Jobs & the Economy
The economy is rapidly changing. Increased technology and automation are changing the skill set needed to compete in today’s job market. As certain jobs become obsolete, we must provide adequate training to equip the workforce with the ability to perform the tasks necessary to move America forward and grow the economy. We must be prepared to staff the jobs of tomorrow. During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt established massive jobs initiatives that enabled the country to go back to work and end the economic catastrophe created when the stock market crashed in 1929. Roosevelt put in place protections and regulations to ensure it never happened again. We need to invest in a modern WPA/CCC that will revitalize our infrastructure, conserve our natural resources, establish new renewable energy initiatives, and provide access to technology for all our people. We must also strengthen regulation of Wall Street so that we are protected from business practices that place profits over people. Tax payers shouldn’t be subsidizing profitable companies that then turn around and pay little to nothing in taxes at the expense of workers. The government has an important role to play in providing critical services and can be a massive job creator. America has come together and built big things in the past. We can do so again.
Voting is a sacred right for every American citizen. Voter suppression is a brazen attack on our democracy and we must fight against it. A voter registration card should be easily obtainable and be the only identification necessary to vote. We should enact automatic voter registration at the age of eligibility. All voters should be given the opportunity to vote. We cannot allow our government to take us back to poll taxes and literacy tests. Election Day should be a national holiday. No voter should ever have to give up their right to vote because they can’t afford to take off work. Early voting should be expanding not contracting. Also, Democracy does not work if you already know what the outcome of the election will be. That is why we must address partisan and racial Gerrymandering. Nowhere is there a more blatant form of voter suppression than in how we draw our election maps. Political districting should be overseen by truly independent commissions, who base their results on computer generated models that promote fair representation not partisan goals or incumbent protection.
Our very existence on this planet is threatened by policies that amount to blatant ignorance of the facts of climate change. Our EPA secretary is a climate change denier. One of the first things Donald Trump did when he took office was to roll back the clean power plan. Congress, including our current representative rolled back protections that protected our water supply. This very much affects our district. Coal ash contamination has made eating fish from the Catawba River and Lake Wylie inadvisable. Residents with wells near the Allen Steam Plant in Belmont are having to drink bottled water because of high levels of hexavalent chromium, a toxic chemical associated with coal ash. This past year, our Western counties experienced historic wild fires due to drought conditions, droughts that can be linked to climate change. We cannot have a federal government that denies human-caused climate change. The science is settled on the topic. We must take MAJOR steps to ensure future generations have a habitable planet on which to live. We are already seeing signs of permanent changes to our ecosystems. Our very existence is threatened. But, we have the ability to make positive changes to slow or even reverse the damage if we have the political will. Green energy is a jobs producer, whereas the fossil fuel energy sector is shedding jobs at historic rates. We must encourage the use of wind and solar and enable our people to innovate ways to meet our energy needs. The changes we make today can and will produce positive economic impacts that will put folks back to work and fuel a strong economy. We need leaders in Washington with the vision to make the world a healthier, cleaner place.
Providing quality education should be among government’s highest priorities. Our current representative, like our Secretary of Education is a big proponent of school voucher programs, programs that take much needed funds away from public schools and put them in the hands of private institutions. Religious schools receive state money, a clear violation of church/state separation. Public schools need to be strengthened. We need to reaffirm our commitment to educating every child, no matter their circumstances. Every child deserves a chance to succeed. We should reward ground up programs that are successful with financial and logistical support to ensure they continue and grow. We must provide better funding, with an increased focus on paying our teachers a more competitive salary, one which rewards their commitment to our children and provides them the tools they need to help our children succeed. We must also understand that with the emergence of a new economy where automation is transforming how we get things done, we must invest the necessary funds to provide debt-free college in order to have a more educated workforce that can compete in a global economy and benefit our tax base.
Healthcare should be an unalienable right, not a privilege. Our current representative was one of the architects of the disastrous repeal and replace legislation that would have put over 20,000,000 off their health insurance. He helped gather the votes that would have made draconian cuts to Medicaid. Most studies showed that those most negatively affected would have been the sick and the elderly. We should seek to improve the Affordable Care Act, with an eye to transitioning to a universal, single payer option. I will fight to ensure that every American receives quality healthcare. The goal is Medicare for all. No person should ever have to make a healthcare choice about a loved one or themselves based on a monetary concern, nor should those choices bankrupt them.
Protecting the most vulnerable in our society is the cornerstone of government’s responsibility. True democracy requires equality. Minorities in this country have endured great hardships those in the majority have never had to face. Our country needs to reaffirm its belief in equality by strengthening existing discrimination law. We need legislation to restore full voting rights. We need legislation to protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. We must remedy the re-segregation of our schools. We must have courageous representatives who will denounce white supremacy and homophobia without qualification and who will work for liberty and justice for all. At a time when our government is increasingly under the sway of those who would use their power to return us to a time when some were seen as inferior because of things that were beyond their control. Ethnicity, gender identity, country of origin, religion, and sexual orientation should never be used to determine the treatment a person receives at the hands of the government. All Americans deserve full rights and protections under the law. Until this is the case, we have much work to do to make our country a place where all are welcome and encouraged to contribute.
There is no economic freedom or equality for women if they are not in control of their own bodies. I trust women to decide when and if they want to have children. It is a decision that is between the woman, her partner, and her doctor, not a legislator.
We must put into place policies that dramatically decrease the need for abortions without ever restricting the rights of women to have control over their own bodies. Accessible women’s healthcare, including access to contraceptives, as well as education must be readily available to all women.
It is our patriotic duty to pay for the government to provide services that cannot be based on a for-profit model. Government must work for all people and in order to do that, its programs must be fully funded. There is no need for austerity measures in the current economy. By all paying their fair share of taxes we can fund those programs that are most important to people’s lives. Taxes should be simple and based on progressive rates. We cannot trust in a system that expects the wealthy to trickle down their earnings to the lower classes. Fair, progressive tax rates reflect the cost of earning wealth in a free country with ample opportunities to succeed. We can have a lower overall corporate tax rate but eliminate every loophole and subsidy. There should be no more corporate welfare.
Free & Open Internet
The internet has become an essential tool for modern life. Access to data is necessary for things such as banking, education, job seeking, managing medical care and more. We need net neutrality protected and affordable internet service provided for those who are less fortunate. This can be accomplished by providing tax credits or supplementary payments. We must not allow our children to fall behind in their education because of a lack of access to the internet. We need to deliver broadband access in rural areas funded by public-private partnerships and avoid regulation that favors the large conglomerates that provide internet access.
We are in the midst of a kind of warfare we have never seen. With the stroke of a key, state sponsored hackers can take down the electric grid, halt the banking system and shut down computers. The technology gets more sophisticated by the day and we must keep up. We must mobilize forces to combat foreign and domestic operations. We must hold companies responsible for not sufficiently working to protect their clients’ data and we must shore up our defenses in key areas of infrastructure to prevent catastrophic and lasting damage.
The Second Amendment provides the right to bear arms, but some are quick to dismiss the “well-regulated” part. We need common sense gun regulation that enforces current law and adds further safeguards to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Recent polls show 94% of Americans are in favor of background checks for all gun purchases. This needs to happen immediately. The gun show loophole must be closed. We need to encourage responsible gun ownership that comes with safety training. There must be a way that responsible gun owners can continue to own and use their weapons while still maintaining reasonable control on the dissemination of firearms to those who should not have them.
Religious freedom is one of the cornerstones of the Bill of Rights. The founders, in their wisdom, understood that while religion is an incredible force for good, it should neither be restricted, nor imposed on any citizen of this country. I support strong protections for our churches, synagogues and mosques. However, religion should not be used as an excuse to discriminate or allow some to apply their religious tenets upon other. There must be a balance struck between the free exercise of religion and equal protection under the law. When religious expression is used to discriminate, it should be stopped. Every American has the right to worship as they choose, but they also have the right to live as they choose.