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Brandon Stewart's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

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Brandon Stewart has demonstrated Political Courage by telling citizens where he stands on the issues he may face if elected.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Tennessee Congressional Election 2012 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 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.
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. Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

Pro-lifeCandidate AnswerDo you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support United States' combat operations in Afghanistan?
YesDo you support a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan?
Other or expanded principles

I always support our troops. However, I do believe we need to bring our troops home. Let's get them out of Afghanistan and only keep in enough troops to support UN efforts with the least amount of danger to our soldiers.

Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing the federal budget.
In order to balance the budget,
YesCandidate Answerdo you support reducing defense spending?
YesCandidate Answerdo you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
Yesdo you support reducing Medicaid spending?
Yesdo you support reducing Medicare spending?
YesIs balancing the budget a legislative priority?
Other or expanded principles

I think that spending on defense, medicaid and medicare are all valuable forms of spending. However, we need to take a look at how much money is being spent if we plan on reducing our country's debt. Balancing the budget, and reducing debt, through all researched and intelligent means should be examined. Taxes may have to go up too, but that is the only way we will correct the financial problems facing this country. If I owe $2000 to a bank for a credit card, I have to pay it off. The government must pay off debt quickly!

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

I feel that there is too much interaction between government and business sectors. They should be separated much more. This includes campaign contributions (in any form). I am not taking any contributions at all, let alone from businesses. The money used in campaigns could go to a much greater good than an election campaign (like any charity or food bank).

NoDo you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Other or expanded principles

Much like my view on abortion, I believe that life is sacred. I do not believe that capital punishment succeeds as a deterrent, nor does it change the fact that a crime was committed. I understand that victims like retribution for crimes done, but as a society we must rise above individual vengeance when upholding our version of law.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
YesDo you support spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation?
NoDo you support the temporary extension of unemployment benefits?
NoDo you support the 2010 temporary extension of tax relief?
Other or expanded principles

I do like infrastructure projects, which I deem very valuable. But, I don't like projects being created for the sole purpose of job creation. These projects do employ many people, which does create income for workers. That's good!

Though, the government needs to be less involved with business entities. Furthermore, spending money on unemployment benefits and tax relief is not doing a good job of boosting our currently low economy. Let's focus on spending that money elsewhere, like investment in education, research, or paying down the national debt.

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

While I do think our country, as a whole, needs a stronger education system, I don't believe that eligibility requirements have helped. There is too much focus on standardized testing (thanks to "No Child Left Behind"). Let's see more emphasis on reading, math, and science. If the federal government can get out of debt, I would fully support paying more money toward education at the federal level. However, a national education requirement needs to focus on more than just scantron tests.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support reducing restrictions on offshore energy production?
Other or expanded principles

Absolutely. As I've said in a few answers now, there should be fewer connections between government and business. The 1 caveat to this, though, is when the off shore production could endanger the people living on the coasts as well as the wildlife in those offshore areas. Remember the BP oil spill in the Gulf? I would like to see more research and creation relating to naturally safe energy, which could be off shore. I've seen windmill farms that are being moved into the ocean, so something along those lines might be great and safe.

NoDo 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

While I don't believe climate change is happening because of human activity, I also don't think all of the pollutants that are put into the air/sea are good for us. I don't think that federal regulation is a good thing, but I would like to see industries that are polluting and causing harm to human beings be stopped. See my off shore energy answer. Both answers are basically the same, as I want to see industry do its own thing until it is harmful.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Other or expanded principles

I fully support a person's right to bear arms, as stated in the US constitution, so long as they fulfill state law requirements for licenses or classes. There should be no federal restriction.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
YesShould individuals be required to purchase health insurance, as mandated in the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
Other or expanded principles

I would be glad to repeal the Affordable care act and change my stance on the mandate, so long as those people that choose not to buy health insurance will be 100% responsible for their costs at time of service (via hospitals, individual doctors, etc.). I don't want to pay the bill for someone that isn't being responsible and may need a doctor's services.

We need to ensure all Americans can receive health care. I don't like the idea that your company is responsible for your healthcare. Let's separate business and government while still ensuring all Americans lead healthy lives.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
YesDo you support allowing illegal immigrants, who were brought to the United States as minors, to pursue citizenship without returning to their country of origin?
YesDo you support the enforcement of federal immigration law by state and local police?
Other or expanded principles

I support legal immigration and oppose illegal immigration. I support the deportation of illegal immigrants and securing our borders.

I am glad to invite minors that were brought here illegally as children to apply for citizenship. If they are not pursuing citizenship application seriously and quickly, then they should be returned to their country of origin.

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

I do support a civil union between 2 people. Marriage is a religious institution and I don't like government being in the business of marriage. The government should give the same benefits to any two people that have formed a legal union, be that same sex or not.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
NoShould the U.S use military force in order to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon?
Other or expanded principles

I think we need to bring our troops in the middle east back home. The US is too focused on preventing terror and weapon creation through methods of war. It is those methods that escalate countries, like Iran, into creating nuclear weaponry. It is that escalation that causes strife and helps create terrorism. Iran having a nuclear weapon isn't really a problem unless they use it. What reason do they have to use it? Have we given them reason to fear our military power in their region? Yes. Both sides have reason to fear and we must end that fear.

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

Social Security is just that. If you want to save for retirement with a personal account, there are many avenues to take so that you can do so. I do think that we need to balance our budget and pay off our national debt, so that we can invest in social security and the retirement of all US citizens.

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
Maintain Statuse) Environment
Eliminatef) Homeland Security
Eliminateg) International aid
Slightly Increaseh) Medical Research
Slightly Increasei) Scientific Research
Slightly Increasej) Space exploration
Greatly Decreasek) United Nations
Slightly Decreasel) Welfare
m) Other or expanded categories
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.
Greatly Increasea) Capital gains taxes
Slightly Increaseb) Corporate taxes
Slightly Increasec) Excise taxes (alcohol)
Slightly Increased) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Greatly Decreasee) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Slightly Increasef) Income taxes (low-income families)
Slightly Increaseg) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Slightly Increaseh) Income taxes (high-income families)
Eliminatei) Inheritance taxes
Eliminatej) Payroll taxes
k) Other or expanded categories

I would only vote on a tax increase if there was also a solid plan for lowering national spending AND the money was ear marked for paying down the deficit. A pledge to no new taxes is unrealistic. I do think taxes will need to go up to pay off the deficit. However, I am not sure what the right percent is or for how long.

An excise tax on non essentials, like alcohol and cigarettes makes a lot of sense to me. However, transportation is a necessity for most people and should see a reduction in tax.

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.

1: The salary standard for congress is too high. I want to see this reduced by ~$70-100k.
2: Members of Congress should not be in office for life. There should be term limits instated for all serving as congressional representatives.
3: A congressman leaving office today should not be a lobbyist in Washington tomorrow. I will request a limitation on the ability to leave office and immediately serve as a Washington insider lobbying for special interests.

I want to see more accountability and a reduction in spending by our federal government.

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