U.S. House District 4: Elizabeth Childs on the issues
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The economy and job growth
I believe government’s role is to provide a healthy economic environment to spur private sector innovation and job creation through sound fiscal and regulatory policy. Unfortunately, the federal government has become a roadblock to economic expansion.
We need to get back on track and make job creation the number one priority for our country. To accomplish this, I believe in the following core principles:
Responsible Fiscal Stewardship
We cannot continue to spend $3.7 trillion per year while taking in only $2.2 trillion per year. These practices have led to an astonishing $14 trillion of national debt that places America’s strength, security, and prosperity at risk.
We need to reduce federal spending and grow revenues to bring federal finances back under control. Given that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security make up more than 40% of the federal budget, systemic reform of these programs is essential to get our fiscal house in order and to sustain this safety net for poor, sick, and elderly Americans.
I favor a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution to help bring federal finances back under control in the long run. We shouldn’t have to ask our elected officials to responsibly manage our national budget; it's their job. The federal government ought to be required to balance its books just like every family and business across the country.
Simplify The Tax Code
The current tax code adversely affects our economy because it is too complicated and burdensome. I commit to simplifying the tax code, reducing overall base rates, and eliminating tax loopholes.
Remove Burdensome Regulations
Reasonable government regulations protect our citizens’ interests. Unnecessary and overly prescriptive regulations create barriers to innovation and free enterprise. By balancing regulations and incentives, we protect our citizens’ interests and our natural resources and create a business friendly environment.
Implement a More Responsible Energy Policy
A key driver for the US economy is the cost of energy. We must take pragmatic steps to lower the cost of energy over the short and long terms. This will require a comprehensive US energy policy that balances our economic and environmental interests. The most realistic and responsible approach is to strategically increase domestic drilling while promoting energy efficiency and supporting green renewable energy research.
Reform Our Education System
Education is an essential tool in addressing unemployment and preparing the American people for the jobs of the 21st century.
Quality public education for every child beginning with preschool will ensure that we thrive and prosper in a global economy. High quality teachers, adequate classroom time, high standards for learning and accountability to parents and communities are essential ingredients that deserve our investment and uncompromising commitment. Education occurs over whole lifetimes, including higher education and adult job retraining programs, and is critical to prepare our citizens to address the challenges we face in America.
Fix Our National Infrastructure
Upgrading public buildings, parks, information technology, transportation systems, energy grids, and water management resources is worthy of capital investment. Our roads and bridges, railways, and ports have deteriorated even while America is borrowing at record levels. Poor infrastructure harms our economy and places the safety of our citizens at risk. I advocate for a wise, comprehensive national infrastructure plan that prioritizes projects based on need rather than on which states have the most political influence.
Foreign policy and defense
The world is a dangerous place. America has its friends, but we also have enemies. We prepare our country for the threats we face today and in the future by making wise investments in defense spending. Rational foreign policy emphasizes support of our friends abroad, such as Israel, and holds true the American ideals of human rights, free trade, personal freedoms and liberties, and democratic representation by the people.
Health care for all Americans
Every American should have access to quality health care and should not be penalized because of pre-existing illness. What works in Massachusetts to achieve this goal is not necessarily the same solution as what will work in other states. For this reason, I support a state by state solution that is designed by state and local public officials, doctors, patients, insurers and health care leaders and providers who are closest to the needs of the population and the existing health care infrastructure and resources.
Personal freedom is the cornerstone of our American heritage. Any time we let government restrict any one of our citizen’s personal choices, all of our freedom is reduced. As a conservative, I passionately believe that government should not tell its citizens what to do, including what they should do with their bodies or whom they should love. For those reasons, I am pro-choice and support gay rights.
I strongly support the Second Amendment. As an avid lover of the outdoors, I have spent many hours camping with my family in our Airstream trailer. Speaking with other parents hiking with their children in the wilderness of Alaska has helped me understand the importance of the right to bear arms for personal protection and subsistence. Speaking with parents of youth gunned down on our city streets has helped me understand the importance of prudent regulations and licensure.
Middle East Policy
The Middle East is facing unprecedented turmoil as the “Arab Spring” has so far failed to produce the hoped for reforms, and as Syrian leaders continue to unleash unspeakable horrors upon their own people with the aid of a nuclear-bent Iran.
Recent Administration policy responses toward actions in Afghanistan have communicated to the larger Arab world that America is in retreat, while violence rages throughout the neighborhood without clear-eyed voices of authority. The leaders that are emerging in this foment are less friendly toward the sovereignty of Israel and to the United States. As Israel is our most stable democratic ally in the region, a historic partner, and a nation in desperate need of reliable friends, our Middle East policy must contain a robust component ensuring the security of Israel and a hedge against those who wish it harm. Quite plainly, the United States must be steadfast in its support for a Jewish state of Israel that is a safe and secure homeland for Jews around the world.
For more than sixty-five years, since its founding, Israel’s existence has been marked by conflicts both with the Palestinians and its wider Arab neighbors. There have been wars, blockades, and an alarming rise in power by Hamas, al Qaeda and Hezbollah—terrorist organizations, some armed by Iran, and all opposed to a safe and prosperous Israel maintained.
Despite several U.S. brokered attempts to reach a peaceful, two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, including signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 giving Gaza and the West Bank in exchange for commitments to recognize Israeli statehood, Palestinians repeatedly walked away from negotiations.
The Obama Administration has been no more successful than other administrations over the decades in bridging this divide and in fact has put at risk our long-standing alliance to Israel by suggesting that Israel should essentially retreat to its pre-1967 borders as the basis of any final settlement.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ move to formally request to join the United Nations as a full member state is a serious breach of any good faith negotiation with its own neighbor and a flout to U.S. authority, which has worked for decades to secure for the world and our ally Israel a lasting peace.
The Obama “Doctrine” to apologize, retrench and play a more restrained role on the international stage cannot solely be blamed for the poor outcomes we now witness in Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and notably Syria. But the President’s retrenchment policy to cut the U.S. deficit by cutting our defenses is perhaps this president’s most ill-advised and outright dangerous move since taking office.
Carter administration National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinsksi offered a sobering perspective on a retrenched American policy in the Middle East in the January issue of the widely respected publication, Foreign Policy:
“With the decline of America’s preeminence, weaker countries will be more susceptible to the assertive influence of major regional powers. India and China are rising, Russia is increasingly imperially minded, and the Middle East is growing ever more unstable. The potential for regional conflict in the absence of an internationally active America is real. Get ready for a global reality characterized by the survival of the strongest.”
America’s decline and retrenchment in Middle Eastern and Israeli affairs undermines international resolve for political stability in the entire region. With so many neighboring nations facing internal populist dissent and a concurrent rise in religious fundamentalism among those poised to fill the leadership gap, the United States must remain engaged in not only resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also ensuring that Iran becomes convinced that the U.S. will react forcibly should there be any threat to Israel’s security and survival. Right now, however, there remains a question as to the Obama Administration’s resolve to protect Israel and preserve our long-standing alliance. It’s time for America to clarify its intent and identify common ground before a domino effect leads toward a general war and before Iran’s nuclear capacity is beyond restraint.
The President should not be focused on whether and how to side between Israel and its Arab neighbors but to quell tensions between them. The Administration should take decisive action to prevent a nuclear-capable Iran and be prepared, alongside Israel and all peace-loving nations, to use strength as a deterrent by pledging military force if necessary – not speak in meaningless euphemisms such as “keeping options on the table,” which will be disregarded by power mongers like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs. America has learned throughout history that dictators respond to strength, not weakness. It’s time for America to rise again.
The United States should unequivocally declare Israel’s right to take action in its self-defense and work jointly with our ally to provide the necessary technological and economic resources to ensure that Israel—a nation in an unstable and unfriendly neighborhood—is not “wiped off the face of the map.” Decisions about a final peace agreement and parameters of a Palestinian state must be decided by the two parties—but America must not hedge in advancing this.
Finally, in spite of our serious economic and deficit problems in our homeland, the United States must be equally resolute in setting actionable timetables for preventing a nuclear-capable Iran—a crisis that threatens national security on the grandest scale and is constitutionally job number one for our federal government.
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