Learn more about the individual issues that are most important to the campaign by expanding the sections below:
When I served in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was no time for bickering or finger-pointing because you had to get the job done. Unfortunately, too many in Washington only worry about the next election and play political games that can lead to a government shutdown. In Congress, I will use my military ethic to cut through dysfunction and work with others to finally get something done.
I will work to enact real reforms so that our government can get working for the people again. Firstly, I don’t think that Congress should get paid until it does its job by passing a budget. I want to reduce the influence of special interests and get corporate money out of politics, and I want to ban members of Congress from becoming lobbyists - permanently.
In the Army I put my life on the line to protect our values abroad, and I will continue to fight to protect our rights here at home. I will always vote to protect a woman’s right to choose and funding for Planned Parenthood, and I will fight to ensure that no woman’s boss has the ability to restrict her access to affordable birth control. Unfortunately, Mike Fitzpatrick has proven time and time again that his priorities are wrong for women. When it comes to women’s issues, Mike Fitzpatrick is no different than Tom Corbett. He opposes a woman’s right to choose even in cases of rape or incest, and voted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, denying millions of women basic care like cancer screenings and affordable birth control.
Ultimately, I believe that women should have the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, and our government should stay out of our private lives and not interfere in a woman’s conversation with her doctor. I will stand up to those in Congress who would seek to overturn women’s Constitutional, legally-protected rights.
As parents to two young children, my wife Amy and I have a personal interest in making American schools the best in the world. I went to college through the G.I. Bill, and I want all Pennsylvanians to have the same access to a quality education that I had. While I’ll fight in Congress to make college more affordable, I strongly support Tom Wolf’s plan to restore a billion dollars of funding for Pennsylvania schools. Mike Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, is Governor Corbett’s top ally in Congress, and continues to defend and support the governor’s backwards priorities.
Providing every child access to early, quality education would go a long way to helping us compete in the 21st century global economy and reduce inequality. Our commitment to education must include strengthening our schools by fully funding special education, modernizing our classrooms, and ensuring that highly qualified teachers are in every classroom. We must demand results and accountability from our schools with greater collaboration between parents, teachers, and business and community leaders. We must also refocus teaching to meet the challenges of a 21st Century economy, with a greater emphasis on science, technology, and math—without merely “teaching to the test.”
At the current rate, tuition costs could triple by the time my wife and I send our children to college. While college costs have risen, household incomes have dropped, making education increasingly difficult to afford. No child who gets into college and wants to go should be denied that opportunity. We’ve got to make college more affordable for middle-class families, so the next generation isn’t saddled with a lifetime of debt. We need to ensure that vital programs like Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, and funding for vocational education and community colleges are protected. A part of strengthening our education system must include fast-tracking bachelor’s degrees, investing in apprenticeship and vocational programs, and increasing the use of online education. The federal government should support states' efforts to experiment with new approaches, while closely monitoring performance to ensure reasonable standards of effectiveness and efficiency.
One of things I learned in the Army and the CIA is that bickering and finger pointing don’t get the job done, but that’s exactly what we’re seeing Congress do on the budget. I believe for the sake our economy and national security that America needs a plan to ensure a balanced budget over the long term, but we’ve got to do it in a way that promotes economic growth and creates middle-class jobs. Furthermore, our small businesses deserve certainty from the government, and shouldn’t have to be brought through Congress’s dysfunctional crisis-to-crisis style of governance. That means no more government shutdowns, no more sequesters, and no more emergency stop-gap spending bills. Now is the time for Congress to do its job by finally passing a budget. If they don’t pass a budget, I think that they shouldn’t get paid.
When it comes to balancing the budget, Mike Fitzpatrick sticks his neck out for special interests and corporations instead of the middle class. He has supported unfair trade deals with Central America, Korea and Bahrain that have led to a decline in manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania, and he voted to protect tax breaks for companies that outsource American jobs to other countries.
We cannot balance the budget on the backs of seniors. Seniors have paid into Medicare and Social Security every paycheck. They’ve earned it, and I will ensure these programs stay solvent. I also support strengthening Medicare by developing digital health records and processing to eliminate duplication, misinformation, and billions wasted on bureaucratic red tape, and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. I support efforts that encourage Medicare payments for outcomes rather than merely paying per service.
I was proud to serve our country in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I believe our soldiers and veterans deserve a national security policy and veterans’ care worthy of their sacrifice.
My family’s strong tradition of military service – dating back to the Revolutionary War – inspired me to enlist into the Army Rangers after I finished college. I was later fortunate enough to have the GI Bill to pay for part of my graduate education. That’s why I believe we need to make sure that those who fight to defend our freedoms have access to quality education. And it’s why I believe that when it comes to veterans’ care, we must do better. Ending the backlog at the VA should be an immediate priority. We should also make sure the government pays for medical care for veterans for wounds received in combat – including psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Unfortunately, Congress’s failure on veterans issues stems from dysfunction and and a lack of proactive oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs. While passing the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act was a good first step to improve care for veterans, we must do more to ensure that we cut through the disability claims backlog, provide greater access to care, and improve accountability within the department.
I completed multiple combat tours to the Middle East and South Asia as an Army Ranger and worked in CIA’s Counterterrorism Center for six years, and I’ve seen the dangers of terrorism, radical extremism, and failed states first hand. Our number one national security priority must be to defeat terrorism at home and abroad. We must provide our law enforcement, military, and intelligence services the support and resources they need to protect us from terrorism and rogue states. We must also engage in diplomacy and coalition building to develop alliances that strengthen international security and encourage American values including freedom, democracy, and open economies.
Our country deserves leaders who will take a new approach to evaluating the challenges we face and the tactics and strategies required to solve them. We must work with our allies to stand strong against the growing threats of Iran and North Korea – through tactical sanctions, diplomacy, and international pressure. Our special relationship with our friend and ally Israel has become more important as the world deals with the aftermath of the Arab Spring and ongoing civil conflict in the Middle East.
I support the moratorium on natural gas drilling in southeast Pennsylvania. I want us to benefit economically from natural gas, but only if water safety is guaranteed. When I am elected to Congress I will support legislation to require the natural gas industry to disclose all chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, and I will fight to repeal the Halliburton loophole and bring natural gas drilling under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act.
Mike Fitzpatrick and Tom Corbett’s plan to allow gas drillers to take advantage of us is wrong for this district, and wrong for Pennsylvania. After taking more than $70,000 in campaign donations from oil companies, Mike Fitzpatrick voted to protect billions of dollars of subsidies for the industry, despite their record profits. He also has sided with Governor Corbett on gas drilling companies, keeping Pennsylvania as the only state in the entire country that does not get the benefit of an extraction tax for the drilling of the state’s natural resources.