A student’s guide to the 2016 candidates: Carly Fiorina

Since her much-lauded performance during the first Republican debate, presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has been climbing up the polls. Following the second Republican debate, which premiered Sept. 16, Fiorina now occupies third place with 11.8 percent of voters, according to Real Clear Politics. 

Fiorina’s main executive experience comes from her troublesome time as a CEO. Her campaign website said during her time as the first female executive of a Fortune 500 company, revenues increased at Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and the company grew to 11th biggest in the U.S. However, HP fired 30,000 employees under Fiorina as the company’s stock plunged, according to the Washington Post. 

Because of her record at HP, Fiorina was removed as CEO by the board of directors. Before running for president, Fiorina took board positions at several nonprofits, as well as director positions with Kellogg, Cisco, Merck and Taiwan Semiconductor, according to CBS News. However, she has not held another CEO position. 

Beyond her controversial business experience, Fiorina brings much-needed diversity to a Republican party that is primarily white and male. As reported by Pew Research, between 36 and 52 percent of women are democrats, while 43 percent of men are republicans. Fiorina is also the only female candidate other than Hillary Clinton, a democrat. 

Additionally, Fiorina can ride the wave of support for “non-establishment” candidates, which has also been cited as pushing up neurosurgeon Ben Carson and real-estate tycoon Donald Trump, according to a Washington Post article. 

Fiorina has also spoken out on social issues, including abortion. She has publically opposed Planned Parenthood after the organization’s recent videotape scandal, saying in an interview with CNN the video is “depraved,” condemning the “casual nature with which these people were talking about fetuses.”

The Planned Parenthood video sparked widespread controversy over the organization’s sustained federal funding, which Fiorina supports cutting, according to an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

On the issue of drug legalization, Fiorina has come out against legalizing recreational marijuana. In an interview with Yahoo, Fiorina said that she denied medical marijuana after her breast-cancer chemotherapy, though she is not opposed to medical marijuana. She has also said she views drug legalization as a states’ rights issue, according to The Hill. 

“I think what we’re doing when we legalize marijuana is that we’re sending a signal to young people that marijuana is just like beer,” Fiorina said during the Yahoo interview. “It’s not. If we want to treat marijuana as a medicine, then fine. Regulate it like a medicine.” 

Fiorina’s knowledge regarding drug addiction stems from her stepdaughter, who died from a drug overdose after complications involving prescription medication and an eating disorder. During the Sept. 16 Republican debate, Fiorina said she approves of drug intervention and criminal justice reform as appropriate methods to curb drug addiction. 

“This is something that hits really close to home to me, and when we incarcerate people for abuse of drugs, we are not helping them,” she said during an interview with Fox & Friends. “We do have to have a different approach to addictions of all kinds.”

On President Barack Obama’s health care law, otherwise known as The Affordable Care Act, Fiorina supports the individual mandate, which requires every American to have health insurance. She also supports protections for people with pre-existing conditions. However, as a whole, Fiorina still disagrees with The Affordable Care Act and prefers a typical Republican solution of “subsidized high-risk pools,” as reported by CNN.

Overall, Fiorina runs on a campaign against what she calls “identity politics … lowered expectations … (and) the political class,” according to her official campaign website.   

“It’s time for us to empower our citizens, to give them a voice in our government — to come together to fix what’s been broken in our politics and our government for too long. We can do this, together,” she said in a campaign video on her website.