We’ve never had fewer veterans in Congress in our nation’s history, so it’s not surprising that so few Members of Congress understand veterans’ issues. After the platitudes and kind words of “thank you for your service”, congress is failing veterans like me. While politicians in Washington can disagree on when to go to war, our country must never waver in its promises and support for those that volunteered to defend our nation. There are five things Congress can do to improve how we treat our veterans today
1. Improve the quality of the healthcare at the VA
2. Properly fund the VA
3. Expand educational
opportunities in the GI Bill
4. Assist veterans with employment opportunities
5. Improved funding and care for mental health and suicide prevention
The United States was founded as and has always been a nation of immigrants, and our country thrives off of the diversity of its citizens. While we are all concerned about border security, we cannot use this as an excuse to marginalize what America is and has always stood for. My wife is the byproduct of undocumented immigration and I believe that comprehensive immigration reform is needed in this country and has been for a while. However, an expensive wall is not the way to go about it nor is deporting millions of undocumented people, which imbrues the character of America. Securing the border will be a multilayered approach and involve three components: infrastructure, personnel and technology.
With comprehensive immigration reform follows the question of what to do with the millions of undocumented people already here in the United States. I support a path to citizenship for non-violent undocumented people for a number of reasons. It will bring people out of hiding, for example; they will be able to obtain driver’s licenses and are less likely to flee the scene of an accident, making our roads safer. Additionally, they can begin to start paying taxes for the many who currently do not.
Our representatives in congress must begin to craft smart, effective economic policy that empowers our community’s businesses to compete globally and create good-paying jobs with benefits here in Massachusetts. Instead, congress is standing in the way of economic growth with taxes that hurt small businesses and partisan gridlock. We must work to reduce the tax burden on small businesses and simplify small business tax filing.
The minimum wage should be a living wage and I support an increase in the federal minimum wage. This wage increase should be implemented incrementally and at a pace that allows employers to adapt their business plans over time. I will additionally defend equal pay for equal work and fight any effort to allow wage discrimination against women, minorities or other marginalized communities.
For two centuries, America has been an idea that has lit the world in its pursuit of progressivism and civil liberties and we cannot stop now. Equality is the civil rights fight of our generation. We have taken strides in a positive direction to end marriage discrimination, but there is much more work to be done.
I believe we must expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other anti-discrimination laws to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. I will consistently support legislation that would guarantee LGBT Americans would be treated as equal citizens.
I am a fundamental defender of equal pay and maternity leave for women. It’s 2017 and time for women to earn the same wages as men for the same work, and it’s time to join the rest of the developed world in guaranteeing paid maternity leave. The US military doesn't pay women less than men for doing the same job, and the private sector shouldn’t be allowed to continue these unfair practices either.
I am not a women and I do not believe that I or any other man or person has any place in dictating to women what and how to care for their bodies. I will be a defender on all issues regarding a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.
Teachers are the foundation of our education system and as such they should be treated with dignity and respect. We must encourage our most promising graduates to pursue teaching, and treat them fairly once they join the profession. Teachers should have access to more training and higher pay commensurate with the profession entrusted with future generations. I will additionally work in Congress to ensure our local schools get the resources they need to hire and keep these great teachers, to invest in modern technology, and to reduce the student : teacher ration. We must also continue to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in Massachusetts to have our students prepared to compete on a global scale.
In Congress, I will fight to make college more affordable. Student debt shouldn’t prevent young Americans from saving, investing in their careers, and reaching their potential. Lowering interest rates as well as tuition costs will assist young Americans in starting their professional lives on the right foot. Reducing the burden of student debt on Americans should be a top priority in education reform.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, nearly 2,000 people died in Massachusetts from opioid overdoses in 2016. 1,465 were confirmed to have died via overdose in Massachusetts last year and another 514 deaths were suspected. opioid-related deaths spiked to five a day in 2016. Opioid addiction is tearing families apart in addition to burdening our healthcare and law enforcement professionals.
Until this point, we have treated the opioid crises through a strictly law enforcement lens. Battling the crisis through criminalization alone is a failed tactic as we continue to play catch-up. To effectively combat this crisis I believe we need to invest in a multi layered approach. Moving forward any approach to this issue must contain elements of prevention and treatment to take back our families and communities.
Mainstream scientists are virtually unanimous in the assertion that climate change is a very serious threat to our world and IS due to HUMAN ACTIVITY. Continuing to follow feckless leaders in government will only increase in frequency and intensity winter storms, drought and extreme flooding. Congress must act now to ensure the sustainability of the planet for our future generations. Sadly those in government now are more concerned about protecting the fossil fuel and coal industries. We need members of congress to stand up to these special interests that are padding their coffers at the expense of the planet and stop denying science.
We must transition away from fossil fuels, invest in sustainable, clean energy and lead on the international stage to combat climate change.
HONORING OUR SENIORS
HONORING OUR SENIORS
Social Security is a contract between generations and it must be respected. However, people today are living longer than previous generations and steps must be taken to maintain solvency for the future. Eliminating the payroll tax cap will cover Social Securities funding gap and ensure Social Security is available for future generations.
Current estimates indicate that Medicare funds will be exhausted by 2030 and increasing revenues is simply not enough. We need to work to lower the overall cost of healthcare.