By Pete Zamplas- Conservative US Mark Meadows, in seeking a second term in the election Nov. 4, is touting Republican adeptness for responsible budgeting and stronger foreign policy such as in dealing with terrorist forces.
Mark Randall Meadows, 55, as a self-made businessman and real estate investor, beat a crowded GOP primary field in 2012. That fall, he easily beat predecessor Heath Shuler's right-hand man, Hayden Rogers, by 15 percent for the seat in Washington that represents Henderson and 14 other WNC counties. Meadows was unchallenged in the GOP primary in May. He faces Democrats' nominee Tom Hill of Zirconia.
Meadows was prophetic when talking with The Tribune a year ago, in warning about Islamic extremist threats rising in Syria. This year marked emergence of the well-funded and trained terrorist military force named Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This warring jihadist group claims to represent Syria, its base, and Iraq which it is invading. ISIS proclaims itself entitled to instill strict Islamic law in Muslim-populated regions starting in the Levant that covers Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, southern Turkey and the island of Cyprus.
ISIS even alienated Islamic terrorist network al-Qaeda, which cut ties over ISIS' alleged rigid Islamic interpretations, punitive brutality and wide-scale ethnic cleansing.
ISIS' leaders are of the Sunni Islamic sect. Sunnis had power in Iraq under dictator Saddam Hussein. But after his ouster, they felt disenfranchised by the US-aided Iraqi coalition government that the rival Shiite sect ended up dominating after the US withdrew forces. Thus, many analysts feel the US when in Iraq should have pressured for more balance of interests to try to prevent the current schism.
In past months, ISIS went after areas in northern Iraq with Sunni majorities, but also attacked Kurdish strongholds then drove south toward the capital of Baghdad where it has met stiffer resistance.
House Committee on Foreign Affairs member Meadows has warned the Obama Administration was too blindly supporting Islamic rebels such as those against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, without adequately gauging rebels' ultimate allegiance and agenda. He met last fall with the ambassador of the Syrian opposition, and was skeptical of claims merely 10 to 20 percent of its followers were Muslim hard-liners.
He cautioned that with a "power void" in a Middle East nation, an even worse faction could emerge than was there. Now ISIS has surfaced out of Syria, and is on the warpath in neighboring Iraq and possibly beyond.
Ideally in such nations as Syria, "we should help create a more humanitarian government there," Meadows suggested months ago. Now he is among those noting that first ISIS must be tamed, for a chance at Middle East stability.
Of course, that region's instability has residual effects on global oil supplies and prices. Rep. Meadows has proposed the United States tap into oil and gas reserves to restrain energy prices and promote energy independence. He supports tapping into off-shore oil and gas supplies, while opponent Hill opposes nat-gas "fracking."
Meadows introduced the Federal Records Accountability Act of 2014 (HR 5170) in July. This would tighten record keeping for some communications to ensure information does not get lost. The bill also bans federal employees from using instant messaging for work purposes, and makes it easier to fire a person such as for destroying, falsifying or concealing records.
His committee assignments include Oversight and Government Reform, and Transportation and Infrastructure. He is on such subcommittees as on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs; also (Foreign Affairs) on the Middle East and North Africa.
Meadows espouses a conservative vision of curbing spending and thus taxing, and more limited government. He signed the Tea Party's Contract from America list of 10 policy priorities.
Meadows wants federal spending to be capped at the inflation rate, to help ease the deficit and national debt. In signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, he opposes a rise in any tax including income. He supports repealing the federal estate tax and also capital gains tax for investors.
He said he wants lower corporate tax rates, to spark job expansions and discourage shifting of jobs overseas. Tom Hill theorizes that some corporations have relocated their base out of country more to avoid paying US income taxes, and still would if the rate dropped.
Meadow made unusual impact as a freshman legislator when on Aug. 21, 2013 he wrote an open letter to the GOP's top two House leaders, calling to de-fund "implementation and enforcement of Obamacare." Seventy-nine GOP House colleagues signed the letter.
This was seen as a step toward the government shutdown showdown. The GOP initiated it to try to force curbing of spending and Obamacare mandates. Such effort fizzled in the Senate, but could reemerge should the GOP gain control of the Senate as projected to go with its grip on the House.
Meadows stated in congressional public comments he worked on a compromise to the budget impasse, to fund such government services as the National Institute of Health and national parks and other attractions. The Democratic Senate majority rejected such partial funding, to keep shutdown stakes steep which analysts say helped the "Dems" win media/public opinion.
Meadows and select GOP candidates spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2012. He got more national exposure as a guest on Fox News this summer. He called for a curb of Pres. Obama's executive orders that bypass Congress, and a probe of alleged IRS targeted auditing of noted Republicans. He has also spoken out against liberal judges legislating via their legal interpretations, and regulations that "choke" business.
Meadows has described himself as a "conservative Christian businessman" who fights to protect tax dollars, traditional marriage, fetal right to life, and gun ownership and other constitutional rights.
For more on US Rep. Mark Meadows, check meadowsforcongress.com.