State Rep. Arthur Morrell
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Arthur Morrell for U.S. Senate (D)
2601 LePage, Suite 202
New Orleans, LA 70119
Ph: (504) 616-4563
2004 Senatorial Candidate Survey
Hometown: New Orleans
Job/Office: Attorney; State Representative
In-Flight Executive Representative, Eastern Airlines (1968-1975)
Federal Voters' Rights Examiner (1975-1976)
Owner, ACTMP Construction Company, New Orleans (1975-1982)
Attorney, Arthur A. Morrell & Associates, New Orleans (1982-present)
Horseman (Breeder/Racer of Thoroughbred Horses) (1985-present)
1984-present: Six-term, LA State Representative, District 97
B.A. Southern University of New Orleans - 1970
Juris Doctorate, Southern University Law Center, Baton Rouge - 1978
Professional and/or Community Affiliations (limit 5):
Member, Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association (Vice President since 1996)
Board Member, Total Community Action
Board Member, Very Special Arts
Member, American Legion Post 395
1. What is one thing that distinguishes you from other candidates in the race?
I am the only candidate in this senate race who stands firmly, proudly, and publicly behind the Kerry-Edwards ticket; stood up against the Iraq War and the Patriot Act; supports a woman's right to choose and to maintain privacy with regard to health matters; believes in equal rights for all Americans; is committed to renewing the Federal Voting Rights Act in 2007 to protect everyone's vote; supports the renewal of the assult weapons ban to keep our communities safe; oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve; and is not funded by big corporations and special interest money.
2. It is impossible for a Senator or Representative to be a leader on every issue. What issue would you most like to address or champion if elected to the U.S. Senate?
Education, health care, and job creation are three issues that profoundly impact the citizens of Louisiana; I look forward to working in the senate to improve all three.
3. What two or three important economic issues will you work on for Louisiana that will have a direct impact on the citizens of our state? What are your specific plans for working on these issues?
I oppose trade treaties like CAFTA, which hurt our indigenous industries such as shrimping and rice, sugar and cotton farming. I support raising the minimum wage. I will not be satisfied until every Louisianan has the opportunity to make a decentwage and create a comfortable existence for themselves and their families. I will support a plan to create ten million jobs in the next four years. I will work to revive American agriculture and manufacturing and will strive to preserve Louisiana's native industries.
4. What are the one or two specific education issues that you would like to work on during your term?
Part of the answer to Louisiana's education struggles lies in improving early childhood education. With 23 percent of Louisiana children living in poverty, it is not surprising that many find it hard to focus on schoolwork and fail to thrive. Children who complete early childhood education programs have better grades and test scores upon entering elementary school. Yet nearly 8,000 at-risk four-year-olds in Louisiana were not enrolled in any sort of early education programs in 2002. I understand the importance of early schooling and will fight for funding that allows children of age three to begin their education regardless of social or economic status.
5. What are the one or two specific health care issues that you would like to work on during your term?
The American health care system is in crisis as our government fails to provide Americans with the resources they need to lead healthy, productive lives. This reality is particularly harsh in Louisiana, where one in five people lack access to preventive care. Every American, regardless of age or economic status, deserves quality health care, and I will take this struggle for extended coverage to the U.S. Senate.
Bush Administration policies have chipped away at America's health care system, lowering affordability, accessibility and quality. The cost of health care coverage has greatly outpaced inflation, rising 40 percent in the past four years. It is time to turn these trends around, bringing affordable health care to children, seniors and working Americans.
Children are particularly affected by the nation's misguided health care policies. In Louisiana, one in three toddlers has not been immunized. Proper health care is vital to a child's future, and I have spent my years in the state legislature fighting to protect Louisiana's youngest citizens. I helped design and pass Louisiana's Children Health Insurance Program (LA CHIP), which aims to extend medical insurance to all of the state's children. In the U.S. Senate, I will work to expand the program by automatically enrolling school children and working to ensure that all Louisiana children have yearly checkups and up-to-date immunizations.
6. Do you believe the United States has been pursuing an effective policy in a) the war on terror and b) the war in Iraq? Please explain what parts of the policy you think are working and/or what parts of the policy you would change.
As a former Green Beret with the United States Army, I am the only candidate in this Senate race who has served in our nation's military. I have never been afraid to defend our country. I enlisted during the Vietnam War and voluntarily entered the Army's Special Forces unit. As such, I deeply appreciate that a sound foreign policy is vital to our national safety.
I supported taking military action to track down terrorists in Afghanistan and continue to support the war on terror. Terrorism is an unfortunate global reality. I am prepared to work in the U.S. Senate to ensure our collective safety. While the Bush administration has met the threat of terrorism with diversionary tactics and the politics of fear, I know that to safeguard our nation, we need to pour resources into infrastructure security, first responders, and intelligence agencies.
The Bush administration, while talking tough on homeland defense, has slashed budgets of agencies vital to our collective safety, including cuts of $246 million from funding for firefighters. While in the Louisiana state legislature, I led an effort to provide the New Orleans Police Department with protective body armor it desperately needed. I am prepared to take this fight to the U.S. Senate. With 397 miles of coastline, Louisiana is both an economic hub and a key entry point to the nation. Protecting Louisiana's coast and ports is tantamount to protecting America, even though the Bush administration saw fit to cut $150 million in port security money. I will fight for enhanced electronic surveillance at borders and ports to combat crime and terrorism.
America's intelligence system is a key component to homeland security, yet our intelligence system is floundering. The Department of Homeland Security, CIA and FBI have undefined roles, creating confusion and failing to protect our people. The Sept. 11 Commission's report has exposed many cracks in America's intelligence community, and I support repairing the system so that America always has timely and accurate intelligence. I support many of the changes recommended by the Sept. 11 panel.
While I fully support the war on terror, I am the only candidate in this race who opposed the Iraq war. I continue to have the vision to admit that our Iraq polic has been a mistake in that we have actually done harm to the war on terror by being there. I support our troops 100 percent while opposing the way the war has been waged. Our soldiers were led to war on false pretenses. There was no connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein; weapons of mass destruction were never found. This administration led us into an unnecessary war, which has cost 1088 American lives, and has diverted crucial resources and attention from the war on terror. I believe in John Kerry's approach to ending the war with honor by building an international coalition, which is Iraq's only hope for lasting peace and democracy.
I will never forget the brave Americans who risk their lives to protect our country. When Louisiana's soldiers return from Iraq, I often meet them to offer my heartfelt thanks. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who serve our country. As senator, I will do everything in my power to restore the health and other benefits that have been cut during the past four years to those who wear the American uniform today, and who have served us in the past.
There is no quick fix in the fight against terrorism. Working toward a safer America will take strong support, leadership and vision. While President Bush has alienated America from its allies, I will work with John Kerry to rebuild bridges with nations that can help us root out terrorism. Our great challenge in the years ahead is to increase national security by protecting our borders and by building coalitions in the world, standing side-by-side with our traditional allies.
7. How could you, as a junior Senator, affect job growth and creation in Louisiana?
The Bush administration advocates exporting American jobs to other countries. I advocate investing our tax dollars in improving the state's transportation, education and skills training to create jobs here. I am not opposed to free trade, I support Fair Trade. I am not afraid when our state has to compete against other countries in the world, because I know we are smart and we work hard in Louisiana. Treaties like CAFTA are not about free trade, though - they are about unfair trade. As Senator, I will consistently oppose trade treaties that cost Louisiana jobs because of those whoe pay inhuman wages, work their people under inhuman conditions, and damage the earth's fragile environment. I will ensure that Louisiana retains its native industries, such as shrimping, and rice and sugar farming. I will ensure that Louisiana retains its native industries, such as shrimping, and rice and sugar farming. I will ensure that imports are held to the same agricultural standards that our native producers are held to.
8. What ideas would you bring to the Senate for making Social Security more solvent?
Being old in America should not translate to being poor. Social Security is threatened by an administration that aims to privatize it and refuses to acknowledge the damage its tax cuts for the rich are doing to the security of future retirees. We should be focusing our efforts on shoring up Social Security. I oppose the privatization of Social Security.
I will fight for fiscal responsibility in Washington so we can balance the budget to protect the security of future retirees. I will work to see that every penny we pay into the program today will be there when we retire.
There are difficult choices ahead in the fight to save Social Security. I therefore support the formation of a bipartisan commission to discuss ways of ensuring the survival of the system to protect our children and grandchildren from the threat of poverty in old age.
I also support policies that offer Americans greater incentives to save for their retirement so that they can supplement their Social Security payments later in life.
Hard-working Americans are entitled to financial security in their retirement. I will work tirelessly in the Senate to see that this peace of mind is possible for generations to come.
9. What ideas would you bring to the Senate for reducing the national debt?
I have two opponents in this race who have spent these tough Bush years up in Washington, and they have voted almost indentically when it comes to the economy. They have both supported the Bush agenda of spend now and tax in the future. "Spend and swipe" is the best way to characterize the deficit by the President and his Republican-dominated Congress. Our children and grandchildren will be taxed in the future to pay back this enormous debt. We need to return Democrats to Washington - and by that I mean mainstream Democrats who know how to balance budgets, and not Democrats that vote the Bush "spend and swipe" agenda. We have to stop the "spend and swipe" crowd before they pile up trillions of dollars in additional national debt.
I do think it's important, when talking about the Bush deficit, to distinguish between "government spending" and "investment." Sometimes a country, just like a business, needs to take on debt in order to invest in the future. I do not oppose all government debt. However, the large deficit run by the government over the past few years was not made for the purpose of investing in the future of the United States. The President and the current Congress refused to fund the "No Child Left Behind" initiative, which would have been an investment in our future workforce, an investment worth borrowing for. Instead, the President ran a $5 trillion deficit because he gave his donor base of millionaires a huge tax break and he spent money on a war in Iraq that has cost untold billions of dollars and thousands of human lives.
I have always believed in fiscal integrity, and as a legislator I have struggled along with many others to balance Louisiana's budget. Balancing a budget, whether it's in a normal American home, a small business, the Louisiana government or the United States government, requires tough decisions, and I can make those decisions. If elected, I will do all in my power to shrink the deficit, and to end a foreign policy that is causing Louisiana citizens to pay enormous prices for plywood, steel, gasoline, and hundreds of other commodities, and will mean only enormous taxes in the future.
10. What is one issue where your position differs from that of your party, and you would vote the other way?
It is time for the Democratic Party to stop taking black voters for granted. While the African-American community is consistently relied on for electing democratic leaders, there are a disproportionately low number of minority representatives. No African-American has been elected to state-wide office since Reconstruction in Louisiana, a state with a 30% black electorate. At present, no African-American sits in the United States Senate. My campaign can change these two unfortunate facts. I am the only candidate in this race who is supporting Kerry/Edwards, yet the national Democratic Party is not supporting me.