GOP challenger says Doolittle ‘out of touch’ | SierraSun.com

GOP challenger says Doolittle ‘out of touch’

Brittany Retherford
Sun News Service
Sun News ServiceMike Holmes
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Mike Holmes, the Republican from Auburn who is challenging Rep. John Doolittle in the June primary, said the incumbent has lost touch with his district.

Holmes, a fifth generation Placer Countian, also said that he has been accused by Doolittle, R-Rocklin, of being a puppet of the Democrats, a charge he flatly denied.

Holmes, who is the vice mayor of Auburn, said he hopes the race will focus on issues such as the need for the Auburn dam, stem cell research and the war in Iraq.

“I think he is out of touch with the district,” Holmes said of Doolittle in an interview with Sierra Sun’s sister newspaper. “He’s been in Congress now since 1990, and he doesn’t spend much time in the district talking to people. There are a number of issues where I think he is not in sync with the district. I feel he is pretty much an ideologue who follows the party line and doesn’t see himself deviating from that, even though there are some issues that I think need to be addressed.”

War in Iraq: “On Iraq, you know it is clear to me that we went in there under some false pretenses ” weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was supporting al-Qaida ” and a lot of that has since proved not to be the case. But since we are there now, we have to support the troops and hopefully bring them home as early as possible.”

Stem cell research: “I am in favor of expanding the federal role in stem cell research because I think there are some great opportunities for further research ” spinal injuries, Alzheimer’s and so forth. As you probably know, Sen. Frist has broken with the president on that particular issue, and we have Nancy Reagan, so a number of Republicans are in favor of more federal funding for stem cell research. The incumbent is not.”

Auburn dam: “I have not been convinced of the efficacy of an Auburn dam. Back in the 1960s, when it was originally proposed and they started construction of it, it was supposed to aid flood control, hydro-electric power, and so forth. There are a lot of people who want to have the Auburn dam, but as somebody who is more pro-environment than the incumbent, the American River canyon is one of our greatest assets, and I would hate to see that flooded.”

Social Security: “(The plan proposed by the Bush Administration) has gone over like a lead balloon. I think we need to leave Social Security alone ” not that it doesn’t need to be enhanced, but to authorize taking some of that money and putting it into personal accounts, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the people doing that are well-qualified to know what to do with that money. As an alternative, maybe setting up a savings program that would be separate and people could contribute to it, like government employees do and corporations have a 401K, but the feeling I am getting from most people is that the privatization idea is dead.”

Methamphetamine: “More law enforcement I think is probably necessary. I think, for one, (we need) greater community education. You know full well that some of these meth labs are in people’s houses and they have a lot of dangerous chemicals around. There needs to be a greater effort to eradicate that as much as possible. A lot of it has to start at the local level and work its way up.”

Pro-life/pro-choice: “As far a as a woman’s right to choose, I would say that most Democrats are probably, well, I shouldn’t say pro-abortion, but I’m not for abortion, but I recognize that there are circumstances … and ultimately that’s their decision. But if some young woman came to me and asked for my advice, I would say, ‘go seek counseling and see if there aren’t some alternatives.’ But ultimately, I think the government doesn’t have any real business in the bedroom.”

On being a Republican: “I have voted Republican since I was old enough to vote, but I officially registered in 2001. I look at myself as an American. I consider myself fiscally conservative, maybe not wanting to give handouts as liberally as Democrats would, although there are people in severe need who need to be helped.”

Reporter Becky Trout contributed to this story