As the Tea Party emerges as a dominant force in this contentious midterm election cycle, so does the movement’s policy platform. One tea partier recently shined a bit of light on the party’s food regulatory philosophy: It’s up to us, not the government.
Jesse Kelly, a Tea Party-backed Republican candidate for Arizona’s 8th congressional district, was asked by a voter last week whether he would, in light of the recent Salmonella outbreaks, including the recall of a half billion eggs, support legislation to “mandate that [companies] must change” or “shut ’em down.”
“Congratulations on being unique!” Kelly says, noting that it was the first time he’d received a question on the topic.
“First shot out of the box, no, ma’am. I do not believe right now what we’re lacking is more federal regulation and mandates on business,” he says. “We have over 300,000 federal regulations that come with a criminal penalty right now. You could literally go spit on the grass and probably be arrested by the federal government, if they chose to do so.”
“More regulation, more government control, giving Nancy Pelosi more power over the country is not the solution right now,” he adds.
“Who’s protecting us?” interrupts the questioner. “Well that’s the thing, ma’am. It’s our job to protect ourselves because no one else is going to look out for your best interest like you. No one else is going to protect your money like you,” says Kelly.
“Am I supposed to go to a chicken farmer and tell them ‘I’d like you to close down because all of your birds are half dead?'” the questioner presses Kelly.
“I don’t know anything about the chicken farmers or the Salmonella outbreaks right now ma’am. I’ve not heard a lot about that recently. But I know this, every portion of any economy that’s heavily regulated by the government doesn’t have fewer disasters, they have more,” he added, to applause.
The video was flagged by Think Progress. According to the progressive group, which posted the video on YouTube, Kelly has previously said he’d like to “reduce the [FDA] as much as humanly possible.”
As of the last poll, Kelly is in a statistical dead heat with Democrat incumbent Gabrielle Giffords, who has held the seat since 2006.