- Government of the people, by the people and for the people
- Health Care
- Energy and Conservation
- Money Management
- Social Equity
- 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 poll1 shows 13% of Americans approve the way that Congress is doing its job. We cannot have representative government if we continue selling our congressional seats to the highest bidder. The ideal of a government that serves the people has been crushed under the weight of corporate political investment, campaign finance, and an army of overpaid lobbyists representing special interests. We must return our government to the people.
As a quality assurance analyst, I'm focused on creating quality processes. If we don't fix our process, nothing else really matters.
I will advocate for diverse voices in government, oppose gerrymandering, endorse public funding for elections, and promote collaboration. Only by working together to find solutions can we truly serve the people.
Health care should be about maintaining health and caring for those in need. Today, it's a privatized industry dedicated to profits. Americans pay more for health care than any other affluent nation on earth2 and we still do not provide basic health care for all of our citizens. We can point proudly to some of the finest medical facilities in the world, but for most Americans, access to quality health care is limited or non-existent. It is unconscionable that in the wealthiest country in the world, we still refuse to provide equitable access to quality healthcare for all.
The Affordable Care Act promised freedom for jobs and business opportunities not linked to your health care. What we got was continuing cost escalation and higher premiums. Even popular benefits like coverage for pre-existing conditions, would never be a problem if we had a universal health care system. We need to embrace a system that provides health care to all citizens, and includes dental, vision, and mental health services. Such a system will reduce costs and will operate with minimal overhead in comparison to private insurance. Removing the insurance profit-motive, gives consumers freedom of choice. Increasing transparency creates a more competitive market where decisions will be made by individuals and their doctors based on science and best practices rather than by insurance company profits.
We can save trillions of dollars in health care costs by providing universal health care. This will provide a tremendous source of economic power for our country.
The value of education in the US has regressed to a singular focus on technology, dominated by multi-national conglomerates. The strength of our democracy, health of our communities, and the development of meaningful social policy depends on the diversity of knowledge, critical thinking skills, and problem solving abilities. Education should be viewed as a social investment. We need to rely on scientific research and best practices, by creating quality metrics that correlate to success. We should view education with a social perspective from prenatal to career. K-12 is not sufficient for today’s complex world.
Today, college students' futures have been drowned under trillions of dollars of debt before they even have a chance to participate fully in our economy.5 We need to provide student debt forgiveness in order to ensure our economic health. We need to end the predatory loan practices of for-profit schools. It is vital to our shared future that we provide affordable, equitable access to education for all.
- Average student loan debt borrower for the Class of 2017 came in at $28,288, which is up from the Class of 2016's $27,975
- The average student loan debt per borrower for each and every state and how that figure has changed year-over-year
- The 250 U.S. colleges with the lowest average student loan debt per borrower, plus the 250 U.S. colleges with the highest student loan debt per borrower
- Student loan debt statistics for each and every school in each state6
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. Automation is making it more difficult for low-skilled workers to provide for their families.
When I look around our state today, I see college-educated citizens 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 unsustainable for most of us.
Tax payers cannot continue subsidizing obsolete technologies and bailing out bankrupt investment strategies. Trickle-down economics has clearly failed us with corporations moving trillions of dollars out of our economy into offshore resources. It is time for those who have benefited most to re-invest and help provide a stable economic future.
We need to protect workers and provide them real incentives to ensure our communities prosper. We need to return economic power to workers, who provide the source of economic prosperity. We need to promote worker cooperatives, restore pensions and sick leave benefits, and stop gambling with our shared economic future through privatized and risky retirement accounts.
We need to invest in infrastructure and sustainable energy alternatives that will not only provide stable, living wage jobs, but will benefit all of us.
Finally, we need to start planning for a post-industrial society in which achievement and economic stability are not measured solely through profit, employment, and wages.
Energy and Conservation:
The markets have clearly demonstrated the potential for renewable energy but our government continues to abide by policies that sustain fossil fuels. The rapidly expanding global demand for energy and the impact on climate and the environment, creates a pressing demand for a global energy policy. The United States should be a leader on energy policy and innovation but we are sacrificing our economic advantage by failing to invest in economic development and the maintenance of our own infrastructure.
An American energy policy focused on sustainable technologies and advanced research into energy conservation and distribution will ensure that we successfully face the challenges of global warming. We must return to a healthy and cooperative relationship with our environment.
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. The advent of the privatized prison system has undermined this system. We are creating a criminal class based on ethnic and racial discrimination to generate profits for the incarceration industry. Our legal system is completely overwhelmed by low-level prosecution, adversarial family law, and frivolous tort proceedings. Our legal process is so complex that it excludes a majority of Americans from any form of due process or social justice.
With 5% of the world’s population, the United States has 25% of the world’s prison population. Prison industries provide billions worth of forced labor to multinational conglomerates. Tax payers foot the bill with little benefit to society at large.
We must focus on scientific research and best practices in restorative justice to decrease recidivism. We need to provide opportunities to historically under-served and marginalized communities that allow for equitable access to economic and social stability. We must listen to the diverse voices of community leaders instead of imposing solutions from outside those communities.
War on Drugs:
The misguided “war” on drugs has resulted in little more than the creation of a militarized police force that focuses on the incarceration of low-level drug users that feeds the for-profit prison industry and is waged primarily in communities of color and oppressive poverty, rather than addressing the root causes of this crisis. It is time to end this masquerade. We are not winning and we are suffering enormous casualties. This misguided initiative is clearly not providing us any relief from what is essentially a public health crisis.
The opiod crisis and the increase in exploitative drug pricing demonstrates the contradiction in America’s drug policies. We can not continue to allow prescription drugs to be marketed for profit without any regard for social impact and health consequences.
I support legalization of marijuana along with taxation and regulation as a vital initiative toward ending the war on drugs and creating equitable drug policies.
After whistle blowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning revealed the extent of government surveillance of U.S. citizens by the NSA, Congress has taken no steps to eliminate this activity. Minnesota's own Coleen Rowley, former agent of the FBI, has warned about this assault on American civil liberties.7 History has demonstrated the consequences of governments acting in secrecy to control civilian populations. We must oppose these threats to our freedoms.
The NSA in concert with corporate media, magnifies fears of terrorism from without and within and leads us to the willing sacrifice of our individual freedoms along with excessive spending on militarism and war.. 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. The rash of hacker attacks stealing private data from major data warehouse like Equifax, demonstrates a need for greater scrutiny of our credit markets, and more consumer protections from credit fraud and identity theft. Consumers should not have to pay to protect themselves from the irresponsible use of private data.
We are a nation of immigrants, a nation of diverse cultures. We deny our history by ignoring immigration reform. We jeopardize our future by targeting immigrants and refugees as threats to our life and liberty. Aside from the obvious benefits of expanding our shared cultural experience, immigration reform also includes very real economic benefits. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that enacting the Senate immigration reform bill of 2013 would have increased 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.8 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. Women earn 40% less than men, but still provide 40% of family income.. Beyond the issue of equal pay, women also hold seven out of ten minimum wage jobs. Gender equity demands greater emphasis on the social value of what women do. 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. The fastest growing family model is single parent fathers. Ninety-five percent of single parent fathers work.9 In 1966, the organizers of the National Organization of Women, recognized that equality demanded economic independence for women, requiring a social restructuring that wouldn’t simply create employment opportunity for women but create economic value for the work done by women. Community work and child-rearing would have to be shared more equally by husband, wife, and society. That remains true today more than ever. A broad paid family leave policy10 is a proven policy shift that reduces pay inequity and drives gender equity.
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, economic and social equity, emphasis upon improving the school environment, and education that stresses the importance of healthy community.
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 or if they have children. Safe, accessible birth control options must be a priority.
We have a new generation of Veterans with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD who are 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? 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. That is the responsibility of our congress. 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
The majority of citizens support legitimate control of firearm access such as background checks11, and I endorse that as well. I recognize the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment. The root issue, however, is a culture of violence which is facilitated by easy access to high-capacity military-grade weapons. We need to address both of these core issues to finally break this vicious cycle.
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.
- average student loan debt statistics