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 (2006):
I would oppose the amendment in defense of free speech, because the matter does not merit an amendment, and because the amendment was introduced primarily as another diversionary value issue to turn voters’ attention from the Iraq disaster.
Estate Tax Repeal (2006):
I would have opposed the estate tax repeal. The estate tax is a means of taxing unearned income and inherited wealth otherwise untaxed that, like everyone’s real estate, should be subject to a fair levy for societal purposes.
Minimum wage increase to $7.25 (2006):
The minimum wage should be much higher than $7.25. It should be in some reasonable relationship to a family living wage.
Opening the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling (2006):
Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is another effort to trash environmental legislation for the sake of a tiny percentage of the oil we need. It is contemptible that this legislation, which could not pass on its own, was tacked to major military legislation where Snowe voted for it.
Increased federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (2006):
I must admit to not being fully informed on stem cell research. All human life merits respect. But I am inclined to trust responsible medical researchers who have fully considered the moral implications of their research and who would pursue techniques that are, to the degree possible, not destructive of embryonic human life. I would vote on this only when fully informed.
Medicare prescription drug coverage (2003):
I would have filibustered this legislation to death, if possible. Forbidding government negotiation of prescription drug prices is a naked giveaway to the pharmaceuticals whose lobbyists butter their bread with millions.
Extend $70 billion in Bush administration tax cuts (2006):
By August 2004, Congress had cut taxes, more than half for the top 1 percent, $2 trillion in all. There was little gain of the economy as a consequence. Such cuts effect a war of the rich on everybody else: we are entitled and you are not. I would have voted no.
Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (2006).
I think government should witness contracts between individuals of the same sex or different sexes who want to enter a partnership that allows them to share health benefits, inheritance rights, etc. If a couple wants to call that contract a marriage, that is their business.
Adoption (2001)/renewal (2005) of the USA Patriot Act:
I would have voted against it as unstudied and because of reported excesses. I would also have voted against the renewal because it did not address even the most egregious and unnecessary reduction of our civil rights and liberties.
Including a health exception to the late term abortion ban (2003):
There is a societal consensus that women should not be jailed (punished) for having abortions which seems to extend to late term abortions when the woman’s life is threatened.
Iraq War resolution (2002); funding for the war (2006); timetable for withdrawal (2006).
The Iraq War Resolution was a shameful and unconstitutional abdication by Congress of its constitutional war power. I would have voted against it.
I would have voted against funding the war every time it came up – in effect, a vote to leave where we are not wanted.
The withdrawal timetable vote was a Republican propaganda ploy designed to embarrass Democrats calling for withdrawal. I would have spoken against the politicization of the call, if Sen. Frist had given me a chance, and voted present.
Immigration reform (2006):
Present consideration of immigration reform is in good part, driven by a mean-spirited resentment of the cost of undocumented immigrants, white supremacist thinking, and a righteous determination to punish those who breach bad immigration law.
We must respect the dignity of every person, recognize that the planet is not ours to hog, take into account our responsibility for many unemployed south of the border as a direct consequence of flawed trade policies.
Confirmations of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts (2005) and Samuel Alito (2006):
I would have voted against the confirmation of John Roberts and Samuel Alito because their records make clear that they favor power and property as against people wronged by corporate power.