U.S. Senate

Karlee Weinmann

.Robert Fitzgerald, Independence

What is your policy on immigration?

We need to have a responsible and sensible immigration policy that does not create bogeymen out of immigrants Ö the solution to it is, first and foremost, addressing the root problem, which is the economic disparity between (the United States and other countries) and working with the foreign governments, helping them create economies that (are) able to be competitive within their own borders and in the global market as well.

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

Foreign policy needs to be addressed in a direct and diplomatic means. We need to be going to the table and communicating. Any time that we aren’t going to the table and we’re saying that we’re not going to have negotiations with other countries, it limits our ability to work toward a resolution and a solution.

How would you address the situation in Iraq?

I’m the only major-party candidate calling for an immediate and intelligent withdrawal of our troops from the conflict in Iraq. It’s a situation that cannot be won through military action.

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

My concern comes in when we have double-digit increases in tuition costs, and I want to see the federal government work with state institutions and the states to see that higher education is affordable and made affordable for those that want to pursue that.

What is your stance on abortion?

I don’t believe that restrictive legislation leads to fewer abortions Ö we need to address the root issue, which is reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies, and we do that through frank, honest sexual education in our schools. We do that by making availability to contraception and we teach the science behind conception.

What is your stance on gay marriage?

Gay marriage is a smokescreen issue that’s being trumped up by those with nothing more than a politically-motivated agenda to divide the country and it’s an absurd, absurd issue being debated Ö If the government is going to be in the business of affording benefits to one group, they need to be willing to afford those benefits across the board.

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

We need to simplify our tax program, streamline that tax program, ensure that those policies are fair and equitable and that it’s not placing an undue burden on those in the lower income range.

But right now, with the number of loopholes that exist, and the convoluted nature of our tax policy, it is confusing and I think that a mark of good government includes concise and clear legislation, and our tax policy is the exact opposite of that.

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

We have had health insurance tied to employment for decades. That model is no longer working. It’s a burden on small business and it’s a burden on individuals who are self-employed.

So, what I would like to see happen is that the federal government work with the states, not the federal government implementing a health care program, because every time that the federal government does something, it seems to be too little, too late, for too much money.

– Candidate did not provide a photo.

Mark Kennedy, Republican

What is your policy on immigration?

A nation that can’t control its borders can’t control its destiny. We’re a nation of immigrants. We want to welcome those that come to this country legally, but Ö we need to control our borders so we can stop the drug smugglers and terrorists to allow us to have a more responsible immigration policy that will welcome those that can be a contribution to our country.

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

I think we need to remain committed to keeping terrorists from having access to weapons of mass destruction Ö and to use forceful diplomatic means to prevent Iran from achieving that, as well as North Korea from continuing to threaten the world with its nuclear weapons.

How would you address the situation in Iraq?

It’s a serious issue; it is a central challenge facing our generation. If we do not succeed in Iraq that would result in the terrorist threat mushrooming, growing in size and coming back to face today’s students in a much more dangerous way.

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

It absolutely should be more affordable. We need to continue to expand the tax benefits and other support for funding education, but, at the same time, we need to recognize that higher education costs have gone up something like five times more than the price of gas since I graduated from college, and we need to shine more light on universities that have continuing increases in cost significantly above the rate of inflation.

What is your stance on abortion?

I’m pro-life.

What is your stance on gay marriage?

I support marriage being a decision of “we the people,” not “we the courts.” It should be Ö decided by the people or their elected representatives, not being imposed on the country by a handful of judges in Massachusetts.

Would you change the federal tax policy? And, if so, how?I think we need to recognize that tax relief has created six million new jobs in the last three years. That’s six million more people bringing home a paycheck on their path to living their dreams.

We need to keep taxes low, but we also need to simplify the tax code. We need to grammatically simplify it, make it more pro-growth and more fair.

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

The right path is to put patients and doctors in charge of heath care. Today, health care is backwards. If you are with a big company, they get a big discount on their health insurance, yet we prevent small businesses from joining together to get the same group purchasing discount that big companies get so they can offer lower-cost insurance to their employees.

We need to turn this backwards system around, put patients and doctors first, not big government, not big insurance companies, not big trial lawyers. It’s basic, common sense.

Amy Klobuchar, Democrat

What is your policy on immigration?

We need to bring the rule of law back to our immigration policy Ö we do need order at the border and I support having more resources down there and a fence, because the bottom line is that you shouldn’t have people waiting to come in legally for five years while people are coming in illegally and we need to fix that.

We need to stop giving amnesty to companies who are hiring illegal immigrants Ö I don’t agree with that.

I believe that when someone has lived here for a number of years, and they have a job and they’re willing to pay taxes and they’re willing to learn English, that they should be able to earn their citizenship.

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

I believe that we need to, first of all, stop this go-it-alone foreign policy, that we have to work more effectively with our allies and with the rest of the world to fight the war against terror.

I believe one of the reasons we are where we are is because our state department and our military has been focused solely on Iraq for the last few years.

How would you address the situation in Iraq?

I believe you can’t fix a problem you don’t admit exists Ö what has happened in Iraq is that it has devolved into a civil war.

I believe the solution is, first of all, to send a clear message that we are going to transition to Iraqi authority. I don’t believe we can bring our troops home overnight, I don’t believe that we should have a mandatory withdrawal date, but I believe that we need to start bringing our troops home to send a clear message that we’re not going to stay there indefinitely.

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

I believe that higher education must be more affordable Ö I believe that we need to make it easier for families to pay for college tuition. That’s why I proposed a $10,000 tax deduction or a $3,000 tax credit, whichever one works best for each family, so that we can make college more affordable for families and for students.

What is your stance on abortion?

I’m pro-choice and I believe this is a decision between a woman and her doctor. It’s a private decision, but I do believe that we need to reduce the number of abortions, and I think that’s a common ground for people who are pro-life and pro-choice.

What is your stance on gay marriage?

I do not support gay marriage, but I do support civil unions Ö this is a country where we don’t want to discriminate against people and we should make it easier for couples to be able to visit each other in the hospital and pass on their estates and things like that.

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

Washington has taken a $200 billion surplus and turned it into a $250 billion deficit. One out of 12 of the federal tax dollars that you pay goes to pay interest on the debt.

I think that’s wrong.

My proposal is to balance the budget Ö going back to the pay-as-you-go rules Ö limiting some of the discretionary spending Ö close down the tax shelters in the Cayman Islands Ö roll back the Bush tax cuts on people making over $336,000 a year Ö (and) stop the giveaways to the oil and drug companies.

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

My focus is on making it more affordable Ö (by opening) up the federal health care plan to allow small businesses and the self-employed to buy in with tax credits that makes it about half as expensive for them, and also Ö by insuring kids.

We can make health care more affordable by opening up the ban on negotiations with the prescription drug companies Ö (and) by changing some of the ways that we assess administrative costs at 40 cents on a dollar Ö and put more of an emphasis on quality instead of quantity.