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Here's what I believe about the issues:

 

“Promote Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” 

--The Constitution of the United States

A constitutional mission of the federal Government is to “promote the general welfare.” Not to be invasive, just supportive.

Our current representative from Arizona Congressional District 4 holds to a more rigid and radical ideology: starve government at any cost. Does that serve our district?

I want to open a discussion among my fellow citizens in this district, to talk about what’s important to them—and how, why, and even if, government can play a role. These are my top priorities:

Healthcare

I will fight for SIMPLE, AFFORDABLE, and ACCESSIBLE HEALTHCARE for every American. No one should lose, or be unable to afford, health care because of job loss or life transition.

Besides, why do we burden business owners with employee insurance? It stifles the economy, makes start-ups more difficult and inhibits innovation.

There are ways to reduce costs while we increase and improve care.

Example: Medicare, by law, is forbidden to use its buying clout to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies. We have paid dearly for that in high pharmaceutical prices. As a member of Congress, I would insist on the following three policies:

  • Medicare negotiates directly on price with pharmaceutical companies.
  • Allow the importation of safe and effective medicines from Canada.
  • Challenge patents for companies that abuse their privileges by jacking up prices.
  • Inflated prices kill people who can’t afford the medications, and wastes taxpayer dollars. We should not be in the business of eliminating market competition through regulation. Still, the same medicines manufactured by precisely the same pharmaceutical firms cost twice as much in the USA as in Canada because of a market monopoly.

    Veterans need fewer delays and less bureaucracy managing their specialty consults. Bringing care to veterans in remote rural areas requires innovation and technology. We developed the TeleHealth program at the V.A. to assist veterans in receiving care. Innovation can make our health care programs more cost efficient.

    Irresponsible marketing by pharmaceutical companies has been a leading cause of the opioid crisis. Many states are now suing them, but so far no one in the federal system is chasing reimbursement for excessive Medicare, Medicaid and VA costs. I’ve worked hard over the past 10 years serving Veterans struggling with chronic pain and addiction. They deserve to have better services. We can do this by clawing back some of the billions of dollars that pharmaceuticals made from excessive opioid production and inappropriate marketing.

    The foundation of healthcare is a solid relationship between patient and health care provider. In our district, particularly in rural areas, it is hard to get young health care providers and other health care providers to move here. To attract more qualified doctors in our district, we need to offer better educational, social and cultural opportunities for their children, plus a strong economy for their families and spouses to participate in.


    Better Jobs through Economic Investment

    If private investment does not address the needs of rural areas, the federal government can invest in infrastructure.

    Example: Interstate 11 has been on the books since 2012, but with no advocate and little funding. It would run from Phoenix to Las Vegas, all through the western part of this district. The immediate jobs and future growth opportunities created by its completion would benefit many in our district.

    Sunlight is Arizona’s greatest natural resource. We can encourage solar farms to profit from exporting our abundant energy. Officials beholden to the fossil-fuel industry are holding our district back. Let Arizonans who want to get off the grid using American-made solar panels and batteries do so - and let those who want to contribute to the grid get a fair price. The future global economy will be structured around renewable energy. Arizona and our district should be pioneers in the field, not playing catch up because of unnecessary regulations.

    Broadband needs to be strong and efficient in rural areas like the Colorado River Valley. That way, local businesses can be part of the 21st Century, and enterprising youth can connect to economic opportunities without having to leave for big cities. In the last century, electricity was needed to bring rural areas out of darkness. The federal government provided it. Now we need broadband to bring all of us into global prosperity.

    Investments like these must be made if we are to be a competitive, healthy and enduring society.


    Fiscal Responsibility and Fair Taxation

    Our national debt weakens our national security. We've loaded over $20 trillion of national debt onto future generations. We did that by putting two wars, three tax cuts favoring the wealthy, and the Great Recession onto the next generations’ credit card. We are losing our ability to be a global leader because we are bankrupting the government through “starve the beast” fiscal policy. If (or when) we have another economic downturn, we will have less financial room to maneuver than we did in the past. Government must COUNTERBALANCE cyclical recessions by providing unemployment insurance, a safety net, and by reinvesting in its people. During GOOD economic times, we should be running federal surpluses to pay down debt, instead of providing welfare for the elite.

    Our current generation entering the job market is the first in U.S. history that has less opportunity and education than its parents. Trickle-down economics in the 1980s succeeded only in widening the chasm between rich and poor, and pushing the middle-class further from the American Dream. It’s a hoax. Instead, let’s significantly lower taxes for the working class and small businesses, the life-blood of the American economy. Let’s make sure that those who benefit the most pay their fair share to keep our economy strong.


    Education

    The federal government provides major funding for education. I am an Arizonan, and I’m ashamed to see my home state sitting at or near the BOTTOM of educational standards nationwide, which is a state created issue. Increasing support for our educational institutions is a top priority. I never want to see any hard-working teacher in line at the grocery store with food stamps, or working multiple jobs. All teachers must be paid at the professional level they deserve. Our district needs help to pay teachers who provide great, stable education in remote rural areas.

    American education includes public, private, charter and home schooling. Each has its place. The same accountabilities must be applied to any school receiving funding. It’s the federal government’s job to ensure that each child receiving tax dollars has a minimum floor for their education. Schools should only be given funding if they are held accountable for educational standards, admissions and accessibility. All schools receiving taxpayer dollars deserve a level playing field, with payment for services actually provided and not beyond.

    The United States government and third party lenders profit from student loans. This is just plain wrong. Our children don’t deserve to be fleeced for bank and government profit. Refinance student loans at subsidized rates. If we subsidize agriculture we can subsidize student loans. We are investing in our children and our future.


    Gun Violence

    No responsible gun owner should ever be deprived of a gun. Veterans and law enforcement officers are screened, trained in gun safety, and typically remain responsible gun owners for life. They can be responsible stewards of high-risk guns, which they have been trained to safely use and store.

    High-risk guns can not be allowed in the hands of high-risk people. Civilian purchasers of high-risk semi-automatic weapons like AK-47’s and AR-15’s need to have extensive background checks, training and be 21 years old. An organized and effective instant national background check needs to be implemented.

    National research and discussion of gun violence continues to be blocked by politicians serving the same lobby that advocates arming our schools. We must advocate for our children’s safety as strongly as our children do, and prevent our schools from being armed battlefields.


    Marijuana

    <p>Medical Marijuana and its derivatives benefit many members of our society. Some Veterans, whom I have treated, reported that use of cannabis with a state medical marijuana program helped them to reduce their opioid dose for chronic pain without adverse effects on their function, lifestyle or family. The push by the current Department of Justice towards unnecessary penalties and the squandering of law enforcement resources needs to be stopped. Legalizing and taxing marijuana is an ethical and economic path forward that will help all of us. An individual’s freedom and choice with what they do with their own body should not be interfered with.</p>
    <blockquote>“Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, makes crimes out of things that are not crimes… A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principle upon which our government was founded.” <i>--Abraham Lincoln</i>
    </blockquote>


    Women's Rights

    Women must have control over their own bodies with legal assurance to live, earn and thrive as equals.


    Immigration/DACA

    Dreamers deserve a fair path to citizenship. Border security should be enhanced in the most cost effective way possible.

    Legal immigration, longevity and legal paths to citizenship are indispensable to agriculture, hospitality and construction industries in Arizona.


    Climate Change

    Climate change is scientific fact. We must plan it into our water supply, forest management and fire prevention policies.

    We must maintain our natural resources as an agricultural and economic engine for our district and as a legacy for future generations.



    Brill for Congress Committee
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