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David Skaggs' Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

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What is the Political Courage Test?

Congressional Election 1996 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 all principles you support concerning abortion.
a) Abortions should always be legally available.
b) Abortions should be legal in all circumstances as long as the procedure is completed within the first trimester of pregnancy.
c) Abortions should be legal only when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape or when the life of the woman is endangered.
d) Abortions should be legal only when the life of the woman is endangered.
e) Abortions should be limited by waiting periods and notification requirements as decided by each state government.
f) Abortions should always be illegal.
Xg) Other

Abortion should be available to women as provided for in 'Roe v. Wade.'

Indicate your position concerning affirmative action programs.
a) The federal government should consider preferences to minority-owned businesses in granting government contracts.
Xb) The federal government should prosecute cases of discrimination in the public sector.
Xc) The federal government should prosecute cases of discrimination in the private sector.
Xd) The federal government should provide affirmative actions programs as long as such programs do not include quotas.
e) The federal government should not provide any affirmative action programs.
f) Other
NoDo you support amending the US Constitution to require an annual balanced federal budget?
1) Indicate what changes you support (if any) concerning levels of federal funding for the following categories. Select one number only.
Slightly Increasea) AIDS Programs
Slightly Increaseb) Arts funding
Slightly Increasec) Education (K-12)
Slightly Increased) Environmental programs
Maintain Statuse) Housing projects
Slightly Increasef) Job training programs
Maintain Statusg) Law enforcement
Maintain Statush) Medicaid
Maintain Statusi) Medicare
Maintain Statusj) NASA
Slightly Increasek) Student loan programs
Maintain Statusl) Welfare (AFDC)
Slightly Decreasem) Other


Slightly Decreasen) Other


Eliminateo) Other


2) Do you support the use of block grants given to states, rather than federal spending, in the following areas?
Noa) Agriculture
Nob) Education
Noc) Farm subsidies
Nod) Food stamps
Noe) Law enforcement
Nof) Medicaid
Nog) Medicare
h) School lunches
Yesi) Welfare
j) Other
Indicate which principles you support regarding campaign finance reform.
a) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
b) Establish spending limits on congressional campaigns and provide public funding for complying candidates.
c) Support legislation that would increase the federal limits on individual contributions.
d) Pass legislation that would encourage full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information.
e) Remove all legislative limits on campaign financing.
Xf) Other

Establish voluntary campaign spending limits, provide those agreeing to the limits with discounted broadcast and mail rates, and furthur restrict the amount PACs can contribute to a campaign.

Indicate which principles you support to address crime.
a) Broaden use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
b) Increase spending to build more federal prisons.
c) Impose "truth in sentencing" for violent criminals so they serve full sentences with no chance of parole.
d) Support the use of "boot camps" as alternative sentencing for adult first-time felons.
e) Limit the number of appeals allowed to inmates on death row.
f) Fund programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
g) Expand funding for community policing programs.
h) Increase penalties for the possession of any illegal firearms.
i) Prosecute youths accused of murder as adults.
j) Increase funding for local Boys & Girls Clubs and other independent organizations in communities with at-risk youth.
k) Reduce prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
l) Deport all permanent resident aliens convicted of a felony.
Xm) Other

Prohibit minors from purchasing firearms, fully implement the Brady Law and Assault Weapons ban, increase funding for drug and crime prevention and job-training programs, adequately fund 'boot camps' for young, first-time offenders, adequately fund programs for at-risk youth, and continue funding for community policing programs.

Indicate what changes you support (if any) regarding funding for the following categories. Select one number only.
Slightly Decrease1) CIA appropriations
Maintain Status2) Defense plant conversion
Maintain Status3) Military hardware
Slightly Decrease4) Military space shuttle missions
Maintain Status5) Pay for active duty personnel
Slightly Decrease6) Development of new weapons
Greatly Decrease7) Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)
8) Armed Forces personnel training
Greatly Decrease9) Other

Simultaneous 2-War Capability

No1) Do you support amending the United States Constitution to allow voluntary prayer and/or moment of silence in public schools?
Undecided2) Do you support funding the National Service Program (Ameri-Corps) in which young people receive money from the federal government for college in return for performing community service?
3) Indicate which principles you support concerning education.
Xa) Maintain the national standards and goals set forth in "Goals 2000".
b) Provide parents with vouchers to send their children to any publicly funded school.
c) Provide parents with vouchers to send their children to any participating school: public, private or religious.
Xd) Implement charter schools where teachers and professionals receive authorization and funding to establish new schools.
e) Eliminate the Department of Education, thereby giving state and local government greater control over educational issues.
Xf) Other

Our economic growth and quality of life in the 21st Century depend on providing the best possible education for all of America's children. I support full funding for crucial education programs like Head Start, Goals 2000, Title I, Student Loans, and Pell Grants including needed increases to reflect increases in enrollments and costs.

Indicate which principles or programs you support regarding America's environment and natural resources.
a) Transfer public lands, such as federal forests and range lands, to the jurisdiction of state and local governments.
b) Require the federal government to reimburse citizens when environmental regulations limit use of privately owned lands.
Xc) Strengthen the Clean Water Act.
d) Change the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to limit the number of habitats eligible to be designated as endangered.
e) Utilize cost-benefit analysis to determine economic impacts of proposed environmental protection and cleanup legislation.
Xf) Increase fees charged to ranchers who graze cattle on federal lands.
Xg) Revise the 1872 mining law to increase the amounts charged to mining companies using federal lands.
Xh) Encourage development of alternative fuels and electric cars to reduce pollution.
i) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline or diesel powered engines, including cars and trucks.
Xj) Increase federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuels to promote conservation and alternative fuel development.
k) Require that a percentage of purchases made by federal agencies include recycled components.
Xl) Promote the selling of pollution credits to encourage industries to decrease amount of pollution.
m) Other
Indicate which level of government should have primary responsibility for the following services. Select one level only.
Federal1) Border security
Federal2) Civil rights enforcement
Local3) Education
Federal4) Environmental cleanup
5) Job training
6) Law enforcement
7) Low-income housing
Federal8) Medicaid
Federal9) Medicare
State10) Welfare (AFDC)
11) Other
1) Should the US have diplomatic relations with the government of Cuba?
Yes2) Should the US have diplomatic relations with the government of Vietnam?
No3) Should the US recognize and extend full diplomatic relations to Taiwan?
Yes4) Should the US continue funding for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty?
5) Should the US continue funding for Radio Marti and TV Marti?
Yes6) Should the US continue funding for Radio Free Asia?
Yes7) Do you support the deployment of US troops to the former Yugoslavia?
8) Indicate your position concerning economic aid to Russia and the former Soviet republics.
a) Economic aid to Russia and the former republics should be increased to facilitate democracy and market reforms.
b) Economic aid to Russia and the former republics should be continued unless Russia exports nuclear weapons or related technology.
c) Economic aid to Russia and the former republics should be decreased and/or eliminated.
Xd) Other

I believe that it is in America's national interest to pursue policies (including economic aid) that encourage democratic reform in the former Soviet republics for strategic, economic and humanitarian reasons.

9) Indicate which principles you support regarding US economic aid to foreign countries.
a) Foreign aid should only be given when extraordinary circumstances and disaster threaten the lives of civilian populations.
b) Foreign aid should be given to countries only when it is in the security interests of the United States.
c) Foreign aid should be eliminated from any nation with documented human rights abuses.
d) Foreign aid should be maintained at current levels.
Xe) Other

It is in the enlightened self-interest of the United States to promote international stability and the well-being of other peoples through a prudent level of foreign aid. The level of aid in recent years has fallen precipitously to the point that we may be unable to protect important interests.

10) Indicate which principles you support regarding the United States - United Nations relationship.
a) The US should contribute more funding and troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
b) The US should participate in UN peacekeeping missions only when vital US interests are directly threatened.
c) The US should use military force only when the US border or territories are attacked or American citizens are in danger.
Xd) The US should pay the money it owes to the United Nations.
e) The US should withdraw from the UN completely.
Xf) Other

The United States has a wide range of interests in the world, and we must be able to act in cooperation with other nations to promote these interests and, when appropriate, through the United Nations -- as we did in the Persian Gulf War, and as we're doing now in Bosnia. The United Nations bureaucracy has become bloated. The Clinton Administration deserves credit for pushing the organization to undertake an aggressive downsizing.

Indicate which principles you support concerning gun issues.
a) Expand the nationwide ban on the sale or transfer of assault weapons to include all forms of semi-automatic weapons.
b) Increase restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
c) Maintain all federal registration procedures and restrictions on possessing firearms.
d) Ease procedures on the purchase and registration of firearms.
e) Repeal all bans and measures that restrict law-abiding citizens from owning legally-obtained firearms.
f) Allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms that are legally owned and registered.
Xg) Other

Expand the current prohibition on minors purchasing handguns to include all firearms and complete the nationwide Brady Law computerized criminal background check system and prohibit gun ownership for those convicted of domestic or child abuse.

Indicate which principles you support regarding America's health care system.
Xa) Implement a universal health care program to guarantee coverage to all Americans regardless of income.
b) Provide vouchers to the working poor so they can buy into a private health care plan.
c) Implement a government-financed, single-payer national health care system similar to that of Canada.
d) Support a "managed competition" health care plan to contain costs and improve access that does not include mandated health alliances, government cost control powers, or employer/employee mandates.
e) Provide tax incentives for small businesses to help provide health care to their employees.
f) Allow middle and low income families to deduct yearly health care costs from their taxable income.
g) Establish limits on the amount of damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
h) Encourage tax-free medical savings accounts, which would be taxed if used for any purpose other than medical costs.
i) The federal government has no responsibility in providing health care.
Xj) Other

The Kennedy/Kassebaum Health Insurance Reform bill, which I voted for and is now law, will improve health insurance coverage -- health insurance will now be 'portable,' allowing people to change jobs more easily, and people will also no longer be denied insurance coverage because of pre-existing health conditions.

Indicate which principles you support concerning illegal drugs.
a) Increase penalties for selling illegal drugs.
b) Impose mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
c) Impose capital punishment for convicted international drug traffickers.
d) Require drug testing for federal employees in sensitive positions (Air Traffic Control, National Park Police, Secret Service, etc.).
e) Strengthen current laws dealing with non-controlled substances, including inhalants and commercially available pills.
Xf) Increase funding of federally-sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
g) Decriminalize the possession and private use of marijuana.
h) Other
Indicate which principles you support regarding issues relating to immigration.
Xa) Further limit the number of immigrants allowed into the country.
b) Prohibit states from passing laws that deny human services (medical care, education) to illegal immigrants or their children.
c) Ease citizenship requirements in order to make it easier for immigrants to become United States citizens.
d) Establish English as the official and recognized language of the United States.
Xe) Provide extra federal aid to states with higher numbers of immigrants for necessary medical and social services.
f) Restrict the eligibility of legal immigrants for certain social programs (i.e. AFDC, HUD housing, food stamps, etc.).
g) Children of illegal immigrants, born in the United States, should not automatically receive US citizenship.
h) Other
NoShould the President be allowed to veto certain items of legislation while signing spending or tax bills into law?
The American people have consistently mentioned the decline of morals and ethics in America as a major problem facing the country. Explain what you will do as a member of Congress to address this concern.

Congress can set a much better example for the nation, and be more productive, by reducing partisan bickering and restoring civility. To that end, I am leading the effort to bring Members of Congress and their families together early in the next Congress in a bipartisan retreat.

Indicate which principles you support regarding the poor and homeless.
Xa) Provide tax incentives for companies to hire and train homeless people who want to work.
b) Increase funding of homeless shelters and low income housing projects.
Xc) Increase funding of programs that help alcoholics and drug addicts recover and find steady work.
Xd) Increase the minimum wage.
Xe) Provide homeless families with apartment vouchers they can use to supplement the cost of an apartment.
f) Provide government jobs for those who wish to work and cannot find a job in the private sector.
g) Increase the income tax deduction on individual contributions made to charities that help the poor and homeless.
h) Implement enterprise zones in communities with high unemployment.
Xi) Other

Maintain adequate health care via Medicaid

1) Indicate the changes you support (if any) concerning the tax levels for the following categories. Select one number only.
Income Taxes
a) Retiree income over $40,000
b) Family income less than $25,000
c) Family income $25-75,000
d) Family income $75-150,000
e) Family income over $150,000
Other Tax Issues
f) Alcohol taxes
g) Capital gains taxes
h) Charitable deductions
i) Cigarette taxes
j) Corporate income taxes
k) Earned income tax credit
l) Estate taxes
m) Medical expense deductions
n) Mortgage deductions
o) Other
Undecided2) Do you support replacing the US income tax structure with a flat income tax?
No3) Do you support replacing the US income tax structure with a broad-based consumption tax?
No1) Do you support amending the Constitution to limit the number of terms which members of Congress can serve?
2) If you support term limits, how many years should each serve?
Senator (years)
Representatives (years)
Indicate which principles you support concerning terrorism.
a) Relax current guidelines that forbid the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from investigating terrorist groups when there is a "reasonable indication" of terrorist activities.
b) Relax wiretapping restrictions to give the FBI broader authority to investigate terrorist suspects.
Xc) Require that chemical tracing agents be added to commercially-sold products that can be used to produce explosives.
d) Implement tighter restrictions on firearm sales in an effort to hinder terrorist groups from stockpiling weapon arsenals.
Xe) Grant broader authority to the US Immigration and Naturalization Service to deny entrance visas to terrorist suspects.
f) Maintain limits on the authority of federal agencies investigating suspected terrorists.
g) Restrict the investigative authority of the FBI and other governmental agencies.
Xh) Other

Tighten aviation security; improve foreign anti-terrorism intelligence

Yes1) Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
Undecided2) Do you support broadening NAFTA to include other countries?
Yes3) Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?
Yes4) Do you support the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
Yes5) Do you support lifting the trade embargo imposed against Cuba?
Yes6) Do you support imposing tariffs on products imported from nations that maintain restrictive trade barriers on American products?
7) Should a nation's human rights record affect its "most favored nation" trading status with the United States?
Indicate which principles you support regarding unemployment.
a) Provide tax credits for companies that move job-creating industries into areas with high unemployment.
Xb) Increase funding for national job-training programs.
Xc) Increase funding for public works projects such as the repair of roads and bridges.
d) Eliminate government regulations of the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
e) Establish enterprise zones in areas with large numbers of unemployed people.
Xf) Overhaul the current unemployment system by focusing on training and education in skills needed in certain industries.
g) Eliminate any governmental programs designed to reduce unemployment.
Xh) Other

Expand and open foreign markets for US goods and services

Indicate which principles you support regarding the US welfare system.
a) Strengthen child support collection procedures and increase penalties for parents who do not pay child support.
Xb) Impose a two-year limit on welfare benefits for recipients who are able to work.
Xc) Require welfare recipients to accept some form of government-sponsored job after two years if unemployed in the private sector.
d) Require that unwed teenage mothers live with a parent or guardian (if possible) and attend school to receive benefits.
e) Limit the benefits given to single women if they have additional children while receiving welfare benefits.
Xf) Provide child care services to welfare recipients who work or attend school.
Xg) Provide rent or housing supplement vouchers for low-income families.
h) Make no substantial changes at this time.
Xi) Increase funding of programs that prevent teen pregnancy and family break-up.
Xj) Support programs that give incentives for employers to hire and train welfare recipients.
Xk) Other

While the basic premise of the new welfare reform law -- that the current welfare system needed a major overhaul to be effective in improving people's lives -- is valid, it is also clear that some major aspects of this welfare reform bill are too harsh and will have to be corrected by the next Congress.

1) Explain your two main legislative priorities if elected to Congress.

The education of our young and the protection of the environment are my top priorities.

2) Should your priorities require additional government funding, please explain how you intend to obtain the additional funding.

Will it cost money to provide more educational opportunity and protect the environment? Perhaps -- but it will cost us much more if we do nothing. I believe the defense budget can be reduced somewhat and corporate welfare loopholes closed, and money redirected towards these important priorities.

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