issues

Response to Project Vote Smart’s “Political Courage Test”

Below are my answers to Project Vote Smart’s Political Courage Test, which should show up soon on my profile page there. Again, the opinions below reflect my own opinion, and may not reflect the opinions of the voters of Washington County, whose opinions I have promised to accurately represent, even when my own opinion conflicts. Since I am running as a true independent, I do not have a party platform or predetermined positions on issues that I am tied to. I hope to politically empower every citizen that I represent.

Pro-choice a) Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
No b) Should abortions be illegal after the first trimester of pregnancy?
Yes c) Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape?
Yes d) Should abortion be legal when the life of the woman is endangered?
Yes e) Do you support requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor?
No f) Do you support requiring parental consent before an abortion is performed on a minor?
No g) Do you support the prohibition of public funds for abortion procedures?
No h) Do you support the prohibition of public funds for organizations that perform abortions?
i) Other or expanded principles:

With restrictions including licensing, guaranteeing standard medical practices, and disallowing very late-term abortions that are not necessary to prevent major injury to the mother, I think that abortions should be safe and legal medical procedures covered under the Green Mountain Care law.

I support a parental notification requirement, with conditions. Like laws currently in place in Delaware, I support notification in cases where the mother is under 16, where notice may also be given to a relative over the age of 25 (such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle), and a doctor can bypass the notification requirement in limited circumstances.

Using the key, indicate what state funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category; you may use a number more than once.
3 – Maintain Status a) Education (higher)
2 – Slightly Increase b) Education (K-12)
2 – Slightly Increase c) Environment
3 – Maintain Status d) Health care
3 – Maintain Status e) Law enforcement/corrections
3 – Maintain Status f) Transportation/infrastructure
3 – Maintain Status g) Welfare
2 – Slightly Increase h) Other or expanded categories:

I believe that the state should provide small amounts of seed money and/or low-interest loans for local agricultural and sustainable small business ventures that serve Vermonters.

Using the key, indicate what state tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category; you may use a number more than once.
2 – Slightly Increase a) Alcohol taxes
2 – Slightly Increase b) Cigarette taxes
2 – Slightly Increase c) Corporate taxes
2 – Slightly Increase d) Gas/Oil taxes
4 – Slightly Decrease e) Property taxes
3 – Maintain Status f) Sales taxes
4 – Slightly Decrease g) Income taxes (low-income families)
3 – Maintain Status h) Income taxes (mid-income families)
2 – Slightly Increase i) Income taxes (high-income families)
2 – Slightly Increase j) Other or expanded categories:

I support the expansion of bottle & can deposits, to include other containers and packaging.

Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing Vermont’s budget.
No a) Tapping into Vermont’s “rainy day” fund
No b) Increasing tuition rates at public universities
No c) Reducing or eliminating public worker collective bargaining
No d) Reducing state employee salaries AND/OR pensions
No e) Instituting mandatory furloughs AND/OR layoffs for state employees
No f) Reducing benefits for Medicaid recipients
a) Do you support limits on the following types of contributions for state candidates?
Yes 1) Individual
Yes 2) Political Action Committee
Yes 3) Corporate
Yes 4) Political Party
Yes b) Should candidates for state office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?
Yes c) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Yes d) Do you support the use of an independent AND/OR bipartisan commission for redistricting?
No e) Do you support requiring a government-issued photo identification in order to vote at the polls?
f) Other or expanded principles:

Crucial to a well-functioning democracy is transparency – I propose that all departments should make public all important documents, including internal communications. All candidates for public office should be required to release at least 2 years of tax returns. Public financing of elections should also be required. I support alternative forms of voting such as approval voting that can more accurately (and with no additional implementation cost) reflect the views of voters.

Yes a) Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Yes b) Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders, such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
Yes c) Do you support decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana?
Yes d) Should a minor accused of a violent crime be prosecuted as an adult?
No e) Should a minor who sends sexually-explicit or nude photos by cell phone face criminal charges?
No f) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
g) Other or expanded principles:

I believe in capital punishment for certain specific violent crimes where an overwhelming preponderance of evidence exists. I support alternatives to incarceration such as drug courts or the above for nonviolent drug law offenders. Minors should be prosecuted as adults only for specific violent crimes where their age is not a reasonable justification for their behavior. “Sexting” should be a substantial misdemeanor for minors, but should not carry with it a sex offender registration requirement.

No a) Do you support reducing government regulations on the private sector?
Yes b) Do you support increased state funding for job-training programs that re-train displaced workers?
Yes c) Do you support expanding access to unemployment benefits?
No d) Do you support providing financial incentives to the private sector for the purpose of job creation?
Yes e) Do you support increased spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation?
No f) Do you support providing direct financial assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure?
g) Other or expanded principles:

Along with high-speed Internet connectivity for all Vermonters, local agriculture and local small businesses will be the cornerstones of a vibrant 21st-century economy in Vermont. We should encourage all three at the local and state levels.

No a) Do you support the national Common Core State Standards initiative?
Yes b) Do you support a merit pay system for teachers?
c) Is the tenure process for public school teachers producing effective teachers?
No d) Should parents be allowed to use vouchers to send their children to any school?
e) Do you support state funding for charter schools?
Yes f) Do you support the state government providing college students with financial aid?
Yes g) Should illegal immigrants who graduate from Vermont high schools be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities?
h) Other or expanded principles:

I support increased funding for good early childhood education programs. I am suspicious about the use of vouchers to send students to private schools, since (especially in small districts) they could spread an already-sparse population of students even thinner.

I believe that the tenure process can encourage young people to become teachers, but I’m not convinced that tenure itself produces effective teachers.

Yes a) Do you support state funding for the development of alternative energy?
No b) Do you support state funding for the development of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil)?
Yes c) Do you support state funding for improvements to Vermont’s energy infrastructure?
Yes d) Do you support state funding for open space preservation?
Yes e) Do you support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change?
No f) Do you support the construction of mountaintop wind turbines?
Yes g) Do you support closing the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant?
h) Other or expanded principles:

More emphasis should be placed on distributed (local) power generation, which can be more resilient to outages than large industrial-scale plants and whose revenues or cost savings are more likely to remain in the community.

No a) Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
No b) Should background checks be required on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
Yes c) Should citizens be allowed to carry concealed guns?
No d) Should a license be required for gun possession?
Yes a) Do you support a universally-accessible, publicly-administered health insurance option?
Yes b) Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform?
No c) Do you support interstate health insurance compacts?
d) Do you support requiring individuals to purchase health care insurance?
Yes e) Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits?
Yes f) Do you support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes?
Yes g) Do you support the legalization of physician-assisted suicide for those with a terminal diagnosis and less than six months to live?
h) Other or expanded principles:

I support Vermont’s move to a single-payer health care system, which makes many of the above questions moot.

No a) Should marriage only be between one man and one woman?
Yes b) Should Vermont continue to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples?
Yes c) Do you support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Vermont’s anti-discrimination laws?
Yes d) Do you support the inclusion of gender identity in Vermont’s anti-discrimination laws?

In the following area, on an attached page, or via e-mail, please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

The answers I have provided reflect my own (sometime underinformed) opinion, and may not reflect the opinions of the voters of Washington County, whose opinions I have promised to accurately represent, even when my own opinion conflicts. I do not have a party platform or predetermined positions on issues that I am tied to and hope to politically empower every citizen that I represent.

Specific priorities that I would pursue (in coordination with citizens) include the labeling of food containing GMO ingredients, providing support for companies involved in local economies, and instituting approval voting in all Vermont elections.

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Primary DayNovember 8th, 2016
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