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Candidate positions: Jim Oberstar

The following positions reflect those used for Jim Oberstar in the Select A Candidate survey. They come from the candidate's public statements, Web sites, and responses to Minnesota Public Radio questionnaires. In some cases, candidiates have failed to respond to inquiries, and their position is noted as "No known opinion."


Issue Question Candidate Position
No Child Left Behind Do you favor or oppose the education program known as "No Child Left Behind?" ANSWER OPTION
While I supported the original NCLB legislation in 2001, I was very disappointed that the Bush Administration failed to adequately fund this promising education initiative, and as a result, Minnesota school districts have had to comply with the federal requirements of NCLB but without the necessary funds to do the job properly. At present, I do not support the NCLB in its current form.
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Universal health care Do you favor or oppose universal health care? ANSWER OPTION
I firmly believe that universal access to health care is a societal responsibility and should not be linked to employment. It is clear that our current business/government patchwork system is in need of comprehensive reform. We must focus on making our health care system more efficient and utilize economies of scale to generate health care savings to improve health care and expand access for all.
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SCHIP expansion On October 3, 2007, President Bush vetoed a bill expanding the SCHIP program, to provide health care to 10 million more children. The program is designed to subsidize health coverage for families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance. Do you favor or oppose the proposed expansion? ANSWER OPTION
I am greatly disappointed that President Bush vetoed the SCHIP expansion bill and that Congress was unable to override this important health care initiative.
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Issue Question Candidate Position
Stem cell research Should federal funding be used to expand embryonic stem cell research? ANSWER OPTION
I strongly support significant increases in funding for medical research, but I continue to have concerns with the moral implications regarding the destruction of human embryos for medical research.
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Social Security Do you favor privatizing Social Security to any degree? ANSWER OPTION
I strongly opposed the reckless privatization plan for Social Security that President Bush proposed in 2005 and was pleased to see that this misguided plan failed to win support with the American people and Congress. We can save Social Security without privatization.
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Immigration What is your stance on immigration? ANSWER OPTION
Our nation has benefited greatly from the contributions of men and women who have come to America in search of freedom and an improved standard of living. One only has to look at the recent Summer Olympic contributions of U.S. athletes and coaches who were not born in America. While I support legal immigration, it is imperative for our natiion to improve our efforts to prevent illegal immigration, and I support comprehensive immigration reform to secure our border, and provide a humane resolution regarding the status of undocumented workers and their families.
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Issue Question Candidate Position
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
The one-year commemoration of the I-35W bridge collapse is a stark reminder of the vital need to increase the investment in our nation's infrastructure. It is imperative to transform America's transportation system into a vibrant, sustainable engine of growth, underpinning and enhancing this greatest economy in the world. As chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I have worked many years to advance the transportation needs of Minnesota and the nation, and next year, our committee will have a unique opportunity to write a new transportation law that will embody a new vision to meet this most challenging need.
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Same-sex marriage Do you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman? ANSWER OPTION
The U.S. Constitution's framers felt that states, rather than the federal government, should maintain jurisdiction over most family law questions, thus the primary authority and responsibility to legislate in the domestic relations arena (which includes marriage, divorce, and child welfare) lies with the individual states. Never in our nation's history has the Constitution been amended to codify discrimination against a particular group of Americans. Since the Bill of Rights was adopted more than 200 years ago, the U.S. Constitution has been amended rarely. I believe that changing the U.S. Constitution should be approached with extreme caution and utilized only as a final option.
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Abortion Do you favor or oppose legalized abortion? ANSWER OPTION
It is my deeply held view that society has an obligation to ensure that each of its members, including those least able to defend themselves, the unborn, has the fullest opportunity to lead a full, healthy and productive life.
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Issue Question Candidate Position
Capital punishment Do you favor or oppose capital punishment? ANSWER OPTION
Consistent with my support for the sanctity of life, I do not support capital punishment. I believe that we must have stiff penalties for those who commit violent crimes, but I do not feel the death penalty should be one of the options for either the federal government or the states. It has always been my strong belief that the government has no right to selectively take life away from one of its citizens. My feeling is that a life sentence without parole is a more just and moral punishment for convicted criminals. The State of Minnesota is a shining example of an effective criminal justice system without the death penalty.
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Housing crisis What do you think should be done -- if anything -- in the wake of the near collapse of companies specializing in subprime mortgages, and the foreclosures of homes? ANSWER OPTION
There is a vital national interest to help families at risk of foreclosure and to prevent additional families from losing their homes in the future. A vibrant housing sector is essential to our national economy, and I was pleased to support necessary housing legislation that will prevent future abuses in the mortgage industry, expand affordable housing loans, promote home ownership and stabilize communities impacted by the mortgage crisis.
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Iraq War Do you favor or oppose a set date (timeline) for the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq? ANSWER OPTION
We must proceed with the prompt and orderly redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq. We must continue the successful diplomatic work that led to the Sunni "awakening" movement against Al Qaeda and the temporary cessation of hostile action by the Shiite militias. We must continue to insist that the Iraqi government work to promote political stability and reconciliation during this critical period. For the past two years, there has been bipartisan majority support to change our flawed Iraq policy; the problem has not been congressional consensus, but rather an administration that continues to believe that this war can be won militarily.
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Issue Question Candidate Position
Afghanistan What changes would you propose to the war policy in Afghanistan? ANSWER OPTION
The misguided and unnecessary war in Iraq has distracted our nation from the renewed threat from the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. While the recent increased attention and resources to Afghanistan represent an improvement in our policy, I have concerns that the United States and our allies will have to remain in Afghanistan for an extended period of time. We must not permit Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorist activity, but I am convinced that to win the war on terror, we must exercise greater U.S. leadership to promote a comprehensive Middle East peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
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Iran Do you believe there should be a military option for the U.S., to prevent Iran from developing or possessing nuclear weapons? ANSWER OPTION
While the United Services should preserve a military option to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapon capability, it is imperative for our nation to exercise greater diplomatic efforts directly with Iran and in concert with our European and Middle Eastern allies.
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Global warming Which camp: Global warming or climate change? ANSWER OPTION
I clearly recognize the global warming challenges that face our planet. To reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and to reduce greenhouse emissions, I support greater investment to promote renewable energy and alternative fuels. Clean, cost efficient, renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, and hydrogen must be emphasized. I also authored legislation to install solar technology in federal buildings and to institute energy savings measures in all federal buildings. I supported the significant increase in auto fuel economy (CAFE) standards to reduce greenhouse emissions. We must also restore U.S. leadership in the global warming issue and work collaboratively with other nations to alleviate global warming.
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Issue Question Candidate Position
Energy policy What is your plan for meeting future energy needs? ANSWER OPTION
While I support bipartisan legislation that would expand domestic oil and natural gas exploration, I recognize that we need to promote alternatives to fossil fuels to secure our future energy needs. The best energy and environmental approach is to promote conservation and energy efficiency (including investments in mass transit), and not to expect that we can simply drill our way to energy independence. I strongly support the promotion of biofuels made from non-food feedstock's like switch grass, algae and even waste products. I am encouraged that innovative developments in alternative and renewable fuel technologies will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make our nation energy independent.
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