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Bill Ritter, Jr.'s Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

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What is the Political Courage Test?

Colorado Gubernatorial Election 2006 National Political Awareness 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.
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) Prohibit public funding of abortions and to organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
g) Require clinics to give parental notification before performing abortions on minors.
h) Other or expanded principles

Based on my faith, I am personally opposed to abortion. But it is not on my agenda to change the law of the land. My goal is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, thus the need for abortion. I support the avaliability of birth control and emergency contraception; public funding for family planning and teen-pregnancy-prevention programs; and age-appropriate, responsible sexual education.

State Budget: Indicate the funding levels (#1-6) you will support for the following general categories. Select one level per category.
a) Education (Higher)
b) Education (K-12)
c) Emergency preparedness
d) Environment
e) Health care
f) Law enforcement
g) Transportation and highway infrastructure
h) Welfare
i) Other or expanded categories

As Governor, one of my first priorities will be to initiate top-to-bottom performance and financial reviews. Until that is complete, it would not be responsible to discuss funding increases or decreases. Please see my Responsible Government policy paper.

State Taxes: Indicate the tax levels (#1-6) you will support. Select one level per tax.
a) Alcohol taxes
b) Capital gains taxes
c) Cigarette taxes
d) Corporate taxes
e) Gasoline taxes
f) Income taxes (incomes below $75,000)
g) Income taxes (incomes above $75,000)
h) Sales taxes
i) Vehicle taxes
j) Other or expanded categories

See above answer regarding financial review. I supported Referendum C.

k) Should the state sales taxes be extended to Internet sales?
l) Should accounts such as a "rainy day" fund be used to balance the state budget?
m) Should fee increases be used to balance the state budget?
n) Other or expanded principles

Rainy day funds should be used only when needed during economic downturns. Also, I support the provisions of TABOR, which require voter approval for tax increases.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.
a) Do you support the current limit of terms for Colorado governors?
b) Do you support the current limit of terms for Colorado state senators and representatives?
c) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to gubernatorial candidates?
1) Individual
2) PAC
3) Corporate
4) Political Parties
d) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
e) Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?
f) Do you support adopting statewide standards for counting, verifying and ensuring accuracy of votes?
g) Do you support prohibiting media exit polling of voters until all polling locations in Colorado are closed?
h) Should Colorado recognize domestic partnerships between same-sex couples?
i) Do you support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage?
j) Other or expanded principles

I support the religious, traditional and statutory definition of marriage as a union of one man and woman. I also believe that government has a duty to extend the same civil and legal rights, benefits and protections to civil unions or domestic parternships, and that's why I support Referendum I.

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 Colorado.
c) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
d) End parole for repeat violent offenders.
e) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
f) Strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes.
g) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
h) Require that crimes based on race, ethnic background, religious belief, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation be prosecuted as hate crimes.
i) Increase state funding for community centers and other social agencies in areas with at-risk youth.
j) Strengthen sex-offender laws.
k) Support the restriction of the sale of products used to make methamphetamine (e.g. tablets containing pseudophedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine).
l) Other or expanded principles

I served as the District Attorney of Denver for nearly 12 years. Protecting the public was my No. 1 priority. I established innovative programs to prevent crime and assist victims, and many of those programs continue to serve as state and national models. Please see my Public Safety policy paper.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.
a) Support national standards and testing of public school students.
b) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any public school.
c) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
d) Increase state funds for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
e) Increase funds for hiring additional teachers.
f) Support teacher testing and reward with merit pay.
g) Endorse voluntary prayer in public schools.
h) Require public schools to administer high school exit exams.
i) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
j) Increase funding for Head Start programs.
k) Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.
l) Support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods.
m) Support abstinence-only sexual education programs.
n) Other or expanded principles

In many ways, education reform and improvement is the touchstone for my campaign. By reducing drop-out rates, closing the achievement gap and increasing student learning, we can deliver the best home-grown workforce in the country to Colorado businesses. Part of this involves streamlining our accountability programs, partnering with teachers and parents, and finding new ways to get the best out of our teachers and principals. Please see my Education policy paper.

Employment: Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.
a) Increase funding for state job-training programs that retrain displaced workers and teach skills needed in today's job market.
b) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
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.
e) Increase state funds to provide child care for children in low-income working families.
f) Include sexual orientation in Colorado's anti-discrimination laws.
g) Increase the state minimum wage.
h) Penalize businesses that hire undocumented immigrants.
i) Other or expanded principles

I will work to support a strong and vibrant economy that provides good jobs that pay a livable wage. Please see my Economic Development policy paper. I support raising the minimum wage.

Affirmative Action: Should race, ethnicity or gender be taken into account in state agencies' decisions on:
a) Public employment
b) State college and university admissions
c) State contracting
d) Other or expanded principles

MWDBE programs have existed for years on the state and local level. While in conformance with Supreme Court decisions, MWDBE programs allow governmental agencies to use minority, women and small business status as criteria in awarding government contracts. I support MWDBE programs that are properly structured in conformance with existing laws. They are one vehicle to allow all members of the business community to participate in government contracts and especially those who historically have not had access to the markets of opportunity.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
a) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
b) Support increased production of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, and oil).
c) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused, or abandoned.
d) Provide incentives for improvements to Colorado's power generating and transmission facilities.
e) Support funding for open space preservation.
f) Enact environmental regulations even if they are stricter than federal law.
g) Other or expanded principles

One of my top priorities as governor will be to establish Colorado as a national leader in a New Energy Economy, emphasizing renewable energy sources and striving for cleaner ways to extract and use traditional fossil-fuel sources. Regarding F, the state should have the right to enact environmental laws that are stricter than federal laws, but those laws should only be enacted when there is clear and compelling justification. Please see my New Energy Economy...

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.
a) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
b) Ease state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
c) Repeal state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
e) Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
f) Require a license for gun possession.
g) Other or expanded principles

I am generally comfortable with Colorado's gun laws. I would support adding a mental-health background question to the conceal-carry law. We already have a gun-show background check law.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.
a) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms, or state-funded care where necessary.
b) Transfer current Medicaid recipients into managed care programs.
c) Limit the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
d) Support patients' right to sue their HMOs.
e) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
f) Legalize physician assisted suicide in Colorado.
g) Continue to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
h) Allow pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception without a prescription.
i) Support forming a drug-purchasing cooperative of states to purchase prescription drugs at reduced prices.
j) Create a Colorado discount drug program to negotiate prescription drug purchases for low-income citizens.
k) Protect health care workers who file reports alleging mistreatment of patients.
l) Other or expanded principles

Colorado currently has 788,000 residents who lack health insurance. Ending this crisis and creating a Colorado Health Plan will occupy much of my first year in office. Please see my Health policy paper.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare.
a) Support increased work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients.
b) Increase funding for employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
c) Increase access to public transportation for welfare recipients who work.
d) Redirect welfare funding to faith-based and community-based private organizations.
e) Use federal TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds to extend health and child care subsidies to the working poor.
f) Support marriage promotion programs for welfare recipients.
g) Eliminate government-funded welfare programs.
h) Other or expanded principles

I support this fall's ballot measure to increase the minimum wage.

Please explain in a total of 75 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 reform - reforming our education system is, in many ways, the touchstone for everything else my...

Health-Care Reform - Nearly 17 percent of Colorado's population - 788,000 people, including 180,000 children - lack health insurance. This fissure is creating an economic burden that we can no longer afford to shoulder.

Jobs and economic growth - I will work to support a strong and vibrant economy that provides good jobs that pay a livable wage.

New Energy Economy - With our abundant wind, sun and agricultural energy sources, Colorado is perfectly poised to become a national leader in renewable energy.

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