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Margaret O'Brien's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: State Senate (MI) - District 20, Republican Assistant President Pro Tempore
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Margaret O'Brien has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2014 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Michigan State Legislative Election 2010 Political Courage 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.

Pro-lifea) Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?
Nob) Should abortion be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy?
c) Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape?
d) Should abortion be legal when the life of the woman is endangered?
Yese) Do you support requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Yesf) Do you support requiring parental consent before an abortion is performed on a minor?
g) Do you support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods?
Yesh) Do you support abstinence-only sexual education programs?
i) Other or expanded principles

Sex Education should be directed by the parents.

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.
Maintain Statusa) Education (higher)
Maintain Statusb) Education (K-12)
c) Environment
d) Health care
Maintain Statuse) Law enforcement
Maintain Statusf) Transportation and highway infrastructure
g) Welfare
Maintain Statush) Other or expanded categories

Local units of government. During this tough economic time, it is easy to want to increase levels of funding for various services. However, the reality is that we do not have the funds to do this. We must focus our efforts on education, public safety and infrastructure. Job creation must be priority one. Hard decisions will need to be made to turn our state around, and I am ready.

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.
Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Maintain Statusb) Cigarette taxes
Eliminatec) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statusd) Gasoline taxes
Maintain Statuse) Property taxes
Maintain Statusf) Sales taxes
Slightly Decreaseg) Income taxes (low-income families)
Slightly Decreaseh) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Slightly Decreasei) Income taxes (high-income families)
j) Other or expanded categories

Our entire tax system must be overhauled. We cannot just increase taxes to cover budget shortfalls. The last two tax increases resulted in higher unemployment and less revenues to the state. We must drastically change the scope and size of government. The corporate business tax must be restructures, including the personal property tax and MBT. A tax to replace the corporate tax must be fair, simple and predictable.

3) Budget Stabilization
Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing Michigan's budget.
Noa) Tapping into Michigan's "rainy day" fund
Nob) Instituting a tax on physicians
Noc) Extending the sales tax to more services
Yesd) Issuing the early release of certain non-violent offenders
e) Increasing tuition rates at public universities
f) Instituting mandatory furloughs and layoffs for state employees
g) Reducing benefits for Medicaid recipients
Yesh) Privatizing certain government services
i) Other or expanded principles

We must look outside the box to balance our budgets. The state keeps focusing on only the year at hand. We must start looking down the road and we must make decisions today that will positively impact next year's budget. We need to do all of this in a transparent manner with accountability standards in place that have teeth. The state can no longer let departments overspend with no consequences. The state's rainy day fund has been depleted and has no funds. E,f and g need careful scrutiny and cannot be answered with yes and no answers.

Yesa) Do you support limits on the number of terms for Michigan governors?
Yesb) Do you support limits on the number of terms for Michigan 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
Nod) 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 leave term limit and contribution decisions to the voters who should decide what they believe is responsible. I do not favor changing the system without voter approval. I would be in favor of a part-time legislature, and then I may be willing to support changing term limits. But again, this would need voter support.

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?
c) Should the possession of small amounts of marijuana be decriminalized?
d) Should a minor accused of a violent crime be prosecuted as an adult?
e) Should a minor who sends sexually-explicit or nude photos by cell phone face criminal charges?
Yesf) Do you support repealing the state's motorcycle helmet law?
Yesg) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
h) Other or expanded principles

Some of these issues are very complex and cannot be answered with a yes or no answer. They are case specific. I am willing to look at each proposal that comes before me and research both sides before making a final decision. Many of these issues should be handled with a judge's discretion.

Yesa) Do you support reducing government regulations on the private sector?
b) Do you support state regulation of the auto insurance industry?
Noc) Do you support increased state funding for job-training programs that re-train displaced workers?
Nod) Do you support expanding access to unemployment benefits?
e) Do you support providing financial incentives to the private sector for the purpose of job creation?
Nof) Do you support increased spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation?
g) Do you support providing direct financial assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure?
h) Other or expanded principles

We need to understand that government cannot spur economic recovery through jobs programs or spending. Economic recovery will only occur when the private sector- the only job creators- have the resources and confidence that the economy is stabilizing. Taxes and regulations are the two things that impact a company directly. We must eliminate outdated, burdensome regulations and we need a new tax structure that is fair, simple and predictable. It should not pick winners and losers.

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

I do not favor unfunded mandates, which is what a, b and f could be. I will not support additional restrictions on schools that do not come with funding. If government believes it is important, they should pay for it. E is not possible with our current budget problems.

Noa) Do you support state funding for the development of alternative energy?
Nob) Do you support state funding for the development of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil)?
c) Do you support providing financial incentives to farms that produce biofuel crops?
d) Do you support state funding for improvements to Michigan's energy infrastructure?
Noe) Do you support state funding for open space preservation?
Nof) Do you support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change?
g) Other or expanded principles

Energy is important, but the state should allow the private sector to develop emerging technologies. We must implement a fair, simple, predictable tax that will allow new technologies and businesses, like in the energy sector, to develop and produce new products. We should not be using your tax dollars to fund private business. Regulations should be studied to ensure they do not discourage alternative energy development.

a) Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
b) 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

I do not favor more restrictions on law abiding, gun owning citizens in Michigan. The criminals will always have access to guns- they do not follow laws when obtaining guns. I have a CPL in Michigan and I am a responsible citizen. We should not be restricting the rights of law abiding citizens.

Noa) Do you support a universally-accessible, publicly-administered health insurance option?
b) Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform?
c) Do you support interstate health insurance compacts?
Nod) Should individuals be required to purchase health care insurance?
e) Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits?
Nof) Do you support legalizing physician-assisted suicide in Michigan?
g) Do you support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes?
h) Other or expanded principles

Health care can be costly, especially for the uninsured. Our goals must be to increase access, reduce price of health care, reduce price of insurance. We cannot achieve these goals with artificial pricing caps or universal health care. We must address the core issues that drive up prices and decrease access. Only by addressing the issue- not the symptoms- will we truly achieve health care reform. Marijuana is already available in pill form, and voters passed a state law allowing the plant form to be used.

Yesa) Should marriage only be between one man and one woman?
Nob) Should Michigan allow same-sex couples to form civil unions?
Noc) Do you support state funding for stem cell research?
Nod) Do you support state funding for embryonic stem cell research?
Noe) Do you support the state's use of affirmative action?
Nof) Do you support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Michigan's anti-discrimination laws?
Nog) Do you support the inclusion of gender identity in Michigan's anti-discrimination laws?
Noh) Should legal counsel for indigent defendants be managed by the state?
i) Other or expanded principles

Embryonic stem cell research has not produced a single cure or treatment yet it is heralded as the most promising cure we have. Adult stem cells and umbilical cord stem cells have produced amazing cures and treatments yet they are never mentioned by the press. It is a crime that their successes are being kept silent while promoting a method that has not proven to be successful. I do not favor high tax rates for inheritance, whether it is between a related member or not.

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.

Michigan is broken- we need a new direction and new policies to return our state as a leader in our country. We can do this by promoting job friendly policies. This includes eliminating outdated, burdensome regulations. We must also implement a new, fair, simple, predictable business tax that will promote job investment and creation. Short term, we must balance our state budget without using gimmicks or one time fixes. Reform and spending cuts will be the only way to achieve this. Our citizens are hurting and cannot afford to pay more. My funding priorities include public safety, infrastructure and education.

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