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Candidates in the U.S. Senate Primary Race

A look at the U.S. Senate hopefuls on the issues.
The winner of this election will fill the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Senator Olympia Snowe.


  Thinks the best way to boost the economy is to deal with what he thinks are the two biggest economic problems: the deficit and tax reform. Believes the debt can be reduced by cutting government waste, which he thinks is rampant and can be cut substantially by assessing the effectiveness of programs and eliminating those that don't work. Favors stronger regulation on Wall Street to ensure that there are no banks that are "too big to fail." Believes government tends to prevent job creation by taxation, overregulation, and "just getting in the way." Thinks the way to boost the economy is by providing more liquidity for companies so they can expand and build. He thinks the reason people aren't spending is because they're "worried about the future," and thinks the best way for the government to ease those concerns is to "get out of the way" and cut taxes on everyone. To balance the federal budget, he would cut spending across the board, including military spending. Supports investing in public infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. Supports President Obama's American Jobs Act, which she says would create 1 million jobs, and the Veterans Jobs Act, as a way to boost the economy. Also believes that investments in education will help improve the economy. Would reform and simplify the tax code to assure that corporations and the wealthy "pay their fair share." Would "reprioritize" spending for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and place controls on Wall Street to prevent future financial collapse. Believes that the federal debt is not a "crisis" but is a problem that can be solved through tax increases targeted to the wealthy, bringing troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and cutting the military budget in a way that doesn't threaten national defense or cut jobs in Maine, as well as by stimulating the economy through investments. Would push for smarter global trading policies that create a level playing field for U.S. manufactured goods, such as New Balance shoes made in Maine. Would coordinate the 55 federal job training programs spread across nine agencies. Thinks improving education and reforming the tax code would also help boost the economy. Also believes that there are too many federal regulations that create a drag on the economy. Thinks uncertainty over the national debt is dampening investment in hiring and slowing the economy. Would support reviving the Glass-Steagal Act, which kept commercial and investment banks separate. Supports reduction in federal spending, followed by flat funding until debt is reduced. Believes U.S. can "grow its way" out of the economic downturn by keeping taxes and regulatory burdens low, which, in his view, will stimulate economic activity and help reduce the federal debt. Thinks businesses would increase hiring if taxes and regulations were more "predictable." Thinks Congress can help create jobs through policy, such as those that encourage "intellectual property." Thinks the U.S. is moving from a nation that relies on industrial jobs to one that relies on jobs created through ideas and innovation. To benefit from that, he says, America needs to have a more effective "global" policy, including trade agreements with China and India. He recommends tax reform and defense cuts to help reduce the national debt. Thinks it's wrong to "borrow money from China" to provide foreign aid to other countries.  
  Believes a "value added" tax, rather than tax subsidies, would help alternative energy companies develop. Opposes expansion of nuclear power and questions whether it can be produced safely. Favors drilling in the ANWAR. Would seek more domestic sources of oil. Believes that alternatives should be explored, but doesn't like wind farms because he thinks they're inefficient. Would like to pursue tidal energy, but doesn't believe the federal government should subsidize the effort or bail out failing companies -- thinks we should "let the bankruptcy system work." Favors offshore drilling, but says there is no oil off the coast of Maine. Favors expansion of nuclear power: "If it's good enough for the French, it's good enough for us." Believes Congress could do more to encourage conservation, and renewable energy solutions. Opposes subsidies for oil companies. Opposes Keystone pipeline project, but supports offshore oil drilling in current locations. Would consider nuclear power as a future source, but only if environmental safety and waste storage issues can be successfully addressed. Thinks natural gas presents a "huge opportunity" for the nation. Views it as a "transition fuel." Thinks that if hydro-fracking is done carefully and is properly regulated, it can be done safely, and that the benefits to switching from oil and coal to natural gas, which is less expensive, will be "enormous." Supports renewable energy, but doesn't believe such sources will provide the "whole answer" to the nation's energy needs - though he says as technology improves, they one day might. Opposes oil drilling in the ANWAR, but not domestic oil drilling in general and would consider on a case-by-case basis. Thinks nuclear power is not economically feasible right now and is risky because of the waste problem. Believes the U.S. has a "moral responsibility" to look for energy within U.S. borders and cut oil imports from the Middle East. Favors an "all of the above" approach for domestic sources of energy, including nuclear, and thinks new technology allows us to extract domestic oil and gas in an "environmentally friendly" way. Thinks there's promise in "clean coal" energy. Supports research into alternative energy sources, but doesn't back subsidies for alternative energy industry because the federal debt is too big. Instead, he favors policies, including current subsidies for oil companies, that ensure that American consumers have access to energy sources, such as oil, that are available right now. Supports the expansion of nuclear power, and believes it can be produced safely with new technology. Says the "fuel situation is a crisis" because of climate change, which he considers a critical issue. Would support policies that promote and encourage investment in alternative fuels, such as solar, tidal power and offshore wind. Believes climate change is an "urgent imperative" and should be dealt with as such. Supports nuclear if it's created in a "responsible manner." Believes nuclear technology has improved and should be given a second look as a power source. Opposes the Keystone Pipeline project. Supports domestic oil drilling in the short term, but advocates for "smarter policies" that end reliance on fossil fuels.  
  Thinks the Affordable Care Act was undermined by lobbying groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but thinks it's a step in the right direction. Thinks government should ensure health care for all. Opposes the Affordable Care Act - thinks it's poorly put together and the process of crafting the legislation was poorly handled. Favors improving the health care system through tort reform and allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines. Thinks the ACA heads in the direction of "socialized medicine," which he says he opposes. Supports the Affordable Care Act, but would prefer a single-payer system, or "Medicare for all." Thinks that's the "only responsible way" to take the profit motive out of the system, and to ensure that everyone has access to health care and preventive care. Thinks the current system is inefficient and leads to unnecessary tests and treatments. Does not believe that insurance companies should play a role in health care and that businesses should not be responsible for administering health care. Supports the Affordable Care Act and would vote against repealing it. Says the bill is "already benefiting people in Maine." He says he hasn't heard a credible alternative to the ACA, and says it would be a "real step backward" to repeal it. Opposes the Affordable Care Act, because he believes it takes individual choice away, creates another huge bureaucracy, and adds to the federal debt. Supports allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines, and making the cost of individual and business health insurance 100 percent tax deductible. Is concerned that the ACA will create a new level of federal bureaucracy that will be costly and add to the federal debt. Believes health care costs can be lowered through tort and medical malpractice reforms. Thinks the Affordable Care Act isn't perfect, but supports it because it "gives us the foundation" to improve health care. Thinks the ACA creates a more equitable platform for people to get access to health care.  
  Political Gridlock  
  Thinks the two major parties are "broken." Thinks gridlock is the result of the two-party system and the power of the two major parties in Congress. Believes two-party gridlock is preventing Congress from solving problems across the board, including health care and tax reform. Thinks lobbying is making the problem worse, and he is not accepting campaign contributions. Thinks gridlock has contributed to what he says is the U.S. Senate's failure to endorse qualified people to run federal agencies. Says the Senate "is clearly broken" and as evidence points out that the Senate hasn't produced a budget in several years. Says "partisan bickering and loyalty to party over the needs of the nation" is impeding legislation. Says as an independent, he will not be part of either party and will work with "whomever" to get things done. As a U.S. Senator, he says, his loyalty will "be to the people of Maine, not to 'leadership' of any party." Thinks gridlock is due to a small group of "obstructionist Republicans." Acknowledges that she is a progressive, but says she recognizes that compromise is necessary to get things done, and that she would be willing to work across the aisle with those willing to put the public interest first. Believes that Congress is "completely out of touch" with the lives of ordinary working families and small businesses. Thinks the big issue in the campaign is that "this country is being killed by partisanship" and that partisanship has brought Congress to a standstill. Says the U.S. Senate isn't working and cites the failure of the Farm Bill and a bill that would have employed 20,000 veterans as examples of how gridlock is hurting the nation. Supports the "No Budget, No Pay" bill, which would require Congress to pass a budget in order for members to get paid. Declines to say which party he would caucus with in Congress, and says he will make that determination if and when he gets to Washington. Says gridlock is driven by the 24-hour news cycle, but that senators have to "stand up and do the right thing for Maine and for America." Believes the parties need to find common ground and work across the aisle, and that senators should serve the country, not a political party. Says he would caucus with Democrats if elected. In the future, he thinks if the number of U.S. senators who are independents increases to five - currently there are two - he would help form an independent Senate caucus. Thinks that people have lost faith in elected officials and says voters are making decisions that are counter to their interests, and electing people who are not competent to "carry out the people's work." Says Americans have forgotten that "we own the Democracy" and that we "hire" our elected officials.  
  Believes that life begins at conception, and describes himself as "pro-life." But he says he would uphold the laws as interpreted by the U.S. courts. Says he hopes that voters will eventually force the outlawing of abortion, but vows to uphold the laws as they stand. Supports Roe v. Wade. Believes the decision to have an abortion should be left up to the woman. He is against federal funding of abortions, and opposes federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Supports Roe v. Wade. Describes himself as pro-choice, and supports "a woman's ability to make decisions about all of her health care issues in concert with her choice of advisors, both personal and professional." Describes himself as pro-choice. Does not believe federal funds should be used for abortions. Thinks there are times, such as threats to the life of the mother, incest or rape when abortion might have to be considered. Says Roe v. Wade is "the law of the land." Supports Roe v. Wade as "the law of the land" and says he supports women's right to choose.  
  Same-Sex Marriage  
  Believes in civil unions for all couples, and thinks that churches should handle marriage "sanctity," But thinks marriage is an issue that should be decided at the state level. "Fully in favor" of same-sex marriage. Supports the gay marriage initiative on Maine's November ballot. Supports same-sex marriage. Supports "marriage equality" and the right of same-sex couples to get a marriage license. Says he plans to vote in favor of the same-sex marriage initiative on Maine's November ballot. Opposes same-sex marriage, and thinks marriage is "between a man and a woman." Believes that same-sex couples can be protected through civil unions. "Enthusiastically" supports the concept of same-sex marriage. Thinks sexual orientation should play no role in how Americans' rights are defined.  
  Social Security  
  Believes the problems in Social Security system can be "bridged." Questions the role of trustees of the Social Security Trust Fund, including the Secretary of the Treasury, who he believes are conflicted. Supports giving participants in the program a choice on retirement age. Would consider means testing and raising the eligibility age to keep Social Security viable for the long term. Believes that Social Security can be preserved for the long term by taking a hard look at raising caps on income from $110,000 to $250,000. Believes that Social Security is particularly important for women because they tend to live longer and get paid less. Says it's "not true" that Social Security is in a crisis. Says fixing Social Security and making it viable for the next 75 years is not a huge issue. Thinks that increasing the cap on Social Security earnings would "go a long way toward solving the issue." Would consider hiking eligibility age, but does not support means testing because that would turn it into a "welfare program," and erode political support. Believes that Social Security committments made for those nearing retirement age should be met. Believes that for younger people coming into the system, a change in the retirement age will need to be considered. Would also consider means testing. Says the number of elderly is increasing as the number of younger people paying into the system is falling. Would consider raising the eligibility age, as well as means testing. Does not think wealthy people should get Social Security, even though they pay into the system.  
  Thinks the Medicare system is troubled, and would impose a "value added" tax to help fund it. Would strengthen Medicare by eliminating waste in the system. Thinks Medicare is going broke, but does not favor changes for current recipients. However, would look at changes for those who will be eligible "10 or 20 years down the line." Would consider means testing and raising the eligibility age for Medicare. Would ensure that Medicare can negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices to help lower costs. Believes that Medicare is working and should be preserved without changing eligibility criteria. Thinks Medicare system has problems, and supports a "fundamentally different" approach to health care: Rather than the fee-for-service model, he would support a system that rewards preventive and primary care because he thinks that would reduce health care expenditures overall. Believes that Medicare must remain solvent. Supports finding efficiencies in the program, but does not support privatization. Believes "we owe it to every American to provide services to both preserve and sustain life," and would consider changes guided by that principal.  
  Believes a "value added" tax on exports would help level the global playing field for U.S. goods. Thinks the 35 percent corporate income tax encourages companies to move profits offshore, and should be reconsidered. Believes comprehensive tax reform would help boost the U.S. economy. Would cut federal income taxes for everyone. Favors a flat tax over a "fair" tax. Supports a 15 percent across the board flat tax, which he says would cut taxes for everyone, rich or poor. Those who make less than $15,000 a year would pay no federal income tax. Supports President Obama's proposal to extend Bush-era tax cuts for those earning up to $250,000 a year, and repeal the cuts for those making more. Believes that the cuts are a major factor in the growth of the national debt. Supports taxing capital gains at the same rate as ordinary "earned" income, and would repeal tax subsidies for large oil and gas companies. Supports a "very, very small" tax on stock trades to ensure that those who were "responsible in large part for the collapse" of the U.S. economy contribute to its rebuilding. Says he cut taxes 18 times as governor. Acknowledges supporting an increase in the gas tax to improve roads, and an increase in the meals and lodging tax as governor, but he says during his administration there was an overall net tax decrease of more than $400 million a year. Opposes the Grover Norquist "no taxes" pledge. Supports ending the Bush-era tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year, but not until the economy is "back on its feet." Under King's plan, the cuts would expire at a certain economic benchmark rather than on an arbitrary date or by a vote of Congress. Believes in a "flatter tax," which he calls a "fair tax." Believes that the "immediate need" is to extend Bush-era tax cuts across the board to ensure that money isn't being taken out of the economy. Supports lower taxes on capital gains to encourage people to invest more. Signed the Grover Norquist "no taxes" pledge, and says he thinks it's a way to ensure that there's "no new net taxes." Says U.S. needs to deal with what he says is a "spending problem" before considering raising taxes. Supports President Obama's plan to extend Bush-era tax cuts for middle class and end them for those making more than $250,000 a year. Believes taxes provide funds for public investments, such as roads and other infrastructure, that are crucial to business success.  
  Foreign Policy  
  On Iran, says he needs to know about the U.S.'s ability to destroy Iran's nuclear capability before acting. In Afghanistan, thinks the United States has mismanaged the war and driven insurgents across the Pakinstan border. Believes the U.S. has made the problem worse by providing foreign aid to Pakistan without demanding they help apprehend insurgents. Thinks Americans are holding Israel back and not allowing it to defend its own interests in the dispute with Iran over nuclear weapons. Think the U.S. can no longer afford to be "the world's policeman." Favors looking at the U.S. Defense Department budget for possible cuts now that the Cold War is over. Supports ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and "drastically" cutting back on foreign aid. Would defund the United Nations and "move it elsewhere." Does not believe there should be a "red line" on Iran. Thinks economic sanctions should be increased and diplomatic efforts should be pursued to prevent Iran from developing nuclear capability. Would not vote to support going to war with Iran without a "high degree of hard evidence that our national security is at risk." Thinks the U.S. should not have gone to Iraq, a war she says was based on a false premise of weapons of mass destruction. Afghanistan is a home to terrorists, and while U.S. troops should be sent home soon, she says, our engagement in Afghanistan is "not as irresponsible" as it was in Iraq. On Iran, says it would be a "disaster" for the U.S. if Iran becomes a nuclear power. Supports the continued application of "severe" sanctions, which he says is having an effect in Iran. Thinks military action is an option that should be on the table as a deterrent. Supports President Obama's plan for withdrawing from Afghanistan, but would have ended the war sooner. Thinks military action should undertaken only if it's in the national interest and there's a clear objective and plan for ending the action. Believes the U.S. has to work with allies and other countries to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Supports settling the situation diplomatically, with war as a last resort. Believes U.S. needs to "cherish" ties with Israel, which he says is our closest ally in the Middle East. In Afghanistan, would not set a deadline for leaving the country. Thinks U.S. should work with Afghan people to ensure that they can provide for their own security before we pull out. Believes the U.S. should withdraw from Afghanistan and supported the withdrawal from Iraq, but thinks the U.S. has geo-political interests in the region and should maintain a "presence" there. Thinks the wars were well-intentioned but too many men and women have "given up their lives," and funds are needed for domestic programs. Would speed up time-table for withdrawal. Supports broader foreign policy that reflects American values rather than one that has the U.S. jumping from hot spot to hot spot. On Iran, he supports leaving everything on the table, including military action, to ensure that Iran doesn't develop nuclear capabilities.  











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