May 31, 2012 10:50 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Democrat Kim Gillan lives and works in Billings, Montana. She has a Masters Degree in Regional Planning from Cornell University, and Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of California Los Angeles.
She has served six terms in the Montana Legislature and most recently was the Minority Whip for the Montana Senate.
You can read more about Gillan on her website.
How do you propose to balance the federal budget? What areas would you look at first when cutting spending? What programs are most important to preserve?
Montana has demonstrated how you balance a budget, maintain responsible reserves, cut taxes, and still fund critical priorities like education, job training, health care, and economic development. I'll take that approach and experience to Congress, work to rebuild the budget from the ground up, and let Montana common sense replace Washington gridlock. While there is no silver-bullet to fix the budget deficit overnight, we make it a priority to protect and preserve Social Security and Medicare, as well as other critical programs that assist working families and our seniors, and promote job growth.
Do you support the Affordable Care Act? If yes, why? If not what alternative health care reforms do you support?
Every American deserves access to affordable, quality health care. In Montana, where 20% of our population lacks insurance, expanding affordable health coverage is a priority that can reduce cost shifting, stabilize prices, and help our economy grow. The Health Care Reform bill that passed in 2010 was not perfect, but it was an important step toward addressing a health care system that is broken. This is especially true when it comes to covering pre-existing conditions and granting further coverage to young people; both of which were addressed in the act. In Congress I'll look at and consider a broad range of proposals that could provide more affordable health care to more Montana families. Health care is too important to leave any idea off the table for discussion.
Do you support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline? Why or why not?
I do support the Keystone XL Pipeline. Safety for our land, air, and water has to remain the top priority through construction and production. If we are going to diversify our energy resources and increase production on domestic resources, we need modern and safe infrastructure to make that happen.
What ideas do you have to promote job growth and reduce the unemployment rate?
Infrastructure improvements and job training are two areas that Congress must focus more on in today's economy. An investment in American infrastructure is an investment in long-term economic growth and job creation. At the Montana legislature as well as my professional career in economic development for Native American tribes, I've supported infrastructure investment programs such as Treasure State endowment and long-range bonding that have helped grow our state's economy and create jobs. Infrastructure is smart spending that creates jobs almost immediately and helps grow our economy indefinitely. In Congress, I will push for responsible national infrastructure investment, as well as work to extend tax credits that help folks further their education or help complete their certificate. A well-trained and educated workforce not only helps meet market demand, but it also works to attract new business.
Do you support the Citizens United decision? Why or why not? Do you believe corporations have a right to free speech?
We need less corporate influence in politics, and that's why I oppose Citizens United. Montanans have made it clear that we do not support that decision, and it is another example of how Montana common sense needs a greater influence on national policy. The best way voters can fight against this decision is by staying informed and electing members who will stand up to corporate lobbyists and stand their ground. In addition, the First Amendment, which guarantees the freedom of speech, was intended to protect people, and I do not believe that corporations are people.
What role would you like to see the United States take in Afghanistan in the upcoming years?
The US should have a role to encourage democracy in Afghanistan, but this should be done in a way that lessens the presence and deployment of our troops.
Where do you stand on social issues including abortion and homosexual marriage?
I believe that government ought to have less of a presence in our personal lives and private decisions. As a woman and a mother I am thankful for the opportunity I had to raise my two children, and I respect other women's ability to make the decision that is best for them.
Where do you stand on energy development including wind, oil, gas and coal?
Montana's traditional and renewable energy resources play a critical role in the health of our economy. That's why we need to invest in energy policies that take a responsible and balanced approach to harness that potential, create good paying 21st century energy jobs in Montana, and produce affordable and clean American energy for the long term. Technology will be key to making the best use of resources; like the work in bio diesel at MSU Northern, or developing clean coal technology. I have worked in every energy field for over ten years, from conservation to coal, and I would bring that experience to policy making.
Are you proposing any changes to the federal tax structure? If so, explain.
Tax cuts should be focused on the needs of working families - not millionaires and multi-national corporations shipping American jobs overseas. I would also support extending the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which is critical in giving tax relief to both students and parents working towards post-secondary education or a certificate. On top of that, we need to make sure the tax code is fairer for our middle class families and small business. Our current code looks like Swiss Cheese; we need to first get rid of unfair tax loopholes that allow corporations and the super wealthy to have a lower tax rate than most American families.
Do you support Senator Max Baucus' Heritage Act? Why or why not?
I believe we have an obligation to leave this place in better shape than we found it for our kids and grandkids. I also believe that any land use designations that affect our communities must come from Montanans - not the federal government. In the Montana State Legislature I fought time and again to protect access to Montana's public land and streams for hunting fishing, camping and hiking. I will continue to support this in the US House of Representatives.
How can you make sure the voices of 1 million Montanans are heard on Capitol Hill?
Montana has only one voice in the United States House of Representatives. That voice must be experienced and effective. It must speak clearly, responsibly, and strongly on behalf of working families across Montana. I'm running for Congress to be that voice, with a commitment to less rhetoric and more results. My approach in Congress will be to listen first, work hard, and use my experience to get things done for the people of Montana. During my time in the Montana State Legislature and at home in my community, I have stepped up to be an effective voice for Montanans, I will continue that in the US House of Representatives.
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