THE BLOG
10/27/2014 11:25 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Susan Collins vs. Shenna Bellows Nonpartisan Candidate Guide for Maine Senate Race 2014

2014-10-28-ME_Senate_Collins_Bellows_jpeg.jpg

Are you looking for a nonpartisan voter guide to the Susan Collins vs. Shenna Bellows Senate 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 Susan Collins and Shenna Bellows, with additional links at the bottom for each candidate if you'd like to dig deeper.

----------
Budget: Have you supported raising the Federal debt ceiling with no strings attached?
Collins: Mixed--has supported some increases, but also some with strings attached
Bellows: No

Budget: Do you support a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: No

Campaign Finance: Do you support the DISCLOSE Act, which would require key funders of political ads to put their names on those ads?
Collins: No. Supports principles of transparency and disclosure of campaign finances and has co-sponsored similar bills in the past. Opposition is based on perceived inequities in the bill as written. (Believes that "Americans have the right to know who is contributing to political campaigns" and co-sponsored campaign disclosure legislation in 2002 and 2009. States that current bill favors union speech over corporate speech, provides exemptions for some grassroots organizations over others, and that some of the discriminatory aspects may rise to the level of unconstitutionality. See more detail on Collins' views here and a Press Herald opinion page response to her opposition here.)
Bellows: Yes

Campaign Finance: Do you support the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allowed unlimited independent political expenditures by corporations and unions?
Collins: Supports efforts more limited than a constitutional amendment to address campaign finance issues
Bellows: No. Supports a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision.

Economy: Do you support raising the minimum wage?
Collins: voted against $10.10 minimum wage, has supported increase to $9.00 an hour
Bellows: Yes

Economy: Do you support extending unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: 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?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: Unknown

Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: Yes

Education: Do you support refinancing of student loans at lower rates, paid for by increasing taxes on income over a million dollars?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: Yes

Environment: Do you believe that human activity is a major factor contributing to climate change?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: Yes

Environment: Do you support government action to limit the levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: Yes

Environment: Do you support government mandates and/or subsidies for renewable energy?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: Yes

Foreign Affairs: Should the US return troops to Iraq to counter the insurgency?
Collins: Supports the use of ground forces provided by Arab countries in the region
Bellows: No

Gay Marriage: Do you support gay marriage?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: Yes

Gun Control: Do you support enacting more restrictive gun control legislation?
Collins: Has supported expanded background checks to prevent access by criminals and mentally ill
Bellows: Yes

Healthcare: Do you support repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: No

Healthcare: Did you support shutting down the federal government in order to defund Obamacare in 2013?
Collins: Contested. Originally voted for bills that would keep the government open only if Obamacare was defunded or delayed. Later did lead the group of senators that created the agreement to end the shutdown.
Bellows: 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?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: Yes

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?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: Yes

Marijuana: Do you support efforts to decriminalize and/or legalize marijuana?
Collins: Opposes Federal legalization of recreational marijuana
Bellows: Yes

Social Issues: Should abortion be highly restricted?
Collins: No
Bellows: No

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

Social Issues: Should Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion health services?
Collins: Yes
Bellows: Yes

Social Security: Do you support partial privatization of Social Security?
Collins: No
Bellows: No

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.)
Collins: No
Bellows: No

Taxes: Would you increase taxes on corporations and/or high-income individuals to pay for public services?
Collins: Mixed. Voted to increase taxes on people making over a million a year. Also voted to keep favorable treatment of capital gains and dividends, and to increase the estate tax threshold to $5 million. (See Susan Collins on tax reform for historical summary of related votes.)
Bellows: Yes

Learn more about the candidates:
Collins: Susan Collins Vote Smart pages and Susan Collins On the Issues pages
Bellows: Shenna Bellows Vote Smart pages and Shenna Bellows On the Issues pages
----------