U.S. Senate candidates address nukes, impeachment, other issues

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Pulse editors recently questioned Minnesota U.S. Senate contenders—Two DFL candidates, Ford Bell and Amy Klobuchar, and Green Party candidate Mike Cavlan on a series of issues, ranging from nuclear power, impeachment, and the military’s use of depleted uranium in Iraq. What follows are their responses . Republican Mark Kennedy’s campaign refused to participate.

Do you favor construction of new nuclear power plants in the United States?

Mike Cavlan: NO. The problems with nuclear power and the nuclear power industry are many, well known and well documented. What we need instead is to create the political will necessary to develop and maintain clean, safe and economical forms of alternative energy.

Ford Bell: No, I do not favor the construction of new nuclear power plants. However, in light of the increasing amount of greenhouse gasses being generated by fossil fuel power plants, nuclear power generation cannot be ruled out as an option of last resort, and then only if safety and long-term storage concerns are resolved.

Amy Klobuchar: My priority is to reduce our dependence on foreign, non-renewable energy sources in developing the next generation of wind, solar, biomass and clean fuel technologies. I am open, however, to new nuclear power plants if we have an acceptable national policy to deal with waste removal, storage and security. We should not remove nuclear power as an option for our energy needs.

Do you favor phasing out the use of existing nuclear power plants in the United States as soon as possible?

Cavlan: Yes. We’ve been aware for at least 40 years that we must develop alternative energy sources. Our political leaders and the corporate powers that own them have lacked the courage, wisdom and vision to implement the needed infrastructure. We have the energy resources in wind and solar to replace these other dangerous forms of energy. It’s because of the continued political cowardice of the nation’s leaders that we have arrived at this crossroads. We, in this campaign, intend to change this. It is for the sake of our future generations that we cannot afford to do less.

Bell: Yes, once we have alternative energy technologies to replace the power they produce. Today, safety and storage concerns of existing nuclear power plants have not been adequately addressed. Our government needs to invest more in the research and development activities that will lead to the full utilization of alternative energy options. And, we need to immediately remedy the woeful lack of protection of our existing nuclear facilities from terrorist attack. My Republican opponent Congressman Mark Kennedy has voted against funding to prevent terrorists from getting nuclear weapons. We must make the investments that are needed to protect our country. (Source–Congressional Quarterly, Votes 322 and 323, 6/25/04)

Klobuchar: No, I do not support categorically phasing out all such plants. As stated above, if nuclear plants stay open, we must have an acceptable national policy to deal with waste removal, storage and security. Additionally, all energy companies, including nuclear energy companies should promote alternative technologies.

Would you accept or have you already accepted campaign contributions from Alliant Tech, a local manufacturer of depleted uranium weapons?

Cavlan: No. I was proud and honored to have been one of the 28 arrested at Alliant Tech. We were attempting to serve a warrant on the members of the board of directors of that corporation for violating the laws of nature and the Creator by producing and distributing to the U.S. military depleted uranium weaponry. In fact, what is destroying the fabric of our democracy are corporate donors and other wealthy special interests to keep the politicians in power who are willing to sacrifice men and women for profit. I am ethically, morally and politically opposed to accepting donations from war profiteers such as Alliant Tech and any other corporate interests. I will be working for the people of the United States.

Bell: No. I will not accept donations from the defense industry and I have not received any to date.

Klobuchar: I have not received contributions from Alliant Tech.

Do you favor legislation that would require all returning servicemen and servicewomen from Iraq and Afghanistan to receive a better test (at a cost of approximately $1,000) to detect the presence of depleted uranium poisoning?

Cavlan: Yes. Further, we intend to introduce legislation that those war profiteers such as Alliant Tech pay the full cost of the tests from their obscene profits. This will include paying for the testing and treatment of all service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. We further intend to ensure that they do those same test for the civilian populations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and wherever depleted uranium has been used. We will do this not only because it benefits us as a nation, but because it is the right thing to do.

Bell: Yes. We have a moral obligation to medically care for our brave young men and women of the armed forces.

Klobuchar: Yes, if current testing is inadequate I would support any and all efforts to ensure the health and well-being of our returning service men and women. They should be heralded as heroes and I support efforts to protect their health and safety abroad and when they return.

Would you vote to support the Russ Feingold resolution to censure President Bush?

Cavlan: Yes. As I’ve said before, the cowardice and lack of leadership shown by most of the Democratic Party has been beyond appalling. We include Sen. Mark Dayton, who called Senator Feingold’s courageous statements, “Dangerous.” What is truly dangerous are cowardly, in-your-face religious and political bullies. Our campaign intends to change that.

Bell: Yes, and although it is important to officially disapprove of the President’s action, it is more important to regain control of the House and/or the Senate so that there will be meaningful subpoena power that can be used to fully and completely investigate wrongdoing in the Bush administration.

Klobuchar: No, not now. As Senator, and as a prosecutor who has authorized legal wiretaps, I will demand a full investigation into the President’s authorization of the domestic spying program. If the President broke the law, and the evidence supports censure, then I would support censure or other appropriate legal action.

Do you favor the impeachment of George Bush?

Cavlan: Yes. In May of 2005 our campaign was one of the first campaigns in the nation to call for the impeachment of George Bush. We did this publicly in a press conference that was even covered by the corporate media two days after the Downing Street Memo became public. As our legal team pointed out to us, the Downing Street Memo was direct evidence showing the George Bush knowingly and deliberately lied about the reasons to go to war. The team also made it very clear to us that, while lying to the public and press about the reasons for attacking Afghanistan and Iraq was not an impeachable offense, lying to Congress is. That is considered perjury.

Bell: The decision to bring an Impeachment Proceeding is made by the House of Representatives after investigation by the House Judiciary Committee. I call on the Judiciary Committee to undertake that investigation.

Klobuchar: No, not now. One-party rule in Washington has prevented a full and fair investigation. As Senator, I will demand a full investigation into all questionable conduct by this Administration. See my answer to censure question above.

(The DFL state endorsing convention runs from June 9 to 11 in Rochester. The Greens’ state endorsing convention will take place on June 3–4 in Duluth.)

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