Protecting the Environment

We all need clean air, wood, soil, and safe food to survive. So why is Congress opposed t them?

During Season 7 of Game of Thrones, Sir Davos says “If we don’t put aside our enmities and band together we will die. Then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.

I paused when I heard that line. Isn’t that exactly where we are a species. We are killing ourselves, killing our children, and are in the process of creating an uninhabitable world for our children… and our Congress is leading the charge.

Over the past decade, Republicans have led a charge to eliminate the safeguards that protect our water, air, land, food, and climate. Republicans have repeatedly attacked and defunded the EPA to make protecting our safety more difficult, given priority to the testimony of industry lobbyists over peer-reviewed scientists, and passed rules that allow politicians to overrule the recommendations of those hired to keep us safe. We have seen an attack on National Parks, bills to allow drilling and fracking in our most sensitive ecosystems, and the removal of any information relating to climate change from official government websites. Our Congress has relaxed labeling standards on our food, refused to force food suppliers to reveal GMO ingredients, and removed regulations that require residents and field workers to be notified when pesticides are sprayed over their houses or dumped in their drinking water. Where once we were a leader for a sustainable and healthy planet, today we are one of only a handful of countries that denies science and refuses to participate in worldwide efforts to protect our planet.

If the security of Americans is the number 1 job of Congress, why are the members of Congress aggressively trying to make it easier for corporations to poison us and our children? Of course a quick look at campaign contributions answers that question. (Dennis Ross has been paid $35,000 by Koch Industries alone) Our current Congressional members don’t care about the health of you and your family. Through their votes and legislation, Republican lawmakers show that they believe short-term profits, government handouts to the world’s largest polluters, and a total lack of accountability for their actions are their key to re-election.

You, your children, and the world deserve better. We, as a country, are capable of making the world a cleaner and safer place for ourselves, our children, an for generations to come. It is our job to protect our citizens and “secure the blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ourselves and our posterity.” The intentional killing and poisoning of our citizens is not the way to do it.

10 Issues for 2018

When I first announced my candidacy for the US House of Representatives, I declared that I was not running against Dennis Ross but was running to represent the people of District 15. Real representation for my neighbors, all of my neighbors, both in District 15 and across this country must  be a priority as we move our government back to being an institution of, for, and by the people. But “real representation” is a fairly broad concept. So in a somewhat hierarchical order here is what I believe we must stand for and be willing to fight for in 2018 and beyond.

  1. We must eliminate dark money, huge corporate contributions, and gerrymandering from our political process. Until we do,  we will have a government that simply swings from favoring one group of contributors to another with no real, lasting representation for the people of our country.
  2. “If we do not quit bickering among ourselves and confront the real enemy, then it really won’t matter whose bones sit upon the iron throne.” The real enemy is the  unrelenting attack on our environment, our health, and our future. The cost of doing business must include making those responsible for poisoning our air, water, food, land, and climate also responsible for cleaning up their mess and restoring our most precious resources. If we continue to allow Koch Industries, Monsanto, and the ALEC aligned oil companies to buy our representatives while destroying our very means of survival, then soon no amount of corporate or personal profits will protect us for from a self-inflicted destruction of our very existence.
  3. Equality of opportunity, equality in our law, equality in our justice system, equality in our housing markets, equality in our job markets, equality in our health options, etc., must be guaranteed for every American. We cannot support, promote, or legislate hate and discrimination based upon race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, heritage, income bracket, or any other arbitrary factor. “All people are created equal” and must be treated equal under a system of laws that apply equally to every individual whether that person is a dishwasher, a homeless vet, or the President of the United States.
  4. Health care is not a privilege it is a human right. We give trillions away to the wealthiest individuals and most profitable companies in the world, but are told we cannot afford to make sure every American has access to basic health care. This is not a fiscal or political issue, this is a moral issue. Whether the answer is Medicare for All or a public health insurance option, we cannot continue to bankrupt millions and let hundreds of thousands die simply because our government insists that we redistribute hundreds of billions each year from working families to the inefficient and highly profitable insurance industry.
  5. Real reform for wages, worker’s rights, and middle class households. A living minimum wage that is tied to inflation (and a truly representative CPI). Incentives for corporations should be earned through increased worker benefits, employee ownership, higher contributions to retirement plans,  funded pensions, research and development, and expansion of future domestic hiring (as opposed to giving unprecedented corporate welfare for strictly political purposes).
  6. Affordable, quality education which includes increasing teacher pay so that we can hire and retain the best to teach our children, options in higher education to maximize learning and provide a higher return for investments of time and money, more options to allow students and parents to lower the costs of education, and a reform of student loan legislation that makes borrowing more affordable and that does not fiscally handicap students for decades after graduation.
  7.  Protect Social Security and Medicare. There are plenty of ways to keep both fully-funded without making draconian cuts to benefits that have been paid for through a lifetime of hard work.
  8. Strengthen consumer protection laws, including financial protections and the right to collectively seek legal justice.
  9. Protect the Freedom of Information, the freedom of the press to report verifiable and truthful news, and Net Neutrality, the open and free Internet.
  10. Tax capital and unearned income at the same rates that we tax labor.

If you agree and would like to contribute to getting real representation for the people of District 15, you can donate to Williams Works – Greg Williams for Congress here.