Saturday, August 16, 2008
WA 5th Congressional District: Democratic Candidate Mark Mays Answers Your Questions
First of all, I want to thank Tom for including us in this process. I also want to thank you, the readers for asking questions that are important to you. It is important to understand that we all want a better America, and we all have different means to get to that goal. We need to understand that as Americans, a healthy debate about the issues is the most important part of exercising our right to vote. I thank you all for participating in that process.
Secondly, I would ask that you check out our Website, www.votemarkmays.com. We are soon to upload substantive issues pages that will answer more of your questions on a broader number of topics. Once again, I thank you for this opportunity, and hope that you will stay in touch.
Mark Mays, Ph.D., J.D.
Democratic Nominee for 5th Congressional District WA state
1. Steve from Pullman asks: What is your stance on nuclear energy? Europe and the rest of the world have left us behind in nuclear technology. Nuclear energy is much more safe now than thirty years ago at the time of Three Mile island. Plus, increased funding on nuclear research and development could be a boon to businesses and universities like SEL and WSU here in Pullman.
Looking at different models, such as that used in Canada with much smaller and safer nuclear reactors, will allow us to fully evaluate the safe use of nuclear energy. I am not opposed to the use of nuclear power, but we also must be mindful of the waste that is associated with those types of generating facilities.
Thinking more globally about the problem would assist even more. In combination with Hydro, solar, wind, and tide power, safe nuclear power could be an asset to our way of life. America’s addiction to fossil fuels needs to be transformed into an addiction to alternative means of energy generation if we are to keep our world a sustainable place to live.
2. Jay from Colfax asks: Would you support a balanced budget amendment?
While I support greater financial restraint and responsibility, a trait that has clearly been lacking in the Bush Administration, I do not support a balanced budget amendment, but please also let me tell you why.
I do not support such an amendment because there have been times in our Nation’s history that we have had to borrow money to maintain important governmental services. For example, during the Great Depression, the United States went into debt to make sure that we invested in America. Many roads, bridges, and national parks came to be because of that effort. One such project, very close to us here in the State of Washington is the Grand Coulee Dam. It was precisely this investment that gave jobs to our jobless, and stimulated the economy to a point where we pulled ourselves out of the financial mess that we were in.
While I do not condone the following examples , I will state them here for debate. More recently, President Reagan used deficit spending to outspend the Russians, therefore causing the economic collapse of the Communist system there. In addition, the Bush Administration is using borrowed money to pay for the war in Iraq. While the richest one percent of our nation benefits from the tax cuts given to them by George Bush and the Republicans, our dollar has lost more and more value. Right now, the American dollar is worth less than the Canadian dollar. We need to balance the budget and be more responsible with our Federal Budget, but forbidding the Federal Government from deficit spending in the form of a Constitutional Amendment is going a bit too far.
My second question is: No one ever addresses the 800 pound gorilla called the national debt. Do you have any plans on paying off or paying down the nine-trillion-plus dollar debt?
Our National Debt is an embarrassment to our country. We need to work together to make sure that our children and their grand children do not have to pay for our foolish economic policy. The Bush Administration and the National Republican party have devised a national economic policy that has devalued the Dollar, deregulated financial markets that have caused a near collapse of our banking system, and run up a total of nine trillion dollars in debt.
A trillion is a very large number. If one counted backwards by seconds, a million seconds ago, was sometime last week. A billion seconds ago was just about the time that Richard Nixon boarded the plane to leave the White House. But a Trillion seconds ago was 30,000 BC!
It would be necessary to roll back the Bush tax cut, and put some of the focus on again paying down the national debt so that we get back to where we started when George W. Bush first came to power. It will not be an easy task, but I would support greater financial responsibility by our Federal Government.
3. Matt from Colton asks: As an "almost" US citizen, even though I cannot vote yet, I have a question regarding Immigration. Recently I found out that my local Immigration office is about 1 year behind on Naturalization, if I remember correctly, they are just starting to work on application to become a US citizen from about August 2007. So all in all, even though I can become a US citizen around June 2010, I will still may have to wait until June 2011 or out to December 2011. That means I will have been unable to become a naturalized citizen for more than the required 5 years, on top of that my status was adjusted in Nov/Dec of 2004, yet I had to wait until June 2005 to get my green card and start the "5 years of residence"...The Question is: Do you support the streamlining of the process of becoming a naturalized US citizen?
I would support streamlining the immigration process. It is very hard for one to become a naturalized citizen of the US, and we need to work harder to make that process more cooperative.
4. Jan from Pullman asks: What is your position on stem cell research? Specifically, I would like to know why Rep. McMorris Rodgers voted against H.R. 810 (The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act) and how Mr. Mays would have voted on H.R. 810.
Stem cell research is an area in which scientific research could have kept America at the vanguard of health research. Instead, we have allowed other nations to take the lead.
I support research on stem cells. The potential for treatments for many degenerative and terrible diseases is too vast to allow the opportunity to pass. I would have voted for H.R. 810. I think that it is time for the United States to take the lead not only in stem cells, but expand the amount of scientific research funded by the Federal Government. It is through scientific research that we have improved the quality of life for our citizens throughout the years.
5. Scott from Garfield asks:. How do you feel about allowing grazing on CRP land?
Many of these lands were put into this designation for different reasons. Dependent upon what types of vegetation and wildlife is present, and how grazing would affect that habitat would affect my decision. For example, some CRP land is grassland, and some is shrub-based. The grazing on the grassland would, in the later summer months would be allowable in most cases, but it should be handled on a case-by-case basis. These rules were put in place to conserve our landscape and to prevent damage to the ecosystem, and if grazing does not run contrary to those rules, then I see no reason why grazing should not be allowed.