- Richard Rosen to join growing field of Republicans seeking Maine congressional seat
- Maine’s political surprises of 2012
- Olympia Snowe campaigns for Kevin Raye in Bangor, Lewiston
- Mike Michaud, Kevin Raye spar on economy in Bangor debate
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On the Issues
How would you balance the federal budget/reduce the federal deficit?
Balancing the budget and reducing the deficit will require long-term fiscal discipline to reverse the irresponsible growth of government spending in recent years. Important steps include repealing Obamacare, which is projected to cost $1.76 trillion over 10 years, passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to force Congress to adopt realistic spending priorities like we have done in Augusta, capping discretionary spending, and encouraging job growth through regulatory and tax reform in order to bolster revenues.
What steps do you support to reform Social Security and Medicare?
Politicians need to stop using Social Security and Medicare as partisan weapons to seek political advantage. Doing so has allowed the crisis facing these two vital programs to worsen over time. In order to ensure that Social Security and Medicare are in place to protect future generations of Americans, Congress should consider raising the eligibility age for younger workers and those who follow, which would help address the issue of increased life expectancy, one of the primary drivers of the projected Social Security shortfall just over 20 years from now.
Would you sign a pledge to never raise federal taxes? Why or why not?
I oppose higher taxes, which I believe are unnecessary and counter-productive to economic recovery and job growth. As Senate President, I was proud to help pass the largest tax cut in state history. I have not signed a pledge as I am uncomfortable that it can be interpreted as constraining efforts to close tax loopholes or eliminate costly taxpayer subsidies, such as those for ethanol. I support reform of an unwieldy federal tax code that has seen 15,000 changes since the last major tax reform in 1986.
How should health care be reformed?
Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with bipartisan reforms to provide consumers with more choice and competition and help reduce the cost of health insurance. Among those reforms should be Association Health Plans to allow small businesses to pool together to negotiate lower rates, making it easier for Americans to keep health coverage if they lose or change jobs, and encouraging states to create guaranteed access plans for those with pre-existing or chronic conditions. We should also ensure that consumers have access to clear information about health care costs and choices available to them.
Do you support a woman’s right to an abortion?
Early in a pregnancy, I believe government has no appropriate role in the decision. A government intrusive enough to get between a woman, her faith, her family and her doctor is a government intrusive enough to get between a gun owner and his gun, or between a protester and his freedom of speech. With respect to later-term pregnancy, I would vote to ban all post-viability abortions except those necessary to save the life of the woman or prevent severe harm to her physical health.
In Congress, would you support DOMA or legislation to allow civil unions or gay marriage?
I support DOMA as I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and no state should be forced by another state to recognize another definition of marriage, particularly that a number of states have enacted constitutional amendments or laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I would also support legislation to allow civil unions, as I believe that is the best way to protect the rights of committed same-sex couples.
Should the federal government have a role in K-12 education?
As a nation, all Americans have a stake in ensuring a well-educated populace but K-12 education is primarily the responsibility of the states and the federal government should not impose unfunded education mandates on states. For example, the federal government has a responsibility to fund its share of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).
What are the benefits of school choice? Vouchers? Should they be available for private and religious schools?
I believe these issues are best decided by the states, and federal law should not infringe on the ability of states to determine the extent of school choice or vouchers. I supported Maine's new public charter school law, and oppose taxpayer funding for private or religious schools.
Do you believe climate change is happening? Do humans contribute to it? What should Congress do to address the problem?
It is my understanding that the best science indicates that climate change is cyclical but that carbon emissions also contribute to global warming. As stewards of the planet, we owe it to future generations to err on the side of caution by reducing emissions through encouraging innovation in both cleaner burning fuels and renewable energy production, as well as energy conservation.
What should the country’s energy policy look like?
The lack of a coherent national energy policy is one of the greatest failures of our generation. Energy policy should not be ideologically driven by an either/or approach. We should embrace a well-rounded energy policy that reduces our dependence on foreign sources of oil through increased domestic gas and oil production, renewable energy, nuclear power and energy conservation.