Chicago Tribune Questionnaire

Editorial board questionnaires
Portrait of Paula Bradshaw
Paula Bradshaw
Green candidate for U.S. House, 12th

Paula Bradshaw

Green candidate for U.S. House, 12th

Education: ADN

Occupation: ER RN

Home: Carbondale

Past Political/Civic Experience: Green Party member and precinct committee person
Responses to our questionnaire

Q: The federal government has $17.6 trillion in debt and is expected to run a $506 billion budget deficit in fiscal 2014. Congress has not reached agreement on how to balance federal spending. Where should the government reduce spending? Where are you most likely to seek an increase in spending?

The military budget has almost doubled since 2000, and yet Obama announced on 9-10 that we still are “not safe”. I believe we would be “safer” if we stayed within our own borders and defended our actual territory, instead of trying to maintain a world-wide empire. Waging a war on “terror” is absurd. Terror is a tactic, not an enemy. The so-called War on Terror is simply an umbrella term used to cover any bombing, assassination or invasion that the president wishes. This is illegal under the Constitution and under international law. Only Congress can declare war, and we could save billions of dollars if we only went to war when Congress officially declared it. I would seek an increase in infrastructure repair and renewal, with an emphasis on switching to renewable energy and sustainable transportation, with the biggest focus on public transportation. This would also save money from the military budget, as most of our wars are to gain access to fossil fuels in other countries. I would not vote for any fossil fuel subsidies, not for any corporate welfare. I would expect that the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Emplyment Act of 1978 be enforced and unemployed Americans put to work doing socially useful tasks. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. I already mentioned building an alternative energy supply and sustainable transportation. As part of the Green New Deal we also need to refurbish our existing housing to be more energy efficient, replant trees and wetlands to protect our rivers and oceans, take care of our young, our elderly and our sick, and provide art, literature and music to our people, as the original New Deal did.

Q: The federal government is on track to spend 70 percent of its total budget (excluding interest payments on debt) on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance programs by 2023. What changes in entitlement spending do you support? Please be specific.

I reject your premise. Social Security and Medicare are funded separately from the federal budget, as you can see if you look at your paystubs. I would support a lift on the cap on Social Security and a rollback of the age of retirement for all. I would support repealing Obamacare and rescinding the age limit on Medicare, so that all Americans are covered.

Q: Rep. Dave Camp, retiring chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has filed a bill that would overhaul the federal tax code for the first time since 1986. Do you support this plan? Why or why not?

No, I do not support his bill. I am capable of learning from experience and the past 34 years of tax cuts, from the Reagan cuts, to the Bush/Obama cuts, have shown conclusively that cutting taxes on the rich and on corporations does not inspire them to invest in productive factories nor provide jobs to the unemployed Americans. To make such claims today means that Mr. Camp is either ignorant, or angling for a high salaried job as a lobbyist. I would support going back to the 1964 tax rates, with no exemptions. All corporations, foreign or domestic, that sell in the USA should pay taxes on the portion of their income that comes from US sales. This would solve the offshoring problem.

Q: The next vote on whether to raise the debt ceiling will likely occur in mid 2015. How would you vote, and why?

I would vote to raise the debt ceiling if necessary. However, I support the nationalization of the Federal Reserve, and the issuing of debt-free money as needed for the functions of government. With higher taxes on the wealthy and lower spending on the military, we should be able to lower the deficit quickly.

Q: Should the U.S. impose tougher economic sanctions on Iran as it negotiates an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program? Do you support sanctions proposed by Sen. Mark Kirk and Sen. Robert Menendez? What terms must an agreement have to warrant U.S. approval?

The US has been warning that Iran is five years away from a nuclear bomb since 1979. Dick Cheney warned us, with great hysteria, in 2006, that Iran was 5 years away from a nuclear bomb. Here we are, 3 years after Cheney’s deadline, still pretending that Iran is 5 years away from a nuclear bomb. This is ridiculous. No, I do not support sanctions on Iran. And I oppose the assassinations of their nuclear scientists. Iran has as much right to nuclear power as any other country. (Although I oppose nuclear power for all countries, we are living under the NPT, which Iran has signed, unlike other countries that we are not threatening). It is insulting to Iran to try to threaten them into compliance, especially when there is NO proof that they are breaking any rules, as the NIE of 2006 pointed out.

Q: Should the U.S. military maintain a larger or smaller military presence in Afghanistan than the Obama administration has proposed? Was the U.S. correct to remove combat troops from Iraq? Please offer your views on the diplomatic and military role of the U.S. in the Mideast.

I advocate closing the 900+ bases that the US maintains around the world, both as a cost saving measure and in compliance with international law. I advocate using the UN to solve differences peacefully, respecting other countries’ sovereignty, and obeying international law. The Mideast would be of no interest to the US if we took our country off fossil fuels, which is also necessary due to the looming threat of planetary ecosystem extinction due to global warming.

Q: Should the U.S. maintain its commitment to NATO or demand that European nations bear more of the cost and responsibility? In what manner should the U.S. and European nations defend Ukraine from Russian aggression?

NATO, which was justified as a defense against the USSR, should have been disbanded when the USSR was dissolved, 23 years ago. Instead, NATO has expanded into former USSR terrirtories, in a clear violation of promises made to the former Soviet Union. This is clear aggression. According to Victoria Nuland, the US spent $5 billion to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine, and her choice for Prime Minister “Yats” was placed into power after the coup. How is this “Russian aggression”? The newly installed coup government, promptly recognized by the US and NATO, started immediately passing anti-Russian legislation. The eastern part of Ukraine, ethnically Russian, was alarmed by this. Crimea voted 97% to rejoin Russia (it had only been put into Ukraine in 1956, when they both were part of the USSR), and Russia accepted them. How is this Russian aggression? The Donbass region voted to secede from the fascist dominated coup government, and were promptly attacked by the Kiev government. How is this Russian aggression? They then voted to join Russia, but Russia refused to accept them. Again, how is this Russian aggression? The people of Donbass then organized themselves into militias and began fighting the fascist government, which has bombed and shelled them and used neo-nazis to attack their people. Many of the the regular Ukrainian military refused to kill their fellow Ukrainians and defected to the anti-fascist side, so the junta began using open neo-nazi irregular troops against the citizens of eastern Ukraine. Over 2,500 eastern Ukrainains have been killed by the Kiev government, and almost one million have fled from their homes, to Russia. If Russia were the aggressor, why would people flee to Russia? The US has now announced that it will participate in NATO military exercises in western Ukraine, a clear provocation to Russia, since Ukraine and Russia share a border. I would oppose such a blatant provocation.

Q: Should the federal government encourage more school choice for students and parents? Do you support charter schools? Do you support tuition vouchers? Do you support Common Core State Standards? How can the federal government help public school systems enhance accountability?

I believe strongly in public schools and oppose ANY public money going to private schools. NO charter schools. NO vouchers. I would support public schools trying different ways of teaching students. I support the idea of a common core of standards for every American schoolchild, but not the current testing regime that is being imposed. I would listen to teachers’ opinions on how to enhance accountability. Until we hold bankers and war criminals accountable for their actions, however, I would not focus on holding accountable children and their teachers.

Q: Would you vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act? What changes, if any, should be made in the law?

Yes, I would vote to repeal the ACA, which is yet another misnamed bill. As I said before, I support Medicare For All, which would involve the very simple reform of removing the age limit from Medicare.

Q: What changes, if any, should Congress make in immigration law? Would you, or did you, vote for the immigration measure approved in 2013 by the U.S. Senate? Should undocumented immigrants who live in the U.S. have a path to citizenship? On what terms?

I would not vote for any immigration law which makes a two-tier system for people in the US. Until every American who wants to work, finds work, I oppose bringing in undocumented, or H1B immmigrants to undercut working conditions and wages. I support repealing NAFTA and CAFTA and supporting peoples’ right to stay home. That is, the policies of the US are driving people to come here in search of work, and they are being exploited by agribusiness and other corporations. I oppose that. The presence of desperate workers drives down wages and working conditions for Americans as well.

Q: How should Republicans and Democrats break partisan gridlock in Washington? Or is partisanship a good thing?

I don’t know how the Republicans and Democrats can break their gridlock. I am a Green and stand for principles, unlike the two corporate parties. Partisanship can be good or bad. If they argue about trivial matters, it is inconsequential for the American people. I would stand for peace, justice and environmental sustainability, so I would be a novelty in Washington, DC.

Q: Tell us about your family.

I am married and the mother of 3 grown children.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.

In the winter, we turn our thermostat down to 50 degrees.
U.S. House, 12th