October 19, 2012

Gubernatorial candidates share their vision for Indiana

(Editor’s note: During the month of October, the Indiana Catholic Conference (ICC), the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Indiana, is offering area Catholics a three-part series of articles profiling statewide elected officials, including the candidates for Indiana governor, U.S. Senate and Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In each article, the candidates are asked pertinent questions that relate to the office which they seek to hold. The questions and answers will appear in their entirety. The articles are designed to serve as a resource for Catholics.

This week, we share a question-and-answer interview with the candidates for Indiana governor. Democratic candidate John Gregg declined to participate.)

By Brigid Curtis Ayer

Let the Nov. 6 Election Day countdown begin. With one televised gubernatorial debate under our belts, members of the Indiana electorate will soon enter the voting booth to cast their vote for a new governor.

Gubernatorial candidates Rupert Boneham, running on the Libertarian ticket; John Gregg, running on the Democrat ticket; and U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, running on the Republican ticket, were invited to respond to a series of questions. The following are their responses. They appear in alphabetical order.

Gregg declined to participate.

Responses from Rupert Boneham

Q. What is your position in regard to protecting unborn human life from abortion and committing federal resources to ending abortion?

A. “Tough topics demand honest answers, and nothing is more emotional than the discussion of human life.

“I believe that the issue of abortion has long been used to manipulate those on the left and right. While these emotions are real, promises of a solution aren’t. In the public policy arena, we are at an impasse.

“As a result, we ought to stop dividing ourselves over this issue, and declare a cease-fire. We have important economic hurdles, and these times require us working together on the big issues of our day.

“If pressed, we need to find a rational, common-sense middle ground. All sides need to accept that abortion will never be eradicated. Abortion should never be used as a method of birth control, but the consequences of making it a black market procedure are too high.

“This is a deeply personal issue between families, and the state should not use its moral judgment by interfering with this personal choice. My belief is that abortion should be safe, legal, rare and privately funded.”

Q. We hear much about the economy, but what is to be done about the moral imperative of pervasive poverty? What policies would you pursue that protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens?

A. “The state must develop and maintain an effective, efficient and compassionate social safety net. However, as someone that has worked as a youth mentor for over 20 years, I can attest to the fact that local charities and community groups are far more efficient and compassionate than bloated government bureaucracy.

“I have also seen the negative impact government funding can have on non-profits. When charities and community groups are tied to government rules and the whims of legislators, services and clients ultimately suffer.

“As governor, I will work to champion local charities, community giving and volunteerism. I am my brother’s keeper.”

Q. Should the Affordable Care Act remain in effect? How would you protect Indiana residents from being forced to pay for insurance policies that provide for services which are contrary to their conscience for moral or religious reasons?

A. “First, I would remind people that the two main services that are being talked about here are ‘elective termination of pregnancy’ and the ‘birth control pill.’

“For clarification, the mandates made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] do not include a requirement for insurance policies to cover elective termination pregnancy. It is true that the ‘pill’ is a service required, under federal law, to be covered in insurance.

“As an individual, I would remind you that you are not being required to use the ‘pill.’ Any doctor will also tell you that this particular medication is used for many things other than birth control. One example is its use to regulate hormones for young women with cystic poly ovarian syndrome.

“As an employer, I would remind you that the private lives and medical decisions of your employees are absolutely none of your business. Even as a religious institution, it is not the place of any person or organization to make moral or medical decisions for another person.”

Q. How do you provide for the health care needs of those who cannot afford or do not have insurance because of being out of work or are not covered by employer?

A. “The Healthy Indiana Plan, started by Gov. [Mitch] Daniels, has proven that we can provide low-cost, quality health care for uninsured Hoosiers. This program provided top tier preventative, long-term and emergency services at little to no cost while saving Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars.

“As governor, I will continue the two-year effort to have HHS grant a waiver to Indiana. This way, if our legislature chooses to expand Medicaid, we can shift those funds to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan.”

Q. What is your position on amending Indiana’s Constitution to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman?

A. “Indiana should not add a ban on same-sex marriage to the state Constitution. When we allow one group to be stripped of their rights to due process and equal treatment under the law, we allow the security of everyone’s inalienable rights to become tarnished and fragile.

“The Constitution and its protections of the individual and its restraint on government apply to each of us, without exception or qualification. We do not have one set of rights for one group and another set for the minority. You may not like the other group, but that’s what makes our governing documents so awe-inspiring. They were designed to prevent the very notion that because someone is different in some way that they’re without the same inalienable rights.

“Each of us is free to think, feel, preach and associate with whomever and however we want. But when it comes to the state, there can be no less than 100 percent equal treatment under the law for everyone.

“As governor, I will preserve, defend and protect the Constitution of Indiana and of the United States on behalf of every Hoosier.”

Q. Several states have taken steps to discontinue the use of the death penalty. What is your position on the death penalty? Would you be in favor of eliminating it as part of the state’s criminal punishment practices?

A. “There is a societal need to punish those that have committed serious crimes against the people and our property. As a society, we have said that there are certain crimes that are so damaging to our community that they require stronger punishments. While I do agree with this notion, I believe it should not be within the government’s authority to make moral judgments on who lives and who dies

“I would also like to point out that the focus of our current correctional system was supposed to be that of detention and rehabilitation. We are failing in the rehabilitation aspect. This in turn leads to career criminals and an escalation to becoming a violent offender.

“As governor, I will close the revolving door on our criminal justice system and move to end the death penalty.”
 

Responses from U.S. Rep. Mike Pence

Q. What is your position in regard to protecting unborn human life from abortion and committing federal resources to ending abortion?

A. “A nation that will not stand for life will not stand for long. To renew our state and our nation, we must not relent until we restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law.

“I believe that ending an innocent unborn human life is morally wrong. But it is also morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Hoosiers and use them to support abortion providers.

“I believe in the sanctity of life, the importance of family and faith, and in a culture of life where there is no such thing as an unwanted child. My vision is to make Indiana the state that works, and to do so will mean recognizing our present crisis is not just economic and political, but moral.

“To renew our land, we must strengthen the institutions that nurture the character of our people, most especially the family. Where men and women can get enough work to support a family. Where childhood poverty is in decline and strong, healthy families are on the rise. Where every child is cherished and protected and nurtured by those who are responsible for their care.”

Q. We hear much about the economy, but what is to be done about the moral imperative of pervasive poverty? What policies would you pursue that protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens?

A. “The family is the underpinning of a child’s success in life. To change the sad fact that one out of every five children in Indiana lives in poverty, we have to recognize and support the role of the family.

“Strong families will mean a strong economy. Decades of social science research show that one of the greatest causes of poverty and inequality is the number of children born to unmarried parents. Researchers agree that the best way to avoid poverty is to follow the three-part “success equation”—graduate from high school, work full time or go to college, and get married before having children.

“Under my proposal to promote strong families and protect children, Indiana would be the first in the nation to make the success equation the basis of an anti-poverty strategy. More information on this policy and other proposals can be found at www.RoadmapforIndiana.com.”

Q. Should the Affordable Care Act remain in effect? How would you protect Indiana residents from being forced to pay for insurance policies that provide for services which are contrary to their conscience for moral or religious reasons?

A. “ObamaCare erodes the freedom of every Hoosier. It will increase the cost of health care and cripple job creation in our state. The cost of setting up a health care exchange in Indiana could be at least $50 million per year and will raise health care premiums.

“Further, the Affordable Care Act will raise taxes on Hoosier businesses and will cost jobs. There is too much uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act for Indiana to even consider implementing our own exchange. The national debate is far from over, and the regulatory, fiscal and legal implications have the potential to cost Hoosier taxpayers and employers millions.

“I believe Indiana should take no part in this deeply flawed health care bureaucracy. In response to Gov. [Mitch] Daniels’ request for insight regarding the Health Care Act, I have recommended that the state choose an essential benefits package that does not go beyond the current requirements of Indiana law and respects Hoosier values by not mandating abortion coverage. My full response to Gov. Daniels can be found at www.RoadmapforIndiana.com.”

Q. How do you provide for the health care needs of those who cannot afford or do not have insurance because of being out of work or are not covered by employer?

A. “I believe Indiana should resist efforts to implement the federal health care law in Indiana and promote Hoosier solutions like the Healthy Indiana Plan.

“Under Gov. Daniels’ leadership, the Healthy Indiana Plan was adopted, giving Hoosier adults between 19 and 64 access to health care in a consumer-driven model that empowers health care consumers to direct their own care. More than 40,000 Hoosiers have access to health care under the Healthy Indiana Plan. It serves as an innovative, consumer-driven model that will increase access to health care and drive down the cost.

“In addition, according to a recent survey, 94 percent of participants were satisfied with the program and 99 percent indicated that they would re-enroll. The Healthy Indiana Plan, therefore, empowers Hoosiers in a way that will increase access to health care and drive down the cost, and I believe it is the model that should serve as the starting point for all future discussions of health care reform in Indiana.”

Q. What is your position on amending Indiana’s Constitution to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman?

A. “I believe that marriage should be defined as the union between one man and one woman, and I will continue to support efforts to defend traditional marriage in Indiana. The issue of amending the Constitution is for the voters to decide.”

Q. Several states have taken steps to discontinue the use of the death penalty. What is your position on the death penalty? Would you be in favor of eliminating it as part of the state’s criminal punishment practices?

A. “I support the death penalty in accordance with Indiana criminal law.”
 

(Brigid Curtis Ayer is a correspondent for The Criterion. For more information about the Indiana Catholic Conference, log on to www.indianacc.org. For more information on Libertarian candidate Rupert Boneham, log on to www.rupertforgovernor.com. For more information on Democratic candidate John Gregg, log on to www.greggforgovernor.com. For more information on Republican candidate Mike Pence, log on to www.mikepence.com. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is again offering “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States.” For more information on the document, log on to www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship.)

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!