Priorities

 

Let’s Be Straight with Each Other

I’m not going 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 that allow 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.
The increasing cost of education hinders the potential for growth that this nation has become accustomed to. Graduating with tremendous student loan debt has created an environment in which graduates must seek high paying jobs just to help pay down their debt, rather than working in the kind of positions they desire and in which they would excel. Student loans must be available and affordable so that all students have the opportunity for a higher education, thus unlocking the potential of every American.
The cost of education has increased, predominately to pay for administrative costs. This has taken a larger share of funding in the past several decades, decreasing the amount that should be spent on educating American students. Let’s focus on what is important in education, which is educating, and put those funds back in the classroom. We can improve the educational system in this country by ensuring that government funding targeted for education actually goes into the classroom and into teacher pay.

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, conducting effective oversight, 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 our government promised they would never be. I support bringing the Veterans Administration in line with current technology. We should open and improve the hiring process to increase the number of well-trained healthcare workers and doctors employed at the VA to eliminate the length of time some vets have to wait to be served. We must ensure vets are getting the quality of service they deserve, and hold the government accountable for the commitment that our country has made to the men and women who have risked their lives to maintain 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 fossil fuel industry on these new technologies, and employ them in the manufacture of clean energy. When we replace traditional power producing facilities with manufacturing plants that create new energy materials, those newly trained workers can transition into the jobs the new technologies will create, instead of just laying them off and increasing the unemployment line. Improvements have already been made to make solar energy less expensive and more efficient (again, we can thank the scientists and engineers in our society who are making this transition possible).
Scientist that monitor the earth’s temperatures annually report each subsequent year as the hottest on record for the last five years in a row. If we want to create jobs, improve the quality of our planet for posterity, and make the next evolution in how we harness and use energy, 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 just for 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 national system of healthcare which will save money for the American taxpayer. 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 any American who chooses to participate. Private insurers should continue to serve the populace that prefers to use them.
Currently, the federal government pays for all of the health care coverage for nearly half of the US population through five 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 five federal programs and eliminating the redundancy and bureaucracies involved, while preserving current private health plans, a national 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” national healthcare program that will provide healthcare for all Americans who have no coverage starting immediately.

A Nation of Immigrants

This country was founded, built, and has grown on the premise of immigration. Other than the indigenous people, everyone in this country is an immigrant, or descendant of immigrants. Welcoming people of all faiths, ethnic origins and social views has made America the wonderful nation it is. We have always benefitted from welcoming people who come here in search of a better life, as they contribute their talent and energy to making this country ever greater. Diversity is the strength that binds all of us; every culture has something to offer towards the improvement of our nation. 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. In today’s immigration sensitive climate, immigrant families in America are being separated senselessly. I support ending the unnecessary deportation of people seeking asylum, 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 better pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and new immigrants 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, lunch hours and break times, overtime pay, responsible child labor laws, and workman’s compensation if injured on the job, just to name a few. Collective bargaining is a self-funded 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 Unions use contracts to determine equity among all involved, a better and more productive work environment results for all employees, not just a chosen few.

Americans want gun control.

A vast majority of us want to see reasonable gun laws. In short, “reasonable” means:
• requiring background checks
• prohibiting the truly mentally ill from owning guns
• blocking the sale of bump stocks
• raising the legal age for purchases
• requiring safety training of purchasers
• requiring safe storage of firearms
Those who support tougher laws include almost every demographic. Democrats, Republicans, Progressives, youth, students, Second Amendment fans, as well as card-carrying National Rifle Association members are in favor of stricter laws. Laws in other countries show us that even these common sense changes to existing laws will help curb gun violence.
Voters must elect candidates who support common-sense gun legislation. We need individuals who have the integrity and work in the best interest of the public.
My name is Robert Olsen. I am running for the US House of Representatives in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. I am one such candidate.

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