Issues & Political Concerns
Time for Change
I believe that the government at any level should provide services to the people it represents. I believe that these services should be funded by the people that can afford to pay into the system. Most people rail against taxes, but I consider them an investment into a functioning society. Wealthy people with the most money have accumulated that wealth thanks to having an educated populace that is able to perform any type of work. The wealthy made their money because we built roads to transport products and people to where they were needed. The wealthy have been protected from tragedy through public services like ambulances, fire departments, and police officers, all working hard to serve the public. Most importantly, the wealthy have all their needs met, and can afford to invest in the society that allows them to be wealthy.
Better Roads and Bridges
Our roads in South Carolina are terrible. We ought to be ashamed about that, but not simply because they are bad. We ought to be ashamed that the people who can afford to fix them, won’t pitch in to do so. The burden of fixing roads is funded by gas taxes, which affect poor people the most. Everyone that has to pay for gas to get back and forth to work is paying a higher percentage of their income than the folks who have the opportunity to work from home. One might say, “If I’m not using the roads, why should I have to pay for them directly?” That’s silly; everyone uses the roads, even if they pay other people to bring stuff to them. It’s everyone’s responsibility to contribute to rebuilding our roads, and I think that should be paid from the general fund via income tax.
I used to be a full time substitute teacher at Laurens District 55 High School. I had it pretty easy, not having to make lesson plans each day, or grade students’ work, or be responsible for each class excelling. However, I got to see each day how this would take a toll on teachers. I’m not sure where this idea that teachers have it too good ever came from, but it’s a low paying career with a huge amount of expectations. Not only are they responsible for the wellbeing of the children in their care, but they also have to perform in front of them each day, and that performance has to be relevant to the coursework. We ought to treat the people that have decided to put up with this burden with more compassion. We can do this in a couple ways: reducing class size, increasing pay, and not distracting them from their jobs with silly complaints.
This is a no brainer, folks. The federal government is willing to pay 90% of the cost to expand Medicaid in our state, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. If I were to offer to pay 90% of your health insurance, wouldn't you jump at the chance to only have to pay the last 10%? And yet, this state has avoided this virtually free health insurance for its most needy citizens, since the Affordable Care Act was passed. I don’t mind saying, that’s just foolish and we can do better.
Our environment is complex and fragile. We cannot continue to treat it as though there are unlimited resources to extract. We need to invest in renewable energy sources for everyone, and expand safe, state of the science nuclear energy to meet our states needs. I would also like to see a one time tax credit made available for people to buy their first electric or plug in hybrid vehicle second hand. The people that would benefit most from this technology are the least likely to be able to afford buying a new car.
When I first got in this race, I was all fired up to raise taxes on the wealthy and give poor people a break. But I’ve since learned that the state’s revenue is doing so much better than expected that we could fund all these ideas and more. We could fund the raises for teachers, and smaller class sizes, expand Medicaid, fix our roads, and likely still have money left over. But what are the Republicans doing right now in Columbia? They’re voting to lower taxes on ONLY the top tax bracket! They could be raising the standard deduction and giving ALL South Carolinians a break, but instead they’re only helping their buddies. It’s like if your roommate said they couldn’t help you with rent this month because they wanted to join the Country Club. This is the policy that two decades of Republican leadership gets you.
Legalization of cannabis
I won't even benefit from this, since I'll still have to pass a drug screen to operate a commercial vehicle. That doesn't stop me from seeing that this is a good idea. I watched my father-in-law waste away from Parkinson's Disease and cannabis was the only thing that gave him an appetite. It gave my wife the better part of a year with her father, but he shouldn't have had to commit a crime in order to benefit. Looking at the data, cannabis is far less harmful than alcohol, and the illegal status has been primarily enforced on marginalized people as an excuse for over-policing.
What goes on between a patient and their doctor should not be interfered with by the government. I understand that many people have been convinced that an unborn fetus is a fully realized human being. Even if I agreed with that, the government shouldn't be forcing anyone to carry a pregnancy to term. There are life-threatening risks in even planned pregnancy, to both child and parent. I can't be forced to drive my truck if I don't want to, because of the danger to myself and others. That's nothing compared to the danger of bearing a child.