U.S. House District 4: Joe Kennedy III on the issues
JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
I believe that putting the 4th District back to work is our number one priority. We are emerging from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and too many people in Massachusetts are still struggling.
The top creators of jobs in our district and state are small businesses. We need to do everything we can to make sure they have the tools and resources they need to start hiring, and that government is helping them rather than standing in the way.
Among other things, that means opening up access to capital, ensuring our tax code is straightforward and fair, and simplifying the burdensome regulation and permit process currently discouraging growth.
I believe that economic progress begins with education. We must continue to make strategic investments in the education and infrastructure that our cities and towns need to support business and industry. Investments in our public schools, community colleges and vocational programs ensure that Massachusetts continues to be a shining example of the kind of educated, highly-skilled workforce that will lead the way in a 21st century economy.
We must also support infrastructure projects that provide absolutely vital economic links across the district. Projects like South Coast Rail will help connect our communities to the resources and workforce they need to thrive.
We need to support the industries at the heart of our district – the life sciences, financial services, health care, education and manufacturing facilities that make this area world-renowned. By aligning the workforce needs of these businesses with the training programs at our local schools, community colleges and universities, we can create jobs, support industry, and fuel innovation and growth.
On a national level, our efforts in the district need to happen in a pro-growth environment. That means making these strategic investments but also getting our fiscal house in order so that our debt and deficit won’t hold off recovery and growth.
BALANCING OUR BUDGET
I believe in a country where the success of our future generations isn’t limited by the debts of their parents and grandparents. We have an obligation to our children – to their children – to get serious about balancing our budget and reducing our debt and deficit.
To do that, we need a balanced approach that includes both spending cuts and targeted new revenues to reduce our debt. Every American household that struggles with a budget and every business that struggles with a balance sheet understands this.
The middle-class can’t shoulder this burden alone, and I believe it’s fair to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute their share. But in return for that additional investment, we need a real and responsible plan that will get our debt and deficit under control.
On the revenue side, there are a few things we can do right away. We need a tax system where everyone pays his or her fair share. That is why I support the “Buffett rule,” which would ensure no household making more than $1 million each year pays a smaller share of their income in taxes than a middle class family pays. We need to end unfair giveaways, breaks and subsidies for big oil companies, corporations, and the wealthiest among us.
On the cost containment side, the first thing we need to do is control health care costs, which currently consume over 23 percent of the federal budget. Figuring out how to keep our health care system viable and affordable goes hand-in-hand with our economic recovery efforts. And that means defending the progress we’ve made with the Affordable Care Act. But make no mistake – Medicare and Medicaid are essential to the health of our communities and the dignity of our seniors. The best way to protect them is to address the ballooning costs of medical services in the first place.
When it comes to Social Security, we must be vigilant in our efforts to ensure that it remains solvent for those who need it most. I believe we can do this without means testing or raising the retirement age. I will always stand up to efforts to privatize the program and will work to protect our seniors from unfair and devastating cuts to the retirement benefits they have earned and deserve.
We also can’t be afraid to take a step back and look at this differently. Our country’s deficit isn’t going to evaporate overnight. We need to take a long, hard look at where and how our government can be more efficient and effective.
Middle-class families are paying too much at the pump because of this country’s fundamental failure to address its crippling dependence on foreign oil. We need to be doing all we can to lower costs and offer those families some relief.
A comprehensive energy plan is essential to the economy, environment, and security of our district, state and country.
That means maximizing our domestic resources in a responsible way, seriously committing to renewable energy technologies and fuel efficiency measures, and cracking down on speculators manipulating the markets at the expense of working families.
This is also about jobs. Investing in renewable and energy-efficiency technologies in the district will create the kind of highly-skilled, middle-class jobs that our industries are built on. Making homes, schools, and offices more energy efficient is highly-skilled work that can’t be shipped overseas. Pursuing new energy technologies will help put our communities back to work and keep us at the forefront of innovation.
HEALTH CARE REFORM
Affordable health care for every citizen is a right I believe deeply in. I’m proud to be from a state that is a national model for a system where no family is one bad gene or bad accident away from medical bankruptcy.
I support the path set forth by the Affordable Care Act. It’s not perfect, but it makes some important reforms like paving the way for universal coverage, making sure insurance companies can’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and guaranteeing women access to essential health services. There is still much work to do to make health care more efficient, more effective, and more transparent.
It also starts to address cost containment, which I believe is an absolute priority. We’ve begun to explore things like Accountable Care Organizations and global payments systems, which will fundamentally reshape our system in a way that rewards quality of care delivered over the quantity of procedures prescribed.
FOREIGN POLICY AND SECURITY
We have no greater obligation than protecting the safety and security of our country and her citizens at home and abroad.
We’re facing one of the most complicated foreign policy landscapes in our history. We’re engaged in a global fight against terror involving multiple fronts, repeated deployments, tens of thousands dead and wounded, and great uncertainty.
We cannot afford to disengage from the world. But our engagement must be smart and strategic and use a balance of soft and hard power.
As draw-downs of troops in Afghanistan follow the reduction of our forces in Iraq, we must stay vigilant in ensuring that Afghanistan is never used again as a base for attacks against our citizens.
Efforts to contain the growth of nuclear weapons are also essential, including crippling sanctions on Iran to ensure they do not acquire nuclear arms. Iran has made very clear their threat to our good friend and ally Israel. A nuclear-armed Iran is not just a threat to Israel but to the world.
The United States and Israel have an unshakeable 64-year friendship deeply rooted in our shared values of democracy, human rights, religious freedom, tolerance and our common interest in a peaceful and stable Middle East. A strong, mutually supportive U.S.-Israel relationship has always been and must remain the cornerstone of our Middle East policy.
Finally, we must take care of the men and women who give absolutely everything of themselves for this country. Our veterans are heroes – and should be treated as such. We need to be doing everything we can to ensure they have the resources and support they need when they come home.
Providing access to quality education is the number one way to ensure that a child has the chance to succeed. It’s also one of the most significant investments that we as a society can make in our economic future. Unless and until every child is prepared to take up the challenge of continuing our great history of innovation and high-skilled work, we will continue to fall behind where we once led.
We need to invest in early childhood education, work hard to ensure everyone gets the skills and knowledge they need to enter college or our workforce, and continue to support our higher education system, which is one of the crown jewels of this nation.
At the end of the day, there is no substitute in education for a loving home that values education. We need to work hard to encourage families and communities to play a real role in their child’s experience at school. Where a safety net might not exist at home, we must address the inequities and disparities that exist in our system, and make sure that no child falls through the cracks.
Aligning the needs of our industries with our education system is another priority. Here in the 4th District, we need to make sure that our vocational schools and community colleges are preparing students to enter the high-tech, cutting-edge companies driving our economic future.
I believe that this country was founded on the principles of equality and fairness, and that we should be doing all we can to ensure those basic ideals continue to light our way.
I believe that every citizen has the right to love and marry whom they choose. We need to end discriminatory policies like the Defense of Marriage Act, fight for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and address the devastating effect of bullying in schools for LGBT youth.
I believe in equal pay for an equal day’s work and that we should be working tirelessly to end the gender pay gap once and for all.
I believe strongly in a woman’s right to choose and will fight efforts to limit access to reproductive health services.
I was lucky to be raised in a family of incredible women. They are the architects of the ideals that have shaped me and the constant champions of the principles that continue to light my way.
I believe this country was founded on the basic principles of equality and fairness. The fight to preserve and strengthen women’s rights is at the epicenter of our efforts to make sure those fundamental values hold true for future generations.
I believe in equal pay for equal work. We should be working tirelessly to end the gender pay gap once and for all. While we have made some incredible strides over the past several decades, we are still falling short of true pay equity for women in the workforce.
Women have been blazing trails in our economic recovery efforts, and we need to be doing all we can to support women-owned businesses and ensure that our daughters have the very same economic opportunities as our sons. With more women entering the workforce than ever before, this is not only a civil rights issue – it’s an economic priority for our entire country.
I support the path set by the Affordable Care Act, which protects a woman’s access to fundamental health services and makes sure gender is no longer a basis for denying or limiting care. I will fight against cuts to WIC and other programs that deliver assistance to women and children who need it most and will defend funding for Planned Parenthood and for critical family planning services that too often come under political assault.
I believe strongly in a woman’s right to choose and will fight any efforts to limit access to reproductive health services.
I pledge to champion policies like the Violence Against Women Act and fight against those who try to weaken its protections.
Above all else, I promise you that if am lucky enough to make it down to Washington, I will be not just a voice, but a leader in this fight.
Information provided by Joe Kennedy’s website. For more information click here.