I am open minded and free thinking, with common sense political beliefs. I will not stake out hard and fast positions on any given issue, but I will commit myself to a problem solving process in which I seek insight and input from all points on the ideological spectrum, before carefully crafting balanced legislation that will benefit our communities and our country.
On the national issues of the day I will generally take moderate, centrist, positions. Over many years fighting corruption at the local level, I have seen first hand how the forces of corruption rejoice when they see people of good will fighting and dividing themselves. When we divide ourselves, they simply pick a side and conquer, and then we all lose. Such being the case, I always encourage people of good will to set aside their differences and find common ground in balanced, sensible, workable solutions.
However, one of my primary motivations for running is to spread awareness in the US Congress in regards to the burning local issues that impact our quality of life so acutely here in the lower Hudson valley. These include corruption, over development, housing discrimination, abuse of social benefits, equitable representation in local governments and school boards, and curriculum equivalency between public and private schools.
Substantial Equivalency of Private and Public School Curriculum.
I believe every child deserves a quality education. Many private schools, particularly in the Chassidic community in Rockland County refuse to teach their students a proper secular education. These children often graduate with no marketable skill sets and are then forced to rely on public assistance to support their families. This is a morale crisis and a crime against these students.
I would push for federal legislation that requires any private school that wants to receive federal funds to apply proactively on their own initiative to the U.S. Department of Education to certify that they are in fact teaching a curriculum that meets their respective states standard for the public schools. These schools would also be subject to mandatory unannounced class rooms verification visits. If private or religious schools fail to submit the documentation or agree to visitation verification, they will receive no federal funds of any kind.
Equitable Representation in Local Government and Schools Boards.
Building on the recent legal victory by the public school parents and advocates in the East Ramapo School District I would push to create a standing mechanism within the U.S. Justice Department whereby citizens could make an application directly to the Voting Rights Section, to request federal intervention in mandating ward system voting for Town Council and School Board members if they can present a compelling case that distinct communities of interest are being disenfranchised.
I would push for Congress to revisit, revamp or rescind RLIUPA the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. In its present form RLIUPA creates a power imbalance between homogenous religious congregations and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, with the later receiving short shrift. The imperfections in RLIUPA and the way it is applied on the ground in our communities needs to be rectified.
Abuse of Social Benefits
I would push for stricter eligibility requirements for social benefits such as Medicaid. Under the current system perfectly healthy able bodied people cut right to the front of the line if they can show on paper that they are in "poverty". This system is very easy to game, particularly for some religious groups who take a vow of poverty and then push their living expenses off on the greater society that surrounds them. This has to end, because it is unsustainable and is extremely unfair to our senior citizens and anyone else who has worked and payed into the system for years, but must go through a spend down or other related measures before they qualify for benefits.
I am opposed to Medicare for All because I believe in truth it would be a Medicare Free for All, in which our most vulnerable people, our senior citizens and elderly, as well as the disabled would be forced to compete with perfectly healthy, able bodied people for finite medical benefits. Who do you think is going to win out? Trust me, it will not be the senior citizens. They will be pushed aside and marginalized, after working most of their lives to earn these benefits.
Lets face it, health care is a very expensive undertaking. It is labor intensive, it is infrastructure intensive and it is material intensive. The only way to achieve a sustainable health care system is to require healthy abled bodied people who can work to pay what they can into that system.
I believe that the Affordable Care Act was a good faith effort to achieve that goal, by providing universal coverage but still requiring people to pay what they could in. I am not in favor of abolishing the ACA, but rather improving it or perhaps adopting it to or augmenting it with a government funded public option and or universal catastrophic coverage.
Campaign Finance Reform
I thought the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court was absurd and a simple manifestation of the fact that self serving special interests have also co-opted the Supreme Court. I believe both major parties have been mortally compromised by special interests of every stripe and could never do what was in the best interest of the greater good even if they wanted to because they are bought and paid for.
Specifically, I believe that there should be strict limits on campaign contributions to congressional candidates from people who do not live within the congressional district. As it stands now extremely wealthy people who do not live in our district, and who have a transparent conflict of interest with what is good for our district, are allowed to give the same amount of cash to congressional candidates running within our district as people who live in our district can. Non residents should not be able to contribute one tenth of what a resident of a given
congressional district can.
The Equality Act.
I do not support the provisions of the Equality Act that extend to public accommodations, bathrooms, or women's shelters. The need for women and children to feel safe and secure when they use the restroom or are in residence at a shelter or other facility is clearly more compelling than the need for a transgender person or even a cisgender person to enter any restroom they please. The dangers and reality of sexual abuse and sexual assault can not be denied and safeguards against them clearly are a higher priority in this context.
I do support protections against employment and housing discrimination based on sex or gender.
Naming of the Tappan Zee Bridge
I will push for federal legislation that requires public participation in the naming of any public works project that receives federal funding. It would also explicitly prohibit such projects from being named for any sitting chief executive, governor or other elected official or members of their family.
I was disappointed when the legislature acquiesced to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s demand that the new Tappan Zee bridge be named after his father. I was appalled when Cuomo stripped out the words Tappan Zee from the name of the new bridge all together. This was a blunt force abuse of power. The old bridge had officially been called the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee bridge.
If it was my decision, I would name the new bridge the Crowther – Mahoney Tappan Zee after two home grown heroes of September 11th and the recent pandemic.
Welles Crowther who hailed from Nyack, was the “Man in the Red Bandana” who saved the lives of at least 18 people in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Dr. James Mahoney treated patients during the AIDs crisis, after 9/11, and on the front lines of the pandemic in New York City this past spring, until he contracted the virus himself.
Both Crowther and Mahoney displayed raw courage in the face of physical danger and made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their own lives in a bid to save others. Naming the Tappan Zee Bridge after them both would spread awareness of their sacrifice and help teach our children about the true meaning of public service.
However, the naming of the bridge should not be up to me or any other single person. The point is that there are many worthy people whom we could name the bridge after, in conjunction with the words Tappan Zee of course. However there should definitely be a process involving extensive public participation such as a referendum or other means, before such a decision is made.
I believe that there are many legislators from across the country that will agree with me on this point and be willing to get a bill passed in Congress that makes public participation a mandatory element of the naming process of any public works project that receives federal funding.
As a former member of the military, sportsmen, and current gun owner I firmly believe in the right to bear arms and recognize the value of having armed, law abiding citizens who are proficient in the use of their weapons circulating in society so as to be on guard against people whose intent is to break the law and harm others. In the course of my life I have fired everything from a shot gun, to an M60 tank to an electric Vulcan anti aircraft weapons system. I have also been in very close proximity to several accidental discharges in the military and civilian life. So I am keenly aware of how dangerous mishandled weapons can be. I am also aware of the danger of high powered weapons failing into the hands of the wrong people who wish to commit crimes and wreak havoc.
For that reason, I understand that we need laws on the books that strike a good balance between the need for people to defend themselves and their loved ones, as well as the importance of ensuring that dangerous people do not have easy access to high powered weapons with the potential to create carnage and inflict suffering. I believe that the laws currently in place do strike that proper balance between these two competing interests.
I support universal background checks because I believe that the inevitable intrusion upon privacy that will of course result, is worth the benefit of being able to prevent some dangerous people from acquiring weapons.
None the less, I am sensitive to the slippery slope you start down when you allow incremental measures to further constrict gun ownership. As such I am opposed to further restrictions upon the right to bear arms, and would oppose such measures if proposed by others.
I support the idea of a carbon tax on greenhouse emissions. The tax could be moderate at first, and then gradually escalate as environmental impacts are observed, and new sustainable green technologies emerge and mature. The tax could also be eased if the nation is experiencing an economic or social shock like the current pandemic.
I believe in a women's right to choose. However I am opposed to late term abortions.