Making Democracy Work

Responses to Questionnaires - Senator

Candidate Sherrod Brown

Responses are printed exactly as received.

Candidate: SHERROD BROWN

Political Party: Democrat
Website: http://SherrodBrown.com
Occupation: U.S. Senator for Ohio
Education: Masters from The Ohio State University, BA from Yale

Training and Experience:
U.S. Senator for Ohio

What is the most pressing problem facing the federal government in 2018? What solutions will you offer?
Ohioans are working harder and harder with less and less to show for their hard work. I want to restore the value of work to everyone working hard but struggling -- whether you earn a salary, punch a timesheet or make tips. Everyone deserves the opportunity to get ahead. That is why I have unveiled a plan to make work pay off again. We can do so by raising the minimum wage, giving workers the ability to earn paid sick days and family leave, and expanding overtime pay.

What would you do to enact a fair and equitable immigration policy in Congress?
Earlier this year, I supported a pair of bipartisan bills that would have provided certainty to Dreamers while boosting security on our borders. Unfortunately those efforts failed, but I will continue to work with my Republican and Democratic colleagues until we reach a bipartisan solution to fix our broken immigration system that protects those brought here as children who are working and contributing to their communities.

Explain your position on gun safety, sales, and ownership.
We cannot say we are doing what it takes to keep Americans safe until we are finally willing to pass commonsense laws to protect people from gun violence. I have always respected the rights of hunters, collectors, and other law-abiding gun owners, and no one intends to take their guns away. But when our children are not safe in their schools, it's clear something has to be done to protect Ohioans against gun violence.
That's why I am proud of my record of supporting: true comprehensive background check legislation, closing loopholes that allow suspected terrorists to buy guns, funding research into the causes of gun violence, and banning deadly assault rifles that belong on the battlefields and not on our streets.

How do tariffs on international goods affect working people regardless of their job? What policy do you recommend, going forward?
I grew up in Mansfield, Ohio and I've seen first-hand what America's disastrous trade policy has done to Ohio workers. Whether it's cheating through currency manipulation, illegal dumping, or Republican tax breaks that reward companies for moving to Wuhan, China or Reynosa, Mexico, U.S. trade and domestic policy must take aggressive steps going forward to combat these factors that have cost Ohio too many jobs.
Three days after the election, I wrote President-Elect Trump a letter, where I asked him not to play off agriculture against industry, farmers against steel workers. I support the President's tariffs -- but they need to be focused on the serial cheaters and not our friends and allies. Using every tool at our disposal, including targeted tariffs, will help create a level playing field for all Ohioans.

What are your legislative priorities to effectively respond to our changing climate and related challenges for environmental, agricultural, and human health?
From the Great Lakes to small ponds, I have been a leader in defending Ohio's lakes and waterways. I partnered with senators throughout the region to champion the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, to clean up and revitalize these vital water resources, and, together with Senator Portman, vocally opposed the Trump Administration's efforts to drastically reduce support for the project.
The health of our environment has a direct impact on the health of Ohioans. I worked to protect our drinking water and am a strong proponent of increasing funding to prevent, monitor, and eliminate lead poisoning. I also worked with Senator Portman to protect our water from microcystin, the byproduct of the algal blooms that created the 2014 water crisis in the Toledo area. Furthermore, I've spoken out against dangerous cuts to the federal budget that would make it nearly impossible to enforce clean air and water laws.

In your role in the confirmation process of federal judicial nominees, what will you do to ensure the independence and impartiality of the judiciary?
More and more often these days, the only thing standing between Ohioans and their healthcare, the freedom to marry whoever they love, or the right to organize, is the Supreme Court. That's why it's more important than ever that we have fair and independent judges at all levels of the federal court system. That's why I opposed Justice Gorsuch and that's why I will oppose Brett Kavanaugh.
Judge Kavanaugh would be a vote for big corporations and special interests, not Ohio's workers, consumers, and the five million Ohioans with pre-existing conditions. The White House already looks like a retreat for Wall Street and pharmaceutical companies. We don't need the Supreme Court to look that way too.



Candidate Jim Renacci

Candidate: JIM RENACCI

Political Party: Republican
Website: http://jimrenacci.com
Occupation: Congressman of Ohio's 16th District
Education: Bachelor's Degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Training and Experience:
My breadth of experience in the private sector, in which I created over 1,500 jobs and employed over 3,000 people across Ohio, has rendered me uniquely qualified to effectively serve our state in the United States Senate and to advance the values of hardworking Ohioans--not Washington special interests and career politicians.

What is the most pressing problem facing the federal government in 2018? What solutions will you offer?
Sustaining Long-Term Economic Growth, Addressing Our Debt Crisis and Tackling the Opioid Epidemic are our top three challenges. While we've seen tremendous progress and growth in our national economy over the past year, many Ohio families continue to struggle and our state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Advancing a pro-growth, common sense agenda that fosters job creation and decreases our nation's debt will be a top priority of mine.

What would you do to enact a fair and equitable immigration policy in Congress?
Our immigration system is in desperate need of reforms. I will support a merit-based immigration system so we bring in the best and brightest from around the world that have the skills we need to strengthen our country in a 21st Century economy. It's vital that we uphold our responsibility to our citizens to protect our borders and hold sanctuary cities accountable for failing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officials. We are a nation of laws and it is imperative that they are faithfully and effectively enforced.

Explain your position on gun safety, sales, and ownership.
I support Second Amendment rights. I'm a gun owner and I have a conceal carry permit. I've fought to uphold the Constitutional rights of Ohioans to protect their families. I'm proud to have supported bills to ensure that people who pass the test to get a concealed carry permit can take that license across state lines. And I have fought to keep the guns out of the hands of the dangerous and the mentally ill. Now I understand that good people can disagree on this issue, and I support common-sense reforms like an improved background check system, and more safety for our schools.

How do tariffs on international goods affect working people regardless of their job? What policy do you recommend, going forward?
I support trade that is fair and reciprocal and that protects Ohio workers. We need to make it easier for Ohio businesses to sell products and services overseas. But trade agreements need to be fair and we need to make sure they're in our best interest. Each trade deal is different and should be evaluated on their merits. And trade deals should never stand indefinitely + they should be reevaluated to make sure they are being followed and that they remain beneficial to American workers and American consumers. I would support re-evaluating South Korea, Panama and Colombia free trade agreements. I also strongly support Trade Adjustment Assistance which provides training and other benefits to any workers who are who might be affected badly by trade.

What are your legislative priorities to effectively respond to our changing climate and related challenges for environmental, agricultural, and human health?
As the largest industry in Ohio, agriculture is vital to the Ohio economy. We have more than 75,000 farms in Ohio, & the agriculture industry adds more than $100 billion to our state's economy each year. I've fought to make sure Ohio farmers have a voice in D.C. & am proud to have been endorsed in 2012, 2014 and 2016 by the Ohio Farm Bureau. But in recent years, career politicians in D.C. have caused some major problems for our Ohio farmers. I can't tell you how many farmers I've talked to who have told me how the EPA and Washington Bureaucrats have harassed them, driven up the cost of doing business, and forcing them to lay off workers.Let me give you just one example. The EPA dramatically expanded the definition of the Waters of the US, or WOTUS, to give them authority over a low spot where rainwater collects no matter how small. This created confusion & costly bureaucratic hoops for Ohio's family farms. That's why I supported legislation that would've reversed the WOTUS regulation.

In your role in the confirmation process of federal judicial nominees, what will you do to ensure the independence and impartiality of the judiciary?
I will look to support candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court who demonstrate a clear commitment to upholding the original meaning and text of the constitution, and I'll oppose those who engage in judicial activism by applying new and shifting interpretations of the document.



Write-In Candidate Stephen Faris

Candidate: STEPHEN FARIS

Political Party: Write-In
Website: http://www.WriteInFaris.com
Occupation: Electrical Engineer; U.S. Military Officer
Education: Master's degrees in Electrical Engineering and Business Administration; studied at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Oklahoma City University, University of Akron, and Kent State University.

Training and Experience:
Privately employed (2014-present); U.S. military officer (2005-present); Leadership; Management; Electrical engineering; Scientific and technical intelligence; R&D; Logistics;

What is the most pressing problem facing the federal government in 2018? What solutions will you offer?
The most pressing problem facing the Federal Government in 2018 is whether or not it will address long standing issues or leave them to worsen with age. The primary example of this is the continued deprivation of life and the continued denial of equal protection of law to unborn persons since 1973. The Constitution is clear in the 5th and 14th Amendments that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law and that States shall not deny to any person in their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Science has proven that a person's life begins at conception, yet the Federal Government struggles to challenge the longstanding expectation that some of us can be arbitrarily denied life and equal protection by the choices of others of us. For this, I am a single-issue candidate. I bring definition and protection to unborn persons, as well as prosecution or preservation to institutions that would harm or help them, to resolve this issue before it worsens beyond repair.

What would you do to enact a fair and equitable immigration policy in Congress?
I would lead Congress to establish and maintain uniform rules of naturalization as directed in the Constitution and I would provide for up-to-date defense measures at our borders. I would love to expound further on this issue and give it more attention, but it is currently a lower priority of mine relative to preserving the right to life and the right to equal protection to all persons in America, notably, unborn persons. Once the right to life and the right to equal protection is guaranteed to all, without exceptions, I can give my full faith and attention to immigration policy. As a single-issue candidate, other rights, issues, and conversations are less urgent.

Explain your position on gun safety, sales, and ownership.
The Federal Government must not infringe upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms. However, Congress may regulate interstate gun sales and provide for gun safety programs, as needed, in providing for the general welfare of the United States as allowed in the Constitution. I would love to expound further on this issue and give it more attention, but it is currently a lower priority of mine relative to preserving the right to life and the right to equal protection to all persons in America, notably, unborn persons. Once the right to life and the right to equal protection is guaranteed to all, without exceptions, I can give my full faith and attention to gun policy. As a single-issue candidate, other rights, issues, and conversations are less urgent.

How do tariffs on international goods affect working people regardless of their job? What policy do you recommend, going forward?
Tariffs cause working people to face higher prices on imported goods relative to domestic goods and tariffs essentially attempt to promote domestic purchases. I would lead Congress to lay and collect such taxes, as allowed in the Constitution, and as necessary, provided they are uniform through the United States. I would love to expound further on this issue and give it more attention, but it is currently a lower priority of mine relative to preserving the right to life and the right to equal protection to all persons in America, notably, unborn persons. Once the right to life and the right to equal protection is guaranteed to all, without exceptions, I can give my full faith and attention to foreign trade policy. As a single-issue candidate, other rights, issues, and conversations are less urgent.

What are your legislative priorities to effectively respond to our changing climate and related challenges for environmental, agricultural, and human health?
It is a priority of mine to lead Congress to provide for the general welfare of the United States, and that includes considering response measures to a changing climate and related challenges. I would love to expound further on this issue and give it more attention, but it is currently a lower priority of mine relative to preserving the right to life and the right to equal protection to all persons in America, notably, unborn persons. Once the right to life and the right to equal protection is guaranteed to all, without exceptions, I can give my full faith and attention to climate change policy. As a single-issue candidate, other rights, issues, and conversations are less urgent.

In your role in the confirmation process of federal judicial nominees, what will you do to ensure the independence and impartiality of the judiciary?
This question is intimately tied to the deprivation of life and the denial of equal protection to unborn persons that has been occurring in America since 1973. I would thoroughly screen a nominee's public record to determine if the nominee has demonstrated independence and impartiality in all rulings. Additionally, I would clearly communicate to the President, nominees and prospective nominees that I will support impeachment measures from the House of Representatives against any Supreme Court Justice or Federal Judge who resorts to political activism against any person in any ruling. Apart from the confirmation process, I will propose and support an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that limits the terms of Supreme Court Justices for the role played in the continued deprivation of life and continued denial of equal protection of our laws to unborn persons, signaling that there is no exception to the requirement for an independent and impartial judiciary.