Health Care

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You deserve affordable health care.

Medicare saved my mother’s life three years after it was enacted. She required expensive surgery and hospitalization for breast cancer.  She would have gone bankrupt otherwise, but Medicare paid her bills. So protecting Medicare from Neal Dunn’s budget meat-axe is personal for me. 

I’ll also fight for Medicare for All for the simple reason that every American deserves affordable, comprehensive health care. All other rich countries do this. So can we.

Medicare for All will mean that working families will get the health care they need. We won’t be bankrupted by huge medical bills after tragic accidents or illnesses. Insurance giants will no longer ration health care by our ability to pay. Fewer seniors and veterans will die from preventable causes. We’ll have a healthier, more productive work force – and more wage earners and customers in good health and money to spend. We’ll all do better.

But first, we must bring down the soaring costs charged by an out-of-control medical industry. From prescription drugs to hospital charges, this taxpayer-financed industry has produced the world’s most expensive health care system – 18 percent of our economy, and rising – with Third World results.

Neal Dunn’s vote in 2017 to repeal the Affordable Care Act would have taken away coverage from 63,000 men, women and children in District 2 alone – making no attempt to rein in unjustified cost increases that have enriched him personally. It would have brought back pre-existing conditions, higher premiums for seniors, junk insurance policies, and the rest of the abusive system we had before.

Dunn and Speaker Paul Ryan aren’t giving up.  They are plotting to gut Medicaid support for veterans and nursing home residents – legalizing abusive junk insurance plans with pre-existing conditions, higher premiums for seniors – and even going after Medicare! 

I’ll fight against this movement in Congress to make working families victims to the corporate medical industry that doesn’t care about us.

Good Jobs

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Let's bring good jobs back to Florida's 2nd District.

We need an all-out public-private drive to grow good jobs in the neglected communities of North Florida. We can begin with a fully-funded infrastructure program to improve our roads and bridges – expand sewer and water service – repair our school and college buildings – and expand low-cost solar and high-speed internet access.

As a Leon County Commissioner, I did this.

During the toughest years of the George W. Bush recession a decade ago, we used our reserve funds for cost-effective public works projects that put hundreds of jobless construction workers back to work. We improved major roads, developed parks, solved water quality and flooding problems, and much more. When I took office in 1998, we had two branch libraries; when I left in 2010 we had six.

As an enlisted sailor for seven years, I lived the life of my shipmates and their families and lived their challenges.  I never forgot the lessons I learned then. 

Much of District 2 still hasn’t recovered from the Bush recession.  Many of the new jobs pay minimum wages only, or less than a living wage – pay that honors and rewards your hard work. We need more good jobs that pay enough to raise a family, own a home, afford college, live a comfortable retirement – jobs with dignity.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce last fall reported that 36 of Florida’s 67 counties have fewer jobs now than in 2007. That included every county in District 2, except for Leon.

Yet Neal Dunn wants more of the same.  He wants us to believe that borrowing $1-1/2 trillion (which the rest of us have to repay) and giving that to corporations and the one-percenters will provide good jobs for all of us. It’s been tried before, and failed.  

It’s called trickle-down economics. Been trickled on recently?

Your Retirement

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You’ve worked hard all your life, played by the rules, and paid your taxes.

You’ve earned Social Security, Medicare and other promised benefits. I’ll protect and enhance them.  I’ll make sure the rich pay their fair share to sustain these benefits. I’ll vote against any cuts in benefits.

Neal Dunn and his Republican buddies don’t think we’ve earned these benefits. They call your retirement benefits “entitlements,” meaning that you’re not entitled to what you earned, unless they decide you are. The Republican Study Committee 2019 budget document – Dunn is a member – proposes raising to 70 years old the age for eligibility for Social Security (page 69). And they want to “adjust” cost of living increases to reduce benefits even more.

We have a better idea – eliminate the $128,700 cap on the Social Security wage base that protects wealthy individuals like Neal Dunn from paying their fair share. Let’s ensure the health of Social Security and protect the benefits of working people who need them the most.

Veterans

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I honored our veterans by becoming one. It was my citizen’s responsibility to serve.

My father was a career Army doctor, brother a sergeant, and my wife a Spec. 5 Army medic. I entered Navy boot camp 10 days after I graduated from high school. I was an enlisted sailor for the next seven years, including two aboard the USS Terrebonne Parish (LST-1156). In 1968, I got a direct commission as an intelligence officer reservist, serving another 15 years until I retired. I’m a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Jewish War Veterans because they fight for veterans.

So I know what it’s like to be a serviceman and veteran, with all its satisfactions and challenges, and will fight for the benefits my fellow veterans and our families have earned – health care, training and education, home loans, housing for homeless vets, employment benefits, family support, and the rest.  

Both my father and grown nephew served as VA physicians, so I know firsthand that our VA Health Services provides cost-effective, world-class medical care– and requires our full support.  I oppose its privatization. Period.

Strength of Character

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You deserve a Congressman who works for your interests, not his own selfish financial interests. 

While a Leon County Commissioner 1998-2010, my colleagues and I balanced the budget every year – with no net increase in taxes – while creating private sector jobs and improving services. Republicans and Democrats, we worked together on budget and other issues. When I left office in 2010, Leon had the fourth-lowest per capita operating budget among Florida’s 67 counties.

My 12-year record as Leon County Commissioner shows a principled independence – a willingness to take political risks – knowing that working families depended on me to represent their interests honestly. I was not afraid to speak truth to power and to expose wrongdoing. I was also there to listen to my fellow citizens, and not duck tough crowds. I encouraged town hall meetings and took the heat without whining.

Not only that, I stood up for women county employees subjected to sexual harassment by powerful men. We adopted strict prohibitions and, more important, thoroughly investigated all complaints and adopted necessary remedies. And I never let my personal financial interests guide my decisions.

I married my wife, Esther Moring, 12 years ago. She has been an emergency medical coordinator with Doctors Without Borders since 1995 with 38 missions to her credit. Esther has served in such war zones as the Liberian and Sri Lankan civil wars, operated numerous refugee camps, and combated Ebola and other deadly outbreaks. (She was also a Spec. 5 Army Reserve medic while a nursing student at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.)

Esther’s courage and faith in God inspire me to rise to her level. As your Congressman, you can count on both of us.