THE BLOG
10/29/2014 09:17 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Steve Southerland vs. Gwen Graham Nonpartisan Candidate Guide For Florida District 2 Congressional Race 2014

2014-10-29-FL_Hse_2_southerland_graham_jpeg.jpg

Are you looking for a nonpartisan voter guide to the Steve Southerland vs. Gwen Graham Congressional race? One that will give you an unbiased, no-spin comparison of candidate positions on key issues? That's what our Campus Election Engagement Project guide will give you! We are a national nonpartisan initiative working with college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders to increase student participation in America's elections. For the 2014 elections we have created and distributed voter guides to campuses in more than 20 states so they can provide their communities with accurate information for informed voting. Because these guides have been so well received and are useful for all voting citizens who want to be better informed, we are also posting them here.

We developed our guides by analyzing information from trusted resources such as www.votesmart.org, www.ontheissues.org, www.ballotpedia.com, www.politifact.com, www.factcheck.org, www.vote411.org and from candidate websites, public debates and interviews, and statements in major media outlets. We also showed them to groups like campus Young Republicans and Young Democrats at the schools we work with to verify their fairness and lack of bias.

So here are the issue-by-issue stands for Steve Southerland and Gwen Graham , with additional links at the bottom for each candidate if you'd like to dig deeper. (You can also find Florida's Governor guide here.)

----------
Budget: Did you support raising the Federal debt ceiling with no strings attached?
Southerland: No. Also opposed final compromise bill and believes budget cuts are the only solution. (See Southerland campaign website - On the Issues: Economy and Jobs)
Graham: Unknown

Budget: Do you support a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment?
Southerland: Yes
Graham: Yes but would leave Medicare and Social Security out of it and have an emergency exception.

Budget: In order to reduce the deficit do you support reducing defense spending?
Southerland: No. Wants to increase overall military budget. (See Steve Southerland on Homeland Security.)
Graham: Unknown

Campaign Finance: Do you support the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allowed unlimited independent political expenditures by corporations and unions?
Southerland: Yes
Graham: No

Economy: Do you support raising the minimum wage?
Southerland: No
Graham: Yes. Supports incremental increases. (Proposes incremental increases with input from small businesses, working families, and economists.)

Economy: Do you support extending unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks?
Southerland: No
Graham: Yes

Economy: Do you support the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and sought to increase regulation of Wall Street corporations and other financial institutions?
Southerland: No
Graham: Yes

Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Southerland: No
Graham: Unknown

Education: Do you support refinancing of student loans at lower rates, paid for by increasing taxes on income over a million dollars?
Southerland: No. Also voted for cuts in Pell grants
Graham: Unknown, but backs Pell grants increases

Environment: Do you believe that human activity is a major factor contributing to climate change?
Southerland: No
Graham: Yes

Environment: Do you support government action to limit the levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere?
Southerland: No
Graham: Yes

Environment: Do you support government mandates and/or subsidies for renewable energy?
Southerland: Opposes any prioritization of renewable energy.
Graham: Yes

Gay Marriage: Do you support gay marriage?
Southerland: No Supported amendment to ban.
Graham: Yes

Gun Control: Do you support enacting more restrictive gun control legislation?
Southerland: No
Graham: Supports gun rights but also supports limits on access for former felons and mentally ill.

Healthcare: Do you support repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?
Southerland: Yes
Graham: No. Wants to fix specific problems with the law.

Healthcare: Did you support shutting down the federal government in order to defund Obamacare in 2013?
Southerland: Yes. See Politifact
Graham: No

Immigration: Do you support the D.R.E.A.M. Act, which would allow children brought into the country illegally to achieve legal status if they've graduated from high school, have a clean legal record, and attend college or serve in the military?
Southerland: No
Graham: Unknown

Immigration: Do you support the comprehensive immigration plan passed by the Senate in 2013, which includes a pathway to citizenship and increased funding for border security?
Southerland: No. Must secure border first before addressing any other aspects.
Graham: Unknown, but sees urgent need to find solution to the "humanitarian crisis" of undocumented immigrants. (See Gwen Graham signs pledge to take North Florida common sense to Congress.)

Iraq: Should the US recommit troops to Iraq to combat the rise in insurgency?
Southerland: Undecided but believes Congress should be involved in decision.
Graham: Unclear but favors air strikes and use of special forces to combat ISIS

Marijuana: Do you support efforts to decriminalize and/or legalize marijuana?
Southerland: No, but willing to accept voter decision on medical marijuana
Graham: Medical marijuana yes, recreational no.

Social Issues: Should abortion be highly restricted?
Southerland: Yes
Graham: No

Social Issues: Should employers be able to withhold contraceptive coverage from employees if they disagree with it morally?
Southerland: Yes
Graham: No

Social Issues: Should Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion health services?
Southerland: No
Graham: Yes

Social Security: Do you support partial privatization of Social Security?
Southerland: Yes but not for current or near-term recipients, ("We're going to have to address some kind of privatization, in some way. Not perhaps all of Social Security...maybe those that are just starting out. Maybe those employees that are 30 and under...some type of privatization.")
Graham: Unknown

Taxes: Have you signed the Americans for Tax Reform Pledge to oppose any tax increases to raise revenue? (The answer to this question is taken from the database of signatories of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, created by Americans for Tax Reform. Signers to the pledge promise to oppose "any and all tax increases" meant to generate additional revenue.)
Southerland: Yes
Graham: No

Taxes: Would you increase taxes on corporations and/or high-income individuals to pay for public services?
Southerland: No
Graham: Would close tax loopholes and reduce corporate tax breaks. (See Graham unveils economic plan.)

Learn more about the candidates:
Southerland: Steve Southerland Vote Smart pages and Steve Southerland On the Issues pages
Graham: Gwen Graham Vote Smart pages
Both candidates: Panama City News-Herald: District 2 Q&A

----------
Other District 2 candidates include Luther Lee (NPA). Due to limited space, we can't include his positions, but invite you to check out his website.