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Minnesota - 5th Congressional District (2012) Survey

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

In the short term, we can get Americans back to work by creating a National Infrastructure Bank to fund much-needed repairs to our roads and bridges. In the long term, we need to invest in our children's education so current and future generations can compete in a global economy.
We must ignite small business growth through regulatory reform, reforms in federal spending and taxes, and the elimination wasteful and duplicative government programs. I would advocate for legislation that returns more education decisions and dollars to the states. Lastly we must develop an energy strategy that increases the use of our natural resources in order to allow key investments made in renewable energy the required time to mature.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

Where are three specific areas where federal spending should be cut? Are there any specific areas where federal spending should be increased?

We should eliminate billions in taxpayer subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, allow the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest Americans to expire, and cut defense spending by getting rid of outdated, Cold War-era weapons systems. However, we need a balanced approach of spending cuts and smart investments that create jobs -- like repairing our nation's roads and bridges.
In the Department of Transportation there are currently 55 surface transportation programs that can be consolidated into 5 core programs. We have 31 agencies that provide for the urgent needs of our Armed Forces; these efforts can be streamlined. We have 15 different agencies overseeing food safety; their efforts can be consolidated as well. No credible determination can be made whether additional spending is warranted at this time due to the lack of data available on whether taxpayer dollars are achieving optimal effects.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

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

I support extending the Bush-era tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, but not for the richest 2 percent.
I have no objections to wealthy Americans paying more in taxes if warranted. Americans do not mind paying more in taxes in exchange for meaningful reform and a reduction in our national debt. I will fight for comprehensive tax reform that takes a balanced approach toward reducing the budget deficit, eliminates our debt and protects the most vulnerable among us.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

Do you support the farm bill passed by the Senate and awaiting action in the House?

No. I support separating the Food Stamp program from the farm bill. Crop insurance subsidies for farmers with a gross income of $750,000 should be re-examined.
I oppose the $4.5 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the Senate farm bill, which could reduce food aid to 500,000 needy families in this difficult economic environment. The current House farm bill would do even greater harm to low income families, cutting SNAP assistance by $16 billion.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

What should be done with the Social Security program?

For older workers and Americans who currently depend on the program, Social Security should be strengthened and preserved. For future retirees, we should turn social security into numbered accounts for individuals. Individuals would be able to choose from an array on annuities to purchase with their accrued savings upon reaching retirement age. This is not privatization but rather more like the Chilean model, which has worked successfully.
Right now, Social Security payroll taxes are capped at the first $110,000 of an individual's income. Eliminating that cap for millionaires and billionaires will strengthen Social Security for decades to come so current and future generations can retire with dignity after a lifetime of hard work.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

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

I would fight for tort reform; according to the CBO tort reform alone would save over $54 billion. Allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines would drive down costs as well. I believe we need to move toward a system where healthcare insurance is not part of a workplace decision. Workers should be directly compensated for their insurance costs and make their insurance purchasing decisions based on their needs.
President Obama's health care reform law lays the foundation for affordable, universal health care, but we can lower health care costs even further by providing Americans with a robust public option or by transitioning to a Medicare for all system. We can also lower health care costs for seniors by allowing Medicare Part D to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

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

I believe a private option should be available to Medicare patients. The premium support plan developed with the assistance of Clinton's Budget Director Alice Rivlin should be an option along with traditional Medicare. The end result is that Americans must have a Medicare program that is sustainable and cares for the needs of individual patients.
I believe we should allow Medicare Part D to negotiate drug prices just like the Department of Veterans Affairs. Doing so will save taxpayers billions and lower drug prices for seniors.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

What changes would you make to federal education policy?

Return more authority, decision-making and resources to the states. Federal education mandates are costly but have not proven to be successful. The goal of our education policy must be to give states increased control and flexibility in order to serve the needs of our children.
We need to invest more resources into early childhood education so our students are prepared to succeed. We must also continue working to keep college tuition low so higher education is accessible to all Americans, regardless of background or income.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

What changes would you make to federal energy policy?

We need to develop an all-of-the-above energy strategy. If utilized properly and safely these resources can end our dependence on foreign oil. Our natural gas supply alone can provide us the energy we need while giving us the time needed to further develop alternative forms of energy such as wind and solar.
We should stop giving billions in taxpayer subsidies to highly profitable fossil fuel companies. Instead, we should invest those resources into more sustainable, efficient, and less harmful forms of energy like solar and wind power.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

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

Yes, they are too aggressive and based more on ideology rather than reason. We need to allow states to take a more active role within their borders. The impacts on families and workers must also factor into the decision making process.
I favor tougher penalties for companies that pollute our environment. Disasters like the BP oil spill devastate jobs and small businesses, so we must do everything we can to keep our workers and planet both healthy and clean.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

Where do you stand on legalized abortion?

I oppose it.
I support a woman's right to comprehensive reproductive health care.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

Should same-sex marriage be legal?

The issuance of marriage licenses is a state responsibility. There are different laws and requirements for each individual state. This issue is for each state to decide.
Yes. I support same-sex marriage because every person should be able to choose who they spend their life with free of government interference.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

What are your views concerning immigration?

We should do more to attract the world's most talented workers and entrepreneurs by expanding the number of H1B visas we issue. We can also curb the number of immigrants who are here illegally by eliminating incentives to stay here illegally.
Comprehensive immigration reform should include a clear path to citizenship for those who are already in the U.S. working and paying taxes, an expedited process for family reunification, and a workable employment verification system with strict penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants. I also support the DREAM Act, which would increase access to higher education for the children of immigrants.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very

What would you do to address the income, education and employment gaps for minorities in the 5th District?

Designate the 5th District as a Federal Enterprise Zone to make the area more attractive to private investment. I would also tailor education reforms and remove regulatory burdens that prohibit small business growth while ensuring public safety needs are met.
I would secure federal resources for job training and small business loans that would put people back to work. We can cut the achievement gap by securing funds for projects like the Northside Achievement Zone, which will give our students the skills they need to succeed.

Is this issue important to you? Not at all  Somewhat  Very
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