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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund

Smart Voter
Hamilton, Butler County, OH November 2, 2004 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
United States Representative; District 1

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and asked of all candidates for this office.

See below for questions on Qualifications, Top Priority, Pressing Issue, Federal Deficit, Health Care, Public Transportation

Click on a name for other candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

1. What are your qualifications for office?

Answer from Greg Harris:

My professional background includes teaching and extensive work in community development. After teaching for six years at Miami University, where I also earned my PhD, I served as Program Manager for an inner-city youth development and apprenticeship program called Public Allies/Americorps. I was then hired as Executive Director of a regional public policy and advocacy organization called Citizens for Civic Renewal (CCR), founded by former Ohio Governor John Gilligan. During my tenure, CCR worked with citizens and public officials to identify solutions to some of the more pressing problems facing the region, including school equity, campaign finance reform, urban sprawl, and poverty.

I currently work as a consultant to non-profit agencies in areas of project development and grant writing, and have done communications work for local political campaigns.

Due to my substantial work in the advocacy field, I have a strong grasp of effective public policy ("best practices") that can be applied at the federal level in response to some of the more pressing issues facing our region.

Answer from Rich Stevenson:

I am a uniquely qualified student of grassroots politics who can bring that knowledge to bear on the democratic process needed to end corruption in our elections. For example, instant runoff voting will end the crisis caused by the winner-take-all presidential elections of 2000 and the repeat about to happen in 2004. Worked to get Ross Perot and the Reform Party on the Ohio ballot from 1990 to 2000. Elected to the Reform Party Central Committee 1998-2000; Independent candidate for US Congress, OH 1, on the Natural Law Party ballot in 2000. As an independent, I have no special interest strings attached. I am free to solve our national problems.

Answer from Steve Chabot:

I was born and raised in our community and have worked hard on behalf of our citizens. As a husband, father and former teacher, I know what its like to raise a family and build a better future for our children.

I have served in the U.S. House of Representatives for almost ten years. During that time I have been an active member of the Judiciary Committee, the International Relations Committee and the Small Business Committee.

I have worked to lower the tax burden on middle-class Americans, reduce wasteful spending and balance the federal budget, improve our national defense and protect Social Security and Medicare.

I have also authored and helped pass of legislation related to education, drug interdiction and a ban partial-birth abortion.

In addition, I have extensive experience at the local level + serving on Cincinnati City Council and the Hamilton County Commission.

2. How would you implement your top priority?

Answer from Rich Stevenson:

A more democratic republic is my top priority. Independents like me are 85 % of all possible voters. I will introduce legislation to make Congress a citizen's legislature. We need term limits, six years for House, and twelve years for Senate. The President has an eight-year term limit. Term limits promote democracy. Every independent elected to Congress will help end partisan warfare that blocks available solutions to our national problems. We need all new independent faces in Congress and in the White House. I can act without any control by a party or by special interests. I owe no one except the people of District 1.

Answer from Steve Chabot:

Despite recent economic improvement, many families are still hurting and we must push policies that will spur economic growth and job creation. I have helped enact tax relief legislation that cuts income taxes for all Americans, reduces the marriage tax penalty and increases the child tax credit. We must also eliminate wasteful federal spending, balance the budget and pay down the national debt. In addition, rising health care costs create a tremendous burden. I have supported the establishment of tax credits and tax deductions that would make insurance more affordable.

To combat terrorism at home and abroad, we must continue to strengthen our national security. This means improving our military capabilities and providing our troops with the equipment and resources they need. We must also further improve homeland security.

To strengthen retirement security we must protect and improve Social Security and Medicare for current and future generations.

Answer from Greg Harris:

Healthcare Reform:

Our nation currently provides healthcare for the elderly (Medicare) and the poor (Medicaid), but inexcusably allows over 44 million people, most of whom are members of working families, to fall through the cracks.

According to the Connecticut Coalition for Universal Healthcare, "The United States is the only industrialized country in the world in which health care is not a right of citizenship. As a result the United States has the worst health care statistics in the industrialized world. We rank 18th in longevity, 16th in infant mortality, and around 67th in immunizations. All because our citizens can't access health care due to money."

I support the single payer plan endorsed by the 8,000 physicians from the American Medical Organization (AMA). The plan "would save at least $200 billion annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private, investor-owned insurance industry and reducing spending for marketing and other satellite services. Administrative savings would fully offset the costs of covering the uninsured as well as giving full prescription drug coverage to all Americans."

Universal health coverage plan will pay for itself by removing the expensive middleman (e.g. the insurance companies), increasing preventative care and decreasing administrative costs.

3. What do you see as the two most pressing issues you would address if elected? What plans do you have relative to those issues?

Answer from Rich Stevenson:

I favor a living wage for all American workers. This will reduce crime and drug activity as the only means for some citizens to survive. Represent people in Congress. Corporate tax breaks should reward the creation of living wage careers in our country, and not reward removal of jobs and production from within our borders. Tax offshore corporations or deny them access to our markets. Minor tax adjustments will save Social Security and Medicare. A 1/10 of a penny tax on each share traded on our busy stock exchanges would not be noticed, and would raise billions of dollars to make capitalism pay a share of the taxes needed to govern for the public good.

Answer from Steve Chabot:

We must continue to improve the economy and create jobs. To accomplish these goals, I will continue to push policies that lower taxes on middle-class Americans, reduce the federal budget deficit and limit unnecessary federal regulation and bureaucracy. Rising healthcare costs are also a drain on the economy and are a burden on hard-working families. To make high-quality healthcare more affordable, I support making health insurance premiums tax deductible and enacting healthcare tax credits.

Securing our nation from terrorist attacks should remain a top priority for our nation. We must ensure that we have the resources to combat terrorism at home and abroad. I have participated in several hearings related to the 9-11 Commission + including one I led as Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee. I believe we must thoroughly review the recommendations and move quickly to enact those that will make our country safer.

Answer from Greg Harris:

1. Quality affordable healthcare for every American: I support the single payer Universal health coverage plan endorsed by 8,000 physicians and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
2. Jobs and Unemployment: I support tax breaks for companies that create jobs in the U.S.A; investment in labor-intensive public works projects to create two million American jobs immediately; education tax credits for retraining laid-off workers; 75% healthcare tax credits for laid-off workers.

4. How would you address the federal deficit?

Answer from Rich Stevenson:

Give our country back to the economic competition provided by entrepreneurial free enterprise. Give small businesses a chance to compete against international corporations that squash all competition using unfair monopoly practices. We need to encourage domestic enterprises. We need to have a tax system that pays down the national debt and considers the catastrophic problem of $72 trillion dollars in lon-term national liabilities. We are in a very vulnerable position subject to the whim of our foreign creditors. The total value of US assets is around $43 trillion. Our creditors could bankrupt our entire nation nearly twice over at will. A great depression in our nation at this point in history would end our participation in the world economy. Free trade would no longer be our prerogative. We need to realistically face our economic problems. All public policy should work toward responsible reduction of the debt and deficit.

Answer from Greg Harris:

President Bush's tax cuts have plunged us into the largest deficit in our history. As a result, we have been forced to rely on massive deficit spending and raids of the social security trust fund. We must make certain that tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans do not rob working families or their children of a better tomorrow. The best and only way to guarantee economic growth is to put money back into the pockets of working families. That's why I support keeping tax breaks that are geared towards the middle class while repealing the nearly trillion dollars in tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. These dollars can be better invested in areas of more pressing concern, including healthcare, homeland security, and a reduced national debt. Reducing health care inflation will also shrink the federal deficit. See my health care plan below.

Answer from Steve Chabot:

Over the last several years, Citizens Against Government Waste has consistently named me the top waste fighter in Congress. This demonstrates my commitment to reducing excessive federal spending and balancing the budget.

While renewed economic growth will bring additional revenues to the government, this is not enough. Congress must be more responsible with the taxpayers money. I have successfully pushed proposals that cut wasteful spending. For example, a bipartisan majority in the House recently voted for my amendment to eliminate millions of dollars in taxpayer subsides to the timber industry for logging in one of our national forests. To effectively eliminate the budget deficit, however, we will need to target additional corporate welfare programs and limit waste and abuse throughout the federal government.

5. What should be the federal government's role with respect to health care?

Answer from Rich Stevenson:

The American people need health care security. We spend only 1% of our medical dollars for prevention. As a result, our health care system is the most expensive health care system in any developed nation. The profit-motivated pharmaceutical and health insurance industries drain too much money from the delivery of health care to our people. Windfall profit levels prevent the provision of clinical intervention to promote healthy life styles that drastically reduce health care costs throughout extended, healthier patient lives. We need to consider single-payer healthcare alternatives before our doctors, nurses and other health care professionals lose the ability to afford to deliver healthcare. To keep up with the rest of the civilized world we must consider a one-payer system to deliver medical services to patients. All the people I know who have lived under one-payer systems wanted it back and felt it was a much better system than we have here. Doctors and nurses I know want a greater portion of healthcare dollars to be devoted to patient care and intervention. The high cost of private health insurance is a major cause of our weak economy.

Answer from Greg Harris:

Over 40 million Americans, mostly members of working families, can't afford health care. According to the Connecticut Coalition for Universal Healthcare, "The United States is the only industrialized country in the world in which health care is not a right of citizenship. As a result the United States has the worst health care statistics in the industrialized world. We rank 18th in longevity, 16th in infant mortality, and around 67th in immunizations. All because our citizens can't access health care due to money." It is time to guarantee every American access to affordable quality health care. I support the single payer plan endorsed by 8,000 physicians and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Administrative savings would fully offset the costs of covering the uninsured as well as giving full prescription drug coverage to all Americans.

Answer from Steve Chabot:

The federal government should implement policies that make high-quality health care more affordable to all our citizens.

6. What plans do you have to promote a more balanced transportation system?

Answer from Greg Harris:

In a region crippled by one of the highest rates of sprawl in the nation, it is time to seek alternatives to sprawl highways. As director of the non-profit public policy organization, Citizens for Civic Renewal, an agency that has done much work on "best practices" for building a stronger region, I learned the integral role light rail plays in bolstering the socioeconomic outlook of several metropolitan regions throughout the nation. I am also a strong supporter of Amtrak. The overwhelming public demand for a national intercity rail passenger network (a demand that has increased dramatically since 9/11) indicates that the majority of Americans would be willing to support Amtrak as a not-for-profit public service. An accessible and affordable national intercity rail passenger network would be especially valuable to senior Americans and to the 70% of Americans who do not fly. I oppose any effort to privatize portions of Amtrak.

Answer from Rich Stevenson:

In a country stripped of public transportation in the 1930s and on up to recent times, it is time to take transportation away from the exclusive control of the petroleum, automobile, trucking, and rubber industries. Our two-party system is bought by these special interests. Independents like me will consider all the alternate plans for re-building efficient public transportation systems with no influence from special interests. I will also support switching to alternate renewable fuels to eliminate dependence on foreign petroleum. Switching to bio-diesel, alcohol, solar, wind and hydroelectric power will create jobs and economic activity to foster a prosperous economy. Hydrogen fuel at this point is fifty years in the future, a deceptive lie to gain more time for petroleum to dominate our transportation and energy industries. I will support public light rail and Amtrak expansion. I support legislation to promote innovations such as hybrid fueled automobiles and higher fuel efficiency standards on all vehicles.

Answer from Steve Chabot:

I have supported giving states and local communities greater control over transportation dollars. States and local governments better understand their transportation needs and can more effectively address citizens concerns. This will allow local communities to determine the balance between various transportation systems.

I have also pushed efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This is critical to meeting the future transportation needs of the Unites States.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. The answer must not exceed 150 words.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily.

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Created: December 15, 2004 13:41 PST
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