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Dear congressional candidate,

As part of its election coverage, the Bangor Daily News is asking congressional candidates to complete the following questionnaire. The NEWS reserves the right to edit, excerpt or paraphrase the responses to meet space limitations in the newspaper. However, the complete responses will be posted on

The responses can be e-mailed to or mailed to:

Jeff Tuttle
Assistant Assignment Editor
Bangor Daily News
P.O. Box 1329
Bangor, ME 04402-1329

Please respond by Sept. 29 to ensure adequate time to prepare for publication.

How did you vote/ would you have voted on the following issues, and please explain your position. (The dates signify the year Congress most recently dealt with the issue.)

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. Rather than trying to regulate how people display, wear, or dispose of American flags or starred and striped clothing, we should put our energies toward ending the Iraq War, and assuring adequate benefits for our military and veterans.
Estate tax repeal (2006)
NO      In our tax system, assets are taxed when they change hands. Sales tax comes into play at the point of purchase. Income is taxed, above certain deductions and exemptions. The same should hold true for estates, when assets change hands as the estate is passed on to other individuals. As with taxable income, reasonable deductions and exemptions should be applied to estates, with taxes applied only to values above those amounts. But 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. My position on the minimum wage is that it should be a living wage, as it was when the concept first became law, and should rise automatically with increases in the cost of living. So an increase to $7.25 would be good, but is just a start.
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. Also, with global warming on the horizon, the permafrost in that part of the world may soon thaw, wrecking havoc with oil extraction equipment and pipeline stability.

We need to set a national goal of energy conservation and self-sufficiency from renewable energy sources - solar, wind, tidal, hydro, geo-thermal, along with bio-diesel and ethanol-type fuels made from annual crops. National energy self-sufficiency from renewable resources would drastically alter foreign policy (windmills or war, take your pick) as well as global warming (windmills or warming, take your pick).
Increased federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (2006)
YES      We need to move forward into this promising area of scientific research, and the best way to do it is through federal funding and government grants. I find it ironic that President Bush has more concern for left-over microscopic embryos destined for destruction than he does for living human beings -- be they people suffering from ailments that stem cell research might help, or our good military men and women sent by him into an unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq.
Medicare prescription drug coverage (2003)
NO      because of the price non-negotiation clause and the donut hole provision that did not include any means testing, hitting particularly hard on low-income seniors. These flaws were well-documented in the debate leading up to the vote on this bill, yet Olympia Snowe voted for it anyway. Prescription drug coverage needs to be part of a national health care plan, and must include governmental negotiations of drug prices. If a "donut hole" is necessary, the size of the "hole," the size of the personal responsibility to cover that gap, should be based on income, not be one amount ($2,250) for all participants, as is the case now.
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. Tax cuts for the rich that have been implemented during the Bush administration should be rescinded across the board, to take pressure off the middle class and low-income workers who are now straddled with an unfair tax burden. Unearned income from investments should be taxed at the same rate as earned income -- money obtained by the sweat of one's brow. Furthermore, the richest one percent in this country should be taxed at a higher rate to help pay for the exorbitant costs of the Iraq War/Occupation/Reconstruction.
Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (2006)
NO      Our Constitution mandates the separation of church and state, a wise distinction that has helped us avoid the religious conflicts that have plagued countless other countries. In this country, different religions have different beliefs on the issue of same-sex marriage. To codify one belief above another, as this amendment would do, is to put our Constitution in conflict with itself. Besides that, our 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.
Unborn Victims of Violence Act (2004)
NO      I object to the concept and direction of this law, that an embryo or a fetus would have full status as a separate person, as if it had already been born. My concern is that down the road that status for the embryo or fetus could preclude abortion at any stage of a pregnancy, eliminating any control a pregnant woman may have over her own body. I see this as being an unacceptable redefinition of "person" under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, contrary to provisions in Roe v. Wade, and problematic for basic rights for women.
Including a health exception to the late term abortion ban (2003)
NO      The phrasing of this question is deceptive. Under Roe v. Wade, the life and health of a pregnant woman must be taken into consideration in any abortion restrictions, and I favor that stance. But 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. In a column I wrote in Feb. 2003, I publicly called into question Colin Powell's "evidence" that he presented to the United Nations - a display Powell himself repudiated more than two years later. I was dismayed when George Bush ordered the weapons inspectors out of Iraq so he could proceed with his "shock and awe" campaign, killing thousands of Iraqi men, women and children who had done nothing against the United States of America to warrant such death and destruction. The Iraq War will go down as one of the worst political and military blunders of our nation's history.

Constitutionally, Congress has the power of the purse, so the best way to stop the war is to stop funding it. I would, however, as a U.S. Senator, submit companion funding bills designed exclusively to pay for the cost of bringing the troops safely home. And I will continue, as I have this entire campaign, to call for more funding for returning troops and veterans, for VA medical services, for prosthetic devices and research, for resources to deal with the mounting PTSD diagnoses, for investigations into the effects of using depleted uranium in our weaponry, for schooling and retraining benefits, and for other programs designed to help, honor and recognize the service of our good military men and women sent into harm's way by a Commander-In-Chief who betrayed our trust.

I have repeatedly called for a quick, immediate, ASAP withdrawal of all troop AND all American corporations, and as such I have publicly supported any near-term troop withdrawal proposals. Our presence in Iraq is destabilizing the situation, and I have seen no evidence that we are having any positive affect on reducing the sectarian violence. I strongly object to the President's contention that our troops must fight "the enemy" over there, or we will be fighting them here. He is saying, in effect, that it is OK for our troops to be sitting ducks, target practice for Iraqis who want our occupying forces out of their own country. As for "fighting them here," how does he think the Iraqi snipers will get to the United States? By plane with their AK-47s? By boat, in an un-inspected cargo container? As for one of the other "reasons" I've heard, that we can't "cut and run" because we must "save face," I think the U.S. has been humiliated enough by this illegal and immoral war. Bring our troops home NOW.

I would also support legislation to return National Guard deployment authority back to the governors of their home states.
Immigration reform (2006)
NO      None of the bills on the table were acceptable. My own immigration reform proposal calls for
1. enforcement of the existing labor laws on American employers who willfully hire undocumented workers;
2. making the minimum wage a living wage so Americans can afford to take these low-wage jobs;
3. national single-payer health care;
4. withdrawal from unfair trade agreements, such as NAFTA, CAFTA and WTO.
(U.S. Senate candidates only) Confirmations of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts (2005) and Samuel Alito (2006)
NO/NO      I came out publicly against the confirmation of both Roberts and Alito.

Judge John 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. For Judge Roberts to issue a blanket statement that his values are irrelevant to the job of a Supreme Court Justice flies in the face of common sense.

I was further concerned when he made it clear, in death penalty cases, that he had no patience for people who wanted to postpone their own government-induced deaths, or to have their convictions overturned - even in those situations where new, unevaluated evidence might well prove exculpatory. If they had used up their allotted appeals, the process must go forward, Roberts contended. He seemed to be saying that procedure was more important than justice.

Also, his approval of the Bush administration's treatment of detainees, putting them outside the protection of international law, is to my mind unconscionable.

Judge Samuel Alito
As a long-time 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 was, and am, particularly concerned about Judge Alito's public animosity toward Roe v. Wade, his dismissive attitude toward women, and his support for a unitary executive -- for the Nixonian concept that anything the president does is legal by virtue of the president having done it.

A President already grasping at power unheard of in our nation's history, and a complicit Supreme Court stacked in the President's favor, does not bode well for the continuation of freedom and democracy in America.
Thank you very much,
Jeff Tuttle
Bangor Daily News
990-8237 (w)