Jobs and The Economy
Every day that I am in Washington D.C., I will be focused on fostering an environment that allows the Northeast Ohio economy to thrive. The progress that has been made since the beginning of 2017 has been truly remarkable. Unemployment is at an all-time low, wages are rising for the first time since the 1970s, and GDP is finally growing again. This is the strongest economy in a lifetime. Now is the time to expand on our recovery, by focusing on reforms that will carry us into the 21st century:
Since the 1970s, the United States has run an extremely large trade deficit. This is due to the fact that our financial system is the most sophisticated and open in the world, and countries have exploited that openness to their advantage. China, the EU, and others have used our financial system against us to force trade deficits onto our country. Now is the time to re-balance the trade and capital scales by coming together with our trading partners to establish a new global trade regime built on openness, fairness, and equity.
Tax and Regulatory Environment
Over 60% of the net new jobs are created by small businesses in this country. The best thing we can do for our small businesses is provide a competitive tax and regulatory environment that allows them to grow and prosper, thus creating the good paying jobs that our families rely on to thrive. The 2017 tax cuts were a great start. Now we need to continue the thoughtful rollback of the administrative state and allow our businesses to thrive in the 21st century economy.
Access to capital
Access to affordable capital is how we fund our businesses, homes, cars, and investments. We need to reform Dodd-Frank such that capital becomes more accessible to our small businesses and families. This will allow more Americans to make the smart investments that will allow them to build wealth and provide for their families.
Today, we have over 80 federal welfare programs that spend over $1 trillion annually in the fight to alleviate poverty. While well-intentioned, the reality is that the system is too complex and discourages the very behaviors we know ultimately lead people out of poverty — work and family stability. We need to align the incentives inside the system to encourage people to return to productive work as soon as possible and live stable family lives.
Education and The workforce
The biggest threat to the long-term economic strength of our nation is an education system that ranks middle of the pack amongst competitive advanced economies. We are entering an economic environment where the pace of change will continue to accelerate at incredible rates. We need an education system that is as dynamic and flexible as the economy that awaits our children in the 21st century. Providing more local control and choice in our education system is the first step towards a more effective education system.
Greater coordination between industry and education
We need to promote policies that will encourage the private sector to work directly with our local universities, community colleges, and trade schools to ensure that the skills being cultivated are those that are in the highest demand in our regional economy.
Expanding opportunities in the skilled trades through apprenticeships and career and technical education is the right plan for Ohio. High-paying jobs in these critical fields are available throughout the 16th district, and providing more paths into them is essential for our workers.
In order to remain the most innovative economy on the planet, we need to have a workforce equipped with the skills needed for the 21st century economy. Mastery of STEM curriculum is one important step towards ensuring the sustainability of our innovation base.
Access to higher education
While earning a degree from a four-year college is wonderful for many Americans, for others a certificate or associate’s degree is the right path. These alternative programs are more cost-effective and can have a higher return on investment than some four-year colleges. We need to encourage these programs at the federal level while allowing PELL Grants to be used to pay for their cost. This will afford some of our most vulnerable students the opportunity to learn marketable skills and earn their slice of the American Dream.
“10 years from now we will look back on this administration and judge it most for whether or not it established a productive, positive, workable relationship with China. That’s #1.” These words spoken by Sec. of Defense Gen. James Mattis on May 11th of this year help frame the enormous stakes of the trade negotiations that we have embarked upon with our strategic competitor to the East. China is committed to displacing the United States as the global economic leader and implementing a new system that overwhelmingly favors the Chinese economy. We need to act now before it is too late.
Forced technology transfer
In order to conduct business in China, they force our companies to transfer valuable intellectual property that they then use to duplicate our products and undercut our prices. This is happening in every sector of the economy, and works to undermine our workers as they are forced to compete with two hands tied behind their backs.
By manipulating their currency, China has forced the United States to run a massive and persistent bilateral trade deficit. This has resulted in fewer good paying manufacturing jobs right here in Northeast Ohio, and has also increased our debt. We need to continue to push back on China, and prevent them from harming our industrial base.
The brokenness inside of our immigration system is a frustration for every American, as well as those who are patiently waiting in line to come to this country legally. It is time for Congress to act. This will require a real negotiation between both parties, and give and take from everyone. No one person or party will get everything they want, but we should all demand an immigration system that keeps us safe and helps propel our nation forward.
Stop illegal immigration
I support the proposal to construct a physical barrier on our Southern border that stops the flow of illegal immigration. Over 90% of the heroin destroying our community comes directly through our Southern border, and we need to do everything in our power to stop it. Robust investments in border security are essential.
Our brave ICE agents are working every day to keep our communities safe, and they deserve our unwavering support. In 2017, ICE seized over 7,000 pounds of heroin and 2,300 pounds of fentanyl. In addition, they arrested over 800 MS-13 gang members, and another 100,000 criminals that were in our country illegally. ICE serves a vital function in our society, and the Democrats calls to abolish them are completely irresponsible.
Merit-based legal immigration
We should prioritize allowing those into this country who will contribute to both our economic and national security interests.
Legislative solution for DACA
For children who came to this country through no fault of their own, I believe we need to find a permanent legal solution that allows them to stay in the country while they work through the legal immigration system. I am opposed to amnesty or a special pathway, but do believe that they should be able to stay in the country, provided they are obeying our laws, while they work through the legal process
The most dangerous situation in the world is for rogue nations who hate America to develop and possess nuclear weapons capabilities. This is precisely what has been happening in both Iran and North Korea. Great work has been done to begin the process of de-escalation, and I support any and all efforts that prevent these nations or any others who despise America from possessing nuclear weapons.
Our military leaders must always have the vital resources they need to win any conflict. That includes land, air, sea, and cyber capabilities that keep all Americans safe.
The progress made to defeat ISIS has been truly remarkable. Our work is not done though. We need to defeat radical Islamic extremism wherever it exists, and discredit the ideology that allows it to flourish
Our federal spending is completely out of control. We are quickly coming to a point where the interest on our debt and the growth in our entitlement programs will consume more than 75% of the total federal budget. Nothing will more quickly destroy our country than a fiscal crisis that bankrupts our government.
We need to put our social security and Medicare programs on a path towards sustainability so that they survive for generations to come. Both of these critical programs are set to implode by 2030 if we do not make them solvent.
Waste, fraud, & abuse
With the endless number of federal programs, our government is plagued by too many bad actors who fraudulently abuse the system at the expense of the the American taxpayer. We need to more aggressively monitor and act against those who are taking advantage of the system.
While Obamacare has been a complete disaster, the reality is that the Republicans failed when it came their time to deliver an affordable, patient-centered solution. The American people deserve a lasting bipartisan solution that ensures that every American has access to affordable, high-quality healthcare options. The goal of any solution should be to put the patient in the driver’s seat, thus bringing the overall cost of the system down. My priorities are as follows:
Expand Health Savings Accounts
It is always the case that people are most cost conscious when they are spending their own dollars. By allowing families to place pre-tax dollars into health savings accounts, we can put more power in the hands of patients and less in the hands of insurance companies. This will reduce the cost of care for everyone, as consumers will seek value and cost-effectiveness, which will force providers to compete for their business.
Today, even if you want to shop around for the lowest price, it is next to impossible as prices are hidden or unknown by the providers themselves. In order to have a true market-based system, patients must have the tools to find the lowest-cost providers. Price transparency is the right place to start.
Reduce the cost of prescription drugs
The American people have been subsidizing prescription drug costs for the rest of the world for decades. When the same drug can be purchased abroad for ⅓ of the cost, we know we need to change the rules of the game. No American should be forced to pay more for prescription drugs than the citizens of any other country. Allowing medicare to negotiate prices directly would be a good start, as would requiring more transparency on reimbursement rates.
When insurance companies are forced to compete for our business, the American people win. We need to remove the artificial state boundaries, and legalize cheaper plan options by providing more flexibility to the states in designing the plans that best fit their needs.
Equalize tax treatment for individual plans
If you are purchasing a plan through the individual market, you should get the same tax breaks that you would if you purchased insurance through your employer. This is just common sense.
Pre-existing condition coverage
One positive aspect of ObamaCare was the requirement that insurance companies can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. I agree with that provision, and will work to ensure that it remains in place.
Increased funding to school districts
We should commit federal dollars to school districts that allow them to protect their schools in whatever way the local communities deems best. For some, that might be training and arming school officials. For others, that might mean hiring additional school resource officers or buying metal detectors. Whatever the method, Congress needs to provide our local communities with the funds necessary to protect our children from harm.
While we all seem to agree that mental health is at the root of our school violence problem, Congress has failed to commit the necessary dollars and treatment options to help solve this crisis. Now is the time to address this unmet need that continues to plague our community. As a Member of Congress, I will work to ensure that each of our schools has a trained mental health professional on campus
My grandfather was a World War II veteran and I believe America has the most talented and remarkable military on the planet. There is simply never enough we can do as a country to show our support and appreciation to our veterans. They have risked the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution and without these brave men and women, America, the land of the free, would cease to exist. We owe them an unpayable debt of gratitude.
Veteran Affairs Oversight
When elected, I will support all efforts to expand opportunities for our veterans to receive healthcare inside and outside of the VA system. If the VA isn’t working for our veterans, then we need to allow our vets to seek effective care elsewhere.
Today, veterans are 22% more likely to commit suicide or suffer from mental illness. As a member of Congress, I will support continued efforts to expand mental health treatment options to our great veterans.
Education and Workforce
I will work to expand educational opportunities for veterans to ensure they are well-equipped to thrive in our economy once they transition into civilian life.
As the only candidate in this race that has been endorsed by Ohio Right to Life, I believe that life begins at conception and that all efforts must be made to protect the lives of the unborn. God’s greatest gift to this world is the life of a child, and I will work alongside anyone who is committed to the cause of life.
The right to bear arms is one of our Constitutional rights as citizens of this country. As such, we must constantly work to preserve this right for future generations. I firmly support the Second Amendment, and will be a defender against those who seek to infringe upon it.