To make a lasting difference, we must focus on the core issues that are affecting our families, communities and the nation. Working together, side by side, we can make change happen.
“This [Increasing income inequality] is not the type of thing which a democratic society – a capitalist democratic society – can really accept without addressing.”
– Alan Greenspan, June 2005
America is the country where ordinary, hard working citizens and immigrants from all over the world could become millionaires in one generation through their sacrifice, industry and entrepreneurship. While other countries focused on keeping wealth in the hands of a few families, America has always stood for the principal that anyone can get rich if they are willing to work hard and sacrifice. Freedom and the chance for wealth, for a better life for their children, this is what has drawn millions of immigrants to America and continues to make us a destination for the world’s most hard working, talented and innovative people. We are a country that celebrates wealth and does not resent other people’s success, in fact, we celebrate wealth because we believe that we can be wealthy ourselves someday through hard work if we have the drive and the desire. This wealth, created by free individuals through their hard work, has been the engine of our global economic and military leadership and allows us to be a force for freedom and prosperity in the world.
I believe that we have a crisis of income inequality in this country that threatens our ideals, our leadership and the future of the next generation. Let me be clear, the problem with inequality is not that some American’s are rich, in fact that’s terrific and we want more of it. The problem is that the majority of Americans have seen their incomes stagnate in real terms for more than 30 years. Ordinary Americans are not making it. Working families are finding it harder and harder to stay out of poverty, stay in their home and afford quality healthcare and daycare. We cannot have a country with the most innovative, creative and industrious people in the world, that attracts the most talented and hardest working legal immigrants in the world and have more than 50% of our population not making it for decades. This is a symbol that something in America has gone badly wrong. I don’t think that the something is a mystery. For more than 30 years, it has become harder and harder to make it as a small business owner, grassroots entrepreneur, entry-level worker or factory worker in America. We have gone from a culture of upward mobility to a culture of just making it. We have to unleash the potential of the world’s greatest untapped pool of entrepreneurs. We have to have a new wave of small businesses that generate the kind of grassroots economic growth that keeps communities healthy and vital and fuels innovation.
Income inequality matters because it is a sign that something is wrong in America. We can’t continue having more than 50% of the population left behind from our shared prosperity. It threatens the very meaning of what America stands for. Not everyone has to be rich and not everyone is going to put in the hard work necessary to make it, but I refuse to believe that the reason that more than 50% of American’s are seeing income stagnation is because they have done anything wrong or that they are somehow deficient. We are the same country that created the greatest explosion of wealth for ordinary people that the world has ever seen. And we can do it again, if we think differently and pursue policies that re-invigorate the next generation of American entrepreneurs.
America’s economy and military are both far and away the best in the world. Yet we are ranked at the bottom of the industrialized world in terms of the quality of our public education system. Why? We spend as much or more than most other countries, so the reason cannot primarily be a function of funding. The answer must lie in how we spend that money. Other countries spend less and get better results. We need to spend our money differently. Between 20% and 30% of our education dollars go to teacher’s salaries. We spend a lot of money, it doesn’t go to teachers and we don’t get good results. This has to change, not by throwing more money at the problem, and not by putting legislative handcuffs on local communities, but by looking to research and worldwide best practices to identify and foster solutions that work.
Promote alternative licensure programs
- Many communities have local citizens who do not meet licensure requirements but have a breadth of knowledge and expertise which could enrich the classroom
- Promoting alternative certifications will help attract new people to the profession to help deal with the fact that over 50% of our teachers will be eligible for retirement in the next decade.
Increase teacher compensation, incentives, and training opportunities
- Research shows that teachers are the most important component of a quality education
- We must focus on recruitment, retention and fair pay of exceptional teachers
Increase funding to charter schools
- Charter schools provide parents with choice
- They help to foster innovation and allow us to view successful models in action.
- They raise the bar for traditional public schools
“We’ve spent years working to save the bay, but unless we address global warming, it could all be lost,”
-Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.
The Greatest Generation sacrificed in order to make the world better for their children and grandchildren. Will we do the same? Global warming is real and threatens our way of life. I believe that dramatic action must be taken to turn back from the brink, even if short-term sacrifice is required.
Environmental realities present both challenge and opportunity. The country, which is able to lead the world in clean and green technology will benefit disproportionately from the green revolution, which is already under way. We should do everything we can to be that country. Nothing is more vital to our long-term economic prosperity.
- We must work to reduce runoff throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by creating incentives for sustainable agriculture
- Global warming stresses the bay by changing the composition of the bay ecosystem, worsening dead zones and increasing algal blooms. Any Bay conservation effort must include steps to combat global warming.
- We must invest in a smart grid which allows alternative energy from sources like wind and solar to become viable
- Smart grids provide information to consumers so that they can save money while they reduce energy consumption
- Smart grids allow individuals to become energy entrepreneurs by selling their own excess energy generated through wind or solar back into the grid
- Decoupling can change the incentive of utilities from promoting more energy use to promoting less
- Decoupling is a vital component of an effective smart grid
Invest in research of green tech
- Provide incentives for companies and entrepreneurs to invest in green tech, especially in Economic Empowerment Zones
- I believe government should interfere in its citizen’s lives as little as possible.
Pro 2nd Amendment
- Research shows that onerous gun control laws have not been effective in reducing gun violence.
- I believe we are better served by focusing on anti-trafficking laws and other initiatives which target more effectively the means by which criminals obtain their weapons.
- We have a Constitutional right to bear arms. This right is core to our identity as a free people and it needs to be protected.
- I feel strongly that our government should not intervene in this most sensitive and personal decision.
- I support full equality under the law for gays, lesbians and the entire LGBT community.
- I do not believe torture to be consistent with our values and I do not believe that it protects our long term security