Candidate Cannon discusses top issues

MARQUETTE – From domestic drone use to new sanctions on Iran, to veterans and whether to raise the minimum wage, Michigan 1st Congressional District candidate Jerry Cannon, a Democrat from downstate Fife Lake, expressed several viewpoints in a recent interview with The Mining Journal.

– Veterans: “We’ve asked these young men and women to do difficult and dangerous things in the name of their country. They set their personal lives aside. They stood up, answered their nation’s call and they come back. We can’t turn a blind eye to them. We need to take care of them. We can never do enough to take care of our veterans, but we can do more than we’ve been doing.”

– On National Security Agency domestic surveillance techniques: “I hope the president really clamps down on that. That’s too much, too much. And with all the best intentions in the world back after September 11th, maybe that all made sense, we need to ramp that down a lot. The focus needs to be really much, much narrower than what it is.”

– Extending unemployment benefits: “Absolutely, this is almost unconscionable to me. In the longest recession in the last 50 to 60 years, OK, this program it’s emergency – this is emergency unemployment,” he said. “It’s 4,000 people in this district lost those benefits – 4,000 people out of 750,000- no that’s 4,000 families. That’s families and these are the harshest times. This is not the time to do that.”

– New sanctions on Iran: “You got to put a lot of faith into the diplomatic effort, you just have to. And so relaxing some of the sanctions gets us a little peek under the tent a little closer than what we’ve been and we’ll see what the reaction is. If they don’t meet our expectations, you can put the sanctions back in place. You have to let the diplomacy work. It’s the only way to solve these kinds of problems.”

– Raising the minimum wage: “I think it’s an issue whose time has come and it needs to be talked about in a very conscientious and sensible way that it doesn’t hurt businesses, but at the same time, we’ve got to take care of these people,” he said. “I support having it raised, how much and how long and when, I don’t know. I’m not a part of that process yet and I would hope to be a part of that dialogue. But I think we need to do something about it. People need to make a living wage.”

– Domestic drone use by law enforcement: “I’m pretty much a throwback to the old -don’t get me wrong, I mean I’m not Mayberry or anything like that – but you know when I got in the business this was all about being a peace officer. You had a lot of latitude to kind of work things out. Everybody didn’t have to go to jail. You could do a lot of different things. This whole idea of our local police – and don’t get me wrong, there’s things that you have to do – you’ve got to have special teams to do certain things, but everybody doesn’t have to be looking like you’re in the military. This is like local law enforcement. This is about taking care of people, solving problems.”

– Regional economy: “Personally, I think we’re not going to get a big GM plant or a big Air Force base to come back, there’s not going to be no silver bullet that’s going to solve our problems,” Cannon said. “I think small and medium-sized businesses are the economic engine of northern Michigan and so we’ve got to figure out, with their ideas, what needs to happen.”

– Commercial use of drones by and others: “I can’t see too many civilian applications,” he said, saying pipeline monitoring was one possibility, probably cheaper than planes because it’s unmanned. He said, as it is now, GPS deliveries go to his neighbor’s house. “They’re already going to the wrong house, now they’re going to deliver my pizza or whatever it is they’re going to do with a helicopter from – where is this coming from Traverse City? I don’t know. It’ll be interesting.”

– Personal king for a day issue: “My pipe dream – this will never work out – my pipe dream would be campaign finance reform. We just got to figure out a way to – this is just terrible the money that we’re spending, the money you have to raise and the money it costs to run a campaign, it’s almost a disservice to the people. Great folks that probably could do a wonderful job can’t even get out the gate, because of the money.” Cannon estimates his campaign will probably cost $1.5 million, based on what Gary McDowell spent in 2012. “I can think of a lot of great things we could do in my community and this district and all our communities, with one-and-a-half million dollars.”

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is