Below you will find my positions on several issues.
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FOREIGN AFFAIRS / FOREIGN POLICY
I feel that our country has been shrinking from it’s role in the world and that in doing so we are making the world a more dangerous place and in turn our country less safe. My biggest fear is that within the next decade we will look back at this time with our porous border and the crisis that exists there combined with the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as the moment that birthed the next terrible American tragedy.
It is my opinion that we have allowed our foreign policy to be driven almost wholly by political motives rather than national interest or national security motives. Many in the upper echelon of government appear to merely fill positions on their conveyor belt ride to their next loftier position. In doing so they often seem to neglect the real work and take responsibility for nothing.
In a time when we are seeing Islamic Extremists beheading soldiers, reporters, women, and children alike, when Boko Haram and other groups kidnap hundreds of young girls and murder hundreds of young boys, when chemical weapons are used against the people of Syria, when US interests are attacked abroad and American Citizen's are killed in service of their country, our government practices "hashtag" foreign policy, claims at times to get it’s intelligence form the news, and passes the buck like it’s on fire. I believe many of our elected officials need to become more serious about their responsibilities to our nation.
We have now commenced military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) in the form of air strikes. There are repeated pronouncements that no boots will be on the ground. I fear that even this effort is an election-timed half-measure intended to project the necessary show of force against a horrible enemy while attempting to avoid what may perhaps be the inevitable agony of full-fledged confrontation.
THE BORDER & IMMIGRATION
The flow of people across our border must be stopped. It is a significant security issue and it results in substantial strain on our institutions. Unfortunately our government has chosen to play the part of two people arguing over what to do with the water that is flowing into their leaky boat and never stopping to plug the hole. Even worse, they are committed to continuing their argument at the bottom of the sea. This is unacceptable. The border must be secured. Doing so will allow us to focus more fully on reforming our immigration policies.
I support expanding opportunities for legal immigration, but there must at the same time be effective regulation and enforcement of immigration policy and law. We have seen the cost of inefficient regulation and lax enforcement before and I hope we never do again.
I do not believe there should be a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally. It would reward criminal behavior, and it provides too tempting of an incentive for irresponsible governing in the form of a large block of voters to appeal to.
Some are suggesting that recent events at the border, specifically the influx of a large number of unaccompanied minors into our country and their subsequent disbursement to various states, and the recent respiratory illness outbreaks across the country are perhaps related. I do not believe that enough information is available publicly to make that connection. I do however find myself wondering whether any consideration at all was given to the public health ramifications of the government's actions, or if such thoughts were banished by political considerations.
ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE
There is a raging debate about climate change/global warming. The debate is complicated by the facts that the government and many of the institutions that contribute to the debate have lost the publics trust. I believe that the issue as it currently exists serves only the politician’s interests.
In my opinion the argument is irrelevant. I think all would agree that it is in our nation’s best interest to be as efficient and as clean in our use of natural resources as is reasonably possible, and that “green technologies” hold the potential to reduce pollution and make us a more independent nation. However, these technologies need further development and innovation in order to rise to the levels of production, output, and efficiency that are required. Unfortunately it is difficult to innovate and take risks when you are uncertain of whether you can pay your bills or provide for you family or sustain your business.
It is my position that we should utilize our current energy resources and technologies to their fullest in order to create a vibrant and prosperous American economy, one in which the conditions would exist to drive the innovation and advancements necessary in the green energy arena.
THE 2nd AMENDMENT & NY SAFE ACT
The 2nd amendment is part of our constitution, and if elected to serve I would swear an oath to protect and defend the constitution including the 2nd amendment. If I did not intend to keep the oath, then I would have no business seeking the office.
Although I recognize it is State law and I am running for Federal office I will share my opinion on the NY SAFE Act as I believe it is exemplary of what ails our legislative process at every level of government. It is a perfect example of legislation driven by political motives. Those who debated the law did not even know the vocabulary they were using. It was motivated by a desire to be the first to legislate following the tragedies of the day and to serve the higher political ambitions of our Governor. I believe the NY SAFE Act should be repealed.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA)
It is my opinion that the Affordable Care Act should be repealed and replaced for the following reasons; first, the manner in which it was produced and the legislative process by which it was passed were both flawed and deceitful. Second, it does more harm than good, and we have only begun to feel the harm.
I believe, however, that it should not be done hastily or haphazardly, as that was part of the problem with the ACA itself. We must do what Congress failed to do. Identify what is working and what is not. Walk through all of the "what ifs" and the "if, thens" working out how each action and subsequent consequence will be addressed before it ever leaves the walls of the Capitol. It should not be done on an election schedule, but rather on a get it right for the American people schedule.
THE ECONOMY & JOBS
Like so many, I have a hard time putting much faith in anything the government says on these topics. I believe that government more often than not is in the way of economic prosperity and hinders job growth. The best thing the government can do for both the economy and jobs is to reduce it's politically driven meddling and create an atmosphere of certainty for businesses, employees and consumers alike. That will be difficult given the degree to which the faith and trust of the people have been abused.
THE TAX CODE
Our tax system must be reformed. It is overgrown and convoluted, and in it’s current form it truly serves as no more than a tool to punish and reward various interests. I do not have a simple answer to how it should be remade, but it must be simpler and it must remove the ability of our government to use it in the fashion that it has. Some suggest a flat tax, others a VAT tax, and other various formats. The problem I see is that the trust that must exist between the people and our institutions in undertaking such a task is broken. This only further highlights the need to elect new independent representation in government.
There must be an immediate travel ban regarding the countries where Ebola is currently active. There must be enforced quarantine of any individuals who have been exposed and may carry the virus. This cannot be voluntary as evidenced by the actions of NBC Medical Journalist, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, who violated her quarantine to get take-out. It is also being reported today that a second medical worker who had been exposed to Ebola not only flew from Dallas, TX to Cleveland, OH on October 10th, a violation of any sensible protocol, but then also flew back from Cleveland, OH to Dallas, TX on October 13th while experiencing a low grade fever, and the best part is she apparently did it with the blessing of the CDC!
The men and women who are serving us in government must make a decision. Are they in office and in these agencies to serve the American people or not? Some argue that a travel ban will have a negative impact on the affected countries. Our government and its agencies are not however responsible for other countries, they are responsible for this Country and for the American people. Also, supportive efforts could still be maintained while there is a general ban on travel.
I have been hearing reporters and broadcasters asking the following question of people: “Do you think you will get Ebola?” or various other questions of the same theme, to which most answer “You’re more likely to get struck by lightning”, etc. The problem is that everyone is asking the wrong question. The correct question is “Will Americans now be exposed to Ebola as a result of our Government’s inaction, ineptness, and tendency to promote appearance over substance?” The answer to that question is a resounding YES!
But fear not, Congress will address it when they return from their recess.
I would prefer that the federal government were not involved in the issue, but it is, and there is law that must be honored. I am personally opposed to abortion, except in those instances where it is necessary to protect the life of the mother or when a crime is involved. However, I draw a distinction between what I may believe personally and what I may do as a legislator. It would not be my place to dictate my beliefs to others.
Additionally, it is a perpetual argument, and one that no one will ever "win". The constant angst that it creates does little more than to create constituencies that the political parties can take advantage of come election season. I also feel that the various "pro-" and "anti-" labels are too narrow and give too many voters an excuse to never really study a candidate, and all too often candidates adopt a label while running only to abandon it in practice. As I said previously I will not, nor should any legislator, impose his or her own religious beliefs upon others through legislation, at the same time once elected you will not discover me suddenly promoting abortion. I would suggest that perhaps there should be a moratorium on the topic for a period of time as I believe that other matters such as the economy, jobs, foreign affairs, and reforming our tax code to name a few, require congresses focused attention.
I have always had the utmost regard for all those who serve our country in the armed forces. They exemplify some of the finest qualities of humanity; loyalty, honor, sacrifice, and service to others. Recent history has elevated my respect for them to a new level. They have been asked to serve under some of the most unbearable of circumstances, be it the environments they have been deployed to, the duration of their deployments, the rules of engagement they have been subjected to, the sense that their lives are at times put at risk in order to serve political needs rather than our country's national security needs, then to return from service to be neglected at the hands of our government's institutions, some dying while they wait for help from the country they served. Yet they still serve fully and faithfully. As an American I do not know how to adequately express my respect for that, but perhaps in my own form of service I can properly honor theirs.
I believe fully that the men and women of the United States Armed Forces can accomplish anything that we as a nation ask of them. We in turn as a nation must be judicious and prudent in our utilization of our military. There should be no discussions of good wars or bad wars, and certainly not of wars that are good because they will lead to victory at the ballot box regardless of the outcome on the battlefield. The calculus should be simple - If there is a legitimate threat to our national security or to our national interests then the military should be deployed to eliminate it.
What Budget? Our government has for years now been neglecting one of it's most basic responsibilities. Our government's perspective on the people's money must be corrected. Just as a simple example I recall reading an article discussing a $2 Billion dollar loss within a government program, which a government official referred to as "just a drop in the bucket" because it only amounted to 1/10 of one percent of the budget. Just for comparison, if you earned $50,000 a year, then 1/10 of one percent of your budget would be $50. Do you know anyone who would walk around with $50 bills falling out of their wallet who would call it "just a drop in the bucket"? I certainly don't. Worst of all that is just one example, just consider how much money is being lost/wasted due to this perspective.
THE "SOCIAL SAFETY NET"
The programs that comprise the social safety net are one of the finest examples of the nature of the American people and of our country. These programs are an obligation that we have to our fellow American’s who are in need. Unfortunately these programs, like much of government today have become corrupted, bloated and are rampant with fraud. As a nation we must insist that these programs be reformed to efficiently serve our fellow Americans and to ensure that they will be viable for generations to come.
AMERICA'S PLACE IN THE WORLD
We are a great nation of great people and are meant to be an example to the world. Some would change this country to be like many others, I believe that doing so would not only be a detriment to America, but to the entire world. This country is a burning flame in the dark night of the world that has been kept alive for generations by the American people. A flame born of unique circumstances in human history, and one that once extinguished may never be lit again. To those who seek something else, I say go find it, it’s out there. As for me I want to see the American flame burn bright for the good of my children and yours, and for the good of the world.
A NATION OF LAWS
A nation that expects its people to follow the rule of law must have institutions and elected and appointed officials that do the same. We are either a nation of laws or we are not, and they must be the same laws for us all. When a government does not honor the law it erodes its authority to expect the people to honor the law, and such a government must be replaced.
MONROE ANNEXATION (response to several questions)
I am opposed to the proposed land annexation within the Town of Monroe. I believe the project and the process thus far are emblematic of what is wrong with our government at every level. It is a display of political motives above public interest. Additionally, it is only exacerbated by the damaged trust that exists between the municipality and the people.
Responses to Constituent Questions
Law enforcement professionals are being assaulted by the media, by opportunists, and even by our government. There are without doubt instances of abuse and even criminal acts among law enforcement, but this is true of any organization or group of people. They must be addressed and resolved, but many including our government, seek to capitalize on these events for political gain and to mobilize various constituencies for election purposes. The problem is that the ill effects of their actions last long after Election Day and help contribute to a vicious cycle of distrust and violence. I highly suspect that the rate of crime and abuse of power among members of congress is higher than that among law enforcement. I wish people would direct the same level of scrutiny and second-guessing there.
Everyone knows that drugs are illegal and also knows the devastating effects that they can have on individuals, families and in communities. For that reason I believe that the drug problem should be treated much the way organized crime was treated. Anyone who participates in the drug trade, be they producing drugs, selling and distributing drugs, or performing any other act directly related to such should be treated as if they were personally responsible for every ruined life, every dead child, and every damaged community. Those participating know what they are involved in, and should be held accountable for their actions. I do support the notion that some smaller level drug offenses should be treated differently and there would need to be a debate about where that line would be drawn. I hold similar views about gang activity.