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Monday, January 21, 2008

Jim Hovland's Stonewall DFL Questionnaire

Candidate Name: Jim Hovland

Office you are seeking: U.S. Congress, Minnesota’s 3rd District


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


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

I consider your endorsement an honor and would list it on my campaign website and on outreach literature pieces.

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

Two chief advisers (finance director and message development) are from the LGBT community. A staff member was part of the speakers’ bureau through the LGBT group on her college campus in the 1980s. Another serves on the board of the National Association to Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children, which runs the national child protection training center. One of the principle reasons I am a Democrat is to support equal rights for everyone. This specifically was referenced in the Star Tribune article on 1/8/08, announcing my candidacy for Congress.

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

We already have contacted GLBT groups like OutFront to engage their membership and for their staff to act as counsel in campaign matters related to GLBT issues.

5) What experience do you have with LGBT issues and the LGBT community?

I have watched over the years as family members and friends have struggled to have their relationships recognized and respected, both culturally and legally. While I believe the environment is improving, there is a lot of work to do to achieve equality.

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?

The best way to attack discrimination of all types is to ensure equal protection under the law and to strengthen penalties when our laws are violated. In Congress I will be a strong voice and a vote for passage of the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Act and ENDA in its original form.

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.

Lawmakers have four primary ways of reducing discrimination: keep the Constitution free of discrimination; ensure equal protection under the law; strengthen penalties for violation of those laws; and provide funding for social spending that promotes the health and well-being of all citizens. I also support ENDA in its original form, and I believe this specifically would assist the Bisexual and Transgendered communities.

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?

I completely support full recognition and full legal rights for GLBT couples. Equal rights must be extended to everyone and therefore equal legal and economic rights are essential for gay couples.

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?

This is an issue upon which all of us, Republicans and Democrats, should be able to work together. Passage of the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act will be a priority for me in Congress. We need to ensure appropriate funding for drug-abuse programs, certainly, but we also must back education and support groups like the MN AIDS Project and OutFront so people can find resources within their communities. In addition to federal research grants, we must provide public monies to support community-based work.

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?

I support full benefits for domestic partners and equal treatment under the law.

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?

It should be fully funded and Congress should work to assure equal distribution of funding under the Ryan White Act. This act is designed to help all AIDS victims, gay or straight—and everyone affected should get proper assistance.

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 Naming Project and other like projects are so critical to these types of issues. We need to promote their work nationwide so youth can grow up feeling like they understand themselves and their place in the world. And then we can’t let them down as adults. We must strengthen our laws guaranteeing equal protections under the law and stiffen penalties for breaches against them. We should endorse the federal effort to eliminate homelessness within the next 10 years, as that will have a profound benefit for our urban homeless youth and our veterans. Support also should be provided for safe harbor products like District 202.

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?

Lesbians and bisexual women should have equal access to the universe of reproductive health options as well as the privacy protections necessary to make decisions concerning pregnancy. Equal access to healthcare should be a legally protected right.

14) What are your views on the US military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy?
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell needs to be scrapped due to its discriminatory nature.

15) Which version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act do you support and why?

I support ENDA in its original form.