Your Candidates-Your Health Voter Guide
2006 Candidates Questionnaire
On behalf of Research!America and the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, thank you for completing the Your Candidates-Your Health Voter Guide questionnaire. This e-mail serves as confirmation that your responses/the responses for Ms. Jean Hay Bright running for office in Maine, Senate have been received.
Your responses will be posted on the Your CandidatesˇYour Health Voter Guide Web site, yourcandidatesyourhealth.org, in mid-September. The online guide will educate voters about their congressional candidates' views on medical, health and scientific research. Candidates' responses will be presented in an easy-to-access format by state and congressional district.
For more information about Research!America and the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, visit our Web sites at researchamerica.org and laskerfoundation.org.
Thank you for responding to our request. This questionnaire focuses on a variety of issues related to medical and health research.
- Which of the following statements more closely reflects your opinion about U.S. investment in medical and health research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)?
Some people say: Current U.S. funding for medical and health research is sufficient and other budget items are higher priorities now. NO
Other people say: Increasing U.S. funding for medical and health research now is essential to our future health and economic prosperity. YES
One of my key campaign themes is national single-payer health care. An essential component of that, once it is implemented, would be research into several fields which are now taking a back seat in a medical community that requires profits in everything they do. Orphan drug research and production is one such area.
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "Even if it brings no immediate benefits, basic scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge is necessary and should be supported by the federal government."
Basic scientific research has a history of surprises -- unexpected results, discoveries that lead down roads not traveled, disappointing tests that actually turn out to be useful for something else entirely (the glue on post-it notes comes to mind). Basic research builds on our knowledge of the universe, and I support it wholeheartedly.
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "The U.S. is losing its global competitive edge in innovation."
To continue to be leaders in this fast-changing world, we need to have our best minds fully engaged. We cannot, must not, rely on the private sector to fulfill this function, since their built-in profit motive often precludes basic research and/or innovative ideas as not being cost-effective.
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "The federal government should invest much more now in science education and basic scientific research."
I had an excellent public education long ago (I'm 58) in Ohio. What I learned in those science classes has served me well throughout my life, even though most of the jobs I have held, with the exception of my organic farming, would not be considered scientific-based. I am often astonished, and disappointed, at the scientific ignorance I see voiced in public in different venues. We need an informed citizenry in this democracy, and science education is a critical component of that.
- Do you support tax and regulatory incentives for industry conducting research and development to improve health?
Support with reservations. Private firms that receive any form of federal subsidy for performing research MUST place the results of that research into the public domain and/or be made to repay that subsidy back to the federal government once the research bears fruit and the company begins to profit from the research. Also, if the research is successful and the public has funded this research, the public should share in those profits.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are charged with protecting the health and safety of Americans. The President has proposed to cut the CDC's core programs by about 4% for the second year in a row. Do you support the President's 2007 budget proposal for the CDC?
At a time when global climate change and international air travel are bringing about new disease situations that are hard to keep track of, let alone stay on top of, now is not the time to cut back on core CDC programs. As I stated above, I favor national health care. Disease control and prevention is an essential component of that.
- Do you support increasing federal funding for state and local health departments across the country that are expected to prepare for and respond to threats to our health?
Not only do I support an increase in this funding, I see the lack of national health care as a national security risk. It is unacceptable to me that 44 million Americans have no health care plan, or access to adequate health care. We need more public clinics and more funding for local health departments, to prepare for and stay on top of threats to our health.
- How much of a priority do you think it is for the U.S. to invest in research to improve health around the world?
We know that brain activity and good nutrition are closely linked. People who are hungry or in ill health may not make the best decisions. It is in our own best interests to find ways to improve health around the world -- and to implement discoveries that are found to be effective. I applaud Bill Gates' efforts, particularly for AIDS research and relief. But we should not rely on private charity for this research.
- Do you have specific plans to help your district/state increase investment in research? If yes, please describe briefly.
I support increased funding and support of our public colleges and universities, including free tuition for students attending those institutions. We can only increase our nation's research capacity by continually educating the people who will do that research and by providing them with the tools and labs in which to accomplish their work.
- Do you support federal funding for research using embryonic stem cells?
This is an exciting area of research with great potential for profound and life-saving results. I simply cannot equate the value of a few cells in a petrie dish, particularly embryos destined to be destroyed in the normal course of business, with a living, breathing human being who could be helped by research using these cells -- provided the "owners" of those cells give permission for their use in this manner. I would respect religious constraints by individual "owners" in that situation.