U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie is a relative newcomer to these parts, so the Bowling Green Republican had a fresh audience Thursday at the Danville Country Club for his “Why I ran for Congress” story. He credited wild child actress Lindsay Lohan.
Guthrie said he was in China on a business trip in 2007 as the country was preparing for the upcoming Summer Olympics. He counted 30 cranes at work in Shanghai as his host told him of China’s plans to claim its destiny as the center of the world’s trade and culture.
Arriving back in America after that trip, Guthrie was anxious to catch up on the latest news. He turned on Fox News to find a panel discussion of Lohan’s most recent DUI arrest. He switched to CNN to find the same thing. Over at MSNBC, more Lohan.
“I said to myself, if this is what we are focused on, China is going to be No. 1,” Guthrie told those gathered for the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce’s Public Policy Series luncheon.
When Kentucky rejiggered its congressional districts earlier this year, the 2nd District was stretched to include Boyle, Mercer and Garrard counties. Guthrie will begin representing those counties in Washington in 2013 if, as expected, he defeats Democratic challenger David Lynn Williams in November.
Guthrie said he went to Washington, D.C., thinking about “what made this country great and can we recapture that again.” For inspiration, he looked not toward China but America’s Founding Fathers and the pioneering inventors who shaped the country’s position of dominance. The Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford made America great more than governmental policies, Guthrie said.
Though Guthrie called himself a conservative, he said he is not “a zero government conservative.”
He credited massive government programs to spread electricity, highways and broadband Internet across the country and said there needs to be the proper balance between government and private business to spark a rebirth.
Toward that end, Guthrie said he is pushing reforms in the corporate tax code to reduce the rate from 35 percent to 28 percent. Reducing the tax rate while cutting out loopholes will bring in new revenue while giving business owners a steady, permanent rate they can plan their futures around.
“We might be able to get that done this summer,” he said.
Guthrie also wants to see reform of entitlement programs, suggesting that America faces epic financial failure like Greece unless spending is drastically curtailed. In the future, wealthier Americans need to pay more for Medicare, though any changes will not impact those currently 55 and older.
“Why shouldn’t the Warren Buffets of the world pay more for their Medicare?” he asked.
Thursday’s luncheon was the first time Bill Pollon, vice president of business development at Farmers National Bank, had an audience with Guthrie and came away fairly impressed.
“He makes a good first impression,” Pollon said afterward. “I was kind of concerned about us leaving the 6th District, but the congressman assured me he’ll get it done for us, and I believe he will.”