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Christopher 'Chris' Rothfuss

Christopher Rothfuss' Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Full Name: Christopher 'Chris' Rothfuss
Office: State Senate (WY) - District 9, Democratic Minority Floor Leader
First Elected: 11/02/2010
Next Election: 2014
Gender: Male
Family: Wife: Heather; Children: Connor, Zane
Birth Date: 10/21/1972
Birth Place: Ann Arbor, MI
Home City: Laramie, WY
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Christopher Rothfuss refused to tell citizens where he stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2010 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Wyoming Congressional Election 2008 Political Courage Test

This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.

The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding abortion.
a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester.
d) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
e) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Dilation and extraction or "partial-birth" abortion procedures should be legal.
g) Medicare, Medicaid, and federal subsidies should be prohibited from being used on abortion procedures.
h) Other or expanded principles.

I am pro-choice. Congress should not legislate morality. The idea of our government having the authority to force a woman to bear a child against her will is unsettling. Instead of seeking to make abortion illegal, we should focus on making it unnecessary.

I would check the 'Abortions should always be legal' box, but the word 'always' is best avoided.

Indicate what federal funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category, you can use a number more than once.
1) Budget Priorities
Maintain Statusa) Agriculture
Maintain Statusb) Arts
Maintain Statusc) Defense
Greatly Increased) Education
Maintain Statuse) Environment
Maintain Statusf) FEMA
Maintain Statusg) Homeland security
Greatly Increaseh) International aid
Maintain Statusi) Law enforcement (Federal)
Maintain Statusj) Law enforcement (State)
Slightly Increasek) Medical research
Maintain Statusl) National parks
Slightly Increasem) Public health services
Slightly Increasen) Scientific research
Maintain Statuso) Space exploration programs
Maintain Statusp) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Maintain Statusq) United Nations
Maintain Statusr) Welfare
s) Other or expanded categories
2) Defense Spending
Maintain Statusa) Armed forces personnel training
Greatly Increaseb) Intelligence operations
Maintain Statusc) Military hardware
Slightly Increased) Modernization of weaponry and equipment
Slightly Decreasee) National missile defense
Slightly Increasef) Pay for active duty personnel
Maintain Statusg) Programs to improve troop retention rates
Maintain Statush) Research and development of new weapons
Maintain Statusi) Troop and equipment readiness
j) Other or expanded categories
3) Taxes
Indicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category, you can use a number more than once.
Family Income Taxes
Eliminatea) Less than $12,000
Slightly Decreaseb) $12,001-$40,000
Maintain Statusc) $40,001-$100,000
Slightly Increased) $100,001-$180,000
Slightly Increasee) $180,001-$350,000
Greatly Increasef) $350,001 and above
g) Other or expanded categories

Taxes should be equitable across all income ranges, with the exception of low income individuals and families.

Other Taxes
Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Slightly Increaseb) Capital gains taxes
Greatly Increasec) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Statusd) Corporate taxes
Slightly Increasee) Gasoline taxes
Eliminatef) Inheritance taxes
g) Other or expanded categories

Capital gains are income and should be treated as such; Cigarettes should be taxed to sufficiently to offset their burden on our healthcare system; Gasoline excise taxes should be indexed to inflation to pay for our highways and infrastructure; Death is bad enough, we shouldn't tax it... normal capital gains taxes would still apply to any sale of goods or property that appreciated in value since it was originally purchased by the deceased.

Maintain Statusa) Charitable contribution deduction
Maintain Statusb) Child tax credit
Maintain Statusc) Earned income tax credit
Greatly Increased) Medical expense deduction
Maintain Statuse) Mortgage deduction
Greatly Increasef) Student loan credit
g) Other or expanded categories

Medical expense deductions should be increased until we come up with a real solution for healthcare expenses; Student loans, tuition costs, and other education related expenses are investments in our future, our country and our people - they should be treated as such by our tax system.

Yes4) Do you support the permanent repeal of the federal estate tax?
Yes5) Do you support requiring the federal budget to be balanced each year?
6) Other or expanded principles

The federal budget should be balanced each year unless under exceptional circumstances... e.g. a 2/3 majority in the senate approves the budget deficit.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.
a) Support increasing the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
Xb) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
c) Allow unregulated soft money campaign contributions to political parties or committees.
d) Remove all contribution limits on federal campaigns and parties.
Xe) Support prohibiting ads containing candidates' name that are paid for by third parties from airing 60 days before a primary and 30 days before a general federal election.
Xf) Support instant run-off voting (IRV).
Xg) Support designating Election Day as a national holiday.
Xh) Support giving the President the power of the line item veto for items concerning appropriations.
Xi) Support limiting the President's use of signing statements in order to prevent an alternative interpretation of the bill.
Xj) Support a federal shield law to protect reporter-source privilege.
k) Other or expanded principles

I support public funding of federal election campaigns to limit the influence of PACs and lobbyists and to reduce the advantage held by incumbents.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.
a) Support the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
b) Eliminate the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
Xc) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Xd) Support programs to provide prison inmates with drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
Xe) Reduce prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
f) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
g) Support strict penalties for internet crime (e.g. hacking, identity theft, worms/viruses).
Xh) Require that crimes based on sexual orientation be prosecuted as federal hate crimes.
i) Other or expanded principles

a) I am not opposed to the death penalty in principle for extremely egregious cases, but I believe it is absolutely unacceptable to ever be wrong about a death penalty case. Consequently, I generally oppose it in practice.
e) Punishment for non-violent crimes should focus on reparations, financial punishment, home confinement and community service rather than prison. If the criminal is not a danger to the public, less expensive and more societally beneficial punishment options should be pursued.
h) I oppose 'hate crimes legislation,' but if it does exist, it must include sexual orientation.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.
a) Support the federal government funding universal pre-K programs.
b) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any public school.
c) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
Xd) Allow teachers and professionals to receive federal funding to establish charter or magnet schools.
Xe) Increase funding for the Pell Grant program.
f) Decrease interest rates of Stafford Loans.
Xg) Support federal tax incentives to help families save for college.
h) Ban university financial aid officers from owning stock in or accepting gifts from student loan lenders.
i) Require universities to disclose financial relationships with lenders.
j) Support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
k) Eliminate all federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
l) Other or expanded principles

I do not support vouchers for private or religious schools; I support increasing federal aid for college, such as the Pell Grant program, although I believe the program should be revised to better meet the needs of the 21st century; No Child Left Behind is a failure and should be reworked to enable educators, rather than punish them.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.
Xa) Increase funding for national job-training programs that retrain displaced workers or teach skills needed in today’s job market.
Xb) Reduce government regulation of the private sector.
Xc) Encourage employers to offer child care services, flex-time scheduling, comp-time, and unpaid leave for family emergencies.
Xd) Increase the federal minimum wage.
Xe) Support the right of workers to unionize.
f) Eliminate all federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
Xg) Include sexual orientation in federal anti-discrimination laws.
Xh) Include gender identity in federal anti-discrimination laws.
i) Other or expanded principles

I'd like to see federal funding for job-training increased, but I do question the availability of funds due to our rampant spending.

I support the right of workers to unionize, but I also support their right to not unionize.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
a) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
b) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
Xc) Support increased development of traditional energy resources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil).
Xd) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
Xe) Strengthen fuel efficiency standards on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
Xf) Support domestic oil exploration in areas that are currently restricted.
Xg) Encourage further development and use of alternative fuels.
Xh) Support the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel.
Xi) Support research and development of nuclear reactors as an alternative energy source.
Xj) Allow energy producers to trade pollution credits under "cap and trade" laws.
k) Support international mandatory emission targets to limit global warming.
l) Support international voluntary emission targets to limit global warming.
m) Other or expanded principles

Sustainable energy independence is a national security imperative. We must use coal, oil, gas, wind, nuclear, geothermal - everything we have. I support doubling our domestic coal production and ramping up coal liquefaction to reduce gasoline prices and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. But we can and should only accomplish this feat if we have a sensible national ?cap and trade? program in place to address CO2 emissions. We need a comprehensive long term strategy that emphasizes stewardship and sustainability, rather than the ineffective one or two year pork-laden energy bills that we have seen over the past decade.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.
Xa) Allow individuals to carry concealed guns.
b) Ban the sale, ownership or possession of handguns except by law enforcement and other government officials.
On (c) and (d), indicate what levels (#1-6) you support for the following categories.
c) Enforcement of existing restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
e) Other or expanded principles

I am a strong advocate and defender of an individual?s right to keep and bear arms. I have been a gun owner for all of my adult life. I support Castle Doctrine legislation, concealed weapon permit portability, and I was happy to see that the Heller decision eliminated the DC gun ban.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.
a) Implement a universal healthcare program to guarantee coverage to all Americans, regardless of income.
b) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts.
c) Allow the importation of prescription drugs into the United States.
d) Support expanding prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
e) Offer tax credits to individuals and small businesses to offset the cost of insurance coverage.
Xf) Support expanding child healthcare programs.
g) Providing healthcare is not a responsibility of the federal government.
h) Other or expanded principles

I believe all Americans must have access to adequate and affordable health care services that highlight preventive medicine. However, before we establish a national program, we must reduce the costs of health care which have skyrocketed over the past 2 decades. We need to bring together doctors, hospital administrators, health insurance providers, malpractice insurance providers, and consumer advocates; and mediate a recommended solution that would dramatically reduce costs and end the upward spiral of healthcare expenses. Until we do, all national coverage solutions will simply shift the expense from our insurance premiums to our income tax or the national debt.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding immigration.
a) Decrease the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country.
b) Establish English as the official national language.
c) Support a temporary worker program.
Xd) Support harsher financial punishments for those who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.
e) Support amnesty for illegal immigrants already working in the United States.
Xf) Illegal immigrants should have to return to their countries of origin before being considered for citizenship.
g) Illegal immigrants should be given a pathway to citizenship.
Xh) Support merit-based visas over family-based visas.
i) Other or expanded principles

I oppose an amnesty program - it will simply lead to more illegal immigration. I also oppose a fence. We need to remove the incentive for illegal immigration - jobs - and we can only do that by removing the financial incentive to employ illegal immigrants.
Legal immigrants are essential for our country and our economy. We should seek out the highest qualified people from all over the world that want to become Americans and welcome them to our country.

International Aid
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international aid.
Xa) Support the United States granting aid to countries when extraordinary circumstances cause disaster and threaten civilian lives.
Xb) Support the United States granting aid to countries when it is in the security interests of the United States.
c) Eliminate United States aid for any nation with documented human rights abuses.
d) Aid granted by the United States should be scaled back and eventually eliminated.
e) Other or expanded principles

Our international aid is an essential tool of our diplomacy. We should not cut it off for rights abuses, but we can certainly scale it back and link trade and some aid to a country's human rights record.

International Policy
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international policy.
Yesa) Should the United States continue to provide leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?
Yesb) Should the United States support the creation of a Palestinian state?
Yesc) Should the United States impose greater international sanctions on Iran if it continues to defy United Nations mandates?
Undecidedd) Should the United States support the Lebanese government against insurgent forces?
Noe) Should the United States maintain its troop levels in Iraq?
Yesf) Should the United States withdraw its troops from Iraq?
g) Discuss your proposals for Iraq.

The Iraqi people want us out of Iraq. Our people want us out of Iraq. We should get out of Iraq. I don't support timetable, I simply support telling our Generals to get us out as quickly as they can without sacrificing the safety of our soldiers. I am confident it will be quick and effective if they are given the freedom to do their jobs. Following our departure, we should provide logistical support to the Iraqis and help them to the best of our abilities without committing troops to their country.

Yesh) Should the United States apply greater economic and diplomatic sanctions against North Korea if it fails to abide by its agreement to suspend its nuclear program?
Yesi) Should the United States increase financial support for Afghanistan?
Yesj) Should the United States increase military support for Afghanistan?
k) Should the United States trade nuclear fuel to India for civilian purposes?
l) Should the United States decrease financial support for Pakistan?
m) Should the United States decrease military support for Pakistan?
n) Should the United States be involved in bringing an end to the violence in Darfur, Sudan?
o) Should the United States be involved in bringing an end to the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
p) Should the United States provide economic and military support to the Transitional Government of Somalia?
Yesq) Should the United States use sanctions to encourage the government of Zimbabwe to end its human rights abuses?
r) Should the United States support the creation of an independent nation of Kosovo?
s) Other or expanded principles

We should work to maintain our relationship with Pakistan. Support should be contingent upon how things move forward.

We should employ diplomacy in all of these situations to try to minimize violence and conflict and to provide our good offices as needed for negotiation. However, military engagement in Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and Zimbabwe would be unwise.

The United States should not oppose the creation of an independent nation of Kosovo.

International Trade
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international trade.
a) Do you support the United States imposing economic sanctions on China?
Yesb) Do you support the United States imposing trade sanctions on Venezuela?
c) Do you support the United States involvement in free trade agreements?
Yesd) Do you support the United States involvement in intergovernmental organizations dedicated to trade?
e) Other or expanded principles

All of these issues are deeply nuanced. I do not oppose sanctions on China, but would certainly offer alternatives and seek a negotiated solution.

Free trade agreements are mutually beneficial if the 'playing field' is level. That is often not the case. In general I favor 'fair trade' that works towards 'free trade' while maintaining U.S. national security interests and developing the necessary regulatory structures in our trade partners.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding national security.
Noa) Do you support using military tribunals to try suspected terrorists when ordinary civilian courts are deemed inappropriate or impractical?
Nob) Should law enforcement agencies have greater discretion to monitor domestic communications, to prevent future terrorist attacks?
c) Should the United States hold foreign states accountable for terrorists who operate in their country?
Nod) Should the federal government increase funding to states and cities for homeland security?
e) Do you support pre-emptive military strikes against countries deemed to be a threat to United States national security?
Nof) Do you support the creation of a federal identification card system?
Nog) Do you support long-term use of National Guard troops to supplement the armed forces in assignments overseas?
Noh) Should the United States expand its missile defense shield?
i) Other or expanded principles

I'm actually a strong advocate for national security despite my general opposition to the policies mentioned. I do not believe we should diminish ourselves and our national integrity, or erode our personal liberties and freedoms in the name of our battle against terrorism. We must remember what we are fighting for. c) We should only hold a foreign state accountable for terrorists if we they act in support of the terrorist groups, or resist our efforts to eliminate them. e) I would support a pre-emptive military strike if I actually believed there was a genuine threat to our national security.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding social issues.
Yesa) Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
Nob) Do you support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman?
Yesc) Do you support federal funding for research on existing embryonic stem cell lines?
Yesd) Do you support federal funding to create lines of stem cells from new embryos?
Noe) Should the federal government consider race and gender in government contracting decisions?
Nof) Should the federal government continue affirmative action programs?
Nog) Should the federal government regulate internet gambling?
h) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding Social Security.
a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts that they manage themselves.
b) Ensure the viability of Social Security by increasing the payroll tax.
c) Decrease benefits paid to retirees.
d) Support proportional increases of Social Security benefits based on the cost of living index.
e) Raise the retirement age for individual eligibility to receive full Social Security benefits.
f) Other or expanded principles

Any solution for social security will be complicated. I am not fundamentally opposed to any of the options I have heard, subject to the following constraints: no changes should effect anyone within 10 years of retirement (if not more), benefits should achieve a livable income for retirees, and the solution should be sustainable. I suspect this will require increasing the age for benefits scaling back benefits based on income, and requiring that the current payroll tax surplus be loaned out at a fair market price.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare and poverty.
a) Require welfare recipients to spend at least 40 hours a week in a combination of work and training programs.
b) Continue to give states and local governments flexibility in and responsibility for welfare programs through federal block grants.
c) Support housing assistance for welfare recipients.
d) Abolish all federal welfare programs.
e) Other or expanded principles

I support "workfare" programs, but not necessarily the requirement of 40 hours per week. There must be flexibility to allow recipients the opportunity to seek other jobs, or even hold other jobs in addition to their "workfare" program. Again, the solution would need to be well thought out, but the essential key is that our current system doesn't encourage or enable recipients to get out of the system. Programs similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps or Works Progress Administration should be available rather than just handouts.

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.

1) Sustainable energy independence
2) Reverse the recent erosion of individual rights and freedoms
3) Get out of Iraq and address global terrorism

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