Q1. What is your position on National Security, the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, our military and the dignity of our veterans?
The strength of our national security efforts determines the strength -- and longevity -- of our Democracy.
As the Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary War attest, peace can be declared by words but is often ultimately gained by war, and war in Iraq was necessary.
While the Patriot Act would not be needed in a Utopian world, here in the real world, ever-present and ever-increasing threats demand the resources made available by the Act.
I support our troops defending our freedoms at home, and our forces promoting democracy in hotspots around the world. And I thank all who have donned, are wearing and will wear a uniform of this great nation's Armed Forces. Those who have risked their lives so that we may live peaceably to pursue life, liberty and prosperity deserve this country's utmost respect, help and support for so long as these veterans are here on earth.
Circling back to the vein of national security, I believe this includes the patrolling of our nation's borders and coasts, a responsibility not being fully carried out under the current Administration, causing several of the 50 states to act on their own. The role of the federal government is narrowly defined in the Constitution, and yet, the Administration is ignoring the dangers of unchecked immigration while at the same time pursuing follies far beyond the bounds of the founding documents. (Please see my answer to Question 5 for more on immigration.)
Q2. Do you support or oppose efforts to negotiate with dictators in places like Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, and if we negotiate, what would be the pre-conditions?
Negotiation has a place among parties that are of like ideologies, and among parties that are of differing ideologies.
I believe it is worth an effort to seek out solutions first with the pen before working with the sword. I would have little support for sustaining negotiations clearly going nowhere, and I would not hesitate to invoke the sword should agreements reached in a negotiation subsequently be broken.
I would say the most important pre-condition would be attaining a mutually-agreed to objective for meeting -- and would add that pre-conditions are themselves articles often prone to negotiation.
Q3. Do you feel the current national government is fiscally responsible, and what is your philosophy on government spending and taxation in order to balance the budget?
Having pushed the national debt beyond the $13-trillion mark and rising fast, the current Administration and congressional majority party do not fit the definition of "fiscally responsible."
The key to solvency lies with limiting outgo to income; something Americans do at kitchen tables with their family budgets, and something the President and his cohorts in Congress would be wise to do beginning today.
Rather than raise taxes and print money to cover newly-created debts our grandchildren will still be digging out from under, federal spending must be cut to a level of sustainability.
The alternative involves other countries calling in their loans...
Q4. Do you feel this country should be energy independent and if so, what are some action steps that we can take to attain independence?
Energy independence for this country is a laudable goal promulgated as far back as the Nixon Administration if not before. Letter of the law, "energy independent" would mean every BTU of energy expended in the U.S. would stem from a source within, or just offshore the U.S. I'm not sure this is literally feasible, but I do think a markedly less dependence on foreign energy is highly achievable.
This summer is understandably a dicey time to talk of oil exploration, with so much wildlife and ecology harmed and endangered in the Gulf. The underwater oil geyser makes clear that contingency equipment and plans need considerable ramping up, but oil and natural gas exploration continues to be a dominant part of America's energy plan.
Augmenting oil and gas efforts are the continued refinement of coal harvesting and burning techniques; the increased infusion of alternative fuels and battery power; and the expansion of natural energy provided by the wind and sun.
Q5. Within the next 12 months, do you see the government taking action to secure our borders and what is your stance on how our borders should be secured?
In answering Question 1, I touched on my displeasure with the federal government's shirking of border duties over the last couple of years.
In theory, I would envision the federal government properly staffing the borders, coasts and entry points, and thoroughly enforcing existing immigration laws.
In reality, over the next 12 months I see many states taking up the measures that Arizona has been forced to create and enact on its own.
I think when enough states join together, Washington will drop its frivolous suit against Arizona and spend the time saved in the courtroom on the very real national security issue of immigration.
Q6. Describe your thoughts on why you support or oppose a national health care plan and if you support any free-market alternative solutions to the plan.
Nationalizing health care is one of the major forces that brought me from ER doctor to ER doctor and congressional candidate!
I have firsthand knowledge of the precarious nature of our country’s health care system as a physician. The current health care business model simply does not work; and it won’t work until individuals are empowered, encouraged and enabled to take direct control and responsibility for their own health.
The federal government has no constitutional basis for reorganizing and regulating our health care. There are commonsense solutions deserving time on the floor of Congress, such as: Health insurance portability. Frivolous lawsuit/scandalous damage award reform. Tax credits for personal insurance plans. Medical savings account deductions. Preventive health behavior initiatives.
Q7. Do you think that that our education system is currently effective and what is your position on teachers' unions and teacher accountability?
"Effective" will mean different things to different people, but in a world where the education received by America's children ranks far back in the bus compared to other nations, there is work to be done.
Let's return control of our local schools to our local communities.
Let's let locals decide when and when not to foster/condone/permit an environment of unionized teachers.
And let's let the performance of teachers dictate the pay and tenure of teachers.
Q8. Are you concerned about the future of Social Security and Medicare, and if so, what are your ideas on how to save these programs from bankruptcy?
Both programs were enacted in times where life expectancy simply wasn't nearly as long as it is today. What's great for people, more time on earth, is a mathematical pothole to the solvency of these two programs.
One thing to begin focusing on is educating today's students about the financial practicalities and realities of the world outside the classroom and off the campus. The fewer people conditioned to rely on the federal government for retirement pay and healthcare, the better for all involved.
Another aspect that really has already begun is pushing back the target ages for drawing partial and full benefits. The people of FDR's age simply weren't considering the prospect of a 25-year retirement, and even the seniors of LBJ's time were not thinking much beyond 10 or 15 Golden Years. Today, we're finding a growing number of retirees whose retired years exceed their working years, making the boosting of the benefit collection age up a bit both reasonable and prudent.
Q9. What is your take on the role of judges? Should they be allowed to legislate from the bench?
Judges are to execute judiciary responsibilities.
Judges legislating from the bench makes no more sense than members of Congress ruling on matters of law or the President creating laws.
The nation's three branches of government are by design co-equal; and by necessity, are to be quite separate.
Q10. Is the American Dream attainable? If so, will individual responsibility help Americans attain it and/or what aspects of the American Dream should be assisted by the government?
Having worked my way through college and medical school to become an emergency room doctor and a happily married adoptive mother gives me great cause to be thankful for what this country has to offer to anyone willing to dream a bit and work a lot.
The federal government can aide in the process, to a degree. A well-defended nation, a unified monetary and banking system, along with moderate regulatory oversight in matters of public health and safety come to mind.
But beyond these base tenets, government's best role is played well off stage -- and far away from our pocketbooks.
Please visit www.drdonnaforcongress.com to learn more about me, and more about my stances on the important issues of the day.
She is now at 220k, needing another 80k to get to 300k for NRCC support.
Why she thinks she can win here.