Issues

Education

Education is crucial to the long term sustainability of the American economy. Right now America is 25th in math scores and 21st in science. This is unacceptable if we want America to continue to lead in an ever-competitive world economy. We need to be teaching our students how to be the next generation of innovators and job-creators—not how to memorize answers to a standardized test.

A strong public education system means a strong long-term economy. In order to achieve this, we must lower our class sizes, adopt high standards for schools that reward creativity, train and retain the best teachers and provide higher education that is affordable and accessible to all qualified students.

Seniors

Over the past two years, Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed two budget proposals that essentially end Medicare and make seniors pay $6,000 more a year for their Medicare benefits, only to use that money to give more tax breaks the wealthy. This is not a good economic policy, nor is it fair to Americans who have paid for these benefits. Social Security and Medicare are earned benefits and part of a solemn promise we’ve made to our seniors. We must protect and defend these rights from those willing to put our seniors at risk. By stopping the raids on the Social Security trust fund and protecting Medicare from risky voucher schemes, we can ensure our seniors retire with dignity and security. Mike will defend the health and retirement security of our seniors.

Energy

We need a comprehensive energy plan which works towards energy independence and sustainability. Investing in the production of clean and renewable energy is not only a step toward sustainability but will be a boost to the economy, particularly in rural communities. Working towards this goal takes political will and working across the aisle to beat the special interests. In addition, we need to increase domestic production and sell American oil here in America. We also need to tap into new energy resources such as natural gas. Mike will work for responsible energy policies that drive us toward energy independence.

Cutting Wasteful Spending and Reducing the National Debt

Every day the National Debt grows larger and it seems the only thing Washington can do is pass the buck. We’ve got to get serious about it, but we need to keep the right priorities in mind. We shouldn’t just balance the budget on the backs of the middle class—we need a multi-pronged approach.

First we need to cut spending. We can start right away by eliminating more than $200 billion in government redundancies and waste identified by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO). We also need performance audits for every agency so we can quickly identify and eliminate programs that are not working. Second we need to end tax subsidies for big oil companies and ask millionaires to pay their fair share.

What we cannot afford to do is cut investments in innovation and in our future such as medical research, high tech development and educating our youth. Although we all need to do our part in balancing the budget, cutting these types of investments will risk America’s ability to have a competitive economy in the future.

Creating Jobs

Putting Americans back to work is the cure to many of the challenges facing our country. To do this we must continue to educate and innovative an entrepreneurial workforce, retrain out-of-work middle-class workers and reward businesses for creating the jobs of tomorrow here in America—not for shipping them overseas. We also need to keep middle class tax cuts in place and reduce the red tape and other excess burdens on small businesses. When we do this, we will jump-start our economy and make the 21st century another American century. Mike will work to create an environment in which small businesses can thrive as members of our communities to encourage new job creation and entrepreneurship.

Women’s Rights

Mike strongly believes that women deserve equal pay for equal work. That’s why he supports the Paycheck Fairness Act and will work to prevent any attempt to weaken the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that was signed into law in 2009. Mike’s opponent opposed both of these important bills which help to address the income disparity between men and women in America and prevent wage discrimination.

Mike knows that the federal sequestration now taking effect will disproportionately impact women by cutting nearly $90 million from critical women’s health services. Mike believes women deserve access to effective birth control and opposes efforts by some in Congress who want to make it harder for women to access or afford effective birth control.

Mike also knows that a woman’s medical decisions are best left between a woman, her doctor and hopefully a supportive family. Mike won’t let headline seeking politicians interfere with any of these basic rights.

Mike strongly supported the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and will be a tireless advocate for the absolute right of women to be free from domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. Mike will work to eliminate gender bias in our judicial system and to put a halt to the epidemic of sexual assault occurring in our military.

Agriculture

Family farmers don’t just feed America; they’re also the backbone of our small business economy here in Minnesota. That’s why we must ensure the next generation of Minnesotans can afford to continue this legacy by making international trade fair for all; providing incentives to participate in the production of next-generation energy; and ensuring health care is available at a fair price. Mike will work to protect small, family farms and smart farm policy.

Securing the Homeland

When facing international conflict the United States needs to exhaust every possible option before putting our military in harm’s way and using force. However the United States needs to reserve the right to use force, once all other options have been exhausted. We need to maintain a strong military in case its participation is necessary.

Honoring our Veterans

We need to make sure we’re not only fully funding our men and women in the armed forces when they are in the field, but when they come back home as well. They deserve education as well as care for those coming back with injuries and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.