Jobs and the Economy

The financial crisis that began in 2008 was the worst economic downturn our country has experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Michigan families who were hit particularly hard are still reeling from its effects. Although our economy has started to improve, we must continue to fight hard to create jobs and stabilize the economy in our region.

front_jobsIt is vital for Michigan that we expand our manufacturing base while diversifying our state’s economy. If elected to Congress, I will work closely with both business and labor to develop comprehensive policies to move our region forward and grow our economy in southeast Michigan. Working with our auto industry and our workers, we must remain focused on policies that will strengthen our economy. A number of policies have contributed to our economic recovery including the Auto Industry Recovery Act, an extension of unemployment insurance, which Congress needs to support again, and tax incentives for business investment and hiring. But we can and need to do more.

We have too many young people, as well as older workers, who can’t find a job because the jobs have gone away. In some instances, they are ready and willing to work but can’t find a job because they don’t have the education or skills needed in the workplace. For our part, we need to help create more jobs and ensure workers have access to the education and training they need to be successful. We must support tax policies that help hard-working middle-class families in the interim such as expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and credits for child care expenses. We also need to support policies that will ultimately help them succeed, such as investments in education. We must also have a trade policy that is fair and levels the playing field. We can start by ending corporate tax breaks for those who ship jobs overseas.

It is critical that we protect workers by ensuring their safety in the workplace. The right of workers to organize and collectively bargain must be protected. Too often we see blatant discrimination in employment practices, such as a woman being paid less for doing the same job as a male co-worker with the same skills. This is unacceptable. Everyone who does the same work deserves the same pay regardless of their gender. If elected to Congress I will work to ensure pay equity in the workplace.

Education – Pre-K to College

Every American deserves the opportunity to have a quality and affordable education. Our commitment to education must begin at birth and continue throughout life with access to higher education and job re-training. Recent years have witnessed devastating cuts by the Congress in our investment in education. We must have a real commitment to education; our nation’s young people are 25 percent of our population but they are 100 percent of our future.

For me, education from the time a child is born through graduation is a top priority. Early childhood education and experiences are critical to give every young person a foundation for life. We must provide the opportunity for Pre-K education for all children. We must fund K-12 public education in ways that that offer the rigorous coursework necessary to prepare students to pursue higher education. Our education commitment must include retraining for older workers who want to continue work but who need new skills for jobs in the 21st century. We need to encourage young people to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics education (STEM), which will support U.S. competitiveness and future economic prosperity.

front_educationAs the chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors I’ve seen the positive transformation that comes from a quality education, but I’ve also seen that the opportunity to attain an education is out of reach for many families because of its high cost. I voted against recent tuition hikes at Wayne State because the cost of a college education has risen too much and too fast.

Since the financial crisis the big banks have been able to borrow money at incredibly low interest rates. Yet despite recent progress, students are still paying higher rates. This isn’t fair and it’s why I support Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to level the playing field. I will work to reduce student loan interest rates, including efforts to allow people with older student loans to refinance them at today’s rates, increase funding for our schools, and expand opportunities for job re-training. These efforts will both help reduce the cost of college and help stimulate the economy.”

As your Congresswoman, I will work closely with our nation’s education professionals to ensure that they have a seat at the table in developing comprehensive polices to prepare students for the future.

Health Care

I believe that if you live in America you have a right to affordable, quality healthcare. Since 2003 employer sponsored healthcare premiums have risen 80 percent, three times faster than wages or inflation. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) these cost increases have slowed dramatically.

The ACA was passed by Congress to give all Americans access to health care, put individuals in charge of their own medical decisions, gain control of escalating healthcare costs, prevent denial or cancellation of insurance and remove lifetime limits on medical coverage, encourage preventative care without costs or minimal costs to patients; protect individuals’ choice of doctors, and keep young people covered. It also gave patients an important Bill of Rights.

The ACA is not perfect and Congress needs to keep working to improve it. But I will always fight to ensure that if you live in this country you should be able to get medical care, including access to important preventative care that will help reduce health care costs overall.

We must invest in making medical research a national priority, including research into the cure, treatment and prevention of physical and mental disorders. We need to support and increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Center for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Science Foundation that keeps pace with scientific opportunity and societal needs.

Environment and Energy

Our nation’s increasing need for energy must be addressed in ways that balance our economy with the stewardship of our environment. Striking this balance is one of the most vital issues facing the United States.

Climate Change, as the experts have proven, is a real problem that requires pro-active solutions from the federal government. We need programs that help the private sector explore new business models that can deliver clean energy and energy efficiency at lower cost. If elected to Congress, I will seek out and support appropriate solutions that put our country on a realistic and sustainable path to address this challenge. We need to increase funding for research & development of sustainable energy sources, support tax credits for the development and production of renewable energy like solar, wind, and more efficient and electric vehicles, explore user fees to reduce pollution, and increase funding for mass transit.

On a personal note, I grew up on the St. Clair River. Summers of boating, floating on the river in an inner tube, and the thrill of catching that big fish — be it perch, pickerel, bass or walleye – remain fresh in my memory. But the issue of protecting our fresh water supply is a serious one. The Great Lakes are a precious resource for our region and contain 20 percent of all freshwater on the planet. They face serious threats from invasive species, toxins, water diversion, wetland destruction, sewage overflows and Climate Change. I am committed to working with all communities to protect this valued asset of our region.

Equality

Everyone deserves the same rights and protections under the law regardless of who they are or who they love. Discrimination in housing, employment, and other facets of American life is immoral, hurts of nation’s fragile economy, and must be stopped. I support policies to end discrimination and expand opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity & expression, and disability.

Immigration

The United States is a land of opportunity. Our history has been written by generations of immigrants who have come to our borders looking for the promise of a better life. They have shaped our culture, our economy, and our national story, helping to make us the greatest of nations. Unfortunately, our nation’s immigration system has many flaws that hinder economic growth and tear families apart. I support comprehensive immigration reform that is both fair and humane while ensuring our nation’s security.

Seniors

Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders rely on Social Security and Medicare. These men and women worked hard for decades and paid their fair share to support these vital programs. There are those that have repeatedly called for dramatic cuts to Social Security and Medicare even though the individuals who rely on these programs are often the most vulnerable in our community. I will fight every day to preserve these vital programs. I believe that no senior should have to choose between eating or paying bills. We need to protect and support our senior citizens.

Social Security is the backbone of our safety net and represents a fundamental promise – that a lifetime of hard work will be rewarded with a secure and dignified retirement.  The program has never missed a payment in 81 years and two out of every three retirees rely on Social Security for a majority of their income.  This year, Social Security turned 81 years old and we should commit ourselves to protecting the program from misguided cuts and attacks and turn our focus on expanding it so it provides a better quality of life for beneficiaries.  Today, benefits average $14,600 per year for all beneficiaries and only replaces 40 percent of a worker’s wages.  I am committed to expanding Social Security benefits in a responsible manner that will secure it’s long term future so all Americans can continue to enjoy the critical benefits offered by this landmark program.
Veterans

We must ensure that our nation’s veterans receive the support they earned by defending our nation. The recent problems at the Veterans Affairs Department must be addressed promptly and comprehensively, and our priority must be to ensure that veterans receive timely and quality health care.