What I Stand For
This district is my hometown—my parents live in the house I grew up in a few blocks in one direction, and my brother lives a few blocks in the other direction. It's a mix of suburbs and rural areas, with truly glorious places to enjoy the outdoors. People here have an independent streak - we've voted to elect Republicans and Democrats, usually even in the same election. We've suffered mightily from the opioid crisis—it's hit worse here than in most other places around the country—and our strong work ethic and sense of community have gotten us through a decades-long decline in good middle-class jobs. This corner of northeast Ohio is beautiful, and my family, friends, and neighbors in this district are hard-working, decent people who deserve better than they've gotten from Washington, D.C.
Health care is a human right. In the richest country on Earth, it is inconceivable that people are forced into bankruptcy by simple accidents and forced to extremes like insulin rationing in order to make ends meet. All Americans should be able to count on affordable, available, quality health care.
Further, the COVID crisis has emphasized the reality that access to health care is not only important for individual well-being, but also for our communities’ health. The COVID pandemic also underscores the need to implement solutions that will provide universal affordable access to quality healthcare as quickly as possible—as opposed to years into the future.
In this light, I support protecting and expanding the Affordable Care Act and its provisions protecting the right to insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions, allowing children to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 26, access to health insurance marketplaces, and eliminating out-of-pocket fees for preventive medicine.
Further, in the pursuit of ensuring affordable coverage, I support “public option” insurance in which a government-run health plan would compete with private insurers. Market forces should lead to better prices, better coverage, and better service for all Americans—regardless if they choose public or private insurance.
Finally, we need to get runaway prescription drug costs under control while still providing incentive to researchers to invest in cutting-edge medical research. I support Medicare having the ability to directly negotiate drug prices as well as allowing Medicare to benchmark maximum allowable drug prices in relation to prices paid in other industrialized nations. I support legislation to get generics to market sooner by legislation to eliminate ‘pay-for-delay’ deals.
Jobs & the Economy
I believe in the dignity of work. All work. As such, the minimum wage should be a livable wage.
Where rates of labor union membership are high, wages rise for all in the community. I support the PRO Act and other legislation designed to strengthen the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain.
I support investing in our infrastructure to improve our roads, bridges, and water systems, and ensuring that those investments create good-paying union jobs.
We must invest in education, expanding access to high quality pre-K, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs, vocational training and re-training to ensure our workforce is ready to meet the needs of future enterprise.
Northeast Ohio is an international center of innovation in such fields as biotechnology. We must continue to incentive and foster the entrepreneurial spirit driving next-generation breakthroughs.
Finally, as the COVID pandemic has brought sharp focus to, we must have strong social safety nets to ensure that families facing hard times have a bridge to future prosperity when they are let down by the economy.
The Opioid Epidemic
When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail—in other words, we aren’t going to be able to prosecute our way out of the opioid epidemic that is gutting Northeast Ohio.
We must invest in science-based intervention strategies for prevention, treatment, and recovery support services, including research that advances our understanding of pain and addiction.
Further, we must continue to hold accountable those manufacturers and distributors who have encouraged the opioid crisis to take root in the name of profit and use the recovered damages to fund treatment and recovery programs.
Military Personnel and Veterans
Far from being “losers” and “suckers,” our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have sacrificed to serve our nation and protect our freedom. We have a moral obligation to uphold our promises to them and treat them with the honor they’ve earned.
Among many problems plaguing active duty military ranks, perhaps most shocking to the conscience is the failure of wages for junior enlisted personnel to keep pace with the economy, leaving them, in many cases, reliant on food stamps and other government assistance to make ends meet. We must ensure all service members receive competitive wages. Further, we must invest in adequate housing and modernized schools to ensure the sacrifice borne by military families does not include substandard living situations and education.
Veterans are entitled to via well-funded Veterans Administration services from health care to education to housing assistance and I support reforms to ensure they receive world-class treatment and streamlined claims adjudication.
If we fail to act soon, climate change will damage our economy and leave a difficult and uncertain future for future generations. Climate change is already hurting our community in important ways including damage to agriculture, health, and damage to Lake Erie that can’t be fixed with a few dollars of cleanup efforts.
Further, I believe our military leaders when they tell us that climate change is a national security threat. For example, many naval bases are highly susceptible to sea level rise. Further, climate change will exacerbate conflicts around the world and may lead to mass migrations of people escaping the ensuing conflict, drought, and famine.
As Americans, we have the ability to face and overcome any challenge, and climate change requires our unique American ingenuity, spirit, and can-do attitude. What’s more, we’ve had historic successes using policy––in cooperation with business and markets––to solve major environmental issues. Despite dire warnings that solving these problems would harm the economy, the economy grew as the solutions were implemented. For example, our heavily polluted rivers, dramatized by the Cuyahoga River fire in Cleveland in 1969, were cleaned up through industry’s innovation and federal legislation (Clean Water Act).
Taking on this challenge can actually benefit us. Environment vs. economy is a false choice—the clean energy economy creates jobs in green infrastructure that can’t be shipped overseas and offers an opportunity to reinvigorate Northeast Ohio manufacturing.
Members of the military are used to a country-first mission-oriented focus. As our Congress has become increasingly polarized, it makes sense to turn to the continued service of veterans to renew our focus on Constitution and country rather that politics and partisanship. It is no coincidence that division and dysfunction has peaked in our government as the number of veterans in Congress has reached historic lows.
According to The Lugar Center’s Bipartisan Index, veterans, especially younger ones, score better than other members of Congress on their willingness to work across the aisle.
The incumbent in this office has already proved that reaching across the aisle has little place in his agenda, with a partisan voting record exceptional even in our currently divided era, voting with policy set by the current administration 94% of the time.
I believe in service. Service to country, service to constituents. I will work in line with those values which I have demonstrated throughout my career to serve and protect my country and my district.
I grew up working class in northeast Ohio with my mom, who was a teacher, and my dad who was a welder. I have vivid memories of my family navigating the challenges of economic insecurity - my dad was laid off from General Motors a few years after we moved to Painesville for his job.
American politics and government should work for, by, and with families like mine and people like my parents. But far too often politics and government work only for people who can buy access to decision-makers, or people and companies who can fund public information (or sometimes mis- and dis-information) campaigns to sway political will in their favor, and our current campaign finance laws do nothing to protect our democracy against that corruption of our core principles.
I don’t accept corporate PAC money and support overturning the Citizens United decision. Transparency in campaign finance is absolutely necessary in order to ensure our elections are secure from the influence of foreign nationals, special interests, and deliberate misinformation. I am committed to pursuing meaningful reform as enunciated by the 116th Congress in the For the People Act (H.R. 1).