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 repair, maintain, and provide 21st-century infrastructure. From bridges to main streets and renewable-based smart energy grids to advanced communication pathways. We can do this while providing a return of skilled living and prevailing-wage jobs.

 

We can improve the health of all people through proactive 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 lead by teachers, not legislators. We also must increase the compensation these valuable teachers receive.

 

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 the moments they most need our help.

 

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 that 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 and 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.

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 the majority of America: small towns and inner cities where people work hard but 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 need so badly right now.

 

Here’s the Clean-Up Plan:

A. Returning Control to the People

  1. Support legislation to strengthen oversight and 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. Authorization of judge-controlled impartial voter district lines and ending of political party and special-interest gerrymandering.
  4. 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 teleconferencing with the capital to ensure that officials remain connected and representative of the communities that they serve.
  3. Suggestions from the people on how we can improve communication and ensure that representation is of constituents.

Economies

Rebuilding Economies

Our communities were built through hard work, honest labor, and innovation. We are a network of shopkeepers, 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 and 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. Strengthen community infrastructure, including water supply and treatment.
  3. Encourage resource infrastructure, through projects such as the Southern Tier Network, which seeks to expand fiber optic networks and community broadband.
  4. Incentivize and prioritize integration of renewable energy in projects, relegating fossil fuel sources to stabilize rather than expand.
    1. 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.
    1. 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.
    2. 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. Create incentives to assist locally owned and operated manufacturers and start-ups.
    1. Incentivize manufacturers to locate or return to the U.S.
    2. Allowance of U.S. companies to bring overseas profits back at reduced rates if investing a significant portion into expanding local payrolls and increasing physical capacity and infrastructure.
    3. Tax incentives to locally owned start-ups. Grant provisions for businesses agreeing to living wage standards, for both existing and new businesses wishing to increase wages if below profit thresholds.
    4. 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.
    5. Increase funding to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and further supporting this nationwide network that is proven effective in assisting manufacturers in creating and retaining jobs, increasing profits, and becoming more efficient.
    6. Currently centers in network are located in Buffalo and Binghamton, but it would be great to add a supported network location in District 23.
  2. Creation of district planners tasked with facilitating business planning, negotiating start-up 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 to rebuild our communities and expand business opportunities:
    1. Housing and Community Development Act’s Community Development Block Grant Programs.
    2. Establishing and supporting resource-based and community-approved business-development corridors instead of offering tax credits to start-ups.
    3. 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 higher education facilities such as Cornell University.
    4. Cultivation of agricultural networks of shared resources with federal/USDA support.
    5. Increased support for programs such as Local Development Corporations, which have been successful in providing needed funding and support to business start-ups.
    6. 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 and private partnerships such as:
    1. The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council.
    2. Small Business Innovative Research program, which is an example of multi-agency collaboration with proven effectiveness bringing high-growth start-ups 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.)
    3. Support for pathways such as the 76 West Clean Energy competition and promotion of high-tech and innovative technology companies that 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, thus putting American workers on a more level playing field, with more competitive wages and safer 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. These trade policies must be authorized by Congress, 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 that permit Investor State Dispute Resolutions, which weaken the autonomy of our own nation and abroad, as well as local economies and worker rights.

D. Support for immigration reform as a fundamental component of the Southern Tier and western New York economies.

From vineyards to dairy farms, graduate research to high-tech startups, immigration reform is necessary for the protection of all Americans’ civil liberties and crucial for the economies of our region.

  1. Create a legal and safe guest-worker program that is employer- and employee-driven, based on the realties for our businesses on the ground in District 23.

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

  1. Restrengthen the EPA and empower it to:
    1. Protect the air and water — all of which is critical to the health of our families, businesses, and economies — through mandated consideration and disclosure of project emissions and methods of mitigation, including methane.
    2. Assist businesses in meeting environmental regulations and standards, and enforce penalties for those that do not remain in compliance.

F. Job Guarantee

  1. We must 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.
    1. Jobs to be administered by states and locales with federal wages paid directly to workers.
    2. Should sync with state of economies, bringing employment rates to a target of 3 percent unemployment; not siphoning from the private sector, but instead increasing demand and resulting in multipliers rippling into local private economies.
    3. Areas of work must be within functional and lasting areas, such as infrastructure improvement.

Health and Care

Improving Health and Care

As the founder and owner of several small businesses in New York, I know firsthand that many of us find the expense of health care more significant than taxes or regulations. I’m aware of employers in our communities who are unable to fill good-paying jobs, secondary to unmet health crises, such as that of opioids. I have witnessed insurance premiums increasing 10-15 percent a year (including pre-ACA), and paired with fewer services being covered for the same amount of money. I’ve witnessed the largest insurers, including “nonprofits,” taking in record profits while we citizens and our communities and corporations foot the bill of a broken health care 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 we can’t tell how such a system would work, even though single-payer systems work in 35 of 36 developed countries around the world.

 

I’ve been told single-payer systems are ineffective and inefficient models, despite evidence that health outcomes in the United States continue to lag behind much of the developed world and cost up to 50 percent more.

 

I’ve stood before my own congressman, Representative Tom Reed — who lavishes in money from health insurers and has a personal conflicting business interest — and heard him say 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 legislation that would have put 76,000 people at risk of losing coverage, increased costs to seniors and veterans, and reduced funding by over $11 million in District 23 alone.

 

For what?

 

Why should we allow the transfer of wealth from working Americans to the already-rich under the guise of decreasing federal government? As your representative, I will do all that I can to work for a more efficient single-payer system. In the meantime, until we get a single-payer system, I will not vote for any legislation that takes a step backward in providing high-quality, affordable care for seniors, veterans, women, and children.

 

Here’s my plan:

A. Work to Increase Support for a Single-Payer System

  1. Vote in favor of H.R. 676 Medicare For All and advocate for state models, such as the New York Health Act.
    • Some of the benefits would be:
      • Single-payer model removes significant chunk of operating costs and profits required and generated under private insurer models.
      • Significant savings for vast majority of Americans based on an income-based pay scale.
      • Significant savings for employers.
      • Reduction of Medicaid expenses for states, which would reduce property taxes.
      • Improved efficiency and reduced costs for health care providers.
      • Potential for improved health and wellness outcome measures (if mirroring comparable nations).
      • Potential for negotiating price of pharmaceuticals.
    • Some of the requirements to achieve a single-payer health care system:
      • Increased research required to establish pathways to implementation and success.
      • Increase the efficiency in Medicare-style platform and figuring out how to make expenditures transparent to the public while keeping individual protected health information private private.
      • Consideration and provision of an occupational sector (the current health insurance industry and its employees) that will be displaced.
      • Reduction of medical expenses, including the negotiation of drug prices and fair-trade practices that would bring generics to market faster.

B. Until Single Payer is Achieved, I will reinforce or advocate for improvement of the ACA via:

  1. Voting no on any overhaul or replacement that:
    • Removes protections for discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.
    • Decreases federal support of Medicaid or shifting the burden of Medicaid to states.
    • Reduces or jeopardizes provision of coverage or funding for any group, especially children, elderly, women, or veterans.
  2. Maintaining tax credits for small businesses to offset health care insurance costs.
  3. Implementing a program that weighs the provision of subsidies for families required to pay unaffordable relative percentages for health care through their employers against leverage or constraints placed on health insurers and group coverage.

C. Increasing the number of community health centers to ensure that all regions and demographics have access to regional clinics and local primary care physicians.

D. Advocating for increased 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. Provisioning of federal research and development funding to federal agencies such as National Institutes of Health.

G. Encouraging proactive, preventative community-based health and wellness models.

  1. Advocating for and committing resources required to expand primary and preventative care resources in communities.
  2. Monitoring and allocating resources to ensure access to health care resources across socioeconomic spectrums and locations.
  3. Advocating for the maintenance of physical fitness programs and opportunities in schools.
  4. Increasing funding to improve the nutritional quality, 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 23rd District towns, 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. Schools are sources of pride; anchors as well as innovators. They are the historical foundations and futures. Beyond their beautiful and inspiring historic architecture, schools are cherished entities representing an inspired path and channel forward for our kids and communities.

 

I attended primary and secondary public schools that offered a solid mix of vocational and college-track programs. My public school classmates went on to: found YouTube; become executives of large corporations; become heads of large city water districts; create construction and plumbing companies; and return to the district as teachers.

 

Out of our rural public school came the education and character that 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 best-practice pathways that are driven by teachers, not legislators. We need to ensure that schools are again providing equal opportunities for both college and vocational tracks, and that the vocational tracks are 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 ensure that our public schools receive the support they require to move us forward, to remain hubs for learning and community, and to be strong and viable entities.

 

Here are my plans for our schools:

A. Primary and Secondary Education

  1. Ensure that educators are provided compensation that is competitive with private-sector industries and allows them to live comfortably in the areas where they work and offer incentives such as student loan pay-offs with term commitments.
  2. Actively work to replace No Child Left Behind and Race-To-The-Top with a teacher-driven curricula and assessment model.
    • Encourage curricula that encourages critical thinking and collaborative project-based learning.
  3. Advocate for increased funding to support vocational and technical training programs, as well as networking with local related businesses.
    • 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.
  5. Advocate for provision of need-based funding for nutritionally higher-quality breakfast and lunch assistance.
  6. Advocate for provision of need-based after-school programming.
  7. Advocate for not imposing unfunded federal mandates on schools, as well as providing funding for those currently in place.

B. Post-Secondary Education

  1. Advocate for funding to states to provide 100-percent funding of two-year community college tracks for students whose families make less than $125,000 annually.
  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:
    • Creation of grant levels equating to 80 percent of public state school tuition, fees, and room and board.
      • 20 percent gap funding can be offset by student’s equivalent work with an on-campus occupation or community-based nonprofit entity.
    • Provision of a maximum state school grant amount that can be used for private or for-profit institutions that are accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.
      • Amount equivalent to the 20-percent gap funding can be offset by a student’s equivalent work for a community-based nonprofit entity.
      • All grants will start as low-interest publicly financed loans that are canceled or converted to grants pending the successful completion of an undergraduate degree, and if completed within a four-year period.
    • 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 percent 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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