Priorities and Issues
Priorities and Issues I would like to champion
Improving Public Schools
“Our children are the future of this country. And this future begins with education. It is our duty as parents and as adults to create an environment where every child receives an equal opportunity for education.”
In my opinion, and I am sure yours, I recognize that the education of all of our children is foremost. I plan to work with educators within this Congressional District to address the issue jointly as to why South Carolina is ranked as Number 41 in the United States for K-12. Also, we have two counties in our district that are listed within the Corridor of Shame. This is totally unacceptable and I will assure you education for all South Carolinians will be my top priority. Therefore, with this joint effort, we can solicit Federal Assistance via Congressional legislative action in a meaningful and positive solution to this systemic problem.
Building a Healthcare System That Works
It is clear we need a national healthcare system that is affordable and accessible for every American. Surprisingly healthcare costs are the number 1 reason for personal bankruptcy (67%). What is distressing is the fact that 78% of these individuals had health insurance. Instead of trying to fix our healthcare system, members of Congress have done everything they can to demolish the Affordable Care Act but never provided an alternative. To make matters worse, we in South Carolina rank 36th in the nation. This will be a number 1 priority for me when in office.
I also believe insurance companies should NOT be able to increase insurance fees for anyone with pre-existing conditions. We have to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. When Medicare Part D was implemented, the industry gained $3.7 billion in price increases in the first two years due to the elimination of the government administrators’ ability to negotiate price controls. The federal government must re-regulate the cost of prescription drugs and I will submit a bill to place the government administrators back in the process. Additionally, I am concerned by the massive trend of hospitals closing in rural areas. This is also a concern within our Congressional District. I will work to adjust the formula for financial care as it would relate to a rural area hospital. This would mitigate the possible insolvency problem for a rural hospital.
Protecting Social Security
Millions of Americans rely on Social Security. It is a generational promise that has been in existence for almost 80 years and has provided economic security. We need common sense to protect our current seniors and ensure that those retiring in the years to come will also have a safety net. When Social Security was established under the Roosevelt Administration it was intended to provide a form of retirement assistance that would ensure an individual had some financial income. However, it was established with a cap that is adjusted each year. This is remarkably different than Medicare which has no cap on total earnings. This disparity in the limit of wages must be changed over the next few years to eventually be the same as Medicare wages. I will support a reasonable phase-in of this over a 5-10 years period. This will ensure all of our citizens will indeed be entitled to Social Security enacted in 1935. Additionally, I will never agree to privatize Social Security. This was never a program intended to be speculated.
Jobs & More Investments
I strongly believe everyone should be included in a plan to revitalize economic activity in Congressional District 5.
While our district's roots run deep in manufacturing, the American economy has been shifting away from old mills and factories to clean, creative, energy-efficient workspaces. As a Congressman, I will promote our areas and will work to attract new investments to South Carolina. I will support an investment tax credit for abandoned mills and factories on a Federal level.
Our state is a place of economic growth when compared to other states, but our district has counties with the highest unemployment rates in South Carolina.
Additionally, I believe we need to invest in the people of South Carolina more, and as your Congressman, I will work to develop proposals and grants to help people with re-training.
Agriculture and Farming
I recognize that here in SC we have an agricultural industry that contributes approximately $42B to our economy. This is an industry with about 25,000 farms which comprises 4.9 million acres. Lately, this industry has been faced with two problems: drought and the trade war with China.
Federal funds were approved for the drought but were delayed due to bureaucratic reasons. I will personally always be at the forefront to make sure farmers receive their financial relief immediately upon approval. This includes being at the forefront to solicit those funds when required.
As to the trade war with China, this has a secondary fallout; China has been seeking other sources (Countries) which would result in loss of foreign sales even if the trade war was settled. I will vigorously push that any settlement would include the restoration of the previous tonnage prior to the trade war.
Some programs that should be considered that I would support:
- Federal Crop failure insurance due to drought
- Federal regulation of production of a crop that would ensure price stability and payout for non-production if a satisfactory agreement could not be reached with China.
I fully support our military and armed forces. Our troops must have all the necessary equipment during the possible engagement with the enemy. I will never subscribe to the policy of inadequate supply chain of all branches of the military. This would negate any partial dependency on offshore supplies.
In our district, there are fairly known issues military families are facing with private base housing. As a result of the stress, some service members are choosing to leave military life altogether. As a Congressman, I will push for the on-base improvement of housing and assistance for those who wish to live off-base.
We all owe a debt to our veterans for the sacrifices they make to ensure and protect our freedom. It is our sacred duty to remain committed to providing our veterans with the best care. That’s why I fully support improving access for veteran’s benefits in South Carolina, including access to healthcare. Additionally, as a Congressman, I will work to improve the Veteran’s Administration offices and make sure we leave no veteran wanting for VA services. I will increase access to mental health resources to treat veterans with PTSD.
Mental Health & Opioid Addiction
When one out of every 6 people has prescriptions for anti-depressants, it’s easy to understand why the Opioid Crisis has taken hold in America.
Additionally, study after study has shown that addictions to Opioids lead to addictions of more lethal drugs like heroin and crystal meth. The crisis has also put enormous burdens on our county jails and healthcare facilities.
That’s why I will extend and expand federal grants that will assist districts and rural counties to address the opioid epidemic.
Immigration / Border Protection
Every year, illegal immigration brings new challenges to our state and nation.
I personally do not believe the answer to this problem is an expensive wall. We are a nation of immigrants, and therefore, we need to balance the border security and asylum process that leads a path to legal status. We also need to look at the economic aspect of immigration. In June of 2019, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reported,
“The Dry Corridor in Central America, in particular, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are experiencing one of the worst droughts of the last ten years with over 3.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance.”
Extreme changes in climate and heavy droughts have left South America and especially the northern triangle devastated. Central American agriculture is on the verge of extinction. All of this leads to starvation and a high rise in migration. We can decrease the migration if we have our financial and economic focus in that region by maintaining our presence there and stimulating their economic growth. Our foreign policy requires a major reset. We have expended trillions of dollars in foreign nations while ignoring our own hemisphere. We need to recognize that South and Central America contribute to the North American continent's substantial products such as agriculture that are vital to all of us in this hemisphere. With this change in policy, we will curtail illegal immigration.