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Political Mercury

Rubio talks ag trade, abortion

12/2/2015

Republican White House aspirant Marco Rubio spots big openings for Iowa grain and livestock farmers in an emerging Pacific nations trade deal.

What’s more, the U.S. Senator from Florida told Political Mercury in a five-minute interview that he supports moving the United States from family-chain migration to fully merit-based immigration. Additionally, Rubio said women who have abortions should not be treated like criminals if abortion is banned. He wants providers punished instead.

First on agriculture, Rubio agrees with Gov. Terry Branstad and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be a boon for Iowa farmers. The trade agreement is among the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile and eight Pacific Rim countries.

“I do see it good for all agriculture,” Rubio said. “It will open up agricultural export markets like Japan, consumer markets that today we’re locked out from.”

Rubio said he needs to review the deal — almost 6,000 pages long — in its entirety.

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“I support free trade,” Rubio said. “I want to support a Trans-Pacific Partnership. Whether this specific one they’ve negotiated or not is the right one for our country, we’re in the process of reviewing that.”

Rubio said he has another 75 days before he’ll have to cast a vote on the trade accord.

In the Republican debates, Rubio has called for an immigration system that looks at talent and resumes, not family ties.

“In the 21st century, it’s very difficult to come to America and find a job unless you have a certain set of skills,” Rubio said in the interview.

Not every immigrant who is admitted needs a doctorate in technology, he said.

“That could also include people that work in agriculture,” he said. “That could also include people that work in the construction industry.”

He said the primary criteria is this: What skills are people bringing to America?

Political Mercury asked Rubio, who is opposed to abortion, what the penalties for women who have abortions and physicians who perform them should be if his view prevails and such procedures are criminalized.

“The penalties would never be on a woman,” Rubio said. “It obviously would be on the practitioner of an illegal process or procedure.”

As long as Roe v. Wade allows abortion, Rubio said, not all procedures can be outlawed. But the Florida senator said late-term abortions, for example, should be prevented, as a child in those cases is viable outside the womb.

“The majority of Americans believe that that’s immoral and we should make that illegal,” Rubio said. “Partial-birth abortions have already been banned in this country, yet Hillary Clinton defends that gruesome procedure as a fundamental right.”

Rubio said he wants to prevent federal dollars from being used to fund any abortions overseas.

When asked about the lack of rural representation on the U.S. Supreme Court, Rubio said that fact is why the high court should not be legislating or interpreting the Constitution as a living, breathing document.

“It’s not representative of the country,” Rubio said. “They’re all Ivy League trained. They all come from big cities as you’ve outlined, and they don’t represent the diversity of our country. Quite frankly, because that’s not the role of the Supreme Court — to be a policymaker. It is not playing its proper role right now, and that will change when I am president.”

None of the nine members of the Supreme Court lives in rural America or has a substantive background in that part of the nation.

The youngest majority party candidate seeking the presidency, Rubio has made college affordability a central feature of his campaign. He also talked in the interview about the rise of political correctness on college campuses.

“We should all be concerned about these trends we see at some of our universities where free speech is under assault,” Rubio said. “When you have comedians like Chis Rock saying they don’t play concerts, they don’t do shows at college campuses anymore, because of how easily offended students have become. These are the future leaders of our country, and quite frankly, they have lost their appreciation for free speech. The tough part about free speech is that people have a right to be wrong and people have a right to be offensive.” CV

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who resides in Carroll. He and his family own and publish newspapers in Carroll, Jefferson and other neighboring communities.

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