â™ª >> i'm jennifer rooks. welcome to mpbn's 2014 united states senate debate. our partner is the bangor region chamber of commerce, and we are coming to you from the gracie theater on the campus of husson university in bangor.
the debate will last an hour and feature broad topical discussions and a lightning round with quick answers and a chance to candidates to question each other. the republican candidate is incumbent u.s. senator susan collins.
she was first elected to the senate in 1996. the democratic candidate is shenna bellows, the former executive director of the civil liberties union of maine. she has not held elective office. welcome to you both.
in the first segment, we will tackle broad topics. we want to devote 405 minutes to each of these topics. we hope each of you will be able to articulate your position as well as your differences with one another. we have determined the order by
lot. shenna bellows goes first. according to polls, people are really concerned about the economy of maine and good-paying jobs. what, as a u.s. senator, will you do to improve the economy and the kinds of jobs available
in maine? >> you are right, jennifer, and thank you for hosting us. it's wonderful to be here so close to where i grew up. as i walked across main, 350 miles, it's what people said -- the number one issue is jobs and the economy.
i started out my walk and walked three miles. a potato farmer talked about investment in infrastructure. sometimes it takes in 20 minutes to get online. we talked about if we had universal broadband internet access across the state and
country and business people like jim could grow their businesses, and people with good ideas and our local communities could connect to the global economy. investment in infrastructure is number one. access to small businesses in a fair tax regulatory environment
for all. >> senator collins, what will you do to create more and better paying jobs? >> i talk with employers all over the state. i find that there are jobs available, but often times, they have a difficult time finding
the employees that have the skills and education needed for those jobs. indeed, nationwide, about 1/numeral three of the unemployment rate is due to that gap in skills. i have been a strong supporter of a bill, which i have
incorporated into a law in july, that would ring together employers, employees, educational institutions, local workforce investment boards to identify the jobs of today and tomorrow and the skills and education that are needed to ensure that our workers have the
skills that they need. that is something where the federal government can be very helpful. you cannot go into a machinist shop in this state and not find that they have vacancies for machinists, and those are good jobs with benefits and good pay.
i have also found that businesses are asking for certainty in the tax code and in regulatory policy. that causes small businesses in particular to freeze their plans for investment and for hiring. we certainly do need transportation improvements in
this state, and i am fortunate to be the ranking republican on the transportation appropriations subcommittee, and i have been able to secure some $9 million in grants to help refurbish our railroads, our roads, our bridges, and our ports.
i also would agree with my opponent that we do need to invest in broadband. that is really important as far as allowing businesses to locate in little maine. what are the areas where i am most proud where i have improved transportation is getting the
trucks that are the heaviest trucks onto the interstates and out of downtown streets and country roads. that has allowed our businesses to ship their products much more efficiently. it has increased safety. it has lowered energy use, and
it has reduced emissions. >> moving on to a topic that is very important to both small businesses, large businesses, and homeowners is energy costs. maine, as you know, is the most oil-dependent state in the nation. even though we have a little bit
of a dip in the cost right now, it is still expensive and prohibitive for people to keep their homes. senator collins, this question goes to you first -- what policies will you pursue to relieve the cost burdens that overwhelmed so many of the
people of maine last winter? >> this has been a real problem for our state. one of the policies i have pursued in washington is to make sure we are increasing our investment in energy efficiency programs and weatherization. i have also been a strong
supporter of the low income heating assistance program, which has helped many of our rural elderly and low income families afford to stay warm in the winter, but weatherization is even a better investment because it prevents those heating dollars from going out
leaky windows and uninsulated doors and walls. i also believe we need to get more natural gas into this state. there's a real bottleneck with the pipelines that we need to get natural gas from pennsylvania where it is
plentiful, into the state of maine to help our manufacturers as well as residents. that would make a big difference in our energy costs, particularly electricity, and finally, we need to pursue alternative energy. i am particularly interested in
the deep water, offshore wind energy that the university of maine maritime academy in -- and a consortium of private companies have worked on. that holds great promise. it would create thousands of good paying, green energy jobs, and ultimately, we could the a
net exporter of the energy to the east coast. >> shenna bellows, what is your strategy to relieve the high cost burden that so many people face? >> we need bold, visionary investment to reduce long-term energy costs, to tackle climate
change now which is a real threat to our state and country, and also to create jobs. we should be investing in solar and geothermal, in title, and properly sited wind, is a world leader in solar energy, and they have a lower solar incidence than we have here in maine,
meaning there is less usable sunlight falling on germany. maine could be a world leader in renewable energy, and that would reduce energy costs in the long run, which would improve our national security, create jobs now, and confront climate change for the next generation.
>> president obama's affordable care act has been in place for about a year now. we have seen the exchange is at work and seen the supreme court decision of arming -- affirming the legality of the four double care act. senator --shenna bellows, do you
support the four double care act? >> i do, and i support universal health care for all. we should strengthen and expand the afford will care back to cover more people, and we can do that by gradually lowering the medicare eligibility age.
we need to expand access, and we need to fix the provisions of the afford will care act that have created a burden for individuals and small businesses, and we can move toward universal health care for all. my mom is here tonight.
she is a home health care nurse, and she sees firsthand the consequences when people go without the preventive care that they need. investing in primary care and prevention -- that is key, and we can do that with universal health care.
>> let me follow-up -- you mentioned maine opting out of the expansion of data care -- medicaid, excuse me. as senator, would you push to make that mandatory, that states expand? >> i would push for universal medicaid expansion, and i think
that is really important. we save money in the long run if we expand primary health care access for all. >> susan collins, do you support changing the affordable care if so, how? >> i do support changing the afford will care act.
i think there was a real missed opportunity here. there are a lot of health care reforms that both republicans and democrats embrace. for example, both parties are for prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating against individuals with
pre-existing conditions. both parties are for tax credits for small businesses to make it easier for them to afford insurance. both parties are for letting young people, which comprise the largest group of the uninsured, stay on their parents' policy
until age 26. i think it is unfortunate that it devolved into such a partisan debate when there were many issues and health care reform that we could have worked on together. there are some provisions of the afford care act that i think are
particularly problematic. in some cases, it has led to fewer choices. i have heard from families who no longer are able to go to the physician that they have used their whole lives because it is outside of the network of the plans that are available under
obamacare. i have seen higher premiums for many of our small businesses and higher co-pays and higher deductibles, and, of course, there have been billions of dollars of additional fees and taxes that have been imposed by the law, not to mention the
hundreds of millions of dollars taken out of the underfunded medicare program to fund there are two bills in particular i have introduced to change the law. both are bipartisan. one has to do with the definition of a full-time
worker. the definition of a full-time worker has always been 40 hours a week. under obamacare, it's 30 hours a week. the result has been seen right here in bangor where the superintendent has told me that
she has to now cap the number of hours a week that substitute teachers can teach because otherwise, they will have to come into the system and be covered by obamacare. think about that -- that means they are getting lower paychecks, and the students are
having a revolving door of substitutes. i don't think that is good policy. it's going to create a lot of confusion when it goes fully into effect, and i have a bipartisan bill that would change the definition back to 40
hours a week. even the president has indicated there have been problems in the area. the other area is the mandate that an employer who has 50 or more employees has to comply with all of the provisions of many of those employers are
already providing health insurance for their employees, but i can tell you, if they are at 48 or 49 employees, they are never going to hire that 50th employee because they do not want to have to deal with all of the mandates and the paperwork that comes with obamacare.
>> do you support president obama's current policies to deal with isis and other terror groups? if not, what should the policies be? >> i support some of the president's policies. i think his putting together a
coalition that included the arab nations in the region to fight isis and other terrorist groups was a good approach. where i have some concerns about the president's policy, and i have talked to him directly about this, is whether he is going to be able to have a
successful vetting of the so-called moderate syrian opposition. three years ago, we could identify who were the moderates in the syrian opposition to the assad regime. now, the opposition is very infiltrated, and i worry that
some of the training equipment and arms will end up in the hands of isis. i think the president was too slow to come up with a policy to confront isis, and isis is not the only threat we face. indeed, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, which is located in
yemen, is considered to be most likely to launch an attack on our homeland, and that is very worrisome. that is where al qaeda's chief tom maker is. we have seen a proliferation of terrorist groups so that they are now operating in some 20
countries, and i think the president's reassurances to us that he had decimated core al qaeda have turned out unfortunately not to be the case. >> shenna bellows, do you support president obama policy to deal with isis and other
terror groups? if not, what do you support and what do you not support about that? >> let me take a step back -- isis did not exist in its current form prior to the invasion of iraq under president bush, which susan voted for.
what we are seeing now is a product of a misguided policy, a war that cost us over $1 trillion and sent us over 1000 troops in harms way. arguably, we are less safe today than we were a decade ago, and susan voted with republicans -- and indeed, it was a bipartisan
effort, but it was wrong to send troops overseas to this war in iraq. today, unfortunately, we do see the dangerous and barbaric rise of prices, but i do not think that the right approach is arming the syrian rebels, groups whose goals we do not share, who
may be our opponents in five years or 10, and indeed, some of those groups were groups that we were fighting during the iraq war, so i think it was wrong and indeed irresponsible for susan to vote to allow the president to arm the syrian rebels, and those blanket airstrikes are
harming civilians, and it has created a recruiting tool for isis. indeed, strengthening, according to news reports, the hand of the assad regime in syria, which has not traditionally been an ally. i think we need a more targeted and strategic approach to our
foreign policy, and president obama showed the way when he did what president bush failed to do in two terms when he killed osama bin laden and significantly weakened al qaeda with a targeted and strategic special forces operation. that is the type of foreign
policy we need. i think we are on the wrong track, and we are continuing down this path toward overseas wars that we cannot afford that make our country less safe. >> senator collins, would you like to respond? >> its correct at that i would
want to respond to that. first of all, isis is just al qaeda in iraq by another name. it has grown in size and sophistication and capability, but it is al qaeda in iraq. just because it changed its name does not mean that it did not exist.
in fact, this violent islamic extremist ideology was reflected in the attacks on the world trade center in 1993, in the bombings in africa, of two of our embassies in tanzania, and in nairobi in 1998, and, of course, in the horrendous terrorist attacks in 2001, which
claims nearly 2000 lives. all of those clearly preceded the iraq war. so to say that this islamic extremist ideology developed in the wake of the iraq war is simply wrong. >> and that's not what i said. what i said was it is a mistake
to be arming islamic extremists in the middle east, and that what we see, the chaos in the middle east is a product of the wrong foreign policy. susan has been in office for 18 years, and she has backed overseas military interventions over and over again, which have
cost the american taxpayers over $1 trillion that we could have invested here at home and our local economy. >> ok, i think we know the difference in your positions on this. we will move along. people are nervous about the
ebola outbreak in africa, whether it may spread to the united states, and what kind of -- how horrible it can get in africa. is the obama administration doing enough to combat the spread of this disease both in the an i did states and in
africa? if not, what more should be done? >> first, i will say that i want to applaud sheilah davis, a native of this area, who is overseas in west africa now helping lead the fight to confront ebola.
what we need to do is to stop the epidemic where it is in west africa with an increase in aid to countries in west africa. what we do not need is the travel ban that my opponent has suggested. experts say that a travel ban would make us less safe by
limiting the ability to get relief to west africa and by limiting the ability to monitor travel back to this country. additionally, the lack of preparedness now that the maine state nurses association and nurses across the country are talking about -- it's a grid
that has endorsed me -- that lack of the parrot this is a direct result of republican votes for sequestration, a bill that susan voted for that has undermined funding for the cdc and the nih, funding that the nih director said without that funding, they have not been able
to develop an ebola vaccine, and if they had had appropriate funding, they might have been able to do so. so we need comprehensive, strategic thinking about the overall budget, and we need to invest in images c preparedness over the long-term.
that's what republicans have been blocking. >> what is your ideal response to the ebola outbreak? >> first of all, it has to be a comprehensive approach. we do need to increase preparedness at our hospitals, and in fact, the president
requested additional funding, which i strongly supported, and which we voted on right before we adjourned, and my opponent has said that she would have opposed the bill that included that funding that was essential to fight the ebola crisis. we also need to establish
regional centers to treat people with ebola in this country. it is simply not feasible to expect each of the 5000 hospitals in this country to have the resources, the expertise, the gear, the know-how to deal with this epidemic.
i support a limited travel ban from the three african countries in western africa that are most affected, with an exception for health care workers and aid workers. we don't want to turn our back on africa. we want to help them get a
handle on it, but my first priority is to protect americans, and just yesterday, the obama administration announced travel restrictions, saying that people whose travel originated in these three west african countries could only arrive at five american airports
where they would be carefully screened. i want to tell you what the president said about this -- the president has press secretary said that president obama changed his view on travel restrictions after hearing from scientists and other experts, so
the scientist and other experts recommended to the president that he put these restrictions in place. i am glad he did. today, the administration went even are there and said that individuals coming from these three countries should be
closely monitored by the federal government for 21 days to make sure that they do not have this highly contagious disease. until this epidemic is under control, i think the steps that the president has taken makes sense, and i would go a bit further with this limited
temporary travel restriction. >> shenna, i will let you quickly respond. >> the american association of medical colleges wrote a letter to senators a few weeks ago. i'm not sure if you read it, but it said that we need to get away from these short-term crises,
and we need to invest in the long term for public health, so the bill that passed just before the session was an emergency bill to arm the syrian rebels, to engage in airstrikes in iraq, and i said that i am concerned about arming the syrian rebels and what i think we need instead
is instead of republican obstructionism, which has underfunded the cdc and nih and made us less prepared, we need to be more strategic and visionary in our thinking about the budget and invest in a public health system not just when we are in crisis, but over
time strategically. >> would you like to quickly respond? >> i would. the bill we passed included $88 million to fight this crisis, and shenna said clearly on her website that she would have voted against this bill.
in addition, the administration has said that the funding that the cdc had was adequate to deal with this crisis. there have not then huge cuts in the cdc, nor in the agency that is known as barta, which was created in the wake of the anthrax attacks that occurred in
2001, and both have been adequately funded, according to the administration's own experts. >> we're going to try to squeeze in one more question before our first break. susan collins, congress is likely to tackle immigration
reform in the coming session. what are your views on whether the nation's immigration system needs to change? >> our immigration system is clearly broken. i support comprehensive immigration reform. right before the recess, i and
several other senators went to the southern border where we talked with the teenagers and children who were coming across the border. more than 60,000 of them have arrived in this country from central america. that clearly shows that we do
not have good control of our borders. so we need to have strong border patrol -- strong border control, but we also need to have a plan to deal with the 12 million people who are here illegally. it is not practical to somehow round them up and ship them back
to their home countries. i think what we need to do is to distinguish between those who stood in line and got here legally versus those who came here in illegally, and that is why i supported the immigration reform bill that required them to be current in their taxes, to
have worked, to have paid a fine, to learn english, put a series of requirements before they would be allowed to stay in this country, and eventually work toward citizenship. >> shenna bellows. >> my grandparents were immigrants.
my grandfather came from france as a child. his mother worked as a housekeeper. he went to college, started his him business, became an entrepreneur, employing others. my grandmother came from scotland.
i think it is so important -- we are a nation of immigrants. i think we can all agree that our current immigration system is broken, so we need copperheads of immigration reform to create a pathway to citizenship for people who come here for a better life, to make
america what it represents. >> all right, that inns our first section, and we'll be right back after a short break. >> this is a box, the box that showed you a world beyond your own. it was just a box, but the world has changed, and so have we.
now, the box can be almost any size or shape. you decide what you want to see any time, any place. break out of the box with pbs. we're with you for life. >> mpbn's your vote for the 14 website offers you maine's most complete voting resource,
including in-depth candidate profiles and interviews from our award-winning radio news programs and a comprehensive grid that easily allows you to compare where each candidate stands on the key issues, plus, all of our 2014 televised debates available for streaming
24/7, all online in one spot -- mpbn.net/yourvote. >> welcome back to our 2014 your vote bait between the senate candidates, the candidates for u.s. senate. the next segment of the debate features your questions, questions from members of the
public who sent them in by e-mail. the first question will go to you first, shenna. it's from janet who lives in read field. specifically, can you lay out what policy changes you would make to medicare and how you
would propose making social security solvent the aunt -- beyond 2043 so my generation can have the same benefits our parents do and did? class this is such an important question. we did district in and expand medicare and social security.
i have proposed scrapping the cap on social security because right now, people making more than $117,000 in year stop paying into the system. that's not fair. if we scrap the cap so that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, we will
have more revenue so we can increase social security benefits now for our seniors and strengthen social security for the future. with medicare -- we need to allow medicare to negotiate drug prices and to lower costs. to lower the eligibility age of
medicare over time to expand access to medicare for all. >> janet in read field wants to know how you would make social security solvent and she also wants to know about medicare. >> social security is one of our most important social programs. it has made the difference
between poverty and an adequate standard of living for so many americans, but the fact is that it is going broke. the disability trust fund will be out of money and just two years, by the year 2033. social security will only be able to pay about 75% of the
benefits that are due. we have to take a comprehensive look at social security. i do not favor increasing the tax rate, which is 6.2% for the individual, 6.2% for the employer, because i think that would be very burdensome for working families and for small
businesses, but i agree that we should take a look at the tax cap. it used to be that the tax cap covered 83% of wages. -- it covered 93% of wages. it now covers 83% of wages, but that is not going to do the whole job.
that will only get us less than halfway there. >> we are out of time. i have to move on. there has not been a congressional budget for five years or so. please tell us what you plan to do about this failure to take
care of urgent business. further, would you bring all parties together to work on a new revision of the tax code? susan collins. >> we finally did get a budget this past year. it was negotiated by a democrat in the senate, patty murray, and
a republican in the house, paul ryan, but the listener is exactly right. it had been years since we had a budget, and that was one reason that the debt has climbed to $17 trillion, and i think most people cannot imagine our operating without a budget
because we are not setting priorities. i think that that is a real problem. i would bring people together. we should have a budget by march 15 of every year, and that would help to guide the appropriations process, and that is the best
way for us to set priorities and to make sure that we are keeping within budget caps. >> all right, shenna bellows, carmen wants to know if you would bring all parties together to work on a new revision of the tax code. >> yes, budget and tax policies
in washington favor the wealthiest individuals and wealthiest corporations at the expense of working families. in the last 18 years that susan has been in office, the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer, and the middle class is disappearing.
we can build a bipartisan coalition just as i did when i was in the american civil liberties union. coalition around common ground, common principles, to create a tax code that is more fair to working families, to make sure that the wealthiest americans
pay their fair share, and also to create a budget to refocus its priorities on investing in local communities and jobs and education and health care and stop spending so much money on overseas wars, surveillance programs we cannot afford, and on the criminal justice system,
which is out of control. that's what i would do to bring our budget and tax priorities more in line with the needs of working families here in our >> the third question is from sandra. she writes that she would love to hear opinions on the millions
of dollars being spent or the senate race and the gubernatorial race by national parties, especially when meiners -- mainers are going hungry. >> we have a congress of millionaires and billionaires, and people like me, the daughter of a carpenter and home health
care nurse, do not run for federal office very often. we need to overturn citizens united because corporations are not people, and susan was wrong when she voted against the constitutional amendment to overturn citizens united. we need a public financing
system, a national clean elections system just like we have here in maine so that working people can run for office and lead in washington. and we need stronger disclosure laws. right now, no one knows who is paying because of the flood of
dark money into the system, and susan voted against the disclose act twice. those are three things we can do to reform the campaign finance system, and i will fight to reform the system because it is broken. in my campaign, i am proud that
we have not taken any corporate pac money. susan has taken over $1.9 million. and the majority of our contributions are from small-dollar donors. >> susan wants to know your opinion about the millions of
dollars being spent in this race, especially when so many people are having a tough time of it. >> there is so much being spent on campaigns, but you will notice in sharp contrast to shenna, that every single ad i have run has been a positive ad,
and i think that is what the people of this state deserve, not negative as that distort my record. there is a certain irony here, and that is that shenna has brought up the constitutional amendment that i pose, and it is strongly opposed by her former
boss, the american civil liberties union, because they warn that it would open the door toward government regulation of free speech, and it would have many unintended consequences. similarly, the aclu, while shenna was working for them, and i did not hear her dissent --
also opposed the disclose act because it was not there. it exempted some organizations altogether. i was a strong supporter of the mccain-feingold bill. >> the fourth question is from clayton. maine has over 100 weekly
farmer's markets where you can buy fresh, locally grown food directly from those who grew it. when is the last time you shop at one, and what was one thing that you bought? >> the last time i shopped at one was in early september, and it was at the farmer's market in
downtown bangor right across from the library. it is set up every sunday. it has wonderful, fresh produce, and one of the things that i bought were multicolored carrots . i had never seen anything other than orange carrots before, and
it was great fun to buy those as well as fresh beets and fresh lettuce. it was a lot of fun. i have a real appreciation for our family farmers. i also bought some fresh blueberries, which i made an absolutely delicious blueberry
bubka with, which i would be happy to share the recipe. it is my mother's. >> i joke that i ate my way across maine when i walked 350 miles. we walked through farmers markets, we walked through farms and with farmers, and i love
blueberries. i also love cherry tomatoes, so those are my favorite purchases and farmers markets. my husband and i shopped regularly at farmers markets, and also the apple orchard in manchester where we live now, and, in fact, my husband was at
the farmers market last week. >> all right, well, we have a new section, the chance for you to ask each other questions. we're going to try to control each of you has 20 seconds for the question, a minute for the answer, and there will be a chance for short rebuttal.
>> why have you cosponsored the obamacare repeal act? >> as you know, i voted against obamacare, and i have explained why. i think there were many other ways we could have gotten to health care reform, but at this point, now that the law has been
in place, i believe we should try to fix the most egregious flaws. i don't think that outright repeal would go anywhere because, obviously, the president would veto it. rather than sending the president a bill that would
surely be vetoed, i believe we should try to fix the numerous problems with obamacare. contrary to what you have been saying, i have never been in favor of repealing obamacare. i have always said it should be replaced by a better approach. >> chance for a short rebuttal.
>> i read the obamacare repeal act, and it says sibley that obamacare should be repealed, and you are an original cosponsor still. have you removed your name in the last week? >> let me explain the way this works -- i have a series of
bills and proposals that i put forth that i have advocated for for years. for example, generous tax credits for people who are self so that they could afford health tax credits for small businesses, the bills that i mentioned on the 30-hour work
week, the employer mandate. you have to look at the whole i would be happy to provide you with more information on those, or you can go back and read my floor statement that i made in 2008 when the obamacare bill passed. >> susan collins, you have a
chance to ask shenna bellows a question now. >> you have endorsed increased spending in at least 15 programs that already add up to trillions of dollars in spending over the next five years. you have proposed major expansions.
we heard it again tonight -- in the medicare program, despite the fact that the program has severe financial problems. you have also proposed increases in programs like nasa, which you have said are a priority. you seem to be telling the people of maine that your
approach would be to ask the taxpayers to foot the bill as the federal government tries to spend its way out of most problems. we are already saddling the next generation with an enormous debt of $17 trillion. we are on our way to having a
half $1 trillion debt for this fiscal year -- a deficit for this year. how are you going to pay for all of this? >> in 18 years, it is this congress with a war in iraq costing over a trillion dollars with tax cuts for the wealthiest
americans that has left us with this debt, that has mortgaged our young people's future, and i have proposed a $200 billion-plus investment in universal broadband that we could pay for if we cut defense spending and cut surveillance systems that spy on ordinary
americans and reduced spending on incarceration. cap said that the wealthiest americans pay their fair share so that we can increase social security benefits for seniors at home right now. i have opposed reducing the interest rates on student loans
for students and paying for it with a financial transactions tax or people who are currently making money on wall street and not paying anything in taxes. everything i have propose i have also suggested how we pay for it. we need a different approach.
don't say that this congress or your leadership has been fiscally responsible. >> quick chance for quick rebuttal. >> first of all, if you confiscated all of the income that everyone who makes $1 million or more in this country
has, it would amount to $938 billion. if you took every penny, not just increased their attacks, but took every penny, that does not begin to cover the increased spending that you are proposing. cuts in military spending at a time when the obama
administration has already cut spending would be foolhardy. >> you have said you voted against raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour because 21 thousand dollars a year was too much. you propose nine dollars and our , 18,000 a year.
how would you feed a family on $18,000 a year? >> clearly, that is not a livable wage, and i'm curious what you think a livable wage would be if you think that a minimum wage should produce a livable wage. it would have to be far higher
than $10.10. this is the situation we are in. first of all, i support an increase in the minimum wage. i have proposed an increase to nine dollars and hour because the independent congressional budget office said that if we go with a 40% increase to $10.10,
that it would cost our economy some 500,000 jobs, and those are largely going to be jobs held by low income people, so i don't think that that's the answer. shenna mentioned the other night 13 states had increased the minimum wage. not one of them has gone to
$10.10. rhode island increased it by $.25 -- >> thank you. shenna bellows would you like to rebut? >> 13 states did raise minimum wage this year and sought job growth -- saw job growth, more
than states that did not raise them in them a wage. the scare tactics suggesting jobs might be lost if the minimum wage were increased or simply not borne out by the evidence, and there is something deeply wrong when members of congress who make 174 thousand
dollars a year think that $10.10 an hour is too much. i have talked to a lot of small businesses in maine, and they pay their employees more than minimum wage because businesses need customers, and when you payment -- when you pay workers more, there is more money in
their pocket. >> susan collins, you can ask now. >> first, let me say that 2/3 of individuals who make the minimum wage at an increase within that year. i'm going to turn to your support for a government-run
single-payer health care system such as canada and great britain have. we see canadians coming here for cancer treatments, for mri's for other medical care because in canada, you have to wait, on average, two months for an him ri, a whole month for a cat
scan, 4.5 months for necessary treatment after you have been referred to a specialist, nine months for a senior to get a joint replacement. canada ranks far higher for mentality due to cancer than does the united states. >> can you ask the question
please? thank you. >> my question is why do you support a single-payer, government-run, top down, washington system when we see people from canada coming here for treatment? >> i support universal health
care for all because i believe health care is a human right, and if we invest in health care and prevention, in primary care, then we will see better long-term health outcomes. we will see less disease and less mortality. countries like canada and europe
do have better health care outcomes and are spending less money. the inflation of health care costs in this country and the level of medical bankruptcies is out of control. no how many medical bankruptcies there were in canada?
zero. that's because there is a health care for all, and that is so important. we have a government run system for health care right now called medicare, and it is working quite well. >> go ahead, susan collins.
>> first of all, there's a difference between universal access to health care, which is a goal that we all embrace, and having a government-run single-payer system, which is what shenna has endorsed. i think we've got to be very clear about what that means in
terms of care. there is a reason that in great britain, an individual, a man who is diagnosed with prostate cancer has only a 50/50 chance of surviving beyond five years. in our country, it's a 91% chance. we have to take a break.
we'll be right back. >> mpbn's your vote 2014 website offers you maine's most complete wet -- web resource, including in-depth profiles and interviews from our award-winning radio news programs and a competence of grid that easily allows you to compare where each candidate
stands on the key issues, plus debates, available for streaming 24/seven. it's all online in one spot, >> welcome back to your vote 2014 debate between the candidates for u.s. senate. the next round is our lightning round.
these are questions meant to be answered once with one or two words -- yes or no, maybe a whole sentence, but no more, please. susan collins, do you support the question one on the november ballot? >> i do not take positions on
state referendum. i never had, but i would urge people to listen to the experts. >> shenna bellows? >> no. >> would you support the no tax pledge being pushed by grover norquist. >> would you support allowing
so-called hard sands oil from canada to pass through a pipeline in maine for export? >> yes. wait a minute, i want to make sure i understand -- are you talking about the main montreal? >> i believe there needs to be a full environmental study in
order to answer that question. >> ok, shenna bellows. >> no, and i also oppose the keystone xl pipeline, which susan voted for twice, because climate change is real -- >> yes and no, please. do you support funding for amtrak?
>> would you vote for term limits for members of congress? >> i voted for term limits. >> do you support the right to choose as outlined by roe versus wade? >> should local law enforcement agencies be allowed to use surveillance drones?
>> again, i think that is a local and state issue, but what i can tell you i have done at the federal level is to require justifications from the administration on posted use of drones for surveillance at the federal level. >> ok, you got a whole sentence.
>> i led the effort in front of a coalition here in maine to place checks and balances on the use of drones to prevent the use of drones for surveillance purposes to allow law enforcement to use them for search and rescue in emergency situations --
>> shenna bellows, should the united states further reduce its number of military bases? >> do you support increasing grants from the federal government for higher education? depending on what they are for. >> absolutely. and student loan reform.
>> should the federal government legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes? >> for medicinal purposes only. regulate and require labeling of genetically modified food, gml's ? >> probably, but we need to do a lot more work on how that should
be done. >> yes, and susan was wrong when she voted against the gml labeling bill. >> do you support the proposal that would allow internet access based on ability to pay? were talking about the net neutrality legislation.
>> as a poor -- no, and i support net neutrality and internet freedom. we need to maintain people's ability to access the internet. >> we should not be a allowing internet providers to control and favor some content over others.
>> i know the audience loves the lightning round, but we are out of time for that. we have closing statements now. each candidate will have one minute to speak directly to our audience. we determined the order earlier by a coin toss.
susan collins, you will go first. >> for a state of just over one million people, maine has selected remarkable senators. margaret chase smith, bill cohen, george mitchell, olympia snowe. they represented different
parties, but i had a commitment to civil, honest debate to progress based on bipartisan compromise, and to a better life for the people of this state. i have worked hard each and every day since i was elected to uphold this crowd tradition. when government shutdown last
year, i put together a coalition of seven republicans, six democrats, and angus king, and we hammered out a compromise that led to the reopening of government. that is how government can and should work, and that is the approach that i want to continue
to take. i asked for your vote on november 4. >> this race is more than just the policy differences between susan and me, although those are significant. this is about two different visions for the future, and my
sister is putting her three kids to bed tonight while their father serves overseas in kuwait. i think about the dangers my brother-in-law faces overseas. i think about the future for my nieces and my nephew. what kind of world are we
leaving for them? we cannot afford republican gridlock in washington or to pretend that things are ok. things are not ok when thousands of workers are without jobs tonight. things are not ok when student debt exceeds $1 trillion.
things are not ok with climate change is hurting our farms and fisheries. a vote for susan is a vote for republican control in washington. if you share my concerns but also my hopes that we can do better, that we must do better,
then i ask for your vote on >> thank you very much to both candidates for appearing tonight and taking part in this debate, and thank you to our partners in this production, the bangor region chamber of commerce and the new england school of communications, and thank you
for joining us. all of our your vote 2014 debates will be rebroadcast several times on mpbn television and radio between now and election day. for those air times, please visit mpbn.net/yourvote. our your vote 2014 website is
also a great place to learn about the candidates and see our grid for outlining their positions on major issues. of course, join us for full election night coverage november 4 and the following day. we hope you will take the time to vote.
thanks for taking the time to join us. for mpbn news, i'm jennifer rooks. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]