Joe on the Issues

Health Care

I support a single payer healthcare system. In the United States, what we call a healthcare system is actually a for-profit healthcare market which gives you access only if you can pay for it. Things must change. The details of how we reach a single payer system are yet to be worked out, but the goal is to make sure every American has access to healthcare that does not financially destroy them. I and millions of other Americans know through personal experience that even working people with “good” insurance can no longer afford healthcare. When Americans cannot afford the costs of staying healthy and getting treatment when we get sick, our country feels it in our economy. We understand all too well that we MUST change the current healthcare model.

Education

I support America’s public schools and will do everything I can to strengthen and invigorate them. This means paying teachers like the professionals that they are, no longer diverting public funds to support voucher programs for private schools, and making sure poor and rural schools have high speed internet and other education infrastructure necessary for those children to compete with their peers from more affluent communities. We must prohibit federal funding of any private schools that do not provide special education services or otherwise discriminate against peoples’ civil rights. The vast majority of Americans have attended public schools and so do most of their children. Cutting federal funds from public education to support the private education of a tiny fraction of students is unconscionable and must be stopped.

Reproductive Rights

I trust women to make their own choices based on what they believe is best for them. I will always protect the right of women to govern their bodies.

Immigration

We live in a dangerous world. America must maintain an open door policy, not an open border policy. Our nation requires immigration to support the current and future job markets. Immigrants bring innovation and a greater understanding of the world we share. While our immigration laws require review and updating, there are things we can do today. That is why I fully support DACA - because Dreamers ARE Americans in every way that matters. They contribute nearly $1 billion in GDP to the American economy and represent the beacon of hope we shine to the rest of the world. We can do better.

The Opioid Crisis

We need long term recovery programs that allow addicted brains to normalize before the victims of opioid abuse return home. Addiction recidivism rates are way too high and funding must be provided to states to support these programs. This issue is one of the single greatest threats to our communities, our neighbors, and our families. Financing this effort must come from a combination of both federal and state dollars because Indiana cannot fight this battle by ourselves. State and local law enforcement agencies must be given the resources necessary to respond to the impact of the  opioid epidemic on our communities including establishment of drug courts. The pharmaceutical companies who have made massive profits creating this crisis should be made to help pay for the harm they’ve done to our citizens. An FDA monitoring program must be put in place to protect communities from unencumbered dosing of our people.

Tax Reform

I support repeal of Fair Tax and Jobs Act that has turned out to benefit primarily the top 1%. I also support making the middle-class tax cuts permanent. Congress should eliminate the Carried Interest Deduction which lets many private equity and hedge fund financiers pay the lower capital gains tax rate on much of their income, instead of the higher income tax rate paid by wage-earners. Large employers who pay less than a living wage should pay a tax penalty equal to the government assistance benefits paid to their employees such as food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance. I would also support  closing tax loopholes which provide large employers like Amazon, Apple and many others escape from paying any federal taxes at all.

Social Security

Social Security is not an Entitlement program. Americans pay into this fund at a standard rate of 6.2% of their earnings with employers paying an additional 6.2%. There are several actions Congress can take today to pay back the money they’ve taken from the fund and secure its existence for future generations.

1. Congress can eliminate the Social Security cap on taxable income. This cap prevents income over $127,200 from being subject to the Social Security tax and provides a huge tax savings to those with much higher incomes

2. Congress should eliminate the Carried Interest Deduction which lets many wealthy private equity and hedge fund financiers pay the lower capital gains tax rate on their incomes, instead of paying the higher income tax rate paid by regular wage-earners. Removing this loophole would subject billions of income dollars to the Social Security tax. In addition, any tax dollars gained from repatriating dark money from overseas also should subject to the tax.

3. Congress must protect SS by making it unlawful for any future Congress to “borrow” from the fund.  We must return Social Security to its original designation as a national trust and lock Congress out of it permanently.

Student Loans

I would advocate for a college tuition program tying the interest rates for all educational loans to that of the prime rate of the Federal Reserve plus 0.5% capping the maximum loan rate at 2%. I would also allow for college grads to consolidate their loans I would also support debt forgiveness programs that call for 5 years of service in areas of the country that have a shortage of teachers, health care providers and other important professions.

Gun Safety

Man enough to be a Mom! I’m proud of my role as the Tippecanoe county Moms Demand Action Red Flag leader. Indiana was among the first states in the nation to impose Red Flag laws and background checks. These laws were passed under a republican led state government and credited with saving 5000 lives. We must also have national enhanced background checks, support funding for elevated school security systems in our local schools and allow the Centers for Disease Control to conduct research on gun violence as a national health issue. Public schools must be able to hire teachers, administrators, and counselors who are trained to identify at risk youth and refer them to appropriate counseling.

Hemp and Cannabis

Yes. We need to remove cannabis from the Schedule 1 list of the Controlled Substances Act in order to allow for medical research and legalize marijuana possession. Our Declaration of Independence was written on hemp and there is no reason why our farmers and  manufacturers should be prevented from growing and processing this versatile and productive crop. We should also purge non-violent marijuana convictions.
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