BlogHer reached out to women candidates running in tight races this election cycle -- here at BlogHer.com, on Facebook and Twitter. After collecting the questions, we sent six to each candidate. Suzan DelBene, running for Congress in Washington's 8th District, answered questions from the BlogHer community here:
1) You're a supporter of fiscal responsibility and corporate oversight. What about government responsibility and oversight? Will you work toward greater transparency in government?
Yes. I firmly believe that an open government is the most effective in responding to the needs of its citizens. At the most basic level, transparency and accountability means elected officials stay active in their communities, not just in Washington D.C. I’ve campaigned since February 2009 and traveled all across the district on a regular basis and talked with farmers, small business owners and families. Even though I’ll be in the other Washington for much of the year, I hope engage voters in a personal way whenever I can in their own communities.
My opponent has refused to debate and has spent much of time campaign avoiding questions about his votes for raising taxes or his plan for repealing Wall Street reform. His willingness to deny voters an opportunity to hear him talking about his record is unfortunate but all too common in today’s Congress.
2) Your statement on choice is very simple and direct, "I firmly believe that medical decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor, and not by politicians." So how, in your view, can Congress protect women and medical practitioners, so politicians will truly stay out of this issue?
It’s not up to members of Congress to stand in between a woman and her health care options. The federal government should protect our individual rights, not infringe upon our most personal decisions, especially those regarding health and choice.
My opponent has consistently opposed a woman’s right to choose during his six years in Congress. If elected, I will work hard to ensure that Congress does not interfere with a woman and her doctor’s medical decisions.
3) What's your position on mental health coverage?
I believe insurance companies should not discriminate against people who live with mental illness.
4) Tell us about your plan to expand our "innovation economy"? How will this benefit states in the middle of the country, not just technology centers on the coasts?
Innovation benefits every corner of the nation and can help businesses and workers in every sector of our economy. For example, a technology company in Washington State could create a piece of software that helps a business in Nebraska become more efficient or branch out into new markets. I understand what businesses need to succeed because I spent 20 years in the business world, working for businesses large and small. I recognize how business innovations can solve old problems and create new jobs for people all over the country.
My opponent, on the other hand, has never worked in the real-business world and doesn’t know what businesses need to succeed. He opposed $12 billion of tax relief for small businesses and voted against an extension of the research and development tax credit, which businesses rely on to innovate in a competitive world.
5) Your site states that our top national security priority should be safety from terrorists. Where do the most imminent threats lie, and how do you suggest we deal with them?
I support a gradual withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, but the United States must help keep nuclear weapons safe in Pakistan. A critical threat is the possibility of nuclear weapons ending up in the hands of terrorists. Strong diplomatic, development and intelligence programs can help prevent future threats and will serve us better than relying on military efforts alone.
6) If you could tell all of the women voters in Washington's 8th District one reason why they should vote for you, what would it be?
Women in the 8th district deserve a representative who will stand up with them on the issues they care most deeply about and who understands the challenges they face. My father lost his job when I was young, and after I finished college my parents moved in with me. Many families face similar challenges today. I know how hard it is to balance work and family, and the challenges women face in the workforce.
My opponent hasn’t supported a level playing field for women. He voted against equal pay for women and voted to raise taxes on working families.
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