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Sidebar- Sheahan on the Issues 

by Cara Gardner

HEALTH CARE -- Sheahan's stance on health care is similar to his Republican opponents, but he says he'll be the one to deliver on tort reform. "The biggest thing is experience. I've actually worked on issues in the legislative process," he says. "In the House Law and Justice Committee, we passed a major tort reform bill; as a floor leader in the Senate, [I helped to pass] three tort reform bills."

JOBS -- "The best thing government can do in regard to creating jobs is to get out of the way," Sheahan says. He supports providing government incentives, like tax breaks for businesses that offer health plans to their employees. Sheahan says another component to economic development and job growth is higher education. "I've been very supportive of the community college system and workforce training," he says. In addition, Sheahan has secured funding for EWU's daycare program, the Health Sciences Building and the Intercollegiate Nursing School. "The next step is for higher-paying jobs, not just at the service level," says Sheahan.

LIFE -- Sheahan is against abortion and against stem cell research if it involves "creating life and then killing that life." Sheahan also opposes "right to die" legislation. "There's this whole movement saying it's the quality of life rather than the sanctity of life," he says. "Once you say certain human beings don't have rights, it's a slippery slope."

IRAQ -- Like many of his Republican counterparts, Sheahan connects 9/11 with Iraq, despite the conclusion of the bipartisan 9/11 commission's report stating there was no connection between the two. "There's no proven connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein," Sheahan concedes, but he defends the connection between Hussein and Al Qaeda by citing the commission's report of Al Qaeda meetings that took place inside Iraq.

"The world has changed. We have to be pre-emptive. If we're convinced the threat is imminent, we have to act." Sheahan thinks our troops must stay in Iraq for "some time," but believes that as the Iraqi government takes over, there will be a decrease in troop casualties.

PATRIOT ACT -- Sheahan admits that the Patriot Act is a tricky topic. "You have two competing interests that are absolutely vital. As a Congressman and federally elected official, every morning when I get up, I'll think about how to protect people from getting murdered by terrorists. Defense of the homeland: that is the purpose of the government. But if it forces us to change who we are, then, well, we need to question it."

Sheahan, more so than McMorris and Cross, defends the clause in the Patriot Act which allows someone to be detained without being charged of a crime, due to wartime laws by which the government can declare suspects (including U.S. citizens) to be "enemy combatants."

FAITH -- "I believe very deeply in the Constitution and the freedom to exercise any or all faiths or none. The Golden Rule -- Do unto others as you would have done to you -- is something I think about every day." Sheahan is a member of First Presbyterian Church in downtown Spokane, where he was married and has attended for five years.

ENVIRONMENT -- Sheahan agrees with his Republican opponents that the Endangered Species Act should be amended to a more incentive-based program.

"I was the vice chair of the Parks, Fish and Wildlife Committee [as a 9th District Senator] and could see how much money goes to environmental programs, and [it goes to] hiring bureaucrats, doing studies and for lawsuits," he says. Sheahan supports the study on the aquifer but is against a moratorium on water rights like the one Spokane County has imposed.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE -- "Marriage is a foundational part of society. [If you legalize it] beyond a man and a woman, then what next?" asks Sheahan. "It harms the institution. It loses its meaning. [People should have] the freedom to marry and divorce, but to take that [same-sex marriage] step, to open that door, then you could in no way close it."

FEDERAL DEFICIT -- Sheahan doesn't approve of a $500 billion (and growing) deficit, but points out that it's understandable because of the country's past few years.

He states that "9/11 cost us billions, [in addition to] the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and shifting the resources to homeland security. But the last thing to do is raise taxes." Sheahan claims that lowering taxes raises revenues. Like Cross and McMorris, he supports ending duplication of services and bureaucratic systems, particularly in the area of social services.

Publication date: 08/26/04
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