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What is the Political Courage Test?

North Carolina Congressional 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.
Xd) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
Xe) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Dilation and extraction or "partial-birth" abortion procedures should be legal.
Xg) Medicare, Medicaid, and federal subsidies should be prohibited from being used on abortion procedures.
h) Other or expanded principles.

I am pro life because I believe all life is a gift from God. We must foster a culture that respects life and protects the most vulnerable in our society; including the elderly, the infirm, and the unborn.

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
Greatly Increasec) Defense
Slightly Increased) Education
Maintain Statuse) Environment
Maintain Statusf) FEMA
Maintain Statusg) Homeland security
Maintain Statush) International aid
Slightly Increasei) Law enforcement (Federal)
Slightly Increasej) Law enforcement (State)
Slightly Increasek) Medical research
Slightly Increasel) National parks
Maintain Statusm) Public health services
Slightly Increasen) Scientific research
Maintain Statuso) Space exploration programs
Greatly Increasep) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Slightly Decreaseq) United Nations
Maintain Statusr) Welfare
s) Other or expanded categories

The President must have line-item veto authority to cut out excessive spending. We must cut spending, including an honest look at reform of entitlement spending.

2) Defense Spending

Greatly Increasea) Armed forces personnel training
Slightly Increaseb) Intelligence operations
Greatly Increasec) Military hardware
Greatly Increased) Modernization of weaponry and equipment
Maintain Statuse) National missile defense
Greatly Increasef) Pay for active duty personnel
Slightly Increaseg) Programs to improve troop retention rates
Slightly Increaseh) Research and development of new weapons
Greatly Increasei) 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
Eliminateb) $12,001-$40,000
Maintain Statusc) $40,001-$100,000
Maintain Statusd) $100,001-$180,000
Maintain Statuse) $180,001-$350,000
Maintain Statusf) $350,001 and above
g) Other or expanded categories

Other Taxes

Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Slightly Decreaseb) Capital gains taxes
Maintain Statusc) Cigarette taxes
Greatly Decreased) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statuse) Gasoline taxes
Eliminatef) Inheritance taxes
g) Other or expanded categories

Deductions/Credits

Slightly Increasea) Charitable contribution deduction
Slightly Increaseb) Child tax credit
Greatly Increasec) Earned income tax credit
Slightly Increased) Medical expense deduction
Slightly Increasee) Mortgage deduction
Slightly Increasef) Student loan credit
g) Other or expanded categories
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

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

Xa) Support increasing the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
b) 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.
e) 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.
f) Support instant run-off voting (IRV).
g) Support designating Election Day as a national holiday.
Xh) Support giving the President the power of the line item veto for items concerning appropriations.
i) Support limiting the President's use of signing statements in order to prevent an alternative interpretation of the bill.
j) Support a federal shield law to protect reporter-source privilege.
k) Other or expanded principles

Addressing our campaign finance system must balance reasonable limits on campaign donations with the free speech rights of those who seek a voice in our political system by their financial support of the candidates they endorse. I would support reforms that increase the current donation limits along with transparency by immediate online reporting of campaign donors.

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

Xa) 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.
e) Reduce prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
Xf) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
Xg) Support strict penalties for internet crime (e.g. hacking, identity theft, worms/viruses).
h) Require that crimes based on sexual orientation be prosecuted as federal hate crimes.
i) Other or expanded principles

After many years of decline, the recent up tick in levels of violent crime is very disturbing. I am committed to making certain the federal government maintains a robust domestic law enforcement role while partnering with state and local law enforcement agencies to provide assistance where appropriate. If our citizens do not feel safe in their homes little else we do matters.

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

a) Support the federal government funding universal pre-K programs.
Xb) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any public school.
Xc) 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.
Xf) Decrease interest rates of Stafford Loans.
Xg) Support federal tax incentives to help families save for college.
Xh) Ban university financial aid officers from owning stock in or accepting gifts from student loan lenders.
Xi) Require universities to disclose financial relationships with lenders.
Xj) 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

Decisions regarding education are best made at the local level by parents, teachers, principals, and elected school boards.

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.
d) Increase the federal minimum wage.
e) Support the right of workers to unionize.
f) Eliminate all federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
g) Include sexual orientation in federal anti-discrimination laws.
h) Include gender identity in federal anti-discrimination laws.
i) Other or expanded principles

North Carolina has been through a difficult economic transition, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs in the last decade. Trade Adjustment Assistance, administered by the Labor Department, helps displaced workers secure new employment by providing access to job training and other reemployment services. I have introduced a bill to expand TAA. Additionally, I believe our community colleges are an invaluable resource for preparing the local workforce. I succeeded in getting measures from my legislation included in the Senate-approved higher education bill to provide targeted grant funding to community colleges and streamline the class credit transfer process.

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

Xa) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
Xb) 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.
h) 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.
Xk) Support international mandatory emission targets to limit global warming.
l) Support international voluntary emission targets to limit global warming.
m) Other or expanded principles

In supporting international mandatory emission targets to limit global warming, developing and large emitting countries like China and India need to take commensurate action much greater than that which they agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol.

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.

Slightly Increasec) Enforcement of existing restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
Maintain Statusd) Restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
e) Other or expanded principles

The United States Supreme Court will soon issue a ruling in the Heller case which may conclusively establish for the first time whether individuals have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I believe individuals do have such a right under the Second Amendment. Rather than enacting additional laws we should be enforcing the gun laws already on the books that balance public safety with constitutional rights.

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

a) Implement a universal healthcare program to guarantee coverage to all Americans, regardless of income.
Xb) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts.
c) Allow the importation of prescription drugs into the United States.
Xd) Support expanding prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
Xe) 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 supported the expansion of Medicare to include a prescription drug benefit for seniors. I will support allowing drug re-importation from other countries only if it includes sufficient safety measures to protect American consumers.

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

a) Decrease the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country.
Xb) Establish English as the official national language.
Xc) 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

Reform of our immigration system is needed, but it must begin by securing our borders and enforcing our laws. I have made it a priority to address the immediate need of dealing with those criminal aliens who self identify by breaking our laws. I was proud to take the lead with our North Carolina Sheriffs in making our state the first in the nation to partner with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to make federal resources available to state and local law enforcement dealing with this problem on the front lines.

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

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?
Nod) Should the United States support the Lebanese government against insurgent forces?
Noe) Should the United States maintain its troop levels in Iraq?
Nof) Should the United States withdraw its troops from Iraq?
g) Discuss your proposals for Iraq.

I have been frustrated with the mistakes made by the Bush Administration, particularly in the first four years of the Iraq war. The cost in American lives and U.S. taxpayer dollars have been enormous. I want our troops to come home as soon as possible, but I do not support a precipitous withdrawal.

A conspicuous gap exists between two policy positions: withdrawal based on security conditions and mandated withdrawal regardless of the situation. We must seek common-ground policies that support U.S. security interests.

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?
Yesk) Should the United States trade nuclear fuel to India for civilian purposes?
Nol) Should the United States decrease financial support for Pakistan?
Nom) Should the United States decrease military support for Pakistan?
Yesn) Should the United States be involved in bringing an end to the violence in Darfur, Sudan?
Yeso) Should the United States be involved in bringing an end to the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
Nop) Should the United States provide economic and military support to the Transitional Government of Somalia?
Undecidedq) Should the United States use sanctions to encourage the government of Zimbabwe to end its human rights abuses?
Yesr) Should the United States support the creation of an independent nation of Kosovo?
s) Other or expanded principles

International Trade

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international trade.

Noa) Do you support the United States imposing economic sanctions on China?
Nob) Do you support the United States imposing trade sanctions on Venezuela?
Yesc) 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

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding national security.

Yesa) Do you support using military tribunals to try suspected terrorists when ordinary civilian courts are deemed inappropriate or impractical?
Yesb) Should law enforcement agencies have greater discretion to monitor domestic communications, to prevent future terrorist attacks?
Yesc) Should the United States hold foreign states accountable for terrorists who operate in their country?
Yesd) Should the federal government increase funding to states and cities for homeland security?
Yese) 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?
Yesh) Should the United States expand its missile defense shield?
i) Other or expanded principles

The current use of our National Guard troops highlights the need behind my call for increasing military spending to 4% of GDP. Our National Guard troops have a role to play in national security operations, however these brave men and women have careers outside of the military which "long-term" overseas deployments stress differently than traditional military enlistees and officers.

I support federal standards for state issued identification consistent with the REAL ID Act. I believe setting standards as requirements for use in federally regulated functions, like boarding an airplane, balances the states' role with the need for more secure identification.

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

Noa) Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
Yesb) 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?
Nod) Do you support federal funding to create lines of stem cells from new embryos?
e) Should the federal government consider race and gender in government contracting decisions?
Nof) Should the federal government continue affirmative action programs?
g) 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.
Xd) 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

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare and poverty.

Xa) Require welfare recipients to spend at least 40 hours a week in a combination of work and training programs.
Xb) 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
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.

I helped introduce the Build America Bonds Act, which would provide $50 billion for states to build transportation projects and repair infrastructure. This has the potential to create 2.5 million jobs.

I helped introduce legislation proposing a market-based cap and trade system to reverse the climate change crisis. This bill provides a framework for businesses to trade or bank unused allowances. Polluters that exceed their limit can buy or borrow leftover allowances from other sectors or auction. Allowance amounts will decrease over time, thereby lowering total emissions.

I also am advocating for full federal recognition of the Lumbee Indian tribe.