HEALTH CARE | THE RELIGIOUS CIVIL WAR IN IRAQ | ENERGY | TAXES | IMMIGRATION | ECONOMY | SECURITY | INTEGRITY | PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT & OUR GREAT LAKES | EDUCATION | STEM CELL PROGRESS | GREATEST CHALLENGES FACING THE UNITED STATES
Let me be perfectly clear – we do not need socialized medicine – period. And we do not need more government control of our personal health.
But for many of my patients, it’s either skip a pill or skip a meal. As a physician, I see and feel this crisis everyday. We must enact legislation to guarantee access to affordable care for every citizen by enacting these essential elements in a single piece of legislation: (1) open disclosure of all prices; (2) securing the same discounts for all citizens, so we all pay the same price for the same health service or product; and (3) build the largest insurance risk pool possible – 300 million strong to leverage down prices for insurance coverage and prescription drugs.
We must also establish a standard health insurance policy and demand that health insurance companies sell this basic policy nationwide – one that covers you from head-to-toe without any discrimination due to any pre-existing conditions.
In other words, if it’s in your body – it’s covered, and if you’re a citizen – you’re in – with No Patient Left Behind.
Our involvement in the religious civil war in Iraq was unnecessary and prevents us from solving every other problem we face. Indeed, in listening to our very best military generals, it is clear our invasion of Iraq was not necessary. And by spending millions of dollars every minute over there, we are unable to solve our own problems right here at home.
The real truth about the Iraq War has been revealed: there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; Al-Qaeda terrorists were not based there before our invasion; Iraq was never involved in the 9/11 attacks against America; there has been an ongoing religious civil war in Iraq for centuries; and Iraq did not pose a risk to our own national security. Plainly put – we were never in any imminent danger.
But our brave soldiers are in Iraq, and we must deal honestly with the realities on the ground. Plainly stated, our troops do not belong in Iraq. For what Islamic clerics could not do in a thousand years, President Bush has done in four: he united our enemies against us, and divided us from our friends.
Sadly, over 650,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed – and even after our forces deposed Saddam Hussein, we still have absolutely no control of the killing.
Let’s agree that all Americans have the same goal: a safer and more secure nation and a stable Middle East. And let’s also understand there is no military solution in Iraq, and most importantly, we must take our troops off Iraqi streets and out of harms way – now.
Like everyone, I believe we must become an energy independent nation. We can do this by establishing four essential goals, even as we begin to confront climate change: (1) emit less carbon dioxide, pollutants and greenhouse gases; (2) invest heavily in renewable energy; (3) enable existing utilities to become sources of renewable energy; and (4) begin to decrease the effects of human activities on our environment.
Becoming energy independent will require sacrifices from everyone, but a well-conceived strategy can succeed – especially when developed in the open and not behind closed doors. And when it is based on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy resources, we will all win.
As the world’s oil supply continues to decline, we expect oil prices to increase dramatically.
We all understand we can’t get something for nothing. What we really want is fair taxation, for this is the real principle that should guide our tax policy. I am working to ensure tax fairness, and will represent the best interests of all people in the 8th District. We also need to simplify our tax code and make certain everyone – and every corporation – pays their fair share.
America has always been the land of hope and opportunity, and immigrants have often been our new leaders, but President Bush’s policies of invisible borders and uncontrolled immigration have threatened our national security, increased our health care costs, and sent our country’s educational costs through the roof.
There are three things we can do immediately to address this challenging and complicated problem: (1) secure our borders; (2) obey and enforce our laws; and (3) allow no amnesty and no cutting in line for those who violate the law.
We must also demand that employers of foreign workers pay for health care and educational expenses of illegal workers – not local taxpayers. And in support of both large and small businesses, we must assist employers in acquiring newer technologies of identifying who is, and is not, legally employable.
By working together during the 110th Congress, Republicans and Democrats have the best opportunity in a generation to solve this critical issue.
Agriculture and manufacturing have been the economic backbones of Wisconsin and best reflect who we are. But in recent years, thousands of hard working people in our District have lost their manufacturing jobs, and when their jobs were shipped offshore, much of the wealth in our region also disappeared.
We need a positive change and a new direction. Let’s start by shipping our Wisconsin values overseas, not our jobs. We need balanced trade, not free trade – as we develop an aggressive agenda to attract higher wage jobs to Northeast Wisconsin. Let’s bring great manufacturing jobs back to Wisconsin.
In Congress, we are working to close tax loopholes that assist corporations in moving their operations overseas, and rewarding companies who create higher-wage jobs.
Wisconsin is fiscally responsible and socially progressive. Our values are reflected in our local and state budgets. Plainly stated – we pay our bills, and when we don’t have the money, we don’t spend it. It’s time to get back to basics in Washington and begin to eliminate our nation’s sky-high national debt – while establishing balanced trade deals.
We must do whatever it takes to protect America and keep hostilities off our shores. Today, like it or not, we are all living on the front lines. By beginning to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission on Homeland Security, we have taken a wise first step in securing ourselves. We must also secure our borders and reduce threats from nuclear weapons. Terrorism is a tactic used by violent extremists, and we must do everything possible to defend ourselves within the laws set forth in our Constitution.
Before the last election in November 2006, public confidence in our government was at an all time low. America voted for a positive change and a new direction. I was proud to cosponsor legislation to enact new Rules for Congress in January 2007. These House Rules will restore integrity to our government. We are beginning to free our government from the influence of political insiders and special interests.
We must remain accountable to the will of the people, after all, I am in a public office, not a corporate office. I will continue to work hard to restore public integrity and will remain no one’s Congressman but yours.
Wisconsin has a proud heritage of environmental activism, led by our Native American history, and by Aldo Leopold and former Senator Gaylord Nelson – the father of Earth Day. In the short term, we must protect all of our waterways and our Great Lakes from invasions by aquatic invasive species and toxic pollutants, such as PCBs. We must make certain the quality of our surface water and underground aquifers remain pristine.
Cleaning up the Fox River will answer the essential question of our time: what kind of people are we? Shall we allow local industries to bury their mistakes in our waterways, and then pass the buck to our children and grandchildren? Or shall we demand people and corporations take responsibility for their actions, and do what we all know must be done – remove the PCBs from the river.
Wisconsin invented Environmentalism and Earth Day. Let’s put it this way: people in Wisconsin do not reward polluters. Our human health is forever tied to the health of our air, water and soils – and inextricably to the Fox River. As the Fox goes, so go we all.
If we get public education right, everything else will follow. But if we get it wrong, not much else will matter.
We need to move up – not down. A great public education made a great difference in my life, and one of my top priorities is to constantly improve our public schools, universities and technical colleges so they will make a lasting difference in all our lives.
We need to focus on establishing higher standards, measurable outcomes and affordable tuition for all our children. Great public schools are the best tool to guarantee good health, economic development, and equal opportunity. This means continuous improvement and higher expectations. It also means heading off schemes to divert tax dollars out of our public schools into voucher plans for private schools.
By Working Together, We Will … Put a Qualified Teacher in Every Public School; Create Early Learning Opportunities; Cap Class Sizes ; Maintain a Safe Environment for Our Children; Measure the Outcomes; and Make it Easier for Students to Attend Universities and Technical Colleges.
These efforts will begin to solve the challenges facing public education. When we make a commitment for the long haul, with these goals as our starting point, we will re-energize our public schools. Remember, history confirms this: every economy that has ever been successful has invested heavily in education after all, your education really never ends.
As a physician, I know something about human diseases and the personal suffering of my patients and their families. That is why I sponsored legislation for stem cell progress to fulfill the promise of finding a cure for many life-altering and painful disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, juvenile diabetes and spinal cord injuries. Saying no to stem cell progress would be unkind to patients who will benefit from new treatments and potential cures. If one truly cares for life, then one should say yes to stem cell progress. Be not afraid to take this step forward. I am proudly Pro-Cure.
We must begin to think differently in America, and find a better way to do things. During the past decade, our government lost its way and failed to listen to ordinary people. We must restore faith in our government, for good government can make a positive difference in people’s lives. Let’s restore our faith in each other by enacting meaningful and effective election and lobbying reforms.
Abroad, we need to show our allies, and our enemies, that conversations, not confrontations, can solve even our greatest differences. Let’s rediscover the American values that made us great. I believe we have chosen a positive change and a new direction, and by working together, we will build a better future for all of us.