The “Right to work” is a misnomer. It is a right to starve. It is a right to allow union busting to take over where workers’ rights once guided our path. It is not coincidence that the rise of “Right to Work” legislation has been in lock-step with the decline of a unionized labor force and the marginalization of We the People.
Climate Change threatens our way of life and in many ways life itself. I will address climate change directly as the real problem that it is and We The People can be a big part of the solution. Residential use accounts for 14% of our total power bill as a nation and we can fix that problem one rooftop at a time. A simple change to the Net-Metering policy will incentivize home owners to invest in renewables like solar and wind power and turn their home into a revenue source as you sell your excess power back to the grid. I will work to give the consumer direct access to sell their green power back to the local utility instead of the current credit-based system. You will not pay each month for the privilege of being connected to the grid. You will not be hindered by your local Public Utilities Commission and their forced bowing down to Berkshire Hathaway (parent company of NV Energy) because of legislation signed by our Governor. Your home should be part of a carbon-friendly, energy-producing community. Subsidies for fossil fuels will end completely. There is no defensible reason to subsidize a mature and profitable industry. Our tax dollars are going to Green initiatives and promoting new industries that will employ us and serve us.
The incumbent currently representing you scored a paltry 3% on the Annual Environmental Scorecard.
Good paying jobs are critical to the health and prosperity of Americans. As we move towards a service-based economy we have to raise the wages for service providers to a living wage. We must do away with Right-to-work legislation and encourage collective bargaining. It is critical that we invest in infrastructure and encourage unions to build and maintain that infrastructure. We must move away from dangerous and destructive industries like fossil fuels and toward the technologies that lead to jobs in renewable and clean energy. This requires that we retire many Americans, retrain them in new fields and redeploy them. This is a capital investment that needs to come from We the People at the highest levels of government so that Americans can transition from one career to another and still live a prosperous and dignified life.
Schools need to include vocational training and that training, along with college needs to be paid for by all of us so that we turn out skilled workers without debt burdens. A job, for most of us, is also an identity and a sense of purpose. We take pride in our jobs and our jobs need to reflect that pride by providing us with the means to live a life that includes economic security as well as a sense of accomplishment. It is our job as Americans to ensure that Americans have good jobs.
Those of us who have been here a while remember bumper stickers, “Mining: It works for Nevada” and “If it isn’t grown, it has to be mined.” Those arguments still hold true today. Back when mining was done by local corporations with a vested interest in Nevada’s land and water mining companies behaved responsibly with regard to land reclamation and it is here that the greatest breakdown has occurred. We cannot and will not abandon mining but we must hold accountable those extra-national corporations responsible for extracting our precious resources. A weakened EPA coupled with a negligent State leadership is depriving us of our public lands one tailings pond at a time. Resulting from greed and apathy, we now have inoperable, abandoned mines that in some cases continue to employ a single individual in perpetuity so that it is legally still, “Open” and thereby avoid the costs associated with clean-up. A move that is simultaneously legal and despicable.
To his credit, Governor Sandoval is working to create a tax on mining that would be used to pay for the clean-up that mines would have historically paid for directly at the mines end of service. Sandoval’s solution is faster and easier than attempting to modify existing legislation and I applaud Governor Sandoval for this effort.
Moving into the 21st century, Nevada is fast becoming the next Silicon Valley, or as I like to think of it, Graphene Valley. In addition to the gold and silver mines upon which Nevada was founded and with which we helped win the Civil War, we require Lithium for Tesla’s batteries and that means mining is going to increase. This means good-paying jobs that cannot be exported are on the horizon. We must marry this promise of prosperity with a promise of proper land reclamation so that we can return the land to safe public use.
Ranching in Nevada requires access to grazing lands. As a result of anthropogenic climate change we have devastated much of the previously usable grazing lands. In an act of conservation many lands that used to be available to ranchers for grazing are now off-limits because of failing indigenous ecosystems. The predictable response to this change has been and is increased costs associated with ranching. Suitable grazing lands are getting farther away, fewer in number and smaller in size.
As we address climate change we will restore our lands to their usable state. Once restored, we can roll back imposed restrictions and return ranchers to the locations and practices they found most beneficial.
Nevada’s public lands are a beautiful natural resource for all people to enjoy. Beyond just Nevadans, citizens across our great country and visitors from all over the world come to Nevada to enjoy our myriad outdoor activities. Our State constitution clearly lays out the ownership and stewardship responsibilities of these resources. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to protect and maintain our lands and the Federal government has been responsible for doing so since Nevada became a State in 1864. From maintaining parks to addressing feral horses and invasive weeds the Federal government has been a faithful steward of these lands for all of us and when I’m elected it will continue to do so.
Your current representative has been pushing to “Take the land back” and by that he means to turn it over to the State. The fact is the State has never had the land so this isn’t a matter of taking it back but rather taking it outright. This isn’t a return this is a confiscation, the goal of which is to allow local developers to get their hands on our lands and do with them as they please. The State will not provide the necessary resources to keep our lands well-maintained so that leaves us with the options of either abandoning stewardship of these lands or selling the lands in part to pay for maintenance of the remainder. Neither option is acceptable to me. If we are not ready to be financially responsible for the stewardship of our lands then we need to leave them in the care of those who have already provided care and support for over 100 years.
Elections will neither be bought nor stolen on my watch. Money in politics is the root of everything that is wrong with our government. One step toward solving this problem is to look how other countries handle their election process. The United Kingdom for example gets the job done in a few weeks and it with a fraction of the cost.
Instant Runoff Voting instead of our current First-Past-The-Post system will ensure that the people we elect more accurately reflect the interests of the majority of the people. When you vote you should have the option to choose among the candidates as well as a fill-in-the-blank and none-of-the-above with a system in place to handle these choices instead of them being seen as protest throw-away votes. If enough voters are dissatisfied with the candidates offered we need a mechanism to dispose of them all and try again until we find someone we can agree on.
For those who are interested in expanding term limits to the U.S. Senate and Congress I offer this word of caution: We have to have campaign finance reform first. Failure to get big money out of politics means that if we have term limits we will see a revolving door of people we don’t know being put in front of us by moneyed interests. Politics must not be reduced to advertising campaigns and that is exactly what will happen. Establishment interests will happily fund the next yes-man’s campaign for office with no loyalty to the expired individual being released.
We have made the term “Career politician” a pejorative. Someone who spends their life practicing a craft isn’t deserving of this derision. We don’t ridicule a career welder, teacher or mechanic, for example. The idea of a public servant establishing a successful career deserves the same consideration. The problem isn’t that a person is in the job for too long, it is the job they do while there that should be reviewed and discussed. So long as establishment interests dictate the behavior of our elected leaders it won’t matter if that leader is there for one term or 10 – we will get the same lack of progress. Get money out of politics and let good people do the things they are good at doing.
Social Security benefits have lagged behind the cost of living for too long. We add billions of dollars every year to our defense budget but nothing for our nation’s seniors. We can and must do better than this as a nation.
We will have a Single-Payer healthcare system like the rest of the developed nations have enjoyed for decades and we will treat mental health with both genuine concern and proper funding. Expanding to a Medicare-For-All model is the simplest solution as Medicare is already proven to be cost-effective and applauded by those who use it. The 9/11 First-Responders are dying off in horrible and painful ways but the guy I’m going to replace voted “NO” to helping them. Too many of us have lost everything because someone got sick.
We must end these senseless wars and begin a real War on disease and poverty. A healthy and prosperous society is the cure to nearly all of our ills. Investing in mental health care and boosting people out of poverty will go a long way to uprooting the diseased roots of despair and help stem the tide of self-destructive behaviors.
The document reads, “We The People” not “We the multi-national corporation” and as such social services are not to be marginalized to make way for 1% tax cuts. No longer will we accept austerity measures which have been proven to be destructive to a nation’s economy and instead we will be expanding social services – like Medicare – which also adds good paying jobs.
It is unacceptable to deny a woman her right to choose what to do with her body. It is maddening that insurance companies universally support medications to provide aid for erectile dysfunction but can refuse contraception options. We are all created equal regardless of whether we carry our sex organs internally or externally.
Pay equity for all people is another concern that should have been resolved long ago. It is frustrating that “We the People” has to be further specified to be actually inclusive. Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable.
Domestic abuse is predominately perpetrated against women. In November we Nevadans will have the opportunity to vote on sensible legislation to curb gun violence which has already been adopted by 18 States and found to profoundly reduce violence of many kinds including domestic abuse, murder and suicide.
Improving access to childcare will allow women who want to work the freedom to do so. Improving wages will allow these same women the freedom to have one decent-paying job instead of two or three that pay poorly with erratic hours. This empowers women who are Mothers to be able to spend more time with their children. This improves the quality of life for all involved.
My family has been involved with the Soroptimists group for years to help women and children work through some of the most troubling times anyone can imagine. I highly encourage you to become involved too.
Divisiveness over race is one of the few remaining great shames we must face as humans. The phrase, “We the People” is all-inclusive but we have a body of founding documents that shows little regard for some people. Indigenous people are referred to as “Savages”, black people are referred to as fractions and women get no mention at all. We the People means more than privileged Caucasians but it took a civil war and a suffrage movement to establish these truths in writing. Today we still have institutional racism and biases in the justice system that target and punish people of color and while we have come a long way on the road to equality we are not done.
A teenage boy with dark skin and a BB gun was gunned down by an officer within seconds of arriving on scene and with no words exchanged. Conversely numerous Caucasian well-armed men occupied a government building for days and received a measured and tolerant response. Too often people who practice a different religion or have darker skin are presumed guilty, labeled as terrorists and summarily executed.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been serving our nation since 1775. It is important that we maintain our Postal Service as a private counterweight to the established commercial interest of post and package delivery. I also want to return to a day when your Post Office was able to provide simple banking services. Predatory lending is a concern for many Americans and we deserve a publicly funded option.
I was raised around guns. The first weapon I ever fired was at five years of age. My Mother was going through the Police Academy and she helped me hold and fire her .357 service revolver. I have owned rifles and through ROTC I learned to handle weapons including automatic weapons. I am not afraid of guns but I am terrified of what sick and angry people will do with guns. We have seen the success of common sense legislation at the State level and it is time to take this successful model to the Federal level.
Eighteen States prior to Nevada already enacted reasonable gun legislation to combat issues like Straw Man purchases, Gun Show loopholes and to require Instant Background Checks. The States that have taken these measures have seen dramatic decreases in gun violence, murder, suicide and domestic abuse. One State, Missouri, enacted similar legislation and saw their metrics improve like the other 18 States only to have a following legislature repeal the law with the result being a return to previous levels of related crime. We have more than enough evidence across these many States to suggest that this is good legislation.
Other States like Colorado have proven that cannabis legalization is a pathway to an improved economy, an improved school system, and a reduction in crime and death. Opiate overdoses fell when cannabis was legalized. Violent crime fell too. Teen use of cannabis dropped dramatically and the school system received a windfall of tax revenue. Nevada needs more schools to accommodate our growing student population and we need to fill those schools with well-paid teachers. We can begin to do both with the proceeds from the sale of cannabis. If the Federal government continues to drag on with their Schedule 1 nonsense the next logical course of action is to help State credit unions open up banking industry solutions to the commercial side of the marijuana equation.
American taxpayers spend $4,000,000.00 (four million dollars) every hour on foreign wars. This is asinine. We impose our influence in nations that did not ask us to be there and are not a direct threat to us. We do so under the auspices of protecting foreign interests which is of course a thinly veiled way of saying, “Oil”. U.S. influence peddling and nation-building over the last several decades has led to increased tensions around the world. Once heralded as freedom-fighters, groups supported by American money and weapons have become the very sources of terror and destabilization we seek to end. For too long we have presented military policy as foreign policy.
Dear Wall Street: I occupied you in 2011. That was just the start. High-frequency trading is going to be reigned in with taxation and regulation. Capital Gains paid by the idle-rich is half the rate of taxation of our labor. There is no excuse for labor to subsidize capital. Speculation is not banking, it is gambling and We the People are not going to shoulder the insurance burden.
When the big banks were too big to fail we bailed them out and now they’re bigger than ever and with the tacit endorsement of the bailout the biggest culprits have an unfair competitive advantage over other lenders who won’t be saved by We The People when they make terrible choices. Together, we will take these institutions, break them into pieces and hold their leadership accountable. When big banks receive fines that are fractions of the profits earned by their transgressions the banks see it as a profitable business decision. The leadership of these institutions need to be help criminally accountable as we did during the Savings & Loan crisis. Only the threat of loss of personal freedom will motivate these people to change their behavior.
High Frequency Trading (HFT) is another example of Wall Street speculation gone-too-far. We will adopt a policy of “One cent, one second” which stands for a one cent transaction tax on each transaction and a minimum standing order time of one second. This simple change eliminates the unfair bias of HFT and levels the playing field for all of us who cannot afford to run their own fiber optic lines and have servers co-located with the Exchanges.
I occupied Wall Street, now I intend to occupy Democracy by occupying the U.S. Congress.
Building off the idea of the We The People website I want citizens more engaged with their government. The drafting of complete works of legislation can begin with an interactive website and crowd-sourced ideas. Our legislators already take complete works from their largest donors and submit them as-is for consideration and there is no reason We the People cannot enjoy a similar level of access to our legislative process.
The tax code is a mess of preferential treatment and creates chaos for tax professionals and the IRS alike. This is no accident. Establishment politicians have handed in word-for-word copies of bills written by their largest donors. Big business literally writes the rules to favor themselves. This pre-distribution of wealth has sent trillions of dollars out of middle-class America and into the hands of the wealthy few who already have plenty.
Tax abatement practices are a race to the bottom. I’m unwilling to give away our valuable resources to massive corporations that could easily afford to pay the same retail rate the rest of us are expected to pay. It isn’t enough that We The People be treated fairly, our government must also resist the urge to treat big corporations preferentially. By denying this practice at a Federal level we remove this option from the bargaining table. We can allow governors to work to lure businesses without each State fawning over the corporate interest and tripping over itself to give away more than the next State in a pledge of fealty.
We saw Governor Sandoval give away over $1 billion in inducements to Tesla and then Tesla imported non-union labor to do the work we Nevadans rightfully assumed to be our jobs. What else could we have done with $1 billion? Dozens of schools, perhaps? I don’t blame Governor Sandoval for offering inducements because if he didn’t other States would have. I don’t blame Tesla for importing cheap labor because as a public company they are told to compete for the lowest cost options. But we can learn from this and address these selfish interests by disallowing tax abatement at a Federal level.
In America today we have more empty homes than homeless people. This is yet another unfortunate and avoidable example of wealth and income inequality and shows that we do not have shortages in our country but rather a distribution problem. While pouring money into shelters to temporarily house our lost brothers and sisters and their innocent children is necessary, it should be an even greater focus to move these people into permanent housing, provide decent healthcare and job opportunities. We have wonderful micro-communities where tiny homes provide private dwelling for people and a livable space they can take pride in. These small-footprint homes can be topped with photo-voltaic panels for even more benefit to our society. Getting people off the street reduces crime and improves health which directly benefits our society as well as those in need and each tiny home can take up as little space as the dumpster many of these poor individuals currently rely upon for shelter.
For several decades (post WWII) a single wage-earner could afford a family, a home, transportation and the occasional vacation. Now, that dream is out of reach for millions even with two wage-earners and fewer children. This is a direct result of the decline of the middle-class. Our homeless brothers and sisters, the marginalized portion of society that has already fallen off is a harbinger of things to come and many more are on the precipice of disaster. Most Americans live two paychecks away from homelessness and our overburdened and underfunded social programs can only catch some of us.
Northern Nevada hasn’t seen a new school in over a decade, meanwhile the population continues to grow. We are over capacity and portables, which were once the exception, are now the norm. We have some stop-gap solutions like multi-track and utilizing existing commercial space that can help but they are not a long-term solution. This November we will have the opportunity to add a new revenue stream to the education initiative in the form of legalized cannabis. This is a strong step in the right direction.
Teachers need to be paid better. We already have plenty of administrators, some of whom make a remarkable income meanwhile the teachers in some areas make less than they could tending bar. Our priorities are misplaced. We have too many students per teacher which makes teaching more difficult. In any given classroom it is common to find a group of students who excel but aren’t getting the encouragement and challenges they need to continue growing at their best because the teacher must devote too much of her time to working with the group of students who are falling behind. The gifted students stall and lose interest while the challenged students continue to languish. This troubling environment disenfranchises teachers and drives good educators out of the business. More teachers can give more time to each of these groups and help resolve these issues with the help of parents reinforcing what students learn in school.
Currently we do not have adequate funding sources for education. New home construction provides 1/4 to 1/5 the amount needed to care for the needs of the new students generated as a result of new construction. Most States and counties have more sources of revenue for education than we do in Northern Nevada and we’ve been falling behind for over a decade as a result. The proposed cannabis revenue, pending approval by the people this November, will put a dent in the needs (projected) but still comes up nearly $70 million short of what we need. A sales tax increase will go much further to make ends meet and since nearly 40% of our sales tax revenue is generated by out-of-state tourism we would be getting schools and teachers paid for by sources largely external to our State.
We need to restore classes for music, art and foreign language. Learning to program is a valuable skill that should be encouraged but is not a substitute for foreign language. Exercise and physical fitness are also lacking proper funding and attention. Studies show that children should get more time on the playground and they should go out to play before coming in for lunch. Doing so reduces food waste and the children perform better in school.
We the People are all created equal. Equality in life, love and marriage are among the most basic human rights. Marriage equality means equal recognition of the commitment two people have for each other. Additionally, it provides a pathway for protection of shared property and a means to care for those we love during times of crisis and end-of-life decisions.
Locally sourced food is kinder to the environment than traditional farming in terms of transportation pollution. Moving to a hydroponic farming method reduces our use of water and reduces or eliminates the need for pesticides and fertilizer waste. Foods can be grown and harvested when ripe instead of being chemically accelerated or picked early and delivered same-day to the consumer. The Ogallala Aquifer in the mid-west has been over taxed for decades and will one day run dry. When this happens the dust bowl era we know from history will be repeated and with greater severity. Building urban farming facilities is environmentally sound and will create jobs in the local economy.
Zero Tolerance policies must end. They deprive administrators of the power to assess situations on a case-by-case basis and make thoughtful judgments. It forces punishments that are often draconian and unwarranted and provide little or no room for recourse or discussion.
Gerrymandering districts is politics by cowardice. We can use algorithms to layout voting districts instead of letting biased people carve up their constituents. Too often poor and minority voters are isolated and disenfranchised by this practice.
Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) causes pollution, earthquakes, and poisons groundwater. There is no excuse for this dirty practice to be allowed in Nevada. We have one of the sunniest States in the nation and that’s not just our disposition it is our opportunity.
Energy independence is vital to our security. For decades we have meddled in the affairs of foreign nations in the interest of petroleum and the devastation that has resulted is sickening. For residential customers, solar and wind power along with improved building codes will make your home a source of power instead of a consumer. Power generating communities will become part of a more robust and reliable power grid where a single point-of-failure is replaced with fault tolerance and redundancy.
At a national level we need to pursue good nuclear solutions. Oak Ridge National Laboratory built a Molten-Salt reactor in 1964, ran it for five years and then Nixon simply turned it off to pursue worse technology. Molten Salt reactors like the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) are safe, effective and will satisfy the energy demands of our 21st century lives. We can decommission the 7000 nuclear weapons we have retired and use the fissile material to kick-start new reactors. Keep in mind that these are the nuclear weapons we aren’t pointing at anyone. We can take all 7000 of them away and our defensive posture is unchanged. We have thousands of tons of radioactive waste and generate more every year due and we can dispose of all of it inside LFTRs while generating clean power.
Biomass gasification is another medium to large scale solution we should pursue. Recently we have seen demonstrations of carbon-negative biomass gasification processes which is a huge opportunity to both recycle waste materials and reduce our carbon footprint. Carbon sequestration is our next great industry.
The Electoral College is, at best, useless. This vestigial remnant has neither purpose nor value in the 21st century. A popular vote is the only correct way to reflect the will of the people.
Electronic voting is NOT trustworthy. Even if the source-code was open there is no guarantee that same code will be used to tabulate the scores. Paper ballots and lots of eye-witnesses is the only way to be sure the voice of the people is accurately represented. The disastrous Citizens United decision highlights the need for reforms. You should not need to be wealthy or cater to the wealthy to have the opportunity to serve your country.
Once you are 18 you should registered to vote automatically and forever. There should be no way to lose your right to vote. Some may argue that felons (for example) have shown themselves to be unworthy of involvement in the political process. I disagree. No matter what you may have done you are still a citizen and you should have the right to vote. You are an example of the society that created you – for good or for bad – and regardless of what you’ve made of yourself, you are still a citizen and you deserve representation.
I am a proud supporter of 90 for 90.
In our 21st century connected world we are well beyond the need or reason for Daylight Saving Time. There is no evidence that we save energy or improve our quality of life with this outdated practice.
Autonomous vehicles will improve traffic flow, reduce pollution and enable us to turn a frustrating and dull commute into an opportunity to pursue more productive considerations. True autonomy of these vehicles means we can send them unoccupied to a destination and have them deliver our children, disabled and elderly without the need for a licensed driver on board. My family has trained Guide Dogs For The Blind for years to help the blind and visually impaired navigate our world safely. Autonomous cars are a natural extension of this.
Speed limits throughout Nevada are commonly set too low. The general guideline principle of 85th percentile is a good start but we often fail to reach even that minimum. We have come too far to be inhibited by outdated limits and draconian enforcement methods (speed traps); officers have better things to do than sit along a roadside and wait for you to pass by at a comfortable speed that happens to be in excess of a speed limit designed and established many years ago. For years officers have argued for the increase of speed limits and their expertise should not be ignored.
Truth is, State revenue is a strong motivator for the continuation of speed traps but they do nothing to add to public safety or improve traffic flow – two major concerns that are primary objectives of our elected leaders and the men and women in uniform. It is time to put a permanent end to this practice and free our fine officers from the tedium of this pursuit.
I propose adaptive speed limits. We have the technology to use electronic speed limit signs which can dynamically adjust the posted limit based on traffic volume, date and time, as well as during special events or inclement weather. Adaptive speed limits will encourage attentive driving and provide smoother traffic flow.
Net Neutrality is critical to the free flow of information to all. We cannot allow the major players to promote or demote traffic for any reason. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has made progress in this area and deserves recognition for his good work. ISPs should be considered common carriers.
The performance and security of our Internet is a shared responsibility and ISPs along with national border gateways need to adopt and enforce a same-origins-policy to help protect us against distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS), reflected DNS attacks and the like.
The Internet is the single greatest communication tool since the printing press but the speeds available today are pathetic and we overpay for service. This must change. We deserve a minimum bandwidth standard we can be proud of. Internet Service Providers have had little incentive to invest in infrastructure like they used to because of a lack of competition and a motivation for profit-taking. It is not surprising to see your local Internet service provider suddenly offering more services at lower prices just as word gets out that Google Fiber is coming to your town. These same providers make a point of avoiding each others’ markets creating an oligopoly that is supported by establishment politics.
We will not put back doors in our software for anyone. Digital locks can be made unbreakable. Encryption is math and it is unreasonable to expect smart people around the world to forget how to make it work properly. Deliberately crippling security under the auspices of government inspection is unacceptable at best and at worst is Orwellian. The NSA paid NIST $10,000,000 to deliberately use a flawed Elliptic Curve cryptography standard that is still active throughout the world today. NIST cannot be trusted and the NSA is supposed to responsibly disclose security flaws, not exploit them.
Infrastructure spending is a cornerstone of the Bernie Sanders campaign and important to our economic well-being. Millions of decent-paying jobs will be created and the disposable income enjoyed by the tradesmen and professionals who earn those wages is the driving force behind a robust middle-class and a successful economy. We took $3,000,000,000,000 (three trillion dollars) and used it to make a smoldering hole in the desert. Imagine what that could have done for us here at home. Imagine the bridges, roads and high-speed rail that could have been. We can take that same verve with which we chose to export death and use it to benefit of all Americans.
Rural communities have been ignored by High Speed Internet (HSI) providers for economic reasons. Nevada’s 2nd district is home to many small towns like Austin that suffer as a result of a business model. Austin is situated along highway 50 and is right next to a fiber circuit via which gigabit speeds could be delivered but AT&T won’t bring HSI to their community because there aren’t enough users to make it profitable. It is time to demand a change. We the People invested in a national highway system to everyone’s benefit. We did the same to bring electric power to the nation. It is time to once again take on a grand challenge of this scale and bring HSI to every town in America. Places like Austin suffer because if a lack of access to HSI. The schools suffer from lack of access to information. The students suffer with a lack of exposure and training in the use of the Internet – a skill which will be sorely missed when they go on to higher education. Civil services suffer when police, fire and medical services cannot communicate effectively. It is time to bring high-speed internet to everyone.
National Water Systems are failing and distribution is a significant factor in human suffering. America took charge of connecting our nation with a rail system, then a highway system and later we electrified our nation. In addition to high-speed Internet connectivity we need to take on the mission of connecting our nation with a system of waterways. Plumbing is one of the cheapest and easiest technologies available; we’ve been transporting water over great distances since the Roman aqueducts. It is time we connect our national water resources. We can move water from places where it is overabundant to places in need. We will control flooding, alleviate droughts and help mitigate fire risks with a national waterway project that will create many jobs today and in perpetuity.
Space exploration is critical to our survival. SpaceX landed a first stage and made history. This is what we can do when given a challenge and a real opportunity to succeed. Going forward, ION propulsion and the EM Drive are promising technologies in need of a fantastic energy source like the 80MW compact fusion reactor built by Lockheed Martin. Space exploration leads to off-world living and mining opportunities the world has never known before. Celestial bodies abound with every conceivable commodity in infinite quantities. We need only go get them.
A pathway to citizenship. Immigration is literally what we are founded on and the lady in the harbor still has a sign that talks about huddled masses. We are not deporting 11,000,000 people. We also need to take a hard look at the abuses of work visas that are being used to import workers at low-wages. This practice puts an American out of a job while creating an economic prison for the guest worker. Seasonal and guest workers deserve to be treated better.
It is time to stop locking up cannabis users and start locking up bankers. The only reason Bernie Madoff is in prison is because he stole from the 1%. It costs $60,000 per year to house an inmate and that is too burdensome a cost for non-violent offenders. People need rehabilitation and career training so they can be reintroduced to a society that is ready to put them to work.
Across the nation there are people who have been wrongfully convicted and investigations into their innocence is delayed or denied for years in many cases. Here in Nevada, for example, Dwayne Jackson was 18 years old when he was wrongfully accused and convicted of a crime in 2003 and it took until 2011 for him to be fully exonerated.
Again, here in Nevada but also across the nation, there are thousands of untested rape kits in police custody. Commonly, when an accused confesses or takes a plea bargain the rape kit will never get tested. Meanwhile that untested kit could link the man in custody to numerous other violent crimes if it were tested but instead these mysteries go unsolved in the interest of cost-savings and expedience.
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing strips authority from the judges and prevents the accused from receiving considerations for extenuating circumstance. Judges are there to make these kinds of case-by-case assessments. Mandatory minimum sentencing and the three-strikes policy work in concert to keep for-profit prisons full.
For-Profit Prisons are anathema to American ideals. it is deplorable for a State to be contractually obligated to maintain minimum incarceration rates. Other countries are closing prisons thanks to reduced crime and recidivism – we can do the same. Non-violent offenders need not be incarcerated. When violence is not involved, only the wealthy, for whom restrictions on personal freedom is still a deterrent, deserve to be locked up.
Millennials have been marginalized and their needs ignored. Poor economic prospects coupled with crippling debt await them if we do nothing. Working a full-time job should leave you with something more than despair and need to sign up for Food Stamps.
A tuition-free college education is part of the solution while a healthy job market commensurate with ones education is the bulk of the remainder. When I was a teacher at UNR I saw bright young minds graduate with degrees that had no job market waiting for them. Forced to settle for low-paying jobs, these young people are unable to keep up with the student loan debt they accumulated for a degree they cannot use.
The Minimum Wage has been raised 22 times since 1938 and despite protests from people who claimed economic doom was on the horizon, the results have always been positive. Increasing the minimum wage is the fastest way to lift people out of poverty and get them off government assistance. Wal-Mart is estimated to cost We The People $6.2B annually in public assistance. This happens when an employer pays a worker so little that despite being a full-time employee they cannot afford basic needs and so the worker also signs up for government assistance like Food Stamps. We The People, through our tax dollars, pay for these government services and effectively give a much-needed pay-raise to the worker. The Walton family (Wal-Mart owners) can afford to pay their workers a living wage instead of asking We the People to carry the difference. With your help, when I’m elected that’s what they’ll do.
If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation it would be over $10/hour already and when we consider the productivity improvements workers have provided it should be $15/hour.
Raising the minimum wage and addressing trade imbalances are steps in the right direction. Ultimately as automation takes over jobs we will see a decline in employment. While up to now we have largely replaced jobs lost to automation with other jobs (someone has to build the robots), we have likely reached “Peak-job” or “Peak-employment”. Over the coming few years it is likely that we will have more people than we have jobs for. To address this, we need Universal Basic Income (UBI). We already have UBI in Alaska and it has worked for decades.
With UBI we can eliminate over 100 different federal programs like welfare, WIC, food stamps, etc. and shrink the bureaucracy to one agency. With UBI there is no means-testing so no wait-time, no auditing and nobody receiving benefits they are not entitled to. Every American upon their 18th birthday should receive their UBI every month. For those of us earning an income beyond the UBI, we are free to take both up to a limit where we begin to tax back the UBI from wages in a progressive way.
Studies show that approximately $70K annual income is the point at which most Americans reach a level of comfort and confidence that works optimally. A UBI of $2K/month keeps everyone out of poverty, free of desperate times like homelessness and, combined with universal healthcare, frees all of us to be more mobile both in terms of our employment and our habitation. Once a wage-earner passes $4K/month their total income with UBI is $6K/month or $72K annually. After this point we should begin to tax back the UBI such that by the time you are earning $100k/annually you are paying back all of the UBI.
For years I taught Computer Science classes at UNR and I have seen our bright young minds step out into a world that does not have a job market commensurate with the training these young people received. Wall Street is going to pay for your college education or vocational training so that when you get your degree or certification you don’t also have a debt burden. Private schools will continue to exist for those with the means and interest meanwhile fine schools like UNR will be accessible to all who are willing to put in the effort.
America is the wealthiest nation the world has ever known. Many societies throughout history have had no difficulty providing basic services to their citizens and there is nothing preventing us from doing the same. It is cheaper to treat a human being well than to address the fallout of failing to do so. A human being will rise or fall in accordance with their environment; subject a person to a life of uncertainty, fear and desperation and you get violence, crime and social unrest. Conversely, people who feel secure, healthy and prosperous will rise to their potential.
Noted economist Robert Reich made a wonderful video starring Uncle Bob and it covers many of the common misunderstandings about jobs and income.
Rick Shepherd, candidate for Congress in Nevada CD 2, interviewed by Andrew Davey, April 9, 2016
Identity Theft Story