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What is the Political Courage Test?

Washington State Legislative Election 2008 Political Courage Test

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.

Key

Candidate Answer
Official Position: Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.
Unknown Answer
Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue.

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 of pregnancy.
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) Abortions should be subject to a mandatory waiting period.
g) Require clinics to give parental notification before performing abortions on minors.
h) Other or expanded principles

I believe that the decision to have an abortion should rest with the pregnant woman in consultation with a qualified medical provider. Family planning and contraceptive information should be widely available to the public. Young people should receive medically accurate, comprehensive sex education, which includes, but is not limited to information about abstinence.

State Budget: Indicate what state funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category, you can use a number more than once.

Slightly Increasea) Education (Higher)
Greatly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
Maintain Statusc) Emergency preparedness
Slightly Increased) Environment
Slightly Increasee) Health care
Maintain Statusf) Law enforcement
Slightly Increaseg) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Slightly Increaseh) Welfare
i) Other or expanded categories

All of these are state funding responsibilities. It is the responsibility of the state legislature to ensure that they are appropriately funded, but this may involve a mix of revenue sources, public and private. Many of them may be partially user-fee funded, as in gas taxes for transportation infrastruture, reasonable user fees for buses and ferries, tuition for higher education, etc. It may be appropriate for the private sector to play a role as well, as in payments for health insurance or impact fees for developers. In a recession, they may need to be cut to avoid tax increases.

State Taxes: Indicate what state tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category, you can use a number more than once.

Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Maintain Statusb) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Statusc) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statusd) Gasoline taxes
Maintain Statuse) Property taxes
Maintain Statusf) Sales taxes
Maintain Statusg) Vehicle taxes
h) Other or expanded categories

All of these decisions are made in the context of the economic situation and the overall budget. Under some circumstances I could support raising these taxes. Under other circumstances I would support lowering some of them, especially property and and sales taxes for income limited residents. In general, Washington needs a less regressive tax structure. I support a homestead property tax exemption for homeowners, which might shift some property taxes to businesses. We have a gross business tax. It should be changed to a net tax. To avoid cutting education and health care, I might support increased taxes.

No1) Should state sales taxes be extended to Internet sales?
Yes2) Should accounts such as a "rainy day" fund be used to balance the state budget?
Undecided3) Should fee increases be used to balance the state budget?
4) Other or expanded principles

We are part of an interstate compact, the goal of which is to have internet sales be taxed consistently across states. User fees are appropriate for some programs such as professional licences, but the purpose should be to fund the program with the appropriate mix of user fee and general tax funds, which will very from program to program. For example, it is appropriate to have bus fares, but fares alone will not support an affordable accessible transit system.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.

Noa) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Washington governors?
Nob) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Washington state senators and representatives?

c) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?

Yes1) Individual
Yes2) PAC
Yes3) Corporate
Yes4) Political Parties
Yesd) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Noe) Do you support imposing spending limits on state-level political campaigns?
Nof) Should Washington participate in the federal REAL ID program?
g) Other or expanded principles

I believe that spending limits have and will continue to be found unconstitutional. I would support a properly designed public financing system for campaigns.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.

a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and hiring of additional prison staff.
b) Support the death penalty in Washington.
Xc) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Xd) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
e) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
f) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
g) Support state and local law enforcement officials enforcing federal immigration laws.
h) Support hate crime legislation.
i) Other or expanded principles

I might support some other principles subject to the details of the proposal and the fiscal impact.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.

Xa) Support state funding of universal pre-K programs.
b) Support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
Xc) Support state education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students.
d) Support requiring public schools to administer high school exit exams.
e) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any public school.
f) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
Xg) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
Xh) Support using a merit pay system for teachers.
Xi) Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.
j) Support allowing illegal immigrant high school graduates of Washington to pay in-state tuition at public universities.
k) Other or expanded principles

I might support more of these depending on the details of the proposal and the fiscal impact. I support standards and testing requirements, but that doesn't mean that I support all of the current tests.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.

Xa) Increase funding for state job-training programs that re-train displaced workers and teach skills needed in today's job market.
b) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector.
c) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding, or relocating businesses.
d) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for children in low-income working families.
Xe) Increase state funds to provide child care for children in low-income working families.
f) Increase the state minimum wage.
g) Support laws that prevent employers from dismissing employees at will.
h) Support financial punishments for those who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.
i) Support increased work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients.
j) Increase funding for employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
Xk) Support allowing day care workers to unionize.
l) Other or expanded principles

I might support more of these depending on the details of the proposal and the fiscal impact on the state budget.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.

Xa) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
b) Support increased production of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil, etc).
c) Support providing financial incentives to farms that produce biofuel crops.
d) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused, or abandoned.
e) Support funding for improvements to Washington's power generating and transmission facilities.
Xf) Support funding for open space preservation.
Xg) Limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
Xh) Enact environmental regulations even if they are stricter than federal law.
i) Other or expanded principles

I might support more of these depending on the details and the impact on the state budget.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.

Yesa) Should background checks be required on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
b) Should citizens be allowed to carry concealed guns?
c) Should a license be required for gun possession?
Undecidedd) Do you support current levels of enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Yese) Do you support current state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
f) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.

Xa) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms, or state-funded care where necessary.
b) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
c) Limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
d) Allow patients to sue their HMOs.
Xe) Require hospitals and labs to release reports on infections that are a risk to public health, while not compromising patient confidentiality.
f) Legalize physician assisted suicide in Washington.
Xg) Support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
Xh) Support prohibiting the use or sale of prescription data for marketing purposes.
i) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding social issues.

Yesa) Should Washington recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
Yesb) Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
Yesc) Should Washington provide state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples?
Undecidedd) Do you support a moment of silence in public schools?
Undecidede) Do you support voluntary prayer in public schools?
Yesf) Do you support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods?
Nog) Do you support abstinence-only sexual education programs?
h) Should the state government consider race and gender in state government contracting and hiring decisions?
i) Do you support affirmative action in public college admissions?
j) Should Washington continue affirmative action programs?
Yesk) Do you support state funding of stem cell research?
l) Do you support state funding of embryonic stem cell research?
m) Do you support allowing pharmacists who conscientiously object to emergency contraception to refuse to dispense it?
n) Other or expanded principles

Legislative Priorities

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. Enhancing support for schools through a redesign of the school financing formula.
2. Securing the working families tax rebate.
3. Continue to move forward on energy conservation and climate change policy.

If additional funds are needed to balance the budget, procure them in a way that does not put the burden on low and moderate income working families.