2016-10-27 / News

Voter Guide

U.S. Representative in Congress Michigan District 1
League of Women Voters of Michigan Education Fund

General Election: November 8, 2016

4 Candidates on the ballot

Duties: Representatives share the responsibility with Senators for enactment of the nation's laws as provided in the U.S. Constitution. Laws that require payment of taxes are initiated in the House of Representatives.

Qualifications: A Representative must be at least 25 years of age and a U.S. Citizen for at least 7 years. There are 435 Representatives based on Congressional districts reapportioned after each census. Michigan has 14 districts as of 2012.

Term: 2 years VOTE for ONE (1).

JACK BERGMAN, Republican

Campaign Website: http://www.bergmanforcongress.com/

Questions:

1. PRIORITIES: What are your top three national legislative priorities and how would you address them?

A: Jobs and Opportunity: Every Michigander knows that freedom—not government handouts to cronies—leads to prosperity. I will fight for fair taxes and regulations that help all Americans rather than allowing special interests to pick winner and losers in our economy. We should be encouraging hard work, not regulating and taxing it. Balance the Budget: Both parties have increased the debt while leaving our children and grandchildren with the bill. Enough is enough. We need a balanced budget amendment. I will fight for fiscal responsibility and make sure other Republicans do too. Veterans: We currently have the fewest vet …

2. ECONOMY: What federal policies do you support for a healthy economy and to help the broader American public improve their economic positions?

A: If there is one thing our country’s history shows, it’s that freedom leads to prosperity and that prosperity leads to careers working, not jobs from one stimulus package or another. We need an economy that is less dependent on which business sector Washington decides should succeed and more focused on allowing Americans to make the most of their lives by rewarding hard work. If I’m your representative, every bill that I vote on will be considered with the same questions in mind: Will this bill make us more free, and will this bill create an environment that promotes lasting prosperity that will make the lives of our c …

3. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT: What policies do you support to meet U.S. energy needs while protecting our water, air and land for current and future generations?

A: I support an all-of-the-above-energy that doesn’t pick winners and losers. I believe we can have abundant energy while still having a health and clean environment. We can unleash the American economy by supporting an all of the above approach to energy production. The United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal. We should promote the development of clean coal technology rather than waging a war on it the way Democrats have. The result will be lower electricity costs and a growing economy. We must also pass the Keystone Pipeline that will bring thousands of jobs to our country. Our country didn't become so prosperous b …

4. ELECTIONS: What policies do you support regarding campaign funding and voting rights?

A: I believe in the First Amendment. The more voices allowed to share their point of view, the better off we are as a free society. I view most campaign finance regulations as “incumbent protection.” Politicians want to limit donations because it limits outsider challengers from taking their seats in Congress (because they know that special interests will always give to those in power, thus helping them fend of challengers). I believe that voting is sacred. It’s the foundation of a free democracy. That’s why I support showing photo ID to prevent voter fraud. We must know that an accurate count of the votes has occurred

5. IMMIGRATION: What are your concerns and plans regarding U.S. immigration policy?

A: Any immigration reform must begin with securing the border and stopping the flow of those who are coming into this country illegally. A nation must be able to secure its borders if it is to be protected against those who want to do it harm, especially in the age of terrorism.

6. HEALTH CARE: What are your concerns and plans regarding U.S. health care policies or programs?

A: The number one priority of the next Congress must be to repeal Obamacare. We need real and effective healthcare reform that empowers citizens to make their own healthcare decisions, not bureaucrats and politicians. Health insurance must be more personal and affordable. Specifically, we should allow for insurance to be purchased across state lines; and promote personalized health savings accounts, which will put you in charge of your healthcare. I believe we can create access to quality healthcare without killing our jobs or shrinking our paychecks.

LON JOHNSON, Democrat

Campaign Website: http://lonjohnson.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LonBJohnson/

Occupation / Current Position: Partner in a US Manufacturing Investment Firm.

Education: BA, Political Science, Arizona State University.

Qualifications / Experience: I'm 45, and have never run for Congress before. I'm the 5th generation of my family to live in Northern Michigan. I served in Iraq as a civilian in 2005, and worked for 7 years investing in, and growing, US manufacturing businesses. My wife, Julianna Smoot, and I live in Kalkaska County.

Questions:

1. PRIORITIES: What are your top three national legislative priorities and how would you address them?

A: 1.) Rebuild our government to be as honest and hardworking as the people who pay for it - us. We must stop the partisan fighting, and work together; 2.) Keep us both beautiful and profitable - we can do both; and 3.) Create a northern Michigan where our families can stay and succeed. We've always led the word - in international trade, fur trade in the 1700's; next it was mining copper and iron ore; then it was lumber. We can lead again by investing in, and protecting, our three greatest assets: our people, land and Great Lakes. Let's get to it.

2. ECONOMY: What federal policies do you support for a healthy economy and to help the broader American public improve their economic positions?

A: We need both long and short-term solutions: 1.) protect the promise of Social Security against those who wish to privatize it; 2.) return passenger rail service to the U.P. and Northern Michigan; 3.) bring high-speed internet and mobile phone service to all our communities and schools; 4.) create a fresh water institute to show the world how to use and protect water; 5.) invest in our public education system and lowering the cost of college; 6.) build a new Soo Lock; 7.) oppose unfair trade deals like the TPP; and 8.) create tax reforms that reduce taxes on lower income and middle class families.

3. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT: What policies do you support to meet U.S. energy needs while protecting our water, air and land for current and future generations?

A: We must work to keep the U.P. and Northern Michigan both beautiful and profitable. To do this I support: 1.) shutting down the 63-year old oil pipeline that runs through our Great Lakes; 2.) banning hydraulic fracking; 3.) protecting our water against invasive species like the Asian Carp; 4.) continuing responsible and sustainable mining and logging practices; 5.) updating our electricity grid to be more efficient, reliable and secure against terrorist attack; 6.) ending the billions in tax breaks that are given to the oil and tax breaks - and use those funds to create new renewable energy sources.

4. ELECTIONS: What policies do you support regarding campaign funding and voting rights?

A: I believe in the power of transparency in government, electoral and political activities. I support: 1.) a Constitutional Amendment that overturns Citizens United and grants Congress and the states the power to regulate campaign finance; 2.) mandating immediate and real-time online financial disclosure requirements for all entities that engage in political activity; 3.) online ability to register to vote and apply to absentee vote; 4.) no reason absentee voting along with expanded early vote dates & locations; 5.) banning lobbyist contributions during legislative sessions - currently already done in 29 states.

5. IMMIGRATION: What are your concerns and plans regarding U.S. immigration policy?

A: To fix our current broken immigration system we must comprehensively reform it to keep our country safe, and maintain a system that is essential to our economy. We can do both. To do this, we must: 1.) increase border security and give our border patrol agents expanded enforcement authority; 2.) oppose blanket amnesty – we must not reward illegal behavior; 3.) reduce the delays for legal immigration; 4.) create a guest worker program where there is a demonstrated lack of US workers; and 5.) create a mandatory technology-based tracking procedure to monitor expired visas.

6. HEALTH CARE: What are your concerns and plans regarding U.S. health care policies or programs?

A: Health Care must be continually reformed to deliver better quality, at a lower cost. To do this, we must: 1.) reduce prescription drug costs 20%-30% by allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies; 2.) oppose making Medicare into a voucher program which would drive up costs and limit access for our seniors; 3.) simplify administrative and patient paperwork saving billions and time; 4.) protect our local hospitals against closures; 5.) allow people the ability to buy health insurance plans across state lines – increasing competition and reducing costs;

DIANE BOSTOW, Libertarian

Campaign Website: www.dianebostowforcongress.com

Facebook Page: Elect Diane Bostow

Occupation / Current Position: House builder

Education: B.A. English/Psychology, Western Michigan U, M.A School Psychology, U of South Florida

Qualifications / Experience: Coordinator, Center for Economic Education, U of S Florida, President, Bay Yacht Charters Manager, G. Hartley Mellish, Economists Managing Partner, Five Springs Management, LLC, Construction Managing Partner, Ilex Management LLC, Construction Substitute Teacher, Blacksburg, VA Driver, Blacksburg Transit Licenses: Private pilot, Motorcycle endorsement, Ocean Operator Fifty ton, CDL, CPL

Questions:

1. PRIORITIES: What are your top three national legislative priorities and how would you address them?

A: Change healthcare for active military and veterans to keep our promises to them, and to treat them with the respect they have earned. Pay the benefits they were promised when they took their oath. Change the way we collect federal taxes to a sales tax model. The current IRS system costs $12.4 billion with an associated 6.1 billion taxpayer hours. This will also end the use of audits as a political weapon. Reduce the size of the federal government to save money and to give more power and responsibility to the states.

2. ECONOMY: What federal policies do you support for a healthy economy and to help the broader American public improve their economic positions?

A: Repeal mountains of onerous regulations that are disincentives to the creation of businesses. Move to a corporate tax system that encourages businesses to stay in the United States. Only sign off on laws that are funded. Insist that laws are written in a manner that is transparent to the American people. Make it clear to the people who will benefit from a law, what it will cost, and who will pay for it.

3. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT: What policies do you support to meet U.S. energy needs while protecting our water, air and land for current and future generations?

A: Change regulatory and enforcement policies that are preventing common sense energy development. The invention of good energy storage will be a quantum shift in the use of renewable energy This invention is most likely to come from an unfettered free market. Find a better way to regulate emissions than the “cap and trade” government program that is full of opportunities for corruption and graft moves the burden of solving pollution to the next generations.

4. ELECTIONS: What policies do you support regarding campaign funding and voting rights?

A: Make voting as simple as possible to encourage all citizen to exercise that basic right. Voting fraud is unusual. The “solutions” created by the two parties in their war of disinformation are the problem. Call out dirty tricks by the parties as dirty tricks. Be absolutely transparent about it.

5. IMMIGRATION: What are your concerns and plans regarding U.S. immigration policy?

A: Make an easy way for current illegal immigrants to get work visas and become taxpaying members of our society. Have a fair and transparent vetting process for future immigrants to enter the county.

6. HEALTH CARE: What are your concerns and plans regarding U.S. health care policies or programs?

A: Insist on transparency in pricing for heath services. Allow competition among insurance companies and medical providers. Allow a choice of facility and caregivers to veterans.

ELLIS BOAL, Green

Campaign Website: www.ellisboal.org

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/EllisBoalForCongress

Occupation / Current Position: Self-employed

Education: Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, A.B., 1966, math (algebra). Wayne State University, Detroit, J.D., 1972.

Qualifications / Experience: I practiced labor law 25 years in Detroit. Some of my cases set precedents for federal courts around the country. Now in Charlevoix, I got an injunction against a planned $100-million project of 13 US-record-setting frack wells, and vacated pipeline permits for frack wells in the state forest due to poor environmental review. I have traveled to Palestine twice to investigate Israeli war crimes.

Questions:

1. PRIORITIES: What are your top three national legislative priorities and how would you address them?

A: a. Global warming is the defining issue of our times. Three-quarters of known oil-gas reserves should stay in the ground. The 2015 Paris agreement will not do the job. It's a world war, and we must start fighting. b. End financial support of Israel. The US one-sidedly provides $3 billion annually to Israel and a pittance to Palestine. c. End the free-speech rights of corporations. They are not human beings.

2. ECONOMY: What federal policies do you support for a healthy economy and to help the broader American public improve their economic positions?

A: Close military bases abroad. Invest in wind and solar and geothermal. Eliminate the cap on FICA tax. Inaugurate a financial transactions tax. Eliminate the preferential rate at which long term captial gains are taxed compared to ordinary income. Institute a progressive federal estate tax. Deregulate the unions.

3. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT: What policies do you support to meet U.S. energy needs while protecting our water, air and land for current and future generations?

A: Ban horizontal hydraulic fracturing. Reduce energy demand by over half. Meet remaining demand with wind, solar, geothermal, and energy storage. Shift fossil fuel subsidies (including military) to clean solutions. Institute zero-waste laws. Encourage climate-friendly sustainable agriculture.

4. ELECTIONS: What policies do you support regarding campaign funding and voting rights?

A: The real problem in US elections is unequal distribution of wealth which allows an extra say to moneyed people and corporations when it comes to electing candidates. Multinational corporations are stateless. Overturning the Citizens United decision and other campaign finance laws without fixing that is putting the cart before the horse.

5. IMMIGRATION: What are your concerns and plans regarding U.S. immigration policy?

A: I oppose racist English-language requirements for immigrants. Southern Michigan, which has a longstanding established Arab community, is one of the top US areas receiving immigrants from Syria. We should welcome them here. Undocumented immigrants should likewise be welcomed.

6. HEALTH CARE: What are your concerns and plans regarding U.S. health care policies or programs?

A: I support "single-payer" -- in which the government rather than private insurers pays for health care costs. "Single-payer" refers to the funding mechanism, not the entities for whom doctors and nurses work. Preventative health care expenditures can save several hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Insurance company overhead and hospital billing costs would be eliminated; you pay extra taxes instead, but still come out ahead according to the Congressional Budget Office and General Accounting Office. With all its problems, government at least has some accountability; for-profits and non-profits have none.

The League of Women Voters does not support or oppose any candidate or political party.

Responses were limited to 400 characters and were truncated thereafter.

Copyright© 2016 by the League of Women Voters Education Fund

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan national organization whose purpose is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League never supports or opposes any candidate or political party. Candidate responses are included as submitted and have not been edited except in cases where the replies have exceeded the stated word limitations. Spelling and Grammar were not corrected. The inclusion of candidates’ statements and opinions is solely in the interest of public service and in no way is to be construed as an endorsement by the League of Women Voters which takes no responsibility for any views or facts stated by the candidates

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