Keith Ellison, DFL Incumbent 5th Congressional District of Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives

In light of the current economic crisis, what needs to happen to ensure American economic stability in the future? We need to have greater regulation of financial markets, starting with derivative markets. These are the financial instruments that were not publically traded and there is very little transparency in this market involving credit default swaps … we need to have a publicly traded market, and have transparency, so we need to build and exchange for this and we need to make that a matter of law. We also need to have better under-riding standards … and we also have to increase wages. Wages have not kept pace with increase in productivity, and as a result people have had to turn to debt in order to consume. Can the United States achieve energy independence? If so, what steps do we need to take for that need to happen and how long do you think it will take? Yes, the United States can achieve energy independence. What I think we need to do is to make the proper investments and commitment. I think we can become energy independent by 2020, but we need to invest in solar, wind and renewables. We need to make sure that as we explore biofuels, that we donâÄôt displace sources of food … we need to cut away from corn. We also need to invest green jobs. With tuition costs rising, what, if anything, would you do to make college more affordable? I would double Pell Grants. I would reduce the interest rates on student debt. I would do loan forgiveness for those people who get involved in the public interest. What is your stance on gay marriage? I donâÄôt believe the government has any role in telling who to marry who. You can marry who you want, itâÄôs your business. What is your stance on abortion? I think it should remain safe, legal and fair. We need to make sure the right to have a safe and legal abortion is a fundamental right and is protected, but we also need to take very strenuous efforts to prevent and reduce the number of abortions. What, if anything, would you change about the health care system? We need universal single-payer health care. How should the United States address the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? We should get out of Iraq within 15 months. When the leadership of Iraq says get out, we should get out. When it comes to Afghanistan, we need to have a massive commitment to strengthening their democracy and their economic situation. There is no military solution in Afghanistan. What is the most important issue our country must deal with today and how do you plan to address it? Our most pressing issue is the decline of economic and political power of the middle class. We need measures to strengthen the middles class. That means we need to make sure college is affordable to middle class young people and ensure workers rights.