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Candidate positions: Al Franken

The following positions reflect those used for Al Franken in the Select A Candidate survey. Read the full responses from candidates below. “Answer option” is the choice given in the quiz, and “Candidate’s position” shows the candidate’s response to MPR News.


Issue Question Candidate Position
Iraq Do you favor or oppose a set date (timeline) for the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq? ANSWER OPTION
Favor

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
During an interview with MPR's Midday, Franken said, "No, not an immediate withdrawal at all. I'm for sort of the Biden plan, which is a partition of the country - a soft partition." But in February 2008, during a DFL candidate debate, Franken supported a timeline for withdrawing. (More Info)
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Education Do you favor or oppose the education program known as "No Child Left Behind?" ANSWER OPTION
Oppose

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to Twin Cities Daily Planet, Franken told a DFL Senate debate "We need early childhood education to close gaps. A kid who's read to who has greater vocabulary than a kid who hasn't been read to. Return on early childhood ed has been proven; we should do that. Have to focus more funds and efforts on the beginning of life and stop investing in prisons and start investing in schools." (More Info)
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Health Care Do you favor or oppose universal health care? ANSWER OPTION
Favor

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In a written statement to MPR Franken said, "My number one domestic priority is to get us to universal health care. We spend 16% of our GDP on health care; no other industrialized country spends more than 11%. Yet we cover only 82% of our people; they all cover 100% of theirs. "The first thing we should do, and we should do it immediately, is cover every kid in America by essentially expanding Medicare to include everyone 18 and under. And, by the way, Medicare should really be Medicare - we shouldn't be throwing away Medicare dollars by overpaying the insurance companies to cherry-pick the healthiest seniors to cover. "There are several feasible options being used around the world for covering everyone else, including a single-payer system, and my priority is to get to universal health care as quickly as possible, even if this means temporarily adopting a mixed system or a system that allows states some flexibility how they cover their citizens." (More Info)
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Issue Question Candidate Position
Stem Cells Should federal funding be used to expand embryonic stem cell research? ANSWER OPTION
Federal funding should be used to expand embryonic stem cell research, even if that research uses viable human embryos.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In a written statement to MPR Franken said, "I support embryonic stem cell research. The blastocysts used for this potentially life-saving research contain only a few cells, and thousands are simply discarded by fertility clinics every year. A few of these blastocysts could be used instead to develop stem cell lines for potentially life-saving research. Given that the real choice is between using blastocysts for this purpose or throwing them away, their potential to save so many lives argues for allowing the government to fund and regulate this research. And by the way, I'd like to see this research happening at the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, not in Zurich or Tokyo. Once again, Minnesota can be at the forefront of the next wave of technology." Back to top
Social Security Do you favor privatizing Social Security to any degree? ANSWER OPTION
No

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In a written statement to MPR Franken said, "my wife's family survived because of Social Security survivor benefits, and I will go to the mat to protect Social Security from privatization. I think the Bush administration and its apologists have exaggerated concerns about solvency. But those concerns do exist, and I think we should look at raising the cap on income subject to FICA." Back to top
Tax Cuts Should the President's tax cuts be made permanent? ANSWER OPTION
No

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In a written statement to MPR Franken said, "I am strongly opposed to making Bush's tax cuts permanent. Never before in the history of our country have we had a tax cut during a time of war - and under this Administration, we've had two. That's ridiculous. We should not extend the tax cuts for the top 1%. When President Clinton raised the top marginal tax rate, Republicans claimed it would lead to financial ruin. Instead, it led to unprecedented prosperity. I think we should go back to unprecedented prosperity." Back to top
Issue Question Candidate Position
Alternative Energy Which option most closely matches your plan for meeting future energy needs? ANSWER OPTION
I believe we should continue to develop corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels, invest heavily in wind power, tidal power and solar energy. We should have higher fuel efficiency standards and explore nuclear energy.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In a written statement to MPR Franken said, "I support an Apollo program to identify new sources of renewable energy and develop the technologies we have already identified. That means continuing to work to make corn ethanol more efficient, but it also means developing cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels. It means investing in solar energy and tidal energy and, especially in Minnesota, wind power. We can improve our national security, address global warming, create a new class of high-tech, high-paying jobs, save our environment, and revitalize our manufacturing sector. We should be making wind turbines at the Ford plant in St. Paul and putting them up all over Minnesota. I see this not only as a chance to address the energy crisis, but as an opportunity for Minnesota to be at the forefront of this exciting new wave of technology and innovation." In a separate statement Franken said, "I'm not reflexively against nuclear power. I do worry about the issue of nuclear waste. It is my hope that we'll develop technologies and strategies for dealing with this waste. In the meantime, we should be open to nuclear power, although I'd rather focus on conservation and renewable energy. As Al Gore says, there's no silver bullet for dealing with climate change, but there is silver buckshot - and nuclear energy can be a silver pellet, if we can find a way to deal with the waste." (More Info)
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Immigration What is your stance on immigration? ANSWER OPTION
I believe illegal immigrants should be put on a slow-track path to citizenship if they have been working, paying taxes, learning to speak English and pay a nominal fine.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In a written statement to MPR Franken said, "I favor comprehensive immigration reform. Our country has a long tradition of welcoming new Americans, and I think we should work to continue that tradition while still making sure that we protect Minnesota's workers. The best way to deal with the issue of illegal immigration is to enforce the law at the worksite. No matter how high a wall you build, people will get over it, or under it, if there are jobs on the other side. That means actually punishing employers who flaunt the law. And that means creating a worker identification card that is absolutely tamper-proof. "I don't believe in deporting the 10-12 million immigrants who came here illegally. That would be impractical, to say the least. I favor putting them on a track to citizenship provided that they've been working, have paid their taxes, haven't committed any crimes since coming here, are speaking English (or learning to), and pay a nominal fine. This would be a slow track, no one who came here illegally should be put ahead of anyone who has been waiting to get in legally. "I support guest worker programs for seasonal jobs. Last year, we saw crops go un-harvested in the Northwest because of the stalemate on immigration reform. But I am leery of guest worker programs that would create a permanent underclass of exploited workers or drive down the wages of American workers." (More Info)
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Gas tax Would you favor an increase in the federal gasoline tax to pay for road construction projects, such as the rebuilding of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis. ANSWER OPTION
Not sure.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
At a DFL Senate candidate debate on October 5, 2007, Franken said he was unsure of the notion of raising the gas tax. (More Info)
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Issue Question Candidate Position
Gay Marriage Do you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman? ANSWER OPTION
Oppose

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In a written statement to MPR Franken said, "I would strongly oppose such an amendment. We shouldn't be writing discrimination into the Constitution. I'm for equal rights in marriage, since I've been married for almost 32 years and don't really feel like my marriage is threatened by two people of the same sex making a public and binding commitment to each other. I do understand that many reasonable people of good faith disagree with this position but agree that all Americans should have the same legal rights and we shouldn't let right-wing ideologues invent divisions that don't exist. "The issue of equal rights in employment is actually a more important issue that gets very little attention. In a large majority of states, it is still legal to fire someone simply for being gay. That's wrong. Minnesota is not one of those states, and I will fight to end employment discrimination based on sexual preference nationwide." Back to top
Abortion Do you favor or oppose legalized abortion? ANSWER OPTION
Favor

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In a written statement to MPR Franken said, "I believe that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. And during the Clinton Administration, the number of abortions declined every year. Why? Because under President Clinton, our government understood that the best way to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. That should be our focus." Back to top
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