Find out what the candidates stand for and where to vote

Posted Nov. 06, 2012, at 6:44 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 06, 2012, at 2:03 p.m.

Poll Question

First time voter Michael Beale (center), 21, feeds his ballot into the ballot box at the Brewer Auditorium Tuesday morning. Happy about his first voting experience, Beale said &quotI feel like I have a say in it all. It's only one vote, but it's something."
Linda Coan O'Kresik
First time voter Michael Beale (center), 21, feeds his ballot into the ballot box at the Brewer Auditorium Tuesday morning. Happy about his first voting experience, Beale said "I feel like I have a say in it all. It's only one vote, but it's something." Buy Photo
Eden Walton, 3, watches voters file by her booth with their ballots as she waits for her mom Melissa Walton to vote Tuesday morning at the Brewer Auditorium.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Eden Walton, 3, watches voters file by her booth with their ballots as she waits for her mom Melissa Walton to vote Tuesday morning at the Brewer Auditorium. Buy Photo
Brewer residents exit the Auditorium sporting the accessory of the day.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Brewer residents exit the Auditorium sporting the accessory of the day. Buy Photo
Steady voter turnout at the Brewer Auditorium kept the voting booths full early on Tuesday morning.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Steady voter turnout at the Brewer Auditorium kept the voting booths full early on Tuesday morning. Buy Photo

See who is on your local ballot and where they stand on the issues with the BDN’s online voting guide. Simply enter your address below to receive a personalized webpage containing the candidates in your district. Each candidate had the opportunity to fill out a questionnaire providing answers to 10 big questions:

Street Number:

Street Name:

U.S. Senate

How would you balance the federal budget/reduce the federal deficit?

Dalton: First by identifying and addressing the large amount of waste that is present within our federal government. Gradually replace the income tax.

Dill: Repeal the Bush tax cuts, decrease military spending and stimulate the economy with public works projects.

Dodge: Drastically cut spending in all departments, eliminate entitlements (individual and corporate) and avoid spending more than we are taking in.

King: Balance is key — cut spending, simplify the tax code, cut tax rates and close most loopholes to create more revenue.

Summers: The only way to balance the federal budget and reduce our debt is to cut government spending.

Woods: I would visit Staples and purchase a $4 calculator on my way down to D.C. I would then apply common sense — not politics — for solutions.

What steps do you support to reform Social Security and Medicare?

Dalton: Social Security: cut waste and either raise taxes or cut benefits. We are only facing a shortfall of .65 percent of GDP — we must act now.

Dill: Strengthen both by increasing the Social Security income cap and reforming the tax code, and reduce costs with discipline and management of health care.

Dodge: Both programs need to be returned to the states, as the feds have proven incapable of running them.

King: Despite popular belief, Social Security is in OK shape and needs only minor changes. For Medicare, reduce administrative costs and bring down cost of care by moving away from our current fee-for-service system toward one that pays health care providers for keeping us well instead of only treating us when we are sick.

Summers: We have to stop robbing money from the Social Security trust fund, and Medicare must remain solvent.

Woods: I would apply a combination of basic math and human compassion. Shrinking funding sources and growing base of recipients equals an unsustainable system.

Would you sign a pledge to never raise federal taxes? Why or why not?

Dalton: No — nobody knows the future. I would not want to limit our options during emergencies.

Dill: No. My pledge of allegiance is to the country, not special interest groups with agendas to get the rich even richer.

Dodge: I have already signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

King: I won’t sign pledges that handcuff my ability to work independently for Maine; e.g. the tax pledge would make it impossible to find a realistic solution to our debt.

Summers: I have signed a pledge to never raise taxes. We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Woods: No. Such a pledge is silly, politically weak and not a solution to a complex issue. Anyone that signs such a pledge is not fit to govern.

How should health care be reformed?

Dalton: We have the act. If we repeal the act because of the mandate, there must be a substitute ready to take its place.

Dill: Universal single-payer health care system with emphasis on prevention and healthy lifestyles.

Dodge: Overturn the Obamacare tax, followed by tort reform and allowing interstate purchase of health insurance.

King: We must now tackle the cost of care; try pilot programs to see what works, and move away from fee-for-service and to more preventive care.

Summers: First and foremost, we must repeal Obamacare. We need to pass Association Health Plans.

Woods: Yes. Of course. As the owner of a health company, Promerica Health, I am the only candidate with first-hand knowledge on this issue.

Do you support a woman’s right to an abortion?

Dalton: I will take an oath to support and defend the Constitution. I will also uphold laws that are in place. However, it is irrefutable that human life begins at conception and abortion at any stage is the killing of human life.

Dill: Yes, and other issues of concern to women: jobs with fair pay, education, family leave, child care, health care and clean environment.

Dodge: Yes, but no federal funds should go to provide abortions. Especially not to groups who have charters based in eugenics.

King: I am pro-choice and support a woman’s ability to make decisions about her health care with her choice of advisors; government should not intrude into this process.

Summers: I support a woman’s right to an abortion in the case of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened.

Woods: Yes. I support the law of the land on this issue and I support a woman’s right for control and decision making over her own body.

In Congress, would you support DOMA or legislation to allow civil unions or gay marriage?

Dalton: DOMA is a state issue.I support civil unions.

Dill: I do not support DOMA, and do support marriage equality.

Dodge: Policies such as DOMA, like DADT, are unconstitutional and ludicrous.

King: I believe DOMA is an ill-conceived law that intrudes into matters constitutionally left to the states. Congress should not be deciding who can marry whom.

Summers: I support DOMA.

Woods: Yes. Empathically and unequivocally, yes. Over 236 years we as a country have suppressed human rights by race, gender and religion. No more.

Should the federal government have a role in K-12 education?

Dalton: Federal contribution to K-12 is only 10.8 precent. State governments should receive block grants. The state then has total control of the funds.

Dill: The federal government must ensure every child in the U.S. has an equal opportunity to succeed. Adequate funding of public education is critical.

Dodge: No, it should not. Education is a state issue. Eliminate the Department of Education.

King: Yes, but it should be limited to funding existing mandates and supporting research into what works, not telling states and school districts how to run local schools.

Summers: K-12 education should be handled at the state level. The federal government has proven inept.

Woods: Limited. The federal government should set various academic standards for K-12 education. A global economy requires global vision.

What are the benefits of school choice? Vouchers? Should they be available for private and religious schools?

Dalton: I believe in school vouchers for private and religious schools; the more competition, the better.

Dill: Benefits are largely unknown at this point; vouchers may starve some schools of needed resources; taxpayer money should not fund religious education.

Dodge: School choice benefits all, especially the product of education, students.

King: I am not categorically opposed to charter schools, but am a skeptic because they tend to undermine support for public schools.

Summers: I support school choice and vouchers.

Woods: School choice and voucher programs are too complex issues to answer “yes” or “no” without a broader educational context.

Do you believe climate change is happening? Do humans contribute to it? What should Congress do to address the problem?

Dalton: Climate change has been taking place since the world began. It must be a major consideration when conducting business or our private affairs.

Dill: Yes. Yes. Government should provide incentives for efficiency and conservation; end some energy subsidies; and pass laws to reduce carbon dioxide.

Dodge: Yes, Cyclical climate change is a constant in the geological record, however Anthropomorphic climate change is a myth.

King: Looking at the data, it’s hard not to conclude that climate change is a reality and that our huge output of CO2 over the last 200 years is a major factor. Humans can play a critical role in either aggravating its presence or limiting its acceleration.

Summers: No, however, we all have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment.

Woods: Answer: Insane or uninformed. Question: How would you describe people that don’t believe that humans contribute to climate change?

What should the country’s energy policy look like?

Dalton: Reduce our dependence on foreign oil as quickly as possible so it no longer has a significant impact on our foreign policy.

Dill: Energy policy should reflect values: conserve, protect the environment, rely on U.S. and renewable resources, end ties with despots.

Dodge: Government shouldn’t be picking favorites and giving taxpayer funds to any part of the energy industry.

King: A “Made-in-America” energy policy can move us away from oil — it includes better efficiency and use of fuels and increased domestic production.

Summers: We should be drilling and exploiting our country’s own natural resources: gas, oil, coal and nuclear.

Woods: As earth hurtles through space at 67,000 mph we’re carrying a finite supply of fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) with us that will soon run out.

 1st District

How would you balance the federal budget/reduce the federal deficit?

Courtney: I would talk to the members on the other side of the aisle and focus on the tax code, removing ethanol subsidies and streamlining regulation to create jobs.

Pingree: We need to create more good-paying jobs, bring our troops home and eliminate tax breaks for millionaires and big oil companies.

What steps do you support to reform Social Security and Medicare?

Courtney: I would encourage a discussion about changing the retirement age for those under 55. We must look at the cost drivers in Medicare.

Pingree: Medicare must negotiate with drug companies for cheaper prices. And, the wealthiest must pay their fair share of Social Security taxes.

Would you sign a pledge to never raise federal taxes? Why or why not?

Courtney: I have not signed the pledge, but I have a very strong record in my time in the Legislature of opposing new taxes and reducing existing ones.

Pingree: No. We need to rebalance the tax burden so working families can make ends meet and the wealthiest start paying their fair share.

How should health care be reformed?

Courtney: We should simplify the process of purchasing health insurance and reward providers for wellness, not how many tests they order.

Pingree: I strongly support Medicare for all. It is a system that makes the most sense economically to provide the best health care for all.

Do you support a woman’s right to an abortion?

Courtney: I oppose abortion except in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Pingree: I strongly support a woman’s right to choose and I have fought the numerous attempts to attack that right in the current Congress.

In Congress, would you support DOMA or legislation to allow civil unions or gay marriage?

Courtney: I support DOMA and traditional marriage.

Pingree: I firmly believe that all committed couples should have the right to marry. It’s good for families and good for our community.

Should the federal government have a role in K-12 education?

Courtney: I believe the federal government’s role in education should be minimal. However, we must find ways to keep up with the rest of the world.

Pingree: As a mother and former chair of my school board, I care deeply about education in our country. It’s time to change No Child Left Behind.

What are the benefits of school choice? Vouchers? Should they be available for private and religious schools?

Courtney: I support school choice and vouchers for private and religious schools. I believe in offering as many options for our children as possible.

Pingree: Public education is essential to our success as a nation. We need to keep resources in public schools to keep our communities strong.

Do you believe climate change is happening? Do humans contribute to it? What should Congress do to address the problem?

Courtney: You can have clear, strong environmental regulations and a pro-jobs agenda. You don’t have to choose one or the other.

Pingree: Global warming is real. We need to support local sources of clean energy to create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

What should the country’s energy policy look like?

Courtney: We should move forward with the Keystone pipeline and encourage natural gas. Alternative energies should be competitive in the marketplace.

Pingree: One of the best things we can do is to support sources of clean energy — like wind and tidal power — that we can produce right here in Maine.

2nd District

How would you balance the federal budget/reduce the federal deficit?

Michaud: I support a Constitutional balanced budget amendment and in this Congress, I am a co-sponsor of both a Republican and a Democratic version.

Raye: Repeal Obamacare, pass a balanced budget amendment to force realistic spending priorities, and encourage job growth to bolster revenues.

What steps do you support to reform Social Security and Medicare?

Michaud: I oppose the Paul Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program. We should negotiate for prescription drugs like the VA to reduce costs.

Raye: For younger workers, increase eligibility age to reflect longer life expectancy, a primary driver of the projected shortfall in 2033.

Would you sign a pledge to never raise federal taxes? Why or why not?

Michaud: No. The ability to compromise is gone with a pledge like this. It prevents action on tax reform that most Americans agree is necessary.

Raye: I oppose higher taxes but am uncomfortable with a pledge that could constrain efforts to close tax loopholes or eliminate costly subsidies.

How should health care be reformed?

Michaud: Passing ACA was a start. Maine should be with the Boston market rate for Medicare reimbursement, ensuring access in rural areas and stabilizing costs.

Raye: Repeal Obamacare and replace it with bipartisan reforms to provide more choice and competition to reduce the cost of health insurance.

Do you support a woman’s right to an abortion?

Michaud: Roe v. Wade is the law. I’m against efforts to restrict private health insurance options and I support the current ban on federal funding of abortion.

Raye: Government should have no role in early pregnancy, but ban all post-viability abortions except to save life or physical health of mother.

In Congress, would you support DOMA or legislation to allow civil unions or gay marriage?

Michaud: I voted against the constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. Marriage is an issue best handled by the individual states.

Raye: I support DOMA as I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. The rights of same-sex couples should be protected with civil unions.

Should the federal government have a role in K-12 education?

Michaud: Curriculum and education policy is best accomplished locally. Feds should play a role in helping to fund things like buildings, labs and buses.

Raye: As a nation, we have a stake in ensuring a well-educated populace but overseeing K-12 education is the responsibility of the states.

What are the benefits of school choice? Vouchers? Should they be available for private and religious schools?

Michaud: Choice should continue to be a state and local issue. Feds must ensure that rural and urban schools have the tools to succeed in the classroom.

Raye: I believe school choice and voucher issues are best decided by the states. I oppose taxpayer funding of private religious schools.

Do you believe climate change is happening? Do humans contribute to it? What should Congress do to address the problem?

Michaud: Yes, and the evidence is unfortunately all around us. We must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and cut down on our use of fossil fuels.

Raye: Science shows climate change is cyclical but carbon emissions contribute to global warming. We should encourage reductions in emissions.

What should the country’s energy policy look like?

Michaud: It must recognize Maine’s need for oil now, the opportunities available in natural gas and the long-term potential of new technologies.

Raye: We need a well-rounded policy that emphasizes domestic gas and oil production, renewable energy, nuclear power and energy conservation.

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