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Kyle Yarber's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

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Kyle Yarber has provided voters with clear stances on key issues by responding to the 2016 Political Courage Test.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Missouri Congressional Election 2016 Political Courage Test


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.

Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as the candidate has submitted it. Project Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

Pro-choiceCandidate AnswerDo you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Other or expanded principles

My wife had to make decisions of conscience when we were trying to have a child, decisions no one else could make for her. The Fourth Amendment acknowledges the right of an individual to be secure in ones own home and body, establishing a presumption of privacy, which can be infringed upon only through due process. By natural extension, no one can rightfully force a woman to do with her body anything that she does not herself choose. Therefore, reproductive rights are a matter of conscience to be decided in private between a woman and her doctor.

YesIn order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending?
YesCandidate AnswerIn order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
Other or expanded principles

Robert Gates, as Secretary of Defense, proposed that many obsolete military programs should be cut, but was fought by congressmen and lobbyists for companies with high-dollar contracts. It is our money and the money of our children and grandchildren, and we should have control over it. And it is unfair that the burden of paying for necessary programs has been increasingly shifted upon the middle class and working people. If you are not struggling to survive, if you are earning 10 times the poverty rate, 100 times, 1000 times, you can take on a bigger share of the load.

YesDo you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Other or expanded principles

Time will show that Citizens United vs. FEC was as wrong a decision by the Supreme Court as Plessy vs. Ferguson was in 1897. Granting institutions the same constitutional protections as human citizens and equating unlimited amounts of money with free speech, essentially abolishing campaign contribution limits, undermines the basic concept of a representational democracy. Let vigorous debate, responsible reporting, and fact-checking influence our elections, not non-stop unsubstantiated mud-slinging paid for by out-of-district billionaires via political action committees. The worst is to think about what might have been accomplished had those billions spent on campaigns been put toward useful ends.

NoDo you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
YesDo you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders?
Other or expanded principles

I might be supportive of capital punishment for certain crimes if not for the number of convictions that have been overturned in recent years on grounds of faulty evidence or procedural abuses, too often after the wrongly accused was executed or spent decades on death row. And it make no sense to overcrowd prisons with non-violent offenders with mandatory sentences, sometimes forcing the early release of violent offenders to make room. Instead those individuals and our communities would be better served if the money spent on institutions of incarceration instead was used to provide counseling, treatment, and/or vocational training.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
YesDo you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
Other or expanded principles

Big IFS on these. If the federal spending to promote economic growth is put toward rebuilding our transportation and energy infrastructures for the 21st century, I'd say yes. If lowering taxes puts more money in the pockets of the middle class and blue collar workers who'll spent it at local businesses and it'll circulate in their communities, I'd say yes. But if instead billions more in tax breaks and subsidies are to be doled out to giant companies and the wealthy who'll sit on large cash reserves instead of creating jobs, or worse, eliminate or offshore them, I say no.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?
Other or expanded principles

Speaking as one who has taught in rural, suburban, and inner-city Missouri schools, I testify that the public education system is badly wounded. Local boards should not have the right to substitute revisionist history and religious-based teachings into the public school curriculum, nor should the federal government have the right to make mandates that result in classroom instruction time being eaten up by teaching of standardized tests. And districts shouldn't have to compete for proper funding. Fully fund public schools, adopt valuable curriculum, treat teachers as professionals, and the winners will be the students and the nation as a whole.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support building the Keystone XL pipeline?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)?
YesDo you support increased regulations on the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") industry?
Other or expanded principles

Politicians who tell you the Keystone XL pipeline will create jobs are lying to you. The costs for a few hundred temporary construction jobs and a handful of permanent monitoring positions is too high. Better we create jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and where the future will be... in clean energy. We'd already be moving in that direction if not for congress and the lobbyists paid for by international companies making big profits by keeping things as they are. And politicians who support fracking are ignoring the impeding water crisis that will affect our cities, our farms, and national security.

YesDo you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
Other or expanded principles

The debate within the scientific community is not about whether climate change is occurring. Evidence is all around. Not whether human activity is contributing. Spiking atmospheric carbon levels parallel industrialization. The debate is about how much faster and how much more severe the effects will exceed early predictions. I cannot look at my four-year-old daughter without fearing what she will experience over her lifetime due to climate change. We cannot wait on markets to lead. We would never have won WWII, cured polio, or walked on the Moon. We must treat this as the crisis to human survival it is.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you generally support gun-control legislation?
Other or expanded principles

Do I support confiscation of firearms already in the hands of law-abiding owners? No. Do I support enhanced background checks, closing the gun show and Craigslist loopholes, not allowing gun sales to domestic abusers and terror suspects on the No-Fly list, limiting the sales of military-style weapons and large-capacity magazines to civilians, and requiring a minimum of training for those seeking conceal and carry permits? Yes. I think most conscientious gun owners agree that with rights come responsibilities and can deal with these proposals, especially if it can be empirically shown that these measures do save innocent lives.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
Other or expanded principles

I was, however, disappointed when the "public option" was dropped. Many more people have health insurance today than they did several years ago, and so much more is covered in their policies than before. However, 1 in 10 workers in northern Missouri is still without any coverage at all. Every year, over 600,000 bankruptcies occur across this country because of medical bills, something unheard of in other industrialized countries. And access to health care in many rural areas, especially for women, is atrocious. The job will not be finished until everyone has health care coverage and ready access to care.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
Other or expanded principles

I have a difficult time saying that families should be broken up, or that anything is served by returning people to a place they fled for political or economic reasons. Yes, those who commit crimes should be departed, but those who arrive, make a life, pay taxes, and contribute to the well being of the country should be a path to citizenship. We must also address the contribution of American corporations to the crisis, both those that force people in third-world countries off the land they've worked for generations, and those only too willing to hire them in this country.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support same-sex marriage?
Other or expanded principles

The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees equal protection of rights. Do we want government at any level saying which pairs of consenting adults can fall in love and establish a legal domestic partnership and which are to be denied the unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness?

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
YesShould the U.S use military force in order to prevent governments hostile to the United States from possessing a nuclear weapon?
Other or expanded principles

Yes, it is the duty of the government of the United States to protect the territory and the citizens of the United States from attack. Yes, the nature of terrorism takes it outside traditional theaters of conflict. And, yes, the consequences of nuclear war make it something that must be avoided at all costs. HOWEVER, we owe it to the men and women of our military that we commit them to battle only as a last resort, and never based on mere rumors, to protect corporate interests, or to affect regime change of leaders American companies don't get along with.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
Other or expanded principles

There are any number of retirement plans individuals may contribute you, but treating Social Security as merely a retirement account misses what it is. It is a pact between generations of American workers. It is a tip of the hat by younger workers to those who came before saying in affect, "We salute the contribution you made in your day, and will not forget you and will not allow you to live out the rest of your days without a minimum level of dignity and economic security." And workers who understand will allow no erosion whatsoever of that promise.

Indicate what federal spending levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.
Maintain Statusa) Agriculture
Maintain Statusb) Arts
Greatly Decreasec) Defense
Slightly Increased) Education
Slightly Increasee) Environment
Maintain Statusf) Homeland Security
Maintain Statusg) International aid
Slightly Increaseh) Medical Research
Slightly Increasei) Scientific Research
Maintain Statusj) Space exploration
Maintain Statusk) United Nations
Maintain Statusl) Welfare
m) Other or expanded categories

In each of these categories, there are hundreds of changes needed in how money is spent, nothing that can be fully addressed in 100 words. We need to be getting value for our tax dollars. Instead lobbyists buddy up to members of congress and win for their employers obscene contracts, grants, and subsidies. The amount of waste and obsolete programs we continue to pour money into, as described by Robert Gates when he was Secretary of Defense, is the biggest single abuse by legislators of their responsibility to the citizens of the United States. We deserve transparency and accountability.

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.
Slightly Increasea) Capital gains taxes
Greatly Increaseb) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statusc) Small business taxes
Maintain Statusd) Excise taxes (alcohol)
Slightly Increasee) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Greatly Increasef) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Eliminateg) Income taxes (low-income families)
Greatly Decreaseh) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Slightly Increasei) Income taxes (high-income families)
Maintain Statusj) Inheritance taxes
Maintain Statusk) Payroll taxes
l) Other or expanded categories

Over the past several decades, we've experienced a shifting of the burden of taxes from the wealthy to the backs of working people. This has been accomplished because working people cannot afford the lobbyist needed to buddy up to legislators to affect the tax code. Income is income and should be taxed as such, deductions and loopholes minimalized, and great decreases to the taxes of working-class families puts more money in the pockets of those who will spend it out of necessity, and such spending is what grows the economy and raises the standard of living across all economic classes.

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.

During the decades following WWII, we saw the greatest expansion of the middle class in history. Infrastructure investment created good-paying jobs, both directly and indirectly. Working people accumulated savings, bought homes, and experience an unprecedented rise in standard of living. We invested in education, sending G.I.s to college, strengthening science curriculum, and establishing Head Start. So we need to rededicate ourselves to such big thinking that impacts regular people's lives -- raising wages, fully funding public education, and taking on new infrastructure projects -- to prepare our country for the 21st century and leave something of value for our grandchildren.

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