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The Daily Courier - "Q&A: Voters to decide on 4 Democrats, 4 Republicans in CD-1 primary"

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The Daily Courier - "Q&A: Voters to decide on 4 Democrats, 4 Republicans in CD-1 primary"

Following are answers to questions The Daily Courier posed directly to the nine candidates seeking the open 1st Congressional District seat.

Incumbent Rick Renzi is not seeking re-election. A federal grand jury indicted him on 35 criminal counts, and his trial is set to occur after he leaves office.

Four Democrats are running for the job: Jeffrey Brown of Munds Park, Ann Kirkpatrick of Flagstaff, Howard Shanker of Flagstaff and Ahwatukee, and Mary Kim Titla of San Carlos.

The four Republicans are Barry Hall of Sedona, Tom Hansen of St. Johns, Sydney Hay of Munds Park and Scottsdale, and Sandra Livingstone of Prescott.

The winners in the Democratic and Republican primaries will face Independent candidate Brent Maupin of the Village of Oak Creek in the General Election.

Their answers to the following questions are paraphrased and grouped by party.

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Q: Why do you want this job?
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Brown: I can do a good job of representing this district honestly and openly without 35 felony counts and without using my position for my personal advantage.

I'm the only candidate with a background of working behind the scenes with constituents.
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Kirkpatrick: I really want to help change Washington. For example, health care benefits should cover pre-existing conditions. One-third of the Navajo Nation residents have no electricity or running water. When I tell people in Washington, they are surprised.
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Shanker: I've been fighting for communities and the environment for 15 years. We need better laws and policies, and better people in Congress to make them. Being an attorney helps.

I'm outraged at the corporate greed in D.C., and I'm willing to fight the culture of corruption.
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Titla: I think I can make a difference by taking my community activism to another level.

Congress also needs more diversity. I would be the first Native American woman to serve in Congress. People are surprised to hear that, especially since 22 percent of the voters in this Congressional district are Native American.


Hall: It's my nature to serve others and I've done it all my life.
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Hansen: I've been complaining about big government for 15 years, so my wife helped convince me to run.
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Hay: I'm a fighter, and we need to send fighters to Washington. I've been a successful advocate for major change in Arizona.

The federal government spends, regulates and taxes too much. Spending earmarks are getting worse.
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Livingstone: I think I have a unique background and the experience to represent people well.

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Q: What is the best way to reduce U.S. gasoline prices and increase energy independence?
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Brown: Get off oil. We've had the technology for years. Provide tax incentives for renewable energy.
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Kirkpatrick: We need to move away from oil-based energy, and Arizona and this Congressional district can be leaders in solar and wind power, which need tax incentives. We also need more fuel-efficient vehicles.
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Shanker: We need to invest in large-scale wind and solar projects in this district, and explore the possibility of hydrogen and other alternative sources. We need to connect regional electricity grids.

Drilling for more oil is not the solution. We need to get away from a carbon-based economy, and more drilling wouldn't bring immediate relief anyway. It would just prolong the inevitable.

We've had the technology for 20 years to be off gasoline, but we haven't had the national will to do it, mainly because so much money is invested in big oil companies.

It's clear we need energy independence for national security, to grow the economy, and to reduce greenhouse gases.

The National Academy of Sciences estimates that if we don't end our dependence on gasoline in 10 years, climate change will be irreversible. This is not a radical group.
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Titla: We can't drill our way out of this problem. We need a long-term plan to invest in alternative energy. At the current rate of use, this world could run out of oil during our children's lifetimes.

In the short term, it also would help to ease refinery restrictions, reduce oil price speculation by increasing disclosure laws, streamline oil blends and lift ethanol tariffs.


Hall: We need a massive effort to develop alternative energies. Put money into research and think tanks. Stop using Middle East oil.
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Hansen: In the short term, we can do little besides conservation through less driving and the purchase of more fuel-efficient vehicles. Demand from China, Brazil and India is increasing, so we need long-term solutions.

We spend more than a half-trillion dollars each year buying foreign oil from countries that don't like us. We could replace 90 percent of that fuel by adding electricity to the mix.

Arizona could cover all its electrical power needs with solar panels covering 500 square miles, or less than half of one percent of its land mass. The technology exists now.

This country needs to provide long-term incentives for solar and wind power, and phase out incentives for fossil fuels and nuclear power. And it needs to provide more money to national labs doing research on better hybrid car batteries.

The country needs to build more Compressed Air Energy Storage sites to store energy underground, as part of its power grid.

The country should open up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the outer continental shelf, although it might not be economically viable once we make solar power competitive through tax incentives.
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Hay: If we made it clear we intend to drill in areas that are now off limits, we'd see an immediate reduction in oil prices.

I support alternative energy sources such as wind and solar, but we can't put them in our gas tanks and they're years away from being economically viable. We need oil during the transition. And we need more oil refineries. No one has built one in 32 years.

I oppose cap and trade programs. Give tax credits to any carbon efficient alternative energy, and then the government isn't picking winners and losers.

The oil shale industry says it's now economically viable because of advanced technology, and we have a 100-year supply. I also support clean coal technology; soon they'll be able to sequester carbon dioxide emissions.

Nuclear power is inexpensive once it's up and running, and doesn't pollute. People are coming up with new ideas about what to do with nuclear waste.
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Livingstone: Congress needs to lift moratoriums on oil and gas exploration areas. Prudhoe Bay and Gull Island could have more oil than Saudi Arabia. We need more oil refineries, too.

The nation needs more tax incentives for alternative energy sources such as solar, and a program to allow people to sell that energy back to the grid. We also need more focus on hydrogen power, and on algae versus corn as a gas additive.

Wind power isn't as efficient as some other alternative sources, but we should experiment with it.

Coal plants can burn clean, too. I'm not as keen on nuclear power because we haven't figured out what to do with the waste.

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Q: How should the U.S. reduce illegal immigration? Is it OK for the federal government to be skirting environmental laws to quickly build border fences?
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Brown: We can't round up and deport millions of illegal immigrants. So how do we get them paying into the system? I like the idea of a guest worker program. Instead of them paying a coyote $3,000, have them pay for a work visa at the border.

It's not OK to go around environmental laws to build a border fence. It further endangers wildlife along the San Pedro River corridor.
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Kirkpatrick: The federal government needs a comprehensive plan. We need a secure border to keep criminals out, using environmentally friendly technology, more Border Patrol officers and a fence where it makes sense. Some ranchers don't want fences on their land.

Make it legal and simple for temporary, seasonal workers to come here quickly and efficiently to help harvest crops. We need more visas for highly trained technical workers, too.

All this needs to happen at the same time.

Existing illegal immigrants need to earn the right to be here. We have to figure out how many are here, then figure out if we have a sufficient number of visas or not.

It's not OK to skirt environmental laws to build border fence.
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Shanker: A lot of the immigration discussion is based on rhetoric and perceptions versus facts.

We spend about 90 percent of our border resources chasing people who are coming here to work and feed their families. They pay coyotes about $3,000 to bring them here.

Instead, we could require them to pay $500 at the border for a temporary work visa, and then we can do background checks to keep out criminals, document immigrants and track them. Let the market dictate how many work visas we issue. If there aren't any jobs, they go home. Some undocumented aliens want to go home right now but they're afraid because they want to continue to get seasonal ag jobs.

If these workers have legal documents, then this country doesn't have artificial wage decreases and unfair job competition.

This plan would automatically free up 90 percent of our border resources so officers can focus on smugglers and criminals. It also would generate money.

I oppose building border fences without environmental analysis. A wall is silly anyway. People have been building walls for centuries, and it never works.
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Titla: We need to secure the border, and help Mexico's economy with trade incentives.

Illegal immigrants need a way to get in line to become legal, maybe by paying a fine.

We can improve employer sponsor programs. One sponsor told me the government concluded a five-year employee wasn't qualified to do a job.

A fence is not the solution unless it's in strategic locations.


Hall: I like the idea of an exiting card to draw in illegal immigrants. Give them one year to leave and pick up an exit card, then help them find a legal path to return as guest workers. That would save a lot of enforcement money.

Environmental laws shouldn't come before national security, especially in urban areas, but I'd like to see the government follow environmental laws for fences in rural areas.
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Hansen: First, control the U.S. sea and land borders with physical and electronic surveillance.

Then offer illegal immigrants incentives to go home and apply to return legally. Arizona has a good start with its business sanctions.

Let the states determine their immigration needs and then the federal government can base policy on that.

If we have temporary job needs, use work visas.

If illegal immigrants are caught and convicted of a crime here, they shouldn't be able to return.

The federal government should have to follow environmental laws just like everyone else, and that includes the fence construction.
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Hay: Secure the border. Use physical barriers where they work, and technology. Last year we caught 155,000 people illegally crossing the border, including Syrians, Iranians and Chinese.

Visas for high-tech workers are cumbersome and backlogged, so that process needs reform. We also need temporary farm workers.

But until we secure the border, we don't know how many foreign workers we need.

Amnesty failed twice already and we don't need it.

It's OK to build the fence without environmental impact analysis because this is an important national security issue. If a huge environmental issue came up, I might consider it.
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Livingstone: Secure the borders first.

It's impossible to deport millions of illegal immigrants. Undocumented workers need to register and apply for annual work visas. That would immediately put more money into Social Security and other programs instead of sending it abroad. It also stops exploitation of workers by employers. If they don't register, they get deported.

Undocumented workers could apply for a more permanent status with penalties, but they have to get in the back of the line. Some can be legal and productive workers.

Review quotas; it takes as long as 15 years to get permanent resident alien status.

Rewrite the 1986 immigration code so we have fewer anchor babies.

We need environmental review before building fences. Arizona's natural environment is important.

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Q: What is the best course of action to take in Iraq during the next four years? How should the U.S. deal with Iran? What circumstance would justify an attack on Iran?
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Brown: Get out of Iraq as soon as possible.

We need to have a foreign policy that allows us to talk to friends and foes. Even during the height of the Cold War, we talked to the USSR. Exhaust diplomatic and economic options before taking military action against Iran.

It would be justifiable to attack Iran if we had verifiable evidence that it had nuclear weapons.
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Kirkpatrick: Get out of Iraq as fast as possible while still protecting the troops, and then take better care of them when they get home. For example, we need assisted living facilities for soldiers with head injuries.

The biggest threat of terrorists getting hold of nuclear weapons is in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I can't answer a hypothetical question about when it's OK to attack Iran, but we need to protect Israel as the center of Democracy in the Middle East.
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Shanker: Do what it takes to make sure Iraq makes political progress. Quadruple diplomatic efforts.

Our military invaded Iraq, and they need to get out quickly in an orderly fashion without endangering troops.

Right now, our foreign policy in Iraq is driven by what Iraq does, and that's wrong. We need to be masters of our own destiny. Most Iraqis don't want us there anyway.

Iran shouldn't be allowed to have nuclear weapons. We need to be willing to have diplomatic talks without preconditions. Otherwise that limits our arsenal of tools. We don't have to like them or believe them.

Continue economic sanctions against Iran and review their effectiveness.

In general, I would consider using force to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons or to stop Iran from using them. Force should be a last resort.
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Titla: I support a speedy, safe withdrawal of troops.

I can't think of any specific examples of when it would be OK to attack Iran. I favor taking measures to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran.


Hall: I like the idea of an incremental reduction in forces, but we need to stay as peacekeepers. If we left now, Iraq could face increased violence.

An Iranian missile in the air on the way to Israel would justify an attack on Iran.

We have to talk to Iran but if it's in an official capacity, that dignifies their position and gives them clout, so we should just talk unofficially.
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Hansen: We don't need a timetable with dates. Since we broke it, we need to fix it - provide security until Iraq builds a stable government, then let their oil money rebuild their infrastructure. Start removing troops as regions show they are meeting security goals. We might be there another 10 years.

North Korea is a larger nuclear threat than Iran, and it took three years of diplomacy to finally dismantle that threat. We should use diplomacy with Iran.

If Iran attacked Israel and we made sure it wasn't accidental, that would justify an attack on Iran. But that is Congress' decision after close examination of the evidence.

If we have credible evidence that Iran is planning to lob a missile in 24 hours, that also might justify an attack on the launch area.
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Hay: Winning is setting up a free government, training Iraqi security forces so they can provide security, and then leaving. Timelines and artificial withdrawal dates are not helpful. They fuel the desire of insurgents to hang on. We can begin drawing down troops when the commanders say they're ready.

It's important for Iraqis to step it up, politically and security wise.

The Bush administration is doing the right thing now. The surge worked, and we can credit McCain for pushing it.

We need a missile defense system.

We need to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And if Iran exports weapons of mass destruction to Iraq, we need to take action.

If Iran gets a nuclear missile, we'd have to destroy it.
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Livingstone: Create a federated Iraq with three separate states for the Shia, Sunni and Kurds, and a secular constitution. All share in the oil, giving them incentive not to fight.

I don't believe in a timeline. I met with Iraqi leaders while serving in the State Department. They asked us to stay and help them succeed.

We must understand their culture. To them, 1,000 years ago is yesterday.

If Iran had a nuclear weapon and our intelligence concluded it was going to use it, I would support a pre-emptive attack on the weapons. International law allows pre-emptive strikes in cases of imminent threat to peace and security.

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Q: What should the U.S. government do about global warming?
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Brown: The science is clear that humans are contributing to global warming, and it's already occurring. Ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising. We need to sign the Kyoto Treaty and participate in solving the problem with the rest of the world.

We need to take actions such as raising the minimum gas mileage in vehicles.
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Kirkpatrick: We need alternative energy tax incentives to reduce greenhouse gasses. Other countries are way ahead of us, and that hurts our economy.

I oppose opening up closed areas to oil exploration unless it's a national emergency.
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Shanker: Global warming is a real issue. The vast majority of credible scientists believe humans are contributing to it. The Bush administration is politicizing this issue because big oil companies have such a huge role in this administration. The Bush administration created its energy policy behind closed doors.

We need to get away from a carbon-based economy, and provide tax incentives to develop and use renewable resources. Why invest big money in clean coal when we could move to a renewable, sustainable economy?

Big oil spends big money to buy off political leaders. Congress needs people like me who won't stand for it.
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Titla: We need incentives for wind and solar energy. Capping emissions is a good idea, too.

And people need to take personal responsibility for reducing their impacts on the planet.


Hall: I treat the issue with a lot respect but also realize all the facts might not be in. We need to study and monitor this issue more.
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Hansen: Humans are impacting the climate, but we don't know how much, and climate will change anyway. We could have created the latest warming trend by cleaning up our air. We're just now hearing about how termites release methane as they chew wood. Right now, the computer models about global warming don't match up.

Using more solar and wind power will take care of the carbon dioxide problem. The government should help us adapt with more energy efficient homes, etc.

The important thing to do is to predict change and adapt to it.

My energy policy would help with climate change, although it's based on economics.
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Hay: I'd base my decisions on sound science, and we don't have enough of that yet. We need scientific agreement and worldwide cooperation.

It's unclear how much of global warming is human caused, and how much difference we can make. Drastic action could drag down the economy for something that would have a minimal impact. And if we harm the economy, it could harm our ability to respond to issues in the future.
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Livingstone: Provide tax incentives for alternative energy. I oppose taxes or cap-and-trade programs that could hurt business in the short term.

I support clean coal through converting or replacing existing plants.

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