On The Issues
Jobs and the Economy
My first priority has been and continues to be job creation and strengthening our economy. We have seen progress – 54 straight months of private sector job growth – but the economic recovery has not been felt by everyone, especially hard-working middle class Michiganders. Everyone who works hard and plays by the rules should have a fair opportunity to succeed.
That’s why I believe we need to reinvest in the middle class by making smart investments to fix our crumbling infrastructure – our roads, highways, ports and bridges – while investing in small businesses that seek to locate and create jobs in Michigan and America.
Congress should be passing policies that encourage products to be made in America, not overseas. That’s why I continue to champion the ‘Make it in America’ jobs plan in Congress to revitalize our nation’s manufacturing base and help create high-skill, high-wage jobs for Michigan and for America. Over the last century, manufacturing, especially automotive manufacturing, has played a vital role in the communities I represent, including Flint, Saginaw and Bay City. This package of bills would help to rebuild our manufacturing base and invest in companies that locate here, in Michigan – not overseas.
Strengthening Mid-Michigan Communities
In Congress, I worked tirelessly to secure $100 million in existing federal funds to help clean up our neighborhoods and remove abandoned homes. Freeing up this money will help to revitalize and invest in cities like Flint and Saginaw, helping to strengthen our neighborhoods and unlock greater opportunity for homeowners. This much needed money has already helped to tear down hundreds of blighted buildings in our community and will continue to be used to tear down blight in the months ahead.
I also continue to fight for additional federal resources so that cities have the necessary resources to fight violent crime. Past ‘surge’ operations have helped local, state and federal law enforcement coordinate intelligence and get criminals off the street with additional personnel on the ground. During past operations, Flint’s homicide rate dropped by over 50 percent during a four month period. Additional resources and law enforcement will help to make our community safer and root out violent crime.
Giving Michiganders a Raise
Congress can – and should – work together to create opportunity and increase economic mobility so that all Michiganders and Americans have a chance to succeed. I’ve cosponsored legislation in Congress to raise the federal minimum wage and give hardworking Michiganders the raise they deserve. Raising the minimum wage is widely supported by the American people, is good for workers, good for small businesses and good for our economy.
Millions of Americans rely on Medicare every day, yet under this current Congress, Republicans have voted to privatize and gut Medicare, which would end the Medicare guarantee as we know it. I know personally the value of Medicare for seniors – like millions of other retired Americans, my mom and dad, Margaret and Jack, count on it for their health care needs. In Congress, I continue to fight against any plan that tries to eliminate or privatize Medicare. Our seniors have earned their Medicare benefits, and I believe it is fundamentally wrong to take these away from them or future generations.
Investing in Education and Opportunity for our Kids
Every child – no matter what zip code they are born in – deserves a quality education. Investing in education, including K-12 and higher education, must be a priority because it will mean that Michigan remains competitive in a global economy. Ensuring that our children have the opportunity to go to college or get a technical certificate will mean that our state and country will have a well-trained workforce to attract the high-skilled, high-paying jobs of the twenty-first century.
In Congress, I introduced a comprehensive package of bills to help address a lack of positive opportunities for youth. One bill would preserve current funding levels for after school programs in Flint, Saginaw and Bay City. It would also allow schools greater flexibility in offering various extracurricular activities that align with a child’s school curriculum like physical fitness, art, music and STEM education. A second bill would support federal grants to ensure that young adults have the opportunity to get a summer job directly linked to their academic or occupational learning. Providing a safe afterschool space and a summer job will help to provide opportunity for youth in mid-Michigan.
Protecting the Environment and Michigan’s Great Lakes
Protecting our environment is vital to protecting the health of all Americans. In Michigan, we are blessed with some of America’s most beautiful natural resources known to man, including Michigan’s precious Great Lakes. Whether it’s Asian Carp, low water levels or the threat of nuclear waste, we must protect our environment and water resources.
I’ve led the fight against a proposed permanent Canadian nuclear waste storage facility that, if built, would be located less than a mile from Lake Huron and threaten our Great Lakes. We cannot afford to jeopardize billions of dollars in economic activity that are generated each year by the boating, fishing and tourism industry, not to mention our state’s livelihood. We must protect our natural resources now and for future generations.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
It is unacceptable that in 2014, women in Michigan earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns for the same work. That’s not fair, which is why one of the first pieces of legislation I cosponsored in Congress was the Paycheck Fairness Act to close this pay disparity. When women succeed, America succeeds, which is why we need to ensure that for an honest day’s work, women are paid the same as men for doing the same work.