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Minnesota - 2nd Congressional District (2012) Survey

What should the federal government do to stimulate job creation and economic development?

We can create jobs by providing incentives for companies to hire, and passing policies that will increase American exports. We also need to invest in innovation and research and design so America can maintain its competitive edge in the world economy.
The federal government should pursue policies that provide certainty for the small businesses that drive our economy and enable taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money. Keeping taxes low allows families to build a better life for themselves and their children, enables businesses - large and small - to create jobs and compete in the global marketplace, and provides an environment in which innovation can flourish. The government should also invest in and simplify workforce training programs.

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Where are three specific areas where federal spending should be cut?

Federal spending needs to be cut in many more than just three areas. We need to cut the government redundancies recently cited in the GAO report, which would save us billions of dollars. Also, by rooting out fraud in Medicare, we can save almost $10 billion per year. Last, we need to take a hard look at programs and only pay for those we can afford.
Money can be saved by converting Medicaid into a block grant-style program run by the states and by converting Medicare into a voucher program; implementing defense cuts suggested by Defense Secretary Robert Gates; and slashing $1.8 trillion in non-Medicare, non-Social Security mandatory spending such as food-stamp programs and agricultural subsidies.

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Do you support extending the Bush-era tax cuts? If so, all of them?

I support extending the Bush-era tax cuts to those making less than $1 million. We cannot raise taxes on the middle class in the midst of an economic recovery. However, deficit reduction can only be achieved through a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases and until we have balanced our budget and are paying down our debt, we need to ask the very wealthiest to pay a little more.
Yes, all of them.

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What type of agricultural policies do you support?

I support the Senate bill that passed and is currently awaiting action in the House. The Senate bill would cost $1 trillion over the next 10 years, financing dozens of price support and crop insurance programs for farmers and food assistance for low-income families.
A short-term $383 million package of loans and grants for livestock producers and a limited number of farmers.

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What should be done with the Social Security program?

Congress needs to stop robbing the Social Security trust fund to pay for earmarks and other programs, so we can continue to keep this program.
A unique combination of ideas and policies will be necessary to protect benefits for current recipients and strengthen the system for future generations. Privatizing should be an option.

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What changes, if any, would you support in Medicare?

We need to root out Medicare fraud, which right now, costs us more than $10 billion per year. However, this is a promise we've made to our seniors and we cannot end the guaranteed benefit, such as the Ryan Budget would do.
Current seniors and future enrollees age 55 and up would stay on the current Medicare plan. Future beneficiaries would get a program almost exactly like the program that members of Congress are on now, the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program with a premium support plan.

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What types of changes should be made in the health care system?

What we need are policies that help control the exploding cost of health care. This means moving away from a fee-for-service model to one that incentivizes keeping people healthy, and switching to a non-profit insurance model, such as the one that works so well here in Minnesota. I also believe we have to have a serious discussion as a nation about end-of-life care.
Repeal President Obama's health care law and replace it with common sense reforms.

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What changes would you make to federal education policy?

I would first repeal No Child Left Behind--while it was well intentioned, the law has been confusing to carry out and largely unsuccessful. I want to return more control back to the states who know their schools best. Finally, I will work to expand access to college education for hard-working students.
Replace No Child Left Behind with legislation that eliminates 'Adequate Yearly Progress' and directs each state to develop its own system that takes into account the unique needs of students and communities and provides flexibility in how schools measure student achievement. Each state will also implement its own methods for identifying and turning around low-performing schools. The legislation would maintain key requirements to ensure accountability. Another piece of legislation would consolidate several federal programs into a flexible grant state local leaders can use to fund programs shown to work.

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What changes would you make to federal energy policy?

We need a comprehensive energy policy which reduces our dependence on foreign oil and promotes green and renewable energies. This also means investing in technologies to find ways to reduce the environmental impact of oil and natural gas exploration.
Support an 'all-of-the-above' approach to domestic energy production in an effort to lower gasoline prices. Increase our energy independence by repealing costly mandates and unlocking America's abundant energy resources. Offshore energy production should be increased.

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Should the federal government's environmental protection efforts be changed? If so, how?

We need clearer guidelines for environmental agencies and better Congressional oversight and review. This will allow for better accountability. We also need more and better public input during the rule-making process.
The federal government should allow more offshore drilling and should not provide tax credits for wind energy. The EPA should have less power to impose water and air quality and coal disposal standards.

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Where do you stand on legalized abortion?

I'm personally against abortion, but I think it's a decision that needs to be made between a woman, her doctor and her family--not the government. I think we need to reduce the number of abortions and unplanned pregnancies by educating teenagers about abstinence and how to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
Abortion should be illegal.

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Should same-sex marriage be legal?

I don't think there's anyone who can say there is too much love and commitment in the world. We ought to be promoting those values as a society. Also, I do not favor the proposed marriage amendment.
No. Marriage should be defined as one-man-one-woman and same-sex marriage should be banned.

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What are your views concerning immigration?

I believe Congress has passed the buck on immigration reform. Right now we have a broken system and the only way to solve it will be with comprehensive reform which strengthens the border and hold unscrupulous employers accountable for their hiring practices.
Oppose the Obama administration's decision not to deport upstanding young illegal immigrants. Current laws should be enforced.

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