Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Andy Woerner Becomes 1st Democrat in the Nation to Make a Bonded Pledge for Term Limits

     As the mid-term elections approach, there is growing talk of one of the oldest and most bipartisan issues in the country; Congressional term limits.  There is little doubt that our current unlimited system encourages incumbency, and that it distributes undue power to career politicians.  And in order to be competitive, even well-meaning legislators find themselves forced to make questionable compromises, not with those on the other side of the aisle, but rather with their own parties and the powerful interests that provide critical support for their re-elections.  Term limits seek to break up that power structure and fundamentally change government itself.
     Unfortunately, imposing term limits requires an amendment to the Constitution.  And since that requires the support of two thirds of Congress, it is an unlikely prospect at best.  Voters need to know that it will take much more than campaign promises to make it a reality.
     Many still remember the 1994 wave of Republicans who swept into office with personal pledges of self-imposed term limits, and a unified commitment to the 'Contract for America'.  One of the key elements of the contract was a pledge to vote for a term limits amendment.  In the end, they avoided passing it and the vast majority went on to break their personal pledges to the American voters.  Be wary of all politicians, but particularly those making promises of term limits.
     The bipartisan Alliance for Bonded Term Limits is trying to change that, and has come up with a unique solution that requires candidates to back up their term limits pledges with a substantial amount of their own personal assets.  If a candidate makes a pledge and then seeks to serve longer than agreed, they are legally required to forfeit the assets to a charity of their choosing.  This demonstrates to voters not only their commitment to term limits, but more importantly their commitment to their word.
     I'm proud to be the first Democrat and the first U.S. Senate candidate in the nation to make such a pledge.  Specifically, I have committed to donate $150,000 to the Malama Kai Foundation if I seek to serve more than two terms in office.  I hope this step will encourage other candidates to follow my lead, and I am specifically calling on each of Hawaii's candidates in next month's special election to do the same.  With the fourth longest serving Senator in history, Hawaii has a unique opportunity to draw attention to this critical issue and lead the nation towards a new era of citizen legislators who are eager to serve and then return home to live under the laws they have created.

Andy Woerner
Candidate for U.S. Senate-Hawaii

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Obama's New Nuclear Posture: Are you really afraid?

In listening to Fox News and other conservative news outlets talk about President Obama's new nuclear policy, I got to wondering... are there people that are really frightened by this, or is this just another case of their PR machines finding another reason to throw the word "radical" around?  Give me your thoughts.  Do you support the President's decision?  Do you even care? Do you feel less or more safe because of it?

Andy Woerner
Candidate for the U.S. Senate - Hawaii

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Lobbyist in Your Living Room

When I was doing my taxes last month, it occurred to me how obviously unfair the "mortgage interest tax deduction" is, and it got me wondering what's behind it all.

Consider this:

Two families with identical income & assets each decide to buy a home.  One family chooses to mortgage a $300,000 home that fits into their budget.  The other family makes a less responsible decision and mortgages a new and larger home for $500,000.   Based on that alone, the responsible family pays significantly more income tax than the other family, simply because they don't get as much of a mortgage interest deduction  Even worse, the tax deduction for the less responsible family directly reduces our national tax revenue, which then forces our constantly over-budget federal government to borrow money from foreign lenders and add it to our national debt.   Why is this not obvious? 

Looking deeper into the issue, I learned that economists clearly agree that the mortgage interest deduction doesn't even do what it's intended to do, which is to help more people be able to buy their own homes.  

So why hasn't something so obvious been changed to be more beneficial to lower and middle income families?  Because the National Association of Realtors and other housing related lobbies have worked hard to encourage our elected officials to leave it untouched.

Regardless of their good intentions, career politicians are either oblivious to problems like these, or simply powerless to do anything about them.  We need citizen legislators who can make common sense decisions without worrying about opinion polls and campaign contributions.  This year, change how you decide to use your vote.  Tune out the expensive campaign ads and look for ordinary citizens who can symbolically change the future of our government.  Anything less will just get you more of the same.

Andy Woerner
Candidate for the U.S. Senate - Hawaii

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Candidates Who Support Term Limits in 2010

Below is a list of 2010 candidates and incumbents who supposedly support term limits.   While it is a critical issue, voters should be very wary of candidates using the term limits banner to help them get elected.  In 1994, numerous candidates were elected to Congress on the promise of self-imposed term limits.  The majority of them went on to break their word to the American people.

All candidates making similar pledges this year should back their promise with something more reliable than a politician's word.  Those wishing to do so can contact the Alliance for Bonded Term Limits to find out how to bond their pledge with their own personal assets. Short of that, voters have no reason to believe that this year's candidates are any more trustworthy than those of 1994.

U.S. Senate Candidates
-Ken Buck (R) - Colorado
-Maclyn Stringer (L) - Colorado
-Merrick Alpert (D) - Connecticut 
-Ethan Book (R) - Connecticut
-Vinny Forras (R) - Connecticut
-Linda McMahon (R) - Connecticut
-John Mertens (I) - Connecticut
-Rob Simmons (R) - Connecticut
-Marco Rubio (R) - Florida
-Alex Snitker (L) - Florida
-Andy Woerner (D) - Hawaii [bonded pledge*]
-MIKE CRAPO (R) - Idaho (incumbent)
-DAN COATS (R) - Indiana
-RAND PAUL (R) - Kentucky
-Jim Rutledge (R) - Maryland
-Eric Wargotz (R) - Maryland
-Jonathan Dine (L) - Missouri
-Chuck Purgason (R) - Missouri
-Tom Coburn (R) - Oklahoma (sponsor of S.J. Res 21)
-PAT TOOMEY (R) - Pennsylvania
-JIM DEMINT(R)-South Carolina(sponsor of S.J. Res 21)
-MIKE LEE (R) - Utah
-Dick Leinenkugel (R) - Wisconsin
-Terrence Wall (R) - Wisconsin
-Dave Westlake (R) - Wisconsin

U.S. House of Representatives Candidates
-MO BROOKS (R) - Alabama**
-David Walter (C) - Alabama**
-Brian Miller (R) - Arizona
-STEVE WOMACK (R) - Arkansas
-JOHN DENNIS (R) - California**
-Cecelia Iglesias (I) - California**
-Scott Kirkland (R) - California**
-Stephen Bailey (R) - Colorado**
-Sam Caligiuri (R) - Connecticut
-Mark Greenberg (R) - Connecticut**
-Robert Merkle (R) - Connecticut [bonded pledge*]
-Eddie Hendry (R) -Florida**
-Kurt Kelly (R) - Florida**
-Barbara Olschner (R) - Florida
-Bill Posey (R) - Florida (co-sponsor of H.J. Res 14)  
-Jason Sager (R) - Florida**
-Troy Stanley (R) - Florida**
-Michael Frisbee (D) - Georgia**
-Larry Gause (R) - Georgia**
-Jeanne Seaver (R) - Georgia**
-Carl Smith (R) - Georgia**
-John Willoughby (R) - Hawaii
-BOBBY SHILLING (R) - Illinois**
-JOE WALSH (R) - Illinois
-Jim Anderson (R) - Kansas**
-Patricia Lightner (R) - Kansas**
-John Rysavy (R) - Kansas**
-ANDY BARR (R) - Kentucky**
-TODD LALLY (R) - Kentucky**
-Rob Wasinger (R) - Kansas
-Collins Bailey (R) - Maryland**
-Andy Harris (R) - Maryland
-Charles Lollar (R) - Maryland
-Scott Augheny (_) - Michigan**
-Rocky Raczkowski (_) - Michigan**
-Paul Welday (_) - Michigan**
-Robyn Hamlin (_) - Missouri**
-Billy Long (_) - Missouri**
-Tommy Sowers (D) - Missouri
-Bob Giuda (_) - New Hampshire**
-Tom Reed (_) - New York**
-ILLARIO PANTANO (R)-North Carolina [bonded pledge*]
-SAM TURNER (D) - North Carolina [bonded pledge*]
-BOB GIBBS (R) - Ohio**
-SCOTT BRUUN (R) - Oregon**
-LOU BARLETTA (R) - Pennsylvania
-MIKE KELLY (R) - Pennsylvania
-TOM MARINO (R) - Pennsylvania
-TODD PLATTS(R)-Pennsylvania(sponsor of H.J.Res14)
-JAKE TOWNE (I) - Pennsylvania**
-JEFF DUNCAN (R) - South Carolina**
-Scott DeJarlais (R) - Tennessee
-Mark Devol (I) - Tennessee [bonded pledge*]
-Van Irion (R) - Tennessee [bonded pledge*]
-Stephen Fincher (R) - Tennessee
-Ron Harwell (R) - Tennessee
-Don Janes (_) - Tennessee**
-Don Strong (R) - Tennessee
-BILL FLORES (R) - Texas**
-RALPH HALL (R) - Texas (sponsor of H.J. Res 67)
-JOHN JAY MYERS (L) - Texas**
-RON PAUL (R) - Texas (incumbent)
-Jeremiah Heaton (I) - Virginia**
-SCOTT RIGELL (R) - Virginia
-John Russell (_) - Washington**
-James Watkins (R) - Washington
-Craig Williams (R) - Washington
-Sean Duffy (R) Wisconsin
-Dan Kapanke (R) - Wisconsin
-Chad Lee (R) - Wisconsin
-Terri McCormick (_) - Wisconsin**
-Dan Mielke (R) - Wisconsin
-Roger Roth (R) - Wisconsin
-Dan Sebring (R) - Wisconsin
-Marc Trager (R) - Wisconsin

Please comment below if you know of others that I can add

Compiled by
Andy Woerner
Democratic Candidate for the U.S. Senate - Hawaii

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-Candidates in ALL CAPS indicate those who have made it to the general election
*[6 year term limit bonded by personal finances through http://www.bondedtermlimits.org]
**[Freshmen 50 House of Representatives candidate: http://the-freshmen-50.com/content/platform]