What makes you more qualified than other candidates for this office? It is not up to me to judge if I am more qualified than my opponents; it is up to the voters of Michigan. I do believe my education and experience have prepared me well to do the job of a United States Senator. I grew up in rural setting and still live in the country but I spent 25 years working in the city of Flint, Michigan. I served in the United States Army in Vietnam. I worked for the State of Michigan in the Departments of Community Health, Education, and Human Services. I spent my working life serving people and would like to continue doing so as your Senator.
Will you support any form of tax increase in order to reduce the federal deficit? YES, I will support tax increases to prevent inflation. I believe the concern many people have over the deficit is unfounded. This country taken as a whole is richer than it has ever been. The federal government needs to fund programs needed to improve the general welfare and not worry about the deficit. But it is necessary for the federal government to tax people with excess income to prevent inflation from getting out of control. People need to change their frame of reference when they think of the federal government deficit. The federal government is not like an individual because it has the power to print money; it could wipe out the deficit overnight by printing money. It can also fund programs by printing money. But the federal government must tax people to keep inflation in check. Paying taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society.
Do you support cuts in military spending to reduce the federal deficit? YES, I support reducing military spending. I support bringing all our troops home, including those stationed in the Middle East, Korea, and Europe. I support reducing the amount spent on new weapons; we already have too many weapons of mass destruction. I support maintaining the troop level but they should be stationed here in the United States. We spend much more on our military than any other country. We can make large cuts in military spending and still defend this country.
Should the federal government more tightly regulate credit and debit card fees?
YES, credit and debit card fees should be tightly regulated by the federal government. All one need to do is read the notices the card companies send out to see that the fees charged are way to high.
Should the federal government impose penalties for mortgage lenders who make irresponsible loans? Yes, the federal government should impose penalties on lenders who make irresponsible loans. It should break up banks so they are smaller and allow them to fail if they make bad loans.
Should the federal government require that lenders who reject a potential borrower’s loan provide a free credit score? YES, lenders should provide a free credit score to borrowers if a loan is rejected and also a detailed explanation of why the loan was rejected.
Should the federal government prohibit banks from proprietary trading and investing in private equity firms or hedge funds? Yes, banks accepting deposits with governmental guarantees should not be making risky investments.
Do you favor repeal of the health care law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? NO, I do not favor repealing the Affordable Care Act until it is replace by a national single payer health care law. I favor improving Medicare benefits and expanding Medicare to cover everyone. We pay 40% more for health care in this country than people in most industrial countries pay for health care. We need to take profit out of the health care system. Too much money goes to highly paid executives in the health insurance industry and drug companies. We can pay our health care providers well while we reduce costs. I believe a government system can provide better health care at a cheaper cost than the private system we have now.
Should federal health care laws prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions? YES, health insurance companies must accept everyone. But we should move towards a single payer system which covers everyone
Should federal health care laws require insurance companies to extend coverage for young people up to their 26th birthday through parents' insurance? YES, health insurance companies should allow people up to 26 to stay on their parent's insurance, but we should move towards a single payer system which covers everyone.
Should federal health care laws prohibit insurance companies from instituting lifetime and annual limits on coverage? No, there should be no lifetime limits on health care benefits, but benefits which do not produce a better quality of life should not be provided. Patients need to be informed by their doctor of the benefits and dangers of treatment.
Should federal health care laws hold insurance companies accountable for unreasonable rate hikes? YES, until we get a national single payer health care system the government should control insurance rates.
Should federal health care laws provide relief for the 4 million seniors who hit the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole?” YES, there need to be relief for seniors who need prescription drugs; but there should be not be a "donut hole," Medicare should cover all prescription drugs for seniors.
Will you compromise on your own strongly-held principles to find a workable political solution? My goal is to create a more sustainable economy with opportunities for everyone. I know there are different ways to achieve this goal. Yes, I am willing to compromise on how to achieve my goal as long as I can see it brings my goal closer.
Do you support earmarks? NO, I do not support the process of earmarking. All earmarks should be voted on.
Should the federal government enact laws prohibiting same-sex marriage? NO, I support same-sex marriages.
Has the U.S. done enough to protect citizens from possible terror attacks? NO, we are not safer from terrorist attacks. Our Government is increasing the chances of a terrorist attack by continuing to be involved in the Middle East. We are making enemies with our drone attacks. We are making enemies in the Middle East by our continued support of Israel and its persecution of the Palestinians. We have been meddling in the affairs of too many Middle Eastern countries. All of these things increase the possibility of a future terrorist attack.
What else should be done to protect citizens from possible terror attacks?
We should let other countries govern themselves. We should bring all our troops home and stop all drone attacks. We need to stop sending arms to other countries. We should encourage all countries to settle their differences diplomatically. The Middle East is the source of much of the conflict in the world today. We should move the General Assembly of the United Nations from New York to the Middle East, perhaps to the West Bank.
Should the Senate eliminate the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes to pass legislation? YES, the majority should rule in the Senate.
Should the United States commit military troops to support Israel in a military conflict with Iran? NO, the United States should stop sending any aid to Israel until it begins meaningful peace talks with the Palestinians. There is no way the U.S. should get involved in a war with Iran. We should place economic sanctions on Israel until peace talks begin.
There are 100 federal court vacancies, has the Senate acted in the best interest of the nation? NO, the Senate should act to fill federal court vacancies in a timely manner.
Should the Senate eliminate the policy of “Holds” where a senator is able to prevent a particular bill or other measure from reaching the floor for consideration? YES, eliminate "Holds" by individual Senators; individual Senators should not be able to prevent the Senate from considering a bill.
Do you favor more restrictive abortion laws? I do not favor any restrictive federal abortion laws.
Do you favor new amendments to the U.S. Constitution? YES, I would favor amendments to the Constitution which eliminate the U.S. Senate and provide for the direct election of the President. The U.S. Senate was a compromise which has out lived its usefulness; our government would function more efficiently with a unicameral legislature. The Electoral College has also out lived its usefulness.
Why did you decide to run for this office (or for re-election)? I have been involved with the Green Party for over ten years because I believe it has the best ideas for solving our country's problems and making our country better. When I was asked to run for the U.S. Senate I could not refuse because I felt compelled to do what I can to offer a Green alternative to Republican and Democratic policies. Our country needs a single payer health care system, to bring all our troops home, and provide better preschool through college public education.
What particular skill set or experience would you bring to this office? I am now retired but when I was working I spent almost all my working life working in public employment. I am a Vietnam Veteran; I have worked for the Post Office, the Michigan Departments of Education, Community Mental Health, and Human Services. Government employees are a vital part of our economy; they preform need services; I understand this from personal experience.
What, in your opinion, is the primary cause for the political polarization that we see in Washington and what could or should be done about it? Our system of financing political campaigns gives to much influence to special interest groups. We need public financing of political campaigns.
If the deficit is a major concern, how best should we deal with it as a nation, spending cuts, tax increases or both? The deficit is not the major problem; the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands is the problem. The government is not spending too much money it is not taxing the people who have benefited from government policies enough.
What is the biggest issue facing Michigan that you believe you could positively impact by holding the federal office that you are seeking? The biggest issue facing Michigan is how to create a sustainable economy with more opportunities for all Michigan residents. I would work for increased federal money for education, to cut military spending on foreign wars, for a single payer health care system, and for increased federal money for sustainable local food production and processing.