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Local Elections 2012: Michigan U.S. Senate candidates respond to Rapidian questions

Pete Hoekstra, Debbie Stabenow and Scotty Boman answered some tough questions to help our local citizens understand who to vote for in upcoming elections Tuesday November 6.

/Katie Weller

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Our politics beat asked the Michigan U.S. Senate candidates [Pete Hoekstra, Debbie Stabenow and Scotty Boman] some questions for our Rapidian readers. Harley Mikkelson was not available for comment. We hope they help you to get informed about where they stand on issues that affect us locally. See below the questions and their answers.

What is your perspective on women's health care legislation?

Pete Hoekstra: “We need to replace ObamaCare with common sense reforms based on free market principles that provide for affordable and accessible health care for all Americans. I believe every American should be able to choose their insurance, doctors and hospitals. Patients should have the right to choose their health care provider and receive access to care when they need it. I have released a Solutions Policy Paper that outlines reforms that are starting points to reduce costs to improve affordability and access to health care.”

Debbie Stabenow: “I am a strong advocate for quality health care for women and their families. I strongly oppose recent efforts to take away health care coverage for women for basic services like maternity care, cancer screenings, or birth control. I also opposed legislation that would have allowed employers to decide which health care services would be covered under a woman's insurance.”

Scotty Boman: “A United States Senator makes an oath or affirmation to uphold and defend the United States Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment Section 1 requires equal treatment under the law. So any legislation that targets a demographic group is unconstitutional...I would rather have a doctor practice medicine on me than a politician, wouldn't you? If you would like politicians to pass legislation pertaining to health, the Constitution allows for this in the tenth amendment, but the legislators must be state legislators, not federal ones.”

What would you do to address climate change and/or other environmental concerns in our region?

Hoekstra: “I support an ‘All the Above’ energy policy that supports American energy production, encourages conservation and efficiency and promotes greater use of alternative fuels, but does not pick winners and losers. The key to safe, reliable energy policy is American energy independence.”

Stabenow: “We need a ‘do it all’ energy strategy that includes more American oil and natural gas, more wind, solar, and other clean energy like advanced batteries for vehicles. This approach will create jobs, help our companies and workers be more globally competitive and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We know how important our Great Lakes are to our economy, and way of life.”

Boman: “In addition to being outside the enumerated powers of Congress, climate change, the tilt of the Earth’s axis and the length of the day are outside the control of mortals (at this point in human history).  Politically (or government grant) motivated climate global warming alarmists have been pushing the dogma that humans are causing a significant warming of the Earth. Thus far I have not found a shred of evidence to support this hypothesis...even data showing an increase in global temperatures is only anecdotal in the context of asserting a human cause. To truly show a human cause to the change, one must show that the current warming trend is significantly different than that which existed during prior interglacial periods.”


What do you plan to do to create jobs and a sustainable economy for the area? What do you see as the government's role in job creation?

Hoekstra: “What you see out of Washington right now is an anti-free market, anti-investment agenda that has stifled job creation. We see this with over burdensome regulations, the government takeover of health care, skyrocketing national debt and a President campaigning on tax increases. The result, the worst sustained jobless rate in the history of America and a majority of Americans saying we are on the wrong track. We can do better!
We need to embrace common sense, pro-growth policies that allow markets, small businesses and farmers to operate. We need solutions on tax reform that will encourage investment into Michigan businesses; we need regulatory solutions that allow entrepreneurs to compete; we need real solutions for domestic energy production that will reduce costs for families and manufacturers and we need spending reform that will allow us to leave a better country for our grandchildren.”

Stabenow: “I have worked in partnership with Grand Rapids community leaders to support local sustainability initiatives such as The Rapid’s LEED certified Transportation Center, the Right Place’s West Michigan Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative and the City of Grand Rapid’s solar roof.
My number one goal is to help Michigan companies create jobs so we can strengthen our middle class. This election is about who we are as Americans. It’s about the future of the middle class and whether everyone has a fair shot at success. I believe we don’t have an economy unless we make things and grow things. That is what we do in Michigan, and that is the key to our economic comeback...It’s also time to stop rewarding companies for sending jobs overseas...My Bring Jobs Home Act stops giving tax breaks to corporations that move jobs overseas and cuts taxes for US companies bringing jobs back to America.”

Boman: “Get the Federal government out of the way. It has been destructive to this naturally occurring process. Unemployment is a symptom of systemic economic problems. Recent administrations have only made matters worse by growing government and adding to the national debt. State and local governments have been forced to tighten their belts because they don’t have the privilege to run serial deficits and legislate their own debt ceiling.
Federal politicians should get out of the way, and stop creating debt. I would support the transparent retirement of the Federal Reserve System as well as an end to job-killing regulations and taxation. I'd vote against bailouts and unbalanced budgets. I would oppose any efforts by Congress to over-step their enumerated powers. This includes repealing all Federal Laws that intervene on intrastate commerce. The Federal government needs to respect Michigan’s medical marijuana law.”


In what way(s) do you focus on long term goals? What changes will you make that will affect future generations?

Hoekstra: “The economy right now is upside down... As Michigan’s next Senator, I will focus on five major goals:
One. Embrace a real ‘all of the above’ American energy strategy and become energy independent as a nation. It is an economic and national security issue and opportunity.
Two. Fundamentally reform our broken tax code to a simpler, fairer code that encourages investment and entrepreneurship.
Three. Reform our K through 12 education system by empowering parents, local school districts, and states, not federal bureaucrats.
Four. Strengthen and save Medicare and Social Security for future generations.
Five. Balance the budget. When I served on the House Budget Committee, we created surpluses for the first time in 30 years and did it four consecutive times. My opponent [Debbie Stabenow] sits on the Senate Budget Committee that hasn’t passed a budget in over 1,250 days, which has resulted in four consecutive trillion dollar deficits.”

Stabenow: “I am working every day to create a better future for our children and grandchildren. That means getting our deficit under control, strengthening Medicare and Social Security, protecting our Great Lakes and waterways for future generations. I am also laser focused on creating new opportunities in clean energy, advanced manufacturing, information technology, agriculture and bio-based manufacturing – sectors of our economy that are poised to grow and create new jobs of the future in Michigan.”

Boman: “i. Repeal indefinite detentions (Section 1021 of the NDAA of 2012).  While most of the bill was routine, the detainee provisions made it into something far worse. It contains a provision that imposes de facto martial law and now, at the President’s whim, the guns of the greatest military in the world may be pointed inward on us...I support the separation of government and marriage, internet freedom and an end to warrantless surveillance and searches. Furthermore, I will vote to re-legalize incandescent light-bulbs.
ii. Restore Prosperity.  The Federal Reserve System robs people of their savings while enriching shareholders of Federal Reserve Banks. Legal tender laws need to be abolished. The Federal Reserve System needs to be fully audited, and carefully dismantled.
iii. Restore Peace: While I support a strong military to defend the United States against aggression, the United States should take a more diplomatic approach, and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world.”


What is your record on bipartisan efforts?

Hoekstra: “When I served in Congress, I was Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. I worked on a bipartisan basis with my colleagues in the House and Senate to reform our intelligence community in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Because of our efforts, we were able to sign the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act into law.
In addition, I was a member of the House Budget Committee, during which time I worked across party lines to balance the budget for four straight years under a Democratic President and Republican House.”

Stabenow: “I have always been committed to finding common ground so we can get things done for Michigan. As Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I brought Republicans and Democrats together to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill to cut $23 billion in spending and help strengthen agriculture, Michigan’s second largest industry. I work closely with my Republican colleagues, like Congressman Dave Camp, on issues important to the Michigan like stopping Asian carp and protecting our Great Lakes. As the co-chair of the Senate’s bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus, I've cosponsored legislation with Republicans to stand up to China’s illegal trade practices. I work across the aisle every day to help Michigan businesses create jobs and stand up for middle class families.”

Boman: “I have been active in both parties (Libertarian and Republican) often at the same time, but I remain at home in the Libertarian Party, which embraces Libertarian philosophy.  There are Libertarians in other parties, but the establishment in these parties remains devoted to statist policies. Establishment politicians in both major parties have worked to together to sink this nation ever deeper in debt, neglect the Constitution, invade our privacy, threaten us with indefinite detention, and perpetuate endless war...I am also disturbed by ballot suppression efforts on behalf of Mitt Romney supporters in Michigan and Oklahoma to keep the most qualified presidential candidate (two-term Governor Gary Johnson) off the ballot.”

What motivates you to run for U.S. Senate?

Hoekstra: “I am running for U.S. Senate because Michigan families and small businesses deserve better than a persistently high jobless rate, record high gas prices and reckless spending with no plan to stop it. My candidacy is about offering real solutions that will create real jobs, and getting the job done for the people of Michigan... America today faces some of the most difficult economic challenges it has ever faced. It is time to elect new leadership that will be focused on preserving the safety net and creating jobs so that everyone has an opportunity to succeed...”

Stabenow: “I am running for Senate so I can continue to fight for our middle-class families by focusing on what we do best in Michigan: making things and growing things. That’s the way we built the middle class. I have worked to take on leadership roles that have the strongest impact for Michigan, and I am getting results. Agriculture is our second largest industry, supporting nearly one in four Michigan jobs. As Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I will continue to help farmers and small agriculture businesses create jobs.
As Chairwoman of the bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus, I'm helping Michigan’s number one industry produce the next generation of advanced technology products. I am a fierce advocate for policies that make Michigan a leader in manufacturing and producing advanced batteries and vehicles of the future...When we grow things in Michigan and make things in Michigan, we create jobs in Michigan.”

Boman: “I saw that our nation was in trouble, and that establishment politicians would only exacerbate our problems. If elected, I will bring to the United States Senate a consistent, reliable voice for individual liberty and restraint in the growth of the federal government. As I have already demonstrated in forums hosted by a variety of groups, I have moved beyond the outmoded liberal vs. conservative paradigm, and refocused attention on the fundamental choice: liberty vs. tyranny.”

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