Jay Pond, Green

What is your position on same-sex marriage? Should marriage be dealt with at a state or federal level?

I am a queer man and I want my government out of my bedroom. All people deserve the right to form a family. Marriage is one way for society to support and acknowledge the love between people.

What is your position on abortion?

Absolutely pro-choice.

What is your position on stem cell research? Should the federal government fund stem cell research?

Yes, stem cell research is a tool for learning more about ourselves as humans. It will make our lives better and reduce health-care expenses. It is inevitable that we will learn from stem cell research. To block it now would be detrimental to Minnesota’s leadership position in medicine.

How would you address the rising costs of health care?

A single-payer universal health-care system will provide health care to all and save money doing it. By disconnecting health care from our places of employment, we give all people the gift of health, eliminate the nightmare interaction with insurance companies and reduce health-care costs for our businesses.

Would you change the current tax policy? If so, how?

Love that $70,000 tax break for those who bought a Hummer? What a farce our tax system has become. The wealthy are getting wealthier, while the middle class and poor have to work harder to pay for the greed of the wealthy.

I support an immediate reversal of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Long-term I would like to see a transition from taxes on income to taxes on pollution, resource exploitation and fossil fuels.

What is your position on funding for higher education?

Higher tuition is an explicit example of how tax cuts to the rich get pushed down so that those with fewer resources have to pay more for tuition. I support a serious increase in funding for Pell grants now.

What role should the federal government play in providing financial aid to college students?

The greatest resource we have as a nation is our innovation and human capabilities. To not fund and support our youth as they enter college is detrimental to our future economic security. The federal government is the best resource to fund financial aid to all – so that all Americans, regardless of class, have the opportunity to attend the college of their choice.

How should we proceed with military operations in Iraq?

By asking “What do the Iraqi citizens want?” gives a better discussion of the mess we have created in Iraq. I support the immediate withdrawal of troops – replaced by opportunities for full employment for the citizens of Iraq. Iraq’s entire infrastructure needs to be rebuilt – water, housing, transportation and utilities. By funding an international financial structure to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure, and employing Iraqi citizens (not Halliburton employees), then the country will move toward economic and social stability.

What is your plan to improve the economy and stimulate job growth?

Wind! The Twin Cities metro sits on a vast resource of wind resources to the west. Minnesota, North and South Dakota have the wind resources to provide 70 percent of the nation’s energy needs.

Laying the power grid will provide jobs, stimulate the economy and bring a source of revenue to the state coffers in this region.

How would you handle the threat of terrorism?

I support the creation of the Department of Peace so that we have a cabinet-level voice advocating for non-violent conflict resolution. As a nation leading the globe in military hardware production, it is quite possible that the money spent on the war machine is actually breeding terrorism.

Along with Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee and the 40 members of the Progressive Caucus in Congress, whole-heartedly support and endorse the creation of the Department of Peace.