2nd CD: Debbie Holmes on the issues
BOISE, Idaho - Debbie Holmes, a Democratic candidate for United States House of Representatives in the Idaho 2nd Congressional District, issued the following position stances today.
I work very hard trying to help people into or out of housing in a very difficult market. The problems I see as I meet with my clients (who are usually struggling, sometimes losing their homes) have convinced me that we must make changes in how this country is run. I believe the deregulation of the big business and banking has led to the current distress we are in. By deregulating the financial sector we have allowed crooks to take their profits while destroying our economy. The greed of many banks, speculators, real estate agents, builders, etc. has created the inflation in housing prices. Loans were made that never should have been made. People signed documents they didn't understand. As a real estate agent, I work very hard to try to get people out of these situations.
The stories I hear on the job make me want to cry. There are many people who are financially devastated by medical problems. Thirty percent of us do not have health insurance. First we lose our health, then our jobs, then our insurance, then our homes. It is time for universal healthcare for all Americans. When people are ill they should worry about their recovery, not their finances. In this country, we penalize the sick. Health insurance should not depend on who you work for.
We must reform the largely regressive tax system that exists in the status quo, and move tax demands which are placed unfairly on the poorest among us somewhere else.
I don't believe that we can morally pull out of Iraq instantaneously, whatever the result of the 2008 election. If we, through our terrible handling of the war, ruin a country, then leave it in a state of anarchy, that would be reprehensible and would hurt our reputation on the world stage. That being said, we need to start preparing for withdrawal.
The Republicans have no exit strategy in Iraq; they seem to be willing to keep troops there indefinitely no matter what the circumstances on the ground. I support Sen. Joe Biden's plan to partition Iraq into three autonomous regions under a loose federal government, with provisions for the equitable division of oil wealth, and a phased replacement of US troops with Iraqi forces.
I firmly believe that Iraqis who have worked for the US military or diplomatic efforts in Iraq should not be left to fend for themselves as we begin to withdraw. As in Vietnam, those who have put their reputations and their lives on the line for our cause deserve a chance to immigrate into the United States if we withdraw under circumstances which put their lives in danger. All Iraqi support staff and personnel should receive this opportunity.
One of the most important civil rights issues facing our country today is the question of "coercive interrogation." To me, this is a relatively simple question: Will we be a nation that tortures its prisoners, or will we be a nation that follows due process? What with the atrocities at Abu Ghraib and black sites across Europe, combined with the Bush administration's recent assertion that waterboarding, a practice which amounts to controlled drowning, has been used on detainees, it is clear that the GOP and the current president are veering in the other direction. I will do my utmost to restore America to the strong anti-torture stance that, until recently, was generally accepted by all parties.
Mike Simpson voted to allow the government to wiretap conversations and engage in intrusive investigations without a warrant, even from a secret FISA court, whose decision would remain private and therefore would not danger national security. It is my understanding that the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution provides protection against search and seizure without a warrant. Every Idahoan and every American ought to enjoy the protections of the Constitution. It's time to send a message to Washington that our rights are not negotiable. We can and must preserve them at the same time as we provide for national security needs. Maintaining this balance is not the easy way out, but it is necessary.
Whatever one's opinion of same-sex relationships might be (and I believe that such relationships are perfectly valid), it is not our business to pass moral judgments on the victimless lifestyle choices of other individuals. It is certainly not the place of an employer to do so; sexual orientation does not affect a worker's job performance. If elected I, unlike Congressman Simpson, will support extending civil rights protections in the workplace to include those involved in same-sex relationships. It is not the place of the government or corporations to determine family values.
Many in this country believe that it is time to desert the public schools, and establish a program of vouchers, in order to encourage student to bail out of the public system. I could not disagree more. Rather than deserting the public schools, we need to reform their administration. The standardized testing regimen imposed by the current administration has done nothing to help. Schools are punished for underperformance under No Child Left Behind through the withholding of necessary funds. The NCLB program, which Congressman Simpson supported, fails to account for the obvious. In order to improve education, we need to put money into failing schools, not redistribute this much-needed funding to schools which are already successful.
I support the replacement of No Child Left Behind with a system that actually gauges students on an individual level, rather than judging schools as a whole, and gives money (with oversight) to failing schools rather than taking it away.
ABOUT DEBBIE HOLMES
Debbie Holmes is a real estate agent, a mother of three and a first-time candidate for public office. She lives in Boise.