Monday, September 10, 2012

Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District: A voter's guide

John Ewing vs. Lee Terry

Despite moving to California, I still feel a bit of responsibility to Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District. Lee Terry has been the representative of this district since 1998. Despite his signature on a pledge for term limits, Terry has continued to represent the District and is running for re-election in 2012. John Ewing is the former treasurer of Douglas County, I have written checks with his name on it for car registration among other things. John Ewing is the latest Democratic challenger to Terry, a job that used to be filled by Jim Esch. I've met Representative Terry and he gave me a pocket Constitution to keep.  I'll try my hardest to keep my personal bias(es) out of what I type. 

Anyways, I've attempted to create a voter's guide for the 2nd Congressional District of Nebraska. So enjoy. Thanks to Project VoteSmart for their valuable database of research.

Abortion issues:

John Ewing: As a licensed Baptist minister, Ewing has come out to say that he is pro-life.  Another pro-life Democrat running against Lee Terry?  Ask Tom White how that works out.

Lee Terry: Because of numerous votes on his voting record, including voting to stop federal funding of Planned Parenthood, it's safe to assume that Terry is pro-life, as well.


Ewing: It is unclear whether he supports combat operations in Afghanistan.  He stated in an in interview with the League of Women's Voters, "We must work towards an Iran that does not have nuclear capability, a Syria that does not slaughter its own people, an Afghanistan with no Taliban, and the end of the Al Qaeda movement."

Terry: Supports combat operations in Afghanistan, praising Obama for increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan.  He stated, ""President Obama has made the right decision to increase our ground troops in Afghanistan. We must have a comprehensive plan that includes local tribal leaders and Afghans with assistance from other nations. Our troops must have every resource available to effectively eliminate the Taliban and other terrorists now in control of many parts of the country. To succeed we must show strong military leadership, create jobs for Afghans and provide security to their communities," in 2009.

Budget cuts, defense spending:

Ewing: Cannot find research showing what Ewing believes.

Terry: Project VoteSmart classifies Terry and Ewing's positions as unknown on this issue.  Terry has stated publicly that everything, including defense spending should be discussed.  Saying, "no sacred cows," however, his votes have slightly confused the issue, continually voting for either maintaining defense spending or increasing defense spending.  After the Republican House Budget was passed, Terry praised it, talking about entitlement spending cuts and sustaining defense spending.  While I recognize that people may change their minds and people's actions might not match up with their words, it is hard to classify Terry's position as unknown. It seems very likely that he does not believe defense spending should be cut in order to balance the budget.  I'll gladly link to his votes for increasing defense spending.

Budget, raising taxes:

Ewing: He has stated that he would allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for individuals making over $1 million.  Ewing has highlighted a key Obama talking point that millionaires should pay their fair share.

Terry: Has signed the Grover Norquist pledge that states he would not increase taxes.  He states on his website, in order to create new private sector jobs and to get our economy moving again that he has his own approach, "the heart of the approach has been to reduce and lower income tax rates for everyone who pays taxes. The package also encourages saving and investment by taxing capital gains and dividends at a lower rate. This creates pools of capital which, in turn, are invested in the private sector economy to increase efficiency, investment and growth. This is precisely the wrong time to increase taxes. As an alternative, I propose that we simply extend and keep in place the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that I was proud to support when they were enacted into law."

Economy, government spending as a way to promote economic growth:

Ewing: Seems to favor cuts in spending.  Stating on his Facebook, "We all know there is plenty of opportunity to cut in government as well as spending that we simply cannot afford any longer."  He has also stated that the cuts must be smart and cutting the top 1/3 off is "unreasonable."  The cuts must be effective.

Terry: Does not support government spending as a way to promote economic growth.  Terry stated, "'runaway federal expenditures and ballooning budget deficits stifle job creation."  It probably sums up his thoughts on this, pretty well.  His votes line up with this line of thinking, pretty well, too.

Economy, supporting tax incentives for businesses in support of job creation:

Ewing: He has stated that he would provide tax incentives for businesses creating jobs in America and ending tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Terry: "Instead of imposing more regulation and uncertainty into their lives, we must work to provide tax breaks and incentives for business growth and development. Until we make a commitment to do this, business owners and families alike will continue to struggle. Congress should spend 2010 working on bipartisan legislation that will pull us out of this recession." Pretty much sums it up, right?

Education, implementing reforms, in order to be eligible for federal grants:

Ewing: Ewing has not been clear on this issue.  He has only stated that he would make it so that local school districts would have access to federal funding.

Terry: Terry does not support this.  Terry stated that federal funding be given to states in block grants and allow them to spend it how they see fit.

Energy, reducing restrictions on offshore energy production:

Ewing: Nothing really on this issue.

Terry: "Congress needs to do everything we can to open American energy resources. By safely extracting these offshore areas, we will have access to billions of barrels of oil and trillions cubic feet of natural gas. Until we increase American energy production, we will be ever more reliant on foreign sources of energy."   Safe to say, Terry supports reducing restrictions on offshore energy production.
Terry also stated in 2008, "The reality is if we bring all of our resources together, yes, conservation, yes, alternative fuels, and open up the resources that we have right here in America offshore where there is a moratorium that Congress can lift, a moratorium that was imposed by Congress on shale oil that can be lifted by Congress, and in Alaska where Congress can lift that moratorium, if we combine all of those resources, we can be free of OPEC. It is time for a real energy policy where we free our resources for American-made energy."  Terry consistently advocates for an "all of the above" plan for decreasing reliance on foreign oil.

Environment, supporting the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions:

Ewing: Nothing that I could find

Terry: does not support the regulation, comparing cap and trade to extortion.  Terry stated that we need to decrease CO2 emissions but we need to balance that with our obligation to maintain jobs for Americans.

Guns, supporting restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms:

Ewing: Nothing, I could find.

Terry: It's complicated.  Terry stated that we should raise the minimum age of owning a firearm from 18 to 21.  Did not say that he supported that we end federal restrictions on firearms.  But he is a supporter of concealed firearms.  He did not state that he supported more federal restrictions on firearms.  Was endorsed in 2010 by the NRA.  Was in favor of the Supreme Court ruling which argued that it was Constitutional for citizens to own firearms for self-defense.  The Brady campaign stated that Lee Terry supported the Brady campaign to end gun violence 0 percent.

Health care, repealing the Affordable Care Act:

Ewing: Does not want to repeal it but tweak it. "No one denies that there are both positive aspects and room for improvement in the Affordable Care Act. It is more important than ever that we elect representatives who can work with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the health care law is reformed and implemented in the best way possible for citizens of Nebraska and the American people as a whole. Before the ink on Chief Justice Roberts' majority opinion was even dry, Republican leadership had already scheduled a vote to repeal the entire bill. This is not progress nor is it bipartisanship."

Terry: Voted to repeal it. Also has stated that he does not believe that providing health care is a responsibility of the federal government.

Immigration, requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before being eligible for citizenship:

Ewing: nothing is found

Terry: Does not support requiring this. A few other things on Lee Terry and immigration: does not support amnesty programs, does not support states that pass laws denying human services to illegal immigrants or their children, supports the idea that only children born of legal immigrants can be citizens, and supports the idea that children of illegal immigrants should not automatically receive U.S. citizenship.

Marriage, supporting same sex marriage:

Ewing: nothing found

Terry: "I have voted twice to allow the states to decide on same-sex marriage. I personally believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and the state should have the right to decide." He personally opposes it but thinks states should be able to decide.

National security, supporting targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict:

Ewing: information not found

Terry: Supports Obama's intelligence reforms.  Also stated,  "This war has not been waged perfectly, but it has in arguably succeeded in preventing additional terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, protecting American lives and liberty, and forcing terrorists to spend their time running rather than plotting additional ways to murder innocent citizens and spread darkness and destruction."

Social Security: Supporting allowing individuals to divert a portion of their social security taxes into personal retirement accounts:

Ewing: No. Ewing stated that he would vote against any measure such as the Ryan proposal to privatize portions of Social Security or Medicare. 

Terry: "We must tackle these problems today. In past sessions of Congress, I have co-sponsored legislation that would allow on a voluntary basis - but not require - workers to establish private retirement accounts, while also growing the Social Security trust fund."  He has also stated that he would support measures that allow individuals to put their payroll taxes into accounts managed by themselves, the government, or contractors with the government.

If there are issues that I missed, please let me know.

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