Last week, our sister publication “The Mail-Journal” published a couple of comments from the U.S. Congress Third District representatives: Democrat Justin Kuhnle, Republican Marlin Stutzman and Libertarian Scott Wise. See that article here.
I decided, given the lack of spatial constraints here at Ink Free News, to dig a little deeper and ask the candidates more burning questions. Read on for those questions and their answers.
With Indiana’s definition of marriage deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge, what is your stance on same-sex marriage, and what do you plan to do regarding legislation on same-sex marriage?
KUHNLE: “Same sex marriage should be a state issue. Indiana and the Attorney General took this to the Supreme Court, and they refused to hear the case. Since then, the 7th District Court has issued a mandate. Too much taxpayer money and time in the legislative session has been spent on this divisive issue. We should be finding ways to include people in our society and not discriminating.”
STUTZMAN: “While I am disappointed in the court’s decision to not recognize individual states’ rights, I have great respect for our judicial system and fully support the separation of powers to keep one branch from obtaining too much control. However, I personally believe that marriage is an institution between one man and one woman.”
WISE: “I believe marriage should be left to the churches to conduct according to their doctrine. Non-church legal unions should be determined by the various states, and should not differentiate between traditional and same sex unions.”
Protected by the Second Amendment, all US citizens are permitted to own firearms. However, there is a lot of talk on gun control. What is your stance on gun control, and how do you plan to reform weapon laws without infringing on constitutional rights?
KUHNLE: “I believe there is a balance that can be reached between protection and safety while still maintaining the Constitutional rights guaranteed to responsible gun owners. There are too many laws regulating guns, but no limited enforcement. I believe in background checks being required for all gun purchases. I also believe that a person has the right to own a firearm, however, I also support current legislation that prohibits ownership of a firearm by anyone who has committed violent crimes and those that have committed acts of domestic violence. I also believe that anyone found to be aiding or abetting someone in violating these laws should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
STUTZMAN: “I completely support our Second Amendment and the right to bear arms for law-abiding citizens. The best way to prevent gun violence is through education and gun safety programs. This is a right we must protect and I will fight any legislation that seeks to violate it.”
WISE: “I believe the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The federal governments roll should be limited to import regulations; however our founders feared the government, and Thomas Jefferson said, ‘When the government fears the people, you have Liberty.'”
Though the purpose of Common Core Curriculum is laudable, in practice it has proven ineffective. What are you going to do to make sure students are receiving top educations?
KUHNLE: “Teachers and administrators in the local schools should be writing their own curriculum and providing for the needs of their schools. There needs to be more local control of education and less interference at the state and federal level. Benchmark grade level standards issued by the federal government are acceptable as long as those standards are fully funded and the local districts aren’t expected to make financial cuts in other areas to achieve them.”
STUTZMAN: “I believe the best way to strengthen our education system is to increase competition through the expansion of choice. Providing parents and families with more options will empower students to receive the customized education they deserve. I have and will continue to fully support the expansion of school choice programs that allow students to attend another public, private, or charter school. We shouldn’t have the federal government deciding where our kids attend class. Our students should not have their education jeopardized by arbitrary district lines.”
WISE: “I would close the Department of Education. I would use the savings to pay down the debt, and send back to the states in proportion as they sent it, so long as they taught the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and civic responsibility.”
The Affordable Care Act and other healthcare issues have become hot topics. What do you plan to do to reform healthcare laws and ensure all US citizens are able to obtain affordable healthcare?
KUHNLE: “The end game of healthcare reform is how to protect the relationship of doctors and patients so they are the ones dictating treatment options and not insurance companies or bureaucrats. The ACA is a good start, but there are fixes that as a social worker for over 7 years, I can address properly, so that we can create competition which will help drive down costs. One such area is repealing the tax on medical devices. I opposed this specific tax from the beginning and will push for ultimate elimination of this tax within my first 90 days in office. Insurance companies have too much control in healthcare policy by purchasing representative’s votes and I am in staunch opposition to that status quo. As well, I’m an outspoken critic of over-medication in children and our elderly, and we need to reign in these out-of-control behaviors to ensure people receive responsible, affordable access to care.”
STUTZMAN: “Obamacare is simply not what the President repeatedly promised it would be. Many working Americans were shocked when they found out they could not keep a plan they liked. I fully support replacing it and have even co-sponsored The American Health Care Reform Act, a common sense approach that focuses on empowering patients and doctors, while expanding access to affordable care.”
WISE: “I would repeal the Affordable Care Act, encourage health savings accounts, and facilitate a competitive, affordable, and private health care and insurance system.”
Nobody seems to like paying taxes, especially high earners and corporations. What do you plan to do to reform tax laws, eliminate corporate loopholes and put more spending money in the pockets of the middle class? What is your fiscal policy? How do you plan to balance budgets?
KUHNLE: “The corporate tax rate is too high, and there needs accountability to ensure businesses are not adversely affected. There also needs to be accountability to audit tax incentives, deductions, and abatements to ensure these tools for business development and expansion aren’t misused and misappropriated when they offer no job creation or limited economic development. I’m an advocate of a balanced budget that focuses on keeping spending in line with revenue but is also partnered with a plan to continue paying down our deficits yearly as well as our long-term debt situation. My fiscal policy centers around being accountable for every taxpayer dollar coming in and going out and ensuring competition is maintained.”
STUTZMAN: “Our tax code is in serious need of reform. I fully support simplifying our tax code and lowering rates for both small businesses and middle income families to get our economy moving. I also support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to keep our fiscal house in order.”
WISE: “I believe in a consumption tax on luxury purchases, and a flat tax for individuals and businesses that exempts the poor, and is reduced for lower portions of the middle class. I would spend less than we bring in. I would pay down the debt by slashing the federal government without impacting benefits and/or services. I would cease expanding the federal government.”
*Candidate responses were listed in alphabetical order. This is not an endorsement of any particular candidate.