Current Job: U.S. Representative
Top 3 Priorities if Elected:
ECONOMY AND JOBS
There isn't anything more important than putting people back to work. Setting our economy on a sustainable, predictable fiscal path will help us create jobs by restoring certainty for businesses and enabling them to plan for a future without the brinksmanship that has characterized fiscal policy of late. Supporting national policies in this regard is critical, but I'm even more concerned with how that translates right here on the Central Coast. I want to see more travel and tourism jobs which has led me to work on preserving and enhancing the natural beauty of our community. I've advocated for regional investments in transportation so we can move our produce out to market, and our tourists in to visit. And I've protected jobs from leaving our community by keeping our military presence robust and growing. In addition, I have done all I can to improve the ability for our agriculture to expand and innovate, creating jobs for ag researchers, farmworkers, and transport workers. All in all, "Jobs are No. 1" is always foremost in my mind.
Other than income issues, nothing worries people more than concerns about being able to afford health care. There was a lot of angst over passage of the Affordable Care Act but, love it or hate it, at least it was an affirmative attempt to get something done. It'll take time to work out the kinks and maybe not all of it will pass muster with the courts over time. But in the end making sure that everyone can afford basic health insurance is important. For me protecting access to Medicare, to employer-provided health benefits, and to public health clinics is paramount. For years I've worked on getting a new health clinic for our local military families, retirees and veterans. Now that will be a reality: we'll break ground in the coming months for a new, state-of-the-art clinic in Marina (and the $80 million or so it will cost to build will mean jobs for local tradesmen). I am also trying to rectify an injustice done to our local doctors that threatens Medicare services to our senior citizens. Right now Medicare pays our local doctors as if they were practicing in less expensive rural communities rather than in the more expensive communities along the coast line. That creates a disincentive for physicians to locate along the Central Coast and denies seniors access to doctors. That's just wrong. My legislation to fix this has passed several times but keeps getting stuck in the Senate. I remain undeterred – I'll keep working this until it is fixed!
Parents want their kids to get a good education. Schooling at all levels – kindergarten through college – is critical to a well-rounded workforce. Unfortunately, with a tight economy being able to afford school has become harder and harder to do. Elementary public school doesn't "cost" parents insofar as tuition. But federal dollars to the public school system are shrinking and that's causing schools to skimp on sports programs or art or computer equipment. That's not how it should be. Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, two of the basic financial aid packages for post-secondary education are being targeted for cuts this year as Republicans search for ways to cut the budget and in order to save the Defense Department from cuts. I do not support cutting student aid and I think interest rates on student loans ought to be capped. How else will we build a citizenry that can compete in the world market if we don't give them the tools to get educated? This is one issue I will never give up on.