When it comes to boosting the economy and jump-starting small businesses in the area, Congressional candidate Sean Bielat supports a "hands-off" approach that allows businesses to control their own money while making business more predictable.
"What we need to do in Washington is make it more predictable - make sure people know what's coming," he said.
Bielat said he believes business owners are refraining from making investments because they are unsure of upcoming tax burdens or regulations. In turn, a lack of action is hurting the economy.
It was a stance he delivered first to owners Chris and Jim Bertarelli during a tour of the facility Tuesday afternoon and then at a town hall forum at Queset on the Pond Tuesday evening.
Bielat's tour of Simpson Spring was led by Chris and Jim's son, Matthew, who took the candidate through the historic building on Washington Street. It included artifacts from the factory's past to the soda-making process of today.
Jim Bertarelli, who, along with his Chris,, emphasized to the Congressional candidate the importance of American-made products. Producing a product locally and independently is an area where the Easton-based company takes a lot of pride.
"This country has to start producing products," Bertarelli said. "We're unique in that sense. We are physically making a product which is so vital in this economy."
Easton Selectman and 11th Plymouth District State Rep Candidate (R-Easton), who introduced Bielat to the Town Hall forum audience, said business experience was an important credential Bielat possesses with his Internet company Oneclickpolitics.com
"The most important thing for me with our next congressman is that he has business experience," Murphy said.
Bielat fielded questions from audience members ranging from the economy, to international relations, to social security.
The candidate emphasized that he would not be afraid to make difficult decisions involving social security, entitlements and the national debt.
"We need to send people to Washington and Beacon Hill who are not afraid to lose the next election based on policy," he said.
Even national defense needed to be considered in curtailing the national debt, he said, emphasizing that reductions should not be made in troops but rather in a what he decribed as a civilian bureaucracy in the military.
Bielat said the role of government should be to push power closer to the people, with state and local officials making more decisions.
"By pushing power down you can get better representation," he said.
He applied his philosophy when he was asked about the , a proposed commuter-rail connecting Boston to Fall River and New Bedford that would run directly through Easton.
"I don't have any dog in the fight as to where the rail should be," he said "That is when you get to the state level."
Bielat didn't hesitate to criticize possible Democratic nominee , saying he is trying to win a seat based solely on a "Kennedy Brand."
"He's not going out and he's not talking issues," Bielat said. "People don't know much about this guy."
Bielat will be on a Republican primary ballot with Elizabeth Childs and David Steinhof. On the Democratic side, Kennedy is taking on Rachel Brown and Herb Robinson.
Candidates on the Republican side will debate at the Bristol Community College Attleboro campus on Aug. 13. Both parties will participate in a forum at Stonehill College in Easton on Aug. 14.