1Executive Candidate Questionnaire 2016

1. Office sought:
2. Name, address, phone, fax (optional), and e-mail address:
3. Professional experience, offices held, activism on public issues:
4. Do you in any way NOT support all of the following: civil marriage (and divorce, and inheritance) for same-sex couples? A woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion? Pay equity / comparable worth? Nondiscrimination, in staff hiring, including sexual and gender minorities? Custody and adoption decisions based on the “good of the child,” not the gender, orientation or gender identity of the parent(s)? If so, explain.
5. What changes will you institute — what stances will you take — to change the problematic role of prisons and prison policy in spreading HIV, if (re)elected?
Background: HIV is the leading cause of death for black women age 25-34. Black women’s HIV infection rate is 20 times that of white women, though their rates of injection drug use and unprotected sex are no higher. A major factor is the "hyper-incarceration" of black males, including revolving door incarceration for victimless crimes. Policy and procedure encourage HIV transmission in prison: inadequate rape prevention; unsafe drug use; bans on condoms / sex being illegal (whether forced, consensual, or transactional); inadequate health care; unwillingness to document changes in HIV status while incarcerated. Ex-prisoners have even less access to care or anti-retroviral drugs once released, making them yet more likely to infect loved ones.
6. Furthermore, do you support access to affordable HIV care for all — including, where appropriate, HIV prophylaxis — including state-, county- or city-negotiated pricing and/or supply of medication?
7. Sexual Reassignment Surgery: What will you do, if (re)elected, to make sure that this surgery is treated on a par with other medically-necessary surgery a) by insurance companies doing business with the city / county / commonwealth? b) by public agencies of the city / county / commonwealth?
Background: In 2014, Medicare reclassified sexual reassignment surgery as "medically necessary" and "effective" in appropriate cases — a move hailed as "lifesaving." NY, RI, CT, VT, MA, DC, IL, CO, WA, OR, CA, NV and MN explicitly bar State Medicaid and/or private insurance sold in those states from excluding transgender care.
8. Are there any areas of employment, or any types of residence, where you feel sexual or gender minority persons are not acceptable? If so, explain. Insofar as you support anti-discrimination: what can you do to promote a statewide ban on such discrimination in hiring and housing?
9. Sex Trafficking: Thinking creatively — Housing law? Labor law? Pest control? Occupancy limits? Public Attention? Stings? — what will you use, if (re)elected, to quickly and effectively free and help people trapped in this odious form of slavery?
Background: Worldwide, 4.5 million people (98% female, 79% adult) are sexually trafficked; many more are trafficked for indentured servitude, generally. Over 50% of US trafficking victims are not US citizens, and so are particularly vulnerable to coercion and control. Greater Pittsburgh, other areas of PA, and the US in general, have all seen a proliferation of "exotic massage" parlors. Many, on cursory examination, exhibit multiple “warning signs for human trafficking of particularly vulnerable individuals.” (See http://polarisproject.org/recognize-signs and http://traffickingresourcecenter.org/sex-trafficking-venuesindustries/fake-massage-businesses.)
10. LGBTQ youth from violently-unaccepting homes, as well as victims of spousal / relationship violence, have inadequate resources and “safe spaces” to escape. What resources can the (city, county, commonwealth) put towards short term housing, support, and establishing the right to self-determination for coerced people?
11. Given what we now know about the degree and frequency of mistakes in our criminal justice system — can "black holes" be defended? Beyond the “carrot” of (very rare) executive pardons, what can you do — as an executive, and as a human being — to improve the status quo?
Background: There have been at least 1,733 complete exonerations — cases in which someone convicted of a crime is cleared of all charges, based on new evidence of innocence — since 1989. The pace of exonerations is increasing rapidly. In 15% or more of recent exonerations, false confessions had been extracted from suspects. An additional ~35% of innocent defendants pleaded guilty before trial — the "easily led" (e.g. juveniles, people of low intellect, people with mental illness / personality disorder) in particular. We draw the troubling conclusion: Many people — plea bargainers and convicts alike — have been incorrectly, and irrevocably marked by the justice system. Many federal and state laws (including so-called "3-Strikes" laws, and the Ryan's law rider to Megan's law) put people into a status where they have no further possibility of appeal — no way out.

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