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Candidate positions for U.S. Senate - Minnesota (2008)

The following positions reflect those used for each candidate in the Select A Candidate survey. They come from candidates' 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 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
The Iraq War was a mistake from the beginning, but our troops have performed admirably and have long since accomplished every stated pre-war goal, including toppling Saddam Hussein, eliminating the (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction threat and paving the way for democracy. It's now time for Iraqis to take control of their own destiny.
Education Do you favor or oppose the education program known as "No Child Left Behind?" ANSWER OPTION
Oppose

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"No Child Left Behind" is an unfunded mandate forced upon the states because the federal government simply cannot afford to pay for such a massive expansion of its authority.
Health Care Do you favor or oppose universal health care? ANSWER OPTION
Favor

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
We should open up the Medicare system to all Americans on a cost basis. Let the private sector compete with the public sector and see who wins. When consumers have real choices--and not a monopoly dominated by a few big companies--prices will go down.
Issue Question 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.
Social Security Do you favor privatizing Social Security to any degree? ANSWER OPTION
No
Tax Cuts Should the President's tax cuts be made permanent? ANSWER OPTION
No

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
I would be willing to extend them for one more year to see if Congress can adopt a new attitude about deficit spending. Once Congress can get its spending under control, I would then look at a new tax policy that would help balance the budget.
Issue Question Position
Alternative Energy Which option most closely matches your plan for meeting future energy needs? ANSWER OPTION
In the short-term we need an "all of the above" approach, including domestic oil drilling and investment in research and development on new/renewable energy sources. In the long-term, however, innovation--moving beyond oil--is our only route to lasting energy security.
Immigration What is your stance on immigration? ANSWER OPTION
We need to return to the immigration policy that was practiced from 1944 until 1964, which allowed Mexican labor to enter our country to seek employment. They would then be paying taxes and would be able to freely go to and from Mexico without being criminals. Furthermore, I would substantially increase the fines and penalties imposed on businesses that employ illegal aliens.
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
Yes

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
There is no free lunch when it comes to roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. The gas tax needs to keep pace with inflation in order to ensure we have the funds to prevent infrastructure catastrophes like the Interstate 35-W bridge collapse.
Issue Question 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
It's long past time to acknowledge that the equal protection clause of the Constitution applies to all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, in the same way it applies to all of our citizens regardless of race, religion or gender.
Abortion Do you favor or oppose legalized abortion? ANSWER OPTION
Favor

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"Personally I'm pro-life, but I support abortion rights because any government with the power to ban abortion also has the power to require abortion."
Issue Question Position
Iraq Do you favor or oppose a set date (timeline) for the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq? ANSWER OPTION
Oppose

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Coleman said that "I don't think you can cut off funding for the troops you have there...[Gen. David] Petraeus has earned the right to come back 45 days after we're back to pre-surge levels" to make his recommendations on level of forces. (More Info)
Education Do you favor or oppose the education program known as "No Child Left Behind?" ANSWER OPTION
Favor

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Coleman's favoring of NCLB doesn't mean he doesn't think it shouldn't be improved. Coleman and Sen. Joe Lieberman, filed the All Students Can Improve Act of 2007. According to a press release the initiative is made up of three parts: "First, ASCA aims to achieve student growth by focusing on what's most important: achieving results in the classroom and ensuring effective teachers. Second, the bill seeks to encourage high standards throughout the country and better align the curriculum of schools across America. And, third, the proposal focuses on closing the achievement gap by holding schools accountable for the performance of all students and providing resources to address this gap," it said. (More Info)
Health Care Do you favor or oppose universal health care? ANSWER OPTION
Oppose

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to a posting on Sen. Coleman's Web site he is opposed to a single payer health care system and supports affordable health care through (1) Health Savings Accounts (2) Association Health Plans (3) Medicare Part D and (4) income-based tax credits for individuals and families without employer-based health insurance. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Stem Cells Should federal funding be used to expand embryonic stem cell research? ANSWER OPTION
No federal funding should go toward research that harms viable human embryos.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Federal dollars should be used only on research that does not use viable embryonic stem cells. Coleman voted against the Stem Cell Research Act of 2007 that called for the expansion of research using stem cells derived from unused embryos from fertility clinics. According to a post on Sen. Coleman's Web site, he does not support federal funding for research that harms human embryos. (More Info)
Social Security Do you favor privatizing Social Security to any degree? ANSWER OPTION
Yes

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Individuals ought to be allowed to invest in IRA's, but Social Security should not be completely privatized.
Tax Cuts Should the President's tax cuts be made permanent? ANSWER OPTION
Yes

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Voted NO on $47 billion for military by repealing capital gains tax cut (Feb. 2006). Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends (Feb. 2006). Voted YES on extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends (Nov. 2005). Voted YES on $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years (May 2003). Voted YES on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million. (March 2007). Voted YES on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts (Aug. 2006). Voted YES on permanently repealing the `death tax` (June 2006). (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Alternative Energy Which option most closely matches your plan for meeting future energy needs? ANSWER OPTION
Renewable energy sources are important but those sources alone cannot end our dependence on foreign oil. Nuclear power must be a part of our energy future.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
An article on hometownsource.com describes Coleman's position: U.S. Senator Norm Coleman supports nuclear energy. "I believe [nuclear power is] absolutely critical to end our dependence on foreign oil," said Coleman. "It's a national security issue," he said. "If you're committed to ending dependence on foreign oil, you have to support nuclear," said Coleman. "You can't do it all with renewables, you can't do it all with wind, those are all critical pieces," said Coleman. "But you got to do nuclear," he said. "It's clean. It's safe, it's affordable. It cuts our dependence on foreign energy. It also protects the environment," he said. "I tell people, 'The French are not braver than we are,'" said Coleman, referring to the extensive use of nuclear energy in France. The U.S. will be building new nuclear plants in the future, Coleman believes. "Waste is an issue," he said. Opposition to Yucca Mountain, Coleman opined, is more philosophical than on account of the waste. "And I think that's unfortunate," he said. Coleman looks to technology to solve nuclear waste issues. "I think you have to move forward with this. One, Yucca Mountain, move forward aggressively with that," he said. "On the other hand, with the understanding, just as with renewables, we're looking beyond the horizon where the future is going (with technology)," he said. "I think you have to do the same thing with nuclear," Coleman said. "I'm very, very confident on the technology side," he said. "I think it's a straw man to somehow argue your opposition to nuclear is based on waste," said Coleman. (More Info)
Immigration What is your stance on immigration? ANSWER OPTION
I strongly oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. I believe that immigrants must undergo background checks, demonstrate proof of employment, possess English proficiency and an understanding of civics, and pay a monetary penalty if they entered illegally. I believe that improving our border enforcement capabilities must be central to any immigration reform legislation.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In a letter to a constituent published online, Sen. Coleman wrote, "I believe the current immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. I look forward to voting for a bill which will provide for real border security, will eliminate the lure of continued job opportunities for illegal immigrants, and will provide a program that would have helped identify illegal immigrants in this country with their continued presence conditioned on learning English, paying taxes and being employed...I believe that improving our border enforcement capabilities must be central to any immigration reform legislation. Our unprotected borders are unacceptable and represent a crisis which must be dealt with decisively and without delay...I strongly oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. Any legalized status for people already here must not be a blank check that will encourage more people to enter this country illegally. In order to be here, I believe that immigrants must undergo background checks, demonstrate proof of employment, possess English proficiency and an understanding of civics, and pay a monetary penalty if they entered illegally. (More Info)
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
No

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
After the collapse of the 35W bridge, Rep. Jim Oberstar proposed increasing the gasoline tax. Sen. Norm Coleman said he is not ready to accept the idea. Coleman said the problem isn't a shortage of funds, but how the funds are spent. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Gay Marriage Do you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman? ANSWER OPTION
Favor

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman in June 2006. (More Info)
Abortion Do you favor or oppose legalized abortion? ANSWER OPTION
Oppose

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"I am pro-life," Coleman said during a speech at the Humphrey Institute May 14, 2007. He voted in favor of banning partial birth abortions except for when maternal life is threatened in March 2003. (More Info)
Issue Question 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)
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)
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)
Issue Question 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."
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."
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."
Issue Question 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)
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)
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)
Issue Question 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."
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."
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