ISSUES
 

ETHICS REFORM   

The public wants real reform to ensure that legislators can’t be bought – a sensible expectation given the culture of corruption that is infesting Washington.  Currently, Congress is dealing inadequately with the fallout from the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal that broke in January with new waves of indictments appearing inevitable.  Both houses in Washington have rejected outright bans on gifts and proposals to establish independent offices of public integrity to handle ethics complaints.  Lobbyists can still wine and dine Washington legislators, but they must post the value of the food and drink on their Web sites.  That's disclosure, but hardly reform. At issue is whether we can enact meaningful deterrents to lawmakers who may be selling our trust to the highest bidder and undermining the bedrock of our democracy: exchanging favors for cash, houses, furniture, cars, luxury golf outings or free meals – a moral and ethical outrage and betrayal of the public trust. The key to fundamental reform is mandatory ethics training, disclosure, openness and accountability.  Right now, members on the Hill have completely abandoned their responsibility to police themselves.  I am a representative of the people who will stand up and take a hard position against corruption on Capitol Hill.

NATIONAL SECURITY   

I will fight for policies and law that promote national security that not only depends on military strength but also relies on strong diplomatic alliances and intelligent foreign policy, which safeguards us at home and creates a safer world. Defense, immigration, and veterans are issues of critical importance to be addressed requiring insight and courage, achievable without trampling on the hard won liberties, freedoms and rights of U.S. citizens.  Additionally, we must strive to fiscally balance helping those abroad while placing first the welfare of victims of disaster in our homeland.

UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE   

I will work for universal health coverage so all Americans can get quality health care when they need it because no one should have to make the choice between protecting their health and putting food on the table.  In the wealthiest nation on earth, it is a moral outrage that roughly 46 million Americans lack health insurance.  In an advanced industrial society this is unacceptable.  Businesses, especially small businesses, are increasingly unable to pay skyrocketing healthcare premiums and are forced to put more of the burden of health insurance onto the backs of their employees.  Manufacturers like GM estimates that health care adds between $1100 to $1500 to the price of each vehicle produced in the U.S.  This creates strong incentives to outsource jobs to countries with cheaper health care costs or to countries where they pay no health benefits to their employees.  Americans pay much more for health insurance and care than people in most other developed countries, yet, by all standard health indexes, we receive less value for our money.


ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY

 I will work for environmental integrity with a strong commitment to protecting our estuaries, oceans, old growth forests and other critical areas.  Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are key to creating a clean energy future and healthy environment for not only the nation, but the world.  I will work for laws and policies that promote environmental integrity and renewable affordable energy sources.


INFRASTRUCTURE AND JOBS

As your representative, I will make upgrading and modernizing our infrastructure and most importantly our aged and outdated water and rail systems a top priority.  Modernization will create construction jobs that pay well and at the same time will replace systems that are literally crumbling before our eyes and will not last for the foreseeable future in many areas of the nation.  In the condition it is in now, our water delivery system places both our health and national security at risk.  Our rail system is outmoded, in dire need of repair and lacks meaningful security measures.


CIVIL LIBERTIES AND HUMAN RIGHTS   

I intend to fight to guarantee our liberties, freedoms and rights just as my ancestor, George Clymer, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, fought for his fellow citizens, his descendents – my children and yours – with his life, love, tenacity and dedication to his country.  The courageous vision and hard won victory achieved for us by the Founders of our country is a gift that shall not be squandered when I represent you in Washington.

Question and Answer

1.   How do you assess the state of the nation’s preparedness to meet emergencies caused by violence, natural disaster or public health crisis?  What more should be done to make people feel safer in their own homes, businesses and communities? 

The nation faces severe shortcomings in securing chemical plants and other critical targets, prioritization, inspection of shipping containers and air cargo and in counteracting biological warfare threats and bird flu.  I personally witnessed the recent styrene spill in Cheswold and realized that we were not adequately prepared to manage a situation of greater severity.  The FEMA need to thoroughly be re-organized in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.  Nationally, interoperable communications, interagency coordination, equipment and training are fundamental problems for first responders in many areas.  Homeland Security programs are plagued with bureaucratic waste, mismanagement and ill-definition.  Greater public input and creative action at all levels is necessary to improve our emergency preparedness strategy.  Congress needs to level with the American people on national security and emergency management issues.  The voters are tired of being misled.


2.  What steps should the federal government take to improve the health of its citizens, and make health-care more affordable?

Universal health coverage is the future and best practices from other countries can be implemented.  Americans deserve quality and preventative health care.  In the wealthiest nation on earth, it is a moral outrage that roughly 46 million Americans lack health insurance.  Manufacturers like GM estimate that health care adds between $1100 to $1500 to the price of each vehicle produced in the U.S. creating strong incentives to outsource jobs to other countries.  The Federal government should enable the state to manage their own universal health care programs with emphasis on prevention and wellness.  Current insurance industry abuses of consumers are an outrage against the American people.  Streamlined co-operative federally assisted state-level independent non-profit health care systems will eliminate bureaucratic waste, consolidate record keeping, insure timely payments to health care providers and realize economy of scale through bulk purchasing of supplies and services and allow doctors to treat their patients free of insurance company interference.  A universal health care system will boost our economy through greater productivity and lower employer health care costs.


3.  How do you assess the current level of federal spending, taxation and debt, as well as the priorities reflected in the budget?  What, if any, changes would you make in spending, taxes or state services?

Our multi-trillion dollar national debt to foreign competitors is a national disgrace.  This is largely traceable to a culture of corruption in Congress.  Massive waste and inefficiency due to special interest domination of our Congress will ruin our nation if we don’t take back our government by electing people with the political will to institute basic fiscal responsibility, focused on carefully targeted appropriation of monies for those programs truly in need instead of funding bridges to nowhere.  Any business run like the federal government will be bankrupt in two years.  I would see that we cut waste and fraud, foster educational opportunity to gain an edge in the global economy, fund biotechnology research, seek energy independence, take care of the people at home – such as the victims of Katrina – a national disgrace, increase aid for building of affordable housing and fund security measures to protect those in Federally subsidized housing, meaningfully address the medical needs of our brave veterans; such as PTSS, illnesses related to suspected exposure to chemical agents etc., and create a strong economic foundation for all Americans to achieve the American Dream – not just the rich –  while eliminating costly, irresponsible wars of aggression that are going to bankrupt our nation.  Moreover, in the wake of the Rep. Mark Foley scandal, we need to take action now to ensure that crimes involving child predators and child porn do not continue to be under funded, understaffed and lack accountability measures at both the state and federal level.  I would work for Congress to approve $1 billion extra per year to mount an effective “war” on child porn and sexual predators; since 2001, the House and Senate have held at least 27 hearings on this exploding crisis.  The $1 billion a year would pay for 2,000 new federal agents, 1,000 new state and local agents, 20 new crime labs and 279 new prosecutors all dedicated to battling those involved in sexual abuse of children.  Our campaign has achieved greater momentum for a fraction of the opponents spending.  I am proud to say that we spent $400 in the Democratic Primary, not including the filing fee, without signs and received an incredible 40% of the vote – a political phenomenon vs. my endorsed opponents squandering of $240,000 including his contributors’ monies and garnering only 60% in the Primary election.  When elected, I’ll take the same fiscal responsibility to Washington that I have applied to my congressional campaign.


4.  What should the federal government’s role be in public education, how well is this being carried out and what should be done to better fulfill that mission? 

No Child Left Behind program is flawed and under funded.  We are currently teaching children to take tests - not to turn on the light in the mind of a child and inspire a lifetime love of learning.  Mass testing needs to be replaced by individual evaluation and talent development according to each student’s learning style so that all may reach their maximum potential.  We need to reevaluate the NCLB program, keep the effective components and eliminating the rest.  The Federal government should also promote a low-cost national internet-based science/humanities based higher educational system for working Americans to aid in their professional development.  Additionally, the cost of college tuition has skyrocketed.  Over the last five years, the average tuition at a public university has increased by more than 50 percent, to $5,500 a year.  Instead of making college more affordable, the Bush administration and Republican Congress have done the opposite: Earlier this year, the president signed a budget reconciliation bill that slashed financial assistance by $12.7 billion, the largest cut in college aid in history.  To help American get ahead in the global economy we need to give Americans the tools to get ahead.  A college education and training are key to individual advancement, crucial to America’s success in a competitive world and to expanding and strengthening the middle class.  With a background in education and single a mother of four children, attending college while working and raising children, I will be fighting hard for quality education and affordable educational and training opportunities for all Americans.


5.  How do you assess the federal government’s record in environmental protection?  What, if any, adjustments need to be made?

Environmental protection has declined sharply during the Bush Administration and the Republican dominated Congress due to undue special interest influence.  Federal judges across the West recently issued a flurry of rulings chastising the government for repeated and sometimes willful failure to enforce laws protecting fish, forests, wildlife and clean air.  The language that are using suggests they are fed up with the Bush administration.  Judges have criticized the judgment, expertise and, in some cases, integrity of the federal agencies that manage natural resources on public lands, in decisions in Oregon, California, Montana and Wyoming.  Judges rarely express that frustration on paper and when do – it is said they are often reflecting what they see as a systematic effort to get around the law.  Especially threatening to the people of Delaware are old coal-fired plants, oil refineries, chemical plants and the possibility of DuPont trucking VX Nerve Gas from other states, treating and dumping the material into our recovering Delaware River.  It takes a culture of corruption to tolerate pollution, environmental degradation and failure to enforce hard-won law.  When I’m elected, I’ll listen to scientists, engineers and concerned citizens over the pitches of lobbyists and PAC’s.  I will advocate strongly for enforcement of our environmental laws, support remediation programs and work to close industrial waste stream loops by facilitating new technology and effective environmental management through better environmental policy.  I will work for renewable and alternative energy sources, like bio-fuels, hybrids, solar, wind, hydrogen, tidal and wave power.  It is possible to have a sound economy and a healthy environment if we adopt a more sustainable, commonsense and enlightened approach.  We can create more high-paying jobs by restructuring our economy to work with nature instead of against it but we must first alter the politics of pollution by electing people who care.

6.  Since 2001, Congress has adopted laws expanding the executive branch’s surveillance powers in the interest of improved intelligence capabilities in the War on terrorism.  Do you think these laws are adequate, effective and properly safeguard the privacy of American citizens?  In practice, have these tools been properly used?  What changes in law are needed to correct any deficiencies or abuses you cite? 

 Coordination of our nation’s intelligence and counter-terrorist capabilities could have been handled with a more streamlined approach of augmenting the National Security Council with permanent liaisons from each relevant agency rather than creating a massive new bureaucracy in the form of the Department of Homeland Security.  Instead, George Bush and Dick Cheney have given us an Orwellian nightmare with their blatant abuses of existing laws and constant demand for new powers without demonstrating the wisdom to use them.  I fully intend to use our seat in Congress to champion Liberty in the face of tyranny, just as my ancestor George Clymer, a signer of the Declaration of Bill of Rights did at the founding of our country.


7.  How do you assess the goals, implementation and conduct of the general War on Terror and the invasion/occupation of Iraq?  What changes if any would you propose? 

The War in Iraq has proven to be a shortsighted and costly diversion from the War in Afghanistan where the Taliban currently occupy fifty percent of the territory and our field commanders are begging an unresponsive administration for more troops, supplies and ammunition.  We were diverted by an incompetent president pursuing his own special interest driven agenda, and flawed foreign policy without regard to the true facts and complexity of the matter, while the original terrorists were allowed to escape.  We were misled on the question of the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction while Iran and North Korea pose the greater real threats.  The cost of the war has now reached a staggering $379 billion and continues to cost us $1.5 billion a week with no end is sight.  By remaining without a target pullout date, a plan or a strategy to secure Iraq, we are creating more terrorists and inadvertently confirming claims made by our enemies that we seek to occupy Muslim lands.  We are undermining our efforts on the “war on terror” and our credibility within the international community.  I support an immediate phased pullout from Iraq to be completed within 12-18 months and the pursuance of diplomatic measures.  The valuable lives of our military people and taxpayer dollars should not be recklessly squandered in pursuit of flawed foreign policy.


8.  How do you assess the nation’s energy policy?  What should or could be done with federal energy policy to better assure better supplies, affordable pricing, or development of new technologies?  

We will never have an effective futuristic national energy policy under the current coal, oil and nuclear dominated Congress and Administration.  Energy independence is integrally linked to our national security.  Oil companies have given more than $190 million to members of Congress since 1990, guaranteeing an energy policy that serves the oil industry over the public interest. Until representatives stop taking oil money, progress on global warming and clean energy alternatives will be difficult.  Can we continue the costly cycle of foreign wars over oil when we could best devote our vast but finite resources to alternative energy development and infrastructure?  We must, as a matter of long-term survival, move towards renewable and alternative energy sources, like biofuels, hybrids, solar, wind, tidal and wave power ready today, but Congress's addiction to oil money is holding us back. The best way to move towards energy independence is to end oil corruption in Washington.  In the face of souring electric rates, the people of Delaware are on the verge of demanding a new national energy policy.  We simply won’t get it if we continue to elect the same old politicians at all levels.


9.  What is your opinion about the current laws governing abortion?  What changes, if any, should be made

I support the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision. 


10.  Many states are facing big gaps between revenues and spending needed for transportation projects.  Is federal aid adequate in your view?  If not, what should be done to more adequately address this problem? 

In order to effectively reform our national transportation policy, we must first curb pork barrel politics as usual.  We must thoroughly review our real transportation needs (in contrast to the foolhardy multi-million dollar Alaskan bridge to nowhere) prioritization, design criteria, quality control, security, integrity, management and contract procedures.  We should take a more integrated approach to roads, mass transit, airports and waterways.  We must especially repair our unsafe rail lines, bridges and strained air traffic control system.  We should also explore more flexible options such as high-speed rail, urban/suburban light rail and support innovative transportation-related R&D to spur meaningful economic advancement and job creation.  I will make upgrading and modernizing our infrastructure and most importantly our aged and outdated rail systems a top priority.

 
11.  Do you see any need for changes in federal policies governing medical research and development, or in the procedures employed by the FDA for drug approvals and oversight?   

Current FDA regulations afford us very little consumer protection as they have largely been dictated by the pharmaceutical industry.  The U.S. is steadily losing its biomedical research lead to other countries due to political interference of pressure groups.  I support a wide array of research programs beyond one of my opponents support for fetal stem cell research.  Ethical guidelines and legislation must be addressed to entice lucrative businesses to locate in the U.S.  Following the mapping of the Human Genome, the turning on and off of genes that identify hereditary disease, etc. is on the verge of a making medical history.  We can maintain our international lead if we find the political courage to act now. 

12.  How do you assess the federal process for Department of Defense contracting and oversight?  

Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t getting enough of the basic support and protective equipment they need; yet the Pentagon spends billions of taxpayer and borrowed money annually on weapons systems that don’t work, obsolete facilities, poor procurement and resource management schemes and other waste.  Current DOD management and spending policies need to be thoroughly de-polarized in the name of national security.  Pork barrel politics-as-usual won’t cut it in an age of terrorism and soaring national debt.

13.  How do you assess the rate of job growth and economic development in the nation?  How do you assess the government’s performance in assisting in the development of jobs, in retraining the workforce and in attracting, retaining or growing existing businesses? 

Despite the recent surge in the stock market and a temporary dip in oil prices, inflated energy prices will continue to be a drag on the American economy if not corrected.  Consumer debt is inflated and mortgage debt is at an all time high.  Many Americans are working at two or three jobs to make ends meet.  The economic picture is also distorted by hordes of illegal aliens who depress our wages and strain our health care and social service systems.  We must end Federal policies that encourage outsourcing our jobs and guarantee a decent living wage to all working Americans.

 
14.  What do you propose to address future funding shortfalls for Social Security? 

The abusive federal misappropriation of the Social security trust fund must be ended.  Under no circumstances should benefits be extended to illegal aliens.  Social Security is a critical component of the financial security of millions of retirees, especially the nation’s elderly poor.  When the large Baby Boom generation begins to retire, new pressures will develop.  I believe benefits should grow faster in the future for low-income workers than for those who are better off and faster than inflation. The benefit increases for wealthier seniors should grow no faster than the rate of inflation. This would be accomplished by adopting a sliding-scale benefit formula.

 
15.  What do you propose to address future funding shortfalls for Medicare?

Medicare's annual costs were 2.7 percent of GDP in 2005, or over 60 percent of Social Security's, they are now projected to surpass Social Security expenditures in a little more than 20 years and reach 11 percent of GDP in 2080. Part B of the SMI Trust Fund, which pays doctors' bills and other outpatient expenses, and the recent Part D, which pays for access to prescription drug coverage, are both projected to remain adequately financed into the indefinite future by operation of current law.  In the long term, Congress should work to develop legislative proposals to address the large increases in SMI costs associated with the baby boom attaining eligibility age at the same time that they address the HI cost increases caused by the aging of that generation.


16.  Do you support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage or civil union?  If yes, why?  If not, why? 

As matrimony originated as an essentially religious function, I will support no federal law interfering with the practice of religion on purely constitutional grounds.  I am not, however, opposed to the states rights of granting civil unions and equal protection in contractual secular matters of property rights, insurance claims, etc.

17.  Are current federal laws governing financial institutions, lending and investing adequate?  Do you propose changes? 

Current federal laws do not adequately protect investors and consumers from a wide array of predatory lending practices, abusive credit card policies, investment fraud, insider trading, misrepresentation, discrimination, targeting and other abuses as well as identity theft.  Further changes, including harsher federal penalties and restitution are required to protect the American people from unscrupulous criminals hiding behind corporations.

18.  How do you assess the adequacy of federal efforts to collect all taxes owed to it?  What changes, if any, do you propose?   

The entire U.S. tax structure is overly complex and special interest driven, has cut taxes for the rich and abandoned the poor.  Congress needs to re-evaluate, streamline and simplify tax code to promote savings and investment which in turn will stimulate economic advancement for the future.  The U.S. should also review its participation in various aspects of international trade and tariff agreements as countries with excessive duties on American exports should be dealt with through a series of “mirror laws” charging their exports back at their own rates except in cases of imported components needed to keep industries operating in the U.S. instead of outsourcing jobs.  Abuses of employers hiring illegal aliens should be curtailed through vigorous enforcement of our immigration laws.