Blust says he’s got the experience to ‘stand strong’ in Congress
SALISBURY — In the 13th Congressional District race, Greensboro attorney and state legislator John Blust says he’s got the fortitude and the courage to “stand strong” in Washington.
Blust, 61, is an attorney who has practiced law in areas that include: taxation, estate planning, business law and bankruptcy. He has served in the North Carolina House since 2001 and is one of four candidates running in the 13th District race who is a state legislator. When talking about his qualifications for Congress, however, he placed the most focus on his military experience, which includes serving in the 82nd Airborne Division. He joined the military the day imediately following his 18th birthday in 1972.
He spoke about why voters should choose him during a recent candidate forum held by the Rowan County tea party.
“All kinds of people come to groups like this and talk conservative, but when they get in the office, they can’t do it,” Blust said. “Of any of the 17 (Republican candidates), I’ve shown that I stand up under pressure, including if it’s my own leadership.”
Blust said most of the Republican candidates in the 13th District race will tout the same policy positions. Blust said he’s literally demonstrated courage under fire.
“Whether it’s political fire or being a previous military veteran, I’ve got fortitude forged in the fire,” Blust said.
When asked what he was proud of about his time in the legislature, Blust said he’s played a role in fixing North Carolina’s state budget, reforming taxes, stopping a “whopping” gas tax increase in 2015 and standing up for his beliefs in his legislative caucus.
During the tea party forum, Blust mentioned House Bill 2 as an example of standing for his beliefs in the face of public opposition.
“Who has shown time and again they can stand up to the pressure? I think I’ve demonstrated that not just in politics.”
Blust said he’s “more incensed” by what Republicans have done in Washington, D.C. than actions by Democrats. Blust said he expects higher standards from Republicans.
“I want to be proud of who we are, and it turns my stomach to see whats going on sometimes,” he said.
He says America is “at a crossroads.” It may be too late to take significant steps to reduce America’s debt, he said. He specifically questioned why Republicans in Congress haven’t passed a significant tax reform bill.
On debt-related matters, Blust says America also needs entitlement reform to lower an estimated $100 trillion or more in unfunded liabilities, a spending cap to control growth of non-defense discretionary spending and zero-base budgeting.
On tax reform, Blust says Congress needs to implement a flat tax rate that starts at 15 percent. The only allowed deductions and credits would include home mortgage interest, charitable giving and significant medical bills. He also favors eliminating the Internal Revenue Service and starting over with a new agency.
He favors repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with a market-based solution that allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines. It would increase competition and reduce costs, Blust says.
On immigration, Blust says America securing the nation’s borders involves more than building a wall. America also needs to ensure it’s got the resources to prevent people from overstaying their legally allowed time. Any one immigrant who commits any kind of crime should be deported, he says.
Blust also says Congress shouldn’t allow the president to perform law-making or legislative functions.
He said candidates running for the 13th District shouldn’t make promises about things he or she can do without having prior, relevant experience.
“You know, you may be able to do those things, but I can say I could outplay Cam Newton in the Super Bowl and the Panthers would have won,” Blust said. “It’s all just talk until you actually do it.”
Blust will face off against 16 other Republicans in the party primary election on June 7. The candidate who receives the largest share of votes will advance to November’s general election.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.