
Ted Simons: Renewable energy on public lands, what exactly are we talking about here?
Paul Gosar: What we're trying to do is bring local control to some of the oversight on public lands. That is in renewables like solar and wind and geothermal. Some of these royalties that are expected to come back to the state, they are divvied out in their preparations. 25% goes to the county jurisdiction so that the counties that are most responsible for having these public lands, having to maintain them, actually get the revenues to come directly for them. It also starts the process of everybody having skin in the game of the permitting process. It's a win-win for the local communities.
Ted Simons: Is it revenue sharing similar to what is happening with oil exploration?
Paul Gosar: Absolutely, we want to be on the same footing.
Ted Simons: And infrastructure would be one of the things that would benefit, I would imagine?
Paul Gosar: Well, we would allow the county and state to decide in that regard. There's another 15% that actually goes to the permitting process and streamlining and 35% goes to establishing corridors for endangered species and nature preserves.
Ted Simons: What's the current situation?
Paul Gosar: It goes partly to the state and partly to the federal government. Part of that reason in the last budget process we split those revenue on public lands 50/50. That was extended to 52% going to the federal government and only 48% coming to the state. That's where what we need to do is have an equitable type of those royalties coming back to home reserve.
Ted Simons: Are we seeing renewable energy production? Are we seeing an increase, the promise of an increase on federal lands now?
Paul Gosar: I think the opportunity is absolutely there. Ted, instead of being a follower we're trying to lead the way and start that discussion, so that everybody is utilizing our public lands in an enhanced use application.
Ted Simons: Flood control issues are always big in Arizona, especially in rural Arizona.
Paul Gosar: We saw the budgetary plan, we got three of those instances moved forward. One in the big South is lower Santa Cruz. It's time to harness that water and start to look at our growth aspects, let's harness it and make it the CAP of the South. A constant battle trying to get the Feds to figure up an agreement in Flagstaff, and the levy over in Winslow.
Ted Simons: Protecting homes and rail lines in Flagstaff, correct?
Paul Gosar: Oh, absolutely. The southern part of Flagstaff very episodically floods. This channels that episodic flooding away from those businesses and allow good transportation.
Ted Simons: And this is $3 million?
Paul Gosar: We constantly go over and over this thing until we get this remedy done.
Ted Simons: It also benefits to have more than one lawmaker working on this. You teamed with Andrew Patrick on this?
Paul Gosar: When we were elected we were elected to represent everybody. I'm a builder kind of guy. The thing about it is that's what enhances an economy. It doesn't build an economy but it enhances it. The federal government in article I, Section 8, is responsible for structure aspects.
Ted Simons: Some of the business is not even in your district, correct?
Paul Gosar: I was hired to help Arizona and that's my intention, to help anybody that needs my help.
Ted Simons: You came out just recently with a number of ideas, five I believe, on cutting federal costs on everything from plane flights for congressional members to bonuses to V.A. members.
Paul Gosar: We've got to be serious about waste, fraud and abuse. We have to follow through oh on our promises to the American taxpayer that government is riddled with fraud. We have to start answering up. What we've done in the budgetary process, it gives you the opportunity to put these ideas forward and show the American people we can cut these costs. They are reasonable, sound and common sense. And then make sure they are applied into the budgetary process.
Ted Simons: When you talk about prohibiting members of Congress from flying first class, is it wise to call that fraud?
Paul Gosar: I lead by leadership. I walk a mile in my moccasins and lead by that example. We get upgraded when there are empty seats and that's fine.
Ted Simons: Another one was these life sized photographs of building facades. What is that all about?
Paul Gosar: When you do restoration projects like what you see in Washington, D.C., particularly on the Washington monument, we had to put these huge facades on there to pretend nothing was happening. What's the problem with discussing we're fixing the Washington monument. That's extra costs that we can't afford right now.
Ted Simons: And funding for the highway traffic administration's roadside survey, this is getting a lot of attention. If folks could pull you over and start to ask questions and doing all sorts of things.
Paul Gosar: This is bureaucracy run amok. These are some of the little things we've been able to pick up in regards to the bureaucracy, the spending habits. We don't have a habit of throwing in revenues, we have a big problem with spending.
Ted Simons: With these five, there's nothing here that breaks the bank, tips the Bank One way or the other, it's the message?
Paul Gosar: But they all add up. Every mom and pop is tightening their belt. We didn't like sequestration because it cut across the board. This is the scalpel knife coming in here, exposing and putting light on the spending problems in the bureaucracy. Then let us answer and get it done.
Ted Simons: What kind of response are you getting from these?
Paul Gosar: We're getting a lot. You still have to go through the rules process, but these are common sense and I don't think many people will have big problems with them.
Ted Simons: Back in Washington, we talked about Arizona issues but for national issues, the Ukraine is major, I don't know what Congress can do about it but the missing Malaysian plane, everyone is talking about that. What's happening with foreign relations around the world in general?
Paul Gosar: We have lost our place as a world leader and director of what's wrong and what's good. This is an exercise about what you have done in your history. We make lines in Syria and then don't follow through. When you don't -- aren't sincere about your actions they come to rest here. When you do actions like the Keystone pipeline, go across that line we are going to economically strangle you. We've got the energy to export to Europe. All of a sudden it's very different for Putin. The only thing he has as marketable assets is gas and oil.
Ted Simons: If you beat Putin down in public, that's a good idea? Or do you let him crow a little bit and work under the scenes?
Paul Gosar: I'm more interested in what we do as Americans building up a trusted friend and ally. Once you restore the respect for the United States, Putin will fall in line.
Republican Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar will discuss the latest congressional issues.