U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham

The United States is making too many concessions to its trading partners in the global trade arena, one presidential hopeful told a Rural Town Hall audience in Nashville.

“We’re giving away too much,” U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said regarding fair trade. “People cheat us out of our market share, but they won’t outwork us. If they outwork us, we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves.”

Graham was the third presidential candidate to participate in RFD-TV News’ Rural Town Hall series, a one-hour forum taped in front of a live audience in a town hall-style format. Preselected questions are solicited from key agricultural organizations, publications and viewers. Audience members included constituents from agricultural nonprofits and organizations.

The longtime senator’s fair trade comments were part of his response to a question concerning how he would manage countries and leaders who erect trade obstacles, in reference to ongoing negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“… If they close their markets and we open ours, that’s not trade, that’s just being a chump,” Graham said of global trade in general.

Produced in conjunction with Mediacom Connections Channel, Rural Town Hall is a series focused on rural American issues in advance of the 2016 presidential election. Encore airings of Rural Town Hall will air on RFD-TV and Rural Radio Sirius XM Channel 147. Viewers also can watch the forums online at the RFD-TV Country Club, www.rfdcc.com. The forums give presidential candidates an opportunity to outline their vision for rural America.

Graham fielded questions regarding immigration and guest worker programs, rural utility services, food regulation, education and healthcare, as well as discussed his stance on coal and other fossil fuel-based energy.

The GOP presidential candidate would create a new immigration system based on merit, he said.

“My goal as your president is to find workers who would come here temporarily, work to benefit themselves and their families while helping us, too,” Graham said. “I’d create a guest worker program more robust than what we have today, where people could come here for three years, work, make money and go back home.

“To those who yell about immigration, you’ve obviously never run a farm,” Graham said. “We need workers in the future, and I’ll make sure the workers come here legally. And they can meet the IRS like the rest of us.”

The Rural Town Hall series will air in more than 50 million homes on RFD-TV, a news release said. For more information about the series schedule, go to ruraltownhall.com, rfdtv.com or ruralradio147.com.

Graham touted the nation’s food supply in addressing a question about food initiatives that promote health, without regulating what people eat – such as soda bans in cities and school lunches.

“We have the most affordable, safe, abundant food supply in the world,” Graham said. “Let’s keep it the way it is. Micromanaging from the federal level of what products we buy, and telling people what to eat, is going too far in my view.”