Issues That Matter in the 4th District

 

Climate

I’m a scientist who has studied climate change. I teach this stuff. I know what’s happening here. Our region will continue to get warmer and wetter. Along with this warming, we can expect our seasons to become less predictable in length and intensity. More water might sound good, but in 2019 the rainfall we had prevented our farmers from planting their crops.

We’re done talking about if climate change is happening. Now it’s time to respond.

We need a plan for our communities and small farms to adapt and respond to a changing climate. There are things we can do here at home that will address this worldwide problem and at the same boost our economy. Our elected representative has not brought this opportunity home for us. I have the skills and the background to do that.
Weather, atmosphere, oceans and the Great Lakes are all interconnected with and affected by climate change. But so is our economic welfare. For me, climate and economy are bound together. That’s why I’m working on a plan for our energy and economy that takes advantage of our unique setting in this district.


Energy & Environment

Any sensible national energy policy includes as many sources as possible. Think about it: If you have a retirement plan, you wouldn’t put all your money in just one stock, would you? No! You’d diversify your portfolio. Energy is the same way.
Yes, American energy use right now is based on fossil fuels, but it makes sense to derive our power from other sources such as wind, solar and geothermal. The Fourth District is ripe for further developing an alternative energy infrastructure, which we can use to maintain our quality of life, while helping both the environment and our wallets.
It will take a public-private partnership to extend our alternative energy infrastructure in the Fourth District. But that’s what government is for: to help citizens gain prosperity through stimulating jobs and growing local economies. And then it gets out of the way. Our setting is ready for that.
Michigan can contribute to America’s energy and security future. We can also safeguard the environment. By enacting laws and policies that will grow a new energy infrastructure in the Fourth District, we do our part to protect our environment.


Health Care

Insulin. This is what people talk to me about the most. Medicine costs so much, and Michiganders shouldn’t have to choose between medicine and food. I believe in Universal health care—where every American has access to affordable health care—period.
I favor universal health care over “Medicare for All.” There are some things that work well for many people—like some employer-based insurance plans, insurance co-ops, Affordable Care Act exchanges and, yes, Medicare & Medicaid. Those things shouldn’t be swept away in one fell swoop. Everyone should have access to a quality plan that meets their needs—but it doesn’t have to be the same plan for everyone.


Reproductive Health & Women’s Choice

Rural areas like ours don’t have a lot of options for women’s healthcare needs, such as breast & cervical cancer screening, and access to family planning. This is why I will fight against defunding Planned Parenthood which is one of the only sources for basic well-woman care for hundreds of thousands of Michigan women.
And when it comes to women’s bodily autonomy, I’m a big believer in small government. Women should be empowered when it comes to family planning, and therefore should have access to pregnancy prevention—because we all want healthy, planned pregnancies. My kids were born at home—and in our house there was room for my wife, me, and our midwives. There wasn’t space for the White House and Congress.


Taxes

I’m a Democrat because I believe in the good things that government can do:

-Securing and defending America
-Protecting the environment
-Helping people get the healthcare they need
-Ensuring our kids have access to free, quality education
-Building & maintaining our infrastructure, and
-Caring for our needy

The 2017 Republican tax cuts make it harder to do these things. Our taxes are now going to rich guys and wealthy corporations—not to the citizens that pay them. Dedicating the resources to invest in our people and our nation makes for a strong United States of America.


Education

Wouldn’t it be great for our teachers to have all the paper, crayons and supplies they need for their classes? You know your child’s teacher—that teacher is tireless, dedicated, and underpaid.
Public schools are required to educate all children, regardless of ability. But private schools don’t have that same standard. The current administration wants to take taxpayer money away from our public schools and give it to private, corporate schools that can turn any kid away for any reason—even those with special needs. I will fight against voucher programs that divert public money to private schools. Every child should have a fair shot.
As a college educator, I know that student debt is a big problem. I support a modified version of “free college.” I think every high school graduate should have the option of signing on for two years of public service, like an AmeriCorps program. Upon completion, they could then receive waivers for college tuition.


Guns & Gun Safety

I grew up in Arizona—I learned to shoot before I learned long division. But in high school, I lost a good friend because someone was playing with a gun at a party. I miss my friend Robbie, and I don’t want other kids to be killed like he was. No parent does. That’s why I support sensible reform of our current system.
I support a national background check system that disqualifies a person from owning a gun if:

-They have been convicted of a violent misdemeanor or felony
-They are on a no-fly list
-They have been charged with domestic abuse or violence
-They have documented and untreated mental health issues

Automatic weapons and high-capacity clips are battlefield weapons. Battlefield weapons must stay on the battlefield. They do not belong in our communities. Civilians, including hunters, do not need automatic weapons or high-capacity clips. Same with bump stocks.
School teachers should not be armed. Schools & colleges should be gun-free.


Immigration & Border Security

Of course we all want secure borders. But separating families, locking kids in cages, and profiling & detaining Latino US citizens? That’s not border security.

That’s border insanity. It has got to stop.

The President’s wall is not the solution. Spending billions of dollars and shutting down the government for that wall is flat-out wrong. We deserve an elected official who won’t let thousands of people suffer—at home and at the border—just to stroke a president’s ego. I won’t stand for that.
I spent a lot of my life living right on the US-Mexico border. I understand how it works. A healthy, secure border provides for the controlled, orderly flow of people and commerce across it. That flow of commerce is vital to our nation’s role in a global economy. But we also have a duty to the world to show compassion to those that are most vulnerable—the ones who come to us because they have no home and no hope. That is what it means to be the United States of America.


Agriculture & the Farm Bill

I support the land conservation provisions that have always been in the Farm Bill. Our farmers and ranchers want to be good stewards of their land, and these provisions help. And Congress should support farmers when they face falling commodity prices. We should also support them as they adapt to a changing climate. Instead, we’re forcing them to bear the burden of tariffs, and just wait out the crashing commodities market. We shouldn’t treat our farmers this way. They grow our food.
We should also feed our hungry children. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nourishment for impoverished children, adults with disabilities and needy elderly. Congress ought to make sure they are fed, by continuing to fully fund SNAP.


Michigan’s Great Lakes

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) protects our Great Lakes through research and conservation. We cannot afford to play politics with 21% of our planet’s freshwater. The most important issues to the Great Lakes are:

-Sustainable recreational and commercial use
-Controlling invasive species
-Remediation of biological contaminants and industrial pollution
-Lake system response to climate change

The Great Lakes are the heart and soul of Michigan--we need to be good caretakers.