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Helen Hudson's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: Chairman (Hancock County, GA) - At-Large
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Helen Hudson submitted the 2010 Political Courage Test after the official deadline and release of results to the media. The candidate's late responses are provided here as a public service.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Georgia State Legislative Election 2010 Political Courage Test

Pro-choicea) Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?
Yesb) 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?
Yese) Should it be illegal to knowingly perform an abortion that is based on race, color, or gender discrimination?
Yesf) Do you support requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Yesg) Do you support requiring parental consent before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Yesh) Do you support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods?
Noi) Do you support abstinence-only sexual education programs?
j) Other or expanded principles

While I would not choose abortion for myself, I feel that it is a personal decision for whomever and that choice should not be a criminal act. It should always be legal for pregnancies resulting from incest, rape and when the life of the mother is endangered, but should not be used for a means of birth control.

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.
Greatly Increasea) Education (higher)
Greatly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
Greatly Increasec) Environment
Greatly Increased) Health care
Greatly Increasee) Law enforcement
Greatly Increasef) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Maintain Statusg) Welfare
h) Other or expanded categories

All of the categories but 1(welfare), need quite a bit of additional funding. The recession which started 2 years ago has taken a toll on basic services statewide in Georgia. Amost $4 Billion has been cut from Education funding alone, and we are the only state that furloughed teachers which I consider a travesty. Protection of the environment is almost non-existent due to staff cut-backs, and Health Care is sorely lacking in funding and to complicate matters, Georgia has 1.9 Million who are uninsured.

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.
Slightly Increasea) Alcohol taxes
Greatly Increaseb) Cigarette taxes
Slightly Decreasec) Corporate taxes
Slightly Increased) Gasoline taxes
Greatly Decreasee) Property taxes
Slightly Increasef) Sales taxes
Maintain Statusg) Income taxes (low-income families)
Greatly Decreaseh) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Slightly Decreasei) Income taxes (high-income families)
j) Other or expanded categories

While I am not in favor of "any" tax increase, we realistically need to evaluate our revenue resources and the cost of services in Georgia and come up with a plan customized to our current situation. Actually, that is currently being investigated as a result of legislation in the 2010 Session which called for a Special Tax Reform Commission to make recommendations to the General Assembly whent he 2011 Session Convenes.

3) Budget Stabilization
Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing Georgia's budget.
Yesa) Tapping into Georgia's "rainy day" fund
Nob) Increasing taxes on health insurance plans
Yesc) Issuing the early release of certain non-violent offenders
Nod) Increasing tuition rates at public universities
Noe) Instituting mandatory furloughs and layoffs for state employees
Nof) Reducing benefits for Medicaid recipients
Nog) Privatizing certain government services
Yesh) Selling Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) loans to private investors
i) Other or expanded principles

As a matter of further information, we already tap into the State's Rainy Day fund as a necessaity during this budget crisis. I would also agree with early release of non-violent criminals if the state has appropriately arranged for community supervision. I am not in agreement with privatizing the majority of government services, especially private prisons and youth detention centers. Private prisons do not have a good track record nationwide and needs further investigation. Youth Detention Privatization has already been tried and failed in Georgia. Privatization of other government activities/services has been tried and many failed.

Yesa) Do you support limits on the number of terms for Georgia governors?
Nob) Do you support limits on the number of terms for Georgia 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

I don't think that term limits for legislators is necessary-----they are currently limited every two years at the ballot box. Campaign contributions definitely need to be limited and the State needs to adequately fund the Ethics Commission to maintain the integrity of reporting and limits.

Yesa) 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?
Noc) Should the possession of small amounts of marijuana be decriminalized?
Yesd) Should a minor accused of a violent crime be prosecuted as an adult?
Yese) Should a minor who sends sexually-explicit or nude photos by cell phone face criminal charges?
Yesf) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
g) Other or expanded principles
Yesa) Do you support reducing government regulations on the private sector?
Yesb) Do you support increased state funding for job-training programs that re-train displaced workers?
Yesc) Do you support expanding access to unemployment benefits?
Yesd) Do you support providing financial incentives to the private sector for the purpose of job creation?
Yese) Do you support increased spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation?
Nof) Do you support providing direct financial assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure?
g) Other or expanded principles

Georgia currently has legislation in place through Enterprise Zones and Opportunity Zones to help relieve the heavy government regulation of the private sector. The current legiation, if enacted by local governments, will encourage small business development which is critical to the state's economic well-being.

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

A Merit Pay system for teachers would be impractical due to the diverseness of each class. Additional pay for National Board Certified Teachers has worked well in Georgia and should be re-instated.

Yesa) Do you support state funding for the development of alternative energy?
Yesb) Do you support state funding for the development of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil)?
Yesc) Do you support providing financial incentives to farms that produce biofuel crops?
Yesd) Do you support state funding for improvements to Georgia'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
Noa) Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Nob) Do you support requiring background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
Yesc) Do you support allowing individuals to carry concealed guns?
Nod) Do you support requiring a license for gun possession?
e) Other or expanded principles
Noa) 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?
Nod) Should individuals be required to purchase health care insurance?
Yese) Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits?
Nof) Do you support legalizing physician-assisted suicide in Georgia?
Nog) Do you support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes?
h) Other or expanded principles

I would support a universal public health care option if I thought the United States could afford such an option. The lagging National economy simply does not yield itself to taking on more debt at this time.

Yesa) Should marriage only be between one man and one woman?
Nob) Should Georgia allow same-sex couples to form civil unions?
Yesc) Do you support state funding for stem cell research?
Yesd) Do you support state funding for embryonic stem cell research?
Yese) Do you support the state's use of affirmative action?
Yesf) Do you support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Georgia's anti-discrimination laws?
Yesg) Do you support the inclusion of gender identity in Georgia's anti-discrimination laws?
h) Other or expanded principles

Georgia law already covers questions (a) and (b). I also feel that Stem Cell Research should be allowed and not discouraged in Georgia as long as embryos are not destroyed in the process. Questions (e), (f), and (g) are already covered in Federal Law and become a mute point in State Law.

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.

My top three priorities would be Job Creation, statewide, but particularly in the hard-hit rural areas of the state; Adequate funding of Education which has suffered tremendously in the last 8 years, and greatly improve the state's Transportation System, including rail. Atlanta's gridlock needs immediate relief, but the General Assembly should also increase and maintain the number of Transportation arteries in the state to insure that Economic Development expands south of I-20.

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