2010 Election Guide: Betty McCollum, DFL incumbent

JESSIE VAN BERKEL

How will you address the federal budget deficit?
We need to pass the middle class tax cuts, which include 100 percent tax cuts for all taxpayers. But I donâÄôt support giving an additional tax cut to 3 percent of Americans. That would take this country into $700 billion of additional debt over the next 10 years âĦ
Then we need to look at removing tax giveaways for corporations that export jobs outside the United States that will help balance the budget.
Everybody needs to be looking at tightening up their belt, so all options need to be on the table.
How would you work with members of the other party to reduce the gridlock in Congress?
This is not about Democrats and Republicans, this is about moving the American people forward … This whole attitude of âÄòIf youâÄôre not going to do it exactly my way IâÄôm not going to participate,âÄô is wrong. We donâÄôt do that in our families, we donâÄôt do that in business, we donâÄôt do that at our places of worship when weâÄôre discussing how to move an agenda forward and we cannot afford to do that at a national level.
Would you support a second stimulus bill?
The first stimulus bill was a tremendous success. It created and saved jobs for 3 million Americans. We would have seen unemployment rates at 16 percent, according to conservative economists, had we not moved forward with the stimulus bill âĦ
Another stimulus bill like we had before is not the solution. The solution is to work with our businesses now [that] confidence has been restored for them to get out and start hiring and making plans to move forward.
What should federal immigration reform look like?
We need to work on border security first and foremost, but we need comprehensive immigration reform.
The DonâÄôt Ask, DonâÄôt Tell policy was recently overturned by a federal judge. Do you agree with that ruling, and what would you do for gay rights on the national level?
I always thought DonâÄôt Ask, DonâÄôt Tell was an inappropriate policy, because we shouldnâÄôt ask Americans who are defending our liberties and our freedoms here in the United States to lie about who they are. It is unfortunate that the court has had to step in.
We shouldnâÄôt be talking about putting amendments to our constitution which divide us, which deny people freedoms and liberties. I have voted consistently not to amend the United States Constitution to deny people their rights.
Do you support the health care legislation passed last session, and should there be further federal action on health care?
Yes I do, it is wonderful piece of legislation âĦ
One of the things that I was very supportive of, however, thatâÄôs missing on it is the public option. As we set up the national exchanges, I think we need to keep in mind that a public option may be something that we should be moving forward with.
Do you support cap and trade legislation?
I support moving towards a clean energy economy and cap and trade …
We need to take action in this country to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We need to take action in this country to make sure America develops a competitive edge on the technologies for wind, solar and battery technology into the future because thatâÄôs where the next potential growth of good-paying, high-paying jobs is going to come out of.
Do you agree with the Supreme CourtâÄôs Citizens United decision? Why or why not?
I donâÄôt think corporations are people, but I really think a failure in CongressâÄô way of reacting to the Supreme Court decision âÄî by not having full disclosure of who was contributing money in our electoral processes âÄî is really wrong âĦ
Without disclosure, the American people are at risk of really being hoodwinked by big money in this election.