Campaign Finance Reform
Before I was arrested on April 16th along with 200 people for refusing to leave the capitol steps during the Democracy Spring uprising the crowd chanted, “Whose House, Our House.” It turns out we were wrong for the time being. Presently the House is owned by a few corporations and wealthy people and it will stay that way until our present system is brought under control. As a candidate, frequently the first question I am asked is, “How much money do you have.” That explains much about the makeup of our present congress. It is not about positions on major issues, it is all about the money and that is wrong.
The “money hammer” is not only used to keep a few corporations and wealthy people in control of congress, but it also discourages qualified people from running for office. Spending hours on the phone asking for money is not something that candidates should have to do, and it steals time from actually talking about issues that matter to people. I agree with Bernie Sanders that money is not speech, corporations are not people, and giving huge piles of undisclosed cash to politicians in exchange for access and influence leads to corruption. Citizens United must be overturned and we must work towards a time when we have public financing of elections.
Clean Energy & The Environment
Senator Bernie Sanders estimates that a robustly funded clean energy program can create 5 million new jobs over the next 15 years, putting Americans to work and slowing the pace of climate change. The full range of wind, solar, biomass, and other renewable fuels should be invested in and developed immediately.
Health care is a human right. While the Affordable Care Act is an improvement, it leaves too many people uninsured and under-insured. I support Senator Bernie Sanders’s plan for a single payer, Medicare for All system. This is the only way to ensure that everyone is covered, and costs are contained.
After WWII, we put 8 million Vets in college tuition free, and many schools offered free tuition until the 1980’s. We can and should do that again. The government must not profit on student loans and those loans already made should be renegotiated and present student interest rates slashed. As a college student in the 70’s, Buchholz got interest free loans from the State Bank of North Dakota and did not leave college under a mountain of debt, and he shudders when he thinks about those graduating today with a mortgage and no house. Student debt affects our entire economy because money used to service debt cannot be used to buy a house or a car or otherwise circulate in the economy.
Wall Street and the political establishment have betrayed American workers for too long. Jobs are gone and wages are down. Trade agreements like NAFTA and Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China have sent American manufacturing jobs out of the country. The proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, (TPP) is the largest free trade agreement in history, and will accelerate this trend. It may be debated in Congress before the end of this year. I’m strongly opposed to the passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
No one working full time should be living in poverty. A recent report from the Social Security Administration showed that over half of American workers earn less than $30,000 annually. A disproportionate percentage of those workers are women and people of color. It’s time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour, and pay equity for women is long overdue.
Social Security and Medicare are not “Entitlements”. They are old age and disability insurances and are the greatest social programs in American History.
- The cap for Social Security needs to be raised to $250,000.
- Benefits need to be increased and expanded.
- Social Security offices need to be kept open with expanded hours to better serve the public.
The unnecessary and tragic war in Iraq cost too many American soldiers and Iraqi civilians their lives. And as the father of a captain in the United States Army, I know what it’s like to worry about your child’s safety. We need to end our wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. We need to bring our sons and daughters home. We need to stop bombing, start talking, and work with our allies toward stability.
Medical decisions should be left to patients and their physicians. I support a woman’s right to choose, and will fight corporate America’s attempts to deny their employees access to birth control. I’ll also fight for equal pay for equal work.
The War On Drugs
The United States spends too much money on, and ruins too many lives, locking up non-violent offenders. The legalization of marijuana is long overdue. Legalizing and taxing marijuana is providing revenue for both Colorado and Washington, and legalization allows law enforcement to focus on real threats to public safety.