Mark on The Issues

Impeachment

If I were in Congress today, I would vote in favor of impeachment proceedings against Vice President Cheney and President Bush. As a prosecutor, I don’t believe anyone should be above the law. The rule of law is paramount to the health of our democracy. I fear that if we do not act now, future presidents will assume that they too have the powers that Bush has adopted, and these abuses will become precedent.

Energy/Global Warming

I am afraid that if we do not act now, the effects global warming will be irreversible. This is why I support efforts to reduce global warming emissions by 80 percent by the the year 2050. We need to dramatically decrease our dependence on carbon-based fuels. One way in which we can do this is through investment in alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. We also must encourage conservation. We can use the tax code to encourage higher home insulation standards and better fuel efficiency in cars. The technology exists to make cars that get upwards of 100 miles per gallon; we need to give companies incentives to produce them. Another solution I support is efforts to move our energy supply to 20% renewables by 2020.

The other aspect to consider is the effect of energy on our economy. I am very concerned that the increasing scarcity of oil will catch our oil-dependent economy off-guard. The economic potential of ending our addiction to oil is enormous, both in terms of the resources we can save, and the jobs we can create through a burgeoning green-collar sector.

Environment

Throughout my career, I have been very active in land conservation issues. One of the first political activities I involved myself with was working towards the establishment of the Laudholm Trust in Wells, ME, which successfully conserved 2200 acres around the Little River Estuary, which had been faced with the threat of development. Today, the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve works to protect and preserve the coastal ecosystems of the Gulf of Maine.

I am also very concerned with protecting against dangerous toxins in our food and water supplies. Maine leaders have been at the forefront of this movement, from Edmund Muskie’s work on the Clean Water Act to George Mitchell’s work on the Clean Air Act. We must act now to clean up our polluted watersheds, and protect against further pollution.

Withdrawing from Iraq

The Iraq War was a bad idea from the start, and was made even worse with mismanagement, poor planning and just plain arrogance and a stubborn refusal to listen. Tragically, too many of our brave men and women in the military have paid the ultimate price.

We cannot afford to continue this reckless course. We must push for the withdrawal of our troops to begin immediately, even if it means forcing the administration’s hand by halting funding. The way to support our troops is not to leave them trapped in the middle of a sectarian civil war.

We also need to immediately refocus our efforts against real threats to our national security, which requires us to rebuild the severe damage that has been done to our reputation in the international community.

As a prosecutor, I believe our fight against terrorists is much like our fight against organized crime. The United States needs to work as part of an international coalition to cut off funding for terror, identify threats before they occur and, most importantly, begin to wage the war of ideas on behalf of democracy and against rigid despotism and theocracy.

Every intelligence report concurs that the Iraq War has hurt our ability to defeat terrorists. It is time to change course, immediately.

Universal Health Care

We can no longer try to resolve our health care crisis on a piece meal basis; nor can it be fixed state-by-state. We need a national solution that covers everybody.

Approximately 47 million Americans lack health insurance because they cannot afford it. The cost of coverage is so high that many Americans are cutting back on savings, and also food and heating costs so that they can afford medical care. Too often, all it takes is one medical emergency to plunge an entire family into a financial crisis.

This makes us less healthy as a nation, and hurts the economy. Currently, the United States spends 16 % of its Gross Domestic Product on health care; this number is expected to increase to 20% in the next decade. Other industrialized nations with a universal health care system spend around 9% to 10%.

The for-profit model of health coverage is broken, which is why a national solution is necessary. I would support a single-payer solution that would cut out the bureaucracy and put control back into the hands of doctors and patients.

The following two elements are essential to whatever plan is adopted:

We are in a position where we can choose the best features of other countries that have national health care systems, and create a truly American health care system that covers everybody. This system would be more efficient, it would allow business to focus on growth rather than worry about insurance for their staffs, and – most important – it will keep Americans healthier.

Education

As the youngest of four sons of shipyard worker, I was raised to understand that a good education is the key to good opportunities in life. While I attended college and law school, I could earn enough working part-time jobs, and lobstering in the summer, to help pay for a significant part of my education. College costs have risen too fast to make that feasible for most of today’s students. When my Dad, Irving, worked at the shipyard in Kittery, one quarter of his yearly salary could pay for one year of college. Today, that same year of college would cost more than a shipyard worker could earn in a full year! America is a great nation precisely because of its commitment to public education and we need to maintain and strengthen that commitment, from pre-school to graduate school, to give our children the best chance to compete in a global economy.

Civil Rights

More information coming soon!

Jobs

I’ve said that America’s middle class and working families have been nickeled and dimed by this administration, but the truth is far worse. Bush tax policies have shifted the burden from the wealthiest to struggling wage earners. His trade programs make it easier to ship American jobs overseas and actually reward corporations for doing that, while making everything more expensive here at home. The income difference between CEO’s and even middle managers, let alone those working on factory lines and mill floors, has expanded from a gap to a gorge. It’s time to turn things around and start standing up for the working families that built this nation, protect this nation and keep it strong.

Restoring the Constitution

It is essential for the health of a democracy that the rule of law be paramount. As District Attorney, I see this every day – public trust that the outcomes of the criminal and civil justice system are based upon an unbiased process, free from political interference, is vital to our society.

Our Constitution is rooted in the idea of checks and balances – that a vital role of the Legislative and Judicial branches of government is to maintain vigorous oversight over each other and the Executive Branch. But for too long under the Bush administration, we’ve seen an Executive Branch that believes itself exempt from these checks and balances.

From the political firings of U.S. Attorneys to a domestic surveillance program without judicial review, our Constitution has never been more in peril.

As your congressman, I intend to apply my experience as an attorney and a prosecutor to ensure that the rule of law is respected, that politics are removed from legal proceedings, and that we uphold our American system of justice.

Regardless of who the next president is, only Congress has the power to step up and restore the Constitution.