Ten questions everyone should ask their Congressional candidates

A little over two months ago, I sent the following list of questions to many of those who seek the Congressional seat here in the First Congressional District. The others should have received a copy in their e-mail a month or so ago. But even after I called them all out, I’ve still received only silence.

With that in mind, I’m going to release them now in the hopes that more people call on these candidates (and those from any other district, they’re not written to be specific to mine) to answer what I consider tough questions that provoke thought and seek specific solutions to issues we all face. All I ask is that if you use them on your site, give me credit (Michael Swartz at www.monoblogue.us) A link would be nice, too.

So here goes, questions the candidates are afraid to answer:

  1. Right after the 9/11 attacks President Bush noted that the retaliatory fighting soon to ensue would be a long-term effort. Since then the focus has been on military targets in Iraq and Afghanistan. How do you best feel we can achieve victory in this effort?
  2. Last year Congress passed a measure intended to begin construction of a security fence along the Mexican border. More recently the immigration bill that some decried as amnesty failed to attain cloture in the Senate. If you’re elected do you feel we should pursue border security first or deal with those illegal immigrants already here?
  3. While an energy bill (HR 6) passed through Congress this year it did little to impact gasoline prices. Renewable energy is a sound long-term goal, but reality is that we’re decades away from those sources being the mainstay of our energy use. For the short- to medium-term, what steps do you feel we should undertake to cut our dependence on foreign oil sources?
  4. While the current Congressional majority had as part of their 2006 campaign the promise to eliminate the “culture of corruption”, the reality has been that members of both parties have been caught in illegal or at least dubious actions since the 110th Congress got underway back in January. What reforms would you like to see enacted in the 111th Congress to make it more accountable to the voters?
  5. In 2006 then-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed a bill into law mandating the state’s residents carry health insurance of some sort, whether through their employer, privately, or via the state. Would you support a similar program as a federal initiative, leave it up to the states, or come up with another system – and why?
  6. As you know the 2001/2003 tax cuts enacted by President Bush face expiration in 2010. While the debate has gone on whether these cuts have helped the economy or simply fattened the wallets of “the rich,” another alternative has been suggested, one of a national sales tax popularly known as the “FairTax.” Another idea is to simplify the tax system by going to a flat tax with few deductions allowed. Where do you stand on how the government collects its revenue?
  7. Every month the U.S. adds a little bit to its trade deficit, particularly with China. Further, a common complaint I have (and I’m sure many others echo) is that you can’t find things that are made in the U.S.A. anymore. How do you think the trade imbalance should be straightened out and what role do you see Congress having in restoring a manufacturing base to our shores?
  8. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth among those in local and state government occurs when they have to deal with the dreaded “unfunded federal mandate.” Where do you see the line being between the rights of individual states and the federal government – would you seek to fairly fund the mandate or reduce the burden on the state by eliminating it?
  9. The recent Minnesota bridge collapse has placed our nation’s infrastructure front and center as a political issue. Some say higher gasoline taxes are the answer, but critics of that argument charge that reallocating the federal share toward highways and away from mass transit and bikeways would eliminate the need for an increase. What would be your order of priority for transportation and infrastructure spending?
  10. Easiest question with the shortest answer. If you were to choose three Presidential candidates you’d prefer to work with in the 111th Congress who would they be?

It’ll be interesting to see just how far this goes, won’t it? I’m not holding my breath on getting answers, but maybe if enough people with enough pull ask the questions we may get somewhere. How about basing your political contributions on getting answers? That’s a thought – we all know money talks and you-know-what walks!

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Crossposted on monoblogue.

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