Christopher Peters (R-Coralville) is running to represent Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District in Congress. He said he’s running to try to end the political divide he says has plagued Washington D.C. for decades.
Peters will be the lone Republican on the June 5 primary ballot. Ginny Caligiuri (R-Osceola) attempted to join Peters on the ballot, but her nominating petition did not meet state requirements so she is running a district-wide write-in campaign. Incumbent Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa City) is running unopposed in his party's primary.
**NOTE – Tri States Public Radio interviewed Peters on May 4, 2018.**
Peters is a surgeon who owns a private surgical clinic in Coralville, Iowa. He is a military veteran who served nine years as a surgeon in the Army Medical Corps.
This is not his first run for office. Peters lost to Loebsack two years ago, 54% to 46%
Peters said that defeat showed him that his message resonated with voters in the 2nd district, which spans 24 counties including Lee, Des Moines, Henry, and Van Buren. He said he only campaigned for about seven months in 2016 so he feels much more confident about this campaign.
Peters said his top priority in Congress would be to halt the negative political atmosphere.
“It’s not just in the past two years,” said Peters. “It has been steadily eroding for decades really. I have not seen the country this divided since the Watergate/Vietnam War era. We need to come together as a country.”
Peters says the tone can change if lawmakers talk about issues, not each other.
“Be a good example and try to offer another way forward,” said Peters. “Not everyone on the left is a ‘snowflake’ and not everyone on the right is a ‘deplorable.’”
Peters said his top priorities are health care, mental illness, and veterans care.
Peters said the way to improve health care is for people to focus on the services provided, specifically the cost to provide them and who is providing them. He said he would support higher deductible plans and expanded use of health savings accounts.
“Most of health care spending is not for emergencies,” said Peters. “We really should be encouraging health savings accounts. They would make patients much better advocates for their own health.”
Peters said the most asked question in his clinic is “Will my insurance cover this?” and the least asked questions are “Is this really necessary?” and “Are you the best person to do this?”
Peters said he would like to see the federal government provide more funding to treat mental illness and he said he prefers a program in which veterans could receive basic care at their local hospitals, compared to waiting for care at a VA designated hospital.
“We should consider approaching veterans care the same way we do with other care,” said Peters. “High deductible plans, HSA’s, that would be great for them. That would be a way to make sure they can get the care their need in their communities.
- Peters said the best thing the federal government can do to help encourage job growth and boost the economy is to roll back regulations.
- He said he’s not sure what role Congress should play in protecting privacy on social media. He said if people do not trust the service, they will leave and the social media sites like Facebook will have to adapt.
- Peters said he wants the U.S border with Mexico to be as secure as possible, but added he would have to see the cost and effectiveness of a wall before fully signing off.
- He said he has been following special prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia and the 2016 Presidential Election, but Peters said he does not have enough information to weigh in on whether it is justified.
- Peters said the Congress must start looking into reducing the federal deficit. He said that would likely involve reducing Social Security benefits and cutting health care expenses as these are two of the largest portions of the federal budget.