But if you've been paying attention, you also know that after 10 days this is only the second response I've received from 150 candidates. One Republican has replied, and one Independent. No Democrats. Also, no incumbents. Walt Tomenga (R) sent me this:
Please be advised that it is my policy not to fillout any surveys. To fill out one and not anotehr could infer something that is not ture. I stand by my voting record. After reviewing it if you have any questions please contact me.
That's the full, unedited text of his response. It's not the BEST response, though. On Thursday, a source that will remain anonymous forwarded me this email from the Iowa Democratic Party's Deputy House Caucus Director, Kevin Boyd:
Lots of folks have gotten a survey from a blogger. We recommend not answering questionnaires like this. There is no benefit to filling it out and there are lots of potential problems in completing it. Please don't complete it.
Yes, that's right, a paid employee of the Democratic Party is telling candidates for elected office not to tell people where they stand on issues.
I've touched on this problem with the party before, as you may recall. But seeing the Democratic Party literally muzzle candidates on issues is absolutely enfuriating to me.
By the way, as I mentioned before, I received the forwarded email from Kevin Boyd last Thursday. When I got it, I called him to ask about it and left a voicemail. It's been a week today and I've received no response. Imagine that, he doesn't want to stand up for his decisions either.
When I sent out the questionnaire, I imposed an August 25 deadline for replies. That deadline is eight days from today. If you're a candidate who would like to prove you stand for something, you've still got time to send it back.
Here are Brian McLain's answers:
Brian McLain (N), House District #67:
Public financing of campaigns: DO NOT SUPPORT There is something that I would find amusing about anyone complaining about government handouts to those in need, then turning around and getting the same to run a campaign. Maybe I'm a little biased, but I am running out of my own, lower middle-class pocketbook. If I can do it, then there should be no reason for taxpayers to foot the bill on obnoxious ads and annoying automated calls.
A woman’s right to choose: SUPPORT Abortion, in my opinion, is a wretched thing. However I will steadfastly defend anyone's rights so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others, and with abortion being proven as a valid medical procedure, it should remain legal and I would make no attempt to ban it. Everyone should have the ability to receive or decline any medical treatment they would receive, it only makes sense.
Iowa Values Fund: DO NOT SUPPORT The values regarded to in this misappropriation of taxpayer revenue are not the real values of the state. If companies need a bribe to do business here, then let them stay out of the stay and make room for companies that recognize the hard-working and educated people who live in Iowa, contribute to their community, and raise their families here, as great people to do business with and employ. I want to restructure this fund to serve a more important and useful purpose as a 10-year graduated student loan forgiveness program. This will offer an incentive for our best and brightest to stay in the state, support those who took the initiative to further their education, and draw business into Iowa the right way.
Universal Health Care: SUPPORT As a national system, this idea would be a disaster, but at the state and local level it could be more easily managed and appropriated system. Necessary medical treatment should always be available to all, regardless of income level. After all, it is the duty of the state to insure the health and welfare of its citizens.
Local Control over CAFO’s: SUPPORT I shudder at the idea of passing the buck to anyone higher up the food chain as it becomes more general and more book smarts come into play then common sense. If there must be regulations, let them come from the region that knows about this sort of thing (I will be honest, I did have to Google CAFOs and study up before answering this question).
Local control and ownership of renewable energy: SUPPORT See my answer above. What's the point of developing something great and then selling control over it to the highest bidder? It would be much more economically prudent to retain local control and ownership in the long run.
Raising the minimum wage (please include amount in comments): DO NOT SUPPORT. What purpose would raising the minimum wage serve, but to increase the cost of living. It's a big catch-22 if you ask me, as more money in the system means inflation creeps up in general area. I believe that other alternatives such as better accessibility to education, health care, and job training programs (that aren’t managed by Archie Brooks) would be much more effective than just jumping the base wage up again.
More community based corrections for non-violent offenders: SUPPORT After all, where would you have a better time learning how to behave like a good community citizen? A community or jail?
Civil Unions for same-gender couples: SUPPORT. No changes in the law required in this one, which is why many moralists are scrambling to amend their states' constitutions. Honestly, government is not in the business of determining morality. If two people are perfectly capable of placing a valid signature on a contract then so be it. Government services are available to all, it's called EQUALITY. The opposite of DISCRIMINATION. Leave morality to the churches and get back to legislating.
My rating: 7/9, or 77.8%. Clean elections are a deal-breaker for me, but once you get past that, he's good on most issues.