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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ashwin Madia's Stonewall DFL Questionaire

As I mentioned earlier, I have contacted all the 3rd and 6th District Congressional campaigns requesting copies of their questionnaires. Once I get all the 3rd District and 6th District questionnaires, I will put the information together in a comparative format.

1) Do you plan on abiding by the DFL endorsement if there is one for your race? YES /NO

I will abide by the DFL’s endorsement. Two other candidates have publicly announced
they are seeking the DFL endorsement: State Senator Terri Bonoff and Edina Mayor Jim
Hovland. While I respect the public service of both candidates, I feel I am the candidate who is most likely to show leadership in Congress on the priorities that matter to the LGBT community in Minnesota. In addition, my unique status as a veteran of the war in Iraq gives me credibility and expertise on crucial foreign policy issues in this race, making me a strong contender for the general election.

2)If endorsed by Stonewall DFL, how will you display that endorsement in campaign
materials?

If endorsed, I will proudly display the Stonewall DFL endorsement on my website. I will call upon Stonewall DFL members and leaders to help me win the DFL nomination and to take back the 3rd Congressional District in November 2008.

3) How is the LGBT community currently involved in your campaign?

My brother is openly gay and actively involved in my campaign. A number of prominent
LGBT activists in the Twin Cities, such as John Sullivan, Phil and Randi Reitan, and
Charlie Rounds, are all strong supporters of mine.

4)How will you actively encourage LGBT constituents to contact or become involved in the political process?

I would encourage all constituents who have a desire to see change in Washington to
contact me and to get involved in the political process. I pledge to meet regularly with grass roots LGBT organizations, once elected, and to do all that I can to encourage greater involvement by their members.

5)What experience do you have with LGBT issues and the LGBT community?
As a Marine Corps lawyer, I defended a gay Marine against the military's bigoted and
shameful "don't ask, don't tell" policy. I am proud to have given my unconditional
support for my brother in our struggle for full equality under the law. I have been
reaching out to members of the LGBT community in Minnesota since the first day of my
campaign for Congress because I strongly believe in full equal rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

6)LGBT men and women of color are often victims of multiple layers of discrimination.
How would you use your office to identify and address these problems?

I would support passage of Hate Crimes Prevention legislation to offer stronger
protections for victims of crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Additionally, as a person of color myself, I would be a strong advocate on behalf of men and women of color to eliminate all forms of discrimination in our society, whether it be employment-based, or otherwise.

7)Public awareness of Lesbians and Gays has increased in the last 20 years; however
there remain some unique and misunderstood issues faced by Bisexual and
Transgender communities. Please identify a specific issue(s) and how you would use
your elected office to support these communities.

I strongly believe in full equal rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. I was disheartened to hear that Democrats in Congress weakened the legislation to prohibit LGBT employment discrimination by removing provisions that prohibited discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

8) What legal recognitions should be available to GLBT people in committed relationships and how would you use your office to advance these equality issues; specifically do you favor Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, Marriage, or Other?

Yes, I strongly support same-sex marriage and full equality under the law. Civil unions fall short. Civil unions seem to be a way for politicians to avoid recognizing the LGBT community as equal with the rest of our society. In the future, we will look back and be embarrassed that we are even having this discussion, just as today we are embarrassed about our nation’s history of civil rights violations.

9)Alcoholism, crystal methamphetamine and other chemical abuse is a public health
problem in the LGBT community, which correlates to increased rates of HIV
transmission. If elected, how would you use your office to address these problems?

I support better investments in our public health system and rehabilitation options for people with chemical dependency. For too long, our politicians have neglected the root causes of chemical dependency and have been all too eager to simply lock people up.

10) What policies would you support to provide equity for LGBT Minnesotans with respect to both public and private health care benefits and imputed tax implications?
The federal government should never discriminate against same-sex couples regardless of whether a state grants legal recognition to such couples and families. Public and private health care benefits and tax laws should be changed to eliminate discrimination.

11) The funding for programs such as the Ryan White Act was recently redistributed into rural, less populated (red) states and away from urban populated (blue) states where the majority of AIDS patients are located. What are your thoughts on this funding change?

I support expanding funding for HIV/AIDS treatment through the Ryan White CARE Act
or similar legislation. This legislation provides approximately $10 billion over the next five years in grants and services for people with HIV or AIDS.

12) A recent study of urban homeless youth found that in some metropolitan areas over
40% identify as LGBT. A key finding of this study was that homeless LGBT youth are
more vulnerable to sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health struggles. What
root causes of this complex issue can you identify and how would you use your office to address these problems?

The incidence of homeless youth among the LGBT community is a reflection of our
society’s intolerance. This can be combated by giving full equality to the LGBT
community in every facet possible. Our public officials must take the lead in addressing this issue.

13) What would you do, if elected, to ensure that lesbian and bisexual women have access to a diversity of reproductive health options, including birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and abortion?

The next Congressperson from the Third Congressional District needs to be both a strong advocate for pro-choice legislation as well as someone who will recognize and take a firm stand against future “stealth” efforts to undermine a woman’s right to choose. I pledge to be that kind of Congressperson if I am fortunate enough to earn your support in this race.

14) What are your views on the US military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy?
As a U.S. Marine Corps lawyer, I was one of first attorneys to successfully defend a gay Marine against the military's bigoted and shameful "don't ask, don't tell" policy. I would be proud to serve alongside anyone brave enough to put on the uniform.

15) Which version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act do you support and why?
I strongly believe in a fully inclusive ENDA. This includes equal rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. I will support a version of ENDA that achieves this and does not allow continued discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

It is unacceptable that we allow a form of discrimination in the workplace based on a
characteristic that is just as inherent as sex, race, or disability.

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