What do I support? It’s both simple and complicated. First and foremost, I support well-written laws. Lots of proposed bills have nice names but bad text. Words matter. Words become law. Let’s make those laws the way policy should be, a balance on a healthy government and personal freedoms. Here is my stance on the most frequently asked issues:
- Democrat or Republican – what are you? I’m neither.
What the heck does that mean? I grew up in a Republican household. I changed, the Republican party changed. I haven’t flipped over to the Democratic side either. I’ve been an independent for darned near my entire adult life. Both parties have had good ideas and bad ideas. Lately, it seems like instead of using clashing ideas to flush out our own and make a better idea, politics is just about squabbling. It doesn’t have to be. We can do better. Republicans, I like being financially responsible, smaller government, lower level control…but that means government stays out of my personal business, medical decisions, and freedoms of expression. Democrats, I love my first amendment rights, privacy, protecting the vulnerable, access to healthcare…but on a budget, and balancing rights. We aren’t going to agree on everything. That’s ok. I’m not asking you to. I’m a moderate, reasonable voice that will vote on good law that protects and balances. Everyone else? My views are the political party that is missing. I would be the “Boring, Reasonable, Competent Party” or the “Cost-effective, Kind Laws Party.”
- Climate change?
Climate change is real, and the greatest threat to our society of any issues. It is a national defense issue, an economic issue, and a humanitarian issue. Whether or not you believe climate change is man-made (and I do believe it is), we have a responsibility to jump to the front lines with mitigation and adaptation immediately. Punting this ball further will only make it more expensive, in fiscal costs and lives lost. If you spend decades ignoring a leaky roof, you’re going to need more than a few shingles to fix the damage. This is not a partisan issue, and should be uniting us all. It’s a terrific opportunity to take the lead, create jobs, and create a sustainable future.
- Healthcare? It’s a mess – make it better, not worse
I have a passionate dislike for the ACA. It is deeply flawed legislation. I find it reprehensible to be mandated to purchase for-profit, horrific coverage that covers not much of anything at all and that many, including me, cannot afford to use. However, it should *only* be replaced or modified with improvements. Leaving millions to flounder, decimating people with pre-existing conditions, and limiting options for those with addiction and mental health issues are not acceptable outcomes. There must be a better solution, but it will require collaboration, out of the box thinking, and hard work to get there. The process will likely have a series of incremental steps and thousands of language fixes. There is no quick fix here. Any politician who tells you there is, well they are telling you want you want to hear, not what actually exists. I’m often asked about Medicare for All, and the issue with that model is it still fundamentally functions like insurance. Insurance might not be the best model for us, so let’s explore possibilities to get our system built right. Let’s update and improve the ACA while we thoughtfully consider and CBO score a few models – there may be elements of single-payer, universal, market features, and/or things we haven’t come up with yet.
- Taxes? I’m for fiscally efficient spending.
Once upon a time I was a fiscal conservative. Cutting budgets doesn’t always make for good long term solutions. Sometimes you have to spend more to get a great result. Sometimes a budget program shouldn’t be run at all. Everything should have a good return on investment, remembering that not all returns are exclusively financial – it might be the health of our children, a reduction in crime, or other factors that do have value other than a specific dollar amount.
- Guns? I support the 2nd amendment, but if you abuse people you shouldn’t have guns.
There are people who should not have access to weapons, and weapons people should not have access to. I value our right to defend ourselves and our families, as well as our many hunters in Maine. However, domestic violence is not ok. There is a firm link between abusers and murder. No one should ever have to fear being a specific target from a family member that we have already learned is dangerous. We all know people who are fine, responsible gun owners…we also know the ones that aren’t. Sensible regulation should help keep guns in the hands of those who are responsible. In other words – I don’t care if you hunt, I do care if you hunt people, and no one needs a tank to hunt a moose.
- Marijuana Legalization? This is a state issue and there should not be a federal prohibition.
Maine has voted to have communities decide how we handle marijuana. The federal government should not interfere in our state sovereignty on this issue. It’s also truly ridiculous that it hasn’t been fully federally de-scheduled, and those still in jail for activity that would earn them a small business award now should be immediately released with records corrected.
- Pro-choice/Pro-life? I’m pro-privacy.
It is incredibly difficult to make complex medical decisions, from cancer care to abortion coverage. The government doesn’t belong in this space, it’s an overreach of authority. These are private decisions to made by a patient with the guidance of qualified medical professionals. Privacy also should extend far beyond this single medical issue – it’s who and how we choose to love (provided that everyone has capacity to participate), how many children we have, when, and how we raise them, our faith, and a range of other personal decisions we make. It shouldn’t matter if you are pro-life or pro-choice, you should be pro-government shouldn’t be that big and should stay out of my business – and if that hasn’t sufficiently sold you, perhaps consider the government power to tell a person they must continue a pregnancy is the same power that would allow for a government to tell you that you must end one (and how you must live generally); how it has been used in many places. Join me in telling the government we’re all set with their busy bees in our lives. No one can make decisions about our personal lives in DC better than we can for ourselves.
- Student Loans.
There is a lot of debate right now about how to handle ballooning student loan debt. The solution is likely going to be multi-faceted and not immediate. Let’s immediately take student loan interest to zero (interest rate, interest rate going forward, accrued interest, and capitalized interest) so any payments made by borrowers would then be progress and there is a hope of getting out from under the burden of the debt while Congress figures out a long-term package. One uncontroversial policy change would instantly take nearly all student loan borrowers out of predatory lending situations.
- What do you mean when you say cost-effective, kind law?
There are a lot of areas where our leadership is making penny smart, pound foolish choices. An example of this is that in most areas of the country hearing, vision, and dental aren’t covered by Medicare; how short-sighted for those long in the tooth! There are numerous studies that show direct links between keeping healthy in these three areas and extended healthy lifespan. Folks would go into assisted care later in life on average, and we should realize savings fairly swiftly…plus, it’s just nice. We can have policy that increases our quality of life. When we make shared purchasing decisions, we need to include impacts to overall societal wellness in our calculations.
- Who will you caucus with?
I’m not in a party. My allegiance is to making sure we have law that works well for us. We also need people to start working together again. It’s easy to think of party caucuses as ideological alignment since we don’t currently have any independents serving as Representatives; the major caucuses are broken on party lines at present. However, I’m using my mediator lens, and that world view of a caucus as a sub-group of a larger body where we get together to problem-solve. My plan is to caucus with the party in power; to walk to the drafting table and request a seat. Will that shift the balance of power? Incredibly unlikely – 1 out of 435 members of the house is 0.2% of the membership. However, trying to break the gridlock might actually get things moving…and I want to keep an eye on whichever party is making the law.
- What are you actually going to get done?
In a first year? Not much. Anyone who tells you otherwise probably does not understand how DC functions. However, I do think there is great room for progress in rural broadband, infrastructure projects, and descheduling cannabis for medical research, tourism and fiber production. I also believe there is immediate and incremental progress that can be made on climate change action, healthcare, student loans, and bringing federal and state laws into alignment to work on curbing violence in our country. I do not plan to campaign in a traditional method. I do plan to continue #MaineRaising to help us all, and focus on the business of making our laws, not acting as a lobbyist for my own campaign.
Missing something? More questions? Let me know! Keep an eye out for the blog and social media for my opinion on specific legislation.