- Government of the people, by the people and for the people
- Health Care
- Energy and Conservation
- Money Management
- Social Justice
- War on Drugs
- Separation of Church and State
- Gun Control
Government of the people, by the people and for the people:
Our political process is broken. The most recent Gallup poll shows 12% of Americans support the way that Congress is doing its job. We cannot have representative government if we continue selling our congressional seats to the highest bidder. Washington is crumbling under the weight of corporate political investment, campaign finance and an army of overpaid lobbyists representing special interests. That is not government of the people. That's rule by the rich. I'm a quality assurance analyst. I'm focused on creating quality process. If we don't fix our process, nothing else really matters. You cannot produce quality results from a broken process. Ours is supposed to be a government of the people. Creating meaningful solutions that are fair and equitable requires diverse representation. ↑
Health care used to be about caring for the sick. Today it's a privatized industry dedicated to profits. Americans pay more in taxes for health care than any other affluent nation on earth and we still cannot provide basic health care for our citizens. We point proudly to some of the finest medical facilities in the world but for the majority of Americans health care is dismally inadequate or completely unavailable
Most nations fund health care through taxes. Americans have come to believe that insurance pays for health care so we are not demanding lower cost health care, we are demanding more insurance. Ironically, insurance has also been blamed for rising health care costs. The Affordable Care Act has increased the number of insured but plans with five or six thousand dollar deductibles continues to make health care unaffordable for millions of Americans. We need to do far more to reduce the cost of health care by addressing predatory drug pricing and excessive health management costs. We need to negotiate aggressively for lower cost. That is the basis of our Veterans health care benefits and Medicare program. ↑
Education used to be about preparing our young people for jobs, careers, and leadership roles. Despite the best efforts of educators, today we have a generation of young people with a trillion dollars in student loan debt who can't get jobs. Social mobility has come to a halt because potential students cannot afford to get an education that will meet their needs. Government, business, and educational institutions need to cooperate on matching education standards to the needs of business and industry; and we need to ensure that students can afford to pay for that education without accruing unreasonable debt. ↑
It was not long ago that a person could graduate from high school and get a job that would support a family. Higher education meant higher earnings. Private industry has clearly demonstrated its unwillingness to invest in long-term growth strategies that will produce jobs for our workers. Our education system needs to link students to jobs that are relevant to today's world.
When I look around my district today, I see college educated couples working two and three jobs to support a family and I see them trying to deal with thousand dollar a month daycare bills. We have created a cost of living that is unattainable for most of our citizens.
Tax payers cannot continue subsidizing obsolete technologies and bailing out bankrupt investment strategies. Rich people need to start paying their own way. Trickle-down economics has clearly failed us with corporations moving trillions of dollars out of our economy into offshore resources. We need to provide incentives to recover that money to invest in American business, restore our infrastructure and give American people the jobs they deserve. ↑
Energy and Conservation:
Our excessive demand for fossil fuels is the number one threat to our environment. Taxpayers should not be spending billions to support corporate profits maintaining obsolete fossil fuel based technologies. Germany will have 100% renewable energy by 2050; and we could have that as well. An American energy policy focused on environmentally friendly technologies is a great way to ensure that we meet the environmental challenge that we see from global warming. Minnesota would greatly benefit from this approach. ↑
The average citizen cannot reasonably invest in or profit from a monetary system that is controlled and manipulated by wealthy interests. Computer trading is clearly not a capital investment for any except a few well-to-do people. For most of us, it is gambling, taking wealth from honest investors and giving it to Wall Street profiteers. Faith in our monetary system is essential to average investors and most of us do not trust that system today. We need to ensure that our financial system will fairly reward all of us. ↑
The judicial branch was created to defend the constitution and protect the rights of citizens from the abuses of government. With the advent of the privatized prison system even what we have called “justice” is becoming a for-profit industry. We are creating a criminal class based on ethnic and racial discrimination to generate those profits. Our legal system is completely overwhelmed by frivolous prosecution, adversarial family law and frivolous tort proceedings. Our legal process is becoming so exceedingly complex that it excludes a majority of Americans from any form of due process or social justice. Our aging prison population is posed to create a serious tax burden resulting from increasing health care costs. ↑
War on Drugs:
There exists no better example of frivolous prosecution than the war on drugs. It is time to end the war. We are not winning and we are suffering enormous casualties. This tax burden is clearly not providing us any relief from this social problem. Those tax dollars should be addressing the social problems that result in alcohol and chemical abuse. ↑
After whistle blowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning revealed the extent of government surveillance of U.S. citizens by the NSA, our Congress has not taken steps to eliminate this activity. This seems unthinkable at a time when citizens need greater privacy protection and not less. Our own Coleen Rowley, former agent of the FBI, has warned about this threat to American liberties. History has demonstrated the threat of governments acting in secrecy in control of civilian populations. We are familiar with agencies like the Russian FSB and the German SS. It is reminiscent of the McCarthyism that existed here in our own country under FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
Today's NSA frightens the public with fears of terrorism. Propagating these fears leads to the sacrifice of our individual freedoms. Our First Amendment right to free speech is far more critical to personal liberty than our Second Amendment right to bear arms. Freedom and liberty cannot survive under a system of government allowed to operate in secrecy. Similarly, citizens need protection from corporate invasion of our privacy as well as lack of corporate attention to computer security. ↑
We are a nation of immigrants, a nation of minorities. Continuing to ignore immigration reform is to deny our heritage. Continuing to discriminate against minorities is to jeopardize our future. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that enacting the Senate immigration reform bill will increase real GDP relative to current law projections by 3.3 percent in 2023 and 5.4 percent in 2033 – an increase of roughly $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in 2033 in today's dollars. A larger labor force; higher productivity and investment; and stronger technology, tourism, hospitality, agriculture, and housing industries are just some of the key ways that immigration reform strengthens the U.S. economy. There is also the enormous cost savings which currently goes toward enforcement efforts. So! What's stopping immigration reform? Wealthy interests promoting protectionist fears to assert their own private interests. ↑
A strong family unit is critical to social stability. Wealth inequality and social welfare policies that aggressively divide families have jeopardized the fundamental family unit. Women and children continue to bear the consequences. Thirty-five percent of single women in my district with children under the age of five are below the poverty line. Women earn seventy-seven cents for every dollar earned by men for the same work. Seven out of ten minimum wage jobs are held by women. This type of economic disparity is largely responsible for the overwhelming level of exploitation and abuse experienced by women. It's not for lack of hard work. Twenty-six percent of America's children are in single-parent homes. Seventy-nine percent of custodial single mothers are gainfully employed. Fifty percent of them work full time. We must recognize the diversity of the family unit. The fastest growing family model is single parent fathers. Ninety-five percent of single parent fathers work. Who's watching the children? ↑
We clearly need leadership willing to address the serious levels of violence in this culture. Violence against women continues at intolerable levels and there is a continued unwillingness to recognize that violence is not bounded by gender. Attacking the cause of violence requires attention to the family structure, early intervention, emphasis upon improving the school environment, and proper education. ↑
Separation of Church and State:
Sound public policy must respect the freedoms and dignity of the individual and must not be infringed upon by principles or beliefs of any religion. We should not prohibit communities of faith from active participation in our political process. I am a Christian and my beliefs compel me to care for the sick, feed the poor, and house the homeless. I naturally look for solutions that promote those objectives There is no proper motive for the state to restrict a couple's right to choose when they have children. Proven public policies for reducing abortion focus on education, contraception and family planning. ↑
We have a new generation of Veterans with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD , not getting the care and respect they have earned. How long will we continue to send our young people off to war for financial interests. The Russians spent 10 years in Afghanistan. The U.S. Spent 10 years there. What's changed? Following Vietnam our military leadership defined clear rules of engagement to prevent extended involvement in counterinsurgency, but our civilian leadership has ignored these sound principles of engagement, sacrificing our young people and mortgaging their future solely for the economic benefit of the wealthy minority. It's time to put an end to declarations of war made by executive order. We can strengthen and preserve our military by avoiding extended military engagements that will never gain the support of the American people.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
It is time to let go of our war time economy and start focusing on building peaceful relationships and cooperation with allies. Diplomacy should be managed by the State Department, not the military. ↑
This is a polarizing issue with no politically correct response. The majority supports legitimate levels of control such as background checks as do I. I support the right to bear arms. The real issue, however, is violence which is facilitated by easy access to high tech weapons. There is growing anxiety about the evolving "police state". The National Defense Authorization Act of 1997 legitimized the use of military force against our own citizens; a dangerous precedent. I strenuously oppose the increasing militarization of our police and distribution of military surplus through the 1033 program. I would move to cancel it. ↑