Name: Heath Shuler
Occupation: Member of Congress
Party affiliation, if any: Democrat
Political experience: Congress, 2006 to present
Endorsements: Sierra Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars PAC, Veterans’ Vision, NC Association of Educators, National Rifle Association, League of Conservation Voters
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign? Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?
My campaign contributions are a matter of public record.
2) What most distinguishes you from your opponent?
I place people before politics and, above all, listen to the needs of Western North Carolinians. I have a reliable, independent voting record on fiscal responsibility, small-business development, conservation and veterans. In Congress, I am able to reach across party lines to bring people together behind common-sense solutions.
3) What are your top three legislative priorities?
• Improving the economy by addressing unfair trade agreements and promoting American manufacturing.
• Creating high-paying, stable jobs, particularly through promotion of the green-energy economy.
• Reducing the national debt and deficit.
4) Do you support the end of the Bush tax cuts, especially on households making over $250,000, as Democratic leaders in Congress have proposed?
I don’t support taking away tax cuts for hard-working, middle-class families. … Would consider temporarily extending the tax cuts for the top bracket to prevent further job losses, provided [it didn’t] increase our deficit. We could cut expenditures back to 2008 levels to pay for these tax cuts.
5) What steps should be taken to deal with the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site? What’s your opinion on the EPA’s beginning the process to add the site to the Superfund list?
I’ve worked with community members to protect local families from harmful pollutants. I pushed the EPA to conduct quarterly well testing and to recommend the site for the National Priorities List. Several hurdles remain, but I will continue to push for a full cleanup. These families deserve nothing less.
6) What's your opinion of the Defense Department's “don't ask, don't tell” policy if the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend its repeal?
A Department of Defense review of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is under way and is expected to be completed by Dec. 1, 2010. If the review and our military leaders recommend repeal, I will support their recommendation.
7) How do you believe the federal government should deal with the immigration situation?
Enhance border security, expand employee verification, enforce existing immigration laws. Legislation I authored, the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act, gives the Department of Homeland Security additional resources and requires employers to use E-verify, a simple, highly successful system to ensure a legal work force.
8) What steps do you favor to deal with WNC’s high unemployment?
Reverse the effects of unfair trade agreements, promote domestic manufacturing, close the tax loopholes that reward U.S. companies outsourcing jobs, increase access to capital for small businesses. I proudly authored the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009, the first major overhaul of the SBA’s entrepreneurial-development programs in a decade.
9) What legislative steps, if any, do you favor to deal with climate change?
I voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would give our state billions of dollars to promote clean energy and efficiency, growing our economy and creating jobs. … Efficiency, innovation, ingenuity and responsible exploration [will help us secure] our long-term energy and economic future.
10) What do you believe is the best course for the U.S. to take in Afghanistan?
Too many lives have been lost and too many dollars spent. While we remain engaged there, I’ll continue to support our troops and giving them the resources they need to remain safe. But [we must] find a way to stabilize the region … and get our troops back home.