US SENATE — DEMOCRATS
Matthew G. Dunlap
Occupation: Self-employed writer, former cook, bartender, legislator, and Secretary of State
Family status: Married, one child
Do you believe the federal government has struck the proper balance between protecting civil liberties and providing physical security?
No. The USA Patriot Act and the Real ID Act along with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security represent some of the greatest departures from the spirit of freedom since the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts. I fought the Real ID Act for what it is--a cynical, anti-immigrant bill. Targeting state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards, the legislation defied logic--after all, the 9/11 hijackers didn't get into this country with driver's licenses, they got in with visas issued by the State Department, who processes are not affected by the Act. But the mechanism of Real ID, like the Patriot Act, provides many more tools for government to watch us and monitor our activities, a capacity I find abhorrent. What has kept us safe is old-fashioned intelligence and detective work, not monitoring the movements of Americans.
Do you support a cap-and-trade system of greenhouse-gas limitation?
Yes. But cap-and-trade is only a stopgap solution; we need to migrate away from our primary dependence on fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases, and embrace sustainable and efficient energy sources through mass transit, more efficient and sustainable home heating sources, and electrical generation.
Do you believe the federal government should do more to help students afford college?
Yes. We haven't had a major educational initiative in generations. While we are all familiar with the GI Bill, Pell grants and Stafford loans, the lack of public support for public higher education has driven costs skyward, leaving students and families to foot the bill. We need a bold initiative to relieve college loan debt and to bolster the capacity of our public institutions of higher learning and our students' access to them so that we can remain competitive.
Do you believe health-insurance plans should cover contraception without co-pays?
Yes. Family planning helps everyone achieve the goals of healthy families, and a woman's right to choose should be guarded beyond the narrow barriers of philosophy.
Will you vote to end the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans?
Yes. These tax cuts are undermining our nation's ability to succeed and provide all Americans with the resources they need to rebuild the American economy, through deteriorating infrastructure, tight credit, and lack of access to health care and education. Our tax burden is our share of our patriotic duty to support the nation that sustains us. Everyone should share that burden.
In 10 words or fewer, please express your view on Congressional compromise.
The role of government is finding agreement, not picking sides.