I am running in the 7th District because I believe we have to get our Congress back to the “sensible center.” We have to challenge those in Congress who are more preoccupied with undermining President Obama and gaining power, rather than pursuing good, sound governance. The uncompromising partisan tone of Congress ill serves our nation at a time when serious, substantive debate and discussion is needed in Washington.
President Obama’s policies pulled the United States back from the brink of a second Great Depression. After the banking and financial crisis of 2008, the near collapse of the real estate market and the massive loss of jobs that resulted, our economy is recovering. The President’s structured bailout of General Motors and Chrysler saved hundreds of thousands of jobs and restored the American auto industry. Unemployment numbers are gradually going down as employers are again hiring. The president’s economic stimulus program and completion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) begun at the conclusion of the Bush administration helped mightily to stabilize the economy and right its direction again.
As the pace of our economic recovery improves, we must tackle our nation’s long term debt problem responsibly. I believe some variation of the Simpson-Bowles Commission debt reduction plan is needed. We will have to engage in serious long-term debt reduction which includes spending cuts, a revamp of our federal tax code to broaden the tax base including a reduction of deductions and exemptions, and, yes, some tax increases.
No mainstream economist suggests that responsible deficit reduction can be accomplished without some increase in tax revenue. Since 2001, we have fought major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time that Congressional Republicans and President Bush insisted on cutting taxes. Now, the Bush tax cuts will need to expire for higher income earners. Our federal government spent large sums of money and enacted further large tax cuts to prod the economy forward and out of the Great Recession. We now need a long-term, responsible, and fair plan to get our fiscal situation back into balance, without slowing the pace of our current economic recovery.
Getting Congress back to sensible, centrist governance is what we need to do in Washington. That requires reasonable discussion and compromise, not partisan vitriol and unprincipled competition to grab and hold power. The pandering and fear mongering must stop. We need a congress that remembers that they are public servants there to represent all of their constituents in this incredibly diverse nation. Responsible representation and thoughtful analysis of the issues must replace relentless partisanship and political brinksmanship; that is the duty of our elected representatives in these challenging times.
Recently, I was talking about politics with my son, Michael, who is a college student at the University of Georgia. He observed that he thought I am surprisingly “optimistic about politics.” I thought about that and told him that I am not optimistic about politics; I am optimistic about America. I am optimistic about the greatness of this country, the promise of our future, and our shared bedrock principles of freedom, justice, and opportunity for all. I believe that strong, reasoned, and ethical leadership by our elected officials, along with active participation in our civic affairs by an engaged citizenry, will assure the continued greatness of America.
We have a tough election campaign ahead. I respectfully ask you for your support in the campaign, and for your vote in November.