ORIGINAL IDEAS FOR EVERYDAY OREGONIANS
The issues in this election are as varied as the people in District 2. Our voices aren’t that different. My abbreviated views on the issues are below. You can choose to read more about any of the issues by clicking the Read More button and feel free to contact me to share your thoughts.
Greg Walden received a ZERO out of a possible 100 rating from the Humane Society Legislative Fund. That score is much worse than a failing. It is simply an “I don’t care” grade.
I asked myself, with all the denials about climate change coming from the GOP, what is a source of data that maybe, just maybe, some of these people would believe. So I went to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jet Propulsion web site https://climate.nasa.gov. You know, NASA, the people who build rockets, sent people to the moon, and are considered some of the brightest people in our country. Here is what they had to say.
On January 17, 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the U.S., a retired five star general, the commander who brought victory to the U.S. and Europe in WWII, warned the nation in his farewell address to beware of what he described as a threat to democratic government. He called it the military industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces. President Eisenhower said “in the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.”
If I had the answer to this crisis, I would be the smartest person on earth. In 2016, 64,000 people died from prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids. That is 20% over 2015 and 100% over 2005. By comparison, there were 40,000 traffic fatalities and 33,000 homicides. Overdose deaths have become so severe, it is lowering the average life expectancy of the population. We already rank 31st in the world. How much lower can we go?
Economics of the 2nd Congressional District
The truth is, as Dylan would sing, the times they are a-changin’. Most of rural Oregon has been left behind in the economic recovery from the great recession. And all the while our congressman, Greg Walden, has been busy supporting the needs and wants of the health care industry, the Telecom industry, and Wall Street banks, rather than doing anything of substance for the 2nd district voters who have sent him to Washington 10 times. Not only has he not helped us, but worse, the bills he has supported and voted on have actually had the potential to do further serious damage to the people of the district. Repealing our health care would have done more than just take our insurance away. We would have lost our rural hospitals and health care clinics. The reductions to government spending would have threatened the employment of 24% of the rural residents. Greg obviously dislikes his own employer, the US government, so much, that he would support bills that jeopardize the people from his own district.
Our children are falling further and further behind the world in academics and it is jeopardizing not only their future but the future of America as well. American manufacturers will tell you they have over 600,000 job openings they cannot fill because they cannot find people with the required skill sets. I personally came out of automotive manufacturing where the automated equipment required math, reading and problems solving skills such that we required over 100 applicants for every position filled. The days of high paying basic manual labor are gone. We must ensure high schools prepare the kids for the real world with skilled trades training for some, and college prep for others. Teachers must be able to teach, not be forced into the role of substitute mom and dad all day.
We are stewards of the planet. As such we need to protect the air, soil and water for both ourselves and for future generations. I will fight like the progressive I am to ensure protection of our environment for us and for our children. When you review Greg Walden’s ratings from environmental organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters (11%), Sierra Club (0%), Defenders of Wildlife (0%), Western Organization of Resources Council (0%), Environment America (0%)…you get the picture…it is hard to understand how Greg Walden claims to be an environmentalist. Greg Walden sides with Trump to gut the EPA while the Timber industry in Oregon continues to spray 2,4-D and Atrazine from helicopters on clear cut sites to retard vegetation growth. If you don’t know what these chemicals are about…Google Agent Orange.
Despite a membership of 5 million out of a total gun ownership population of 100 million, the NRA continues to push for laws such as open carry. Two thirds of Americans, including gun owners are against open carry. The NRA argues against background checks, despite the fact nearly 90% of Americans support this action. The NRA argues against reasonable laws such as removing guns from people deemed mentally unfit or suicidal. In other words the NRA is simply blind to common sense gun ownership that most Americans want and abide by. It is well past the time to tell the NRA, take your nonsense elsewhere. We here in Oregon can manage our own affairs without your help.
The root cause of the health care crisis in America is quite simple. Health care in the U.S. is motivated by profit maximization. While profit maximization is good for CEO pay, the rest of the country is drowning in medical debt. The Kaiser foundation reported that one in five Americans (WITH HEALTH INSURANCE) struggle to pay their medical bills. The United States has an average annual health care cost of $9400 for every person in the country. This figure is 2 ½ times the average of the rest of the western hemisphere countries. It equates to over $3 TRILLION annually.
A rising share of unauthorized immigrants (66%) have lived in the U.S. for at least ten years or longer. This was one of the reasons for President Obama creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program. Data shows the median age of a child arriving with their parents into the U.S. was 6 years old. With these kids here for over ten years, they have grown up, gone to school, thought of themselves as American and made future plans as Americans. The armed services accepts them into the military service. Then we have the heartless audacity to threaten to send them back to a country they have no remembrance or allegiance to? That is more than bigotry. That is meanness. A recent on-line poll showed 80% of Americans are against reversing DACA.
Inequality of Wealth
In 1930, Unites States Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis warned, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. But we can’t have both”. In America today, 10% of the population owns 76% of the wealth. There are seven members of the Walton family, all of whom are on the Forbes list of the 400 richest people in the US., who have a combined wealth of more than 130 million (40%) of the bottom Americans. When the press talks about Oligarchs, perhaps they should pay less attention to Russia and more to what is happening in our own back yard.
The minimum wage today, adjusted for inflation, is 65% of what it was in 1965. The poor just keep getting pushed further and further to the back of the economic bus. Enough is enough.
Trump, with the full support of Greg Walden, championed the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. Corporations got the steak, and individuals got some bread crumbs. The really sad part of that statement is the satisfaction some individuals felt even getting a crumb. People are so used to getting screwed, that they are actually happy with a crumb. Corporations would have a difficult time existing and generating a profit if not for the public infrastructure, now 94% funded by individual tax payers. Corporations need roads, sewers, water, electrical grids, airports, police, fire, security and employees educated at public schools and universities. Shouldn’t they have to pay for this? The answer according to Walden is no. And even more abominable if possible, was the added bonus of allowing Partnerships and S Corps (all of Trump’s business entities) to pass the first 20% of their income as “Business Tax” subject to the 21% rate rather than full personal tax rate. Just reducing the top rate from 39% t 35% was not enough for the top 1%. So they took more.
We made promises to our young men and women that should any harm come to them as a result of their service to country, they will be properly cared for. That promise should be non-negotiable, as far as I am concerned. Before we send a dime to any military contractor, we will set a budget to honor the commitments made to these men and women. That will be MY non-negotiable position as a member of congress.