Terrorism: Should the United States maintain its current military strength in Iraq, or do you
support a specific timetable for withdrawal of troops? If you support a specific timetable, what is
it? Would you vote to end the war in Iraq?
I have always said that our actions in Iraq should be based on the conditions on the ground. I am
extremely pleased that these conditions have brought us to a point that we can begin to transition
from a combat to an oversight role, handing the primary role over to the Iraqi Security Forces. I
believe we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel; President Bush recently announced
that troop levels will soon return to pre-surge levels and more troops will likely be able to come
home in the first half of 2009 assuming the progress that we have seen from the surge continues.
While I wish more troops could return home immediately, I believe it is important to ensure that
the progress we have made in Iraq is sustained. Even though violence has decreased by 80
percent since last year's peak, rushing U.S. force reductions could lead to a reversal of progress
stemming from the surge. It is important that we leave Iraq in a position to successfully be a
stable, long-term democratic ally in the region. Therefore, I cannot support immediately ending
our efforts in Iraq and bringing our troops home in defeat.
Health care: Do you support universal health care coverage? Be specific in your reasons.
Every American should have access to affordable, high quality healthcare. Government needs to
provide oversight to ensure access, affordability and a safety net for the most vulnerable, but
shouldn't stand between a patient and doctor in making healthcare decisions. I've consistently
supported a balanced approach to improving access to care, providing funding for research and
treatments, lowering costs, and improving quality. I've cosponsored the Healthy Americans Act,
which would guarantee that every American can afford quality, private health insurance that is
portable from job to job. I'm also a strong supporter of the SHOP Act, which would establish
statewide purchasing pools for small businesses to purchase private health insurance. This bill
would ensure that small businesses, the backbone of the U.S. economy, can continue to offer
healthcare to their employees. Finally, I've put forth my own ten step proposal encompassing the
best ideas from both sides of the aisle, including, but not limited to, making the insurance market
more consumer-friendly, paying for quality not quantity, greater support for low-income
Americans, medical liability reform, and expansion of health IT and prevention.
Education: Do you support or oppose the No Child Left Behind Act? Can it be strengthened, or
should it be scrapped?
I believe that No Child Left Behind is an important piece of legislation and I support its goals of
ensuring students an opportunity to succeed by maintaining a high standard of accountability.
With that said, I believe we must reform NCLB in a manner that promotes flexibility for our
schools while maintaining accountability, high standards, effectiveness, and by providing access
to fiscal resources. This is a task that can only be accomplished through a strong bipartisan
With this in mind, I’ve introduced the All Students Can Achieve Act (S. 2001) with Senators Joe
Lieberman (I-CT) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). This comprehensive legislation seeks to further
the discussion on reforming No Child Left Behind by, among other things, allowing states and
school districts to use “growth models” to measure student growth over time rather than one
group of students versus another as the law currently prescribes. I’ve also cosponsored other
bipartisan legislation, including the No Child Left Behind Flexibility Improvements Act (S. 562)
which seeks to reform the law by providing states flexibility when measuring students with
limited english proficiency and students with disabilities.
Energy: Should the United States allow additional oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge? Should additional nuclear plants be part of the energy mix in this country? Please
I made a commitment in 2002 to oppose drilling in ANWR and have kept my word throughout
my tenure in the U.S. Senate and have no intention of breaking that promise.
I’m committed to reducing our dependency on foreign oil and believe that nuclear energy must
be a large part of any effort to do so. I joined a broad, bipartisan group in Congress in supporting
the 2005 Energy Bill which provided loan guarantee authority, production tax credits, insurance
against licensing delays and litigation. These provisions will enable dozens of new nuclear
plants to be build. More recently, I’ve joined a bipartisan group of senators on legislation to
expand nuclear energy by increasing resources for workforce training and improving loan
guarantees for nuclear facilities.
Agriculture: Do you support the farm bill passed by the 2008 Congress? Why or why not?
As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I not only helped craft the 2008 Farm Bill, I broke
the logjam in the Senate that was holding up its consideration and helped override two vetoes.
The 2008 Farm Bill will have a significant impact on Minnesotans - both rural and urban - as it
will keep the critical farm safety net intact, expand the use of renewable fuels, establish a
permanent disaster assistance program, invest heavily in nutrition and food assistance programs
(an increase of $9.2 billion over baseline), and provide for the largest conservation investment in
farm bill history.
Minnesota agriculture generates $55 billion in economic activity and underpins 367,000 jobs --
and this bill will go a long ways toward allowing our farm families to continue feeding and
fueling the nation. And, at only 0.27 percent of the federal budget, this new farm bill commodity
title has an enormous impact on all of our lives, whether we’re walking the rows of a field or the
aisle of a grocery store. Thanks to U.S. agriculture, we don’t worry about whether there will be
food on the shelves or whether it will be safe to eat. And with an economic impact of $3.5
trillion a year to the U.S. economy, many Americans can thank agriculture for their jobs, even if
they don’t spend a lot of time on the tractor.
Specifically, for Minnesota the bill improved the sugar and MILC programs. We included a
supplemental disaster program and my proposal to improve and expand the farm storage facility
loan program. And we provided more than $1 billion in new investment in renewables.
Job creation: What policies do you support so U.S. companies can compete effectively in
First, we must extend and make permanent the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, as raising taxes would
kill jobs. These tax cuts have provided critical relief to small businesses which in turn enable
them to hire work workers and increase their capital investments. At this time of economic
uncertainty, raising taxes is not the right prescription for American small business owners who
want to compete and succeed in the international marketplace.
We also need the brightest workforce in the world, and that begins with education. As co-
chairman of the Senate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education Caucus with
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), I have worked with my colleagues to better focus on our education
system, on science, technology, engineering, and math education. For example, I was an
original cosponsor and a conference committee member for the America COMPETES Act which
was signed into law in 2007. This legislation aims to increase research investment, strengthen
educational opportunities in science; technology, engineering, and mathematics from elementary
through graduate school, and develop an innovation infrastructure in America.
Moreover, the fact of the matter is that 95 percent of potential consumers live outside the United
States. It is imperative that we lower the trade barriers that prevent U.S. products and services
from reaching the rest of the world. As the world's economy continues to become increasingly
intertwined, we must ensure that our companies are competing on a level playing field with their
foreign competitors. This includes vigorous oversight to ensure that other countries are living up
to WTO obligations and not giving unfair advantages to their home companies at the expense of
Energy costs are also a large factor in the daily operations of any small business owner. I believe
that we need to go “all in” on domestic energy production to reduce these input costs and
improve bottom lines. That means expanding drilling off the Outer Continental Shelf, investing
in clean-coal and cellulosic ethanol production, expanding nuclear energy; and making a long-
term commitment to our renewable energy programs.
Finally we need to reform our health care system so that small businesses are able to provide
affordable health care coverage to their employees. Such reforms should not place the federal
government in charge of health care decisions, but should instead allow these decisions to be
made by individuals and their doctors.
Immigration: What are your priorities in any immigration reform legislation?
I support comprehensive immigration reform. But, it is also very clear that the American people
expect their government to defend our borders and enforce the laws on the books before making
reforms to our immigration laws. I am committed to doing both. However, while I do not
believe that we can get those living and working here illegally to “report to deport,” I also do not
believe the majority of Americans are ready or willing to reward people who have broken the
law by providing a pathway to citizenship. So, we are going to have to bring people out of the
shadows through reforms to our visa programs so these programs actually work. It is going to be
a very difficult needle to thread.
Economy: What role, if any, should the federal government play in protecting homeowners
against bank foreclosures?
In my travels around the state, I’ve seen how the foreclosure crisis is hurting Minnesota families,
communities and our economy at-large. While I oppose providing any relief for reckless
homebuyers, investors or speculators, I believe given the current circumstances it is in our
broader economic interest to address the foreclosure crisis by providing, responsibly, help where
To that end, this summer I supported passage of bipartisan housing legislation that among other
things provides additional funding for pre-foreclosure counseling which is highly successful in
stopping foreclosures from happening in the first place. In addition to this critical funding, the
legislation would create a temporary and voluntary mortgage rescue program. Under this
program homeowners could refinance their mortgage into a government insured fixed-rate
mortgage only after their lender agreed to reduce their mortgage. In order to protect taxpayers,
this program requires participating homeowners to share profits with the government. This bill
also contains a provision that I authored to protect returning service members from the threat of
Besides these efforts, I have also introduced the Home Ownership Mortgage Emergency Act to
allow middle-income homeowners penalty and tax-free access to their retirement savings in
order to save their homes from foreclosure. Homeowners, who can help themselves, should not
be penalized for doing so.
All that said, industry also has a very important role to play as well in addressing the foreclosure
crisis. It is my hope that both industry and government efforts will be able to prevent a really
bad situation from becoming even worse for our communities and economy.
Federal Shield Law: Do you support the enactment of a strong federal shield law to protect
journalists‚ confidential sources and unpublished materials? Why or why not?
I strongly support S. 2035, the Free Flow of Information Act, which will provide critical
protections to ensure the freedom of the press. While on July 30th I did vote against a
procedural motion to debate this legislation, my opposition was not because of the underlying
bill, but because Senator Reid brought up this legislation to the avoid Republican attempts to
debate energy independence. Given my support for this legislation, this was a particularly
difficult vote for me, and I am hopeful that Senate leadership will bring S. 2035 up for a vote
again as soon as the Senate reconvenes.
Priorities: Why are you running for office? What are your personal priorities?
I believe what I do best is what this state and country needs most –bring people together to get
things done. I’ve done that throughout my career – as an Assistant Attorney General, I
prosecuted criminals across the state and made Minnesota safer. As mayor, I revitalized a capital
city, created 18,000 new jobs and brought hockey back to Minnesota. As a senator, I’ve led the
charge to end our addiction to foreign oil, to root out government waste, fraud and abuse, and to
get a farm bill passed. Next year my agenda is to pass a real, comprehensive "kitchen sink"
energy bill, ensure affordable health care for every American, and fight to grow jobs for working
families and keep taxes low.
Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.
Wife, Laurie; two children, Jake and Sarah
U.S. Senator, lawyer
B.A., Hofstra University, 1971
J.D., University of Iowa Law School, 1976
Elected Offices Held:
Mayor of St. Paul 1994 – 2002
U.S. Senator 2003 – Current
Other Government Service:
17 years in the Attorney General’s office