On the Issues
How would you balance the federal budget/reduce the federal deficit?
I propose the following as first steps for getting spending under control: eliminate the majority of foreign aid, cap Medicare spending growth at 1% above GDP, eliminate farm subsidies which currently only go to large agricultural companies, reduce the size of the federal work force, cancel some costly and unnecessary defense programs, and eliminate many tax loopholes.
What steps do you support to reform Social Security and Medicare?
Our first responsibility is to those already collecting these benefits and relying on them, but for younger Americans we should encourage an environment where they save more for their own retirement so as to not be in a situation to exclusively rely on these benefits. Medicare growth should be capped at GDP growth plus 1% and means testing should be introduced for social security. Some form of optional private investment of social security should be allowed for those currently below 45, and we should explore incrementally and slightly raising the retirement age for those in that bracket as well. There should be more tax breaks for savings in retirement as well, to further encourage people to save and invest their own money.
Would you sign a pledge to never raise federal taxes? Why or why not?
I’m not sure. I believe the most important pledge, or oath, is the one taken to support, uphold, and defend the US Constitution
How should health care be reformed?
We need to move to a market based system where there are as few barriers between a patient and their doctor as possible. We need to allow small businesses to group together to get access to better health insurance plans, and encourage people to invest more in health savings accounts. We need to allow competition across state lines, and enact medical malpractice reform.
Do you support a woman’s right to an abortion?
I oppose partial birth or late term abortions. I support parental notification for minors and I oppose federal funding of abortions.
In Congress, would you support DOMA or legislation to allow civil unions or gay marriage?
I don’t think the federal government should be in the marriage business. If any government is, it’s up to the states.
Should the federal government have a role in K-12 education?
Federal education mandates only make it harder for many students to get the educations they need, and cause schools to either become radically more expensive, or fail. Education should be in the hands of parents and local school boards and any federal funding should come without any strings attached.
What are the benefits of school choice? Vouchers? Should they be available for private and religious schools?
Parents should be able to choose which schools their children attend, and schools which perform poorly should be allowed to fail and not propped up by the taxpayers. The education of our children is far too important to play games with.
Do you believe climate change is happening? Do humans contribute to it? What should Congress do to address the problem?
We can have a responsible environmental policy and still allow business to operate profitably if that’s what we want to do. The trouble is that too many want to use scare tactics to say it’s all or nothing, and you can only have one or the other. A creative, comprehensive approach will yield both results: profitable industry and commerce, and a safe and lush environment. Here in Maine we have been an environmental leader, and I see no reason that shouldn’t continue.
What should the country’s energy policy look like?
We need to get off our dependence on foreign oil and take advantage of the many energy sources we have in the US and in North America. I support the Keystone XL pipeline, for example. We need to allow states and people to use the energy they have at their fingertips, and support infrastructure and lowering the cost of transporting energy so that places like Maine can get cheap access to external energy sources. We should also look at tidal power generation here in Maine, which modern technology would allow us to harness without damaging local environments or ecosystems.