For too long, Congress has been captured by ideological extremes and the interests of the wealthy and corporate donors who fund the swamp. The following are policies I promise to pursue if elected to Congress.
1. I pledge to work to fix the Affordable Care Act. This means fixing the healthcare exchanges, not allowing backsliding on plan standards like the ban on discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions and protecting the Medicaid Expansion in Ohio. Every American should have access to the healthcare they need, regardless of their income.
2. Americans 55 and older should be able to buy into the Medicare program. I support Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Senate bill which would enact this. It would add younger, healthier people to the Medicare pool and also remove millions of older Americans from the Affordable Care Act health care exchanges. Both insurance pools would benefit. In the House I will author or co-sponsor companion legislation to that of Sen. Brown.
3. Social Security must be protected. This means no privatization, no cuts to benefits across the board and maintaining the current retirement age. I would support eliminating the cap on the Social Security Payroll tax.
4. I pledge to continue to not accept corporate PAC donations. I am not accepting corporate donations in this race, while my opponent rakes in tens of millions for his campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
5. Students and parents struggling to afford post-secondary education need more friends in Washington. I will support legislation like the Bank on Students Emergency Refinancing Act as introduced by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. It would:
a. Allow students to refinance federal or direct loans down from high interest rates to rates offered under the federal program for the 2013-14 school year.
b. Allow students with private loans to refinance them under the federal student loan interest rate.
c.Would be paid for by passing the Buffet Rule, setting a 30 percent income tax rate for Americans earning over $1 million per year.
6. There are questions about how my opponent spends his time. Members of Congress are paid to represent their constituents in the House and provide a variety of constituent services. I will not seek national, partisan leadership posts and I will spend my time on Capitol Hill or in my district.
a. I will hold at least one town hall meeting in each of the twelve counties in the 15th District each year. I will be there in person – no rigged ‘tele-townhalls’ – and these meetings will be fully open to the public.
b. I will work with the media in the 15th to make my district work schedule available. My constituents will know I spend my time in the district and not traveling around the country adding to the partisan mess in Washington.
7. I will seek a seat on the House Agriculture Committee and work to protect USDA rural development programs. The Trump Administration has de-emphasized rural development and Ohio’s 15th District needs a voice in Washington to speak for rural Ohioans. Rural broadband and the new energy economy will be particular policy focuses – both will lead to jobs in the 15th.
8. I will use our congressional office to set up a district-wide working group and clearinghouse for solving the opioid crisis. Our working group will include families, health professionals, law enforcement and the criminal justice community to share what’s working and identify the federal and state resources we can bring to bear on the problem together. Several counties in the 15th are under-resourced and struggling to stay afloat in the rising tide of this crisis. Working together, as a congressional district, we can save more lives.
9. I will work immediately in Washington to support a bill that simply solves the DREAMERs crisis and offers a path to citizenship to people who were brought to the U.S. as children and are productive members of society. More than 80 percent of Americans support such a position, and Congress can solve this. The bill should not be saddled with subjects where there is not broad agreement – this is one problem we can solve.
10. I promise to pay more than lip-service to civility. I will work across the aisle and hold myself and my staff to high standards for truthfulness, transparency and accountability. As a beginning, I will work in Congress to convince leadership – whether it is Democratic or Republican – that the so-called Hastert Rule should be abandoned and bills that have bipartisan support should be considered for votes. The Hastert Rule keeps leaders in Congress pushing policy to ideological extremes – and very little gets done.