Nov. 6, 2012 – 10:30 p.m.

113th Congress: Matt Salmon, R-Ariz. (5th District)

After a decade-long hiatus from elected office, Matt Salmon decided it would be “irresponsible and dishonorable” to sit on the sidelines while the national debt grows.

He helped pass a balanced budget during his six-year tenure in Congress, before leaving in 2001 to fulfill a term-limits pledge. Salmon hopes to again create a surplus by following the Republican Study Committee’s plan to balance the budget within five years.

His other priorities include extending the George W. Bush–era tax rates and easing federal regulatory burdens “so businesses can get back to work.” Salmon cites EPA clean-air standards imposed on the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in his district, as well as new restrictions placed on Arizona’s timber industry, as examples of “wrongheaded regulatory approaches” that do his constituents more harm than good. He includes the 2010 health care overhaul on the list of harmful policies and believes that businesses should not be forced to provide health insurance for their employees.

During Salmon’s previous terms, his fluency in Mandarin earned him a spot on the International Relations Committee; he also served on Education and the Workforce. This time around, he’s interested in the Energy and Commerce Committee as a means to fight regulations that block access to domestic energy resources. Business owners in his district face steep energy costs, Salmon says. He calls cap-and-trade policies “idiotic” and vows to fight them “every step of the way.”