What is #NEWBlue?
#NewBlue is about standing up for the middle class and reclaiming the American Dream for all of us. It's about enlisting the voices of everyday working Americans to fight for a better future. A future of national civility instead of national cynicism. Of political dialogue instead of political distrust. Of American Unity and Diversity. #NewBlue is about a working American working for working Americans.
I intend to be a representative for everyone in the Texas 24th District, not just the citizens who happen to agree with my beliefs and identify with my party. Part of that is being willing to listen, to discuss, and keep nuance in mind. Below are some thoughts on how I feel about several issues facing us. These are my Conversation Starters, but not the Final Word. That Word can only come from the voice of the 24th.
The American Middle Class
The American middle class is the backbone of this country. We have the power to change politics, and yet we continue to allow politicians and corporations to work against us as they seek to benefit themselves. The American middle class can enact term limits even if Congress won’t. Most importantly, the American middle class deserves a break – a substantial 5% reduction in federal income taxes, a larger deduction for student loans debt and an increase in child care deductions. When we put more money in the pockets of the middle class, the economy soars, and consequently job creation occurs.
I absolutely and completely support term limits. The House should be limited to 6 years, Senate to 12 years. The only way to effectively lessen the amount of money in politics is to limit the amount of time a person can hold office. Fundamentally, the House was never intended to have individuals serve 20 or 30 year appointments. This was because the House was designed to be the voice of the people and not the voice of big money donors and corporations. By creating term limits, we give the House and the Senate back to the people. Adding term limits is the best representation of capitalism. Let the best candidate win, not the most money. Term limits enhance the conversation and lessen the opportunity for corporations to corner a market.
Comprehensive Reproductive Healthcare
I struggle with the issue of abortion just like every American does. While I do not morally support abortion, except for in certain cases such as rape, incest, and when the mother's life is at risk, I understand that access to safe, comprehensive reproductive care is a right guaranteed to women by the Constitution, and I will always be on the side of women's liberty in that fight. Let me be clear that while I will fight for a woman's access to comprehensive reproductive care, I also believe we can work together from all sides on this issue. Like most Americans, I am 100% in favor of reducing the number of abortions in this country, and that takes a three-tiered approach. First, we must make motherhood affordable. Second, we must reform our adoption system so it works better for families. Third, we must prevent unintended pregnancies, and that requires access to health care and education that allows women- and men- to make responsible decisions that result in better outcomes for society.
For too long we've been sold "solutions" for public education that serve only as band-aids for bullet-holes. These include standardized testing/teaching and vouchers. We need to acknowledge that there is as much value in the student who has a genius for machinery as there is for one who can write an academic essay or paint a beautiful picture. Education is not about test scores. Education is not about treating students as defective cogs in a testing machine, deficient numbers to be corrected. A television hero of mine once said that education was the silver bullet. That education was everything. I agree, and I cannot stress enough that you cannot expect to educate children by taking the educators out of the equation and replacing genuine learning with test preparation. You cannot hide corruption and greed behind the mantle of “accountability” or “school reform." If you want to change education in this country for the better, have a real conversation with educators. Be ready to listen, because change is complicated.
Racism in America Today
Racism exists. Our fight against racism is a daily fight. The fight occurs in school buildings, living rooms, and the workplace, with every generation taking yet another step towards the ultimate goal Dr. King dreamed of in the 1960's. Despite all our advances since the days of the Civil Rights Movement, the struggle is still very real, and ignoring it or pretending racism is dead and gone, like it was a toppled foreign government never to return to power, is wrong.
60,000. In just the 24th District, that is the number of Americans who would lose healthcare coverage under the Republican House plan energetically supported by the current representative of the 24th District. This is a staggering fact that needs to be the basis for our conversations on fixing the broken behemoth of the American healthcare system. Most of us would agree that healthcare insurance premiums are too high, that medical care and prescriptions have reached a level of cost that breaks more American families than it heals. President Obama took a massive step toward fixing our healthcare system in his first term. He opened the door. Now a conversation needs to take place, involving all Americans, on how we bring our nation through the door. There is no simple solution to fixing the broken American healthcare system. But there is a simple truth behind the complex arguments over healthcare: more Americans need to be covered. That is a conversation worth having, over and over, until we reach a sensible, practical American solution.
I support it. I'll fight for it. The reason is simple: it is a moral imperative. Beyond that, one needs only to look at the Fourteenth Amendment and realize that Equal Protection under the Law means, or should mean, exactly that.
Immigration into the United States of America can be a long, complicated, and tedious process. It makes sense to take a hard look at the immigration procedures in this country and try and come away with a pathway to citizenship that is more timely and less expensive, for both immigrant and government. Undocumented immigration is a by-product of the kinks in the system, and is not something that can be solved by the building of a wall. Show me a two billion dollar wall, and I'll show you a dozen two hundred dollar tunnels built in response. Let's take a fraction of that money and hire more full time border patrol agents. Let’s work with local and state authorities to offer help where it is needed based on conversation and fact. Finally, let's protect the children who enter this country as undocumented immigrants due to no fault of their own. Those children are raised in America, immersed in American culture, and need a pathway to citizenship that makes sense.