DAVIDSON – U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger (R - District 9) took questions regarding subjects including politics, national security and regulations during a July 12 luncheon at River Run Country Club.

The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event saw Pittenger mingle with local business owners.

The 64-year-old congressman’s first topic of discussion centered on bipartisan politics and how lawmakers should work together to achieve goals.

“It’s important that we unite to solve some of our issues,” Pittenger said. “We’re in a political quagmire, and we may not see a meaningful resolution to some of our (social and economic) issues until after the 2014 election. Perhaps at that time, we’ll be able to come to some resolve. It’s a messy system, but you’ve got to respect each other.”

Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce President Bill Russell served as host for the event.

Russell asked Pittenger about alleged National Security Agency information leaker Edward Snowden, whose purported actions of releasing top-secret mass surveillance information caused a hailstorm of attention.

Pittenger didn’t mince words with his response.

“He is a criminal. He knows upon his return (to the U.S.) that he’ll be tried as such,” Pittenger said of Snowden, who is seeking asylum in Russia, according to a CBS News report.

“We are having to reinvent what we are doing (with security) in many ways,” Pittenger said. “The tragedy is that these tragedies keep happening.”

Pittenger also addressed the issue of keeping businesses in the country and not moving jobs overseas.

“We should consider, ‘Have we gone over the top with regulations?’” Pittenger said. “We’ve discouraged our business climate here. We’ve got high corporate tax rates, some of the highest in the world, and the highest regulatory rules. We need to look at a cost-benefit analysis of the regulations we are putting on businesses.”

Pittenger also voiced his support of market-driven energy solutions and addressed the growing notion the Internal Revenue Service should be abolished.

“Any effort we can have to provide energy, solar or not, needs to happen,” he said. “As far as the IRS, if we could simplify the code they use, it would make things better. I’m all for a simplified system.”