Name: Heath Shuler
Occupation: U.S. House of Representatives, 11th Congressional District
Party affiliation, if any: Democrat
Political experience: Member of Congress since 2006
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign? Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?
All campaign-finance figures are public information and are available through the Federal Election Commission at http://fec.gov/.
2) What most distinguishes you from your opponent?
Proven success in advocating for the people of Western North Carolina in Washington. A track record of working with members of both parties to craft innovative bipartisan solutions to the problems facing our nation, and a strong voting record on fiscal responsibility, small-business development, conservation, veterans and job creation.
3) What are your top three legislative priorities?
Job creation, fiscal responsibility, conservation.
4) What's your position on the recent health-care reform legislation passed by Congress? What steps should be next in tackling health care?
I didn't believe the health-care bill was the best way to lower overall costs and improve access to high-quality health care for most Americans. We must determine the approaches and procedures that can be proven to improve outcomes and reduce costs. Promoting wellness and prevention are keys to this goal.
5) What steps should be taken to deal with the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site? What's your opinion of the EPA's handling of the cleanup?
In December 2008, I brought stakeholders together for a congressional hearing on how contamination has affected residents and businesses. I've worked to ensure that residents aren't exposed to contaminated drinking water and the site is cleaned up, helping residents get answers and working to ensure transparency by federal agencies.
6) What's your opinion of the Defense Department's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy?
The policy was enacted by President Clinton, and President Obama has raised the possibility of repealing it. This matter will largely be determined by the leadership of our armed forces; I would defer to their expertise and knowledge to determine how our military can best defend and protect our nation.
7) How do you believe the federal government should deal with the immigration situation?
Last July, I re-introduced the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act, which has more than 100 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors. It calls for: strict emphasis on border security, verifying employees' legal status, and increased enforcement of existing laws. This sensible solution is endorsed by business, labor and law-enforcement leaders.
8) What steps do you favor to deal with the economic downturn?
Revise unfair trade agreements that have shipped American jobs overseas. As chairman of the Subcommittee on Rural Development, Entrepreneurship and Trade, I understand the importance of bringing high-paying jobs to Western North Carolina. I've fought for small-business tax cuts and sponsored the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009.
9) What's your position on abortion?
I am a pro-life Democrat who believes that all life is sacred. Life begins at conception and ends at natural death, but a commitment to life must also include ensuring that all people have adequate health care, receive a strong education, and are given proper care in their later years.
10) What do you believe is the best course for the U.S. to take in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Creating a permanently stable Iraq requires a comprehensive strategy; ultimately this is Iraqi leaders' responsibility. In Afghanistan, we must stabilize the region and create an atmosphere hostile to terrorists. Despite deep concern about long-term fiscal impacts, I will continue to support giving our troops the resources they need.