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Friday, October 22, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Q & A: Candidates take a stand on the issues
Do you support or oppose the decision to go to war in Iraq? Explain your position.
Reichert: Since the attacks of 9/11, we've learned a lot about the world and ourselves. It is critical to fight terrorists where they are and not inside of our borders. I support our troops and the president's decision to go to war in Iraq.
Ross: I oppose the decision to go to war in Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a despotic ruler, but had been effectively contained. While I don't blame the president for believing the intelligence he was given at the time, the results of the inspections by the United Nations should have raised a red flag. Our refusal to allow more time for inspections has drawn us into a protracted fight having little to do with the terrorists who attacked us on Sept. 11.
Should U.S. citizens and states be allowed to import prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies, where the drugs are often cheaper?
Reichert: I am open to the idea of importing prescription drugs from Canada if we can be sure of their quality and safety.
Should any part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be opened to oil drilling?
Reichert: We need a comprehensive national energy policy that, among other things, makes us less dependent on foreign oil. Part of such a plan could include drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but only if existing environmentally sound drilling methods are used.
Should the tax cuts passed during the last four years be made permanent? Explain your answer.
Reichert: Yes. The Bush tax cuts have created real economic growth. A growing economy creates jobs for our region and for our nation. Many of these provisions are directed at small businesses, which are the job-creating engine of our economy.
Ross: I favor retaining the middle-class tax cuts, but the cuts for Americans making more than $200,000 should not be permanent. The rationale given for passing them to stimulate the economy hasn't worked. We're left with severely limited resources to respond to new domestic-security needs, no way to pay for the war we initiated in Iraq, and huge deficits.
Do you think the federal deficit should be reduced even if it means repealing tax cuts?
Reichert: I believe the federal deficit should be reduced through elimination of wasteful government spending, not through raising taxes.
Should the federal government try to reduce the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to other countries? If so, how would you go about it?
Reichert: Yes. Free trade creates many challenges and is vital to the economy of the Pacific Northwest. We must focus on policies that encourage the "in-sourcing" of jobs creating good, high-paying jobs here at home. We can do that by keeping taxes low, having a first-class education system, and expanding free trade.
Ross: Yes, the United States needs to defend the integrity of our manufacturing base and our technology sector. Congress can amend the tax code to make sure that corporations whose taxes are cut as a result truly use that benefit to bring jobs home. In future trade agreements, the United States needs to be sure there are enforceable agreements covering environmental and labor protections to level the playing field between the U.S. and other countries.
Should people be allowed to invest some of their Social Security tax into personal investment accounts?
Ross: No. I am strongly opposed to any effort to divert payroll taxes from the Social Security Trust Fund, or to privatize Social Security. People have a variety of options available to them if they want to pursue other retirement strategies, but any privatization of Social Security would undermine the Trust Fund, leading to a reduction in benefits, increases in other taxes, or both.
Reichert: I oppose raising payroll taxes, cutting benefits or increasing the retirement age. I also oppose privatization of Social Security. I am open to examining voluntary personal retirement accounts for younger workers that remain inside the Social Security program.
Should gay marriage be legal or illegal?
Reichert: I support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage between a man and a woman. With a constitutional amendment, the people can make this important decision, not the courts.
Ross: States should be free to legalize gay marriage. Marriage encourages monogamy and provides a more secure social and financial environment for children.
Should abortion be legal or illegal? If legal, then under what circumstances?
Reichert: I believe all human life is precious. As a man, I cannot imagine what a woman goes through when she faces this serious life decision. Having said that, I am generally pro-life, and I make an exception in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger. I am strongly opposed to partial-birth abortion.
Ross: Voluntary abortion should be legal under all circumstances. Religious organizations are free to provide whatever guidance they wish to their members, but in the eyes of the law, this should be treated as a medical procedure under the control of the family and their doctor, not the state.
Would you support federal funding for high-capacity transit in the 8th District?
Reichert: Traffic in our region is a mess. I'll work hard to obtain federal funding to solve our region's traffic problems. And I support creation of a regional-transportation plan that creates flexible transportation solutions, a plan that adapts to the shifting population-growth centers in the 8th District.
Ross: Yes. I've been a strong supporter of Sound Transit. I also support moving the stalled transportation bill in Congress so we can set realistic timetables for 405, 520 and a host of other regional projects. I also support keeping the federal match for transit the same as the match for highways, so that we can fund projects based strictly on the merits.
What policy of your party's presidential candidate do you most disagree with? Why?
Reichert: I am concerned about the level of federal spending that the current administration supports. I have 30 years of investigative experience to help me find wasteful spending in the federal budget.
Ross: Sen. Kerry seems to be content with incremental improvements in health care without clearly stating that the goal must be coverage for all Americans. I also disagree with his answer to the question, "Knowing what you know now, would you have voted to support the use of force in Iraq?" I would have answered "no."
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