Tom on the Issues


Social Security
Social security has vastly improved the golden years for many Americans. The Social Security Act of 1935 creating social security was passed under a Democratic Administration, and has been strengthened and protected by a series of Democratic Congresses. When it was created, President Roosevelt was vilified by conservatives. Some of the same attacks that FDR dealt with are still made on Democrats who work to protect seniors and others who are vulnerable in our society. Many in the other party, including most who are seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in the Fifth District, favor gutting Social Security by privatizing its accounts, effectively destroying the financial base which makes the program not only popular, but possible.


Medicare
Medicare has made affordable quality health care available to many seniors in our state and nation. When this innovative program was proposed and passed by a Democratic Administration over strong opposition from the other party, President Johnson was accused of being a socialist. Over the years, Medicare has been strengthened and it is hard to imagine our country without federally funded health care protections for seniors in place. This gives many seniors peace of mind so they can more easily live their golden years in relative financial security. Some who are running for Congress, who are the ideological sons and granddaughters of those who opposed Medicare when it was originally passed into law, talk about Medicare “cuts”, when in reality, if they had been in Congress in the 1960’s they would have voted against its creation. Clearly Democrats are more trustworthy to protect Medicare and the peace of mind it brings to our seniors and those who are approaching retirement age.


Creating Jobs and Ensuring Economic Security
As the economy begins its recovery from the deep recession, we need to ensure that both federal and state governments create an environment that makes good paying jobs available. In the short term, we need to stimulate employment by both small and large business; for instance, recovery can be helped along by projects that repair our infrastructure. In the long term, laws like the “America Competes Act,” help us to continue to be a competitive part of the worldwide economy. The law puts additional money in scholarships and training for math and science teachers and doubles research funding. We need well thought out legislation to keep jobs from being exported overseas.

 

To help those who have lost their jobs in the past two years, we need to continue to fund extended unemployment benefits, as well as the program that picks up 65 percent of health insurance premiums until workers find new jobs. Where needed, we need to partner with state and local governments to fund retraining, to ensure that good paying jobs are available.


We need to create an economic climate that encourages companies to keep their operations in this country. This both protects and creates good paying American jobs, strengthens Americans’ personal finances and enhances our national economy.

 

We need to support our workers to ensure that the minimum wage, currently at $7.25 an hour, is designed to keep working families above the poverty level. The recent change in the minimum wage was passed after 11 years with no changes; we need to ensure that this important law responds to the needs of our citizens, rather than the whim of politics as usual.

Unions
I support the right to organize, collective bargaining and mimimum wage laws. I oppose "Right to Work," attacks on Unions and the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy.

 

Health Care
Providing health care to American families is a moral issue. Democrats have just extended health coverage by passing health care reform that extends protection to 32 million additional Americans. It makes denial of coverage on the basis of preexisting conditions a thing of the past, prohibits sex discrimination that charges women more for their health care premiums and forbids insurers from placing lifetime dollar limits on policies.


It is devastating for the American people to have their health insurance premiums increase by 30, 40 or even 50 percent or more each year. Cost controls put in place by the new law will reduce premiums, and provide income based subsidies to assist all families in paying for their health insurance. It is simply unacceptable that 12,000 Americans a day lose their coverage; the new law eliminates cancellation for illness or pre-existing conditions. It was not acceptable that businesses had to choose between failure and providing their employees with health care protection. The new law provides subsidies to support small business in doing the right thing and insuring all their employees.


Veterans

I promise to leave no veteran behind. I will work to ensure that our active duty troops, our veterans, and their families, receive the gratitude, honor, and care that their courage and sacrifice deserve. I will fight for better healthcare, training, educational opportunities, and benefits for the brave men and women who have served and sacrificed for the United States of America.


Women
I am running for Congress to help ensure that every woman is treated fairly in her life. Whether on the job, making health decisions, raising children or in her every day affairs. “All Women Deserve a Voice in Washington!"


Priorities for K-12Public Education
My top five priorities for public education and how they contribute to ensuring that all students attend a great public school and have a great education are—
• Providing access to a quality public education for all children
• Providing adequate workplace due process for all teachers
• Providing classrooms with fewer children so that teachers can provide and children can receive as much individual attention as possible
• Providing adequate financial resources to support educational opportunities for disabled students in our public schools
• Concentrating the expenditure of limited public funds to improve public schools, instead of diluting the effectiveness of our leading democratic institution, thepublic school system, by spending scarce public resources on charter or private schools.

 

GLBT

I support equal rights for all. I support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," I support equality for all and I do not believe it should be legal to fire someone solely based on sexual orientation.

War on Iran
We simply cannot afford another deadly and costly war. I am against a War on Iran.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan is an example of a failed state, as are the border regions of Pakistan, and the countries of Yemen and Somalia. Al Qaeda takes advantage of these unstable countries to create safe havens from which to attack the US and its allies. We need to develop a national strategy to deal with these states, and to prevent Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan. This includes helping affected governments to stabilize, and having the ability to conduct focused military operations when necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. We cannot have either an unsustainable long-term military presence in these areas, or an abrupt military pullout that leaves a dangerous vacuum. Careful diplomacy, focused military strategy, and a long term vision for stability in these areas is imperative, and I will work in Congress to create such an approach.

Wall Street Reform
In light of recent experience, we need to have stronger regulation of Wall Street. We need Wall Street reform to stop current and future abuses, to hold big banks accountable for their actions and to ensure that American taxpayers will not have to bail out the financial industry again. We need to create strong consumer protections that will shield American consumers. The “too big to fail” mentality must be abandoned. By reforming the system, we can protect American taxpayers and make sure that they are not forced to bail out irresponsible corporate executives, who in some cases earn tens of millions of dollars in annual bonuses.

 

Expanding College Aid
Our young people are our most valuable resource. We need to ensure that every student who wants to attend college is able to do so. With a bipartisan majority, Democrats recently passed the largest expansion of aid to America’s college students since the passage of the GI Bill. The new law will save an average college student $4,400 on their loans to finance their education at no cost to taxpayers. We support recent efforts to increase Pell Grant funding to help deserving students go to college.

 

To ensure that students are attracted to public service jobs such as teaching and medical care, we need to develop programs that forgive a portion of student loans to those who are willing to work in underserved areas of our nation.

Energy
Since its early years, Oklahoma has been an energy exporting state. Today we have significant reserves of natural gas, and continue to produce and export oil as well. We are also blessed with opportunities to create energy. Both wind and the sun are significant sources of alternative energy. As a member of Congress, I will support legislation that keeps Oklahoma doing what it does best – export energy.


Environment
We face difficult challenges in dealing with the environment and climate change. In Congress I look forward to supporting reasonable and effective regulations that protect the environment. At the same time, we must work tirelessly to ensure that we have clean air and clean water. As we protect our environment, we must be sure that we implement prudent policies that foster good paying jobs and help maintain a vibrant and healthy U.S. economy.

 

Transparency in Campaign Contributions
Candidates should disclose all contributor information. Money should not dictate elected leadership, at any capacity.

 

Citizens United
I will work to overturn Citizens United.


The Relationship Between the Federal and State Governments
We need to reaffirm what various levels of government do best. For instance, states have a primary role in education, in upholding the law, and in giving those less fortunate a hand up. The federal government is responsible for our defense, our relations with other countries, and providing a sustainable safety net for our citizens through programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and most recently through developing a health system that ensures all Americans will have access to health care. The federal government is also responsible for interstate commerce, to ensure both worker and consumer safety, and the free flow of our commerce. The United States Constitution sets out the principle of federalism, which divides power between the national and state governments, and also affords due process and equal protection of the laws, which together work to protect all citizens in our great country