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Mark Pocan's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (WI) - District 2, Democratic
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Mark Pocan has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests. Historically, candidates have failed to complete our test due to the advice they receive from their parties and advisors and out of fear of negative attack ads.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

In response to the increasing unwillingness of candidates to answer issue questions, Vote Smart has researched Presidential and Congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues. These issue positions, from the year 2016, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Pro-choice Inferred Answer Abortion: Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Women's rights are not a political toy for Republicans to throw out whenever they want to score cheap points – they are fundamental rights that deserve absolute protection. I will vote firmly against this abortion ban and I will continue to fight to protect women's rights in Wisconsin and across the country." (
  • Rated 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice America (
Yes Inferred Answer Budget: In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "It's clear our tax code unfairly benefits the wealthiest Americans, while middle class families struggle to make ends meet. Economic inequality has grown over the past decade and it's time for Congress to work together on tax reforms to fix this injustice." (
  • "Mark's To-Do List: Support stimulus money to create jobs, bolster our nation's infrastructure and rejuvenate the economy. […] Let the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans expire. Pass the Buffett Rule -- Rep. Tammy Baldwin's Paying a Fair Share Act -- because millionaires and billionaires should pay their fair share to bolster education, health care, and infrastructure to rebuild our economy" (
No Inferred Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Cosponsored H.R.3382 "Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013" (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "President Obama's budget reflects the country's improving economy. As our economy rebounds from the recession, so should our investments to strengthen the middle class. The president has laid out an aggressive agenda to make critical investments in our nation's infrastructure, job training, and education. These investments will help boost the economy and raise the incomes of middle class families and those working to join the middle class." (
  • "The best way to reduce our long-term deficit is to get people back to work, and the president's budget includes many strong initiatives that will help grow our economy and create jobs for south central Wisconsin. I am particularly pleased that the president's proposal increases investments in the kind of innovative research and development at the University of Wisconsin, while also providing $50 billion for infrastructure projects that will put people back to work on much needed upgrades to our roads, bridges, and airports." (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Unlike the Republican budget, Democrats have put forward plans to cut taxes for the middle class and small businesses to spur economic growth and build an economy that works for everyone." (
  • C-Span "You cannot increase taxes because that hurts economic growth." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a letter stating, "On August 8, 2014 the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services notified the state of Wisconsin of its eligibility to apply for federal funding through the Preschool Development Expansion Grants. […] We strongly urge your administration to apply for this grant funding opportunity and allow our state the chance to compete for funding which could strengthen preschool programs for millions of children across our state." (
  • Politico "Reps. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Mark Takano of California and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin call for a renewed focus on equitable school funding, early childhood education, and initiatives to fight poverty and segregation." (
No Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted against S 1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline" (
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of S.B.185 "State Regulation of Wind Energy Systems" (
  • "Now, more than ever, we must do all we can to explore greener technologies to generate jobs and energy, and work diligently to curb the effects of greenhouse gases and global climate change." (
  • "Mark Pocan has always supported investing in our future by supporting the preservation of our environment. Early on he received the endorsement of Clean Wisconsin, the only environmental group to endorse in this race, because of his strong record protecting our natural resources. In Congress, he plans to forcefully support alternative energy and renewable resources." (
Yes Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Climate change is real. It's science, and the carbon fee, I think, is a really strong option." (
  • Signed a letter stating "Dear President Obama: […] We applaud and support your Climate Action Plan, the joint announcement with China establishing ambitious carbon pollution reduction targets, and the national commitment to the Green Climate Fund." (
Yes Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 0% by the National Rifle Association (
  • Signed a letter stating "Our nation has suffered at least 74 school shootings since the Sandy Hook massacre. The factors allowing these rampages are no mystery: loopholes in the background check laws, straw purchases, restrictions on law enforcement, and gaps in our mental health system. Dozens of legislative proposals that address these factors have been introduced and await consideration. But despite wake-up call after wake-up call, a shameful tradition of Congressional inaction continues." (
No Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "[...] Republican leadership has brought to the floor for the 40th time, and the second time in two weeks, a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act and leave more than 50,000 people in the second district at risk of being denied health coverage because of a preexisting condition." (
  • "I believe the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will provide Wisconsinites with access to affordable, quality health care. Because of the ACA, individuals with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage and 105 million Americans have gained access to free preventative care, including recommended cancer screenings and immunizations." (
No Inferred Answer Immigration: Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The undersigned Members of Congress respectfully request that you suspend any further deportations and expand the successful deferred action program to all those who would be potential citizens under immigration reform." (
  • Signed a letter stating "When Republicans blocked legislation, your pledge to use Presidential power under existing law to improve our immigration system gave us hope. […] We hope that your actions will prevent the separation of undocumented family members of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and DACA beneficiaries and offer protection to others who have longed worked in the United States and have established strong ties with our communities." (
Yes Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Today, the Supreme Court is taking the first steps to putting an end to the debate over same-sex marriage once and for all. I am hopeful and optimistic that the Court will find every American has the right to equal protection under the law, regardless of who they love." (
  • "With over 35 states recognizing same sex marriages, it is time we bring more fairness and stability to the lives of these married couples and their families. The Respect for Marriage Act would ensure equal treatment under federal law and finally put to rest the awful consequences of DOMA." (
No Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) today issued the following statement on the McKeon Amendment to provide $500 million in funding to Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL): […] 'With so many questions left unanswered and the possibility of another prolonged war in Iraq, it is clear to me I cannot support this amendment.'" (
  • "Mark's To-Do List: Reduce the size of the defense budget and reduce the use of private contractors […] Close the Guantanamo Bay Prison. Support strong Congressional requirements for the use of force and use military intervention only after exhausting all diplomatic efforts. Support our allies and fellow democracies abroad with economic and economic training assistance vice military assistance." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Social Security: Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Our seniors continue to be pinched, and Social Security often times makes up a significant portion of their revenue. In fact, one third of our seniors live almost exclusively on their Social Security checks. Expanding and strengthening the program will provide our seniors with with greater economic security while providing a boost to our overall economy." (
  • "Seeing how retirement savings translate into an expected monthly payment is a powerful way for workers to see their retirement security grow and drives home the importance of saving early and often." (


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.

Wisconsin State Legislative Election 2006 National Political Awareness 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.

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.
Xb) 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
State Budget: Indicate the funding levels (#1-6) you will support for the following general categories. Select one level per category.
Greatly Increasea) Education (Higher)
Slightly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
Maintain Statusc) Emergency preparedness
Slightly Increased) Environment
Slightly Increasee) Health care
Maintain Statusf) Law enforcement
Slightly Decreaseg) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Slightly Increaseh) Welfare
i) Other or expanded categories
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) Property taxes
i) Sales taxes
j) Vehicle taxes
k) Other or expanded categories
Yesl) Should the state sales taxes be extended to Internet sales?
m) Should accounts such as a “rainy day” fund be used to balance the state budget?
n) Should fee increases be used to balance the state budget?
o) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.
Noa) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Wisconsin governors?
Nob) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Wisconsin state senators and representatives?
c) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?
Yes1) Individual
Yes2) PAC
Yes3) Corporate
Yes4) Political Parties
Yesd) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Yese) Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?
Yesf) Do you support adopting statewide standards for counting, verifying and ensuring accuracy of votes?
Nog) Do you support prohibiting media exit polling of voters until all polling locations in Wisconsin are closed?
Yesh) Should Wisconsin recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
Yesi) Should the Ethics and Elections Boards be merged to form a non-partisan Government Accountability Board?
j) Should all voters be required to show valid photo identification on Election Day before voting?
Nok) Should Indian gaming compacts negotiated by the governor require legislative approval?
l) Other or expanded principles
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) Implement the death penalty in Wisconsin.
Xc) 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.
Xe) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
Xf) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
g) Strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes.
h) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
i) Require that crimes based on race, ethnic background, religious belief, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation be prosecuted as hate crimes.
Xj) Increase state funding for community centers and other social agencies in areas with at-risk youth.
k) Strengthen sex-offender laws.
l) Support the restriction of the sale of products used to make methamphetamine (e.g. tablets containing pseudophedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine).
m) Other or expanded principles
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.
Xd) Increase state funds for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
Xe) 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.
Xi) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
Xj) Increase funding for Head Start programs.
Xk) 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
Employment: Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.
Xa) 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.
Xf) Support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Wisconsin’s anti-discrimination laws.
Xg) Increase the state minimum wage.
h) Other or expanded principles
Affirmative Action: Should race, ethnicity or gender be taken into account in state agencies’ decisions on:
a) Public employment
Yesb) State college and university admissions
Yesc) State contracting
d) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
Xa) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
b) Support increased production of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, and oil).
Xc) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused, or abandoned.
d) Increase funding for improvements to Wisconsin's power generating and transmission facilities.
Xe) Support funding for open space preservation.
Xf) Enact environmental regulations even if they are stricter than federal law.
g) Require Wisconsin service stations to sell gasoline that contains 10 percent ethanol.
h) Other or expanded principles
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
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.
Xa) 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.
Xd) Support patients' right to sue their HMOs.
e) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
Xf) Legalize physician assisted suicide in Wisconsin.
Xg) Allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
Xh) Require companies with at least 10,000 employees to pay 80 percent of the employee premiums of health insurance.
Xi) Continue to allow embryonic stem cell research in Wisconsin.
j) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare.
a) Support increased work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients.
Xb) Increase funding for employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
Xc) Increase access to public transportation for welfare recipients who work.
d) Redirect welfare funding to faith-based and community-based private organizations.
Xe) 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
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.
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