Election 2012

View all racesSee your ballot
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, looks up to the skies during a thunderstorm that damaged her umbrella and forced the postponement of the July 4th fireworks show in Portland
U.R. Representative Chellie Pingree speakes at the United Steel Workors 2010 Fall Convention in Bangor.
Chellie Pingree in 2010.

Chellie Pingree

Party affiliation: D
Residence: North Haven


On the Issues

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

There is no question we need to get the deficit under control, but we need to take a balanced approach. A good place to start is by creating good paying jobs which will create more taxpayers and expand our tax base. Next, we need to cut wasteful defense programs and eliminate some of the tax breaks for millionaires and big oil companies.

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

Right now the wealthiest taxpayers don't have to pay Social Security tax on much of their income. If we scale back that tax loophole we could easily keep Social Security solvent for generations to come. As far as Medicare goes, one of the biggest problems is the rate of inflation of health care costs, and continued health care reform is a good first step to get unnecessary profits for the health insurers in line over the long term. Next, we need to allow Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, like the Veterans Administration does, for cheaper drug prices.

The worst thing we could do is end Medicare as we know it and replace it with a system that would leave seniors on their own to negotiate with health insurers. These changes would raise seniors’ health costs by an average of $6,400 a year in out-of-pocket expenses.

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

No. We need to rebalance the tax burden to make it easier for working families to make ends meet and make millionaires and billionaires start paying their fair share.

How should health care be reformed?

Congress passed, the President signed and the Supreme Court upheld the most significant health care reform in generations. It's a good start but we still have a long way to go. I've been a strong supporter of Medicare for all—and I still think we will eventually realize that it is a system that makes the most sense economically to provide the best health care for all citizens.

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

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?

I firmly believe that all committed couples should have the right to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation. It's good for families and good for our community.

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

As a mother and the former chair of my local school board, I care deeply about the issues surrounding K-12 education in this country — and I am well aware of the many challenges that our education system faces. No Child Left Behind (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) needs to be revamped. The law has been due for reauthorization since 2007, and as a consequence is no longer current. In its current form it provides irrelevant and misguided regulation to many of our Maine schools. I am disappointed that the Republican led Congress chose not to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) during the 112th Congress.

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

Public education is one of the basic foundations of our country and has been essential to our success as a nation. Anything that takes taxpayer resources away from public schools will hurt our communities and our country in the long run.

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

I'm amazed that there are still those that deny that global warming is real. The science is settled on this and now it's time for us to start addressing the problem. One of the best things we can do is to support new sources of renewable clean energy—like wind and tidal power—that we can produce right here at home. Developing home-grown clean energy industries will create good paying jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

What should the country’s energy policy look like?

We need to invest in sources of clean renewable energy like wind and tidal power to create good paying jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and increase our energy independence.