This campaign is about you. YOU should be represented in Congress. I can do that only if you share with me your concerns and – as importantly – your ideas for solutions. You have the interest and the ability to make Congressional District 1 work better for you, for your neighbors, and for the country. I will help.
I’ve listed below some topics people talk with me about. I’ll explore each, but will prioritize as I hear from you. Until you chime in, it’ll just be my opinions and ideas. That may be good for insomnia but not so much for fun or interest. Take control of the dialogue; let me hear from YOU!
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – In 2010 the Supreme Court stated, in part, “… this Court now concludes that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Now unlimited corporate influence – dark money – drives elections, from the Presidential to the JeffCo School Board. I will help undo this abomination. If that requires amending the Constitution, we need to be very careful. (see Constitutional Convention, below.)
Congress – Congress isn’t broken; it is dysfunctional. Broken would be better; broken would be fixed. Dysfunction works well for the monied interests that fund the national parties and most congressional candidates. Unless membership, and particularly leadership, is changed, Congress will remain dysfunctional. It is part of why I run.
Campaign Finance – My campaign is PAC-free, and more. A foundation of my campaign is that my job will be to represent people, people as in living, breathing human beings, not in the Citizens United sense. PACs, unions, aggregators, political parties, other campaigns, … are not human beings. Only people can elect me. So, I will solicit and will accept contributions only from people.
Constitutional Convention – Activist across the spectrum are toying with the idea of a constitutional convention, as more efficient than individual Amendments. Citizens United can be undone. Equal Rights properly guaranteed. Voting right restored. We must be cautious. A constitutional convention is not issue-limited; the whole constitution is up for grabs. In today’s political climate, we may not want to go there. I think legislation and individual Amendments are more prudent. There is no quick fix, but patience is preferable to catastrophe.
Political Participation – It’s said in a thousand ways. But that doesn’t make it cliche; it’s just true. If WE don’t retake knowledgeable control of our elections and government policies, the vacuum will be filled by someone else. Right now, WE can still take back the reins. Voting isn’t enough. Political involvement needs to become socially acceptable and part of our daily lives.
Wealth Concentration – “The Rich get richer and the Poor get poorer. In the meantime, in between time, ain’t we got fun!” (1921, Egan & Kahn). Fun? Not so much. As the “Rich” gain more control of the political process – in part filling the vacuum WE’ve provided – they are demanding an increasing share of society’s wealth. The imbalance today is dangerous and the trend is ominous. I believe we can, and must, back away from the cliff, instead of plunging over it.
Health Care – We must recognize that each of us, as a human being, has the right to adequate health care, and we all have the corresponding societal and moral obligation to provide it. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not do so, and it is destined to fail. The fatal flaw of the ACA is that it is not about health care, it is about health insurance. A universal obligation to buy health insurance will never achieve universal health care. Insurance is part of the problem, not the solution.
Reproductive Rights – It’s not that difficult. A woman has the sole right to decide whether or not to gestate. If she chooses not to do so, she has the right to legal and competent medical assistance. (I was inappropriately critical of Mark Udall in 2014 of his emphasis on the fragile nature of this right, and the degree to which it is under assault. I won’t make that mistake again.)
Planned Parenthood – The assault on Planned Parenthood is unconscionable. The Congressional fight over federal funding of Planned Parenthood is obscene theater unrelated to what it would mean. De-funding Planned Parenthood will deny basic, sometimes critical, medical care to women who need it. Planned Parenthood is one of the few effective, efficient and nonjudgmental providers of health care to women; in many communities, there are no viable alternatives.
Prison Reform – People in the United States are imprisoned at a criminal rate. Incarceration is the first and easiest choice, not last and most painful choice. The result is a social caste of millions of the hopeless, helpless, homeless, and unemployable. This is a cable with many twisted strands. Each strand needs to be addressed simultaneously to produce meaningful and effective reform:
- Privatization of incarceration must end. If there is profit to be made imprisoning people, there will always be pressure to imprison more.
- People unnecessarily or wrongfully imprisoned must be freed.
- True victims of wrongful imprisonment must have convictions expunged.
- Freed prisoners must not simply be dumped.
- Automatic felony bans for housing, employment, licensing, and access to mainstream society, economy, and education must be eliminated.
Climate Change – It is real. It is now. Its impacts are dire. Congressional attention and government policy need to be directed at climate change now. The era of energy from fossil fuels must end. The US can take the lead by eliminating its carbon footprint. The economy of the US can be leveraged to influence foreign countries to do likewise.
Greenhouse Gases – We can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and we must affect change globally. Commerce can drive the global response. If you want access to US markets, you must have a similarly responsible carbon policy. If you don’t, you will have to pay a carbon tax. There will be no financial incentive to offshore manufacturing outside the US because of lax carbon policies. The cost of carbon will
be paid as part of the cost of production or it will be paid as a tax on the imported product. In this way we address greenhouse gases domestically and abroad.
Energy Policy – We must end subsidies for fossil fuels. Removing government subsidies provides budgetary flexibility to assist communities impacted by the switch away energy from fossil carbon. With no carbon subsides, alternative energy sources are competitive now. Market-driven acceptance of renewable technology obviates our perceived dependence on fossil fuels and secures our future. Job losses from the carbon extraction industries will be offset by jobs in the alternative energy fields and in carbon management. We must look to our future and our children’s future as we implement energy policies today.
Fracking – Hydraulic fracturing is an adaptation of previous technologies to unprecedented scales of operation and an entirely new type of petroleum reservoir. It is not your grandfather’s petroleum play. As with any type of oil and gas extraction, it’s a nasty neighbor – noisy, intrusive, smelly, dangerous, producing and relying upon toxic chemicals, and capable of acute and chronic contamination of land and water. But, what it does to the reservoirs and what that means long term and large scale is not old school. It likely is not good, but at present no one is looking. Until then, we should take advantage of the market-driven pull back and make sure we’re not burning bridges we are going to need, and need soon.