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Steve Rathje was a Republican candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the Senate in Iowa. He was seeking the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). He lost in primary elections which took place on June 3, 2008. 
Positions, record and controversies
Jobs and Business
Steve Rathje had the vision to view outsourcing as a way to keep jobs in Iowa. He founded a company that consistently reduced its customers’ costs by 30%, and more importantly, created Iowa jobs that pay upwards of $20.00 an hour while successfully competing with offshore competition. His efforts have returned good paying manufacturing jobs from countries like China, Mexico, Europe and Canada back to the United States.
Steve Rathje is no amateur when it comes to cutting costs and creating jobs. Imagine his vision in Washington D.C.
Steve Rathje: “Using common sense, thinking outside the box, adapting to situations as they arise and overcoming obstacles that lie before me are tools I use daily to achieve success not only for our customers, but our employees and our company, as well.”
We need a new face with fresh ideas. We need Steve Rathje as our next United States Senator.
Budget and Taxes
Make Tax Cuts Permanent
Steve Rathje is a fiscal conservative that wants to make tax cuts permanent by 2010 to avoid the largest tax increase in American history. He is also determined to phase in a “fair tax” to replace our current, antiquated system with one that will help working families keep more of their hard-earned money. Steve believes that being taxed on what we spend, and not on what we earn, will close unfair tax loop-holes and create a “fair tax” system, whereby all Americans share the responsibility.
Steve Rathje: “Like you, I’m one who believes in keeping more of what we earn, getting big government out of our lives, paying as we go and creating real jobs that build families and make for a stronger, safer Iowa and America.”
End the “Death Tax”
The “death tax” is wrong and Steve supports permanently ending this erroneous tax. Small businesses and family farmers are hardest hit. Iowans should not be punished when they pass on their life’s work to the next generation.
Stop Out-of-Control Federal Spending
Steve has a simple, three point plan to reign in federal spending. First, we must give the President line-item veto authority. Second, Congress needs to pass a balanced budget amendment. Last, Congress must stop earmarks and entitlements from being attached to legislation. Spending must be separate and receive an up or down vote based on its own merit.
As a businessman, mentor and former High School assistant football coach, Steve Rathje understands the importance of an education.
Steve Rathje: “Educating our youth - the future business and political leaders of this nation - must be a top priority.”
Steve Rathje is pro-life, from the very beginning to the very end. He believes that life should be protected at all stages and will never waiver in his protection of the unborn.
Steve Rathje: “As a pro-life parent and grandparent, I will always strive to protect the life in that of the unborn and will be forever diligent in protecting all children from those who seek to do them harm.”
Stem Cell Research
Steve Rathje is opposed to any stem cell research that destroys a living embryo and will not support funding by your tax dollars. He does, however, support research advances in adult stem cells and infant cord blood which does not require destroying human embryos. He is also opposed to any form of human cloning.
Steve Rathje is committed to defending the sanctity of marriage as the union between one MAN and one WOMAN and supports passing a constitutional amendment to reaffirm this basic tenet of the American culture.
Steve Rathje is not an anti-immigration candidate and welcomes those who want to legally come to America, live by its laws, and call it home. However, the Democrats, including Tom Harkin and even some liberal Republicans, have turned their backs on America by pandering to a potential voting block of millions by insisting on some form of amnesty.
They want a temporary-documented worker program that will give illegal aliens a “reasonable” path to earned citizenship. A reasonable path is, and has been, in place and it’s called the Law!
Steve Rathje: “I will pander to no one. I will not support amnesty and I will not trade one single American life, or the life of a legal immigrant for that of some common criminal or potential terrorist that chooses to sneak across our borders.
Our borders are all porous; especially our southern border with Mexico. At this time, the best option is to build a fence with the technology and human support needed to monitor effectively. The Mexican government must also assume border security responsibility or face trade sanctions with the United States. Harkin’s attitude toward protecting our borders is pretty chilling. He advocates amnesty for those who have entered our country illegally and has voted against efforts to increase our border security.
The bottom line is this: With Tom Harkin we will continue to have holes in our border security whereby both illegal’s, and those who would do us harm, can enter without fear of penalty. We are not only a nation of immigrants; we are also a nation of laws. Tom Harkin simply refuses to accept that.
Steve Rathje: “I will work tirelessly to secure our borders, and enforce our immigration laws immediately. I will move to severely penalize those who knowingly and willingly assist anyone that ignores the law and hires illegals, and see to it that those who have entered our country illegally are dealt with accordingly and never, ever rewarded with amnesty of any kind whatsoever.”
War on Terror
Steve believes we must stop politicizing the War on Terror. Terrorists who seek to destroy freedom and democracy around the world must be defeated if we are ever to ensure the safety and security of our nation. We must remove the handcuffs from our fighting men and women and give our Generals the tools and legal means to track down terrorists and eliminate them before they have any chance to mount another 911.
War in Iraq
Steve believes that leaving Iraq prior to securing the region will only embolden the enemy. He also believes that setting any timetable for departure will only play into the hands of the enemy. They will simply lay low and wait for us to leave and then begin a bloody reign of terror and economic instability unlike this world has ever known. Defeating Al-Qaeda and the Jihadists in Iraq is essential not only for the safety, security and economy of this nation, but for all nations around the world. We must view our nation through the eyes of our enemies if we are ever to be truly secure.
Steve Rathje supports the right of all Americans to Keep and Bear Arms and firmly believes that the 2nd Amendment is the amendment that defends the other 26 in our Constitution. Steve will defend this right.
Steve is a strong advocate for renewable energy, yet believes it’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem. As your U.S. Senator, Steve Rathje will work closely with our renewable fuels industries to ensure Iowa continues to be on the forefront of ethanol and bio-diesel as well as work to create an energy policy that will safely support our energy needs and substantially reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Steve supports renewed efforts to jumpstart nuclear energy in America. It’s a safe and environmentally friendly form of energy that gets us one step closer to energy independence.
Open New Refineries and Drill New Oil Wells
Hurricane Katrina showed us how fragile our refinery system is. We need to diversify our refinery system, expanding out of the Gulf region. The United States cannot afford to continue to sit on its hands and not open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We have the technology today to drill safely and through environmentally friendly means.
"Born in Cedar Rapids in 1956, to successful entrepreneurs Richard and Ida Mae Rathje, Steve grew up watching his parents run their construction business from home, six to seven days a week. Their strong work ethic is what the Rathje Construction Company thrived on. Today, Rathje Construction has expanded to a location in Eastern Marion and is being run by Steve's brothers, Robert and Kenneth and two of Steve's nephews.
After Steve finished high school, he took an entry level job at Cedar Rapids Incorporated. Unfortunately, within a few months he was laid off. Shortly thereafter, he was hired by Universal Engineering as a janitor, he sought out every possible advancement opportunity available, and within a few years Steve found himself being rapidly promoted.
While working as the Director of Outside Sourcing, Steve discovered a niche in the manufacturing industry. He believed that he could find American suppliers to make the components better, faster and cheaper than the ones that his customers were buying from Mexico and China. In 1992, Steve formed "International Procurement Services" and has provided and will continue to provide Iowans and Americans with job opportunities. He later started another company called "The Genesis Group" as a tribute to the new opportunities in his life. As a testament to Steve's entrepreneurial drive, Steve has received the "National Leadership Award" and "Business Advisory Council 2003: Businessman of the Year."
Money in politics
According to Mr. Rathje's October filling with the FEC he raised $5,533, has $259.29 on hand and has $15,504.57 in campaign debts.
Committees and affiliations
Rathje will be assigned committees if and when he is elected to Congress.
More background data
Steve Rathje for U.S. Senate PO Box 5608 Coralville, IA 52241 ph: 319-887-2008
Articles and resources
- 2008 U.S. congressional elections
- Portal:Iowa and the U.S. Congress
- ↑ Greg Giroux and Marie Horrigan, "Iowa, Montana, South Dakota Races set for November", CQ Politics, June 4, 2008
- ↑ 2008 Race Tracker page on Iowa's Senate Race
- ↑ Official Steve Rathje for U.S. Senate website
- 2008 Race Tracker page on Iowa's Senate Race
- Official Steve Rathje for U.S. Senate website
- "Our Campaigns profile on Steve Rathje," Our Campaigns.
- Chris Faulkner, "Rathje brings business world experience to U.S. senatorial campaign," Keokuk's Gate City Daily Online, July 31, 2007.
- O.Kay Henderson, "Republican businessman steps forward to face Harkin," Radio Iowa, March 6, 2007.
- "Rathje Campaign: Steve Rathje Locks Down Support of Key Republican Players," Iowa Politics, May 25, 2007.