Building an economy of innovation must include support for science and technology. Developments in healthcare, biotechnology, robotics, cyber security, energy research, artificial intelligence, information technology and advances in manufacturing, all add jobs and strengthen our economy.
We need policies which nurture innovation, continue to build our infrastructure to support new technology, and provide entrepreneurs with research and development resources to continue to bring new opportunities to our country. America needs to be able to compete with the world in science and technology. We need to continue to advance funding for a wide array of programs and grants which assist organizations and inspire the entrepreneurial spirit such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) through the National Institute of Health (NIH), as well as make the Research and Development (R&D) tax credit permanent.
Our region in Pennsylvania is fortunate to have some of the best schools and academies of higher learning which are key to keeping our area thriving. I believe we must continue to build upon the policies that nurture and support innovation, including publicprivate partnerships with our educational system to provide science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) so our schools are preparing our students for the jobs of tomorrow.
Just as it is foolish to deny the overwhelming evidence that we are poisoning the air we breathe and the water we drink, it is foolish to deny the overwhelming scientific evidence for Climate Change. Scientists agree that climate change is real, and that we are approaching the point of no return. We need leaders who aren’t afraid to stand up for science and for our future and the futures of generations to come.
I know that climate change is real and that it is an overwhelming threat to all of us. In Congress, I will fight for policies and regulations to address the threat of climate change while there is still time to do so.
Corporate special interests have bought off our elected leaders to rollback environmental regulations and created a narrative filled with lies in an attempt to convince all of us that climate change is not real so that they can increase their profits at a huge cost to each and every one of us.
Weather patterns are changing, the polar icecaps are melting and sealevels are rising. We see the evidence of this in the news everyday. Hurricanes of record strength are destroying the Gulf Coast and Southern United States with everincreasing frequency. This is costing lives and destroying families while also costing American taxpayers billions in disaster recovery. At the same time, the western and midwestern United States are experiencing droughts and floods that bring equal devastation. These tragedies are not limited to the United States. Throughout the world, weather disasters are causing untold destruction. These events are the result of climate change and we must take action to address this very real threat to all of us.
In Congress, I will be outspoken in my advocacy of policies that seek to take immediate and decisive action to address climate change. From strengthening environmental regulations domestically, to enforcing environmental regulations worldwide through Fair Trade Agreements and renewing our commitment to the Paris Climate Accord, to investing in the rapid development, deployment and expansion of clean and renewable energy to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels whose carbon emissions lie at the core of the climate change issue. I will fight for our collective future as Americans and as global citizens.
Growing up in a household with eleven siblings, there wasn’t much space for privacy. My mom used to tell us, “if you want to be alone, do the dishes.” Today the issue of personal privacy has taken on a whole new meaning with the advancement of technology and cyberspace. The information age for all its wonders has brought on new issues of security and privacy rights. Every time a credit card is swiped, mobile phone calls made, or GPS locators used, we are being tracked nearly every moment of our lives.
When government and nongovernment organizations gather our personal data, the ramifications are exponentially wide for our personal information to be misused or placed in the wrong hands. Whether it be our financial data, health records, buying habits or viewing preferences to name a few, this data could be used for fraud and manipulation. Hackers have invaded our email systems and our election process. This is the age of cyber war.
Our government’s responsibility has early roots in protecting privacy as the early nation dealt with interference from a far off king who conducted searches and seizures without warning, double jeopardy in the courtroom, and quartering of troops in personal homes. Privacy is core to our foundational values and our legislators today who have been bought and paid for by special interest lobbyists in the information fields have sold our privacy to the highest bidder by allowing Internet providers to mine and sell browsing data, usage history, app usage, email/message content, and financial information among other things without consumer consent. This is a huge violation.
As your Congresswoman, I will put people before profit and ensure your rights are protected. My grassroots campaign is by design so that I may freely act in the voice of the people.
Sadly, I lost a young nephew to suicide just last year and the void of his life never goes away. So much of mental health is affected by access to the resources and the stigma of mental health. This is a story too many families are dealing with today because of increase in bullying, untreated depression, and lack of resources to find help. Depression is the number one cause of suicide, it is real and can no longer be ignored.
I will lead the way on quality healthcare that promotes lifelong wellbeing for everyone including mental health. America works best when we work together. Our shared goals depend on the ability of everyone to engage, develop and do their part. Without access to healthcare including mental healthcare, many Americans are locked out of meaningful participation in our society at every level. From building a strong economy to promoting strong national defense, healthcare and mental healthcare is fundamental to our nation’s wellbeing.
The world of medicine is changing rapidly because of scientific and technological advances. Through advances in preventive care, early identification of serious health issues and breakthroughs in treatment we now have the ability to cure diseases in incredible and affordable ways. From genetic medicines and new detection devices, our healthcare has the potential to lead the way in groundbreaking research. Healthcare is more than just providing insurance, it is encouraging and funding innovation to create new solutions to our current crisis.
While advances in healthcare are exciting, access to quality healthcare that allows all Americans to take advantage of these advances are imperative to creating a stronger, healthier nation. We need to begin to take the steps to make quality healthcare available. Singlepayer health care or “Medicare for all” has been researched over and again and clearly provides the best possible solution to the numerous problems with our current health insurance systems. The United States is the only modern developed country that does not provide healthcare access to all its citizens, and as such, there is much waste and abuse. In addition, Americans have a shorter lifespan and overall decreased wellness than our modern counterparts.
It is the time we take the politics and special interest out of the mix and do the right thing—provide quality healthcare options from birth to death and avoid the overuse of the emergency rooms as primary providers. Prevention and maintenance are the keys to a healthy population, and we are a creative nation who has ideas for how to make this work. Let’s stop fighting and find a solution.
Related to this issue, the opioid epidemic is a crisis that affects families throughout our communities and from all stages and walks of life. Each day lives are lost to senseless addiction and it crosses all levels of society. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the number of deaths related to opioids. Our community deserves real leadership to address this crisis. We need to take bold action to tackle this crisis headon and save our citizens.
Our communities are racked with this evergrowing crisis due to the increased availability of opiates and heroin because of distribution and availability.. According to the Center for Disease Control, overdose death rates increased in every single age group, but the greatest increase was with those aged 5564. The group with the highest rates of fatal overdose was adults aged 4554. We need to address this crisis. Pharmaceutical companies and prescribers need to take responsibility for amounts prescribed and much like the methamphetamine registration, there needs to be a system in place to regulate the number of addictive prescriptions that are given out to individuals. Rehabilitation programs need to continue to be covered by health care maintenance.
We need support for people who are caught up in the prescription drug addiction and take the stigma away from treatment and education. We can partner with local organizations that keep our kids involved in afterschool activities which inspire their minds and keep them from the situations in which drugs become available. Education and support for our community advocates need to continue to be a priority so together we can curb this growing trend.
I believe in upholding an educational system that inspires innovation and ideas for a world we can only imagine. In Congress, I will make sure that strengthening education at all levels remains a top national priority. Strong public education and college affordability have been made possible by the fact that we were all able to agree on their importance. We worked together to make it a reality, but public education is under attack from wealthy special interests seeking to make a profit on the backs of our children and at the expense of our collective future.
Along with many in my generation, I was able to build a happy and successful life because of strong early education and federal programs that made college affordable. Maintaining vigorous public schools, increasing access to PreK education, and ensuring that educational opportunities keep pace with a rapidly changing economy are essential. We need programs such as STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math) to be available in every school so students may analyze and develop the critical thinking skills to understand their world. Together we can make sure those same opportunities remain available to our children and keep America competitive in the global economy.
We must keep college education affordable and invest in trade and vocational education for students seeking options other than a traditional college degree. Through grants, scholarships, subsidized student loans, and working with colleges and universities, we can find creative ways to bring down the skyrocketing cost so our students are not straddled with overwhelming debt. At the same time, our children need to feel safe in their schools at every level. Our children in preschool through college deserve to be protected from harassment, discrimination, or violation. We cannot weaken our standards because of political agendas and outside influence which seeks to minimize the policies that have been developed to keep our kids secure.
Speaking to educators across our area, one theme emerges—we need to stop teaching to the test and allow for innovation in the classroom—teaching children how to think not what to think. Our children are entering a highly demanding, technologically driven world and highquality educational options in every field need to be available to every child to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. We have to give them the vision not only to reach for the stars but the tools to develop the vehicles to get there. Inside every child in America is an untapped wealth of ideas and innovationwe have to find ways to fire that spark so it becomes a blaze! Investing in our children is creating success for our future.
Growing up on the Great Lakes, I learned the value and beauty of our natural waterways and the environment and exactly how much damage we can do in the absence of regulation. There is nothing more fundamental to the wellbeing of each and every one of us that clean, safe and healthy air and water. Failing to protect our environment and recognize the reality of global climate change is senseless, and it is a mistake for which we must all pay the price, and for which our children and grandchildren may pay an even higher price. In Congress, I will be a champion for sensible regulation that addresses climate change and protects the air and water we all share.
There is an ancient saying I like to refer to when working on projects to preserve our environment, “we don’t inherit the earth, we borrow it from our children.” We have one world to call our home and yet special interests, pollution and overdevelopment are causing strain on our natural resources. Pretending these issues aren’t real doesn’t make them go away, and science can lead us to the solutions! I have worked to raise money and awareness for conserving our natural resources in Pennsylvania because everything is interconnected. Overdevelopment and poor planning are constant risks to our environment, clean air and clean water.
I will continue to work tirelessly to protect our environment. Quite simply, clean air and water are essential to life, and it is foolish to have so little regard for the basic fundamental on which all of us depend. We cannot accept politicians who deny the overwhelming scientific evidence that clearly demonstrates that the Earth is in danger, and we are rapidly approaching the point of no return.
The issue of food and nutrition needs to be added to the political table. Whether it be about the economy, health, environment, national security, or hunger, access to nutrition is one of the largest issues we face today and yet it rarely is discussed in political campaigns. The United States policy on food is extremely complex and reaches across many industries. To the farmers who grow our food, the processors, wholesalers, and retailers who bring it to market, as well as the safety and regulation of food produced, providing quality nutrition will continue to be an enormous national and global issue due to increased demand, production standards, pollution, climate change and overall land availability. In addition, policies on trade, immigration, labor, and animal treatment all weigh into the conversation of what ends up on our plates. It also reaches into the healthcare debate when we consider the dollars spent dealing with overall consumption and inequity of available food.
Our nation’s history has been blessed with abundance in food production and groundbreaking technologies which have increased our ability to provide food for around the world. However, these technologies need to be done with awareness for not only production, but also the quality and safety of our food as well as the environments where they are grown. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States loses nearly 3,000 acres of farmland each day which was once part of active food production, in addition the debate over genetically modified foods and proper labeling for consumer awareness needs to be continually addressed in order to promote nutrition and health of our citizens.
As your Congresswoman, I welcome the debate and will work to ensure a quality food supply for our country with awareness for the food that we consume and the effects on our long term health, to the production of food and the effects on our environment, to the power of agriculture in our communities, to the availability of access to food for the economically disadvantaged, and to use our resources with a plan for the future. It is time we do our part to create a sustainable food supply for the health and wellbeing of our nation.
We have learned so much from our exploration of spacethe technology that has been developed along the research path is enormous! From the microwave, to the computer, to artificial limbs to so many things that touch our everyday lives, space travel has expanded our economy and created so many amazing discoveries to make life better.
My favorite political leader is John F. Kennedy who encouraged us to explore space by first reaching the moon. His memorable speech still resonates today and why we must continue to explore spaceto the moon and beyond: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."
As a member of Congress, I will continue to support the appropriation of funds invested in space exploration and research as well as the education resources for our future explorers.
One area that affect our ocean’s health is our dependence on fossil fuels as our main source of energy, the carbon dioxide continues to concentrate in our ocean watershaving been absorbed in the atmosphere and then dissolving into the oceans below. Investing in the rapid development, deployment and expansion of clean and renewable energy, like wind and solar makes sense for our environment, for our efforts to address climate change, our oceans and for our economic future. In Congress, I will stand up to the fossil fuel lobby that is seeking to continue our reliance of fossil fuels at a great cost to our health and safety, our collective future, and our economic growth.
Clean and renewable energy represents a huge opportunity to create jobs and fuel economic growth. However fossil fuels will continue to play a significant role in our energy portfolio for some time, and we must adopt a policy approach that seeks to rampup the development and deployment of clean and renewable energy, while recognizing that the fossil fuel industry still represents a sizable portion of our economy, and that we do not yet have the capacity to make the switch to a totally green energy economy. As emerging economies move toward embracing less expensive alternative and renewable resources, our clinging to the traditional sources will in time be less cost effective and make it more difficult for us to compete in the global markets.
There is a a lot that we can do to encourage rapid growth in clean and renewable energy, while being sensitive to the realities of our energy and economic needs now. For example, the oil industry, which is one of the most successful and profitable industries in history continues to receive tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, while that same industry seeks to decrease investment in clean and renewable energy. Natural gas, which burns cleaner than other fossil fuels, could be the bridge to a clean energy future, but a lack of sensible regulation on the extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” significantly diminishes the environmental benefits of natural gas.
In Congress, I will work hard to increase our investment in clean and renewable energy to accelerate reaching our goal of a clean energy economy, while taking a common sense approach to environmental regulations on the existing fossil fuel industry to build a stronger economy while protecting our environment and addressing the very real threat of climate change and other economic disasters that totally unregulated fossil fuel extraction and use can present, both globally and locally here in Pennsylvania.
Science will have an ally with me in Congress. For all the reasons mentioned above and so much more, I respect what science has done to advance our world and respect scientific evidence. I will work with my colleagues on the Hill to respect and protect the rights and discoveries of the scientific community. Let us continue to explore our universe together and reach for the stars!
Organizations Who Developed the Questions: The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Council on Competitiveness, IEEE-USA, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Media Partner: Scientific American