On the Issues with John Kerry
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John Kerry: Could this man be the chosen one?
Sentator John Kerry (Democrat, Massachusetts) John Kerry was born on December 11, 1943. A graduate of Yale, entered the Navy, serving in Vietnam. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three awards of the Purple Heart for his service in combat. Later, Kerry co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America and became a spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. In 1984, afer winning election as Lieutenant Governor in 1982, Kerry ran and was first elected to serve in the United States Senate. John Kerry is married to heiress Teresa Heinz. He has two daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa.

Taxes & Spending:
Based on ratings from taxpayer advocacy groups such as National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform, this candidate shares very little of their views. According to the Concord Coalition, he is agrees with slightly less than half their positions on balanced budget issue. On his site he calls for "a fair reshaping of estate taxes so no family owned small business is sold just to pay Uncle Sam."
While not calling for a formal national job policy, John Kerry (according to his site "supports efforts that put America back to work. He backed efforts to restore billion in highway cuts made by the Bush Administration last year, which threatened 300,000 jobs. And he supports creating American jobs and renewing our cities through building infrastructure, school construction and modernization, tax credits and cleaning up polluted areas in our country."

Social Services Funding:
In a voice vote, as a member of the Senate Finance Committee approved the mark-up of the Charity Aid, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act. The bill heads to the full Senate.

The Children's Defense Fund, an organization concerned how poverty and welfare cuts effect children and families, recently gave him a score of 91%. BIPAC, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee gave Kerry a score of 0%.

Security & Terrorism:
Voted "yes" on HR 3162, Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001.
Voted "yes" on the "Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001", a bill to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts by imposing restrictions on student visas and among other things, it creates a centralized 'lookout' database.

Foreign Affairs:
Voted "yes" on H.J.RES.114, Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, a resolution that would authorize the use of force against Iraq. The administration would be required to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before, or within 48 hours after military action has started. Every 60 days the president would also be required to submit a progress report to Congress.
"I know from my own trips to Israel that the majority of the Israeli people understand and expect that one day there will be a Palestinian state. Their frustration is that they do not see a committed partner in peace on the Palestinian side. Palestinians must stop the violence - this is the fundamental building block of the peace process. The Palestinian leadership must be reformed, not only for the future of the Palestinian people but also for the sake of peace. I believe Israel would respond to this new partner after all, Israel has already indicated its willingness to freeze settlements and to move toward the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a comprehensive peace process."
Regarding Bush's new strike first policy: "I believe we always have a preemptive right." Kerry has more recently been critical of the Bush's hawkish stance. Kerry has spoken against a preemptive and unilateral war.

Kerry opposes school vouchers, saying they gloss over a crisis in the schools. He says the gap between suburban and urban schools is ''separate and unequal'' and more insidious than segregation was in its day. He backs increased flexibility for school administrators to dismiss teachers. He supports "efforts to expand public school choice programs and support for charter schools".
Kerry announced a plan that includes a service-for-college program that would offer students four years of public college tuition in exchange for two years of community service. Voted "yes" on an amendment that would increase the tax deduction for college tuition costs from ,000 to ,000 and increase the tax credit on student loan interest from to $1,000.

"We need a strong patient's bill of rights and we need it now, and we will not rest until every single American has affordable health coverage that no bureaucrat can take away."
Plans universal health care proposal.
Voted "no" on banning human cloning. (Bill S. 1601 on Feb 11, 1998)

Social Security:
Voted "no" on Social Security Lockbox & limiting national debt. This amendment offered by Sen. Abraham (R-MI) that would have created a Social Security "lockbox" and establish limits on the public debt.
According to his senate web site, "Senator Kerry supported a real Social Security lockbox to protect the Social Security program from raids on its resources. Senator Kerry opposed Republican efforts to pass a phony Social Security lockbox that did nothing for Medicare, did not adequately protect Social Security, and established annual public debt limits that risked default. He opposed Republican efforts to include a trap door in lockbox legislation-any legislation that Republicans label "Social Security reform" could use Social Security surpluses for any number of purposes unrelated to paying Social Security benefits, including privatizing Social Security or paying for tax cuts."

Illicit Drugs:
Voted "no" on S 625, a bill to increase penalties on certain drug-related crimes.

Ex-felons' Voting Rights:
Voted "yes" on this issue.

Gun Policy:
He received "F" from the NRA, and 100% from The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Abortion Policy:
He received a 100% score from Planned Parenthood and 0% from the National Right to Life Committee.

Environmental Policy:
Kerry received 92% from the League of Conservation Voters.

Minority Issues:
He received a 100% score from the NAACP.

Civil Liberties:
He received a 50% score from The American Civil Liberties Union.

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America needs a strong agricultural economy based on family-owned producers and sustainable practices. But Americans in rural communities face special challenges finding good jobs at good wages, providing their children with a good education, finding quality affordable health care, and meeting transportation challenges. John Kerry has worked to make sure that farmers have the support they need and that rural communities have the tools they need to be safe and prosperous. He has worked to give family farms a fair shot to compete against large corporations and to stop vertical integration. He opposed the 1996 "Freedom to Farm" Act, which nearly devastated family farms, and worked to pass a new and improved farm bill. Kerry supports legislation that prohibits packer ownership of livestock and ends special deals for corporate hog farms. He supports truth in labeling and country of origin labeling which give consumers the information they need to support American farmers. And John Kerry has worked to advance technology that will help us grow our way to energy independence and to open markets around the world to American goods.

American Labor Movement:
"I think it's time we had a President who will provide the only real economic security: good jobs. A President who will provide middle class payroll tax relief to get money in the pockets of workers who will spend it, not more tax giveaways for those at the top to stimulate the economy in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. A President who will index the minimum wage to inflation and raise it from a 30 year low, not increase the tax burden on the middle class and those struggling to join it."

Americans with Disabilities:
"Whether it was Franklin Roosevelt leading our nation to victory in World War II from a wheelchair or soldiers returning from battle without an arm or a leg but with the strength to rebuild lives and serve their country as citizen soldiers once more, we have known well the contributions that Americans with disabilities have made and continue to make to the land that we love. We know that each time an individual triumphs over adversity, they become yet stronger - and each time our society proves itself as one that stands by their side to help them do it, America becomes all the richer. We should strive for nothing less, putting the energy not just of the government but of all our citizens behind a commitment to guarantee equal opportunity and access for all."
1 44 million retired and disabled workers and their dependents and survivors depend on Social Security. Senator Kerry believes that we must take care of both those dependent on Social Security now and those who will need it in the future. People who have paid into Social Security for many years in good faith must be able to receive the program's benefits.
2 Senator Kerry strongly backed The Americans With Disabilities Act, the law that helps protect persons from discrimination in employment, public services, and accommodations.

Civil Rights:
"We need to guarantee equal rights and civil rights and say that, here in America, workers have the right to organize -- women have the right to choose - and justice belongs to everyone regardless of race or gender or sexual orientation."
Every American should have the opportunity to succeed and to live the American dream. Discrimination has no place in a nation founded on the principles of freedom from persecution. While America has made great strides toward true equality, much remains to be done and too often the progress we've made comes under attack. John Kerry voted for every major piece of Civil Rights legislation to come before Congress since 1985, including the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He voted for the Equal Rights Amendment, and supports the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.
Economic Policy : "A strong economy is the first test of our national security, crime policy, education reform, and civil rights agenda."
1 In the wake of the terror attacks of September 11th, Senator Kerry has worked hard to ensure that any economic stimulus package puts relief for America's workers ahead of tax breaks for big corporations least threatened by recent tragic events. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been thrown out of work, and these are the people who need help most.
2 As the recession has worsened since the September attacks, Senator Kerry has led efforts to pass a real recovery and stimulus package that would aid displaced and unemployed workers, create jobs, and reinvigorate our nation's businesses.
3 Senator Kerry supports making sure that venture capital is made available to small businesses in distressed and rural areas to create meaningful jobs and economic growth. Kerry has cosponsored legislation to provide enhanced credit to stimulate private investment in low-income communities that are not fully participating in our national economy.
4 Senator Kerry supports one-stop career centers to provide job training and employment related services for dislocated workers.
5 Senator Kerry has worked to strengthen and expand the opportunities made available to small businesses, including supporting guaranteed loans and microloans for start-ups and growing small businesses.
6 Senator Kerry supports the expansion and extension of empowerment zone tax incentives.
7 Senator Kerry has worked to make sure that opportunities are provided to women-owned and minority-owned small businesses.
8 Senator Kerry has consistently supported Community Development Block Grants, Drug Elimination grants and the HOME investment partnership program.
9 Senator Kerry sponsored a bill last year to provide incentives to ensure that all Americans gain timely and equitable access to the Internet over current and future generations of broadband capability.
10 Senator Kerry sponsored a bill to provide assistance to small business concerns adversely impacted by the terrorist attacks perpetrated against the United States on September 11, 2001.
11 Senator Kerry supports community-based economic development assistance for trade-affected communities.
12 Senator Kerry sponsored a bill last year to provide emergency relief to small businesses affected by significant increases in the prices of heating oil, natural gas, propane, and kerosene.

Oppose Vouchers: John Kerry opposes private school vouchers that will drain scarce funds from public schools. Instead, he supports efforts to increase resources to public schools to ensure all students have quality teachers, high standards, smaller classes, and safe, modern schools.
Keep the Promises of "Leave No Child Behind:" John Kerry voted for the Leave No Child Behind education reform law. The plan gave states flexibility in using federal funds to address local needs and promised extra aid to help students from low-income families reach high standards. However, unless schools receive the resources they were promised and respect they deserve, the new law will fail and inequality will persist. Where the Bush Administration sought to cut funding for school reform and issued restrictive guidelines, John Kerry will fund the new effort and ensure states have the flexibility to meet the goals of the law.
Early Education for All: John Kerry works hard to strengthen early childhood education. High quality early childhood education programs get kids ready for school and in later years cut crime and increase job productivity by giving young children the opportunity to learn skills early on that put them on the path to success. Kerry has supported increases in quality early childhood programs like Head Start and child care. His Early Learning Opportunities Act, which became law in 2000, helps families by expanding and coordinating early childhood development efforts. He believes we must continue to expand quality programs so that children can get off to a good start in life.
Modernize and Rebuild Crumbling Schools: John Kerry has been at the forefront of the fight to obtain federal funding for school construction. There are billion worth of school construction and emergency repair needs nationally. 14 million children are learning in substandard schools in need of major renovation. Half of all schools have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition, such as polluted drinking water or soot-filled ventilation. At the same time the schools are getting older, the number of students is growing, up nine percent since 1990. John Kerry responded to these challenges by introducing legislation that would allow the federal government to issue .8 billion in school modernization bonds in order to help states and school districts repair and build modern schools.
Reduce Class Size: Smaller classes promote student achievement, improve discipline and classroom order, and expand quality learning time. Rather than terminate successful programs to reduce class size, John Kerry will champion initiatives that ensure children are not forced to learn in overcrowded classrooms, particularly in the early grades.
Encourage Parental Involvement: John Kerry supports increased parental involvement in their children's education and measures that make it easier for parents to take time off to attend parent-teacher conferences. Kerry also would expand public school choice programs and support for pilot schools to empower parents and students and provide more options to fill specific needs without draining funds from public education.
Support and Respect Professional Teachers: Schools serving low-income and minority children are four to five times more likely as other schools to have unqualified teachers. The new education reform law would have dedicated funds to helping teachers gain skills to help their students succeed. John Kerry would provide the necessary support for teacher development, treat teachers with the respect they deserve and encourage talented young people who want to become teachers.
Encourage School Leadership: John Kerry was the first to bring the attention of Congress to the importance of leadership of the public schools, recognizing the critical role that principals and other administrators play in school reform efforts. A good leader is in a vital position to affect educational change and improvement. Many of today's principals are reaching the age at which they could choose to retire, and evidence has pointed to a decline in the number of candidates for each opening. If the flow of retirees is not stemmed and the numbers of aspiring principals buoyed, we will face a crucial school leadership crisis - one that could debilitate meaningful education reform. Kerry wrote legislation, which was signed into law, to ensure that these important educational leaders have the resources that they need to serve our school communities.
Fully Fund Special Education: The federal government has never met its funding obligation for special education. John Kerry has worked with many of his colleagues to ensure that the federal government becomes a true partner of state and local governments in the provision of special education. When Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, it agreed to fund 40% of the cost of special education. However, the federal government is only actually providing a mere 18%. Kerry has consistently supported efforts to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and will continue working toward full funding.
Open the Doors of College: John Kerry believes that every child who is willing to aim high and work hard should have access to college. Kerry has worked to expand and protect federal student loan programs and federal scholarships. He supports increasing the maximum Pell Grant, and would back "super" Pell Grants, which provides additional assistance for eligible students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
"Nowhere is there a greater need for a new vision - a better vision - than in the decisions we make that affect the health of the environment. We know intuitively that America is only as healthy as the water our children drink, the air they breathe, the yards and parks in which they play and laugh, and the communities in which they live. The question is whether armed with that knowledge our generation will leave our children and grandchildren an earth that is cleaner not more degraded, more beautiful not more polluted, healthier and safer for children and other living things than the world we inherited from our parents and grandparents."
Foreign Policy and Defense:
"We have learned many lessons from recent tragic events. The lingering effects of September 11th have caused some to shrink from our global responsibilities, to argue that the world is a dangerous place and that is why America should turn inward. They are wrong. The world is a dangerous and unpredictable place-and that is why we must lead. In fact, in light of recent events, it has become even clearer that the preservation of American liberty is not only linked to the expansion of democracy, but dependent upon it. As a global leader in an ever-shrinking world, the United States has a duty to protect human rights and human life, both inside our borders and out."

Gay and Lesbian Issues:
"I will continue to fight for the civil rights of all Americans. We must continue to protect American's rights in the workplace, and I am especially appalled that hate crimes continue to rise. We must bring down all types of crime and create new tools to fight this battle."

Health Care:
On Friday, May 16 in Des Moines, John Kerry unveiled his health care plan that focuses on controlling health costs and allows Americans to buy into the same health care plan that the President and Members of Congress are in while providing subsidies for those who can't afford insurance. It is the only plan that has been proposed that holds down costs, while offering access to affordable coverage for every American and insisting that no longer will children in America have to go without health care. The Kerry plan will cover nearly 27 million uninsured people. Taken all together the plan will result in nearly 96% of adults and nearly 99% of children having health insurance.
Seniors Issues:
"The attention of America's elected officials must be on our nation's seniors, who sacrificed and worked for the society we live in today. I refuse to let them be abandoned. A host of daily challenges face them as many live on fixed incomes. Many are unable to rely on family or friends for financial, medical, or emotional support. What has made matters worse is that many voices in our government have called and even passed drastic cuts to programs and services, which many seniors counted on when planning for their retirement years. "I have worked to find effective, compassionate solutions to the challenges faced by our nation's seniors. I will continue to fight for Social Security, oppose Medicare cuts, and be a voice for the many other issues that matter in the lives of our nation's seniors."
1 Senator Kerry is a strong supporter of "The Older Americans Act," which is the primary vehicle for delivering social and nutritional services to our nation's seniors. Increased funding for programs such as senior meals and support services for seniors so they may continue to live in their homes is needed. He also supports a program to aid people who give critical daily support to older Americans.
2 Prescription drugs have become as much a part of modern medicine as hospital stays and x-rays. There is no reason why prescription drugs should not be covered under Medicare for seniors who lack prescription drug coverage. For this reason and others, Senator Kerry cosponsored the Medicare Reform Act of 2001. This bill would provide a voluntary prescription drug benefit under Medicare, available to all beneficiaries -- including the 14 million without prescription drug coverage today.
3 44 million retired and disabled workers and their dependents and survivors depend on Social Security. Senator Kerry believes that we must take care of both those dependent on Social Security now and those who will need it in the future. People who have paid into Social Security for many years in good faith must be able to receive the program's benefits.
4 Senator Kerry has been a strong voice and consistent vote against Republican plans to scale back nursing home standards and has worked to improve the quality of these facilities and the care they give. He was awarded the "Home Health Care Legislator of the Year" Award in 2000.
5 Senator Kerry has a long record of advocacy on behalf of affordable housing for the elderly. He has been a champion of programs that protect older Americans from losing their homes, and he has worked to ensure adequate funding for important social and support services.
6 Senator John Kerry stood solidly behind our country's seniors when he opposed Republican efforts to cut Medicare by billion and to double premiums.
7 Senator Kerry was a strong advocate of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provided time off for those who need to take care of a sick parent.
8 Senator Kerry supported increased funding for Alzheimer's research.
9 " Senator Kerry supports tax relief for those who need it most, including tax credits for those who take care of an elderly parent.

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This information was posted by Keith Brekhus from selectsmart sight which is a non-partisan resource for looking at candidate's positions and from John Kerry's Official web site.