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Representative Richard Gephardt, Democrat Missouri Born in 1941 in the same South St. Louis neighborhood he represents today, Missouri’s 3rd district. Graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School. Elected to represent Missouri's Third Congressional District in 1976. In 1984, Gephardt was elected Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the House. In 1989, he was elected by his colleagues in the House to serve as their Majority Leader. Resigned as Majority Leader after the 2002 election. He has been married to Jane Byrnes Gephardt for more than three decades. They have three children: Matt, Chrissy and Katie.

Taxes & Spending: Based on ratings from taxpayer advocacy groups such as National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform, this candidate shares very few of their views. According to the Concord Coalition, he is agrees with slightly less than a quarter of their positions on balanced budget issue. On his site he calls for "a fair reshaping of estate taxes so no family owned small business is sold just to pay Uncle Sam."

Social Services Funding: Voted "no" on HR 7 Community Solutions Act of 2001. Bill would allow religious organizations to compete equally with other non-governmental groups for federal funds to provide social service, and provide $13.3 billion in tax breaks for charitable giving over 10 years. Gephardt said he felt the bill represented a missed opportunity to help faith-based organizations, because they often tend to the most underprivileged in our society and are vital and irreplaceable to every community. However, he felt that the consequences of allowing groups to pre-empt civil rights protections, would make it easier for these groups to ignore fundamental principles of liberty and equality.

Welfare: The Children's Defense Fund, an organization concerned how poverty and welfare cuts effect children and families, recently gave him a score of 82%. BIPAC, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee gave him a score of 6%.

Security & Terrorism: Voted "yes" on HR 3162, Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001.
Voted "yes" on the "Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001", a bill to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts by imposing restrictions on student visas and among other things, it creates a centralized 'lookout' database.

Foreign Affairs: Voted "yes" on H.J.RES.114, Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq.
Suggested President Bush delay his proposal for creation of a Palestinian state in the midst of "barbaric suicide attacks against Israelis." "It is fine to set out the dream and the goal and to hope that will give people on the Palestinian side some hope," Gephardt said, as Bush worked on the proposal. "But it isn't going to change anything, in my view."

Education: "Vouchers drain funds from failing schools at the very moment when schools need these resources the most ... We must not allow 'reform' to erode the federal responsibility to support national priorities like helping disadvantaged students and putting a quality teacher in every classroom."
"We want to work together to recruit high- quality teachers and invest more in our schools while demanding more from them. We want to say to every student who wants to go to college and every worker who wants to update their skills the first $10,000 of your education should be tax deductible." - Democratic response to the State of the Union speech Jan 29, 2002
"The government needs to do more to help schools. We’ve agreed to fund 100,000 new teachers in grades one through three. The Clinton administration is trying to use federal dollars to help districts pay the costs on school construction bonds. We must fully fund Head Start and make it available to younger children. I believe more teachers, more classrooms, and reaching out to prepare students to learn are an appropriate way for the federal government to help schools cope." - An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p.157-58 Jul 2, 1999
Voted "yes" on requiring states to test students. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Bill HR 1 ; vote number 2001-145 on May 23, 2001) Vote to pass a bill that would authorize $22.8 billion in education funding, a 29 percent increase from fiscal 2001. The bill would require states to test students to track progress.
We want to say to every student who wants to go to college and every worker who wants to update their skills the first $10,000 of your education should be tax deductible. - Democratic response to the State of the Union speech Jan 29, 2002

Healthcare: Providence Journal Bulletin reported om Jan 28, 2003 that Gephardt said in an interview that within a month or so he would propose a universal health-insurance plan that would cover the 42 million uninsured Americans.
Voted "no" on HR 2505 Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001. Bill would prohibit human cloning for either medical research or reproductive purposes.

Social Security: "We need to remember that stock values go down as well as up. In a prolonged bear market, the entire market may fall so far that it takes years to recover. Those who retire before the recovery may simply be out of luck. The stock market, in short, is no foolproof source of retirement security...Individual accounts can be part of the answer. But they should be voluntary and a supplement to Social Security, not a replacement for it."
Voted "yes" on strengthening the Social Security Lockbox. (Bill HR 1259 ; vote number 1999-163 on May 26, 1999) Amending the Social Security Lockbox bill to require that any budget surplus cannot be spent until the solvency of Social Security and Medicare is guaranteed.

Illicit Drugs: Voted "no" on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC. (Bill HR 3064 ; vote number 1999-504 on Oct 14, 1999) Bill would provide $429.1 million in funds for the District of Columbia and approves the District's $6.8 billion budget. Among other provisions, the bill prohibits the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs, prohibits implementing an approved ballot initiative to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana.

Trade: Wants to reopen NAFTA to force Mexico to raise labor standards. "We need to have a policy to build new jobs in this country. Part of it is fair trade, not just free trade. Most everybody here voted for NAFTA, voted for the China agreement. I did not. I led the fight against it. That's the kind of trade policy we need that globalizes with fairness and standards around the world so work, wherever it's performed, is given a fair wage for their hard work."

Ex-felons' Voting Rights: "As President Bush receives the commission's report, we hope he will finally provide real leadership and support for comprehensive election reform legislation," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt. In the report, states were asked to restore voting rights to convicted felons who have served full sentences. Bush backs the provision, aides said, noting that he signed legislation as governor of Texas moving up voting eligibility for felons.

Gun Policy: He received "F" from the NRA, and a 100 score from The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Abortion Policy: He received 100 score from Planned Parenthood and a zero from the National Right to Life Committee.

Environmental Policy: He received a 91 from the League of Conservation Voters.

Minority Issues: He received an 86% score from the NAACP.

Civil Liberties: He received 75% score from The American Civil Liberties Union.

Websites:

  • http://www.dickgephardt2004.com Gephardt Campaign site
  • http://tspweb02.tsp.utexas.edu/webarchive/08-01-01/01080103_s02_Lukewarm.html - Ex-felons voting
  • http://www.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/stories/01/27/democrat.radio/ - School Vouchers
  • http://www.usmayors.org/uscm/us_mayor_newspaper/documents/07_23_01/faith_based.asp - Faith-based initiatives
  • issues2002.org/House/Dick_Gephardt_Social_Security.htm - Social Security
  • http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,55879,00.html - Palestinian State
  • www.concordcoalition.org - The Concord Coalition
  • www.atr.org - Americans for Tax Reform
  • www.ntu.org - National Taxpayers Union
  • www.childrensdefense.org - The Children's Defense Fund
  • www.bipac.org - Business-Industry Political Action Committee
  • www.nra.org - The National Rifle Association
  • www.gunfree.org - The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
  • www.plannedparenthood.org - Planned Parenthood
  • www.nrlc.org - National Right to Life Committee
  • www.lcv.org - League of Conservation Voters
  • www.naacp.org - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • www.aclu.org - American Civil Liberties Union
  • www.vote-smart.org - Vote-Smart.org