U.S. Representative, District 4

Elizabeth Cook

.Betty McCollum, Democrat, incumbent

What is your policy on immigration?

The United States does need to secure its borders; it is a national security issue. But it doesn’t mean you build a big fence across the border.

President (George W.) Bush has failed to provide the needed security to really move forward, which was recommended in the 9/11 Commission Report.

There are two parts to this. We do have to secure our borders, but we also need to put forward a meaningful workers program that will allow people to apply for visas, a program where a United States employer posts a job, with the wages listed, and then makes it available to U.S. citizens first. So, then if a person has a work visa, they would be eligible for the job.

In light of Iran and North Korea, how should the United States address foreign policy?

When it comes to U.S. foreign policy and the question of access to nuclear weapons and nuclear material, the U.S. needs to work with all the countries and have meaningful dialogue, not dialogue that is threatening or intimidating, but dialogue in which Ö the United Nations, (European Union), China, Russia, can come together and discourage countries from developing or encourage countries to disarm their nuclear weapons programs.

How would you address the situation in Iraq?

The situation in Iraq has become a civil war. Our soldiers have no role in being asked to referee a civil war.

And I believe that the Bush administration’s ‘stay the course’ policy continues to be a failure in Iraq and, therefore, I support deploying U.S. troops to the perimeter of Iraq in order to contain civil war from spilling over into other countries in the region.

Should higher education be more affordable, and if so, how?

The fact that college students, on average when they graduate, have close to $20,000 in debt is unacceptable.

Our country needs to be investing in higher education, so that we can remain competitive in the global economy, so that we can offer opportunities to students to become engineers, doctors and scientists that will provide the next technology revolution.

But, instead, in Congress the Republicans cut $12 billion out of opportunities for student loans.

In Congress, I want to go back and restore those dollars to make college more affordable.

And I’ve authored legislation to work toward those goals and I’ll reintroduce it in the next Congress if I’m re-elected.

What is your stance on abortion?

I’m pro-choice. The government should have no involvement on the issue.

What is your stance on gay marriage?

I do not support amending the United States Constitution to restrict rights and to add an amendment that is, in my opinion, one that is intent on taking away rights.

Would you change the federal tax policy? And, if so, how?

I did not vote for the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and I believe that the upper 1 percent of the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to sunset and that money should be used to reduce the debt.

How, specifically, would you change health care, if at all?

I believe health care in this country is becoming unattainable for far too many Americans and I have drafted a constitutional amendment in which Americans can begin to have a discussion on whether or not health care is a right or a privilege in this country.

The way people access health care right now, it’s a privilege because you have to be able to afford health care.

And if we’re going to have meaningful reform, which really means that Americans will have access to health care, I believe it should be a right.

Obi Sium, Republican

What is your policy on immigration?

I support legal immigration. I support enforcing all the laws in the books regarding immigration. And, also, I support the guest worker program that’s enforceable with clear rules and regulations.

In light of Iran and North Korea, how should the United States address foreign policy?

I think we are a superpower. Those nations are nothing compared to the United States.

I mean they are no match for us, so I think by talking about them in the manner we have talked about them, we’re giving them some recognition in the world and we created our own sort of demise, I think.

We should talk to them. I think it will mellow them down and make them reasonable. But confrontation is no good.

How would you address the situation in Iraq?

To really secure the peace, we should do four things.

One, we should increase our troop level so we can secure the hot spots.

Two, we should pressure the Iraqi government to weed out the militia that are in their police force.

Number three, we should disarm all militias. Nobody should have arms other than the security forces of Iraq.

Number four, we should pressure the Iraqi government to kick out all intelligence officers that are working in Iraq, advising the Shiite militias.

If we do these four things, we would see peace and democracy established in Iraq.

Should higher education be more affordable, and if so, how?

I’m enraged that students today come out of school with (as much as $50,000) debt. So we should make higher education very affordable for two reasons.

First of all, the students shouldn’t have this debt Ö We should encourage people to go to college, not discourage them with higher prices.

Secondly, we’re not going to be able to compete in the global economy if we don’t have a trained work force.

Since the government spends so much money on waste and fraud, I think there’ll be plenty of money left if we can make the government agencies, the federal government agencies, transparent.

What is your stance on abortion?

I’m 100 percent pro-life. God made life and only God takes life, that’s my stance.

What is your stance on gay marriage?

I am for the traditional family. God created Adam and Eve and so God created a man and a woman. And that’s the way it is. That’s the nature of order.

Would you change the federal tax policy? And, if so, how?

First of all, we should have tax cuts relief for small businesses. Small businesses employ 66 percent of the workforce in America.

And so we need a tax break so they are able to maintain and to go on with their business and services that they provide society.

Also, the estate tax, that’s ridiculous. We tax people to death when they are alive and we tax them again when they are dead.

So my tax policy would be lower taxes, smaller government.

How, specifically, would you change health care, if at all?

Yes, I would change it completely and reform it completely because a Band-Aid solution will not do. We need a drastic change and we need it quickly.

The way we reform it is simple. We let it be market-driven Ö and the competition will drive (costs) down.