Wow. More politicians (of all parties) need to be as open and thorough as Steve Novick is here. We selected 10 of the questions you submitted and sent them to him by email, and his responses... let's just say that if every candidate spoke out like Steve, we'd have a much clearer view of our choices and would be able to cast our votes a lot more rationally.1) Slashdot's Hive's Net Neutrality View (Score:5, Interesting)
by eldavojohn (898314)
From your website [novickforsenate.org] on issues, you say:
-I would join many other U.S. senators, and the rest of what we might call Google Nation, in supporting "net neutrality." We need to prevent broadband providers from creating a two-tiered system of access to information, in which content providers with money would have an advantage over those without it, and Internet users would often find it harder to Google their way to the information they really need.-
Your net neutrality rhetoric rings true with this readership, for the most part. How exactly do you propose you would enforce this?
I mean, you say yourself that the companies with money are going to want this, how do you plan to fight the opposition? If your opponent Gordon Smith opposes net neutrality, you're going to face a lot more of that in the senate. Voting to ensure it in bills is one thing but what makes you unique to any other Senator trying to keep the net neutral? What are the best things we can do to help this? I tried explaining it to my friends and family but often find I've at best confused them.
Allow me to play the devil's advocate, argue against this point: - The government controls too much of our lives right now, why let them control the internet with a facade of "net neutrality?" It's just another form of restricting the market to evolve naturally, why would we want that?-
Thanks for the question and for taking notice of my stand on the issue. Some of my friends questioned why it was part of the first series of issues statements we put up on our website, but it is an important issue to me and I know also to the tech community.
I think the Internet Freedom Preservation Act represents a great start in protecting net neutrality, establishing a national broadband policy that prioritizes open access to online content for all users and directing the FCC to enforce these provisions and take public input on these issues.
Of course, as we've seen with the current FCC appointees, we must closely monitor and provide Congressional oversight to prevent political appointees from hijacking federal policy to benefit corporate interests. As I pledged on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina last year, I will vote "no" on confirmations unless it has been demonstrated that the appointee is qualified for the position.
But I think your larger question is, how do we beat a powerful telecommunications industry, how do we win? The truth is that it will take more than having me as a reliable vote against the telecom industry on this issue. We all know how tough it is to take on rich and powerful special interests in Washington D.C. But that doesn't mean you don't try. Whether it is health care, global warming or net neutrality, we all know what we are up against if we really want to make changes. That's why I have been willing to talk frankly about these issues and what it will take to make the changes we need. Another slogan for the campaign has been, 'voters can handle the truth.'
On net neutrality, I think you are correct that framing this debate is part of the challenge. For instance, I think too many people forget that it is public investment that funded the research to build the internet. (And yes, Al Gore had a lot to do with that!) Just as with the airwaves, there is a direct public interest in the management of the internet. I think people will appreciate the dangers of letting for-profit companies decide what content is easily accessible to the public. I think we can forcefully make the point that we don't want the Internet to become like cable television, where monopolies determine who has access to what content, based on profits. The market should be allowed to evolve (as you argue in your devil's advocate point), but government regulation of that market to make sure that evolution also serves the public interest makes a lot of sense - particularly in a public communication medium.
I have pledged to be an outspoken advocate in the Senate, urging my colleagues to stand up for what is right. Just as with Democrats who are afraid to reform the capital gains tax for fear of losing hedge fund contributions, I would challenge those afraid to stand up to the telecommunications giants to take a risk and do what is right for the country. It seems me that we should be able to get at least as much good attention for doing what is right as we would have with the TV ads we could buy from all those campaign contributions. Heck, I'm just a candidate and look at all the national press I've been getting for just being willing to stand up and buck the conventional political wisdom!
2) Nucular... (Score:4, Interesting)
by Notquitecajun (1073646)
Are you in favor of nuclear energy, or are you afraid of it?
We face an incredible challenge of shifting off of our dependence on fossil fuels and I've heard smart arguments from environmentalists on both sides of the nuclear power question. Some argue that the cancer of global warming may require radiation treatment. They point out that nuclear power supplies much of France's power and has done so without incident for years.
But I am skeptical that nuclear power can be counted on to address our long-term power needs. We still do not have a satisfactory answer to the waste disposal question and the Yucca Mountain depository appears riddled with problems. In addition, large scale use of nuclear power by the U.S. would likely lead the rest of the world to follow suit -- creating a global nuclear fuel reprocessing industry. I would be extremely nervous, in this age of terrorists willing to employ any means to serve their extremist goals, to encourage a global trade network for nuclear fuel that could be all too easily diverted to weapons production. One of my supporters, Denis Hayes, points out that if we increase our reliance on nuclear power, it's hard for us to object to all the other nations of the world developing nuclear power -- and then, he argues, it's too short a step from nuclear power to nuclear weapons.
Finally, of course there is nothing stopping the development of additional nuclear plants in America today. Conservative proposals to spend billions in assisting the construction of these plants or putting the federal government on the hook for insuring these plants seems a poor investment of our money that would be better served exploring renewable alternatives.
3) Universal Health Care (Score:5, Insightful)
by pudge (3605)
Steve, your state already tried, and aborted, an attempt at universal health care. Do you want federal universal health care because Oregon needs to take money from other states to make it work? Would you raise federal income taxes to make it work? How much?
I would suggest that Oregon's attempt at universal health care never really got off the ground because major portions of it (such as a requirement that all employers contribute toward their employees' health care) were blocked by the Republican-controlled legislature. I think that experience underscores the need for us to address health care reform at a national level. The path our health care system is on, with its exploding costs and declining coverage, is clearly unsustainable. I think there are several comprehensive plans out there to ensure everyone has affordable health care, while tackling the rise in the cost of care. Here's a fuller explanation of what I think that will take and several measures we need to take to control costs.
Without significant policy changes, we face the specter of massive tax increases or benefit cuts in Medicare when baby boomers retire. That is why we must reform our healthcare system now, just as we must put the government as a whole on sound fiscal footing before it is too late and we are faced with unacceptable options.
4) Beer (Score:5, Interesting)
by esocid (946821)
What will you do to get more Oregon beer east of the Mississippi river?
But seriously, you state that The manipulation of scientific data and government reports by political appointees must end. And we must stop the revolving door that has put industry lobbyists in charge of protecting our natural resources. How would attempt to improve the reliability of the EPA's research and encourage transparency within its ranks as to thwart its recent politicization and "bullying" of its scientists who don't produce data to support a political agenda?
Yes, we must stop the blatant East Coast bias that has trumpeted Sam Adams as the height of beers, while leaving numerous superior Oregon brews in relative obscurity!
In terms of environmental science, I have actually been surprised at the lengths to which the Bush Administration has gone to interfere with this process. I was in the environmental section of the U.S. Justice Department under Reagan and when Ed Meese was Attorney General (wiki link for those of you in grade school at the time). And the amazing thing is that the political appointees left us alone and let us do our jobs. From colleagues I had who are still at DOJ and the EPA, I know that this Administration has been truly unique in using political appointments to override the best advice of career staff.
So, the first step is to provide real confirmation reviews and oversight of those appointees -- not just the department heads but also their deputies. It is entirely reasonable to expect these people to be qualified in the area to which they are being appointed and demand that they not insert their agendas, or those of their former clients, into the process of governing.
In addition, we can take steps to ensure there is accountability when these abuses occur. We need real whistleblower protections for those who expose malfeasance, and we also need to end the disaster that the Freedom of Information process has become under this Administration. When citizens can't get their requests returned in a timely manner, it becomes too late to do anything about abuses by the time they are brought to light.
5) Internet's Effect on Campaign Finances (Score:4, Interesting)
by roadkill_cr (1155149)
Does the advent of the Internet mean that a politician can win elections without requiring as much financial support? Or is it simply another media out of the many already used (radio, television, etc.) that one must now campaign on, making campaigning more expensive than before?
Unfortunately, no, the internet has not allowed us to transcend the conventional politics of the past. But it has done a lot to help reach voters cheaply and effectively with answers to their specific concerns and for supporters to connect and mobilize in ways that were not possible in the past.
I have frequently referred to my candidacy as the Paul Wellstone campaign on steroids. Wellstone didn't have the advantage of reaching hundreds of thousands voters directly like we've done through our email, online posts and ads posted on YouTube. We've also been able to draw major support from the netroots through ActBlue, making me the #3 Senate candidate on the site with over $350,000 raised.
But these strategies complement the previous methods of voter contact -- TV ads, mailers, door knocking and phone calling. The reality is that you got to do it all. But the ability of the internet to help coordinate and engage voters has been a huge boon to candidates like myself -- certainly outweighing the additional costs.
I do believe that in the future, the Internet will be a major factor in "post-big money politics." If a majority of voters are sufficiently engaged in and enthusiastic about politics to seek out candidates' positions, they can look to candidates' web sites, and 30-second ads will cease to be relevant. At present, many voters remain disengaged and cynical, unlikely to look up candidate web sites without prompting. I hope that in this campaign, our creative advertising will drive voters to our web site. In the years to come I hope that the next President, my colleagues and myself will offer voters the kind of principled, progressive leadership that will re-engage voters and render ads and money increasingly irrelevant.
6) Effect on Party Platform (Score:4, Informative)
by explosivejared (1186049)
You seem to be pretty frank about your policy on the war. How much effect do think you could have on the Democratic platform regarding Iraq? The party has equivocated (eg pulling funding) on whether or not it will go full force at ending the current deployment of troops and on just how it would plan to work with regional players. How do you think you can work to providing a consistent and working policy for Iraq? Your site says that you are amazed at the war can still be sold. What are you going to change about that?
The war has been extremely challenging for our party, given many Democrats' failure to ask tough questions in the lead-up to the war, and their fear that they will be attacked for not supporting the troops if they stand strong on demanding an end to it. I have been critical of those failures during my campaign because I think voters are looking for someone who is willing to put principles before party.
This week, I joined in supporting Darcy Burner's plan to pull us out of Iraq quickly and responsibly, while working to repair the damage this war has done there and here at home. I think the objectives outlined in the plan will serve as a rallying point for progressives and others committed to ending this war and provide a strong counterpoint to the Bush/McCain plan to simply "stay the course."
I think that on the issue of Iraq -- as on almost any other issue -- our leaders, of both parties, need a solid dose of honesty. We can't promise that a swift withdrawal will turn Iraq into a land of milk and honey. We also simply can't afford to stay there forever, and should not pretend that an open-ended military commitment by the United States is bringing about the political reconciliation necessary to achieve true peace in that country. We need to schedule a withdrawal in the way most likely to facilitate a political solution, while admitting that there is no magic wand.
7) I'm a fan (Score:4, Interesting)
by djcapelis (587616)
I've been tracking your campaign for awhile, you seem like a really good candidate for the senate slot and a good fit for Oregon. Unfortunately I'm a Californian democrat... and I know that most Oregonians aren't terribly fond in Californians interfering with your state.
Is there a way I can support you without getting you in trouble with your constituents? I know even a donation opens you up to the story of "funded by San Francisco Democrats" which would probably play pretty poorly in some parts of Oregon... Should we just stay on the side-lines or is there something folks outside your state can do to help you get your message out?
And one more related question: In this increasingly interconnected world, how do you see interstate involvement in local campaigns as changing the United States as a whole? The DSCC seems to be a pretty critical source of extra-state funding for instance...
I need all the help I can get from the netroots across the United States. At least half of my primary opponent's money is coming from out of state, so he is unlikely to attack me for my netroots support. I don't have the DSCC tapping big national donors on my behalf and we are accepting contributions from all states via ActBlue. I suppose some might argue I should only take money from Oregonians, but the reality is that campaigns cost money and I'll be proud to stand up in the Senate for progressive folks from across the country. (Paul Wellstone never sent back my checks for his Minnesota campaigns.) Ultimately, it is the voters of Oregon that will cast ballots in this election. But it is only through citizens from across the nation coming together to demand real change that we are going to achieve a new direction for our nation.
8) Building the team? (Score:5, Interesting)
by D3 (31029)
When you decided to get into politics and/or make this run, how did you build your team? How did you choose your advisers? Were they all people you already knew or just knew one or two and they made recommendations? Basically, how does one go from "I think I could be a good Senator" to having the political machinery to make a run at it?
Building a campaign team is always an interesting and challenging process. My campaign manager, Jake, was actually an intern for me twelve years ago and we've stayed in touch over the years. We have worked well together and I knew he'd appreciate my style and give me a 110% effort. I'm also fortunate to have several smart political consultant friends who have served as advisers to the campaign and recommended folks who would be a good fit.
But some of it is truly random. For instance, a friend of mine was at a wedding in Wisconsin and wound up talking to the mother of Steve Eichenbaum, who was responsible for Russ Feingold's ads. The firm got in contact and we met with them at the airport in Chicago when I was flying out from the Yearly Kos conference. And the rest is history.
9) Medical Marijuana (Score:5, Interesting)
by phobos13013 (813040)
Where do you stand on the issue of medical marijuana in your state? For ten years, use of marijuana has and created [redorbit.com]a legal vacuum for the public interest versus the private use issue [nwsource.com]. Would you protect growers of medical marijuana in your state from federal prosecution when such situations occur? Do you support the free and open use of a chemical that has no known addictive qualities, no known adverse health effects and broad, diverse public support for its decriminalization?
I don't think it is the business of the federal government to second guess Oregon's voters and doctors, who in 1998 approved the creation of a controlled medical marijuana program, 55-45 percent. Since then Oregon voters and legislators have proven more than capable of weighing the merits and challenges of the program, suggesting that if a real problem emerges with medical marijuana in Oregon, we'll be able to fix it ourselves. I resent the Bush Administration's "big brother" attitude on both this program and our physician-assisted suicide law. It indicates they believe voters here are too ignorant to make informed decisions on these tough medical questions. I firmly disagree and will fight in the Senate to make sure that Oregonians, and residents of all states, have the prerogative to make these decisions for ourselves.
I favor Oregon's sensible laws on the regulation of marijuana itself.
10) Not like other politicians? (Score:5, Insightful)
by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837)
In your television ads, you state that you are not like other politicians. How do your political actions differ from those normally held by politicians: namely, increasing budget sizes - whether for the war, healthcare, public schools, or other state-run programs -- through taxation or deficit spending; and advancing laws violating human rights - whether through increased regulation of the economy, privacy violations, taxation, etc.
Also, how do your political motivations differ from those that have become the norm in politics? Politicians, acting as the "supply", have increasingly manipulated the economy to service the demand of corrupt companies offering to fund their campaigns - such as by contrived monopolies or selective tax breaks. How do your influences differ from the standard fare?
I'll answer the second question first: I'm more ambitious than many politicians. I don't want to just be a Senator. I want to be remembered as a great Senator, who helped reform the health care system, prevent global warming, rebuild a fairer economy and tax system. That's my motivation.
In response to your first question, my campaign has differed from most campaigns in that I have spoken bluntly and in detail about problems and solutions. I have not merely decried deficits; I have explained the composition of the Federal budget, acknowledged that there are no simple answers, and proposed specific measures -- like taxing income from buying and selling stock at the same rate as income from wages, and reducing spending on exotic weapons systems -- to restore fiscal responsibility. I have not merely said that we need to "fix" the health care system; I have proposed specific measures to control costs -- like limiting drug companies' tax deductions for direct-to-consumer ads for prescription drugs, and moving from a pay-by-the-procedure model to an evidence-based, "pay for a course of treatment" model, for doctor and hospital care.
I have not just denounced the Bush Administration for warrantless wiretapping; I have denounced Democrats who have enabled him. There are, of course, other politicians -- such as Oregon's own Peter DeFazio -- who routinely flout conventional wisdom and speak honestly and bluntly about the critical issues facing the country. I will be proud to join their ranks.