One-on-one: Rep. Steve Stivers on Trump’s tax returns, immigration and combatting youth homelessness


NBC4 Columbus

NBC4 Staff

A new flight simulator at Rickenbacker Air National Guard will allow pilots to go to Guam, the Middle East and even Las Vegas all in one day.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Democrats in the House of Representatives are fighting hard to get a look at President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Rep. Steve Stivers, a Republican representing central Ohio in Congress, said he believes that all presidential candidates should release their tax returns, but that congressional Democrats are going about getting Trump’s the wrong way.

“I think the president should voluntarily give his tax returns,” he said. “When they don’t, voters can decide whatever that means.”

Stiver said that subpoena power should be reserved for serious situations and he is not convinced this is a serious enough situation. Instead, he thinks this could be yet another example of the contentious relationship between the White House and congressional Democrats.

The president and Democrats frequently trade barbs on social media, something Stivers says is unnecessary.

“We need to be in the business of trying to bring our country together. There are serious issues in our country where people disagree,” he said.

One of those serious issues is immigration. When asked why Republicans couldn’t pass immigration reform during the two years of Trump’s presidency that they controlled the House, Stivers said there wasn’t enough consensus for any plan that came to the floor.

 “I voted for three different bills none of them passed the House unfortunately,” he said.

Stivers said adding more judges or magistrates at the border to deal with immigration cases should be a top priority that way cases can be processed much faster than they are now.

“We need to properly staff the justice system,” he said. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Another serious problem for the country is youth homelessness, an issue Stivers is trying to fight.

 “The Department of Housing and Urban Development does not count anybody as homeless unless they’re 18 years old,” he said. “There are lots of people who are homeless at 14, 15, 16, 17.”

He said the first step to combatting the problem is counting the number of homeless youth and then working to get them the help they need. Even though there is no official count, Stivers said estimates of the number of homeless youth are alarming.

“We know it’s somewhere between 700,000 and 1.2 million in the country,” he said with “a few hundred” in central Ohio.

NBC4’s Colleen Marshall did just that during a recent visit to Rickenbacker.

“They took us down at one point and we drove down the strip of Vegas like we were going between in the hotels. We flew between them and you could see the fountains. It’s incredible,” Marshall said.

The flight simulator is designed to train military pilots who fly KC135 Stratotanker, a military aerial refueling aircraft.

“It’s just a simulator, but as you will see (in the video) it seems very real,” Marshall said. “From the outside, it’s just a stationary capsule, but climb into the cockpit and you’re half world away.”

Marshall was a pilot for a day and took off in the flight simulator and was given the option of flying to Afghanistan or Iraq.

“So which way are we going? Let’s go to Vegas,” Marshall said.

Rickenbacker tanker pilots fly real fueling missions around the world daily, supporting combatant commanders in the Middle East and Pacific, Marshall said.

Military pilots used to train elsewhere but now will come to Rickenbacker to be trained on the flight simulator. Rickenbacker also has a simulator for boom operators who lie down to fuel fighter jets mid-air at 400 mph.

“It’s tricky, but vital work,” Marshall said.

Congressman Steve Stivers said the entire Ohio delegation lobbied for the flight simulator to come to Columbus, saying it will boost the local economy.

“Those folks will stay in hotels here, they will eat meals here, they’ll fuel our economy,” Stivers said.

While flying, Marshall at one point began taking a nose dive and was coached back on the right track.

“Oh, we’re going down fast,” Marshall said.

“We just landed,” her training said back.

“This is like pulling into my garage,” Marshall said laughing.

Marshall said the technology on the simulator is incredible.

“From any director that you look you feel like you are there. They even copy the weather conditions that you’d likely face,” Marshall said.