The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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May 3, 2014

Halvorson says process must change

— Art Halvorson spent years of his career involved in the business aspect of the United States military.

He served as a chief of aviation procurement for the U.S. Coast Guard after earning a master’s in business administration from the College of William and Mary.

In that role, he gained an understanding about how the armed services and private companies interact.

“I have a very intimate insight into military planning and military budgeting, and certainly there is room for improvement, but it is a very concise process,” said Halvorson, a Bedford County resident who is running in this year’s 9th Congressional District’s Republican Party primary.

“The problem is not so much with the

military; it’s with the politicians – the people in Congress – who take the plans that are presented by the military in their budget, and then they decide how much of this can I get for my district, how much can I trade with you to get this for you and that for me. It’s a corrupt process, and it destroys what is otherwise a very clean process.”

One of Halvorson’s main proposals for spending involves the Military Health System, which serves active duty and retired personnel, along with their dependents, at an approximate cost of $50 billion per year.

“I’m all for taking care of people, but we don’t need $50 billion of socialized medicine to preserve the medical care and provide quality medical care for our veterans and our military people,” said Halvorson.

“That’s a place where I would be proposing health savings accounts and patient-centered medical care for our veterans and for our military members.”

Halvorson served 29 years in the Coast Guard. He was a rescue helicopter pilot and flight instructor. His education credentials include a bachelor’s degree in economics and management from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a master’s of science in strategic studies from the U.S. Air War College.

He is one of four candidates running in the 9th district, including two other Republicans, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster and Travis Schooley, along with Democrat Alanna Hartzok.

When discussing why he entered the race, Halvorson, a real estate businessman, said, “I think the country is in decline. I know it’s in decline. The indicators are there.”

He continued: “I’m a constitutional conservative. I believe conservative principles are what made our country great and what will make it great again.”

Halvorson said he was motivated to run for office after watching the fiscal cliff debate unfold in late 2012.

The stalemate ended with passage of the  American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which Halvorson saw as the Republicans caving to President Barack Obama. Shuster supported the act, saying it was “far from perfect, but passage was essential to prevent the country from going over the fiscal cliff and sending our fragile economy back into recession.”

Halvorson viewed it as another step in the process that has led to a $17 trillion national debt.

“The private sector literally is being strangled by the effect of this debt that has been incurred by the federal government,” said Halvorson.

“Unless we reverse it and turn it around so that we can grow the private sector by reducing the size of the public sector – the federal government – we’re not going to make it. We have reached the edge. We talked about a fiscal cliff on Jan. 1 of 2013.

“That’s a very appropriate metaphor for the condition that we’re in as a country. We have zero margin, and the next big impact – the shock, if you will, to our economy – is very likely to put us over that edge.”

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Dave_Sutor.

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