Here are my positions on the issues. I also encourage District 3 voters to provide me with insights regarding their needs and concerns as to how I could better serve them as their Representative in Congress. I am willing to listen and discuss what concerns and effects your household so that I can better represent 3rd District voters in Washington DC.
My door will always be open…
As a civil, governed society we need to fund our government through taxes. However, our government must tax citizens and businesses fairly and distribute those funds where they are most needed to help America grow and prosper.
As a self-employed musician I depend on deducting expenses such as depreciation, mileage, office products, etc. to lower my tax burden. As a parent I benefited greatly from deductions for dependents. Home owners are able to deduct expenses like property taxes to lessen their yearly burden and reward home ownership. Tax reforms that were pushed through Congress are threatening the tax relief available to working middle-class families in order to favor the wealthy who have benefited greatly from those who purchase, sell and provide the products that they offer.
I recognize that taxes are a necessity to fund all the services that the government provides from infrastructure to defense to education to space travel. However, these funds are generated from taxing U.S. citizens so it is technically their money that is being spent. The U.S. Government has a duty to spend taxpayer’s money wisely and in ways that will benefit the American people. Our tax dollars should not be spent unfairly nor collected unfairly.
Taxpayers should be taxed fairly and distributing those funds should be done in a fair and just way that best addresses the needs of the majority of American citizens. Private citizens and companies should be taxed fairly and held accountable for paying their fair share- no more- no less.
Here are some more in-depth details about the Democrat’s plan to reform the U.S. Tax Code to benefit ALL Americans- not just the privileged few.
America is a nation founded and built by immigrants. Our culture has been greatly informed by the many elements brought to our shores from all around the world. As our country continues to welcome new faces and cultures we must be sensitive to the fact that we are known as a nation of not only opportunity but safety and security. No good person on this planet should be made to feel unwelcome in the United States of America. We must be fair and empathetic to the issues faced by immigrants coming to America and do our best to welcome them in whatever ways we can.
I- like most other Americans- am descended from immigrants who came to America seeking a better life and new adventures. Today’s world is far more populated, connected and chaotic than when America- and much of the world- was still a vast frontier.
As we benefit from our engagements with other countries and contribute to conflict and instability in other parts of the world we have a moral and ethical responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing haven to academics, professionals, laborers and refugees who seek to come to America seeking a better life or safe haven from conflict.
Locking our borders and using inflammatory rhetoric only serves to isolate America and further inflame those who wish ill against us.
Here are some points regarding my platform on immigration.
In order to be a “super power”, defend our interests and exert influence around the world we must possess a strong military. However, with great power comes great responsibilty. Our military goals must always be for the greater good of all involved.
A strong military helps us to defend our shores from those that would seek to destroy our way of life and take what we have for themselves. It also helps us to exert influence around the globe to be a force for good, justice and peace. With great power also comes great responsibility. We must use our military might with restraint, precision and in the pursuit of justice and peace for ALL people- not just our own.
Defense spending in the US eclipses the spending of the next dozen or so nations. We must learn to spend our precious tax dollars more wisely. For the cost of just one unused jet fighter ($143 million for an F-22 or $135 million for an F-35) we could feed and clothe our needy, educate our citzens, invest in our businesses and infrastructure and so forth- making us stronger as a nation by making our citizens more prosperous and productive.
Employment doesn’t just put food on our table and a roof over our heads- it informs the daily quality of our lives and our potential for growth, opportunity and prosperity. As the wealthiest nation on the planet the potential to succeed and excel should be available to every single American citizen.
We have been recovering from a very serious market collapse which occurred in 2008. A number of industries and institutions failed- leaving our workers and our economy in crisis. Because of strong leadership and a concerted effort to mend and recover from that circumstance America has come back stronger than ever- but not for everyone.
While corporate profits have skyrocketed to historic highs wages have stagnated and remained nearly flat. Income disparity between earners is at historic highs as the richest get richer and the younger generation gets bogged down in student loan debt, low wages and lack of opportunity.
America needs to reshape our economy from the ground up and the top down. Executive pay needs to be moderated while more focus is placed on sharing the success of doing business with the people paid to do the actual work.
We need to pay our workers more as well providing more education, training and opportunity for those that are struggling to find work or aspiring to be more successful. The issue isn’t only in paying a higher minimum wage- people in the middle- skilled workers, middle management, etc. that have not seen their wages rise while the people that they work for have enjoyed exponential growth in their earnings.
A stronger, better paid workforce simply makes America stronger. We must constantly strive to innovate not only for the sake of doing so but to create new opportunities for this generation and the next.
As technologies become obsolete they are replaced with others that require workers with new skill sets. It’s in our best interest to encourage American workers to pursue acquiring new skills while we provide them with the training and opportunity to use them.
Read more about my JOBS platform here.
We must defeat ISIS, al Qaeda, and their affiliates, and prevent other groups from emerging in their place. Democrats will continue to lead a broad coalition of allies and partners to destroy ISIS’ stronghold in Iraq and Syria. We will press those in the region, especially the Gulf countries and local forces on the ground, to carry their weight in prosecuting this fight. We will dismantle the global network of terror, which supplies terrorists with money, arms, and fighters, and stop them from recruiting and inspiring potential radicals. We will improve our intelligence capabilities, with appropriate safeguards here at home, and ensure that the intelligence community and law enforcement is prepared to deal effectively with the threats we face. We will harden our defenses as well as those of our partners against external and homegrown threats. We will secure the homeland, investing more resources to improve mass transit, aviation, infrastructure, and port security. And we will remain a resilient nation, always coming together to stand up to terror. Democrats will seek an updated Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that is more precise about our efforts to defeat ISIS and that does not involve large-scale combat deployment of American troops.
As we prosecute the fight against terrorism, Democrats will repudiate vile tactics that would do us harm. We reject Donald Trump’s vilification of Muslims. It violates the religious freedom that is the bedrock of our country and feeds into ISIS’ nefarious narrative. It also alienates people and countries who are crucial to defeating terrorism; the vast majority of Muslims believe in a future of peace and tolerance. We reject Donald Trump’s suggestion that our military should engage in war crimes, like torturing prisoners
or murdering civilian family members of suspected terrorists. These tactics run counter to American principles, undermine our moral standing, cost innocent lives, and endanger Americans. We also firmly reject Donald Trump’s willingness to mire tens of thousands of our combat troops in another misguided ground war in the Middle East, which would only further embolden ISIS. There is nothing smart or strong about such an approach.
A smart country is a strong country. The greatest strides in humanity have come from having new ideas and making them into reality.
Our strength as a First World Country is greatly due to great thinkers who pursued science, history, philosophy, law, the arts and so forth thus making and re-making the world around us.
Our progress into the Modern Era was solely due to innovation brought about by contemplation and education. Language, Math, the Arts, Science and all other disciplines evolved from simple tribal people over the course of thousands of years.
Ideas were manifested, facts were discovered, technologies were invented and this progress snowballed into the world that we see today. Skyscrapers and spaceships to supercars and smartphones all of these technological advances were the result of generations of thought, discovery and sharing knowledge with others through education.
The quality and availability of primary school education requires constant maintainence and and upgrade. As the world advances so must our schools in order for America to stay competitive. The cost and accessibility to higher education is making going to college a burden as opposed to a boost. We need to offer affordable alternatives for aspiring college students as well as deal with the issue of student debt which financially cripples graduates for many years after earning their college degree.
It is imperative that we- as the most prosperous nation on earth- provide robust education and opportunity for all our children so that they may grow up to not only be self-sufficient but so that they can continue to innovate and continue to make America the land of the best and brightest- a shining beacon of hope for the world.
A healthy America is a strong America. Illness and disease hurt (and kill) millions of Americans every year. This is a burden on individuals and their families and greatly impacts the productivity and prosperity of our country. Whether it’s missed workdays, limited mobility or an inability to work sick, disabled and dying people weaken America.
Committing to making America healthier thus diminishing the need for a variety of profitable products and services will ultimately make us more productive, happy and prosperous.
We need to reform not only the healthcare industry but the way we view living as Americans. We need to proactively improve our habits in order to create a healthier citizenry that is less dependent on medication and medical procedures while also continuing to make innovations in medicine to conquer diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and so forth.
We must provide a means for all Americans to have access to healthcare. In a nation as prosperous as ours no one should die from a preventable disease or circumstance. Illness, disease and injury cost Americans billions of dollars every year that could be better spent on saving and investing in our economy. Access to basic quality healthcare should not be a privilege- it should be a right.
Trade is as old as mankind itself. Peoples providing access to resources that others lack for trade or profit is a basic tenet of Modern civilization.
Our modern way of life is dependent on our trade and interactions with other nations. Maintaining fairness in trade is always a challenge as all parties involved will try to negotiate deals that favor their own countries over their partners.
We must have robust engagement with our trade partners implemented by seasoned and skilled negotiators. Our trade partners must respect our desire for fairness in the pursuit of profit and should expect no less.
We all need a roof over our heads. It’s imperative that we manage how and where we build housing as policy as well as making sure that safe, affordable housing is available to ALL Americans.
We must make sure that home buyers have fair access to mortgage lending as well as receiving tax benefits for home ownership.
We need to work harder to encourage new housing development as well as work with urban, suburban and rural communities to provide safe, affordable housing and well renovate distressed communities to make them better places for people to live, work and play.
BANKING AND FINANCE
We are all dependent on the banking and finance industries to keep our money safe, help us to inexpensively and safely distribute it and give us opportunities to save, invest and borrow.
Businesses grow through sales and investment. But businesses are not just about money- they are also about the people making and selling products and providing services. Without people to provide labor for industry there would be no product or service. Profitable businesses should be held accountable for investing in the people whom they employ by paying fair wages and salaries, providing robust benefits and preventing an epic disparity in pay between the lowest and highest paid employees. Businesses need to be given room to start and grow but also be accountable for creating safe products in a safe manner that does not poison the environment or create a safety hazard.
People need to have trustworthy avenues in order to save, invest and borrow. They need to feel assured that banks and financial institutions are not preying on them or engaging in risky lending and/or investing behavior that puts customers- and America in general- in potential peril.
The United States has been recognized as the leader of the free world for many generations. We earned that distinction not only by domestic exceptionalism by our interactions with the many other nations around the planet. While our economies, resources and exports may differ greatly we are a better, stronger country due to the many, many trade interactions that we have with the rest of the world. This is evident in most every industry known. Whether it is oil, wheat, steel, beef, electronics, cars, clothing are any other of billions of products we make each other’s lives better by sharing our unique products and services with others. While navigating the complexities of profiting from sales in foreign lands can be challenging the end result is most often advantageous to both parties. While it is imperative that we enforce fair trade deals with other countries we must not allow ourselves give in to the temptation to just walk away from the table essentially throwing the baby out with the bath water.
America is built on the foundation of the rule of law. These laws are to be applied with fairness and no bias for or against any particular demographic. Justice should be applied equally to the poor man as well as the rich man.
It’s no secret that justice favors those with money, power and position as well as the straight white male. It’s also no secret that those of color, women, LGBT, non-Christians and so forth have struggled to find justice in America since our humble beginnings.
Our progress has often seemed more like singular events in history than permanent changes in the way our society operates.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
Campaigning for office is time-consuming, requires professional staff and requires copious amounts of promotional efforts from signs to videos to flyers to mailers and beyond.
Most of this stuff costs money and it has to come from somewhere. Unfortunately since wealthy special interests can get a nice Return on Investment by helping candidates that vote in their favor to win elections their influence on policy-making has become unbalanced with the needs of constituents.
The regulators that keep track of and scrutinize political campaigns are charged with policing where election contributions and how they are spent.
However- rulings like “Citizens United” allow entities to contribute enormous amounts of money and resources to campaigns that politicians have become dependent on.
In my Congressional District Blaine Luetkemeyer has received over $500,000 on contributions in 2017 alone.
Government regulation is required to make sure that the products and services that Americans consume are safe. Whether it is standards for manufacturing, drinking water, housing standards or whathaveyou regulations are meant to create a culture of trust in what we buy, where we go, what we eat and drink, etc.
Corporate interests that insist that regulation is hurting their bottom line are often not very concerned about the safety of their customers, neighbors or even employees but instead their bottom line. Unfortunately in our society it is still mandatory that we set and enforce standards for the things that we produce for the safety of all involved.
The Trump Administration has been doing it’s best to roll back regulations meant to protect American citizens to bolster their bottom line. We need to fight back for the safety and well-being of Americans today and in the future. Allowing faulty, unsafe products to be sold or polluting the environment in the process of manufacturing or providing a service hurts people- often permanently. We must not allow these protections to be rolled back only to put Americans in danger.
Agriculture is a major industry in the U.S. and in the 3rd Congressional District. The 13 counties that make up the 3rd District contain hundreds of farms that grow a variety of crops as well as growing and selling livestock.
The American farmer is the backbone of our very existence as they provide the food that we eat, many beverages that we drink as well as products like cotton and lumber.
Farmers are vulnerable to the weather in order to successfully grow and cultivate their crops. Climate change has made growing crops and predicting future yields very difficult. Drought, severe storms and unseasonal temperatures are all contributing to stressing the American farmer and making their lives unstable and unpredictable.
We need to seriously address not only the issue of global warming but also the proper, ethical application of agriculture to make sure that the products that we consume are nurtured and cultivated in a safe, responsible and humane manner.
America- and most every other country on the planet- is extremely dependent on energy to light, heat and cool our homes, cook our food, run our vehicles, power our appliances and so forth. We need to find safer, cleaner and more effective ways to power our country as our population grows, our technology advances and expands and our previous sources and means of providing energy become obsolete.
We must invest in new technologies to address the increasing demand for energy while also making sure that we do our best to develop safe, renewable energy sources in order to power our country more efficiently and minimize or eliminate polluting effects on our environment.
We still use polluting sources like coal, fossil fuels and so forth as our main sources of energy in America but we need to continue to focus on developing technologies such as wind and solar as well as sources that we haven’t even considered yet.
The land that we live on is our greatest resource. What makes America beautiful (and habitable) is our soil and water, flora and fauna and the air that we breathe. It is our responsibility to maintain and nurture the land that we live on so that it is safe, enjoyable and fertile today and for generations to come.
It is morally and ethically wrong and short-sighted to sacrifice our safety and well-being for the sake of profits for a select few. Providing employment to a few people in the name of destroying our natural resources is irresponsible and unconscionable.
We must not only make sure that we continue to regulate industries and enforce the rules but we must continue to improve the way we treat and interact with our natural environment as we are dependent on virtually every aspect from the trees to the bees and butterflies to the crops that we grow to the land that we build on.
Misusing and mistreating our planet is societal suicide. Our current habits of polluting and destroying our natural resources is not sustainable and will become a check that our ancestors may be hard-pressed to cash.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Our modern society is built on technology. Whether it fire, tools, metals, semiconductors or quantum physics each invention and discovery moves us another step toward our future.
In the last 150 years or so we have seen an incredible explosion of new technologies in all sectors such as medicine, aerospace, computers, radio/TV, transportation and so forth.
We must continue to progress not just for the sake of simplifying and enriching our modern lives but also to continue to create new industries and new opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship and so forth.
The advent of widely-accessible broadband internet has not only created new industries but connected people to information in an unprecedented way.
Possessing a robust educational system from the public schools to colleges to trade schools will help us to be smarter and more innovative. I can think of no better investment in our future than creating smarter, higher-skilled individuals to help us to grow as a society.
As a long-time professional content creator and musical artist this issue is of particular interest to me. Where there is creation and innovation there must also protections for those creators to reap the benefits from what they create.
From foreign countries illegally duplicating our products to streaming services illegally or unfairly profiting from content creators work we face a variety of sources that try to steal or unfairly utilize our creations without compensating us for them.
We must not only strengthen and enforce patent laws nationally and internationally but also pressure content providers to pay creators fairly for the content that they profit from.
I grew up in a house where firearms were owned and used. On many occasions we would go to the family farm on weekends and shoot targets or hunt. I was taught to use rifles, shotguns and pistols. It was an exciting challenge to be able to aim a firearm at something and fire accurately. Guns also had an allure like fast cars in that more powerful and military-style weapons seemed “cool”. However, firearm ownership also comes with a great deal of responsibility. Modern guns put the power of life and death in the hands of anyone strong enough to pull a trigger and unfortunately many young children have been killed due to their access to loaded firearms.