The contents of this post is also being sent to my representatives and senators in congress and summarized via phone calls.
I find strong and convincing evidence that the defense of our democracy begins first and foremost with a well educated and informed citizenry. For this reason, I believe it is imperative that overall educational funding not be cut, and that any savings that comes from terminating programs that are not working be applied to those programs that are working, as well as to new programs directed at developing 21st century skills as outlined in the standards put out by the International Society for Technology in Education. I also strongly advocate for continued funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting at current levels.
In addition to an educated and informed citizenry, national and international defense is most strongly, sustainably, and humanely enacted through support of programs directed at achieving the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals both here and abroad. Effective programs addressing hunger, poverty, health, and environmental sustainability must continue to receive sufficient funding to continue to be effective. At a minimum these programs should see funding at current levels. The health reform passed last year should undergo legislative review to find ways to improve universal access to quality basic health care based on evidence of impact as programs are enacted. Health care reform measures must be well funded to assure a valid test of impact. Programs and policies encouraging economic growth should prioritize support for small and medium businesses and grassroots innovation even at the cost of decreased support for large for-profit corporations.
To tackle the budget deficit, programs, tax cuts, and tax breaks that do not directly support the above should be the ones most scrutinized. Cuts should be directed to those areas that can most readily absorb those cuts without putting individuals at risk of having to do without their basic human rights. I am convinced that this must begin by repealing the tax cuts for the higher income brackets and especially through significant cuts in defense spending.
It is clear our current level of spending is unsustainable and difficult choices must be made. These choices will represent the priorities of our nation whether or not they are truly reflective of the priorities of the majority, or instead just a few. My own priorities reflect my belief in a traditional liberal democracy that recognizes that in a just society government does have a responsibility to enact laws and programs that protect and promote basic human rights that include but extend beyond the right to property. They also reflect my Christian values that we as individuals and a nation will be judged by how we care for the least among us.
Thank you for your service to our region representing us on capital hill. You are in my prayers as you face this very difficult challenge in shaping the policies and budget that will continue to build our great nation.