I’m running for Congress to stick up for working people in our district. Corporate profits keep hitting record highs, but the workers who make those profits possible are getting less than they ever have. Tens of thousands of people in this district are trying to feed their families on minimum wage, but the real minimum wage has not gone up since the 1970s. So-called “right to work” laws are destroying workers’ right to organize and fight for better conditions on the job. Congress just voted to slash the tax rate for giant corporations, while at the same time voting to raise taxes on the middle class. It is class warfare, plain and simple, and we need to fight back.
What does that mean? It means supporting the fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage, not just because it will be great for the economy, but because it’s the moral thing to do. If mega-corporations like Wal-Mart can afford to pay their CEO $22.5 million a year, they can pay their workers $15 an hour. These big companies just don’t want to, and they won’t unless we make them.
It means supporting union workers in every industry in our district. It means investing federal money in long-overdue infrastructure projects, like rural broadband and solar energy, that create good-paying jobs here in Pennsylvania. It means getting serious about antitrust laws, which have been bulldozed by a record-setting wave of mergers that have left consumers with little or no choice in everything from their cable company to their insurance company, and left small businesses struggling to compete with massive corporations.
Ask yourself: are you better off financially than you were after the financial crisis of 2008? If the answer is “no,” you are not alone, and you can do something about it at the voting booth.
I believe that healthcare is a human right. In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, there is no reason why we should leave tens of millions of people uninsured, while tens of millions more, including tens of thousands right here in our district, are struggling so hard to afford their health insurance or to pay for the care that their insurance doesn’t cover. That’s why I’m proud to support the fight for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all insurance program. All of us get sick at one point or another, and all of us get old. It’s time we had a simple, easy to understand national health insurance system in place so that we’re all covered. Taking care of each other is a moral decision, and our federal budget needs to reflect our moral priorities.
Medicare-for-all also happens to get better results. Every other country in the developed world has a system like Medicare that covers all of its citizens, young and old. We don’t, and the result is that we pay twice as much per person for healthcare outcomes that are half as good. Medicare is easier for everyone to use, it costs less for every procedure than private insurance, its costs are transparent to the public, and the security it provides encourages people to get cheap preventative care when they need it, rather than waiting until the problem is much worse and much more expensive.
In our district, we also have a special need for help dealing with the opioid crisis. Big pharmaceutical companies have pumped millions of pills into districts like ours, and made sure people went home with many times more than they needed. The result is that people who are sick and vulnerable get hooked, and then turn to harder drugs when the pills run out. Big Pharma has bought the votes of enough members of Congress to keep making it harder to stop the flow of pills, even while they voted to slash the budget for treatment and recovery programs, which are used by thousands of people in our district alone. This problem can be solved, but only if we elect members of Congress who will vote on behalf of the public, not big drug companies.
I will vote to expand public health funding and research. I will invest in our local healthcare systems, especially in our rural communities, where we need more doctors, nurses, and other resources.
Last year, I led a campaign to make sure everyone knew just how disastrous Glenn Thompson’s vote to throw millions of people off their health insurance would be for our communities. This year, I’m taking the fight right to him by running against him. He sold you out, but I will fight at your side.
Education is the single best way to ensure that our children grow up into good citizens with good-paying jobs. I’m the father of two young daughters, and above all else, I’m running for them.
As an educator, I know how vital education is to the future of our district and our country. Right now, our educational system is under attack. Decades of federal policy that takes from the middle class to give breaks to the rich has left communities struggling with poverty, and the K-12 schools have suffered as a result. With public schools struggling, privately-owned charter school companies are set to pounce on your tax dollars. These companies have bought their way into the Department of Education and the halls of Congress, with the goal of using your tax dollars to prop up their profit margins.
If you ask me, our kids’ education shouldn’t be for sale to a private company that gets to pick its students, control what they learn, and refuse to listen to parents and voters. As your Congressman, I will vote to expand federal funding for K-12 schools in our district, especially in the rural communities that need more resources and more teachers. The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough tests or enough standards — we demand more of our kids and their teachers than we ever have. The problem is poverty, and I want to take the fight against poverty to Congress.
Our district is also home to a dozen colleges and universities, including several Penn State campuses. We need a member of Congress who will help the higher education system in our area grow, including community and vocational colleges. We need a member of Congress who will bring federal research money to our universities, encouraging the next generation of scientists and scholars to make breakthroughs in areas like energy, medicine, and technology.