America's crumbling infrastructure and declining manufacturing base have negatively impacted our ability to compete in an increasingly competitive global community. As Republican Leadership pushes for tax cuts for the wealthy, they fail to realize that middle class American have struggled most in this economy.
As your Congressman, I will advocate for federal funds and legislation to rebuild the district's vital infrastructure of sewers, roads, bridges, rail, and waterways to revitalize our transportation and commerce hubs. In particular, I will fight to secure funds for a new Brent-Spence bridge.
I will also create a Jobs Leadership Team that will bring together labor, business, elected officials, and community leaders in order to focus on job creation and reinvestment in American infrastructure.
In real dollars, the median wage for Ohio’s workers has declined over the past 35 years. As the backbone of the worker’s rights revolution that spurred the development of America’s middle class, Labor Unions must remain strong if we are going to strengthen our nation’s communities and boost wages for working families.
The union movement over the last 100 years has benefitted all working people. Health benefits, safe working conditions, the 40 hour work week, and paid vacation time are among the victories that are all thanks to the Labor movement.
Our public education system has been a critical building block of our country and economy. We need to make the necessary investments in our public school system to reduce class size and provide teachers with the resources they need to get America back to the top of world education rankings. Rich or poor, it is in the best interest of our society that all American children receive a stellar education.
College education must be made affordable to those students seeking higher education. Burdening our young people with student loans impacts their ability to accumulate savings, pursue graduate education, and become homeowners.
Additionally, I support investments in vocational training. Skilled blue collar jobs are in high demand, and offer high wage jobs to qualified individuals.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, as of May, 2014, approximately 20 million Americans have received health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The same study found that “the number of uninsured people…has fallen from 18% in the third quarter of 2013 to 13.4% in May 2014.” I believe this is a fantastic achievement for the country.
However, I support making the ACA the best law possible for consumers. Special interests like insurance and pharmaceutical companies were instrumental in writing the law, resulting in a situation where healthcare costs are still too high.
I support measures such as allowing insurance to be sold across state lines and allowing patients to get medications from countries such as Canada, where they are cheaper, so long as safety regulations and American jobs aren’t threatened. This would deliver economical outcomes for consumers and broaden the umbrella of the ACA to reach more Americans.
As a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, the current rate of 22 veteran suicides per day is something that saddens me greatly. Our veterans have worked hard and risked their lives for this country, and deserve our utmost gratitude.
We must improve benefits and healthcare for veterans, especially in terms of accessible, affordable mental healthcare. Educational programs that assist in the transition from military to civilian life are a necessity as well. Our veterans must be as well trained and well cared for in civilian life as they were for their military service.
I am proud the VA funding bill has recently passed, however, I believe those who have routinely voted against funding veterans’ healthcare and services in the past need to be held accountable.
Our seniors have paid in to Social Security and Medicare for their entire working lives, and the federal government has an obligation to honor its promises. Many of Ohio's seniors depend on these programs for their livelihood.
I pledge to protect our seniors from privatization, an increased retirement age, and proposals to switch Social Security to the Chained CPI, which would reduce benefits for retirees.
The destructive cycle of poverty unfairly burdens hardworking citizens. I will ensure that programs like food stamps, Medicare, and vocational training are well funded so that Ohioans have the opportunity to create better lives for themselves.
Part of the reason so many Americans are forced to depend on these programs is that some of our largest corporations fail to pay their workers a living wage. A 2013 study by Labor Economist Arindrajit Dube noted: "when adjusted for inflation, the real minimum wage has fallen from a high of $10.60 in 1968 to $7.25 in today's dollars."
Further, Dube's study found that raising the minimum wage would bring five million Americans out of poverty; which would decrease the financial burden on our social programs, raise incentives to work, and improve the livelihood of our friends and neighbors.
Many of those who would benefit are women: According to the National Women's Law Center, raising the minimum wage would boost earnings for 28 million Americans, 55 percent of whom are women.
The recent boom in shale oil and gas development has been an unquestioned boon to America's economy. Traditionally poorer areas of the country such as the Dakotas and Eastern Ohio have low unemployment rates and are creating high wage jobs. In addition, increased domestic energy production has greatly reduced our reliance on foreign oil.
Climate change, however, is a real threat to our globe, and I believe the ultimate goal must be to develop economically viable sources of renewable energy. We must make the necessary investments via tax incentives and research and development to build a cleaner future.
I support a more restrained American role in foreign conflicts. This includes a strong foreign policy that enhances our national security and improves our standing in the global community. As an Air Force combat veteran, I know military action is sometimes an unavoidable part of protecting our national security, but should only be used as a last resort.
On the issue of privacy laws, there must be an ethical and legal balance between keeping our country safe and invading the privacy of law-abiding citizens. Any program involving the monitoring of phone calls or internet activity should pass intense scrutiny and have a clear objective of preventing a terrorist attack.
Comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue. The following steps should be taken to overhaul our broken immigration system: secure the border, create a roadmap to citizenship, increase the supply of H-1B visas (which are for skilled workers), and punish employers who exploit undocumented workers.
Doing so would encourage people to come to the United States through the proper channels, increase our human capital base, allow for the collection of unpaid taxes, extend health and safety regulations to a greater number of workers, and stop the “race to the bottom” that lowers wages for American workers.