Economy

• More and better jobs
• Improve infrastructure
• Close tax loopholes for businesses shipping jobs overseas and provide tax incentives for businesses that create jobs here
• Minimum wage increase
• Equal pay for equal work

Education

• Increase teacher pay
• Repair or replace aging school buildings
• Make college affordable to all young people who want to attend
• Provide quality vocational education for young people and for workers who want to learn 21st century skills

Social Security & Medicare

• Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements but benefits earned through lifetime of hard work and paying into both programs
• Keep our commitment to seniors by preserving both programs
• Raise cap on taxable income for Social Security
• No privatization of Social Security
• No voucher system for Medicare

Economy

Did you know that the annual compensation of CEOs rose 726% from 1978 to 2011, while annual compensation for wage earners has risen 5.7% during that same period? That’s just not right. So I support an increase in the minimum wage to at least $10.10 if not more. . . . And I support equal pay for equal work for women too!

Many of us are deeply concerned about the wide gap in this nation between the wealthy and the rest of us. But such concerns fade quickly when you’re worried about having the money to put food on the table and gas in your car to get the kids to school and get yourself to work. I know a man in Holly Ridge who has been out of work for over a year, a man with health issues, with a family, who is struggling to make ends meet. You probably have a friend or family member in the same boat.

Here in North Carolina too many of our jobs have gone to China, Mexico and other offshore locations. When elected I will vote to close the tax loopholes that incentivize businesses to ship jobs overseas. And I will work to lower tax rates for businesses that create good jobs right here in America. While we’re at it, let’s also invest in rebuilding our infrastructure . . . projects that will support economic growth and create good jobs doing that work.

Bottom line, I will work to create an economy that works for everyone—that provides not just jobs, but meaningful work . . . at a living wage . . . so that parents aren’t struggling to make ends . . . and can spend more time nurturing their children.

Education

I’m proud to say I have four kids in the public schools, and they’re doing great thanks to their dedicated classroom teachers. Of course I want them each to get a good education and have the ability to make a decent living. But more than that, I want them to have a good life. For this to happen—for all our kids and grandkids—we must respect our teachers and pay them well.

That’s certainly not what’s happening in North Carolina today. As you know, the GOP majority in the General Assembly has created a voucher system for private schools, reduced the number of openings in the state’s pre-K program for at-risk children, ended tenure for public school teachers, abolished teachers’ supplemental pay for advanced degrees, eliminated thousands of teachers and teachers assistants and failed to raise teachers’ pay. North Carolina now ranks 46th in the nation in teacher pay. That is an outrage, and we can’t stand for it.

It’s essential that our children are prepared for the 21st century economy. We must start with early childhood education for all. And every young person who wants to attend college should have that opportunity. We should also provide quality vocational education for students who want it and for workers who want additional training for the kinds of jobs now available.

Democracy cannot thrive without well-educated citizens, and when I get to Washington I will make our children’s education a top priority.

Social Security and Medicare

So, I’ve got a question for you. Who do you think said this?

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.”

Don’t know? Let me give you a hint. It was a Republican.

Yes, it was President Dwight D. Eisenhower. A far cry from today’s Republicans, right?

President Eisenhower understood that Social Security was not an entitlement, but a benefit seniors earned through lifetime of hard work and paying into the program. And the same goes for Medicare. We must keep our commitment to seniors by preserving both these programs. No cuts in Social Security or Medicare. . . . PERIOD!

Social Security taxes are paid on earnings up to a maximum level. In 2014, the cap is set at $117,100. Thus higher-income individuals pay a smaller percentage of their income in Social Security taxes than middle-class folks. I would raise this cap so that high-income people pay their fair share and so that the money to pay benefits is there in the future.

One thing I will never stand for is privatization of any part of Social Security. We’ve seen how volatile the financial markets can be. Social Security should be a guarantee to those who have earned it, not a roll of the dice.

I’m a firm believer in Medicare and so is my wife Tiffany’s 88-year-old grandmother, who is covered under this effective government health insurance program. She and the other seniors of our nation earned their Medicare coverage with a lifetime of hard work and contributions to the system, and I vow to defend this program.