Photo by Kirk Jackson

Values

HEALTH CARE Every American should have access to affordable health care.

No family should have to wonder, like ours did, whether a child born needing critical surgery will be able to get the care she needs. Millions of Americans have preexisting conditions, yet Washington politicians like Bob Gibbs plan to rip healthcare from 23 million Americans and raise premiums for everyone else as a result. Republican Governor John Kasich said the bill Gibbs voted for falls “woefully short” when it comes to helping Ohioans, and he offered this warning to Congress:  “We're talking about lives . . . . We better be careful we're not losing the soul of our country because we're playing politics.”  America is the richest country on earth. We can, and should, find a way to take care of each other.

JOBS Every Ohioan who does an honest day's work should be able to support a family and get ahead.

Ohio workers are among the best in the world, and can adapt to change if given the chance.  We need to stop unfair trading agreements and give Ohioans a level playing field on which to compete.  We must rebuild our infrastructure to attract new businesses and put Ohioans back to work.  This investment must be massive, and must go beyond roads and bridges to include a 21st-century electrical grid and a commitment to renewable energy.  Let’s make Ohio the best state in the country in which to start and run a small business.  And let’s stand up to those who pit jobs against the environment.  That is a false choice.  We can attract decent, good-paying jobs to the Ohio 7th without ruining our water and air.  

OPIOID CRISIS As Ohioans, we have a moral and economic imperative to solve the opioid epidemic.

This crisis has touched every community in the Ohio 7th.  It is a scourge that does not discriminate amongst its victims.  In fighting it, we must deploy every tool in our arsenal, from imposing tougher rules on pharmaceutical companies, to stopping drugs before they enter the state, to funding treatment and programs that support victims and their families.  Most of all, we must view addiction as a disease, one that can be treated and overcome.

EDUCATION Every child deserves a high-quality education.

Ninety-one percent of kids in our district attend public schools.  That is where our focus should be.  The teachers, staff, and students in those schools deserve our support.  Instead, over the past seven years, Ohio’s student performance has dropped from 5th to 23rd in the nation.  We must reverse that trend, whatever it takes.  If a charter school is doing right by its students, that’s great.  But the success of one school cannot come at the expense of others. Any school receiving public money must be held to the same standards as traditional public schools.  Above all, our kids cannot be treated as revenue generators, enriching a few for-profit charter companies while public education goes underfunded.  Public schools in our state should be active centers of learning and the lifeblood of their communities.  Any new infrastructure investment must include an investment in our schools.

VETERANS We must uphold our promises to our veterans, just as they upheld their promises to us.

America is a free country because of the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. The VA and the Department of Defense must do right by veterans and their families. That includes providing timely medical care, unfettered access to mental health services, and continuing education benefits.  For service members transitioning back to civilian life, we must value them as assets to their communities, not liabilities.  Most of all, we cannot allow families of the fallen to shoulder their burdens alone.  We must eliminate the “widows’ tax,” and we must do it now.  Families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty deserve the full range of promised benefits.