Issues

Health Care

Every American should enjoy the kind of comprehensive healthcare that a service member enjoys in the U.S. military. Health care should include lifetime dental, mental, and preventative healthcare.

To get there, Mike will move to fully implement and improve upon the Affordable Care Act and place a Medicare public option on the exchange. Banning private health insurance is not the direction needed to ensure every American has access to quality care. Moreover, Medicare should be available for all who want it. Medicare should always be protected, it should be made solvent for the long term, and it should never be a bargaining chip.

Further, Mike knows the challenge associated with mental illness. Expanded treatment opportunities are desperately needed. The first step in addressing America’s mental health crisis is by improving the nation’s statutes and resources for the treatment of mental health. Access and inpatient options need to be expanded to treat the chronic shortage of opportunities for this vital aspect of healthcare.

Similarly, Mike considers dental care indispensable to quality of life. Therefore, it should be part of an expanded Affordable Care Act and not a mere luxury for those with high-end insurance plans.

Healthcare and treatment start in our communities, not in Washington. That’s why Mike plans on investing in community health centers, to ensure that people can be treated in their communities by their neighbors.

Climate Crisis

The climate crisis is the greatest existential threat of our time. This is not just an Iowan issue or an American issue, but the issue of our time. Addressing climate change will require the international community’s full attention, investment, and top-down/bottom-up leadership. We need to lead the world community in forward-leaning, environmentally friendly technologies.

Mike’s response to climate change starts with Iowa’s agriculture. Iowa’s fertile topsoil and leadership in bioenergy position Iowans to be trailblazers in carbon sequestration. Reaping that opportunity presents boundless benefits for Iowa and the nation.

In Washington, Mike will introduce carbon pricing legislation to curb dangerous emissions. He will further mandate that revenue raised is returned to households and invested in green technology. Carbon pricing works at both ends.

Beyond our borders, it is imperative that America rejoin the Paris Agreement, because the world looks to U.S. leadership in addressing climate issues. To help stave off tumultuous weather changes, the U.S. needs to tax carbon, implement ethanol efficiency standards, and focus on sustainable food production. Taking this a step further, addressing climate change is a national security imperative.

America can and must lead on climate change. As a person who appreciates science, a new future is infinitely possible.

Special Interests

Iowan’s have gotten a raw deal from Joni Ernst. Her voting record screams special interests. Iowans deserve a Senator who will work for Iowa’s children, this nation, and this Earth. Mike will not do the bidding of special interests.

The first item to address is tax reform. Mike commits to implementing fairer tax policies and eliminating loopholes used by large corporations and the very wealthy to ensure that they pay less than ordinary folks. Mike will also work to more stridently enforce antitrust laws and confirm judges who will help to overturn Citizens United.

Social Security

Social Security is in dire straits. And let’s level with each other: you won’t find a Democrat doesn’t want to protect the long-term solvency of Social Security.

But vowing to protect it is not enough. You need to fix its issues. Here’s how to do it:

Everyone has to pay their fair share into Social Security. Right now, payments into the system are capped at incomes above $137,000. If we’re going to make sure Social Security is around for our kids, we have to make sure big earners are a part of that effort.

We also have to increase benefits for our most vulnerable beneficiaries. For some, Social Security is the only income. Let’s keep seniors out of poverty.

And we have to protect it from privatization. Behind closed doors, Joni Ernst talks about private accounts — that means the stock market. That would be a catastrophic mistake. Mike doesn’t want to tie Social Security to a rollercoaster, because seniors need a guaranteed base income in retirement.

Social Security trust funds run out in fifteen years. Now is the time to put it on solid ground for generations.

Education

Mike was the beneficiary of a world-class public education in rural Iowa. Today, the same quality of education is not accessible to all students — rural, urban, or in between. That means the rungs on the ladder of success are impeded for many.

Mike will start by increasing teacher pay through federal minimum pay and benefit standards. In Fort Dodge, a teacher who worked 12 months a year told Mike that he was unsure if he could afford a kitten. No teacher in America should have such worries. Mike knows we must pay teachers so that they can be comfortable members of the middle class.

Improving rural education starts with balancing per student spending for urban and rural areas. Mike also supports federal standards and associated funding for reduced class size and facility improvements. For younger students, pre-K should be expanded to include all children at age four.

Higher education must also be made more accessible and affordable. Pell Grants must be greatly expanded to make public education a reality for lower-income applicants. Federal money must also go towards reducing tuition to zero at community colleges.

To address student loans, Mike supports decreasing interest rates for federal student loans. We must also establish a Federal Loan Forgiveness Program to increase volunteerism and economic growth in private and non-profit sectors.

We can raise the quality of public education and make higher education more affordable and accessible. Doing so will improve our future.

Women’s Health

Mike supports a woman’s right to choose. He will defend that right, and he will reject any judicial nominee who threatens a woman’s choice.

Mike knows that Democrats cannot simply play defense on this issue — government must play an activist role in supporting women’s health. Besides codifying Roe v. Wade and fully funding for Planned Parenthood and associated programs, Mike supports universal access to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) that have been proved to reduce unintended teen pregnancies and abortions by half.

LGBTQ+ rights and equality

Admiral Mike’s support for the LGBTQ+ community in public policy started when he ignored Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and protected sailors who trusted him.

He believes every child should have the means to reach their full potential. That starts in schools. Mike supports strict federal guidelines against bullying in schools, tied to federal funding. He also supports increased funding for every school to hire more counselors.

He also knows that LGBTQ+ youth should not be at the mercy of junk science. That’s why he fully endorses a federal ban on conversion therapy.

Furthermore, LGBTQ+ Americans should enjoy the full menu of access available — that means ending discrimination and ensuring equal access to housing, employment, and adoption.

To Mike, this is a human dignity issue. He can be trusted to fight for LGBTQ+ Americans because he’s done it before.

Agriculture

Growing up in rural Sioux County, Mike has a unique perspective on this state’s agriculture. In the Senate, Mike will work to open markets and mobilize farmers to beat climate change — and benefit from it.

Mike’s signed over 22 international agreements in his career, and he knows that farmers want markets, not bailouts. On day one, Mike will introduce legislation to end Donald Trump’s foolish trade war. Doing so will reopen markets so farmers won’t have to wait for a bailout while their soybeans rot in silos.

Mike also knows that the ethanol industry needs better tools to beat big oil. President Trump uses the small refinery exemption to prop up big oil. Mike wants to introduce legislation to stop that.

Farmers need the tools to beat climate change and benefit from it. He supports establishing federal grants for environmental stewardship and regenerative agriculture. This includes increasing research and development for carbon sequestration technologies.

He also wants to help farmers develop local supply chains so crops can benefit the communities where they’re grown. Municipal and county governments should partner with farmers to have local produce in schools and health centers.

Farmers have been left behind by Joni Ernst and this administration. But electing a Democratic Senate and fighting climate change means that farmers can have a seat at the table again. Mike wants to put his rural upbringing, scientific training, and advocacy to bear for farmers.

Infrastructure

America’s infrastructure is crumbling. Wise infrastructure investments have not kept pace with the effects of climate change, heavier road usage, new technology, and transport options. This investment needs to be on a scale not seen since we built America’s interstates. This time, particular emphasis is needed on infrastructure development in depressed communities and rural areas.

Transportation and the environment go hand in hand. To ensure that public transportation is accessible to all, Mike plans to expand high speed rail, invest in electric buses, and build charging stations across state roads and interstates to lower the costs of electric cars. This way, America’s productivity can increase while we lower our carbon footprint.

The post office must also be fully funded and protected from political attacks. It is a vital resource for rural and poorer communities.

Finally, Mike will ensure that rural communities and economically depressed areas have access to high speed internet — whether in Des Moines or Mike’s hometown of Lebanon, Iowa. This will be an effort on the scale of rural electrification and of the same lasting benefit.

Gun Violence

America suffers from a pandemic of gun violence. No other advanced country suffers the debilitating effects of firearm violence like America. Admiral Mike supports common sense legislation to reduce gun violence.

No gun should be sold without a comprehensive background check. Gun owners must also be trained and regularly re-certified in their competence in safe operation, storage, and maintenance of weapons.

Mike is no stranger to assault weapons. He knows they have no place in civilians’ hands.

He further supports restrictions on magazine size. He would vote to ban 3D-printed guns and rapid-fire weapons.

Mike also supports efforts to ensure that guns are taken from those who are not fit to own them. He supports Extreme Risk Protective Orders and Gun Violence Restraining Order laws. This legislation allows family and community members to petition to have weapons removed from gunner who indicate that they pose a threat to themselves or others. Non-gun owners have equal rights to gun owners.

Finally, America must commit to better understanding the causes and pathologies of gun violence. As Senator, Mike will introduce legislation to form a committee to understand why so many of our sons and daughters are lost to such senseless, ugly violence. This includes suicides.

Admiral Mike owned his first gun at a very early Age. After a lifetime in military service, he has a unique perspective on common sense solutions to firearm ownership that both enhance gun ownership and keep Americans safe.

Labor

Having lived on four continents, Mike learned that countries which have strong labor unions and representation for the labor class, their families, and the product of their labor have strong economies. As Senator, Mike will be a tireless advocate for union members.

Mike will protect and enhance the right to collective bargaining. He will introduce the PRO Act which will ease unionization and protect employees from hostile interference. He also endorses a federal ban on right to work laws.

Mike employed hundreds of public sector union employees when he started and ran the POW/MIA Accounting Agency. He knows that strong public sector unions are vital for good governance. He supports the Freedom to Negotiate Act which will guarantee public sector workers like teachers and employees full collective bargaining rights.

Mike also supports raising the federal minimum wage to transform it into a true living wage. Additionally, a universal guarantee of paid family leave will help working families and keep women in the workforce.

In the 1930s, unions built America’s strongest, most egalitarian economy. Reinvesting in the labor movement will restore prosperity to the American workforce.

Immigration

The Trump Administration has taken an already broken immigration system and, with great incompetence and greater cruelty, gravely worsened the problem.

On day one in office, Mike will introduce legislation to free children from CBP’s cages and reunite separated families. Mike will also forge paths to citizenship for DACA and other long-term residents, many of whom came into this country through no fault of their own. Mike believes that we Americans cannot continue to look ourselves in the mirror if we punish children for the choices of their parents.

Immigration policy must benefit our local businesses too. Enacting a comprehensive plan that greatly expands worker visa programs will make sure that local employers have the necessary staff to run their businesses and serve their communities. And ensuring those immigrants have the necessary documentation will mean that they provide a tax base for those same communities. Iowa needs immigrants.

America’s immigration program can serve our interests, but it can also highlight immigrants’ humanity and our humanity as hosts. Emphases on economic rationality and empathy can act in kind.

Expanded National Service Program

My military service was the formative factor in my adult life. My decision to run for Senate is fundamentally about continuing forty years of service. Still, I do not believe in mandatory service. What I want to do is to expand to America’s youth alternative opportunities for service here in America or abroad.

I want to create a diverse, expansive roster of federal and state programs and provide a pipeline for high school graduates. A young person should have the option to serve in any program they wish — forestry, national parks, inner city schools, infrastructure development, or a host of other service programs. We can reward them for their service by offsetting costs for technical training or public education.

In 1961, President Kennedy inspired young Americans to serve communities across the globe. It’s time we renew those efforts, but turn our eyes towards home. In my Expanded National Service Program, our kids can serve their fellow Americans and know that after their service is concluded, opportunities abound for them.

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