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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
Questions & Answers
1. In this time of high unemployment, what are the most important steps that should be taken to improve our nationís economy?
I have a clear five-point plan to reduce unemployment and rebuild a strong middle class economy. First, we need immediate investment in job-creating infrastructure projects to ensure our roads, bridges, airports and schools once again meet world class standards. It made sense when President Eisenhower invested in creating the national highway system and it makes sense today. Second, a combination of vastly improved math and science education and targeted funding for higher level scientific research will ensure America remains a global technological powerhouse. Both GPS and the Internet, for example, began as government programs yet today they sustain millions of private sector jobs. Third, I support simplifying the tax code to lower the burden on the middle class, small businesses and family farms but will never be afraid to ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. Fourth, we need to ensure fairness in the mortgage, banking and credit card markets to ensure we never again experience the disasters President Obama inherited from the previous administration. It's long past time Wall Street and Main Street played by the same rules and that bankers returned to what they ought to do be doing: lending out money to small businesses and everyday Californians rather than earning obscene bonuses by betting other people's money. Fifth, we should never attempt to balance our budget on the backs of teachers, cops and firefighters. When states are forced to consider lay-offs in these essential professions, I believe the federal government owes them + and the citizens they serve + a helping hand.
2. How should the federal budget deficit be addressed, now and into the future? How should budget priorities for defense and domestic programs be adjusted?
Especially on this issue, I believe compromise is a virtue - not a weakness. Although I don't agree with everything in the Simpson-Bowles Debt Reduction Plan, for example, I think it is an excellent starting point that effectively balances the need to reduce long-term debt, recognizes the necessity of raising revenue and also avoids risking a double-dip recession through a series of carefully timed spending cuts. When interest rates are at record lows, and during in the midst of the worst unemployment since the great depression, now is not the time to be obsessed with debt. In particular we should never "play chicken" with the debt ceiling. Risking the full faith and credit of the United States is a job killer and even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has said that doing so weakens America abroad both economically and militarily. Lastly, it is essential that we never privatize Social Security or Medicare. Both programs are sacred obligations to the American people and are unquestionably more deserving of funding than endless foreign wars, wasteful defense programs and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
3. What are your priorities with respect to our nationís energy policy? Should there be an emphasis on clean energy and reducing carbon emissions, and/or on reducing our dependence on foreign sources?
Decreasing our reliance on foreign energy and reducing carbon emissions are complimentary not contradictory goals. By becoming the world's green energy leader, we can outpace competitors like China, help limit the risks of global climate change and create thousands of sustainable high wage jobs. At the same, however, I recognize we cannot make this leap overnight. Hopefully, we arrive at a future powered by technologies like fusion, but in the mean time, common sense dictates that we should continue to explore and expand the safest possible methods of domestic natural gas production, harness the energy of crops grown right here in our District for efficient new bio-fuels (if Brazil has succeeded in this areas, surely we can as well), create environmentally based financial incentives in multiple sectors of our economy and continue actively seeking out alternatives to Middle Eastern oil.
4. What, if any, changes should be made to federal health care policies or programs?
Our national health care discussion ought to be about compassion rather than dishonest fear tactics like talk of supposed "death panels" or a "government take-over." I don't support everything in President Obama's plan but I do believe it is absolutely a step in the right direction, especially now that The Supreme Court has upheld the core principles of the law. For the first time, children with pre-existing conditions like leukemia, chronic heart deficiencies, or other serious long-term health issues are eligible for insurance coverage. Seniors are now paying less for prescription drugs because the so-called "doughnut hole" has at last been closed. And young adults who either are no longer in school or are unable to find jobs can remain covered by their parents' insurance plans. These are enormous changes that have already produced exceedingly positive effects for millions of everyday Americans. Finally, as the non-partisan CBO has explained, the Affordable Care Act is predicted to CUT the deficit by nearly $1 trillion dollars over the next two decades while providing insurance for at least an additional 33 million currently unprotected Americans. As a member of Congress, I look forward to further improving our health care system because it's simply the right thing to do + both morally and economically.
5. What, if any, changes should be made to federal rules on campaign financing?
We desperately need a return to transparency. Our campaign finance system is broken and the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has vastly worsened the problem. This election cycle, we're already seeing first hand evidence of the corrupting effects of anonymous donations, an explosion of Super PACs and unlimited corporate spending. The founding fathers intended our nation to be a republic of equal citizens. I will support legislation + and if necessary + even a Constitutional amendment to ensure we can once again return that most basic of American ideals.
Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League. Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. References to opponents are not permitted.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: September 2, 2012 12:33
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