The Do List

Forward

The Do List

I believe our nation has all the resources needed to revitalize our communities, provide hope to our children for a better future, and to usher in a government that can again work for the people.

We have the ability to replace high-paying jobs lost through automation, off-shoring, and monopolistic corporate concentration through truly reinvesting in our country.

We can come together to see through repairing and providing for 21st-century infrastructure. From bridges to main streets and renewable-based smart energy grids, to advanced communication pathway. We can do this while providing a return of skilled living and prevailing-wage jobs.

We can improve the health of all people through pro-active community health and nutrition models and by ensuring that all people are covered by networks of the most advanced providers and facilities in the world.

We can provide the resources and autonomy needed for our educators to assist us in fostering the most skilled and empowered youth in the world, and through a system that’s teacher, not legislator-driven. We also must increase the compensation of these valuable teachers.

We can ensure that our nation continues to attract some of the brightest and hardest-working individuals from around the world, embrace avenues to keep them here as vital contributors to our economy and culture, and welcome those in need at a time when they need it most.

We can break down the barriers of ignorance and ensure that all people regardless of gender, race, orientation and ethnicity, are provided equal opportunities. Regardless of nationality, we must affirm all of the civil rights that our Bill of Rights provides.

We can ensure that we put our soldiers in harm’s way only in the protection of our nation, not to further destabilize the world or strive for short-sighted economic expansion. And we can compensate them and their families accordingly, including the post-service support they deserve.

We can do these things if we make the challenging but necessary decision to come together as neighbors and communities. To find common ground, not in the status quo that continues to transfer the wealth of our families and communities from the bottom to the top, but in the vision for progress that returns wealth and power to the people. If, collectively, we reject sensationalist media which is in business to keep us divided, we can affirm our similarities rather than differences.

We as a nation must demand that our legislators remain committed to representing people over profits and communities over corporations. We can do this if we understand that as a sovereign-currency nation we will never fall short of funding this progress and that our greatest failure will be the mires of ignorance and inaction. We can do this if we demand increased transparency, dialogue, and accountability at all levels of our representation. If each of us agrees to step up and do our part, serve our time to be the politic.

I commit to you to act on these visions with all that I have. To work hard, remain transparent and engaged, and above the corruption of wealth and power. If we go forth boldly together, we will indeed be the change our families, communities, and nation need. Now is the time to throw off the constraints that have divided and disempowered our citizenry.

Now is the moment, the time to rise as one.

We will not sit.

We will not be silent.

We will stand together as one community, one nation, one people.

Congress

Cleaning up Congress

I believe Congress is out of touch with the majority of our Country. Too many of our elected officials are corrupted by a system focused on raising money, serving special interests, and moving up the political chain. A ‘political aisle’ has been created to keep us divided and distracted while the wealth continues to concentrate in the hands of the controlling few.

I believe that politicians too often become disconnected from roots in hard work that’s grounded in the reality of small towns to inner cities where the majority of Americans are stretched thin and provided little inspiration that the ship can be righted. I pledge to you to be the change. To be funded by people not corporations or shadow donors throughout this campaign and more critically once in Washington. To genuinely listen, remain transparent, and stand up for the rights of all people regardless of party lines.  I will work to limit the control of special interests of our government through pushing for election reform, strengthening of voting rights, and improving the communications between legislators and the people they serve. I will do all that I can to remain above the corruption of money and power, rooted in hard work and integrity. Together we will be the change that our families, communities, and Country so badly needs right now.

 

Here’s the Clean-Up Plan:

A. Returning Control to the People

1.  Support legislation to move toward public funding of Federal elections and increased enforcement of campaign finance rules.

2. Support legislation to close the revolving door of Representatives to lobbyists.

3. Propose mandatory disclosure of all tax returns of the President, all members of Congress and Presidential Cabinets at least six months prior to any Federal general election and annually thereafter

B. Strengthening Voting Rights Through:

1. Restoration of full protections of Voting Rights Act.

2. Automatic voter registration.

3. Implementation of Ranked-Choice Voting.

4. Authorization of judge-controlled impartial voter district lines and ending of political party and special interest gerrymandering.

5. Making, Election Day, a national holiday.

C.  Improving Communication Between Representatives and the People They Serve

1. Develop a platform for all registered voters to provide feedback on legislation being considered in Congress.

2. Consideration for tele-conferencing with the capital to insure that officials remain connected and representative of the communities that they serve.

3. Suggestions from the people on how we can improve communication and insure that representation is of constituents.

Economies

Rebuilding Economies

Built on hard work, honest labor, and innovation, we are a network of shop keepers, farmers, construction workers, teachers, engineers, innovators.

Despite decades of government policy that has stacked the deck against working men and women, we’ve remained committed to supporting our neighbors and building our communities. We’ve seen small businesses lost to national corporations, careers that support families replaced by low wage jobs, making it impossible to get ahead, all while the wealth continues the shift to the top. In an age of automation, off-shoring, and short-sighted trade deals, we need a new economy strengthened from the ground up. I commit to work tirelessly on solutions that strengthen our foundations and build local economies that are sustainable into the future.

 

Here’s a framework for how we will do it:

A. Supporting and/or Proposing Legislation to Improve the Infrastructure Needed to Advance Regional Economies

1. Transport infrastructure from bridges to highways and with consideration for rapidly approaching technology including autonomous driving vehicles.

2. Community infrastructure such as water supply and treatment.

3. Resource infrastructure through projects such as the Southern Tier Network which seeks to expand fiber optic networks and community broadband.

4. Incentivize / prioritize integration of renewables in projects, relegating fossil-fuel sources to stabilizing rather than expanding.

a. Incentivize actuating these grids and keeping profits local through extending dedicated support for Solar Investment Tax Credits and net-metering.

5. Increased support to entities working through solutions to hurdles such as multi-phase grids, energy storage solutions, and mechanisms to reduce excessive consumption.

a. Support of programs such as ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy) which provides funds for energy researchers to bring emerging energy technologies to market.

i. Support with funding from institution of a Carbon Tax.

6. Consideration of locally generated and municipally-owned energy and micro-grids to keep energy investment local and output consistent.

B. Investing and Innovating Regional Economies Built for 2040

1. Incentives to assist locally-owned and operated manufacturers and start ups.

a. Incentivize manufacturers to locate or return to the US.

i. Allowance of US companies to bring overseas profits back at reduced rates if investing a significant portion into expanding local payrolls and increasing physical capacity and infrastructure.

b. Tax incentives to locally-owned start ups.

c. Grant provisions for businesses agreeing to Living Wage standards, both existing and new businesses wishing to increase wages if below profit thresholds.

d. Grant provisions for the stabilization and renovation of downtown buildings, both commercial and residential, favoring historic architecture and design where possible and through proven pathways such as Historic Tax Credits.

e. Increase funding to the Manufacturing Extension Project.

i. Supporting this nationwide network that’s proven effective in assisting manufacturers in creating and retaining jobs, increasing profits, and becoming more efficient.

A. Currently centers in network are located in Buffalo and Binghamton but it would be great to add a supported network location in D23.

2. Creation of District Planners tasked with facilitating business planning, negotiating startup and ongoing regulations, and access to funding pathways such as Microenterprise loans, and organizations such as the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development and Southern Tier Central.

3. Increased support for the Federal funding programs rebuilding our communities and expanding business opportunities:

a. Housing and Community Development Act’s Community Development Block Grant Programs.

i. More effective than offering tax credits to startups is the establishment and support of Resource-based and community-approved business-development corridors.

A. Partnerships creating the Southern Tier Research and Innovation corridor via linking incubators such as REV, high tech companies including Corning Inc. and Lockheed Martin, and Universities such as Cornell.

B. Cultivation of agricultural networks of shared resources with Federal USDA support.

b. Increased support for programs such as Loan Development Corporations which have been successful in providing needed funding and support to business start-ups.

c. Increased support for regional organizations such as the Appalachian Regional Commission which has provided funding for worker training, jobs, and infrastructure improvements across Southern Tier counties in District 23.

4. Federal support of community – private partnerships such as:

a. The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council.

b. Small Business Innovative Research program as an example of multi-agency collaboration with proven effectiveness bringing high-growth startups to market. With federal funding from pathways such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense, this collaboration has brought millions of dollars into the Southern Tier annually.

c. Support for pathways such as the 76 West Clean Energy competition and promotion of high-tech and innovative technology companies which are incentivized to remain in the Southern Tier.

C. Advocate for Free Fair-Trade Policies.

1. Working to raise the living standards of and economies of trade partners through a focus on fair trade and thus putting American workers on a more level playing and working field with more competitive wages and workplace conditions on both sides of the trade borders.

2. Trade policies must prioritize worker’s rights including the right to organize, both domestically and abroad, authorized by Congress, and not giveaways to Corporations maximizing profits.

3. Tax incentives and funding grants provided to developers only if using local labor (where possible) with prevailing living wages.

4. Support the 1933 Buy America Act for federal purchasing and supply resources.

5. Not allowing trade agreements which permit Investor State Dispute Resolutions which weaken the autonomy of nations domestic and abroad, local economies, and worker rights.

D. Support for immigration reform as a fundamental component of the Southern Tier and western NY economies. From Vineyards to Dairy Farms, graduate research to high-tech startups, not only is immigration reform necessary for the protection of all American’s civil liberties, but so-to is it necessary for the economies of our region.

1. Creation of a legal and safe guest-worker program which is employer and employee driven based on the realties for our businesses on the ground in D23.

E. Incentives and funding to bring existing businesses up to environmental code and standards with penalties for not maintaining those levels going forward.

1. Re-strengthen the EPA and empower it to:

a. Protect the air and water critical to the health of our families, businesses, and economies through mandated consideration and disclosure of project emissions and methods of mitigation including Methane.

b. Assist businesses in coming up to environmental regulations, and enforcing penalties for those who do not remain in compliance.

F. Job Guarantee

1. If we’re to confront the visions for an economy of 2040 where automation and increased efficiencies have significantly reduced workforce demand, we must begin actively discussing Job Guarantees with livable wages tied to indexes.

a. Jobs to be administered by States and locales with federal wages paid directly to workers.

b. Should sync with state of economies, bringing employment rates to a target of 3% unemployment, not siphoning from the private sector, but rather increasing demand and with multipliers rippling into local private economies.

c. Areas of work must be within functional and lasting areas such as infrastructure improvement.

Health and Care

Improved Health and Care

As the founder and owner of several small businesses in NY I can tell you first hand that for most of us the issue of healthcare as an expense is of greater importance than taxes or regulations. I’m aware of employers in our communities unable to fill good paying jobs, secondary to unmet health crises, such as that of Opioids. I have witnessed insurance premiums increasing 10-15% a year (including pre-ACA), and paired with less services being covered for the dollar. I’ve witnessed the largest insurers, including “non-profits,” taking in record profits while we as citizens, communities, and corporations foot the bill of a broken healthcare funding model. I’ve observed data released by Health Insurance Industry lobbyists evidencing the waste inherent in the system, and a rising public demand for single payer platforms.

I’ve been told that it’s to be seen how such a system would work despite it already working in 35 of 36 developed countries around the world.

I’ve been told single payer systems are ineffective and inefficient models yet health outcomes in the United States continue to lag behind much of the developed world with costs up to 50% more.

I’ve stood before my own congressman, Representative Tom Reed, lavished in money from Health Insurers and with a personal conflicting business interest remarking that he’s unwilling to consider single-payer models despite constituent demand. I’ve witnessed him being a vocal part of our dysfunctional Congress rushing-through legislation which stood to put 76,000 people at risk of losing coverage, increasing costs to seniors and veterans, and with reduced funding by over $11 million in District 23 alone.

For what?

The transfer of wealth from working Americans to the already-rich under the guise of decreasing federal government. As representative I will do all that I can to work for a more efficient single-payer system, and vote for no legislation which takes a step backward in providing for our seniors, veterans, and children until we get there.

A. Work to Increase Support for a Single Payer System

1. Vote in favor of HR676, Medicare For All and advocate in favor of state models such as the New York Health Act.

a. Benefits:

i. Model removes significant chunk of operating costs and profits required and generated under private insurer models.

ii. Significant savings for vast majority of Americans based on an income-based pay scale.

iii. Significant savings for employers.

iv. Reduction Medicaid expenses on States and thus property taxes.

v. Improved efficiency and reduced costs for medical providers

vi. Potential for improved health / wellness outcome measures if mirroring comparable nations.

vii. Potential for bargaining on pharmaceuticals.

b. Requirements

i. Increased research required to establish pathways to implementation and success.

ii. Increase the efficiency in Medicare-style platform and figuring out how to make expenditures transparent to the public while private with regard to individual information.

iii. Consideration and provision of an occupational sector that will be displaced.

iv. Reduction of medical expenses including through the negotiation of drug prices and fair trade practices bringing generics to market faster.

B. Until Single Payer is Achieved, Reinforcing or Advocating for Improvement of the ACA via:

1. Voting on no overhaul or replacement that:

a. Removes protections for discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

b. Decreases federal support of Medicaid or shifting the burden to the States.

c. Reduces or jeopardizes provision of coverage or funding for any group let alone our children, elderly, or veterans.

2. Maintain tax credits for small businesses to offset costs.

3. Implement program that weighs the provision of subsidies for families required to pay unaffordable relative percentages for healthcare through their employers against leverage or constraints placed on health insurers and group coverage

C. Increasing the number of Community Health Centers to insure that all regions and demographics have access to regional clinics and local primary care physicians.

D. Advocate for increase medical school census’ and medical residency programs as well as funding for National Health Services Corps.

E. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

F. Provision of federal research and development funding to federal agencies such as National Institute of Health.

G. Encourage pro-active, preventative community-based models.

1. Advocate and commit resources required to expand primary and preventative care resources in communities.

2. Monitoring and allocation of resources to insure access to healthcare resources across socio-economic spectrums and locations.

3. Advocacy for the maintenance of physical fitness programs and opportunities in schools.

4. Increase funding to improve the nutritional quality and provision, and where possible, regional sourcing of food in public schools.

5. Ensuring funding continues for the provision of School Breakfast and Lunch Programs.

Education

Strengthening Education in America

Driving through towns across D23 such as Falconer, Alfred, Ithaca, and so many more, it’s clear that our schools, from primary to university are more than just points of classroom education. They are the hubs of social activity and connection in many communities, sources of pride, anchors as well as innovators. They are the historical foundations and futures. Beyond beautiful and inspiring historic architecture, they’re cherished entities representing an inspired path and channel forward for our kids and communities.

I attended primary and secondary public schools which offered a solid mix of vocational and college track programs. Classmates went on to; found YouTube, become large corporate executives, heads of large city water districts, create construction and plumbing companies, and many returned to the district as teachers.

Out of our rural public school came the education and character which has literally built the fabric of our communities and daily lives. I am a supporter of public schools and I feel strongly that our children’s education should not be outsourced to for-profit corporations.

We have passionate educators and access to some of the most advanced materials and technology in the world. We need to offer educators the autonomy and flexibility to figure out what works in their classrooms, and to develop teacher not legislator-driven best practice pathways. We need to insure that they are again providing even hands to both college and vocational tracks, connected to local businesses and technical programs. Our schools educate and inspire those who will be tasked with rebuilding our infrastructure, powering us with renewable technologies not yet invented, and resetting our lands amidst a changing climate in order to feed a country. I will work to insure that our public schools receive the support they require to move us forward and remain hubs for learning and communities and remain strong and viable entities.

 

A. Primary and Secondary Education

1. Insure that educators are provided compensation allowing them to live comfortably in the areas in which they teach and competitive with private sector specialty areas.

2. Actively work to replace No Child Left Behind and Race-To-The-Top with a teacher-driven curricular and assessment model.

a. Encourage curriculums expanding critical thinking and collaborative project-based learning.

3. Advocate for increased funding to support vocational / technical training programs and networking with local related businesses.

a. Increase support of and focus on the importance of secondary education Guidance Counselors.

4. Advocate for increased funding to STEM integration programming and tracks within public education including physical and staff resources.

a. Provide educator salaries which are cost-competitive with private sector industry or incentives such as student loan pay-offs with term commitments.

5. Advocate for provision of need-based funding for nutritionally higher-quality breakfast/lunch assistance.

6. Advocate for provision of need-based after school programming.

7. Advocate for imposing no unfunded federal mandates on schools and providing funding for those currently in place.

B. Post-Secondary Education

1. Advocate for funding to States to provide 100% funding of 2-Year Community College tracks for students whose families make less than $125,000/year.

2. Advocate for revision and expanded funding of Federal Pell and State Grants (using TAP as a potential model) to cover four-year tracks with the following parameters:

a. Creation of grant levels equating to 80% of State-School tuition, fees, room and board.

i. 20% gap funding can be offset by student’s equivalent work with an on-campus occupation or community-based Non-Profit entity

b. Provision of (max) State-School grant amount which can be used for Private / For-Profit Institutions which are accredited by the US Department of Education.

i. Amount equivalent to the 20% gap funding can be offset by a student’s equivalent work for a community-based Non-Profit entity.

c. All grants will start as low-interest publicly-financed loans which are cancelled / converted to grants pending the successful completion of an undergraduate degree, and if completing within a four-year period.

d. Educational institutions must commit significant resources to incentivizing student’s degree completion and job- placement

3. Federal refinancing of all student loans with interest rates above 5% and with the opportunities of loan holders to convert private to direct loans.

4. Advocate for increased federal support of Research and Development funding in Science and Technology.

5. Expand networks and partnerships between manufacturers and both community colleges and trade programs.

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