Putting Northern Michigan First
Families need leaders who will put Northern Michigan first. Nobody is singularly focused on delivering economic security to families of Northern Michigan devastated by the Great Recession. That’s what I intend to do in Congress.
Northern Michigan is getting left behind. The economy may be recovering but it is still tough in Northern Michigan. Communities that have lost small manufacturing or production facilities are devastated and have a harder time recovering.
Communities without stable job opportunities get more economically isolated and unstable. As a result, families are unable to make ends meet and our younger citizens look to other areas for opportunities. I will work in Congress to make sure that our kids have the same opportunities to achiece the American Dream right here in Northern Michigan.
This will require a diverse economy where there are sustainable year-round jobs, a living wage and the possibility for growth and advancement. I will bring a “can-do” attitude that puts people before politics; that invests in our strengths, our people and the future. We need to ensure the next 25 years are full of opportunities for Northern Michigan’s local economy.
As I have done my entire professional life, this too is a call to service- a calling to leave things better than we found them, to help build vibrant economic and civic communities that will enable our best and brightest to remain in our area and contribute to the general well-being of our Northern Michigan lifestyle.
Helping Grow Good-Paying Jobs and Michigan Small Businesses
The unemployment rate is hovering around 11.5 percent in Northern Michigan. We need a bold approach to put Northern Michigan back to work. I know that small and medium-sized businesses are the economic engine of Northern Michigan and they create a large portion of our region’s jobs. An important part of our recovery is working to create an environment where Northern Michigan entrepreneurs, innovators, and small businesses can grow and thrive.
In Congress, I’ll work to make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to get access to loans, credit and capital, while eliminating unnecessary regulations that hold these businesses back. I also believe we should raise the minimum wage and will push for this in Congress. People working full-time should not have to live in poverty. That has to change. It doesn’t solve all the problems but it does help.
Northern Michigan is home to some of the most innovative businesses and skilled workers in the world, but too often unfair trade and currency practices – and misguided policies in Washington – put them at a disadvantage. I’ll put people and businesses of Northern Michigan on a fair and level playing field to give Northern Michigan workers the opportunity to compete by cracking down on Chinese and Japanese currency manipulation and opposing unfair trade deals.
Protecting Northern Michigan Seniors
Northern Michigan seniors depend on the promise of Social Security and Medicare. Most seniors have spent their lives working hard, paying in on the guarantee that Social Security and Medicare would be there when they retired. We must keep that promise. I will always protect and preserve Social Security and Medicare for current beneficiaries and future generations. I’ll steadfastly oppose any plans to privatize Social Security and Medicare or plans to turn Medicare into a voucher system, costing seniors thousands more each year and forcing them to negotiate with insurance companies for coverage.
An Economic Agenda for Michigan’s Women
I know that economic security for the middle class in Northern Michigan must include measures which will ensure women are treated fairly in the workplace. Equal treatment in the workplace is not just a women’s issue, it’s a family issue. I strongly support legislation to ensure that women are treated fairly and equally in the workplace, such as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, Title IX and also the expansion of childcare and preschool. I will support all efforts to eliminate obstacles to equal opportunities for women.
Supporting our Veterans and Putting Them Back to Work
As a Vietnam veteran and retired General, I know firsthand the sacrifices that our veterans have made on behalf of this country. We must uphold our promises to the men and women who have served protecting our freedoms. We can never do enough, and we can always do more.
It’s important that every veteran has access to medical and mental health care in a timely fashion through the Department of Veterans Affairs. That includes making sure the VA’s care is accessible to veterans who live in rural areas such as Northern Michigan. We must eliminate the backlog at the VA and get veterans the care that they deserve more quickly. I will support more outreach programs that connect veterans to their healthcare and education benefits.
I also know firsthand that the military skills and training our veterans receive make them uniquely qualified to step into important jobs when they return to civilian life. That’s why I helped develop programs right here in Northern Michigan at Camp Grayling that help train soldiers to become police officers throughout our state. I support expanding programs like this and other incentives like tax credits for companies that hire returning veterans.
Making Sure We Have a World Class Education System
I am committed to a quality education system in Northern Michigan and believe that education is the great equalizer and is a cornerstone for our growing economy and middle class. Northern Michigan’s universities and community colleges should be incubators of innovation, attracting bright people and entrepreneurs from around the state, nation and the world. I support programs that foster cooperation between community colleges and local businesses that train students for technical manufacturing jobs and other positions that demand specific workplace skills. We need to identify the jobs of the future and prepare workers for these opportunities.
I’ll work to make college more affordable and accessible for Michigan families by fighting efforts to trim Pell Grants and other federal aid to students, and by supporting measures that prohibit banks from gouging students who borrow money to pay for college. The federal government should not be making billions in profits off of student loans.
Fixing Health Care for Everyone
I believe we must provide access to affordable, quality healthcare. This means making sure that our families have access to providers, especially in rural areas. Rural hospitals are vital to our health, safety, and welfare. Critical Access hospitals are an essential part of our healthcare safety net.
The affordable Care Act is an imperfect law. There are significant problems that need to be fixed, including making good on President Obama’s promise that people who liked their policies should be able to keep them, and making sure that Northern Michigan families and businesses don’t face big increases in premiums or out-of-pocket costs.
But I don’t believe we should go back to the days when insurance companies could do whatever they wanted, like refusing to cover people with preexisting conditions, dropping people from coverage when they get sick, and charging women more for their coverage. We need to fix the law and strengthen its fundamental purpose.
Defending our Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are our economic lifeblood in Northern Michigan. Preserving and protecting the lakes isn’t just a conservation issue, it’s a vital economic one. They’re at the very core of our way of life and critical to our economy. I’ll work with the necessary partners for immediate action to stop Asian carp from overtaking the lakes and prevent the devastating consequences invasive species have on the ecosystem of our lakes. I’ll also oppose any future efforts to cut funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Project, and I will also oppose drilling in the Great Lakes and diverting any water from the Great Lakes. I will also support legislation that will overhaul the use of the Enbridge pipeline that runs underneath the lakes, specifically, reducing the pressure on the line and stopping the running of any liquid oil products.
As a veteran, a law enforcement officer, and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I’ll always defend the right of Americans to keep and bear arms.
Energy Security for Michigan
As a combat veteran, I know firsthand that energy security is a national interest. We must take measures to become energy independent and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It’s good for our economy and the right thing to do. I support at do-it-all energy policy that advances developing alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and biofuels, while responsibly expanding production of American oil and natural gas.
I’ll also promote energy policies that support our manufacturing base so we can create good-paying jobs that can’t be shipped overseas. In Congress, I will promote products made in Michigan. I feel that all energy sectors should be on equal footing regarding tax breaks, and we should continue to invest in renewable energy source development.
Eliminating Wasteful Spending and Making Government More Accountable
I believe that responsible deficit reduction must begin by ending wasteful government services and spending. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office recently reported that Congress is funding $200 billion in redundant and wasteful programs. That’s not right.
In Congress, I will work with the Democrats and Republicans to stop this wasteful spending by eliminating bureaucracies that provide duplicate services and demanding audits of all government programs to identify which ones work and ending the ones that don’t.
As a fiscal conservative, I will push to ban congressional pay raises until Congress can pass a balanced budget. Additionally, if the federal government shuts down then I would support cutting congressional pay until the crisis ends. I will also support cuts to taxpayer-funded perks enjoyed by Congress.
I will also look to save taxpayer money by leveling subsidies for energy companies and tightening foreign aid to countries that are not cooperative. I will push to have Medicare use its purchasing power to negotiate better prescription drug prices, which would save hundreds of billions of dollars for Medicare and Medicaid.
I do not believe we should be balancing the budget on the backs of middle class families or seniors, as some in Washington have proposed. I will fight those in Washington who are trying to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits or raise taxes on the middle class families.