By Jaelynn Grisso
Special to the Herald
EVANSTON — A candidate’s forum was held Thursday, June 12, at the Evanston Roundhouse, for candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
The forum began with questions from the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, but because there was only one candidate present, questioning was also opened up to the public.
Bryan Miller, a Republican from Sheridan who is running for a Senate seat, answered questions ranging from recent rulings by the EPA to the regionalization of Veterans Affairs hospitals. But, the issue that continued to arise from audience questions was gun control legislation.
When asked to elaborate on his stance on gun control legislation, Miller said he advocated for states’ rights and that everyone should be able to conceal and carry arms.
“I personally have a conceal and carry permit, and I would like for everybody to be able to have one,” Miller said. “It’s one of the things I absolutely believe in. The second amendment is very dear to me. If we get to the point, down the line, where there are big enough problems in the country and we start getting a dictatorship kind of thing going on, people need to be able to rise up. That’s exactly what our founders intended for that.”
Later, Miller was asked to elaborate on his stance and whether or not he believed in any further regulation, especially considering a recent shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, when two police officers and a civilian were killed.
“I will tell you what I do believe. I think that the vast majority of the mass killings we’ve been having recently, and all through time actually, are related to mental health problems,” he said. “That is the issue. It is not the guns themselves.”
Miller also responded to questions about recent rulings from the EPA, which require the entire power sector to reduce emissions by 30 percent from the emission levels in 2005. It also requires the reductions to be completed by 2030.
“The EPA is out of control,” he said. “It’s out of control because of the people who are in it. Rulemaking is our real enemy, in my opinion. The EPA is using rulemaking, as is the IRS and other agencies, to go back to laws that were passed years and years and years ago, and they are changing the rules to apply to what they want to do today — not to the intent that Congress passed the laws for back then, but just to change the rules.”
He elaborated on his stance with this issue when he was asked if he truly believes that each state could do a better job at protecting the environment than the federal government could do.
“I think, back when we were having all these problems, we did not have the environmental core that is out there across the nation and states,” Miller said. “There are enough organizations out there now, very powerful organizations … that could very well ensure that we don’t have the environmental problems that we had before.”
He said state governments would also want to protect the environment because it would be in their state’s best interests in order to be prosperous.
As a veteran who had to undergo surgery because of injuries sustained while on duty, Miller said the issue of VA hospitals is one that is near and dear to his heart. He said that while he was trying to get treatment, he faced difficulties in being seen by doctors in a timely manner, especially for follow-up visits. He also explained that this problem is not unique to him, and it is one he would like to see fixed.
“I would absolutely look at trying to figure out a way to have either a card or some way to go ahead and allow veterans who can’t be seen in a timely manner an opportunity to go downtown and see someone,” he said. “I will say, that exists. It has just never been authorized… There is a solution. It’s already there. I would just like to see it implemented.”
Of the other candidates, five responded saying they could not attend the forum due to work obligations, including Arthur Clifton (R), Rex Wilde (D), Al Hamburg (D), Thomas Bleming (R) and incumbent Mike Enzi (R) for Senate, and Jason Seteney (R) and Richard Grayson (D) for House of Representatives.
The remaining three candidates, James Gregory (R) and William Bryk (D) for Senate and incumbent Cynthia Lummis (R) for House of Representatives, did not respond. Both Lummis and Enzi are currently working in Washington, D.C.