Tom O’Halleran

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Democrat Representative elect Tom O’Halleran talks about his plans once he takes office in January as the congressman from Arizona’s first Congressional District

TED SIMONS: OUR DISCUSSION WITH RECENTLY-ELECTED ARIZONA CONGRESSMEN CONTINUES NOW WITH FORMER STATE LAWMAKER TOM O'HALLERAN WHO WAS ELECTED TO REPRESENT CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT ONE, WHICH WAS VACATED BY FELLOW DEMOCRAT ANN KIRKPATRICK. WE WELCOME REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT TOM O'HALLERAN TO" "ARIZONA HORIZON." CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR WIN.

TOM O'HALLERAN: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I APPRECIATE THE CITIZENS OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT ONE PUTTING ME INTO OFFICE.

TED SIMONS: WHY DO YOU THINK YOU WON?

TOM O'HALLERAN: I THINK THE MESSAGE WAS TO THE NEEDS OF THE DISTRICT, ORIENTED AROUND JOBS, MAKING SURE WE HAVE HEALTHCARE AND BASICALLY MAKING SURE THAT THE PEOPLE IN THE DISTRICT IMPROVE THEIR LIFE.

TED SIMONS: I KNOW LAND AND WATER ISSUES ARE BIG IN THAT DISTRICT. THEY WERE BIG IN THE CAMPAIGN. TALK ABOUT YOUR VISION THERE AND HOW IT COINCIDES WITH ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS?

TOM O'HALLERAN: IN MY HISTORY WITH ARIZONA, WATER AND FORESTRY ISSUES HAVE BEEN PART OF MY PUBLIC POLICY INPUT. I FEEL IN DISTRICT ONE, THE FORESTRY ISSUES ARE IMPORTANT TO OUR ECONOMY AND TO THE LONG TERM LIABILITY OF THE FIVE NATIONAL FORESTS IN THE DISTRICT AND THE GRAND CANYON. AS FAR AS WATER GOES, WE HAVE THE COLORADO RIVER IN THE DISTRICT, SALT RIVER IN THE DISTRICT. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR THE ENTIRE STATE AND THE SOUTHWEST.

TED SIMONS: IN THE CAMPAIGN YOU SAID YOU WOULD PROTECT COAL RELATED JOBS. HOW WOULD YOU DO THAT AND HOW WOULD YOU ALSO PROTECT AGAINST CARBON EMISSIONS?

TOM O'HALLERAN: YOU PLAN FOR IT. YOU DON'T JUST COME INTO COMMUNITIES AND SAY WE ARE GOING TO TAKE AWAY THE BEST JOBS IN THE RURAL COMMUNITIES AND YOU PEOPLE, WE HAVEN'T CONSULTED YOU. I WANT THE PEOPLE CONSULTED. I WANT A NATIONAL PLAN TO DO THIS, NOT A HALF HAZARD PLAN. I BELIEVE CONGRESS HAS NOT DONE ITS JOB OF DEBATING THIS IN CONGRESS. THEY HAVE ALLOWED AN AGENCY TO TAKE STEPS I THINK NEEDS TO GO THROUGH A PROFESSIONAL PROCESS.

TED SIMONS: WOULD YOU VOTE TO KILL THE PRESIDENT'S CLEAN POWER PLANT?

TOM O'HALLERAN: I THINK THE NEW PRESIDENT IS GOING TO HAVE TO DO THAT HIMSELF, AND THAT PLAN HAS NOT GONE THROUGH CONGRESS. I WANT TO SEE IT GO THROUGH CONGRESS.

TED SIMONS: THERE WERE TWO RESOLUTIONS LAST YEAR AND THE HOUSE DID THAT. THEY VOTED AGAINST THE CLEAN POWER PLANT. IF THAT WERE TO COME UP, HOW WOULD YOU VOTE?

TOM O'HALLERAN: DON'T KNOW YET. I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE PLAN WOULD BE. IF IT DIDN'T INCLUDE ELEMENTS TO MAKE SURE COMMUNITIES ARE WHOLE, A NATIONAL PUBLIC POLICY ON POWER AND NOT JUST CLOSING PLANTS FOR THE SAKE OF POLITICS VERSUS WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD, I WOULD VOTE FOR IT.

TED SIMONS: WHAT ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN FOR A GRAND CANYON AREA MONUMENT. CONTROVERSIAL. COULD COME UP FOR A VOTE.

TOM O'HALLERAN: I WOULD VOTE FOR THAT. I WOULD SEND A LETTER OF SUPPORT.

TED SIMONS: FOR THOSE THAT SAY IT'S TOO MUCH, TAKES TOO MANY JOBS AND OPPORTUNITY AWAY FROM THE -- NOT THE GRAND CANYON ITSELF, BUT THE AREA, YOU SAY?

TOM O'HALLERAN: I DON'T KNOW WHAT JOBS IT WILL TAKE AWAY. CATTLE INDUSTRY IS PROTECTED. TIMBER INDUSTRY IS PROTECTED. THE ONLY THING IT DOESN'T ALLOW IN THAT AREA IS MINING. HUNTERS ARE PROTECTED. IT PROTECTS THE WATERSHED AND JOBS BECAUSE OF TOURISM IN THE AREA.

TED SIMONS: YOU ARE GOING TO GET AN ARGUMENT ON THE OTHER SIDE. IT'S GOING TO COME FROM THE PRESIDENT ON DOWN NOW. HOW EFFECTIVE CAN DEMOCRATS BE ON CAPITOL HILL GETTING THINGS DONE?

TOM O'HALLERAN: I THINK THAT PEOPLE ARE RUSHING AHEAD OF THEMSELVES IN THIS WHOLE THOUGHT PROCESS THAT DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO BE IRRELEVANT. WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS THERE ARE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THINGS THEY DON'T LIKE WITHIN THE PRESIDENT'S PLANS. I SEE A CAUCUS THAT AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER WILL FRACTURE MINES ON SOME ISSUES. THAT ALLOWS THE DEMOCRATS TO OPEN TO NEGOTIATE.

TED SIMONS: WE TALK ABOUT THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT A LOT BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S HEADED FOR A FALL BUT PRESIDENT ELECT TRUMP SAYS HE WON'T DO ANYTHING WITHOUT A REPLACEMENT PLAN. YOUR FELLOW REPRESENTATIVE ELECT ANDY BIGGS SAYS IT NEEDS AN ALTERNATIVE YOU CAN'T JUST GET RID OF IT. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO FIGHT FOR THE PROVISIONS IN THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT?

TOM O'HALLERAN: THE PROVISIONS IN THERE ARE THE COST DRIVERS THAT ARE AFFECTING THE PLAN. I WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE COST DRIVERS TO SEE IF THEY ARE NEEDED, IF THEY ARE RELEVANT AND TO IMPROVE THE PLAN, NOT TO DO AWAY WITH THE PLAN. ITS EASY TO SAY THINGS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL ABOUT DOING AWAY WITH THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. IT'S MUCH HARDER WHEN YOU ARE AFFECTING CITIZENS AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT NOW. REALITY IS AT THE TABLE AND IT SAYS YOU NEED TO FIND SOMETHING TO REPLACE IT AND ALLOWS THOSE CITIZENS AND MORE CITIZENS TO AFFORD HEALTHCARE.

TED SIMONS: REPUBLICANS SAY THERE IS SOMETHING OUT THERE MARKET DRIVEN, FOR THE MOST PART. COULD YOU LIVE WITH SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

TOM O'HALLERAN: WE ARE HERE BECAUSE OF MARKET DRIVEN INSURANCE AND THE FACT THAT WE HAD THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT BECAUSE IT WASN'T BEING TAKEN CARE OF. YOU TAKE A FAMILY IN POVERTY, ABOVE THE LINE FOR EXCESS IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA, MEDICAID, AND THEY DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES FOR A MEDICAL SAVINGS PLAN. THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT A TAX CREDIT. THE TAX CREDIT -- THEY DON'T PAY TAXES. THEY ARE UNDER A CERTAIN LEVEL. A FAMILY OF FOUR MAKING $40,000 A YEAR, THEY CAN'T AFFORD THIS HEALTH INSURANCE.

TED SIMONS: THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT OR OTHER CONCERN, YOU MENTIONED WORKING WITH REPUBLICANS, THERE MIGHT BE OPPORTUNITIES THERE IN WAYS WE CAN'T IMAGINE RIGHT NOW. THE CAMPAIGN YOU ARE QUOTE AS SAYING, WE ARE AT OUR BEST WHEN WE ARE UNITED. THE COUNTRY DOESN'T FEEL UNITED AND CAPITOL HILL DOESN'T FEEL UNITED. WASHINGTON DOESN'T. HOW DO YOU GET THE UNIFICATION TO HAPPEN?

TOM O'HALLERAN: I DON'T THINK WE ARE UNITED AS A COUNTRY OR POLITICALLY. HOW YOU GET TO DO IT, I'M PART OF A FRESHMAN CLASS OF DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. WE CAME FROM THE KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT DEALING WITH POLICY. WHAT THOSE AT THE SCHOOL SAID, WE ARE GOING TO WORK TOGETHER, MEET AT A REGULAR BASIS. I JOINED A GROUP CALLED THE NEW DEMS. WE PUT OUR HAND OUT AND SAY LET'S WORK TOGETHER FOR THE CITIZENS OF ARIZONA AND THE UNITED STATES. YOU DON'T DO IT BY TAKING JABS AT PEOPLE BY SAYING THEY ARE WRONG. YOU WORK TOGETHER TO CREATE PUBLIC POLICY FOR THE BETTERMENT OF SOCIETY.

TED SIMONS: I CAN HEAR DEMOCRATS AND CRITICS SAYING THAT'S ALL FINE AND DANDY. IT'S ONE THING TO SAY I'M WORKING WITH REPUBLICANS. IT'S ANOTHER TO SAY I'LL WORK WITH REPUBLICANS WHEN THEY WON'T WORK WITH YOU.

TOM O'HALLERAN: IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO WORK WITH SOMEONE THAT WON'T WORK WITH YOU. IF THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO WORK, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE POLICY THAT COMES OUT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT MR. TRUMP IS GOING TO PUT OUT AS PUBLIC POLICY. NOBODY DOES. I KNOW WHAT I HAVE HEARD. I HAVE SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT SOME OF HIS NOMINATIONS.

TED SIMONS: WHAT ARE CONCERNS ON WHAT HE HAS DONE SO FAR?

TOM O'HALLERAN: FOREIGN POLICY. I HAVE NEVER SEEN A PRESIDENT ELECT GET INVOLVED SO MUCH IN FOREIGN POLICY. YOU LOOK AT THE STATEMENT HE MADE ON TWITTER TODAY ABOUT F-35 WHICH IS IMPORTANT TO ARIZONA AND LOCKHEED MARTIN LOST $4 BILLION AT ONE POINT DURING THE MARKET TODAY. THAT IS NOT THE APPROPRIATE THING FOR SOMEBODY THAT'S NOT INVOLVED IN OUR FOREIGN POLICY YET AND NOT INVOLVED IN OUR PROCUREMENT SYSTEM DEFENSE YET.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU THINK THERE IS A SMOKING GUN THAT SHOWS RUSSIAN HACKERS TRIED TO INTERVENE IN THE ELECTIONS?

TOM O'HALLERAN: I'M NOT IN ANY INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE AND PROBABLY WON'T BE AS A FRESHMEN. BUT I CAN SAY THIS, IF THERE IS THE HINT OF IT, AND THERE IS, THEN WE SHOULD LOOK INTO IT. WE SHOULD NOT ALLOW THIS TYPE OF THING TO GO UNANSWERED. WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THE INTEGRITY OF OUR ELECTORAL SYSTEM IS KEPT INTACT AND NO FOREIGN POWERS ARE ABLE TO DO WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

TED SIMONS: THE LIKELY NUMBER TWO OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT, JOHN BOLTON SAYS THE DEMOCRATS COULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HACKING THE ELECTION BECAUSE OF A FALSE FLAG SITUATION. YOU DO THE DIRTY STUFF AND BLAME IT ON YOUR OPPONENTS. YOU BUYING THAT?

TOM O'HALLERAN: JOHN BOLTON HAS SAID A LOT OF THINGS OVER THE LAST NUMBER OF YEARS. I DON'T BUY IT AND HE DIDN'T OFFER PROOF THAT THIS OCCURRED. THE BI-PARTISAN GROUP HAS GOTTEN TOGETHER TO SAY LET'S LOOK AT THIS TOGETHER AND MAKE SURE WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. UP UNTIL NOW, MYSELF OR OTHERS OUT THERE, UNTIL WE HAVE THE INVESTIGATION DONE, NONE OF US KNOW WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

TED SIMONS: HOW DID YOUR ORIENTATION GO WHEN THEY WERE SHUTTLING YOU AROUND?

TOM O'HALLERAN: SHUTTLING AROUND IS TRUE. IT WAS GREAT. I ENJOYED THE CONGRESSMEN, THE DEBATES, MEETING CONGRESSMEN FROM BOTH PARTIES, DEVELOPING OUR OFFICE AND STAFF AND GETTING A FOUNDATION BUILT IN MY CASE, TO REPRESENT CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT ONE. WE HAVE A GOOD WASHINGTON STAFF ONBOARD AND MY DISTRICT STAFF IS ONBOARD.

TED SIMONS: ANYTHING SURPRISE YOU? ANYTHING YOU DIDN'T EXPECT?

TOM O'HALLERAN: NOT REALLY. I THINK IT'S SCALE. THE AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN ON TO MAKE SURE WHEN THAT SCALE HAS DEVELOPED THAT WAY, WE HAVE A COMPETENT STAFF TO MAKE SURE CONSTITUENCY WORK IS DONE AND DO OUR HOMEWORK ON PUBLIC POLICY.

TED SIMONS: SPEAKING OF SCALE, CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT ONE IS HUGE. IT'S MAMMOTH. YOU ARE FIVE HOURS BY PLANE AND TO COVER THE DISTRICT YOU HAVE TO DO A LOT OF TRAVELING. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO REPRESENT ALL OF THESE PEOPLE FROM SO FAR AWAY?

TOM O'HALLERAN: TOMORROW WE START OUR TRIP THROUGH THE NAVAJO RESERVATION AND ON THE WAY BACK, TOWNS AND CITIES IN NORTHERN ARIZONA. THE NEXT DAY WE GO TO THE EASTERN PART OF THE STATE FOR TWO DAYS. TWO DAYS AFTER THAT, WE GO TO THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE DISTRICT. AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE THE ROTATIONS THROUGH. I TOLD THE CITIZENS OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT ONE THAT I WOULD BE AT THEIR MEETINGS. I WILL BE THERE.

TED SIMONS: AND LAST QUESTION, I'VE BEEN ASKING THIS OF ALL OUR CONGRESS-PEOPLE ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY FIRST GET ELECTED. HAS THE GRAVITY OF ALL OF THIS SUNK IN?

TOM O'HALLERAN: IF IT HASN'T, YOU BETTER NOT HAVE TAKEN THE JOB. THIS IS SERIOUS WORK. YOU NEED TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. THE AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY, YOU TOLD PEOPLE YOU WERE GOING TO REPRESENT THEM. THEY MIGHT DISAGREE WITH YOU AT TIMES, BUT YOUR JOB IS TO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE FACTS. THAT IS GOING TO BE SOMETHING THAT'S A CHALLENGE ON A CONTINUING BASIS.

TED SIMONS: CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

TOM O'HALLERAN: I APPRECIATE IT.

TED SIMONS: TUESDAY ON "ARIZONA HORIZON." WE VISIT WITH DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN RUBEN GALLEGO OF DISTRICT-7, AND DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS-WOMAN KYRSTEN SINEMA OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT-9. THAT'S TOMORROW AT 5:30 AND 10, HERE ON "ARIZONA HORIZON. " THAT'S IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANKS FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

Tom O'Halleran, Democrat Representative

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