CARE BLOG

Chellie Pingree Discusses Global Poverty

11/3/08

Here is what Chellie Pingree (ME-01) had to say...

One of the most effective strategies for addressing maternal health is to focus on strengthening health systems. Do you support increased funding
to strengthen health systems in developing countries?

Yes, I would absolutely support increasing funding for programs to improve health systems in developing countries. I believe that health care is a basic
right, and I have been guided by that principle throughout my life and my years in the Maine State Senate, where I fought consistently for health care access
and affordability for Maine citizens, particularly women and children.

Every year over 500,000 women in the developing world die during pregnancy. How can we cut down on these preventable deaths?
This high fatality rate is appalling and tragic, and I would support efforts to reverse this trend, through increased funding for family planning services
and quality health care. I would also support efforts to address inequities in terms of education and opportunity, as well as societal stigmas that may
prevent women from accessing the services they need.

Less than one-half of one percent (<.005) of the U.S. federal budget funds poverty-fighting U.S. foreign assistance programs. Do you support
increasing the poverty-focused areas of the foreign assistance budget?

Yes, I would absolutely support increasing funding for crucial poverty fighting programs in the foreign assistance budget.

Recent international polls show that the United States' global image has diminished, even among key allies. What role should foreign assistance
programs to help the poorest and most vulnerable play in rebuilding our tarnished reputation?

The U.S. has a long way to go to restore our standing as a diplomatic partner in the international community – fully engaging in and supporting efforts to
reduce poverty would go a long way towards repairing our global standing and relationships, and I am a strong proponent of expanding the United States' work
in this area.

Would you support the U.S. in establishing a national-level, mandatory cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
Yes, I would definitely support a cap-and-trade system to curb our greenhouse gas emissions and begin to slow the disastrous effects of climate change. This
is one of the greatest challenges we face today, but it is also an enormous opportunity for innovation in new energy sources and job creation.

How will you help people in extreme poverty adapt to the new climate conditions?
We can already see the dangerous effects of climate change in the United States – these effects will be magnified in areas of extreme poverty. It is our
moral responsibility to address the impacts of global warming on these areas that will be hardest hit by natural disasters, disease, and environmental
degradation. We can help by improving people's access to education, health care, and financial stability, so they are able to overcome the obstacles that a
changing climate will present.

The United States is the only country to utilize "monetized food aid," a method by which grain is shipped from America to charities in the
developing world, who then sell the grain in the local market and invest the proceeds for its own programs. How should this inefficient practice be reformed
or should it be eliminated?

Shipping grain overseas is an inefficient and inflexible way to provide food aid to people in developing countries. Instead, we should consider providing
people with the capacity to buy food from markets in their own area – giving them quicker access to wider varieties of local food, stimulating the local
economy, and reducing the carbon emissions used in transporting grain. I believe we also need to take a more preventative approach to hunger – increasing
people's access to financial stability, education, and basic health care and services goes a long way towards preventing hunger, and that should be our
goal.

Would you support using taxpayer money to directly fund food security development programs instead of the current inefficient
policies?

Yes.

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