Representative Mary Helen Roberts's Political Positions

Biographical

Full Name: Mary Helen Roberts
Current Office: State House - 21 Position 1, Democratic
First Elected: 11/02/2004
Last Elected: 11/06/2012
Next Election: 2014
Gender: Female
Family: Divorced; 2 Children: Vanessa, Rachael
Birth Date: 09/14/1947
Birth Place: Portland, OR
Home City: Lynnwood, WA
Religion: Episcopalian
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Mary Helen Roberts refused to tell citizens where she stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2012 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.

What is the Political Courage Test?

This candidate has demonstrated 0% courage during the test.

*Note: This percentage is calculated based on the number of issue areas addressed by the candidate on the Political Courage Test at the conclusion of the testing period. It does not indicate support or lack of support by Project Vote Smart.

Washington State Legislative Election 2010 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.

Key

Candidate Answer
Official Position: Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.
Inferred Answer
Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue directly, but Project Vote Smart inferred this issue position based on the candidate's public statements, voting record, and evaluations from special interest groups.
Unknown Answer
Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue.
Project Vote Smart's Research: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position.
Pro-choicea) Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?
Nob) Should abortion be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy?
Yesc) Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape?
Yesd) Should abortion be legal when the life of the woman is endangered?
Noe) Do you support requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Nof) Do you support requiring parental consent before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Yesg) Do you support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods?
Noh) Do you support abstinence-only sexual education programs?
i) Other or expanded principles

The issue of abortion rights is both a complicated and emotional. I strongly oppose the efforts to erode Roe vs. Wade, and although I hope a minor informs and/or involves her parents, I am all too aware of the reality of coercion and abuse that occurs in some situations.

Honest, effective sexual education is a necessity. While abstinence should be included as an option, research has proven that it alone is not effective. Young people must also be taught the economic reality of raising a child.

1) State Spending

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

Slightly Increasea) Education (higher)
Slightly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
Maintain Statusc) Environment
Maintain Statusd) Health care
Maintain Statuse) Law enforcement
Maintain Statusf) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Maintain Statusg) Welfare
h) Other or expanded categories

The current reality of state spending is that everything is being decreased. Since the Washington State constitution declares education to be "the paramount duty of the state," this must be our top funding priority. I hope to see the cuts recently made restored.

Our higher education system is critical for future economic development and we face the prospect of causing serious, long-term damage to the system if cuts continue.

Washington has made significant progress in improving child welfare. Additional cuts put many children at risk.

2) State Taxes

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

Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Maintain Statusb) Cigarette taxes
Slightly Increasec) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statusd) Gasoline taxes
Slightly Decreasee) Property taxes
Maintain Statusf) Sales taxes
g) Other or expanded categories

This question doesn't adequately reflect Washington's strange and inadequate tax structure or our current economic distress. Our "corporate tax" is the Business and Occupation tax which burdens small businesses and is a boon to large corporations. Alcohol and cigarette taxes are already at the max, and property taxes are a challenging for those with moderate or fixed incomes.

I am supporting I-1098 because it will tax income on the most wealthy in our state while reducing the state portion of property tax by 20% and eliminate the B & O tax for many small businesses.

3) Budget Stabilization

Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing Washington's budget.

Yesa) Tapping into Washington's "rainy day" fund
Yesb) Instituting an income tax on high-earners
Yesc) Extending the suspension of Initiative 960, the Taxpayer Protection Act
Yesd) Issuing the early release of certain non-violent offenders
Noe) Increasing tuition rates at public universities
Nof) Instituting mandatory furloughs and layoffs for state employees
Nog) Reducing benefits for Medicaid recipients
Noh) Privatizing certain government services
i) Other or expanded principles

We are already implementing all items except b). The anti-government voices never identify what they would cut or eliminate. Less resources doesn't provide a rational response to a serious national recession.

Noa) Do you support limits on the number of terms for Washington governors?
Nob) Do you support limits on the number of terms for Washington state legislators?

c) Do you support limits on the following types of contributions to candidates for state government?

Yes1) Individual
Yes2) Political Action Committee
Yes3) Corporate
Yes4) Political Party
Yesd) Should candidates for state office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?
Yese) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
f) Other or expanded principles

California has proven that short term limits for legislators don't work.

None of our current contribution limits address the issue of using personal wealth.

The impact of the recent Supreme Court decision on Washington's Public disclosure law has yet to be clarified.

Noa) Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Yesb) Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders, such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
Yesc) Should the possession of small amounts of marijuana be decriminalized?
Nod) Should a minor accused of a violent crime be prosecuted as an adult?
Noe) Should a minor who sends sexually-explicit or nude photos by cell phone face criminal charges?
Nof) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
g) Other or expanded principles

The US incarcerates more people than any other country and has little to show for it other than more prisons. Incarceration has minimal impact on the crime rate which is a reflection of demographics and economic factors. Prevention efforts and alternatives to incarceration keep our communities safer.

Most offenders are high school drop-outs between 18 and 35, from poor communities with high rates of unemployment. We incarcerate young men of color at a disproportionally high rate. Juvenile's brains are still developing and they lack a sense of consequences. We've lost the war on drugs. It's time to re-think the issue.

Yesa) Do you support reducing government regulations on the private sector?
Nob) Do you support the privatization of liquor sales?
Yesc) Do you support increased state funding for job-training programs that re-train displaced workers?
Nod) Do you support expanding access to unemployment benefits?
Yese) Do you support providing financial incentives to the private sector for the purpose of job creation?
Yesf) Do you support increased spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation?
Yesg) Do you support providing direct financial assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure?
h) Other or expanded principles

Government regulations should be reduced where they are duplicative and don't address needed environmental or safety protections. We already provide some financial incentives for job creation. More spending on jobs, infrastructure and assistance for homeowners will have to come from the federal government.

I am supporting R-53 to upgrade our school buildings and make them more energy efficient while also creating construction jobs.

Yesa) Do you support national education standards?
Nob) Do you support requiring public schools to administer high school exit exams?
Yesc) Do you support using a merit pay system for teachers?
Nod) Do you support state funding for charter schools?
Yese) Do you support the state government providing college students with financial aid?
Yesf) Should illegal immigrants who graduate from Washington high schools be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities?
g) Other or expanded principles

National education standards make sense if the standards make sense. We are too focused on high school as a jobs skills program and not an education for life. We seem to be equating a high school exit exam with a college entrance exam. Many students aren't college bound and many jobs don't require a college degree. We are ignoring the jobs that require technical skills. We are failing to teach our students enough about our history and how government works. We've quit teaching about nutrition and how to cook. No wonder 60% of us are over weight.

Yesa) Do you support state funding for the development of alternative energy?
Nob) Do you support state funding for the development of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil)?
Noc) Do you support providing financial incentives to farms that produce biofuel crops?
Nod) Do you support state funding for improvements to Washington's energy infrastructure?
Yese) Do you support state funding for open space preservation?
Yesf) Do you support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change?
g) Other or expanded principles

These questions raise the issue of what should be the responsibility of government and what should be handled by the private sector.

Yesa) Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Yesb) Do you support requiring background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
c) Do you support allowing individuals to carry concealed guns?
d) Do you support requiring a license for gun possession?
e) Do you support a ban on assault weapons?
f) Other or expanded principles

Questions c), d) and e) aren't in the pervue of legislative action in light of recent Supreme Court decisions.

I would like to see guns kept out of the hands of the mentally ill and others for whom it can be proven that it is a likely danger for them to possess a weapon.

Laws to protect children such as requiring trigger locks and safe storage seem to be in order.

Yesa) Do you support a universally-accessible, publicly-administered health insurance option?
Yesb) Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform?
Yesc) Do you support interstate health insurance compacts?
Yesd) Should individuals be required to purchase health care insurance?
Noe) Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits?
Yesf) Do you support continuing to allow physician-assisted suicide in Washington?
Yesg) Do you support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes?
h) Other or expanded principles
Noa) Should marriage only be between one man and one woman?
Yesb) Should Washington continue to allow same-sex couples to form domestic partnerships?
Yesc) Do you support state funding for stem cell research?
Yesd) Do you support state funding for embryonic stem cell research?
Noe) Do you support the state's use of affirmative action?
Yesf) Do you support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Washington's anti-discrimination laws?
Yesg) Do you support the inclusion of gender identity in Washington's anti-discrimination laws?
h) Other or expanded principles

There is very little state funding available for stem cell research. What is important that researchers affiliated with our state institutions of higher education not be prohibited in engaging in such research.

While preferences based on race have been outlawed, it is clearly an advantage for employers and educational institutions to abide with all laws against discrimination and to maintain a diverse workforce or student body.

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.

Education must be my first priority. All of our children need a quality education and our higher education system will drive our economic future. Programs that impact the safety, health and well-being of children must come next. Kids are our future -- what we fail to address when they are young will cost us much more when they are adults. The environment is a priority, again, because it is critical for our future. Our environment drives our quality of life and supports jobs. I have endorsed the income tax measure to fund education and health care for all.