Priorities

 

Let’s Be Straight with Each Other

I’m not gonna be one of those people who head to congress to stomp their feet and scream down any idea that comes from “them.” This whole us vs them pretense is a big part of why nothing gets done in D.C.

We’re all throwing insults like lobbyists writing checks.

It has to stop. We have to stop. Because as long as politicians think this type of rhetoric-driven, “do-nothing” behavior is what gets them elected, they will keep doing nothing. I’m going to cast my vote for legislation that helps my district. No matter who proposes them. And I will challenge any policy that hurts our state or weakens our country. I promise.

Where We Stand

 

Education Transforms Potential

Every man, woman and child deserves the right to a quality, public school education.  Learning is the foundation of a thriving civilization, and is the cornerstone of a successful economy.  We need well trained teachers at all levels, and must pay them accordingly. Institutions of higher learning provide research and development opportunities, allowing students to learn advanced methods in science and technology. We have the railroads in this country due to education, which was crucial to expediting travel and the flow of commerce.  We have flight due to education, which has expanded global outreach and an economic surge.  We have advanced medicine due to education.  We have the strongest military in the world, due to education. State universities and community colleges should be tuition free to allow all students the opportunity for a higher education, unlocking the potential of every American. The increasing cost of education hinders the potential for growth that this nation has become accustomed to. Graduating with tremendous student loan debt creates an environment in which graduates must seek high paying jobs to help pay down their debt, rather than working in the kind of positions they desire and in which they will excel. We can improve the educational system in this country by ensuring that funding that is targeted for education goes into the classroom and teacher pay.  The cost in education has increased, predominately to pay for administrative cost. This has taken a larger share of funding in the past several decades; let’s focus on what is important in education, educating, and put those funds back in the classroom.

Our Veterans Deserve Better

The veterans of our armed forces put their lives at risk defending the freedoms Americans enjoy and sometimes take for granted.  Our Veterans Administration has been neglected by congress for decades, often leaving veterans homeless, hungry and cast aside. It is time that we honor our commitment to those who served by properly funding the VA, and providing the necessary outreach and support our veterans deserve.  For too long, excuses of overwork and lack of resources have left veterans on the back burner, a place we promised they would never be. I support bringing the Veterans Administration in line with current technology, improve the quality of service vets deserve, and hold the government accountable for the commitment that our country has made to the men and women that have upheld their bargain in maintaining our freedoms.

Clean Energy

Making the transformation to 100% clean, sustainable and renewable energy should be the next evolution in how we generate and utilize solar, wind and hydroelectric energy to power our grids and significantly reduce our carbon emission output on the planet. The technology already exists. We need to re-train workers in the oil and gas industry on these new technologies, and employ them in the manufacture of clean energy. By replacing traditional power producing facilities with production plants and construction of new energy materials, the newly trained workers can transition into jobs waiting for them, instead of increasing the unemployment line.  Improvements have already been made to make solar energy less expensive and more efficient, which is where, once again, education plays a major role in our society. Scientist that monitor the earths temperatures annually report each subsequent year is the hottest on record. If we want to create jobs, make the next evolution in how we harness and use energy, and improve the quality of our planet for posterity, then now is the time to establish legislation to make this transition a reality.

Healthcare is not a Privilege

In the United States, quality healthcare should be a birthright, not something for just those with money.  We spend more on healthcare in this country per person than any other country in the world, yet we receive less coverage per capita than most any other nation.  Common sense dictates that we should operate in a more fiscally responsible way, and transition to a single payer system of healthcare which will save money for American taxpayers. Our Medicare system is the model used by a multitude of countries to provide healthcare to their citizens, and just needs to be expanded and fiscally streamlined to be a better, more complete system for all Americans. Currently, the federal government pays for all of the health care coverage for nearly half of the US population through 5 major “federal tax payer funded” programs (Medicare/Medicaid, the VA system, Tri Care, Indian Health Service, and the Federal Employees Health Care program).  Millions more people are covered through public or private employers. By combining the financial resources of these 5 federal programs and the other public and private employer coverage plans, and eliminating the redundancy and bureaucracies involved, a single payer health plan will be affordable without any significant tax diversion or increase. I support the humanitarian and economically sound approach of a “federal tax payer funded” single payer healthcare.

A Nation of Immigrants

This country was founded, built, and has grown on the premise of immigration. Welcoming people of all faiths, ethnic origins and social views has made America a great nation.  We have always benefitted from those people who come here for a better life, and contributed their talent and energy to making this country ever greater. A person who comes to this country, works hard, and obeys our laws, has demonstrated that they are the type of citizen we should welcome. Diversity is the strength that binds all of us, every culture has something to offer for the improvement of our country. In today’s immigration sensitive climate, families in America are being separated senselessly. I support ending the unnecessary deportation of people which serves no purpose other than causing hardships on their families, while espousing a dangerous anti-immigrant stance to the rest of the world. We must develop an effective worker-visa program that will reduce illegal immigration while serving the economic needs of our nation. Creating a pathway to citizenship for people coming to the United States seeking a better way of life is the only humanitarian option that should be adopted.  If a country is to be truly great, it should be judged on how it treats those that are looking to become free.

Unions Protect Workers

The greatest protection the American worker has is Union membership.  Unions are responsible for the 40 hour work week, overtime compensation, and responsible child labor laws, just to name a few. Collective bargaining creates a watch dog group within the workplace which actively challenges workplace discrimination, harassment, and guarantees compliance with labor and safety laws. This helps supplement the work of federal and state inspectors, who are stretched extremely thin in their own efforts to ensure compliance with labor and safety laws. Unions also ensure equality in pay and benefits. By law, they negotiate on behalf of every member of the Union, setting pay and benefit scales according to each job description. From my service as a Union VP, negotiator, and shop steward, I have seen firsthand how labor involvement in employer/employee relations has been a benefit to the organization and its members.  When guidelines are set to determine equity among all involved, a better and more productive work environment results.

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