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 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):
No. I abhor flag desecration. However, I cannot support an initiative that I believe would weaken the First Amendment. Amending the Constitution in this manner would undermine one of the fundamental principles that our flag symbolizes and for which American armed forces have fought and died to protect: the right to free political speech.
Estate Tax Repeal (2006):
No. I have consistently fought against full repeal of the federal estate tax and support reforms to exempt small businesses and family farms completely from any estate liability.
Minimum wage increase to $7.25 (2006):
Yes. It has been 10 years since the last increase in the minimum wage. This long-overdue action is one of the most important ways our nation can lift its citizens out of poverty, and begin to remedy stagnant wage levels and growing inequality in our economy.
Opening the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling (2006):
No. Drilling in ANWR is a stale idea that will destroy a national treasure and won’t reduce gasoline prices a single cent in the short term or provide the answer to America’s dependence on foreign oil in the long term.
Increased federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (2006):
Yes. Embryonic stem cell research offers promise to millions of Americans suffering from spinal cord injuries and chronic illnesses including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and diabetes. The politicization of this issue threatens to undermine groundbreaking research.
Medicare prescription drug coverage (2003):
No. In 2003, over my objections, the Republican Congress and the president approved a prescription drug benefit written by the pharmaceutical industry and rammed through the House in the dead of the night. It lets the drug and insurance companies gouge seniors and taxpayers for billions to deliver only half a loaf to Americans on Medicare.
Extend $70 billion in Bush administration tax cuts (2006):
No. America cannot be competitive in the global economy while we are saddled with the massive national debt produced by excessive Republican tax cuts for the wealthy. In the House Budget Committee, I have consistently fought to reinstate the “pay-as-you-go” congressional procedure to prevent new tax cuts or spending from adding to the deficit.
Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (2006):
No. I strongly oppose federal intrusion into the marriage issue which has always been under the jurisdiction of the states.
Adoption (2001)/renewal (2005) of the USA Patriot Act:
Yes, on adoption of the Patriot Act in 2001. No, on its renewal in 2005.
I joined in the broad, bipartisan support for enactment of the Patriot Act in 2001, and I continue to favor extension of some of its key provisions. However, experience since its passage clearly revealed that changes to the law were needed to protect Americans’ rights.
Including a health exception to the late term abortion ban (2003):
Yes. I viewed the underlying bill as an effort to evade Roe v. Wade protections and that an exception for the health of the mother was medically necessary and constitutionally required.
Iraq War resolution (2002); funding for the war (2006); timetable for withdrawal (2006):
No, on the resolution authorizing the war. Yes, on appropriations to fund the war. There has been no vote in the House on a timetable for withdrawal.
I am the only member of the current Maine congressional delegation to have voted against the war in Iraq.
Despite my strong opposition to this war, it is morally wrong to vote to cut off funding for the equipment that could be the difference between soldiers’ safety and a crippling wound or death.
I have called for a significant reduction in American troop levels this year followed by the termination of the occupation in 2007.
Immigration reform (2006):
No. Although I support measures to secure our border, hire more federal immigration agents, build new detention facilities for illegal immigrants and create a tamper-proof work eligibility system, I opposed the House-passed immigration bill because it failed to deal with illegal immigrants who have lived, worked and paid taxes here for many years.