Platform

The Eighth District of Ohio has been represented in Washington by Republicans for the last 80 years.   Our cities are crumbling and jobs and industry are moving overseas.   The Republican Party has become the party of Trump – they have sacrificed what credibility and principles they had on the altar of an autocrat.   The president has neither the knowledge, experience, nor the temperament to be the leader of the greatest nation in the history of the world.   He flouts democratic norms and traditions, denigrates the rule of law and debases our standing in the world on a daily basis. Republicans in Congress are supposed to fulfill their oversight responsibility as a check on the tendencies of an imperial president like Trump.   They have instead been willing accomplices in his attacks on the impeachment effort which sought to hold him to account for his lawless and corrupt behavior.    As long as spineless Republicans like Warren Davidson represent us in Congress, Trump will continue his campaign of enriching himself, his family and associates at the public trough.   He will rule as a king, who believes he IS the state and that the government must serve his personal interests and grudges instead of the rule of law and the American people.   With the help of Warren Davidson, Trump is doing damage to our geopolitical alliances and our prestige on the World stage for generations to come.


Abortion and Support for Families – Control over the decisions affecting one's own body is one of the most fundamental protections guaranteed by civilized societies.    In the early weeks of pregnancy, a fetus is part of the woman’s body and as such, subject to the decisions she is rightfully empowered to make.    As a society I'd like to see more and cheaper birth control available on demand.   There should also be support available for women and couples who want to carry an unexpected pregnancy to term but do not have the resources to raise a child.   Some important facts to know about abortion in 2020: Most abortions (about 90%) are performed within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.    Ohio allows abortion (with counseling) only until viability or about the twentieth week of pregnancy; unless the woman’s life and not merely health, is at risk.   Only 1.3% of abortions are performed after that, or the midpoint in the typical pregnancy.    Since 1976 The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds, including Medicaid, from being used to pay for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the woman’s life.   


Addiction – Law enforcement has an important role to play is seeing that justice is done when drug or alcohol use results in damage to property or infringement on the rights of others.   But unless the aim was mass incarceration, the Drug War has been a massive and expensive failure.   Based on junk science which classified all drugs as harmful while it gave a complete pass to alcohol and nicotine, this effort at social engineering must be augmented with better rehabilitation and education.     Drug use has reached epidemic levels here in Southwest Ohio.   We need a revolution in the way we think about and treat depression and mental illness.   We have to treat the spiritual, emotional and physical components of drug and alcohol addiction in order to achieve solutions which are real and lasting.


Agriculture - Southwestern Ohio is one of the most fertile and high producing agricultural regions in the world.   Our farmers produce the food and raw materials which supply the entire country and the world.   Agricultural products are our greatest exports and go a long way to help us is our efforts to deal with our trade imbalance.   Farming and agriculture is truly one of the bright spots in the US and Ohio economy.   Unfortunately, a set of precipitous and ill considered trade policies and tariffs enacted by this administration have caused great distress in this vital economic sector.   The Congressional representative of Ohio's Eighth district in Washington must spend more time and effort protecting our agricultural sector from bad policy decisions and a go-it-alone strategy which has only benefitted our global competitors.   Warren Davidson is so busy protecting Wall Street and the Financial Services industry that he has little time to attend to the issues which have real impact on Southwest Ohio's farmers.   I would do better for these hardworking entrepreneurs who want a chance to build wealth on a level playing field, not government handouts and Welfare. 


Civil Rights – Our founding documents guaranteed Liberty and Justice for all, while simultaneously denying those guarantees to an entire race of people via the Three-Fifth’s Clause of the Constitution.   African Americans have been part of this country since at least the 1600’s and have participated in every war, every important era and every step forward in our history.   An estimated 30% of the laborers who built the United States Capitol and the White House in Washington, DC were enslaved people of color.   Through tremendous struggle and sacrifice, our country has over the years become a better representation of the beautiful promise of Freedom and Equality for all.   The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 went a long way toward fulfilling these promises.   But we still have work to do if we want to heal the fraying bonds of unity which have lately plagued our nation.   LGBT, immigrants, and ethnic and religious minorities are too often denied a full portion of the rights and opportunities which make us a more perfect union and we must do better.   


Crime – Crime is at its lowest level in decades.   This is true because of effective law enforcement and new technologies have made it easier to catch criminals and obtain convictions.    We must address the pernicious effects of the "War on Drugs" and mandatory minimum and so called "Three-Strike" sentencing guidelines which have had a disproportionate effect on low income communities and people of color.    I also support efforts to repeal or replace laws which are frivolous or disregarded by a majority of the population, because these laws cause people to lose respect for the Rule of Law and justice.


Debt & Deficit - Our federal debt recently topped 22 trillion dollars for the first time in history, at a time of prosperity and full employment.   Republicans assured us that their tax cuts, which overwhelmingly benefitted the very people who have been reaping all the income gains of the past 30 years, would pay for themselves and create widespread prosperity through "Trickle Down" economics.    Now that the deficit is over a trillion dollars a year, they are predictably floating plans to cut vital entitlement programs relied upon by the vast majority of Americans like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.   Dealing with the federal debt will require more than just the political posturing and pie-in-the-sky tax cuts we have seen from Republicans in recent years.   Under President Obama, the deficit (difference between what we spend and what we take in,) was cut in half.   Unfortunately, that trend reversed when Republicans controled all levers of government from 2017-19.   The national debt, or the money we owe to investors and Social Security in the form of US bonds; is once again soaring, thanks to tax cuts and policies enacted while the GOP was in charge.   Low interest rates lead some to say that debt and deficits are not the problem they once were and that tax cuts are all that is needed to bring widespread prosperity back to our shores.   I believe that to avoid the cycle of Boom and Bust so often experienced under Republican control, we ought to get our fiscal house in order to lay the foundation for continued steady growth and sustainable prosperity through judicious investments in infrastructure and education.


Defense - We must be prepared for any eventuality so we can defend ourselves and pursue diplomacy from a position of strength, not weakness.   That is why I propose maintaining a strong Wright-Patterson, ready to respond to the threats of a dangerous world.   But we need to reexamine some of our National Defense priorities: recent cyber-attacks on our election and the potential of hostile nations to cripple our infrastructure, highlight the importance of Cyber security in this new world of threats that don’t come by ship or by air, but over the internet.   That’s why I propose a close look at increasing cyber defense capability at military installations like Wright Patterson, so that we are prepared and ready to defend the US and our allies in the conflicts of the Twenty-First century.    But we must also confront the fact that the military and national defense is one of the largest pieces of our budget and it contributes greatly to our national debt.   We are maintaining a global defense empire whose primary beneficiaries are the multinational corporations which have moved their operations overseas.   We are using our heroic US military as a security force for global capitalist investors, many of whom pay no taxes for this service.   So our huge and costly military has become a giant subsidy for global capitalists to move production overseas.   Historically, capital investment came to the US because of the stability of our democratic system of government and business friendly economic system.   But now, we are asking our beleaguered middle class to pay for a military which makes it possible for manufacturing and raw material extraction operations to be located overseas with the same safety and protection as if they were located here in the United States, just because they claim to be US companies  representing US interests.   Many of these companies use intricate accounting gimmicks to move profits overseas so they pay little or no taxes.   Enlisting in the military is one of the few constructive options for less fortunate members of society because globalization has left them scarce opportunities for employment or advancement beyond poverty level minimum wages.     


Diplomacy - Tony Benn once wrote that “All war represents a failure of diplomacy.”   Solving international disputes and problems through diplomacy shows respect for other nations’ sovereignty and is always preferable to armed conflict.   It produces solutions in which both sides are treated equitably and lessens the chance of future disputes.   But when one side is using diplomacy merely as a tactic, and is not endeavoring to achieve a solution, but only to delay military action or extract absurd demands; then our nation must have the military resources ready to use.   Defense and Diplomacy must work hand in hand.   Russia is packaging itself in the image of a successful capitalist country.   But Russian capitalism is not a system which provides for all.   It is an oligarchy in which a few enslave the many to produce immense fortunes and control the government, production and raw materials.   It runs more like a crime syndicate than a sovereign nation.   Russia is anxious to regain the power it once held as the former Soviet Union and it is engaged in competition with the US and other free countries for raw materials and markets.  China is a close trading ally but also an emerging competitor for global influence.   We must do better at modernizing our education and infrastructure for a twenty-first century world so that we can compete in a changing landscape and engage with the our allies and adversaries from a position of strength.    Much has been made of the supposed high levels of spending on foreign aid.   Statistics show that foreign aid makes up slightly more than 1% of our budget, while more than 18% goes to the military.   A strong military and defense has always been important to the US, it is also indisputable that the small amount we spend on foreign aid goes a long way toward fostering alliances and projecting American influence.


Electronic Surveillance – The government should not be spying on American citizens without probable cause and a court order.   There are technologies which allow investigators to look for clues in patterns of telephone or email communications made with known terrorists. I believe that telephone number A connecting with telephone number B is not protected information, but that the content of the telephone conversation is and should not be surveilled without a warrant.


Environment – Our natural environment and many of our resources including national parkland are part of our national patrimony, which belongs to all Americans. We must safeguard this heritage for future generations as it was safeguarded for us.   Energy extraction in some areas has resulted in water aquifers being contaminated with natural gas and fracking chemicals, making the water unfit for human consumption.   I consider the water resources of Ohio to be an important treasure, belonging to all the citizens of Ohio.   This precious resource must be preserved and protected from short sighted, get-rich-quick schemes.   The only entities capable of protecting our natural resources and environment are state and federal government.   I would use all available legislation to protect the environmental patrimony of the citizens of Ohio. 


 Gun Legislation – I believe that the Second amendment to the Constitution guarantees citizens the right to keep and bear arms for hunting, for self-defense, or for collecting.   But guns put tremendous power in the hands of a person and that power can be used for evil as well as for good.   We have seen this in acts of domestic terrorism  and gun violence in virtually every state, recently afflicting Dayton.   A person on a terrorist watch list cannot board a plane, but in some states he or she can purchase all the guns and black powder they want.   While I don’t believe in punishing the law abiding majority for the actions of a few, I do believe that those wishing to purchase firearms should be subject to a background check to keep weapons out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.   Currently an estimated 22% of gun sales do not involve a background check because they are sold from one private person to another, sometimes on the internet or they are sold at a gun show.   I don’t believe that the gun owners of Ohio would knowingly sell one of their firearms to someone with mental problems or a violent history...That would be irresponsible.   I would like to see the government follow this same standard.    But we must also safeguard that only the names of the mentally ill and violent offenders are listed on the registry, so that if a person’s name is not there they are free to purchase arms. 


Health Care - Eliminating lifetime and annual limits, mandating coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing young people to stay on their parents' policies until age 26 were important steps toward medical security for Americans, but we must go further than the ACA went.   At the same time, healthcare costs are increasing, representing 20% of our economy and a major driver of our balooning national debt.   Medicare is one of the largest and fastest growing segments of our budget.   If we don't get medical care costs for seniors under control it will threaten to bankrupt us.   Spending on entitlements is already on track to consume all the extra discretionary spending in the near future.   Covering the needs of our country with deficit spending and foreign borrowing are unsustainable in the long run.   Against this backdrop of sobering realities, we must balance the needs of our elderly, many of whom have paid for Medicare through their taxes when they were working and now rely on this great program to take care of them.   We cannot let down our seniors and must act to shore up and strengthen Medicare for future generations.   But seniors make up one of the most expensive segments of the population to provide with medical coverage. They deal with more chronic illness and require more expensive care than younger, healthier citizens.   Our current system allows private health insurance industry to make money from insuring our citizens when they are younger and healthier and hands them over to the federal government when they become seniors, and  require costlier care.   Most other industrialized countries have some form of single payer system, which provides their citizens with better outcomes at about half the cost of the American system.    A single-payer system, or Medicare for all, would dilute Medicare's current pool of older, sicker participants with younger, healthier ones.   After all, that is the basic idea of insurance.     I support the idea of the United States following the lead of almost every other industrialized nation in providing national healthcare as a right to it's citizens through a single-payer system and I believe that a Public Option could provide a useful intermediate step toward achieving that ultimate aim.


Immigration - Immigration is a net contributor to our gross domestic product, not a cost.   We are a nation of immigrants and we are stronger and more talented because of the hard working and intelligent immigrants who have fought and made tremendous sacrifice to get to our shores.   But our current economic situation, in which wages and growth have been sluggish even as American worker productivity has skyrocketed, is due to failed voo-doo economics and trickle down policies which rig our tax code to favor the wealthy 1% over the rest of us in the hopes that they will create jobs and prosperity. This is an economic policy rooted in the middle ages when a few wealthy people lived in castles and everyone else depended on them.   This is not the liberty our forefathers envisioned for the American people, nor for a country created in conflict and tested in blood so that we could live free and independent.   Our government is not the problem as some have said.   It is the one bulwark between us and an increasingly unequal society of haves and have-nots, a landscape of castles and cottages.     If we can get our country working for everyone once again and not just the wealthy and well connected, prosperity will erase the contentious nature of what should be a sober discussion on immigration.   We serve neither our own workers nor our immigrant workers by pitting one dispossessed group against the other, fighting for the scraps left over from the table of the wealthy and big business.   Our nation is the wealthiest country the world has ever seen - we ought to make our economic system and our government work for everyone and not just the lucky few.   Automation and globalization are the primary forces eliminating good, high paying jobs and pitting naive and immigrant workers against each other.  The productivity of the American worker has never been higher and is the envy of the world.   Unlike many countries in the developing world, we are a wealthy land.   The problem is that increasingly, the US government has been rigged to benefit those at the top:  giant corporations and billionaires, at the expense of the hard working men and women of our great nation.   This is the reverse of what Robin Hood did back in Sherwood Forest, and it has been put in place by members of a party who believe that giving more and more to those who already have most of the money will somehow magically help the rest of us.   The only ones it has helped are the GOP candidates reaping huge campaign contributions from these plutocratic “sugar daddies.”


Manufacturing - Globalization and tax policies which give companies an incentive to move production overseas to areas of cheaper labor and raw materials, and lax oversight have decimated our once-strong manufacturing base here in Ohio.   Some have said that we just need to be better at competing, putting us in a race to the bottom of the world in terms of low wages and employment insecurity.   Surprisingly, our own defense and tax policies have exacerbated this trend over the last 40 years.   By using our military to make the world safe for investment, we have encouraged manufacturing to move overseas where they often pay no taxes whatsoever into the US Treasury.   But they are considered American interests, benefiting from US military protection of their manufacturing operations and transportation routes.   Less of the final cost of their product goes to middle class households in the form of union wages and more goes to oil companies for transportation costs.

At the same time, our misguided tax code gives sweet deals and special loopholes to some of these transnational companies and also to wealthy investors in the hopes that they will create jobs and growth here. But in this age of global investment they have chosen to place their chips overseas where return is greater.   Donald Trump, Warren Davidson and the rest of Republicans promised to overhaul the tax code to make it fairer and to “Drain the swamp.”   But instead of tax equity, their recent tax cuts sent 80% of the benefits to the very top, while the Middle class got the leftover crumbs.   Even worse, their tax cuts set the stage for massive cuts to the social safety net; upon which the poor, the disabled and seniors depend for their very existence, in many cases.


Taxes & Trickle-Down Economics – Last year marked 80 years of Republican representation of Ohio's eighth Congressional district in Washington.   During that time they pursued policies favoring the wealthy and well connected over the working men and women of this district.   I would like to change that.   Warren Davidson is a protégé of Jim Jordan and the pro big business Club for Growth, with whose help he was elected after John Boehner was forced into retirement by Jordan and his Freedom Caucus legislative nihilists.   These men seek weakened government and regulations and  promote "trickle down" economic policies, which put money in the pockets of millionaires and big business in the form of tax cuts and preferential treatment in the hopes that they will invest here, creating  jobs and economic growth.   But these corporations and wealthy individuals have time and again invested their money overseas, creating jobs and growth in China, India Vietnam, Brazil and other countries.    According to the Office of Management and Budget, in 1950 corporations paid $3 in taxes for every $1 paid by a worker.   Today they pay 22 cents for every $1 paid b y a worker.   We need to create policies which tax fairly and invest in our middle class because when the they do well, everyone benefits.   The most recent tax cut continues the Republican strategy of cutting middle class tax deductions and giving more to those at the very top.   Our tax code has been rigged to help the wealthy, who need that help the least.   It makes sense to ask those who have received all the benefits of the growth of the last 40 or more years to pay their fair share. 


Terrorism and Asymmetrical Warfare - Going forward, our international challenges  will be economic and cyber, rather than the standoffs of nuclear armed titans of the last century.   Winners will be judged not only on  how many warheads they possess but also on how well they provide for their citizens' well-being and  maintain their cyber security.   The threat of terrorism has not disappeared either. It is shifting into the broader economic and cyber warfare going on between countries, regions and trading blocks.   Increasingly we will be subject to asymmetrical warfare attacks, which seek to destabilize and discredit the safety and security of our elections, banking and communications infrastructure.    We must unite to create partnerships among business, banking, communications and government entities to make sure we preserve our leading edge in cybersecurity.   This will also help us remain the economic block which is most sound and efficient in the face of global cyber terrorism.   Religious and ethnic terrorism will also present challenges into the foreseeable future.   We ought to  use diplomatic efforts to build bridges of respect and understanding between our nation and people of different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds.   We must redouble our efforts to embody the great ideals of liberty, justice, freedom and equality which are the cornerstones of our founding documents.   We should employ these ideals in all of our dealings with other peoples and nations.


Trade – The workers of United States and Ohio can beat any competitor in a fair competition.   But increasingly the workers of Ohio are not engaged in a fair fight.   Historically investors placed their money here in the United States because of our political and economic stability.   They knew their factories and mines were not going to be nationalized or destroyed in some revolution or coup d’Etat.    But beginning in the early 1970s, the United States and Ohio in particular saw much of our manufacturing base move overseas.   This trend has been made worse through our defense and tax policies.   Our military has been used to make the entire world safe for investment and industrial production.   This means that investors reap the benefit of producing in countries where wages and raw materials are cheap and regulation is lax.   But the American taxpayer pays the cost of the global security force (the US military) which protects overseas manufacturing and resource extraction on these foreign interests which are often “American” in name only.   This is an investor’s dream: reap the benefits while someone else pays the cost, the ultimate in “corporate welfare” which is rife in Washington, due to the constant need for campaign fundraising.   The move of production and extraction overseas also has a political component.   Products made in the US and particularly Ohio are often made by union workers, some of whose wages end up in democratic party coffers in the form of campaign contributions (Union laborers are historically loyal Democratic party contributors.)    But a large part of the cost of goods produced overseas is comprised of transportation expenses, or the cost of moving goods from overseas back to the US for sale.   These transportation expenses primarily benefit the oil companies which produce marine fuel oil.   Energy companies are historically big contributors to the Republican party.   The second phenomenon driving manufacturing and jobs overseas is the US tax code, which actually rewards overseas production rather than job creation here at home.    US taxpayers have been enlisted to fund efforts which go against the American worker but benefit multinational corporations.    These behemoths often pay no US taxes and actually receive tax subsidies in the millions of dollars.


Veterans Issues – Our veterans have made personal sacrifices many of us cannot even imagine.   They deserve our loyalty and our gratitude for their efforts on behalf of our nation.    The Dayton VA, once known as the “Central Branch,” was once the envy of the nation.   It was the largest and most up to date part of a system which was founded to deal with veterans issues stemming from the great Civil War.   We should ensure that the Dayton VA and the CBOC clinics are on the cutting edge in terms of technology, outcomes and satisfaction among veterans.

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