Top issues in U.S. House 5th District

Should the U.S. send more troops to Afghanistan? If so, how many and when?

John Spratt said, "We're being stretched thin. The allies we have there are serving a purpose, but quite a few have limited their troops from combat. We're having to pull a lot of the dangerous duty. Afghanistan has been kind of held at bay for months now. We've accomplished a large part of what we set out to do in Iraq. Once they (Iraqis) take responsibility, we will have the wherewithal to send additional troops to Afghanistan."

Albert Spencer said, "Victory is really not an option. It's the only option. Being a private citizen, I would not be privy to the information needed to make an informed decision about how many troops would be needed."

Do you support raising taxes on families making more than $250,000?

John Spratt said, "This doesn't become an issue until 2010 when the (Bush) tax breaks expire. In 2010, we'll know then where the economy stands. If the stocks are way down, probably the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress will say it's not the right time to tamper when the capital gains rates. Until we know what the economy is doing, that issue will be kicked down the road."

Albert Spencer said, "I don't support raising taxes on anybody. I think we need to lower taxes. Too many of our paychecks, particularly (in) middle class families, goes to taxes. If we start taxing them in addition to what's going on with the economy, we're just going to see continued downfall."

What changes, if any, would you make to President Bush's signature education initiative, No Child Left Behind?

John Spratt said, "I would allow a lot more flexibility with respect to adequate yearly progress. Number two, I would fund it more substantially than it has been. That was part of the deal originally. The program has not been robustly funded."

Albert Spencer said, "A lot of teachers are telling me there's too much paperwork involved. We need to look at how we can reduce paperwork and still get the intent across. When the paperwork becomes time-consuming, this becomes a negative. A lot of our teachers have large classes, and it's very difficult for an educator to do everything in 24 hours a day."