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Mary Jo White's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Mary Jo White repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on the issues through the 2008 Political Courage Test when asked to do so by national leaders of the political parties, prominent members of the media, Project Vote Smart President Richard Kimball, and Project Vote Smart staff.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Pennsylvania State Legislative Election 2000 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) concerning abortion.
a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should always be legally available.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
d) Abortions should be legal when pregnancy results from incest, rape or 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) Support prohibition of the dilation and extraction procedure, also known as "partial-birth" abortion.
g) Support "buffer zones" at abortion clinics by requiring demonstrators to remain a certain distance from doorways and driveways.
h) Support prohibition of public funding for abortions and organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
i) Other

I support a woman's right to choose and exercise control over her own body. Pennsylvania has perhaps the most stringent abortion control law on the books regarding informed consent and parental notification. Since we are at the limits of current U.S. Supreme Court decisions, I do not believe this is an issue facing state legislators in Pennsylvania.

State Budget: Indicate the funding levels you will support for the following general categories.
a) Education (Higher)
b) Education (K-12)
c) Environment
d) Health care
e) Law enforcement
f) Transportation and Highway infrastructure
g) Welfare
h) Other
State Taxes: Indicate the tax levels you will support.
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) Inheritance taxes
i) Property taxes
j) Sales taxes
k) Vehicle taxes
l) Other
m) Should Internet sales be taxed?
n) Do you support a flat tax structure for state income taxes?
o) Would you support returning any operating surplus to Pennsylvania taxpayers?
p) Would you support placing any operating surplus into a "rainy day" fund?
q) Other
Indicate which principles you support (if any) to address crime.
a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and for hiring of additional prison staff.
b) Support contracting with private sector firms to build and/or manage state prisons.
c) End parole for repeat violent offenders.
d) Support the use of the death penalty in Pennsylvania.
e) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
f) Inform communities when a convicted sex offender moves into the community.
g) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
h) Decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
i) Strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes.
j) Lower the blood-alcohol-content limit defining drunk driving.
k) Prosecute as adults, youths accused of a felony.
l) Increase penalties for crimes committed on school grounds.
m) Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, or disability be prosecuted as hate crimes.
n) Support programs that provide job training and placement services for at-risk youth.
o) Ban the use of racial profiling by law enforcement officers.
p) Support a moratorium on the death penalty.
q) Expand Megan's Law to include all violent sexual offenders.
r) Other

I have supported the Department of Corrections budget, which included new funds to construct prisons and alleviate overcrowding. I have advocated increased spending for drug/alcohol programs and alternative punishment for non-violent criminals. I do not support private prisons. I support Pennsylvania's existing laws regarding the death penalty as well as the parole board's ability to deny parole to violent felons. I voted for Megan's Law, which provides community notification for sexual offenders. I support increased training and job-skill classes for prisoners so they are prepared to re-enter society.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.
a) Increase state funds for professional development of public school teachers and administrators.
b) Encourage private or corporate investment in public school programs.
c) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any participating school (public, private, religious).
d) Support charter schools where teachers and professionals receive authorization and funding to establish new schools.
e) Increase state funds for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
f) Increase state funds for hiring additional teachers.
g) Endorse teacher-led voluntary prayer in public schools.
h) Support posting the Ten Commandments in public schools.
i) Require public schools to administer high school exit exams.
j) Support national standards and testing of public school students.
k) Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
l) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
m) Guarantee Pennsylvania students ranked in the top 15% of their graduating class admission to state universities.
n) Support sex education programs which stress abstinence.
o) Support sex education programs which stress safe sexual practices.
p) Other

I support increased state funds for teacher development, and encourage private and corporate involvement in our schools. I voted in favor of charter schools and the distressed school initiative.

Employment: Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning employment.
a) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding, or relocating businesses.
b) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector to encourage investment and economic expansion.
c) Support limits on cash damages in lawsuits against businesses and professionals for product liability or malpractice.
d) Increase funding for state job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
e) Other
Affirmative Action: Which of the following state agencies should take race and sex into account when making employment decisions?
a) College and university admissions
b) Public employment
c) State contracting
d) Other

I support providing low-interest loans and tax credits as a means to attract businesses and helping existing businesses grow. I support reducing unnecessary regulations and limiting punitive damages in certain instances. I do not think the state should take race or sex into account when making employment decisions.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
a) Encourage further development and use of alternative fuels to reduce pollution.
b) Support "self-audit" legislation which creates incentives for industries to audit themselves and clean up pollution.
c) Require a cost/benefit analysis to determine the economic impact of proposed environmental regulations before they are implemented.
d) Require states to fully compensate citizens when environmental regulations limit uses on privately owned land.
e) Support funding for recycling programs in Pennsylvania.
f) Request added flexibility from the federal government in enforcing and funding federal environmental regulations.
g) Suspend participation in un-funded, federally-mandated environmental protection legislation.
h) Increase funding for the Growing Greener Program which preserves farmland and open space, maintains state parks, cleans up mining areas, and improves water systems.
i) Other

I support developing alternative fuel use and energy use reduction technology to reduce pollution and conserve natural resources. I support legislation requiring a cost/benefit analysis for new regulations (in accordance with the Governor's executive order on this matter). States should compensate individuals when a regulation amounts to a "taking" of private property. I support funding of recycling in Pennsylvania, but believe the program will benefit from competing for available finances each year and demonstrating the worth of such an investment to taxpayers. We need increased focus on market development. As author of the Growing Greener legislation, I worked aggressively to increase the funding available in the final package. State environmental regulations should not be stricter than federal law unless there is a compelling reason unique to Pennsylvania that justifies it.

j) Should state environmental regulations be stricter than federal law?
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding government reform.
a) Do you support the current limit on terms for Pennsylvania Governors?
b) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Pennsylvania State Senators and Representatives?
c) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?
a) Individual
b) PAC
c) Corporate
d) Political Parties
d) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
e) Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?
f) Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns?
g) Do you support voting on-line?
h) Do you support on-line voter registration?
i) Do you support implementing an open primary system in Pennsylvania?
j) Do you support expanding Pennsylvania's open records law to include electronic data?
k) Other

I do not support term limits for state legislators, and believe the two term limit for the Governor is appropriate.

I do not support limiting individual contributions to campaigns (doing so has been ruled unconstitutional by the courts), but I would consider limits to PAC contributions. Corporate contributions are already illegal for any elected position. The "soft money" issue needs to be addressed, especially at the federal level. I support full and timely campaign finance disclosure, including electronic access to the information. I am undecided regarding spending limits or public financing of campaigns. If the electoral process is safeguarded, I would support on-line voting and voter registration. I do not support an open primary. All citizens are free to register in any political party. However, a private organization (political parties) should be able to limit its elections to qualified members of the organization.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning gun issues.
a) Ban the sale or transfer of semi-automatic guns, except those used for hunting.
b) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
c) Ease state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Repeal state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
e) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
f) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns.
g) Require background checks of gun buyers at gun shows.
h) Require a license for gun possession.
i) Require Pennsylvania law enforcement officers to carry guns equipped with safety features which allow only the owner to discharge the gun.
j) Other

I support Pennsylvania's current gun requirements, and do not support legislation that infringes on a citizen's constitutional right to own firearms. The federal government in particular must do a much better job of prosecuting firearm criminals.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health issues.
a) Provide tax incentives to small businesses that provide health care to their employees.
b) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms, or state funded care where necessary.
c) Transfer more existing Medicaid recipients into managed care programs.
d) Use state funds to continue some Medicaid coverage for legal immigrants.
e) Limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
f) Support a patient's right to sue his or her HMO.
g) Support a patient's right to appeal to an administrative board of specialists when services are denied.
h) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
i) Increase funding for the PACE program which provides medications for the elderly.
j) Other

I supported the patients' bill of rights that provides for access to specialists. I support the use of Tobacco Settlement funds to increase health care coverage for uninsured Pennsylvanians. PACE should be expanded to the extent State Lottery proceeds are available to support it. Incentives should be provided for businesses to expand health care coverage to employees.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding social issues.
a) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for their employees.
b) Increase state funds to provide child care for children in low-income working families.
c) Deny or suspend state-issued permits and licenses to parents who are delinquent in paying court-ordered child support.
d) Increase state funding for Head Start in order to serve additional children and/or increase services from a half to a full day.
e) Increase state funding for community centers and other social agencies in areas with at-risk youth.
f) Support state funding of programs for at-risk youth such as guaranteed college loans, and job training and placement.
g) Support state funding of fatherhood promotion initiatives which include responsible parenting and job training.
h) Other

I voted for a law that permits the denial or suspension of licenses if people fail to pay child support. I support Pennsylvania's current law recognizing marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and do not support amending this law. I support eliminating common law marriage in Pennsylvania.

i) Should physician assisted suicide be legally available in Pennsylvania?
j) Should Pennsylvania include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination laws?
k) Should Pennsylvania recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
l) Should Pennsylvania restrict marriage to a relationship only between a man and a woman?
m) Should Pennsylvania grant same-sex couples the same parental and adoption rights as heterosexual couples?
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare.
a) Maintain current time limits on welfare benefits.
b) Maintain the requirement that able-bodied recipients work in order to receive benefits.
c) Increase employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
d) Provide tax incentives to businesses that hire welfare recipients.
e) Provide child care for welfare recipients who work.
f) Increase access to public transportation for welfare recipients who work.
g) Allow welfare recipients to remain eligible for benefits while saving money for education, starting a business, or buying a home.
h) Limit benefits given to recipients if they have additional children while on welfare.
i) Eliminate government-funded welfare programs.
j) Redirect welfare funding to faith-based and community-based private organizations.
k) Use federal TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds to expand state services to include the working poor.
l) Other

I support the current time limits on welfare benefits, as well as the work component required to receive benefits. We should focus any welfare savings on child care, job training and encouraging businesses to locate and hire former welfare recipients.

Please explain what your two main legislative priorities will be if elected. Please explain how you would obtain any additional government funding needed to implement these priorities.
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