Rubio acknowledges a problem with corporate influence in the weapons industry; escapes an immigration question
Hoping to ask a question about the weapons industry Lynne, AFSC volunteer extraordinaire, and myself went into Mario Rubio’s event at the Exile Restaurant in Des Moines. Rubio ran through most of the Republican candidate talking points (abortion, deregulation, America first) and through some of those usually associated with Democratic messages ( jobs, absolute commitment to Israel) pretty quickly, offered no Q & A opportunity, and appeared to be leaving.
Lynne and I joined our colleagues and volunteers outside where they were displaying the four Governing Under the Influence banners and engaging with those going into and those leaving the event.
I was disappointed that there had not been an opportunity to ask my question so I was delighted when I saw Rubio’s entourage walking toward his car. I hurried to meet him at his car. I started my question by noting President Eisenhower’s warning about the “military industrial complex.” At that point Sen. Rubio interrupted me. I asked him to wait until I finished my question and he said “but I know what you are going to ask”. He then did wait and I had an opportunity to ask, after referencing President Eisenhower, “Senator, what will you do about the influence of the weapons contractors in driving public policy?” He responded that this is a “problem… I agree with you.” The solution he offered is “the contract process needs to open up.” He seemed to be saying that having so few corporations involved in the contracts was detrimental to the quality of the product and the cost—like the F-35, “and F 16, and the planes for the aircraft carriers…”
I tried to ask him more about the lobbying influence and he asserted that more competition would resolve the problem.
I was a little confused but I thanked him for his time and for his attention to this issue.
Hector was just a step behind me and attempted to ask an immigration question but Rubio’s staff pushed him along. Still Rubio heard “immigration question,” “immigration question.” He’s been asked the question in the past and though he did not have to answer it this time– it was a reminder that the “immigration question” will continue to follow him throughout his time in Iowa.
Good effort Hector!