|Thousands of Southern Arizonans
answered Congressman Udall's January legislative questionnaire. Here are
the top ten concerns of voters in the 2nd Congressional District, and Udall's
1. Cost of Living
Before we do anything to curb inflation,
we have to find a way to curb oil imports, because the cost of this foreign
oil is running up a $45 billion annual tab. This tremendous drain of American
dollars threatens to ruin our economy and it has to be brought under control.
The next steps are to cut government spending, where possible, pare away
unnecessary government controls that slow our commerce, and as a last resort
-- and only as a last resort -- we might consider wage and price controls.
Certainly if the choice is between controls and double-digit inflation,
it seems the former is far preferable to the latter.
The control of crime is best handled
at the local level, by state, county and city police, sheriffs and prosecutors.
The federal government has a role in trying to curb certain kinds of crime,
mostly those kinds of violations that local governments are not equipped
to deal with. The federal government can and is continuing to assist local
authorities whenever asked and whenever possible. A direct form of aid
is the grant program of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA),
which I support.
First, we must get regulatory agencies
off our backs and force them to focus on things that really matter. If
agencies like the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Interstate Commerce Commission
have outlived their usefulness, then they should be abolished. Too many
regulatory agencies have caused prices to go up, and others have insulated
industries that they are supposed to be regulating.
Second, the federal service needs
an overhaul, and we have to take a new look at our pension and retirement
programs and pare them back to reasonable levels.
4. Health Care
I'd like a closer examination of
systems like Health Maintenance Organizations, where doctors are paid a
flat fee and where participants pay one sum for their yearly medical bill.
It's no panacea, but some of the biggest American industries have found
the system not only highly workable, but a real money-saver. National health
insurance is a possibility, but only if it can be enacted with some rather
strict financial controls that will help keep inflation under control and
not contribute to it.
5. Benefit Program
The "quick fix" that Congress used
to patch up Social Security has to be more thoroughly overhauled. We just
have to get this program back in order and on sound footing and trim this
very burdensome payroll tax back to reasonable levels.
We're winning the war on pollution
and the battles to clean up our rivers, air and land, and I think the American
people are committed to it. These are not inexhaustible resources, and
we all want to leave them in the best shape possible for future generations.
In fact, the environmental movement has become an economic mini-boom of
sorts, and the record and the facts bear this out. The vast array of recycling
and treatment plants have created thousands of new jobs. And while we continue
the effort to clean the environment and keep it that way, we shouldn't
Public opinion polls showed earlier
this year that an overwhelming majority of citizens wanted a federal Consumer
Protection Agency, and one with real teeth to get the job done. A large
part of my mail continues to bring consumer problems of every variety to
may attention. I'll continue to forward complaints to appropriate agencies,
and to stand up for consumers when they're right.
It isn't fair to preach the work
ethic in the United States and then tell millions of Americans who want
to work, that there will be no job for them today. Work is good for the
human spirit, for self-dignity, and for many tangible reasons; we all benefit
because lower jobless rolls can mean lower taxes, lower welfare budgets,
higher revenue, better business and increased productivity. We ought to
be able to find work for everyone who wants a job.
9. Public Education
Following years of federal aid
to education for a whole range of services -- textbooks, school construction,
lunch programs, special education and so forth -- an important new proposal
has been made that will, in my judgment, dramatically improve the administration
and application of federal programs. That is the creation of a separate
Dept. of Education, removed from Health, Education & Welfare, and placing
a real education advocate within the Cabinet. Public schools are and should
be the province of local authorities, and the federal government's role
must always be on a partnership basis with the states and communities.
10. Insurance, Mortgages
Both of these relate directly back
to the first issue, listed at the top of this page -- inflation and the
cost-of-living. Until we can work our way out of this economic quicksand,
and that has to be our first priority, there is little that government
at any level can do to affect the cost of insurance premiums or the size
or mortgage payments.