Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) was a former player in the National Football League, businessman, and is currently a first-term congressman seeking re-election. As Democrats currently rule the roost in Washington, Republicans like Owens find themselves in a unique position. Owens and I discussed inflation and school safety, both topics which have gripped the country in recent months, and how having a strong faith helps him when he’s in Washington, D.C.
Cameron Arcand: Gas hit a new record high today (Tuesday) nationwide of $4.91 cents. It keeps climbing up and inflation has been on everyone’s mind, especially at the gas pump and in the grocery store. What do you think is the cause of these price increases and what have your constituents been saying about it?
Burgess Owens: The cause is that we have a president who’s actually clueless. This is what happens when we don’t really take, our politics and our politicians seriously. At the end of the day, the goal of American people [is to] have people in place that represent us, who understand our dreams, our hopes, our obstacles, understand what it takes to be successful, and then take as many obstacles away from those dreams as possible. We have a guy who’s president for 50 years [who] has never had a job, has never had a real job, has never had a business, and is totally clueless about what drives our economy. People need to be able to dream as big as they can and not have to think of every single day, how much is gonna cost me to get to work, to get to my business, to drop my kids off, to take vacations.
We can’t, every single day, go to the grocery store and wonder “Do I need to pull back on feeding my children so I can do other things?” We have not only an administration who [are] totally ideologues, but they have no empathy for the pain that people are going through right now. It’s time for them, very simply, to open up our energy independence. Once again, we have in our country the ability to not only have cheap, clean, and abundant fuel to take care of the things that people need to do every single day to achieve their dreams. Instead, they’re talking about now, “Take away the tariffs, so we get more solar panel panels from China.” I mean this, if it wasn’t so serious, it’d be funny. The types of solutions these guys are coming up with.
So, with that being said, you know, unfortunately, the way I see this, we don’t have an administration that cares enough to make any changes before November. So really’s gonna be up to “we the people.” This is why I’m so optimistic about where we are in our future. The most powerful three words in the history of mankind are “We The People.” When [the] American people are engaged, when we start to take notice of what’s going on, we start to go out and vote, run for office, run for school board. Then we begin to put back into and to place our dreams in our American way.
CA: I think that’s important too, how you mentioned the deregulation for solar panels, but we can’t drill more oil here in the United States.
BO: Also, not only are we running to the issue with the fact that solar panels does not harden our ability to have a solid energy base, it also enriches China, and this administration has not got it yet that China’s not our friend. China has never been our friend, the communists… It’s antithetical to the American way. It’s anti-God, it’s anti-family, it’s anti-business ownership, it’s anti-true education. That’s what communism is. Here we all have an administration that seems to just… cannot do enough to embolden these folks who hate us. We have our energy and our freedom, and our independence lies beneath our feet. We have the ability to do it in a very clean way and actually support the entire world with much cheaper and cleaner oil.
CA: Switching gears a little bit, you know, we see this pain at gas pump, grocery store, and then you turn on the television and people are just marked by horror with the amount of mass shootings and everything that’s been going on with that lately. You have a community in Texas that is still grieving the shooting in Uvalde, and this gun control versus school safety debate has just taken off.
It happens almost cyclically with how often these things happen. There’s a shooting and then we debate about it pretty much, but there are very few people that are actually interested in providing real solutions. One thing that I liked when I was doing research for this was that you introduced a bill called the “Securing Our Students Act,” that would provide some tangible outcomes to make schools safer. Could you kind of dive into what that bill entails?
BO: We’ve been debating this way too long, and we always come up with the things that do not solve the issues that are at hand right now. The most important treasures of our lifetime are our children, period. There’s nothing more important than our children, more important than our bank assets. Our children’s more important [than] us getting on [a] plane and traveling someplace– our kids– that’s our future. Number one. We should be putting our efforts into make sure they’re protected. It’s very, very simple. We can put armed guards in front of banks, and at our airports, at other buildings. As a matter of fact, we have politicians here in D.C. that run around with armed guards all around them.
Why can’t we do the same thing to make sure our children are safe in the school system? And we have an infrastructure [in] place that no one gets in there unless they’re invited, unless they’re being clear. This is important. We trust our teachers with educating our children. We trust our teachers to think that they love our kids enough to have them move forward. Guess what? Our teachers are some of the greatest Americans in our country. Some of these teachers are very, very good at handling firearms. They know how to handle it. They know how to do it safely. They can actually help from within [to] protect our children.
We already have bills that have been passed through this last year that the money’s not been spent. 93 percent of the money from the last bills we’ve been printed through are still sitting there, waiting for schools to figure out how to use them. Why don’t we call that money back, and ask the states to start to implement programs?
On our side, we make sure that we’re taking away all the regulations that will slow this process down, so that by this coming year, the end of this year, we have schools that actually have plans in place that will make sure that our schools are safe. Whether it be infrastructure, whether it be protocols of how people come in, or even in terms of protecting our children from within, with people that, whether it be former military, former police that has gone through the vetting process that is safe, that are good citizens, and they will be there to protect our children. There are so many solutions we can have now, and none of these solutions I’m talking about takes away our freedom to protect ourselves.
Roughly 93% of ARP funding for K-12 schools remains unspent.
Today, I introduced the Securing Our Students Act, legislation allowing local schools to use these funds to implement evidence-based safety measures that protect our students in the classroom. https://t.co/KAxRoEe5kX
— Rep. Burgess Owens (@RepBurgessOwens) June 6, 2022
What’s interesting about the left is they love to defund the police. They love to increase crime all across our country and then tell good people, “You should not have the ability to protect yourself.” That right is not only [in] our Constitution, but that right for self-protection of life and property is given to us by God.
CA: The perpetrators of these shootings are a lot of times in the same age group that I’m in. When I always see these things, I’m like, “What happened down the line that this is now the actions that they’re taking?” I was wondering if you could kind of speak to that aspect of it more, that mental health brokenness among young men side of it.
BO: This is a question that we really should be digging into and diving into very strongly. I promise you with a Republican administration, a conservative administration, we’re gonna be looking at issues like this, that have been really brewing for a long time. When you destroy the family unit, when you destroy connections with young men, with fathers who can be mentoring them, who can give them some type of direction, give them discipline, and you take away any moral structure, any other moral compass. This is what you have.
When I was growing up, we were taught to love God, country, family, respect women, and authority. And guess what, none of that is being taught. None of that’s being shown. As we have this destruction of the family unit, we have more men like this or young boys that have no idea of what it is to respect life, so this is something our country needs to be discussing. We cannot continue to think that talking about the moral compasses and doing what’s right is something that is offensive to other people.
CA: Now, my last question for you here. We’ve mentioned in this interview the role of morals and faith. How do you stay tapped into your faith while you’re away in Washington?
BO: What a good question. I’ll say this for those who [have] the faith, and my faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and my confidence comes from a country that’s always been doing that regard. Regardless of what our faith might be. We’re a country that respects it. We respect the fact that people do have a way of worshiping God. Basically, those of us who do that, we want to be the best people we can be. So we can be blessed, very simply. What I think is happening right now across our country, and is something that was a miracle of 2020.
Even though we lost the Senate, the presidency, and did not get back the House, we brought 15 seats. Those 15 seats, if you look, many of us have never been in politics before. We’ve run businesses before, we believe in our country, we’re not ashamed to say we’re Americans. What we stand for the answer to our problems is not gonna be here in D.C. It’s gonna be out there in the true country and communities, [people in] our country that say, “You know, it’s time for me to get engaged. I’m going to send to Congress people who represent my values. My faith values, my values on education, my values on family, my values on running a business, and having the ability to dream as big as I want to. It is gonna be up to us, we the people, in November to turn this around, to make such a remarkable difference that we’re gonna see, this is the greatest time of our nation’s history cause we were asked to show up and we did, and we’re gonna turn this thing around.
So, we’re gonna start to understand that. The hard left, the marks of the socialists, have been eating at us like little termites for decades. Their day is done. We’re turning the corner and [we’re getting] back to those things that help us to all look at each other from inside out and outside in, and to believe that we can achieve anything [we] want in this country. So I’m excited because I see the American people waking up, and that’s the worst thing to happen to the far left. They love to work dark darkness and stealth, and they’re not gonna get away with it anymore.
Please note that this interview has been lightly edited for grammar, length, and clarity.