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Iowa GOP hopeful Archer: Social issues aren’t most important

WILTON — For those not already aware, there are two politicians in Iowa named John Archer. One is a West Liberty Democrat making a repeat attempt to unseat state Rep. Jeff Kaufmann, a Wilton Republican. The other is a Quad Cities Republican hoping to earn his party’s nomination for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District and go toe-to-toe against Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack.

It was the latter who was invited to Kaufmann’s rural Cedar County farm over the weekend to address the Republicans gathered for a late-lunch fundraiser. His first order of business upon grasping the microphone was to make sure the crowd knew which John Archer was speaking.

“I am not the John Archer that lost to Jeff Kaufmann by 40 percentage points,” he said, noting the 2010 general election when Kaufmann took 7,582 votes to Democratic Archer’s 2,873.

“This John Archer is going to beat Dave Loeback in 2012.”

Archer, who was the first of three Republicans to announce his congressional intentions, has served as senior legal counsel for John Deere & Co. for the past 11 years and is a member of the Pleasant Valley school board. Originally from Illinois and a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and Southern Illinois University School of Law, he currently resides with his wife, Andrea, and their two children in Bettendorf. While working at John Deere, Archer also earned his master’s in business from the Tippie School of Management at the University of Iowa, and works as part-owner of The Schebler Company, a Bettendorf-based metal fabricator.

Archer said Saturday that he believes “life begins at conception and ends when the creator takes you from this world” and that marriage should be limited to only heterosexual couples.

“But as important as those issues are today, they are not the most important issues facing this country right now,” he said. “The most important issue that faces this country right now is: How are we going to create, maintain and grow jobs?”

Everything that the Obama administration has done and everything that Loebsack has done, he said, has been wrong.

“You don’t grow the economy by raising taxes, raising regulations and increasing spending,” he said.

Archer pledged that, if elected, he would fight to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was passed and signed into law last year. Through his work with John Deere, he said, the bill, which was passed in response to the 2007 to 2010 financial crisis, is “strangling job creation in America.”

He advocated that taxes need to be lowered “across the board,” for both individuals and businesses. Specifically, Archer would press for a business tax amnesty that would allow U.S. companies to bring money kept overseas back into the country without penalty.

Archer is also a strong proponent for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would span from Canada to Texas, passing through Nebraska to Iowa’s west.

“[This pipeline] must be completed,” he said. “That’s how you create jobs immediately, and that how you lead energy independence in the United States.”

As he has done previously, Archer criticized Loebsack’s opposition to trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea.

“These trade agreements are critically important to create jobs here in eastern Iowa. … It’s going to help farmers. It’s going to help pork producers. It’s the right thing to do and Dave Loebsack voted against it,” he said.

After voting down the agreements Loebsack said Congress should be focusing on creating jobs and promoting economic recovery and “not threatening to ship Iowans’ jobs overseas.”

Responding directly to Archer’s criticism of the vote, Brian Fritsch, Loebsack’s political director, noted that Republicans had yet to choose their nominee.

“But Dave looks forward to defending his record on trade and opposing NAFTA-like deals that caused the loss of more than 20,000 manufacturing jobs in Iowa,” Fritsch told The Gazette.

The GOP primary will be held in June 2012, but Archer is currently leading the money race. Archer raised $65,680 during the third quarter, while competitors Dan Dolan (a Blue Grass developer) and Richard Gates (a Keokuk tea party activist) reported $10,100 and $326, respectively, to the Federal Election Commission.

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