Election 2018: Where do the candidates stand?

Much is at stake in the world and right here in Pennsylvania. Election Day is approaching. On November 6, 2018, voters will chose who will lead our Commonwealth for the next few years. We must prayerfully consider for whom we cast our ballots.

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference neither supports nor opposes any candidate for public office but aims to educate Catholic voters about candidates and their positions on key issues. A few candidates answered a questionnaire that the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference sent to every statewide candidate before the Primary Election this year. They took advantage of the opportunity to state their positions in their own words. U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D) and his opponent Representative Lou Barletta (R) responded (read their questionnaire responses at pacatholic.org); the candidates for Pennsylvania governor did not respond. However, all of the candidates have made public statements and published campaign materials that reflect where they stand.

These are a few, but certainly not all, of the issues that may be of interest to Catholic voters.

Life Dignity of the Human Person

PCC asked the U.S. Senate candidates to choose which statement reflects his position most accurately: a.) I support legalized abortion; b.) I oppose legalized abortion in all circumstances; or c.) I oppose legalized abortion, except when the life of the mother is in danger or the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. Both Casey and Barletta answered “c.”

The gubernatorial incumbent Tom Wolf (D) lists protecting a woman’s right to choose among his “progressive values” on his campaign website. The campaign cites his veto of Senate Bill 3 which he calls the, “most extreme anti-choice bill in the country;” his work as a “former Planned Parenthood patient escort;” and his opposition to “Republican efforts to defund the (Planned Parenthood) organization” as evidence of his strong position on the issue. (wolfforpa.com)

The Republican candidate, former state Senator Scott Wagner, has publicly stated that he is “100-percent pro-life” and supports overturning Roe v. Wade. (youtube.com) In 2017, he voted in favor of Senate Bill 3 which would have banned the cruel and brutal practice of dismemberment abortions in Pennsylvania and restricted abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Access to Health Care

PCC asked the U.S. Senate candidates about federal funding for Medicaid, a long-standing program that helps the poor have access to health care. Casey said he agreed with the statement, “Congress should maintain federal funding for the Medicaid program to strengthen it as a safety-net for low-income, elderly and disabled people.” Barletta said he supports a different statement, “Congress should cap federal funding and issue block grants for Medicaid giving more responsibility to the states,” and added that he supports “an improved Medicaid program that gives states the flexibility to provide better quality care for those in need”

Wolf lists expanding Medicaid as a campaign priority and boasts, “One of (his) first actions as governor was to expand Medicaid giving an additional 720,000 Pennsylvanians the health care they need.”

Wagner has not prominently shared his opinion of Medicaid expansion specifically; but his campaign is on record saying, “Senator Wagner supports the full repeal of Obamacare. As a business owner, he has seen the dramatic increase in costs in the years since Obamacare was passed.” (PoliticsPA, 3/16/2017)

School Choice

The U.S. Senate candidates were asked to give their position on providing a federal tax credit to businesses that donate to scholarship organizations that provide scholarships for middle and low-income students at private and religious schools in grades kindergarten through 12. Casey responded, “I do not support such a tax credit. Businesses can already deduct charitable contributions.” Barletta said he supports the idea. (pacatholic.org)

Education is a prominent issue in the campaign for governor. Wolf has taken a strong stand against legislative proposals that would create state-funded education savings accounts, or vouchers, for individual students. In a statement Wolf urged the Senate to vote against one such proposal, Senate Bill 2, saying he believed it “would siphon scarce resources from public schools.” (Press Release, May 22, 2018) Wagner responded to a question about the same legislation during a telephone town hall meeting saying, “I support all school choice.” (WHYY, May 17, 2018)

Further Information

All of these resources serve to educate voters about the issues and allow us to inform our consciences about which candidate will act in the best interest of the common good. As Catholic citizens, we have a moral obligation to participate in the political process. Mark your calendar for Election Day on November 6, 2018. Visit www.votespa.com to find out where your polling place is. Visit the PA Department of State’s website at www.dos.state.pa.us to see who else is on the ballot. Then exercise your faithful citizenship and VOTE!

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Article source: https://www.pacatholic.org/election-2018-where-do-the-candidates-stand/

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