The Bangor Daily News asked all of the congressional candidates their positions on several issues handled by Congress in recent years. The date in parenthesis indicates the year Congress last dealt with the issue. In some cases, their answers have been edited or excerpted for space. For the complete responses, visit www.bangordailynews.com.
Flag burning amendment to the U.S. constitution (2006):
NO. Proposals of this type have no place in our law – as the Supreme Court has made clear – nor in the Constitution. This issue trivializes the Constitution, and elevates the action of burning or desecrating a privately owned flag to a level of attention it does not deserve.
Estate tax repeal (2006):
NO. In our tax system, assets are taxed when they change hands. To repeal any and all taxes on estates is to exempt the wealthiest among us from their responsibilities toward the society that allowed them to accrue their wealth.
Minimum wage increase to $7.25 (2006):
YES on a stand-alone bill, NO on the recent bill that tied an increase in the minimum wage to estate tax cuts. The minimum wage should be a living wage and should rise automatically with increases in the cost of living.
Open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling (2006):
NO. The destruction of this area for a six-month supply of oil makes no sense. We need to set a national goal of energy conservation and self-sufficiency from renewable energy sources.
Increased federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (2006):
YES. We need to move forward into this promising area of scientific research.
Medicare prescription drug coverage (2003):
NO, because of the price non-negotiation clause and the doughnut hole provision that did not include any means testing, hitting particularly hard on low-income seniors. Prescription drug coverage needs to be part of a national health care plan, and must include governmental negotiations of drug prices.
Extend $70 billion in Bush administration tax cuts (2006):
NO. I am in favor of a progressive income tax structure. In our democracy, people who make more money should shoulder a larger share of the responsibility and costs of keeping the country running.
Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (2006):
NO. In this country, different religions have different beliefs on the issue of same-sex marriage. Society benefits from long-term, stable, loving relationships, no matter how the people involved in those relationships define themselves individually. I have no objections whatsoever to such loving relationships, and I see benefits in promoting the stability of such relationships through our tax laws.
Adoption (2001)-renewal (2005) of the USA PATRIOT Act:
NO-NO. Other than allowing different arms of the intelligence community to share information, I think our laws on collecting information prior to 2001 were sufficient. Some provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act are heavy-handed, unnecessary and constitutionally problematic.
Including a health exception to the late-term abortion ban (2003):
NO. I would have voted no to the late-term abortion ban, even if it had a health exception, because I am not in favor of a ban on late-term abortions.
Iraq war resolution (2002); funding for the war (2006); timetable for withdrawal (2006):
NO-NO-YES. I was against the Iraq war before it started. It will go down as one of the worst political and military blunders of our nation’s history. Congress has the power of the purse, so the best way to stop the war is to stop funding it. I would, however, submit companion bills designed exclusively to pay for the cost of bringing the troops safely home. I have repeatedly called for a quick and immediate withdrawal of all troops and all American corporations from Iraq.
Immigration reform (2006):
NO. None of the bills on the table were acceptable.
Confirmations of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts (2005) and Samuel Alito (2006):
NO-NO. Roberts: In his confirmation hearing, Judge Roberts disavowed his own values, contending he would set them aside when judging a case. Yet one of the reasons for confirmation hearings is to determine a judge’s core values.
[Hay Bright also said she disagreed with his statements on limiting death penalty appeals and his approval of the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees.]
Alito: As a longtime pro-choice activist, and as a citizen with a deep respect for the values and careful balance of rights and responsibilities embodied in our Constitution, I am concerned about Judge Alito’s animosity toward Roe v. Wade, his dismissive attitude toward women and his support for a unitary executive.