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4th Congressional District Candidates: On the Issues

Answers were compiled by Storyhill web editor and Riverwest Currents writer Gretchen Schuldt. Part 2 of 2. Eight candidates are competing to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Gerald D. Kleczka, who is not seeking re-election. The 4th District includes all of Milwaukee, Cudahy, St. Francis, South Milwaukee, West Milwaukee, and part of West Allis. Riverwest Currents and storyhill.net asked 4th Congressional District candidates to respond to questions about issues relevant to Milwaukee-area voters. The questions and candidates’ answers will run in August and September Currents and on the storyhill.net website. Republican and Democratic primaries will be held September 14; the general election is November 2. Democrats State Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Wisconsin — Madison. He served in the Assembly from 1984-2002, when he was elected to the Senate. Attorney Matt Flynn moved to Milwaukee when he was 15. He attended Yale University on a scholarship and, after a stint in the Navy, attended the University of Wisconsin Law School on the GI Bill. He now is a lawyer with the Quarles and Brady law firm. Flynn is the former chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He was a co-chairman of Sen. John Kerry’s Wisconsin campaign for the presidency during the primary. State Sen. Gwendolynne Moore (D-Milwaukee) received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Marquette University. She served in the Assembly from 1989 to 1992, when she was elected to the Senate. She was the first African-American woman to serve there. Republicans Gerald “Jerry” H. Boyle is a lawyer with Boyle, Boyle, & Boyle. He is an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Iraq war. He received his law degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, in 2002. Corey Hoze worked from 2002 to 2004 as Midwest Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Before that, he managed corporate affairs at Miller Brewing Co. and was Administrator of the Division of Economic Development at the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. Hoze holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in religion from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Hoze did not respond to the questions (below). Independents Tim Johnson served as Milwaukee County supervisor for the 15th District from 2002 to 2004, when he decided not to seek re-election. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and served in Iraq War I. Johnson has a Ph.D in theology from Marquette University where he is an adjunct professor. He also teaches at Lakeland College in West Allis. Independent candidates Colin Hudson and Robert Raymond could not be reached for comment. What would your top budget priorities be if you were elected to Congress? Gerald “Jerry” H. Boyle There is entirely too much red-tape in the federal government. I think a complete overhaul of the bureaucracy is necessary. Additionally, I would vote to make permanent President Bush’s tax cuts. Third, I would work to develop a private based national health care plan that would be insured by the federal government but relied on private initiatives so as to not increase the tax burden on the public. Tim Carpenter 1. Fully Fund Health Care for the People, Not Special Interests’ Profits — I support a universal health care program and would examine all possible avenues to make this happen. Until that can occur, we need to fix the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill as soon as possible, which is a complete sham. Many seniors will not receive any prescription drug coverage because of the “doughnut effect” and will actually threaten the current private coverage many retirees have with their insurance companies; this will make our current, inadequate health care system even worse. I would also act right away to allow for the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and I would support legislation that would outlaw prescription drug television commercials. 2. Support Education — I support a strong public education system. I believe this is essential to maintaining our democracy and allowing people to achieve their full potential. I will support fully funding “No Child Left Behind” if it is the program we have in place. When it was proposed, many Democrats like Sen. Kennedy who lead the fight to pass the bill, worked with the Republicans in Congress to try to increase funding for education with the hope that despite some of its drawbacks, “No Child Left Behind” on a whole would improve education for all children in our country. Since it has been passed, however, it appears as though it may have been a veiled attempted to undermine our public school system by underfunding the program and pushing towards more privatization through voucher programs. Although I support funding all federal mandates, especially in education where federal funds have often not followed the mandated programs — even in times of financial crisis, I would work to find a better solution. 3. Support Job Creation and Retention — I believe that our current trade treaties are not based on fair trade standards and do not provide adequate environmental safeguards. I would work to reform these treaties to protect American jobs and focus on improving environmental standards all over the world. For the twenty years that I have been in the WI State Legislature, I have at 98 percent lifetime “votes right” record with the AFL-CIO. I will support the increase of the minimum wage. Matt Flynn Bringing good jobs with good benefits to the people of the 4th Congressional District. I also want to lower the cost of health care and insure universal coverage. The issues of bringing good jobs and lowering the cost of health care are inter-related. Many businesses can no longer afford to add new employees because of the rising cost of health care, and many employees are paying more in their co-pays than whatever raises they get. I would author and fight for changes in tax policy, and expenditure policy to accomplish these objectives. Tim Johnson My first concern is a balanced budget. We should not be funding programs today with our children and grandchildren’s money. We can no longer afford to spend money on such pork projects as the recent rain forests in Iowa, statues in Alabama, and unneeded bridges in Alaska. After that, my first priority would be to combine resources and create a federal health care program integrating the monies spent by Medicaid, Medicare, state and local governments, and charitable organizations to cover those who are in the greatest need. Once such a broad foundational program is operational, there will be a model in place that will help facilitate debate on an Americanized National Health Care System. Secondary priorities would be mass transportation initiatives, alternative fuel research, fully equipping our troops and agencies to combat terrorism, and working with the EPA to obtain federal dollars to address Milwaukee’s sewer problems. Gwendolynne Moore Our federal budget is a reflection of our government’s principles and values. The most recent Bush budget is a testament to his Administration’s allegiance to big business and the wealthy few at the expense of hard working Americans. As a member of the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, I have worked for six years on the state budget and I know what it means to set priorities. Mine have been education, health care, and protecting programs that make Wisconsin families’ lives better. In Congress, my first fiscal priority will be the working Americans who are struggling to make ends meet and my positions and votes on budgetary matters will reflect that. I will support responsible budget decisions that use our tax dollars to create jobs, train American workers, provide quality education to all of our children and access to affordable health care for all Americans. Do you support the renewal of the Patriot Act? Why or why not? Gerald “Jerry” H. Boyle I am in complete favor of the PATRIOT Act. It gives law enforcement the tools needed to fight the war on terror.While some may claim that the Act infringes on our civil rights, I know as a criminal defense lawyer that there are courts and lawyers and organizations like the ACLU that will protect our rights. I can’t think of one case of civil rights abuse stemming from the PATRIOT Act since its inception. Tim Carpenter The Patriot Act is something we should not be afraid to fix. The Patriot Act’s allowing of widespread wiretapping, secret home searches, the searching of any records whatsoever without judicial oversight does not make our society safer or better. Law enforcement must have the tools needed to keep us safe, but not at the expense of the very constitutional principles that define us as a free society. Matt Flynn I do not support the renewal of the Patriot Act unless significant provisions are changed. The current Patriot Act is an attack on civil liberties and individual privacy. It overrides Fourth Amendment protections and normal search warrant procedure to give virtually unlimited power to the government to intrude in our lives. In the name of Homeland Security, the Ashcroft Justice Department has far too much power. It should be curtailed. Tim Johnson I believe the Patriot Act has been very useful in facilitating greater communication between federal agencies such as the CIA and FBI. Such collaborative efforts can only enhance our defense of terrorism. I also believe that the same techniques used to catch drug dealers and members of the Mafia should also be allowed to continue to be used in the pursuit of terrorists. On the other hand, some civil liberties have been put at risk. I could support renewing a form of the Patriot Act that contains more provisions for protecting civil liberties. Gwendolynne Moore We cannot allow the threat of terrorism to be exploited and used as an excuse to compromise our personal freedoms. The Patriot Act has infringed on the civil liberties of many Americans. I believe the recent Supreme Court ruling that prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have the right to due process and to contest their detention has highlighted how willing the Bush Administration has been to trample on individuals’ civil rights. I do not support the renewal of the Patriot Act and in Congress, I will stand up for the civil liberties of all Americans. Do you favor extending tax cuts enacted during the Bush Administration? Do you think the national deficit can be controlled if the tax cuts are extended or enlarged? Gerald “Jerry” H. Boyle As previously noted, I favor making the tax cuts permanent. The reason we are in a deficit right now is because of two reasons: 1) the recession in 2000-2001 and 2) 9/11 and the resulting War on Terror. As the economy continues to grow at an unprecedented rate tax revenues will rise and the deficit will lessen. However, as long as we are at war there will be deficits, but I think smart management of both fiscal and monetary policy will decrease any effects of the deficit. Tim Carpenter I support repealing the Bush tax cuts for those making over $200,000 per year. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have squandered record budget surpluses and exploded the deficit. I support a tax plan that does not take advantage of workers in order to favor big business and the wealthy. In Wisconsin, I have fought to stop corporation cheats from moving their income to shell corporations in Nevada and paying $0 in taxes here. I will also fight against corporate tax loopholes in Congress. The corporations and wealthy who benefit most from the stable and safe infrastructure and society provided by our government should not be able to avoid paying their fair share of taxes by filing some papers that move their “headquarters” offshore. Matt Flynn I would oppose extending, and in fact I would roll back, the Bush tax cuts given to the wealthiest people in this country. I would extend, and would not repeal, tax cuts directed to the lower income and middle class. The Bush tax cuts have taken a large surplus and turned it into a $500 billion deficit. He is proposing in his upcoming budget to further cut taxes by approximately $36 billion on people whose incomes are more than $1 million a year. At the same time, he is proposing an additional $26 billion in domestic spending cuts. The economic policies of George Bush and the Republican Congress are based on what is called “starving the beast” — that is, starving the cash out of all of the social programs that they opposed in the first place — e.g., Head Start, Medicare. Bush should be removed from office for in effect dismantling and taking the accumulated wealth of this country that has been built up since the Roosevelt administration. Tim Johnson I do favor extending the tax cuts for the lower and middle classes because they typically stimulate the economy most through consumer spending, which creates jobs and eventually benefits wealthy Americans. However, I think the tax cuts should be repealed for the upper class. In my view, the national deficit can best be controlled through a combination of tax cuts for the lower and middle class that stimulates spending and closing tax loopholes that have been exploited by too many individuals and corporations. Gwendolynne Moore I strongly oppose extending the tax cuts enacted during the Bush Administration that benefit the wealthy few and have caused record deficits and skyrocketing national debt which as reached $7 trillion. In Wisconsin, 1.2 million people, or 48 percent of taxpayers, received less than $100 from the 2003 tax cuts. In 2006, 87 percent of Wisconsin taxpayers will receive less than $100. And in return, each Wisconsin resident faces an added burden of over $9,000 in federal debt. These tax cuts have cost us dearly and we have gotten little in return. In Congress, I will support the repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and push for targeted tax relief for low- and middle-income families who need it most.