Issues

Grow Maine’s Economy and Create Jobs

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Eliminate unnecessary job-killing regulations
  • Lower heating oil, gasoline, electricity costs
  • End Obamacare
  • Stop wasteful overspending
  • Start paying off $17 trillion national debt
  • Reduce taxes
  • Recruit new businesses to Maine

Having spent thirty-five years growing businesses and creating jobs, I understand what must be done to expand our economy and increase employment here in Maine.

For far too long, we have sent career politicians to Washington with little or no experience running a company and creating jobs. They bicker to score political points while our serious problems grow worse. The economy struggles to recover and our families suffer.

We need a new approach.

Maine’s 2nd Congressional District is stuck in high unemployment and too many part-time jobs. An increasing number of our young families, many burdened with college debt, leave for better opportunities elsewhere. Those who remain are increasingly dependent on government programs to get by.

Business investment in the 2nd District will create more jobs. Government has the power to build a pro-business climate to help our hurting families with more jobs, less poverty, brighter futures, and more freedom.

As your next 2nd District Congressman, I’ll use my 35 years of experience owning and managing businesses and creating jobs to help build a more competitive Maine and America. I’ll use my record as Maine State Treasurer to push for fiscal discipline by ending wasteful government overspending and surging debt that are smothering our economy and killing jobs.

As shown on the graph below, the reckless overspending by career politicians in Washington has saddled every man, woman, and child with over $54,000 in debt that must be repaid. This debt keeps growing every year Washington spends more than it collects from us in taxes and then borrows to make up the difference.

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During most of the past 40 years, liberal big government Democrats have controlled Maine state government. Their policies of overspending, high debt, high taxes, unaffordable welfare, complicated regulations, and high energy and health insurance costs have chased away Maine jobs and led to more government dependency.

Our next Representative from the 2nd District should not bring those fiscally reckless, job-killing policies to Washington.

As the following graph shows, over the past twenty years, career politicians in Augusta have increased government spending by 88% while our population has inched ahead 7%. To pay for this overspending, Maine families and businesses pay the 7th highest tax burden in the country.

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In Congress, I’ll fight entrenched bureaucrats and status quo politicians to build a limited, less intrusive, and less expensive federal government.

Less government spending and borrowing will allow taxes to be cut. Eliminating unnecessary regulations will make it less complicated and costly to start and run a business.

Permitting the full development of oil and natural gas deposits here in America will increase supplies and drive down our monthly heating oil and gasoline/diesel bills that drain family budgets.

Ending Obamacare and allowing Americans to shop across state lines to buy health insurance will lower unaffordable monthly premiums.

These common sense changes will help solve the jobs crisis in our 2nd Congressional District and throughout America. Employers will have growing confidence to invest in their companies and hire more workers. Our struggling families will keep more of their hard-earned money and be less dependent on government for their happiness. Then, our children will better be able to work and raise their own families here in Maine.

If we change course, the next few decades in Maine and America can be abundant with new jobs, more financial security, and more freedom. Economic growth and higher take-home pay lead to better lives. While in Congress, I’ll help lead Washington down this more promising path.

As a job creator myself, I’ll work diligently to encourage new business opportunities for Maine, assisting those interested in investing in our state economy and creating new jobs.

We’ve been sending career politicians to Washington to solve the jobs problem. It has not and will not work. It’s now time to send a successful job creator to solve the jobs problem. I’m ready.

Less Government Spending, Borrowing, Taxing, and Regulating Will Create Jobs

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Stop Washington’s spending addiction
  • End liberal war on jobs
  • Use my debt cutting experience in Maine to reduce federal debt

Washington and Augusta politicians always promise they’ll watch the bottom line, but few really do. As Maine State Treasurer, I’ve proven that I practice what I preach.

I understand the economic, fiscal, and job crises that our country faces. I can help fix them.

I’m not running for Congress because I need a job. I’m running to give back to my home state and to help our struggling families and the small businesses that employ them.

Unlike with local and state governments, there is no law requiring spendthrift career politicians in Washington to balance the federal budget.

During each of the past five years, Congress overspent on average $1.1 trillion more than collected from us in federal taxes and fees, as depicted below. It then borrowed or printed the money needed to make up the difference. 

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Now, struggling American families and businesses owe a $17 trillion mountain of smothering debt to bondholders around the world. Congress has no credible plan to pay off the debt.

The annual interest payments on the $17 trillion national debt nearly double the amount we spend on Veterans benefits. When interest rates rise, those interest payments will spike and crowd out our ability to adequately fund food safety, disease prevention, border control, education, environmental protection, national defense, and other vital public services.

Big government overspending, high debt, and rising interest rates hurt our hard-working families in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District and across America. They drive up taxes and kill jobs. Big government programs entrap our families in dependency and poverty.

The reckless overspending and surging debt create a fiscal black cloud hanging above our economy. Business owners don’t have the confidence to expand their companies and hire more workers. Consumers with part-time or no jobs don’t have the money to buy more than the bare family essentials, further slowing economic and job growth.

America’s fiscal crisis was created by career politicians looking, first, to get elected or re-elected. Instead of making the difficult and often unpopular decisions, they create more government programs in hopes of garnering support from voters.

Augusta’s war on jobs shouldn’t be promoted in Washington. Our next Congressman should not advance Maine’s history of overspending, high debt, high taxes, and suffocating regulations that have led to our 50th state business climate.

As your next Congressman, I will not sit on the sidelines. I’ll use my 35 years of business and financial experience and debt-cutting record as Maine State Treasurer to speak out and help solve America’s fiscal crisis that’s holding back our economy and killing jobs.

During the past 20 years, liberal career politicians in Augusta have also overspent and over-borrowed. They created laws that discouraged insurance companies from offering affordable health plans. Instead, the state legislature expanded medical welfare so that 27% of our entire population is now enrolled in the expensive and poor performing Medicaid (MaineCare) program, the 3rd highest rate in the country.

To pay for welfare overspending, Maine families and small businesses are burdened by some of the highest taxes in the country.

For many years, Augusta politicians “borrowed” from Maine hospitals by not paying them for services provided to the huge number of welfare recipients. In 2013, the job-killing $484 million hospital debt (below) was finally repaid.

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We don’t need more Maine politicians in Washington who are more interested in getting re-elected than solving our fiscal problems.

We need a new course.

I’m running for Congress to do what is RIGHT in Washington to build a better business climate, more jobs, and less welfare dependency for Maine’s struggling 2nd District families.

I’m ready to use my 35 years owning and managing companies and creating jobs, and my successful reforms as Maine State Treasurer, to help lead this initiative in Washington.

Support Our Unique Maine Industries and Their Jobs

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Fight to remove unnecessary federal regulations and mandates
  • Promote investment opportunities
  • Secure federal infrastructure projects

Maine is a special place to live. Our safe communities, friendly neighborhoods, and the great outdoors make it a terrific state to raise our families and retire.

However, quality of life must also include a paycheck.

Maine is home to tens of thousands of small businesses. Our fishing, farming, wood products, tourism, defense, technology, and many other companies are the backbone of our economy and communities throughout the 2nd Congressional District.

For 35 years, I have owned and operated small businesses. I have experienced first-hand how government can help companies succeed and hire more workers, or can stifle growth that leads to lay-offs.

For the health and freedom of our 2nd District families, it is critical that government help, not hinder, our small businesses that employ our workers. Red tape and unnecessary paperwork from Washington smother our companies with higher costs that result in job losses.

Every day while in Congress, I’ll fight to help our small businesses succeed so that our 2nd District families, communities, and towns can prosper.

End Obamacare and Replace with Free Market Solution to Improve Health Care

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Promote competition among insurance companies to lower monthly premiums
  • Allow purchase of health insurance across state lines
  • Help those who can’t afford coverage with subsidies
  • End Obamacare exemption for Congress

It’s a bad idea for the federal government to take over our free market health care industry.

Although promised otherwise, millions of frightened Americans are seeing their health insurance plans cancelled because they do not include unwanted and expensive coverage mandated by the new one-size-fits-all health care law.

Why should a 65-year-old male be required to pay for pediatric and maternity coverage?

Millions of Americans are also losing their doctors and hospitals of choice because they don’t fit into the Obamacare-mandated health care systems. Others are suffering dramatic increases in their monthly insurance premiums, another broken promise from Washington.

Senior citizens are worried about the $700 billion cut from Medicare to help pay for Obamacare.

All Americans are paying higher taxes because of this big government takeover of our health care. Many businesses are discouraged from hiring full-time employees and are cutting weekly work hours to below 30 to avoid the law’s expensive mandates. Americans don’t trust handing over their personal health and financial information to a new government bureaucracy enforced by the Internal Revenue Service.

One alternative to Obamacare is to allow families to shop across state lines to buy the health insurance that fits our needs at a price we can afford, just like purchasing automobile insurance. Small businesses should also be allowed to band together to buy coverage. Our purchasing power would incentivize insurance companies to offer plans with varying coverage, co-pays, deductibles, and lower monthly premiums.

The cost of this private insurance could be paid by expanding tax-free health savings accounts using federal tax credits. Instead of sending Uncle Sam, say, $15,000 per year in taxes, a family could use that money to buy health insurance. Any amount left over would remain in the health savings account to buy insurance the next year. This idea is similar to tax-free Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) used by millions of Americans to supplement their retirement security.

Repealing the medical equipment tax under Obamacare would help ensure continued investment in new life-saving technology. Reforming medical malpractice laws could lower the cost of services charged by doctors and hospitals, thereby reducing the cost of health insurance.

It’s important that health insurance plans are portable and cover pre-existing medical conditions so workers are not tied to a specific job or employer in order to retain the insurance. We could make sure the coverage is explained in plain English so that consumers truly understand what they’re buying.

For those who cannot afford health insurance, high-risk pools and federal subsidies could assure coverage.

It’s a worthy goal for every American to have health insurance. However, it doesn’t make sense to ruin the best private health care system in the world while trying to get there.

In 2011, the Republican majority in the Maine legislature passed a new health insurance law encouraging competition among insurance companies. Since then, monthly premium increases for individual policies have slowed dramatically as shown on the graph below. Today, many individuals and small businesses are seeing decreases in their monthly bills because of the new law. This type of free market strategy is a better way to solve our nation’s health insurance problem than a federal government take-over of the entire health care industry.

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If Obamacare does survive with its current costs and mandates, U.S. Senators and Congressmen and their staffs should live under the same rules they created for the rest of us. They should discard their Cadillac plans and exemption from the 3,700 pages of Obamacare costs and restrictions that We The People struggle under.

In Congress, I’ll fight the special interests and lobbyists to end the expensive, intrusive, and unfair government take-over of our health care. I’ll work tirelessly for a free market solution to help our 2nd District families buy affordable health insurance that fits their needs while providing sensible coverage for the most vulnerable fellow Americans.

Family Values

ACTION ITEM:

  • Support policies that strengthen families

I was raised in a traditional Franco-American Catholic home in Central Maine. We cherished the values of close family, religious freedom, independence, and hard work.

From that upbringing, reinforced by a family tragedy when my son was still in diapers, I developed a deep appreciation for the invaluable role families play in our society. I believe that our government policies should support and strengthen American families.

These experiences also reminded me how fragile and precious life is. Raising my son as a single dad, I understand the many challenges as well as the special joys of rising children alone.

The Declaration of Independence gave birth to our country. It states that we Americans are “endowed by (our) Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

I believe in strong family values and in life. I am the only candidate in this Congressional race who is pro-life, and I’m proud of it.

Strengthen the Welfare Safety Net while Reducing Dependency

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Promote jobs as best cure for poverty
  • Save welfare for those truly in need
  • Stop dependency that traps families in poverty

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty in America. Since then, $16 trillion taxpayer dollars have been spent on welfare programs to eliminate those conditions.

Today, however, 15% of Americans still live in poverty; there were 19% when the initiative began. Today, 22% of children live in poverty compared to 23% in 1964. By any objective measure, the well-intended War on Poverty has been a sad and expensive failure.

The American dream is not about becoming comfortable entrapped in big government welfare programs for our subsistence. Rather, it’s to take advantage of our unique free market democracy to improve our lives, live independently, care for our families, and enjoy more happiness and freedom.

As a youth, I listened to stories of my ancestors immigrating from Canada and taking root in Northern and Central Maine. Some plowed and planted fields in Norridgewock; others operated textile looms in Waterville and Lewiston mills. They worked hard, cared for those in need, and wouldn’t dream of a becoming dependent on the government. 

From one generation to the next, we Mainers improved our lives and grew our communities through hard work, grit, and more education. For decades, our families have embraced the American can-do entrepreneurial spirit to lift ourselves to higher levels of prosperity and economic freedom.

Government has the power to help our citizens stay out of poverty by lowering the cost and complexity to start and operate a business. As companies grow they hire more workers. Those employees start climbing the economic ladder of more skills, higher pay, and less government dependency. The most effective and dignified road out of poverty is a job. The growing economy generates increased tax revenues to fund public education, national defense, ports and highways, welfare for those truly in need, and other public services.

Unfortunately, Maine government’s war on jobs during the past few decades has taken its toll. There aren’t enough good full-time jobs to keep our young workers and their families from fleeing for better opportunities out of state. For those who remain, welfare spending has doubled during the past fifteen years but the poverty rate hasn’t changed. 60% of the babies born in Maine begin their lives on welfare.

A glaring example of Maine’s misguided welfare system is our Medicaid program, called MaineCare. This program, funded by 62% federal and 38% state taxes, was originally designed to provide health care services to our most vulnerable fellow Mainers – the disabled, elderly sick, and poor. However, over the past fifteen years, career politicians have expanded enrollment to include able-bodied single adults and middle income families capable of working and providing for themselves. This deliberate increase in government dependency, during both weak and strong economies, has eroded our proud history of self-reliance and discouraged work.

The graph below shows the surge in Maine’s medical welfare enrollment during the past dozen years – 69% vs. our nearly flat population growth. 27% of Maine citizens receive taxpayer-funded health care, the 3rd highest rate in the country. Our unsustainable Medicaid spending continues to cause chronic state budget crises. $484 million of Medicaid debt was only recently repaid to Maine hospitals.

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Maine’s unaffordable welfare web also includes 249,000 food stamp recipients, the 6th highest rate in the country as a percentage of our population.

Liberal Maine politicians have made it extraordinarily easy to receive welfare benefits often without time limits, penalties for violations, or enforced work requirements. Instead of encouraging and guiding independence, case workers have been trained to quickly enroll inquiring individuals and families in nearly two dozen welfare programs. There is growing evidence that Maine has become a welfare magnet for residents in other states. Our generally low-wage taxpayers spend the 4th highest amount per person on welfare among all 50 states.

Welfare should serve as a temporary hand-up for those in need, not a permanent hand-out for those able but preferring not to work.

Maine’s welfare safety net is stretched so thin that many of the truly needy fall through the mesh. Approximately 3,100 severely disabled Mainers unable to care for themselves are on waiting lists while thousands of able-bodied and mostly single adult males receive taxpayer-funded medical welfare. This is simply wrong and should not continue.

Many truly disadvantaged fellow Americans will always need help. Government should compassionately save and strengthen our welfare programs for those individuals and families. While in Congress, I’ll fight for Washington to fund welfare block grants to Maine so that we can best care for our most at-risk families without misguided federal mandates. Maine’s unfair and unaffordable welfare system must be fixed.

Push for Energy Independence to Lower Gas, Heating Oil, and Electricity Costs

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Fully develop domestic oil and natural gas resources
  • Increase supplies to lower gasoline, diesel, and heating oil prices
  • Approve construction of Keystone Pipeline
  • Facilitate generation of safe, reliable, cheap hydroelectric and nuclear power

Less expensive and more reliable sources of energy will boost our economy and create jobs.

While in Congress, I’ll fight for the federal government to assist American companies to fully develop and transport all sources of domestic energy within environmentally responsible ways. Our free enterprise system can best determine which sources become affordable. Politicians and bureaucrats should not spend limited taxpayer dollars, or borrow more, to subsidize expensive sources of energy.

Currently, our nation imports about one-half of our oil consumption, often from unfriendly countries. Although imports have been falling, we are still too dependent on foreign sources for gasoline and diesel to run our civilian and military vehicles, jet fuel to operate our airline industry, heating oil to keep us warm, and oil to operate our mills and factories. Our continued reliance on foreign oil is an economic and national security problem.

At the current price, American families and businesses send roughly $250 billion per year to other countries to import their oil. Keeping those purchases here at home would create tens of thousands of American jobs to explore, extract, refine, and transport that energy. Untold tens of thousands more jobs would be created by the lower costs to run our companies. Increasing the supply of domestic oil could lower the crushing $250/month gas and diesel bills swamping Maine family budgets.

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Recent discoveries of massive natural gas deposits in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia (the Marcellus Shale) offer exciting opportunities for our country. These vast resources are estimated to be able to produce at least a 100-year supply of natural gas. New technologies are extracting this energy in environmentally safe ways. Currently, we import less than 10% of our natural gas usage. It’s expected that the United States will become a net exporter of natural gas in a few short years.

While State Treasurer, I worked closely with the Governor’s Office to facilitate the expansion of natural gas throughout Maine. My business experience made it clear to me that natural gas could increase the competitiveness of our factories and mills by dramatically lowering their operating costs. That would lead to more jobs. Natural gas could also cut in half the annual $3,000 home heating oil expense for the average Maine family.

During the past 20 years, Maine legislators have saddled our families and businesses with expensive energy costs. They succumbed to pressure from special interest groups to help force the closure of our only nuclear power plant, Maine Yankee in Wiscasset, which generated clean, abundant, emission-free electricity costing 2 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh). They have assisted in the removal of hydroelectric dams producing green, renewable power for about 4 cents per kwh. Meanwhile, Augusta has pleased the lobbyists by advancing the development of expensive wind power costing around 22 cents. Today, we Mainers pay roughly 14 cents per kwh retail for electricity when the national average is 12 cents. The high costs to run our mills, factories, and small businesses have driven jobs out of state.

Maine state government’s shortsighted policies have increased energy costs and hurt our families and employers. This embarrassing record is not the answer to more jobs and better lives. We can’t afford more Augusta politicians advancing these policies in Washington.

As Maine’s next 2nd District Congressman, I’ll fight to reduce the cost of energy for our families and companies. I’ll work for energy independence and lower costs through the safe, unsubsidized free market development of all domestic resources including oil, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal. Doing so will grow our economy, create more jobs, and keep us safer at home.

Support and Defend the Constitution – Including Our 2nd Amendment Right

ACTION ITEMS:

  • President must secure Congressional approval before going to war
  • Ensure IRS does not violate 1st Amendment right of free speech
  • Protect our 2nd Amendment right
  • Investigate NSA surveillance for 4th Amendment violations

Our Constitution ensures our freedom, prosperity, and way of life.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” In order to fulfill this profound responsibility, I will thoroughly research every issue that comes before me in Congress. I will use my business, government, educational, and life experiences to make the best decisions to uphold the Constitution and help my fellow 2nd District families.

Supporting and defending the Constitution will include many opportunities for good judgment. Article I, Section 8, states a chief purpose of the Constitution is to “provide for the common defense.” Members of Congress are required to defend our country and its citizens and property. Before voting to commit our uniformed sons and daughters to military conflict, I will insist that the President as Commander-in-Chief explains the national security and military objectives of the action; when and how to exit the conflict; and what the financial cost is expected to be. I will not vote to get involved in the bloody Syrian civil war because it doesn’t threaten our national security.

The First Amendment to the Constitution includes our bedrock right to free speech. It appears that the Executive Branch violated this right by using the Internal Revenue Service to harass and intimidate Americans who hold different political views. If true, those responsible for this violation should be held accountable.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The State of Maine Constitution states that right “shall never be questioned.” Maine residents have a long history of safe and law-abiding gun ownership. We have one of the highest rates of firearms possession and one of the lowest rates of gun violence.

For generations, 2nd District families like my own have responsibly used firearms to enjoy our long tradition of hunting and target shooting, and to ensure the protection of our rights and property. I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and always have been. I still use my .22-long lever action Marlin rifle that I bought at age 14.

For years, the National Security Agency has systematically tracked and collected our emails, phone calls, and other communications. Notwithstanding the counter-terrorism purpose and provisions of the Patriot Act, this surveillance activity of Americans might be in violation of our Fourth Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” If so, these activities should stop and our laws tightened to prevent further such Constitutional violations.

As Maine’s 2nd District Congressman, I will diligently support and defend the Constitution of the United States. These founding principles serve as the cornerstones of our civil society, rule of law, freedom, prosperity, and American way of life. 

Foreign Policy Should Strengthen Our National Security

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Ensure only Congress can commit to military conflict
  • Stay out of Syrian civil war
  • Build strong economy to protect our homeland

We Americans are free to pursue our happiness only if we are secure at home and abroad.

Our foreign policy must support a strong national defense. That process should include a clear understanding when Congress, and only Congress, will commit our brave sons and daughters in uniform to military conflict. I believe that should only be when there is an imminent threat to our homeland. As your next Congressman, I will not vote to get involved in the bloody and unpredictable Syrian civil war that poses no direct threat to our homeland or citizens abroad.

Besides the possible use of military force, there are other foreign policy strategies and tools that impact our national security. Counter-terrorism, missile defense, foreign aid, and free trade all affect our security here at home.

Today, possibly the greatest threats to our national security are the fiscal and jobs crises created by career politicians in Washington. These serious, self-induced problems stunt economic growth and the tax revenues needed to fully fund our military, public safety, intelligence, and border security.

If advanced in Washington, the war on jobs waged in Maine during much of the past 40 years by liberal big government politicians will damage our national security. In Congress, I’ll work diligently to help solve the fiscal and jobs crises which will strengthen our homeland and protect our American way of life.

Support Legal, Not Illegal, Immigration

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Promote legal immigration; discourage illegal entry
  • Secure our borders
  • Ensure no unfair advantage for illegal immigrants
  • Welcome those with specific skills to grow our economy

Legal immigration is good for America; illegal immigration in not. We should encourage individuals and families to enter our country legally, not the other way around.

Our borders and ports should be fully secured to prevent further illegal entry. Then, we should reform our immigration system to control the number of new non-criminal immigrants who seek the blessings of American freedom and opportunity. The federal government should institute a system, backed by stiff penalties, to verify that employers only hire workers who are here legally.

Our nation will be stronger and safer with new immigrants who want to follow the law, peacefully assimilate into American society, contribute to growing our economy, and care for their families.

I do not support amnesty for the 11 million illegal immigrants living in America. The 1986 Immigration and Control Act proved that amnesty for 3 million illegal immigrants encourages further such violation of the law. Those here illegally should not be given unfair advantage above those who are following the legal path to citizenship.

Our immigration policy should welcome those individuals with specific skills that can fuel our economy and lead to more prosperity for all Americans.

At a different time in our history, my Franco-American ancestors immigrated to Maine from Canada. They appreciated the boundless opportunities of America and sought to contribute to the melting pot, not be separate from it. They logged, farmed, and toiled in Maine textile, spinning, and woolen mills. We Francos are proud to have helped build our beloved State and are grateful for the blessings of that hard work.

In Congress, I’ll support common sense immigration based on the rule of law, border security, economic growth, personal responsibility, and self-reliance — not government dependency. America works best when we all contribute to our combined success and freedom. 

Provide the Best Education for Our Children

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Return local control
  • Encourage student and teacher performance
  • Support school choice

There are three lasting gifts we parents can give to our children: a sound moral compass, unconditional love, and a good education.

Education is critical to securing a rewarding job, higher take-home pay, more freedom, and a happier life. Parents, not Washington bureaucrats, are better able to determine the right education for their kids. The best education is closest to home.

To help our children learn, their performance should be regularly measured. Feedback and additional instruction can then be directed to struggling students. We should also help our teachers become top notch educators. Learning soars when great teachers inspire students. To assist our teachers, their classroom performance should be objectively assessed and appropriately rewarded. Additional training should be provided when needed.

For a number of years, I chaired the board of trustees at North Yarmouth Academy, one of Maine’s oldest and highest performing independent schools. The dedicated middle and high school teachers were greatly appreciated by parents and students and strongly supported by the administration and trustees. Teachers were rewarded and held accountable for their classroom skills, and the same for the students’ performance. Limited funds were not wasted on unnecessary expenditures that didn’t improve the educational experience for the students, many of whom received financial aid.

I strongly support the widest educational and school choices for students and their parents. Some young adults are comfortable with textbook instruction in a traditional classroom setting geared toward a four-year college degree. Others want a more hands-on environment to learn specific vocational/technical skills through two-year associate degrees at our community colleges. Some students choose to enter the labor force directly from high school. Some children thrive when home schooled. While growing up in Waterville, I studied at our public schools as well as at the parochial Sacred Heart School.

We adults should help every child find his/her passion and encourage it to grow. Students who drop out of high school are three times more likely to live in poverty than if they had graduated. We must help each student at least finish high school. School choice is an important ingredient to help our children stay in school, excel, and prepare for their futures.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 2012 that Maine students experienced expanded educational choices offered to students in 40 other states. For many years, the teachers union convinced enough Maine legislators to ban publically funded charter schools. Even today, Maine students will benefit from the flexible curriculums of only ten charter schools statewide. Education should be about the children, not the adults.

I have lived and share the educational values of our 2nd District families. I will carry this experience to Washington and fight for local control, student and teacher performance standards, learning excellence, and school choice. 

Save and Protect Social Security and Medicare

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Protect benefits for current and soon-to-be seniors
  • Save programs for future retirees
  • Address nation’s fiscal and jobs crises

Our critically important and popular Social Security and Medicare programs must be saved and protected.

For decades, millions of senior citizens have paid taxes into these programs to ensure they will have basic retirement and health care security during their later years.

Americans are living longer and health care costs continue to rise. Today, $15 trillion more is owed to millions of current and future Social Security recipients than there is money available to pay those retirement benefits. Another $36 trillion shortfall is owed to millions of seniors or soon-to-be seniors receiving Medicare benefits.

In addition to these huge long-term unfunded liabilities, annual spending on Social Security and Medicare benefits consume 36% of all federal government outlays. Over the next ten years, spending on Social Security and Medicare is projected to grow by 72% and 104%, respectively.

The good news is that we CAN keep the retirement and health care promises made to our senior citizens; save Social Security and Medicare for future generations; and still address our nation’s fiscal and jobs crises.

There should be no change to the expected benefits received by our retirees or soon-to-be seniors. However, adjustments to the programs must be made for future generations if those benefits are to be there when needed.

As Maine State Treasurer, I helped lead the successful effort to solve a similar problem in Augusta.

For many years, career politicians promised retirement benefits to our teachers and state employees without setting aside enough money to pay for them. By 2010, this fiscal recklessness combined with the 2008 stock market collapse created a staggering $4.3 billion shortfall in those promised benefits. The annual payments by Maine taxpayers to make up this huge shortfall and fund ongoing pension benefits were swamping our state budget. These pension contributions consumed one-seventh of all state government spending, and were projected to reach one-fourth of the entire annual budget. Increasingly, the spiking pension payments were crowding out our ability to adequately fund public education, road and bridge repair, public safety, and other vital services.

It took strong leadership and hard work to better secure the retirement benefits for Maine teachers and state employees while addressing the State’s fiscal crisis. As shown below, $1.7 billion of the pension debt was eliminated which reduced future spending by $150-275 million per year until the debt is scheduled to be paid off in 2028. That, in turn, allowed the largest income tax cut in Maine history. All the while, the pension checks to retirees kept flowing.

I was honored to help solve one of Maine’s most serious financial problems that had been growing for years.

Eliminate 1.7 Billion of pension debt

I understand the looming Social Security and Medicare crises. We must save these programs for millions of American seniors who depend on those pension and health care benefits, including my own parents.

While in Congress, I will help lead the initiative to provide more retirement security to our 2nd District seniors while tackling this critical part of our nation’s fiscal crisis.

Reform the Complex Job-Killing Federal Tax Code and Fix the IRS

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Push for lower, fairer, more predictable taxes to create jobs
  • Reduce high taxes that send jobs offshore
  • End U.S. from having highest corporate tax rate among industrialized countries

It takes 73,954 pages for the Internal Revenue Service to explain to American families and businesses how much federal taxes they owe.

This complex monstrosity of personal, business, capital gains, death, and alternative minimum taxes combined with deductions, credits, and exemptions is an expensive nightmare that discourages business investment and job creation in our country.

Additionally, the high tax rates paid by U.S. citizens and companies push jobs offshore. Our combined 40% federal and average state corporate tax rate is the highest among industrialized countries. Canada’s rate is 26%, Mexico and Germany 30%, Russia 20%, and China’s rate is 25%.

Congress has not reformed the federal tax code since 1986 under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan. Another overhaul is long overdue. More jobs will be created in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District and throughout the country when federal tax rates are lowered and loopholes closed.

During much of the past 40 years, Maine’s war on jobs has been led by career politicians gradually raising personal income, business, sales, gasoline, property, automobile excise, and other taxes to among the highest in the nation. Those job-killing policies should not be exported to Washington by Maine’s next 2nd District Representative.

While in Congress, I’ll fight for lower, fairer, and more predictable federal taxes to help our hurting 2nd District families keep more of their own money. Tax reform will also incentivize business owners and entrepreneurs to invest their capital to start and/or grow their companies and hire more workers here in Maine and across America.  


Support Our Troops and Veterans

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Fully fund salaries, training, and equipment for troops
  • Fully fund medical and retirement benefits for veterans

Freedom isn’t free.

A top spending priority for Congress should be the full financial and logistic support for our brave men and women in uniform during active and reserve duty. When they return to civilian life, our commitment must continue to those who protected our homeland and kept us free. America must always be grateful to our military personnel and their families for the sacrifices made to ensure our special way of life.

Balanced Budget Amendment to Constitution

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Sponsor balanced budget amendment
  • Force Washington to live within its means
  • Keep our fiscal house in order

We The People don’t need any further evidence that career politicians cannot control their addiction to overspending our hard-earned tax dollars. We can’t afford to send another Maine career politician to Washington.

Forty-nine state governments are required by law to live within their means by matching annual spending with tax receipts. It’s high time our federal government operates under the same common sense discipline.

Amending the U.S. Constitution for the 28th time to require an annual balanced budget would, finally, start putting our fiscal house in order and keep it there. A balanced budget amendment would force Congress and the White House to start paying off the reckless $17 trillion national debt that is suffocating our economy. Business owners would have the confidence to invest in America, grow their companies, and create more jobs. Families could keep more of their own hard-earned wages as taxes could be lowered. The expanding economy would create more opportunities, more freedom, and more tax revenues to fund essential government programs.

To amend our Constitution, two-thirds of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives (290) and the Senate (67) must vote to do so. Then, three-quarters of the state legislatures (38) must vote to amend.

While in Congress, I look forward to help lead the charge to pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This one policy achievement would have a more positive and lasting impact on our economy and job growth than any other I can imagine.


 

Limit the Terms of Members of Congress

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Support enactment of term limits for Congress
  • Once in law, defend term limits from repeal

The intent of our Founders was not to entrust the federal government with a permanent class of career politicians. They understood that the best government is the one closest to We The People.

Once elected, the primary concern of long-time politicians is to use the advantages of their offices to get re-elected. They use our tax dollars to grow government programs to secure more votes in the next election. They increasingly lose touch with those they are responsible to represent. Problems grow and remain unsolved because career politicians avoid making difficult and unpopular decisions that invite criticism and might lose votes.

The best way to break this dysfunctional cycle is to limit the terms of our elected officials in Washington. Twelve years (six terms) in the House of Representatives and twelve years (two terms) in the Senate are reasonable periods of time to get the People’s work done. Term limits will encourage elected officials to do what’s right instead of what’s politically advantageous to get re-elected.

15 state legislatures, including Maine’s, and 8 of our 10 largest cities impose term limits on their senior elected officials. It’s time Washington does the same. I look forward to advancing this initiative in Congress.