This issue is fundamental to the success of every other facet of our individual lives, NY 19 and our nation.
Companies will not build in our district, or in our country, no matter what the incentives or promises from politicians, without a competently educated workforce available. If you want jobs, you have to let the people who can provide those jobs know that their needs for a capable, willing and educated population will be met. And we must create an infrastructure that can support growth.
However, without access to both a first-rate education, and the tools needed to pursue it, a person’s opportunities are severely restricted. It’s a waste of human capital. One in four college students – including myself – take online classes. How can any of the citizens of District 19 compete scholastically or continue their education without the basic information infrastructure available to most people on the globe?!
- It is IMPERATIVE that we do whatever is necessary to bring all of NY19 up-to-date with a widely available and affordable information infrastructure including, but not limited to, high-speed Internet and reliable cellular service. This severe lack of technology infrastructure in our area affects our kids’ ability to do well in school in an epic way, and also does not allow adults and professionals to continue their education. Furthermore, it limits local businesses and their ability to compete, grow and function. We are 90 miles from the biggest, most connected city in our nation. I will make Internet and mobile phone infrastructure a priority, and support net neutrality.
- We need to expand public school curriculum to one that is appropriate for the time we live in and the challenges ahead. It must include Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), the Arts, Critical Thinking Skills, Nutrition and Health, Classics in Literature, and Personal Finance. A well-rounded curriculum is necessary for a well-developed mind.
- Beyond the above, we should think about a “Voter’s Ed” class provided to teens before they graduate. Many of our current societal problems, domestic and foreign, are rooted in a lack of understanding about why government exists, the history of the ideas behind it, and how it functions.
My solution: A non-partisan group of respected experts will create a standard, nation-wide curriculum for Voters Ed. As part of this program, I propose that each year a recent graduate teaches Voters Ed, they will receive a deduction for one year of state college tuition.
- I will support policy that either supplements cost of continuing education for adults wanting to return to school.
- I am also in support of universal pre-school for America’s youth, as it will yield many positive results: children born into poverty or abusive households can receive services and early intervention if needed; children who are not learning skills at home will have access to age-appropriate educational programs, a step toward leveling the playing field for them during this impressionable and important time in their lives; and, thousands of jobs will be created for educators across the nation.
 Just a few of MANY articles: https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/business/2017/03/17/broadband-speeds-rochester-binghamton-upstate-new-york/99137790/, https://hudsonvalleyone.com/2015/12/14/the-frustrating-struggle-for-better-internet-service/, http://wpdh.com/new-ranking-hudson-valley-now-has-worst-cell-service-in-nation/, http://mix97fm.com/is-poor-cell-service-putting-locals-at-risk/
One can neither enjoy Liberty nor Pursue Happiness without LIFE!
“Life” is the least subjective term listed in the first line of the Declaration of Independence. It may have meant protection from Red Coats in 1776, but now, with Red Coat populations on the wane, it literally means STAYING ALIVE, which is access to healthcare – both financial access and physical access. This is essential for the strength and continuance of our nation.
Healthcare, generally speaking, should not be a “for-profit” enterprise. It is madness that twenty percent of the U.S. economy is centered around people being ILL, SICK or HURT. We must focus on FITNESS and PREVENTIVE CARE. Look, I hate working out. I like a cheese and bacon-based diet. I loved smoking. But now, I do work out (a little), mostly eat healthily and I quit smoking so I don’t feel awful all the time and die at 45.
Aside from the obvious advantages of universal health care being the moral thing to do, a single system would also be a massive and consistent infusion of capital into our economy. Without the negative influence of the Healthcare Industry Lobby, a very straightforward single-payer healthcare plan could be created. If done correctly, it would be a MASSIVE boost to the American economy, with little or no deficit impact, while maintaining incentives for research and medical professionals.
There are absolutely ways to pay for a unified single-payer system without massive tax hikes, and I would work across parties to implement these plans. I will also work on legislature that maintains elements of the free-market and incentives for patients, providers and researchers. As a member of the House of Representatives, I will fight for an available, unified healthcare system which would:
- Free people of the paralyzing anxiety trying to decide IF they (or their child) should go to the doctor, HOW will they pay for it and what other necessities they would have to SACRIFICE in order to pay for that medical care.
- Liberate businesses small and large to hire more employees without having to be concerned about the cost of benefits.
- Allow businesses to remove limits on employees’ hours (for example, only allowing people to work 39 hours per week in order to remain part-time, or hiring “temporary” staff) because they will no longer have to “game the system” to get out of having to provide health benefits.
- Give workers with more hours and opportunities would have more income and therefore spend more money durably boosting the American economy.
- Free up billions of man-hours no longer spent ill, or avoiding injury, or filling out burdensome medical paperwork.
- Include access to mental health resources. People having regular, steady access to mental health services would aid so many issues in our nation, from mass shootings to opioid addiction. Honestly, it costs us more NOT do to this, in every way.
I also have these suggestions for a healthier NY19:
- Love him or hate him, Governor Cuomo is rocking out on healthcare and making NY a leader in new, comprehensive, affordable healthcare solutions. As a district, I suggest we take advantage of his administration’s focus and push for a rural version of his new Brooklyn Healthcare Transformation here in District 19. 
- Your chance of winning the NY lottery is one in 45,057,474. Yes, that’s 45 MILLION! I propose we have a “health improvement” lottery in NY 19. If you’re over the age of 18, stop by a clinic to get your health assessed, compete for a year and share your journey, and if you improve your overall health the most you could win $1,000,000. The chance of winning that is exponentially greater at about one in 500K – and that’s if everyone over 18 participates. And that’s just with one prize. We could have more! Prevention of disease and illness is far better than maintenance when it’s too late. It’s a program that would cost little, with big impact.
I am happy to go into these plans further and, when elected, work with any other caring human of any party who also wants to resolve the American health care issue in a positive, smart way.
Any moral person cannot justify withholding the healthcare and technology that exists in our modern age to their fellow citizen who needs it. And we need to set up real plans with real venues to listen to the citizens of our district. It’s imperative.
 Non-partisan government site for data. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical.html
 Non-partisan government site for data. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical.html
 Just one article of many. https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-transformation-health-care-system-brooklyn
- We cannot survive without air to breathe. Clean air.
- We also cannot survive without water. Clean water.
- We also need food to eat. And growing edible food requires non-toxic air, water and soil.
This is very straightforward stuff, right? Literally, the most basic of needs that everything else hinges on. Nothing else matters – not your yoga class, not your PTA meeting, not even our national defense strategy against suicide cultists – NOTHING matters if we are all dead. We can live a few minutes without air, a few days without water and a few weeks without food. That’s it.
We hold individuals to a much higher standard than we do corporations. Imagine if your neighbor, Bob, came over and choked your children and poisoned your water. Bob would be in prison for the rest of his life. But we let industry, corporations and idle government get away with far more for far longer affecting far more people than that jerky Bob. Is that right? NO!
It SHOCKS me that it has become a divisive partisan issue. It should not be. It’s a human issue.
We are so fortunate in NY19 to have family farmers, fisherwomen (me), vegans, old school hippies, hunters, and more who all care for the health of our environment. We need to gather both the wisdom and knowledge of all our bright population in one place to suggest ideas, report issues and work together to keep NY19 healthy, beautiful and useful to us all.
As your representative I will:
- Work hard to inform people of the existing tax credits, payments and free aid available as part of NYC DEP and NYC Watershed – most people are not aware of these, so they don’t take advantage of them! Most citizens of NY19 own their homes, so extra help is also available to them. And, there are even more programs designed to aid small businesses and farmers. We need a simple campaign to get the word out to NY19 residents, so they can get the benefits they deserve.
- I will refuse to succumb to lobbyists who trade in poison and do not have the best interests of our population, our planet in mind.
I take the issue of climate change very seriously and believe the overwhelming majority of scientists. I will support and propose legislation that encourages measures to stop/reverse its progression. Climate change is a very real driver of geo-political threats to our national security and our national interests both here and abroad. People need to be informed of this as a very important and real component of climate change.
 http://www.businessinsider.com/longest-survival-records-water-food-sleep-breathing-2016-5/#the-rule-of-three-minutes-without-air-is-a-good-guideline-hold-your-breath-for-longer-and-you-run-the-risk-of-brain-damage-1 This article and all empirical evidence throughout human history and nearly all science.
1st & 2nd Amendments
First & Second Amendment Rights:
The framers of our Constitution were very fearful of tyranny for good reason – they’d just fought a long war about it! So they included great devices for resisting tyranny: Constitutional Amendments 1 & 2. A free press, the freedom to assemble, the right to petition the government for wrongs and, if none of those worked, muskets to match a tyrant’s hired or compelled muskets. These were, at the time, great tools for repelling oppression and despotism.
The intended purpose of the Second Amendment, as a device for free citizens to fight tyranny, has now been outpaced by military technology. Just think, even if a person had a massive arsenal, it’d be a fight against them and an unmanned drone. It wouldn’t last long; it’d have no impact and wouldn’t really affect a tyrant. Also, I have more faith in our servicemen and women than thinking they’d ever attack their own people. I’m not saying we get rid of the Second Amendment, I think we just need to be honest about it.
With the advent of the Internet and social media, the First Amendment has become a far more powerful instrument, both for and against tyranny, than anyone in the 1780s could have ever imagined.
Where I live, in Hurley, and for most residents of the Hudson Valley, guns are for hunting, culling over-populated animals to prevent starvation and disease, supplementing a family’s protein, protecting livestock and they are associated with other great things like family bonding time – POSITIVE THINGS. So I understand why rural residents like guns.
In NYC, people don’t like guns because for them, NOTHING GOOD HAS EVER HAPPENED WITH A GUN. It’s a mugging, police shooting, burglary, murder or some other bad act- NEGATIVE THINGS. I understand why urbanites do not like guns. It’s why I have guns here, but I never would have in NYC. BOTH perspectives are RIGHT.
Since we have a healthy mix of residents who are multi-generation locals AND many who are new/part time from NYC and other cities, we could easily set up learning weekends where those who are familiar with firearms can volunteer to educate residents who have no experience with guns, and those with no exposure to weapons can share their experiences. Again, we can be an example of how sharing our individual knowledge can eliminate this unnecessary conflict.
As NY19’s Representative I will:
- Support responsible gun ownership, which includes background checks and a universal registry. It is easy and fast to get a background check (took me less than 15 minutes at Dick’s Sporting Goods for my rifle) and it would be incredibly helpful to all law enforcement. This logical step is only prevented by organizations spending insane amounts of money to sow fear and conflict, not for our benefit, but to line their pockets. Let’s not help them.
- Support legislature that limits the number of guns allowed per person. The dude who perpetrated the massacre in Las Vegas had 47 guns. No one needs 47 guns. No one needs 47 American Girl dolls. No one needs 47 anything! We could set a reasonable limit. If you want more, you can have them, you just have pop down to your local police station to check in. Not a big deal, but a smart idea.
- Protect the First Amendment at all costs. Sources, context and the delineation of legitimate news versus click-bait trash as well as the integrity of a free press are more important than ever. I will work to support legislation that protects and respects the role of the free press.
Other Important Issues
ACCOUNTABILITY IN GOVERNMENT: Blame, there’s so much of it. “They did this!” “He did that!” “It’s not my fault.” That’s what kids do. And what do we tell them to try to teach them accountability and responsibility? We tell them it is NOT OK and send them to Time Out. If we don’t accept behavior like that from our children, why should we from our Congress? It’s OUR congress. We hire them. We pay for it. We must demand they grow up or we’ll “throw the bums out”. o
Hold an “Ideas Symposium” that any citizen can participate in four times a year across the district to get ideas old school style – from each other!
CIVIL COURT REFORM: Forced arbitration is unconstitutional, tort is out of control. This “solving of problems” by lawsuit, this refusal to accept responsibility or be accountable for one’s mistakes or errors for fear it will be perceived as an admission of liability, this everyone-trying-to-see-what-they-can-get-away-with-instead-of-what-they-can contribute – it has to end. It MUST end. It’s unsustainable. It leads NOWHERE.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: The insanity of a “for profit” prison system and the cycle of fines and debts that keep many low-income residents bound to a life in and out of courts and jails is appalling and detrimental to our nation. It is modern-day servitude of those convicted by outdated laws for non-violent crimes, such as drug possession, and then removed from full participation as American citizens. This immoral structure harms everyone from the brave men and women who work in corrections to the residents who lose their future from mistakes. We need a top to bottom overhaul of the entire system.
ECONOMY: NY19 agriculturists and small business owners produce some of the most incredible food, beer, wine and dairy in the world, created sustainably with a positive impact on the environment and community, so we need to get the word out. I would support a local contest to create a logo and slogan for a Made/Milked/Brewed/Grown in NY19 campaign, which would generate attention, income and jobs for these tasty treasures in our midst.
LGTBQ: All people are created equal and, under U.S. law have the right to be treated as such. However, that is often not the case. Anyone who violates the civil and human rights of another must be held accountable. Exposure to those who are different than oneself is the best way to increase understanding and eliminate bigotry. We need to work on ways to integrate the very necessary differences and diversity among us across our population.
NATIONAL SECURITY: The biggest threats to national security are climate change and a massive national debt. The current administration is exacerbating both in the extreme. In addition, their calculated dissolution of the State Department, of America’s hard-earned standing in the global community and their erratic foreign engagement has evaporated soft-power American assets as potent as military force. This trend must be stopped immediately. This administration’s efforts to break down our institutions and influence abroad is a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER to all of us.
RACE IN AMERICA: We are a country founded on the enslavement of one population by another. It’s a poisonous inheritance that must, like all diseases/afflictions, be acknowledged so that it can begin to be healed. I think the fear of some people, with the inevitable change in the demographic make up of the American population, is that they are afraid people of color will threat them in the same awful way that they did when they were in the majority. They need to have more faith in the kindness of their fellow citizens who have learned many lessons in their centuries of oppression and hardship, lessons that will benefit all of us.
TAXATION: “No taxation without representation!” The new tax overhaul favors the extremely wealthy and massive multinational corporations. I am neither. I am not represented. And likely, neither are you.
- If you do temporarily benefit from the new tax cuts, you need to know, for individuals and families those miniscule benefits EXPIRE. However, the cuts for businesses DON’T GO AWAY. EVER. The GOP justification for such inequality is that, “The business cuts don’t expire because companies need to plan ahead.” Excuse me? As if I don’t need to plan ahead? Like anyone of us has ever met a person or family who WANTS future financial uncertainty?
- The new tax structure will accelerate the descent into poverty many NY19 residents and countless other U.S. citizens are experiencing. Poverty is both a life sentence and a death sentence. This tax bill will make it impossible for many to climb out of the situations they were born into and condemn even more to the prison of deprivation.
TOURISM: We have great local food, and people want to visit us. We need to keep it that way and expand the access and experiences to all parts of NY19. Tourist spending generates direct and indirect positive economic impact. An investment in tourism infrastructure such as transportation to/from areas of NY19 for carless urbanites and the expansion of the “Rail Trail” to crisscross the Catskills from village to farm to park to town would make us a “must-see” experience for more visitors, who would stay longer, creating positive economic impact.