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Issues

Please take the time to read over my stances on several issues and to understand where I am coming from with my beliefs and goals as your Representative. Several of the topics below have a READ MORE link to an extended text that further delves into the issue. I recommend reading the texts, a few are lengthy and quite in-depth, as they may further expand your own insight and knowledge into the subject matter.

Thank you for taking the time.

SUPPORT FOR PROTECTING SOCIAL SECURITY

          

Social Security is a successful intergenerational program that has served this country well. Yet some groups want to “privatize” Social Security by taking payroll tax money that now goes into the Social Security trust funds and investing it instead in private investment accounts.

Under Social Security, people earn the right to participate by working and contributing. The program was never intended to be an investment program. With broader policy goals than private retirement plans, its intent is to provide guaranteed income to seniors, disabled citizens, survivors, and their families. Privatization would severely undermine this system.

The arguments for privatization can seem persuasive at first, but they are all hollow and easily disproved.

Privatization is not a plan to save Social Security; it is a plan to dismantle Social Security. Privatization means increased retirement risks, severe cuts in Social Security benefits, and a multi-trillion dollar increase in the federal debt.

Privatization diverts money out of Social Security into individual accounts leaving an even larger solvency problem. Privatizers fill this funding gap by dramatically cutting Social Security benefits. They cover the rest by borrowing money, thereby increasing the debt burden on all taxpayers by trillions of dollars over the next half century. With marketbased accounts, the risk of an adequate retirement is placed entirely on the individual.

If Congress does nothing - makes no changes or “reforms” - Social Security is projected to deliver full guaranteed benefits until at least 2037. Even after 2037, again without any changes, the trust funds will continue to pay 76 percent of benefits for years after that.

It’s true, the aging baby boom generation will strain Social Security in the future. However, if Congress enacts modest changes, Social Security should be able to meet 100% of its benefit obligations for many decades to come.

Right now, Social Security provides a guaranteed income, paying benefits every month for life, with increases for inflation. After adjusting for risk, Social Security has a rate of return equal to that of any mix of financial assets in private accounts.

And risk must be taken into account, because stock market returns are never guaranteed! As we’ve seen in recent years, returns can fluctuate wildly. One need only be reminded that between 2001 and 2003, the NASDAQ lost 75% of its value. And the market took a major downturn again in 2008. Nest eggs can disappear in an instant - and take months, if not years, to rebuild.

With privatization, some might do well, many might lose - but our society would lose the benefit of the sound, basic income security provided by Social Security retirement, disability and survivor benefits.

In fact, the Boomers have helped pre-fund part of their benefits by building a huge surplus that should keep Social Security alive and well for many years. With privatization, however, workers would end up in a double bind - paying taxes to support the Boomers’ retirement plus investing money in their own individual accounts, in hopes of building retirement funds for themselves.

To make matters even worse, today’s workers would have to bear the transition costs of switching to privatization, estimated at nearly $5 trillion over just the first twenty years- a cost that would fall on today’s young people.

Administrative costs for Social Security are very low - less than 1% of the program’s budget. Diverting money to the stock market would incur the very high costs of brokers’ commissions, mutual fund management fees, and other expenses inherent in buying and selling stocks and bonds.

Small investment accounts are very expensive to administer. Commissions and fees could easily burn up as much as 15 cents out of every dollar of a worker’s annual investment as they do in some countries with privatized systems.

Wall Street brokers and fund managers would stand to make billions of dollars a year thanks to privatization, so it’s no surprise that they strongly support the privatization movement!

Unfortunately, exaggerated media coverage regarding Social Security’s finances has contributed to the illusion that Social Security is in immediate trouble. And the pro-privatization movement has spent millions of dollars promoting that illusion.



SUPPORT FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY

 

Environmental Benefits

Renewable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies.

Energy for our children’s children’s children

Renewable energy will not run out. Ever. Other sources of energy are finite and will someday be depleted.

Jobs and the Economy

Most renewable energy investments are spent on materials and workmanship to build and maintain the facilities, rather than on costly energy imports. Renewable energy investments are usually spent within the United States, frequently in the same state, and often in the same town. This means your energy dollars stay home to create jobs and fuel local economies, rather than going overseas.

Meanwhile, renewable energy technologies developed and built in the United States are being sold overseas, providing a boost to the U.S. trade deficit.

Energy Security

After the oil supply disruptions of the early 1970s, our nation has increased its dependence on foreign oil supplies instead of decreasing it. This increased dependence impacts more than just our national energy policy.


SUPPORT FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE

 

Healthcare is a basic need of every human being. It should be considered as a basic human right in which the nation should ensure that everyone is covered by equal healthcare regardless the age, gender, and income. Many industrialized countries all over the world have a single payer health care system which is better than private health insurance. Even though it is seen as an effective healthcare system; the question is why can’t American employ the single payer healthcare like other industrialized countries?

Universal Health Care which is also known as universal care, universal coverage or universal health coverage is a term that is used to address a health care system which provides health care and financial protection to every citizen of a specific country. Universal health care is all about providing a specified health care package which will be of benefit to every member of the society with the aim of providing financial risk protection, improved health outcomes and improved access to health services.

The objectives of Universal health care system include:

A strong, efficient, well-run health system
A system for financing health services
Access to essential medicines and technologies
A sufficient capacity of well-trained, motivated health workers


Universal health care system is sometimes referred to as free health care (in Canada). In the real world, there is nothing like free health care, somebody is actually paying for it.

Universal healthcare is the type of health care plan where every member of the society can receive health coverage irrespective of their social status, income, age, gender, race, pre-existing condition or wealth. This means that as long as you are a citizen where universal health care is being practiced then you are eligible for universal health care.

A single payer health care system is a single public agency which takes the responsibility for health care financing for all the residents. This means that all residents are all covered under healthcare under one insurance company. Through the single payer healthcare, people can get the access to necessary services such as prescription medicine, doctors, long-term care, hospitals, vision care, and dentist. Also, individuals are also able to choose the place to receive care.

The single payer healthcare is believed to address numbers of healthcare problem in the U.S. Single payer healthcare is also known as universal health coverage will be a great progress to provide healthcare equality especially for underinsured and uninsured Americans. The possible overall wasteful and expenses spending would be better controlled by lower administrative cost and cost control. In addition, this healthcare system is also believed to have more incentive to health care spending compared to public health measures. Single-payer health care system is also called “Medicare for all”.

Under this type of health care plan, a single public or quasi-public agency will be tasked with the financing of health care while the delivery of care remains largely in the private hands. If this type of health care system is implemented in the United States, every resident would be covered for all medically necessary services such as doctor’s visit, preventive treatment, hospital, mental health, long-term care, dental care, reproductive health care, prescription drug, vision and medical supply costs.

Should this be implemented; the today’s inefficient system which only rich can afford will be replaced by public savings, premiums will disappear and over 95% of entire US households would save money. Financial barriers such as co-pays and deductibles would no longer stop patients from receiving quality health care.

Equal Access To Health Care

The main advantage of this type of health care is it gives people that can’t afford health care the services they need. This health care system allows basic health are services for all citizens and it doesn’t discriminate against anyone. It helps those that aren’t employed or have other difficulties get health care when they need it the most.

This is perhaps the greatest advantage of universal health care, every member of the society that practice this type of health plan can be able to access health care no matter his social status. Since no single human life is greater to another, the poor can be able to receive exactly the type of health care that could only be afforded by rich man under normal circumstances. This type of health care does not discriminate against anyone. It puts all the legal member of the society in the equal pedestal.

Improve Public Health

The entire population spreads around the cost of the health care so everyone can at least get the basic care that they need.

This type of health care will help to improve the health of the general population since every member of the society has an equal access to medical health care. Hence, it will lead to a reduction in the amount of illness suffered by the general population; create healthier people and increased productivity.

Citizens can get free treatments for basic conditions without the fear of not being able to afford them. This can help reduce the spread of infectious diseases and other common health problems that people may ignore if they can’t afford health care.

Less Paperwork


It’s easier with universal health care to have everyone under one system. Doctors can concentrate on patients and not problems with insurance and other factors.

With universal health care in place, doctors and other health care professionals can finally concentrate on treating the patient without worrying themselves with paperwork about the patients’ insurance and other necessary paperwork.

Stop Medical Bankruptcies

Universal health care can put an end to medical bankruptcies. In 2007, about 62% of all United States bankruptcies in one or another were related to medical expenses even for those with health insurance. With universal health care, medical bankruptcy will be a thing of the past leading to a healthier and richer nation.

Encourage Entrepreneurship


Universal health care will encourage entrepreneurship according to the projection made by Kauffman-RAND Institute for Entrepreneurship Public Policy. Most individuals stay away from starting their own business due to fear of losing health care insurance they are enjoying from their current employer. With universal health care in place, self-employment in United State could increase by 2 to 3.5%.

Benefits Businesses

As of 2011, about 59.5% of Americans were enjoying health insurance through their employer in the private sector. The high cost that is associated with paying employee’s health insurance put U.S private businesses in a competitive disadvantage in the international marketplace. Hence with universal healthcare, private businesses can free up the fund use for health insurance for investment in other areas of their business. This could reduce employer labor cost by more than 12%.

Boost Economy

Without a doubt, people work more when they live healthier lives which allow them to contribute as much they can to the nation’s economy. Universal healthcare will raise the standard of living of every individual in the society which will lead to more economic productivity.

Human Right


Universal health care also draws it support from the United Nations Declaration made on Dec.10, 1948 which stated that “everyone has the right to a standard of living proper for the health and well-being of the individual and his family, which includes medical care”. Again in 2005, the United States and World Health Organization members further throw their support for universal health care with the signing of the World Health Assembly resolution 58.33 which said that every member of the society should have access to health care services without facing financial hardship when seeking for health care.


SUPPORT FOR 2ND AMENDMENT & TOUGHER GUN LAWS

                     

Senseless gun violence is happening every single day across America, tragically affecting our communities, our schools, even our children in their own homes. I believe we must work together to enact safe, sensible gun policy that will help reduce gun violence in this country while preserving our constitutional right to bear arms.  I, as your Representative, will oppose any attempt to ban or confiscate lawfully owned firearms from American citizens.



SUPPORT FOR INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE

Minimum wage increases stimulate the economy by increasing consumer spending without adding to state and federal budget deficits. Consumer spending drives 70 percent of the economy, and increasing demand is key for jumpstarting and maintaining production and hiring. A raise in the minimum wage puts money into the pockets of low-income consumers, who immediately spend it at local businesses.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020, would result in wage increases totaling more than $79 billion for roughly 35 million workers in communities across the country. Raising the minimum wage helps strengthen the economy without increasing taxpayer costs.

Six of the top 10 growth occupations projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the next decade are low-wage jobs, including home health aides, customer service representatives, food preparation and service workers, personal and home care aides, retail salespersons, and office clerks. Raising the minimum wage would boost pay scales in these types of jobs, where millions of working men and women now spend their careers.

Raising wages reduces costly employee turnover and increases productivity. When the minimum wage goes up, employers can reap such benefits without being placed at a competitive disadvantage, because all companies in their field are required to do the same.

Research has documented how, especially in low-wage industries, raising wages reduces turnover, because workers who are paid more stay with their current employer longer.

A study of the effect of a wage increase for workers at the San Francisco Airport, for example, found that annual turnover among security screeners plunged from 95 percent to 19 percent after their hourly wage rose from $6.45 to $10 per hour.

This reduced labor market churn yields significant savings for employers by reducing recruitment, re-training, and re-staffing costs, which studies and trade association analyses have found to be significant, even in low-wage sectors.



SUPPORT FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

An educated populace is a cornerstone of a free and equitable nation. As such, I will support/propose legislation to accomplish the following:

Provide funding for college education. In the 21st century, a high school diploma is no longer sufficient to obtain a decent job or compete globally. We must ensure all of our people have the opportunity to attend a public college or university if they choose to do so.

Provide funding for vocational or trade schools. For those who do not wish to attend college, but would rather learn a trade to establish their own business or because it is their passion or wish to do so, they should be afforded that opportunity. This would co-exist with the college plan so that people had a choice for the direction they wanted to go.

Expand education opportunities for under served communities by creating teacher-run online education courses. By creating an expanded online curriculum, students could opt to learn outside of the classroom in fields that they are particularly interested in. By giving incentives to public school teachers to conduct these courses, we could provide novel opportunities to those who do not have the resources for extracurricular programs.

Create new and expanded funding for government-sponsored research or facilities to rekindle the American spirit of discovery and achievement. Our best and brightest should not need to leave the country to participate in scientific research on the very edge of what is possible.


SUPPORT FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

 

Passing comprehensive immigration reform – with a pathway to citizenship – must be at the top of our agenda. Our laws need to catch up with our values and with reality. We aren’t going to deport 11 million undocumented people, the vast majority of whom are working hard, paying taxes, playing by the rules, and contributing to our economy and our community.


SUPPORT FOR WOMEN'S ISSUES

Ensuring equal rights for women both in this country and abroad is essential to the continued development of our nation and well-being of people throughout the world. Despite much progress over the last century, women still do not get paid as much as men for the same jobs, they are too often victims of domestic and sexual violence, and women are not guaranteed equal rights even in our Constitution. Across the world, there are too many places where women are denied the right to vote, mothers are not permitted to work, and girls are barred from the classroom. Here at home, our criminal justice system must do more to end the epidemic of violence against women. As a Member of Congress, I will work hard to ensure that women are provided equality of pay and opportunity.

Our Nation was founded on the concept of Equality. It is shameful that in 2016 women average $0.79 for every dollar earned by their male coworkers.

Whether systemic, by design or by accident, the disparity hits our mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters where it hurts the worst; in their ability to provide for themselves and their families. Regardless of income, education, or race women are left with less money at the end of the month than their male coworkers. This income disparity increases with women of color and with mothers in the work-force.

This inequality can only be addressed with real leadership in Washington, not politicians who chose to put their heads in the sand and ignore the gender pay gap.

I believe that a woman’s right to choose must be kept free from governmental intrusion. For years, this basic freedom has been under consistent attack by anti-choice extremists. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade recognized the rights of a woman to make medical decisions about her own body and has established the basis for subsequent protections of this right. Everyone agrees that we need to work to provide the needed health and support services to minimize the number of unintended pregnancies in this country, but the decision to have an abortion must remain in the hands of a woman in consultation with her doctor, clergy, and family.


SUPPORT FOR THE LGTBQ COMMUNITY

The United States has made remarkable progress on gay rights in a relatively short amount of time, but there is still much work to be done. Every person in the United States should be free from discrimination no matter who they are. In 1964 this country outlawed discrimination based on several factors. That piece of legislation has transformed this country into a nation that affirms the value of people of all colors, genders, and religions. Unfortunately, those protections don’t exist for all people.

Our country still lacks protection for LGBT individuals from discrimination based solely on their gender identity or sexual orientation. Although the Supreme Court has given all citizens equal rights in whom they choose to marry, in many states it is still legal to fire someone or deny them a service for being gay. In the words of Pope Francis, “Congress is called to defend and preserve the dignity of its fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good.” It’s still legal in 29 states to fire someone because of their sexual orientation, and in 33 states it’s legal to fire someone because they are transgender. 

 This is completely unacceptable and I support legislation that affords every American equal rights under the law, such as the Equality Act, which would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other anti-discrimination laws to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. I also support policies that protect students from bullying and reduces suicides. We must institute training programs law enforcement at all levels to adopt policies that ensure fair interactions with people of color and promote compliance with fair policies.


SUPPORT FOR LABOR UNIONS

When you join a union or work for a company that has a collective bargaining agreement, you typically gain increased compensation, better job security, and benefits that come with seniority.

Unionized workers make 30 percent more than their non-union peers, and also have much better health insurance coverage as of 2015, according to Union Plus. Unions benefit from collective bargaining power, which allows them to negotiate higher wages and benefits than individual workers could get alone. Employers can’t afford to lose hundreds or thousands of workers, while one employee is often expendable. Unions are also more equipped to get diverse benefits to cover a broad range of workers, including domestic partner or same-sex benefits.

Overall job stability and security are normally better with unions. A primary purpose of unions is to protect workers from random or unfair termination. Grievance processes ensure union workers have a chance to appeal unfair working conditions, demotions or terminations that violate the collective bargaining agreement, while non-union or at-will contract workers face the potential for termination at any point. Senior or veteran employees have enhanced protection in unions, notes Bankrate. Whereas top-earning senior employees are often the first to go when companies lay off employees, union contracts typically require that more recent hires go first.


SUPPORT FOR JOB GROWTH & THE ECONOMY

I believe in working collaboratively with business, labor and government for economic policies that benefit everyone – not just those at the top of the economic ladder. I will work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents on Capitol Hill to enact policies that can bring meaningful employment for the hard working folks in our district. Helping to create good paying jobs will be a priority of my Congressional office. 


SUPPORT FOR VETERANS

With the tremendous commitment of courage and sacrifice that so many of our brave young men and women make, and have made, to our great country since 9/11 we, as a country, should honor their commitment. To that end, I’m committed to increased pay and benefits for our military personnel who are currently serving and their families.

I also know that the current leadership in Congress has been unable to ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs can appropriately meet the needs of our veterans when they return home. While Congress has easily funded the machinery of war in the last decade, it has not adequately funded the effects of war—caring for the needs of our returning heroes.



SUPPORT FOR FEDERAL SPENDING CONTROL

 

We have a serious problem with spending that must be addressed. Working to balance the budget is key to getting our economy back on its feet and creating good paying middle-class jobs. I will fight for a responsible approach that balances our budget while making investments in the things that will make our country stronger – especially education, new energy technologies, small businesses, and the middle class.


SUPPORT FOR TEACHERS

Rather than blaming our nation’s problems on teachers and stripping their rights to lobby, we should be empowering them with the best tools available. We should be training teachers in their fields—especially emerging science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, as well as history and the arts. With teachers who are fully qualified and fairly compensated, we can create the outstanding workforce we expect, need, and deserve. 


SUPPORT FOR VOTING RIGHTS

 

Since the Supreme Court gutted the VRA in 2013, states and cities have enacted a tidal wave of voter discrimination laws intended to restrict the right to vote for people of color, people with disabilities, students, and others.

Recent court victories turning back a few of these laws have proven that these efforts are widespread, require massive investments of time and money to litigate, and intentionally discriminate against voters of color.  It took years of litigation to strike down intentionally discriminatory laws, meaning countless voters were denied the right to cast ballots in the 2014 mid-term election and in this year’s presidential primary – and there’s no way to get those votes back.

In North Carolina, a court recently found that the state targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision” when it enacted a monster voter discrimination law passed just weeks after Shelby County v. Holder.

In Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit found the state’s voter ID law violates what remains of the VRA because it discriminates against Black and Latino voters. This was the fourth federal court to reach that conclusion.

In Michigan, a federal court overturned a ban on straight-ticket voting saying that it disproportionately targeted African-American voters and would lead to longer lines.

In Wisconsin, a federal judge struck down part of the state’s voting law because it “intentionally discriminates on the basis of race.”

In North Dakota, a federal judge blocked the state’s strict voter ID law as unconstitutional because it placed “substantial and disproportionate burdens” on Native American voters.

In Kansas, a state judge blocked a state administrative rule that would have disqualified the votes of more than 17,000 Kansans who registered without providing proof of citizenship. The judge’s ruling came just days before a primary election.
The arduous process that went into getting these laws struck down was exactly what the VRA was designed to prevent. For every statewide law that can be litigated for years, there are countless city, county, and school board changes to voting districts, precinct locations, and new barriers to registering and voting that will never be litigated in court.

With less than 100 days until the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, bipartisan bills to restore the law continued to languish in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees – and states and jurisdictions once covered by VRA preclearance bullishly passed laws that were once blocked, or would have been blocked before Shelby.

As documented in Warning Signs, rollbacks in voting rights in several swing states once covered by VRA preclearance could determine the outcome of 84 Electoral College votes and control of the Senate. The temptation to shave points off the participation rate of voters of color has proven too great to resist.

Since Shelby, all five of these states – North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia – have engaged in deceptive and sophisticated efforts to disenfranchise voters that will have an impact on the 2016 election.

And in an especially frightening move last month, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that its deployment of election observers would be “severely curtailed” because of Shelby. The federal observer program’s significant role – to detect discrimination and intimidation at the polls – is especially needed given that racially and religiously bigoted rhetoric is flourishing in this election.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act, introduced in both chambers of Congress in June 2015, has bipartisan support in the Senate. The Voting Rights Amendment Act, introduced in the House in February 2015, has bipartisan support as well. With Republicans in control of both chambers during the 114th session of Congress, neither bill has received even a hearing to examine evidence of discrimination. Republican chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees – Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Chuck Grassley of Iowa – are in charge of scheduling hearings, but have chosen not to.

Goodlatte and Grassley both voted to reauthorize the VRA just 10 years ago when the House voted 390-33 and the Senate voted 98-0 to extend the law for an additional 25 years. So did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. President George W. Bush signed the reauthorization in July 2006. In fact, each time the law has been reauthorized, it’s been a Republican president (Nixon, Ford, and Reagan signed reauthorizations before Bush).

This stands in stark contrast to today when most Republican lawmakers don’t just refuse to take legislative action – they refuse to admit voting discrimination exists in the first place. It’s time for Congress to return to its bipartisan tradition of protecting the right to vote for all eligible Americans.


PRISON REFORM

 

  Policymakers face a paradox: Locking up lots of people has contributed to a significant drop in crime that, at least from a political perspective, has helped to “solve” a once-major social problem. But incarceration is overused, expensive, and offensive to democratic values. Simply opening the prisons and releasing many people who have been convicted of crimes, however, would almost certainly return crime rates to intolerably high levels. 

This leaves another course of action: reform that emphasizes individual responsibility and continues to use incarceration as an important policy tool, but that changes the frequency and length of prison stays and vastly improves the circumstances and conditions within prison walls.


SUPPORT FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

There is a growing disconnect between average citizens and elected officials. Part of the blame lies with a campaign finance system that unfairly stacks the deck in favor of the few Americans able to give exceptionally large contributions. Citizens United and other court rulings have obliterated decades of common sense campaign finance laws. Now a handful of wealthy special interests are dominating political funding, often through super-PACs and shadowy nonprofits that conceal donors’ identities from the public.


SUPPORT FOR CORPORATE TAX INCREASE

 

At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, we need a progressive tax system in this country that is based on the ability to pay. It is unacceptable that major corporations have paid nothing in federal income taxes, and that corporate CEOs in this country often enjoy an effective tax rate that is lower than their secretaries.



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