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U.S. House, District 24

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    Mike Kolls (L) Project Manager, Information Technology

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    Kenny Marchant (R) Member of Congress

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    Patrick McGehearty (D) Computer Scientist

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Highlights of current civic involvement/accomplishment:

Highlights of past civic involvement/accomplishment:

Previous public offices sought or held:

How much funding have you raised for your campaign?

Who are your top three contributors?

Have you ever been arrested or involved in any criminal proceedings? If so, please explain:

Have you ever been involved in any civil lawsuits or declared personal or professional bankruptcy? If so, please explain:

What is an example of how you led a team or group toward achieving an important goal?

What political leader do you most admire and why?

Why are you running for this office?

Why should voters choose you over your opponent?

How would you rate the leadership of House Speaker John Boehner?

What changes, if any, would you favor to the U.S. tax code? How would you build a coalition to enact those reforms?

Medicare’s finances still face serious problems, and the reckoning date is getting closer. What should Congress do to solidify the system’s funding?

Beyond Medicare, what changes would you recommend as a way to deal with the federal debt? Please be specific about the programs you would like to cut, reform or eliminate.

What approach should the U.S. take toward Afghanistan going forward?

What foreign policy challenge do you see as the next big international issue? And how would you recommend the U.S. deal with it?

Should Congress take a piecemeal or comprehensive approach to overhauling immigration laws? What is your solution to address the flood of unaccompanied Central American minors who came across the border this summer?

Should the Affordable Care Act be repealed? If so, what would you put in its place? If not, how would you improve it?

Congress has tried but never succeeded in reforming the No Child Left Behind Act. What would you like Washington to do with this bipartisan law?

What role should the federal government play in promoting alternative sources of energy?

Do you favor regulations to control carbon emissions? If so, what kind of regulations? If not, what approach would you favor?

What role should the federal government play in promoting alternative sources of energy?

City/Town Lewisville
Age 54
5 years
Project Manager at UT Southwestern Medical Center
B.S. Accounting, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
I have not previously run for public office.
I have not previously run for public office.
I have not previously run for public office.
I have not raised any funds. It will be impossible to out-fundraise the incumbent.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
No.
Divorce in 2005.
Projects are created to address unique work efforts and create a new product or new result. I have led many projects since 1999. The keys to success are a clearly stated outcome and constant communication. In business, the Project Sponsor (the person with funds seeking to solve a business problem) is the clear driver; he/she breaks all deadlocks. The project team works to accomplish the stated outcome.
Barry Goldwater documented the Conservative response to Progressivism and big governemnt. These ideals refocused the Republican Party and became seed for the Libertarian Party. He succinctly defined personal responsibility and limited government. I disagree with his position on use of military force.
The federal Union is too big, tries to do too much, is ineffective, and is mounting great debt. It needs to be reduced to its prescribed structure in The Constitution of The United States. Please see "America: Our Challenges" on my website http://tellwashington.us.
I offer a voice different from the left-right bickering. I am an advocate of The Constitution of The United States and limited government. I also believe in the innovation and determination of my fellow citizens. In a truly free society our capabilities are endless. The Libertarian message "socially liberal, financially conservative" (limited government) reflects our American character. The federal government should "Get out of our way".
Speaker Boehner has a difficult job. The deck is stacked against him - 50% are following one vision, the other 50% following a different vision. His senatorial counterpart adds to the dysfunction. The political process has reached stalemate. I have not seen an effort to advance causes that reflect the true voice of US citizens; he seems to be just another political player. We need governance, not politics. If we re-establish Congress' mission to follow Article I Section 8 and only act in the interest of the super-majority of citizens (67% to 75%) then Congress will be restored to its intended function. In practical terms, the Congress (by necessity) will be limited to few courses of action. It will be limited to "no duh" type decisions and legislation ... actions that have an obvious, super-majority support of US citizens.
My long term we should abolish the US Tax Code. I favor returning to state apportionments. This long term plan would require repeal of Amendment XVI and XVII, and a much smaller federal government (with less need of funding). Until our federal (not national) deficit is addressed there will be a need for tax revenues. To have "effective" tax provisions it must be seen as stable. The current method of annual tax code changes/tweaks must stop. Each tweak only introduces new, unintended effects. Individuals and corporation need to understand how taxes will be taken from them. It is not a game of cat and mouse. In the short term, before re-establishing state apportionments, I favor freezing the tax code for 8 or 10 year periods. A balanced budget, achieved by spending cuts, will "stop the bleeding". A balanced budget can allow us to start addressing the enormous accumulated federal deficit that is somewhere around $18 Trillion. As the federal government is reduced in size its funding needs will be reduced according. True tax reforms can happen at this time. I see a federal government one-third its current size (or a tad smaller) in our not too distant future.
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have been deemed "unsustainable" repeatedly since their respective inceptions. Mr. Perry's observation of Social Security being a Ponzi Scheme is close in truth. These programs need to be privatized. The need to save for retirement and provide for end of life medical services is a personal decision and best left to the individual and the private sector. Some may want more funds than provided by current government "programs". Others may take more risks and use their wealth differently. Again, this is a personal choice, not a mandated, one-size-fits-all government program. The difficult part of privatizing is the transition period from government provided to personally provided. To date this has been a tough obstacle to overcome. With the difficulties of the "Affordable" Care Act (ACA) to implement, it has been argued that it is understandable difficult and has failures and flaws in making the change ... for a perceived "greater good". What if privatizing current programs is for the "greater good" ... the pain of getting there is worth it. I think it is time to end these unsustainable programs.
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid - see above answer. Our Foreign Policy is dangerously tied to military operations. We approach fellow sovereign nations with out weapons drawn (with superior power) and wonder why they see us as an international bully. Coercing the world has been expensive and has not achieved its stated purpose of gaining influence and developing friendships. When our guns are gone and the foreign aid/bribes end, so is the influence and friendship. We need to remove all foreign based troops from foreign lands. We need to have other sovereign nations incur the cost of defending their nation. We need to reduce our involvement and funding in international organizations like the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Leave - ensure that our troops are safely evacuated. We can offer building supplies and other materials to rebuild their nation. These will be for profit or oil - a real debt to Afghanistan. I favor this plan to be made (or not made) between Afghanistan and American industry (via diplomatic channels). It would NOT include the IMF or World Bank participation. A plan like the Marshal Plan after WWII is not a viable option.
By reinventing our foreign policy we can achieve Thomas Jefferson's vision "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entanglements with none". These words from his inaugural address are a good vision for us today. If we interact with fellow co-sovereign nations and offer them partnerships in commerce, we have no need to kill each other. Commerce enriches both nations; we each benefit with the best of another culture - Japanese electronics for French wine - American oranges for Australian wool, you get the idea. Each nation must conduct itself with the responsibilities of a sovereign nation; namely self defense. We must not continue being mercenaries for other nations. Our posture towards an Iranian nuclear bomb should be one of destruction. If we perceive the use of a nuclear device, we will respond quickly, with overwhelming force, and continue until we end our response. We will not apologize for defending our people, our soil, or our waters.
Residency requirements of immigration should be controlled by the sovereign states. A state may declare itself to be immigrant-friendly or prevent entrance. I advocate open borders, but no handouts/benefits to immigrants. But, this is open to the discretion of each sovereign state. Due to the large volume at the southern border, the states directly involved may need to solicit help form the federal government to send an appropriate message to the government of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Unwanted immigrants are the responsibility of their parents/guardians, these three Central American countries, and Mexico.
Yes, immediately if possible. Healthcare should be privatized. The failing Veterans' Affairs healthcare system is an example of government-run healthcare. It's failure was proven in a short period of time. I also believe that healthcare providers, bound to the Hippocratic Oath, must be responsive to need in their community. I favor enforcement of medical waiver forms. The patient assumes some risk for contracting for a medical procedure or process. Providers can adjust fees for services based on whether a waiver is signed. If a a waiver is signed (the patient assumes some risk) the medical fee may be lower. If a waiver is not signed (the patient rejects risk and positions himself to sue) a fee should be higher. At present the cost of medical malpractice insurance is near 30% of a providers operating costs. I would prefer a pure fee-for-service system that removes any health insurance. Absent that dream, health insurance should be available across state lines. Current laws restricting sales within a state should be repealed. New legislation "allowing" interstate purchases unduly complicates the situation. In healthcare, and all other areas, repeal of existing legislation is a better solution than introducing new legislation.
Education is a local concern. City (property) tax payers and residents in the community are the proper authority for schools. It is acceptable for neighboring towns to have different school curricula, as well as neighboring states. I favor closing the federal Department of Education. All federal mandates and legislation concerning educations should be made void.
None. Our private capital system loans money based on ability to repay the loan. Only companies that have excessive risk (not good business risk) become eligible for government loans. This is essentially setting up the taxPAYERS to unwittingly underwrite the risky loan. It is a bad deal for competing businesses; they subsidize competition through tax dollars - crazy! When the current energy costs increase sufficiently, alternative energy will become more attractive. I admire private investors taking risks on wind, solar, and hybrid energy; wise investments will pay off for them. I dislike that my government gambles with my tax dollars.
No. The "science" of Global Warming is NOT settled. I would prefer that those impacted/injured seek remedy through our legal system. Settlements should be based upon actual damages. There is also the power of the community. If a community is against a new business moving into the community, the community has a right (if a super majority of the people agree) to prevent the company from moving there.
No role. There is no role or implied role in Article I Section 8 of The Constitution of The United States.
Address P.O. Box 110187
City/Town Carrollton, TX 75011
Age 66
Campaign Phone Number (972) 242-7211
50 years
Member of Congress / Investor
BA and Honorary Doctorate from Southern Nazarene University
• Received “Champion of Healthcare Innovation” Award from the Healthcare Leadership Council • Accepted the American Conservative Union’s “ACU Conservative” award in recognition of his work to promote limited government and preserve conservative value • Recognized for “commitment to America’s core principles” by the American Conservative Union (ACU) • Recognized for earning the “Guardian of Seniors’ Rights Award” for his strong commitment to seniors by The 60 Plus Association- Received the American Conservative Union’s ACU Conservative Award • Recognized with the Guardian of Small Business Award by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) • Received the Thomas Jefferson Award by the International Foodservice Distributors Association-No date • Received the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-No date • Awarded today with a perfect score (A+) by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Named to NumbersUSA’s “Top Ten Members of Congress” for his record in fighting illegal immigration • Ranked as the third most conservative member of the House of Representatives by the National Journal
Prior to his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Marchant served as Carrollton City Councilman, Mayor of Carrollton and Texas State Legislator. He was the former Chairman of the Texas House Republican Caucus, The Texas House Committee on Financial Institutions, and the House State Affairs Committee. Past awards include: "Top Ten Texas Legislator" by Texas Monthly, "Top Pro-Family Texas Legislator of the Year" by the American Family Association; "Legislator of the Year" by the Texas Municipal League; "Citizen of the Year" by the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce; and "Leader of Excellence" award by the Free Market Foundation.
State Representative, Texas Legislature, 1987-2004, Mayor of Carrollton, 1984-1987, City Councilmember, City of Carrollton, 1980 - 1984
Cash on hand 856,184.00
Farm Credit PAC, BNSF PAC, New York Life (as of 3/31/2014)
Never been arrested, no criminal proceedings, and no civil suits pending against me.
No bankruptcy. No civil suits pending against me.
As a member of Congress, I serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, the chief tax-writing committee which also has oversight over major policy areas such as Social Security, Medicare, and trade. For over two years, my colleagues and I have led an investigation into the IRS targeting of taxpayers on the basis of their political views. I was one of the first members of Congress to demand answers from the IRS about bias against Tea Party groups – some of which were located in my district. I worked to push this forward among my fellow committee members as well as in public hearings. As a result, our investigation has uncovered serious evidence of the IRS depriving groups of their rights and also referred an ex-IRS official to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. It’s important to know exactly what occurred at the IRS, hold those accountable of wrongdoing, and ensure that the IRS never targets Americans based on their political views ever again.

As a member of the Texas House, I was elected by my fellow members as Leader of the House Republican Caucus. I was proud to hold this position under three Texas Governors. As Leader, I worked with other members to help achieve the first Republican majority in the Texas House of Representatives since Reconstruction. This majority reflected the will of Texas voters, and we were able to achieve positive results on a number of important issues.
My fellow Texas and friend Congressman Sam Johnson, who was a founding member of the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of conservatives in the House. He served in Korea and Vietman (and was a POW for seven years, including more than three years in solitary confinement) and has led the fight to cut wasteful spending and keep taxes low while championing our nation's military and veterans.
I am running for Congress because I believe that government should be limited and accountable to the American people. I have a constituent record of fighting for lower taxes and the elimination of wasteful government spending. My priorities are to: balance the federal budget; secure our borders and oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants; strengthen national security and oppose appeasement; support free-markets and oppose government bailouts; promote energy independence; and give parents and local schools control over the education of our children - not Washington, DC.
As a resident of the 24th Congressional District for more than 50 years, I understand the concerns of the residents in the district. I work hard each day to make sure that all people who live in the 24th District are represented and have a strong voice in Congress. I have a strong record of fighting for my constituents - from helping veterans obtain medals they never received for their service to our country, to pushing against excessive federal regulations that harm our economy and small business owners in the 24th District. My focus is on serving the people of the 24th District and being their advocate in the House of Representatives. My experience as a small businessman and as a state and local public servant give me a unique perspective and appreciation for the impact that the federal government's regulations and taxes have on the daily decisions of small businesses, mayors and city councilmen, and state legislators. Voters in the 24th Congressional District deserve a responsible, experienced representative in Washington, DC. I would be honored to have your support so that I can continue my fight for smaller, more accountable government.
The Caucus is very split. John Boehner is handling the situation as well as any member could under the circumstances.
The American tax code is broken. Genuine tax reform means lowering tax rates while making the code simpler, flatter, and fairer for families and job creators. Americans deserve a specific plan of action for how the tax code will work for them, and as a member of the chief tax writing committee in Congress, that’s exactly what I’ve advanced with a tax reform plan and will continue to push forward.

Some of the key changes in the tax reform plan would be to reduce individual and corporate rates, eliminate special interest loopholes, repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), provide a larger standard deduction and child tax credit, crack down on IRS abuses, and simplify the tax return process. The average middle-class family of four could have an extra $1,300 per year in its pocket from the combination of lower rates in the plan and higher wages due to a stronger economy. American businesses, which currently have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, would benefit from lower rates to compete in the global economy while adding U.S. jobs.

In order to build a coalition for comprehensive tax reform, and to further improve the tax reform plan, I will continue to seek input from individuals and families in my district, businesses leaders, tax experts, and members from both sides of the political aisle. As former chair of a bipartisan tax reform working group, I am confident that tax reform can only be achieved with everyone as part of the effort. We need to work together to craft a plan that fixes our broken code, strengthens the economy, adds jobs at home, and puts more money in the pockets of hardworking American taxpayers.

Medicare should be overhauled in two primary ways: first we need to reform the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, so that doctors are not underpaid by the government for their services and to maintain patient access to care. Related to this, the payment system must be improved.

Second, we need to reduce Medicare’s high rate of fraud and waste. In 2012, the Government Accountability Office estimated Medicare made improper payments totaling $44 billion, or almost 8% of the program’s total budget. This is in addition to outright fraud and other forms of waste in Medicare that serve no benefit to beneficiaries.

I have introduced legislation to build a more disciplined, timely, and transparent debt limit framework that produces accountability and a means to promote and uphold meaningful deficit reduction. The Debt Management Act (H.R. 3579) would require the Treasury Secretary to testify before Congress before each debt limit increase request; ensure detailed debt reports from the Administration and proposals for deficit reduction; and incorporate progress reports on deficit reduction alongside debt limit increase requests to ensure the nation’s debts are accompanied with appropriate means of payment. The Debt Management Act aims to restore fiscal responsibility and public trust in the nation’s fiscal health based on openness and straightforward explanations on the debt and long-term fiscal planning. The bill currently has 45 cosponsors and I will continue to push the legislation forward to bring accountability to our nation’s staggering $17.5 trillion debt.
One of my biggest disappointments with President Obama in setting withdrawal deadlines is that it provides our enemies a strategic advantage, and thereby jeopardizes the safety of our servicemembers. Our servicemembers continue to perform their duties with high distinction while enduring countless sacrifices; and in the recent attack on Major General Harold Greene, often paying the supreme sacrifice for their country.

For more than a decade, the United States and our coalition partners have worked to defeat the Taliban and fix a failed state. We must continue our work of promoting the nascent democracy and strengthening it once power is turned over to Hamid Karzai’s successor. The President should adhere to the advice of the top military leadership that has seen and experienced the situation firsthand. This is the best strategy for achieving success in critical missions while keeping our service members safe. Despite all of our efforts, we cannot solve all of Afghanistan’s problems. Ultimately, it is the Afghan people who control their destiny.

Our foreign policy towards Russia will be our next big international issue for the foreseeable future. The Administration’s “reset button” strategy with Russia has obviously failed and hasn’t been replaced with any clear strategy from the White House. I believe the Administration and our European allies have been far too weak in sanctioning Russia for their annexation of Crimea and aiding the rebels in Ukraine. This weakness towards Russia was further displayed by the lackluster response resulting from the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Weakness only emboldens Vladimir Putin to further destabilize Europe and pursue his own agenda. Kicking Russia out of the G8 should have been followed by significant other restrictions and sanctions with real teeth that would affect the Russian oligarchs. Only when the oligarchs who wield considerable influence in Moscow begin to feel the pain of sanctions will Putin change course. Appeasing and appearing weak to Putin could cause significant new national security issues for us and our allies.

Furthermore, we must turn the United States from an energy dependent nation, to an energy exporter which will greatly enhance our ability to counter Russia. European countries that are dependent on Russian energy exports are timid to stand up to Russian aggression. I support expanding our energy exporting capabilities----we will grow jobs at home and will allow our allies to buy their energy from us rather than being dependent on Russia.

Our immigration laws do not need to be reformed, they need to be enforced and the border secured. There is an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in America today and the administration is refusing to enforce the law to prosecute and deport these individuals. It is impossible to decide what of our immigration laws need to be reformed if we aren’t enforcing existing law. This summer, our border was breached by thousands of unaccompanied minors. U.S. law already allows for quick return of illegal immigrants to Mexico and Canada. With these new illegal immigrants coming from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, it only makes sense that U.S. policy equally apply to illegal immigrants from Central America. Ultimately, we will only stop this immigration problem by sending a strong message that illegal immigration will not be tolerated. I will continue to push for the resources Texas needs to secure the border, a quicker process to remove people who should not be here, and enforced measures to prevent illegal entries.
Not only should Congress repeal Obamacare but, as a member of the House, I have voted to repeal ObamaCare because it imposes a coercive mandate on all Americans and implements a massive expansion of government and taxpayer obligations that further weakens our long-term fiscal outlook. It adds two new entitlement programs at an expense of at least $1 trillion over a decade. In that same period, it raises taxes by more than $500 billion. It cuts Medicare payments to those providing medical services by roughly $500 billion, and sets up an unaccountable board---the Independent Payment Advisory Board---to enforce new caps on future Medicare growth through specific payment cuts to Medicare providers.

ObamaCare should be repealed and replaced by market-oriented policies that put health care decisions in the hands of patients and doctors, not federal bureaucrats. Our nation does need insurance reform, but it can be implemented in a way that addresses the problems with our health care system instead of exacerbating them the way ObamaCare does.

A true-patient centered health reform bill would promote private ownership within a thriving individual health insurance marketplace, it would allow workers to carry their health insurance plans from job to job, it would allow Americans to deduct health care premiums from their taxes, it would allow health insurance to be sold across state lines, and it would implement lawsuit reform which will bring down health care costs for all Americans caused by the practice of “defensive medicine.” This sort of a market-driven alternative beats ObamaCare and it will be less-costly to taxpayers and more consistent with our Constitution and values.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is in need of significant reform. Rigid federal mandates and requirements are doing little to address the issues our students face in North Texas. I believe most education decisions should be made on the state and local level, not by faceless Washington bureaucrats. I support each state being allowed to create their own accountability system that works best for them while cutting through the red tape created by the Department of Education. Reforms made to the law need to focus on providing states and local independent school districts the flexibility and responsibility to enact innovative education programs that they can tailor to their students.

I support an all-of-the-above energy production plan for our domestic energy needs. Traditional and alternative forms of energy must be pursued to completely free us from being energy dependent on OPEC countries. It is in our national security interests to have a diverse array of domestic energy options; however, the taxpayers should not shoulder unnecessary risks and be left on the hook as they were for Solyndra. While we should promote alternative sources of energy that may become more practical in the future, the Obama Administration needs to stop hurting domestic and North American energy production. Creating an environment for businesses that promotes innovation and does not stifle it with regulations and unnecessary red tape is key to growing American alternative energy sources. The Keystone XL pipeline should have already been approved and if built will become a key component to securing many of our energy needs from our ally Canada.

I voted against Cap and Trade legislation when it came to the House floor in June of 2009 because it levied a huge national energy tax on American families and businesses and would have further devastated our weak economy. Had this legislation been enacted, countless American workers would have lost their jobs and energy costs for all Americans would have increased. Industry doesn’t need the government to regulate and tax their energy costs for them to know that the less they consume, the less it will cost their bottom lines. We are seeing a revolution in the aviation industry to replace older gas-guzzling planes with newer more fuel efficient planes. These newer aircraft produce less emissions and allow the airline to save money on fuel costs. Businesses are always looking for energy-reducing technologies that would reduce emissions and save fuel costs. We should promote these efficiencies and reject and cap and trade scheme that would cost jobs and lead to higher energy prices.
duplicate
City/Town Lewisville, TX 75056
Age 66
Campaign Phone Number (972) 979-8469
7 years.
Computer Scientist for Oracle Corporation
B.A. Math University of Texas at Austin M.S. Computer Science University of Texas at Austin PhD Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburg, PA)
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
Volunteer reader/tutor at Terrance Elementary for several years. Part of company emergency response team.
None.
Less than $10,000.
Myself Texas Democratic Party (in kind contribution) Terry Barker
45 years ago, minor in possession of alcohol.
No.
During my career, on many occasions, I identified better ways systems might work. I would reach out to the people who were responsible for changes to the system in question, explaining the opportunity for improvement. Once they were involved, we would jointly take the project to management, get approval and carry out the change. When completed and I was able to report the positive benefits, I was careful to see that everyone involved received a share of the credit. Developing personal relationships and letting people know you appreciate their help goes a long way in life.
Theodore Roosevelt - he was our first conservationist president, he worked to protect citizens from the abuses of monopolies, he believed in a strong defense while brokering a peace deal to end a war between Russia and Japan, he acted to advance the position of blacks in spite of the culture of his time. He was a progressive and broke from the Republican party when it focused on the interests of the rich to the exclusion of most Americans. He was not afraid to speak truth to anyone.
I am dismayed by the dysfunction of our U.S. House of Representatives. The current Republican majority seems to block positive action for the sake of being obstructionist. Compromise is treated as a dirty word. We need to change the dynamic and get people in Congress who are more interested in moving forward with what's best for our country instead of what is best for one party or another.
My opponent supported the government shutdown and voted to continue it indefinitely, even though no practical benefit was likely from that course of action and considerable harm to our economy occurred. I will pursue thoughtful choices for the long term benefit of our country.
Ineffective.
We should study the great compromises of the 80's between Speaker Tip O'Neal and Ronald Reagon. That approach simplified the tax code, closed many tax loopholes, and lowered top tax rates. The result was a tax structure which was fairer to all. Everyone involved gave a little and got a little. The efforts of Bill Clinton with the Republican Congresses of the 90's also yielded a fair tax structure and a strong economy to the point of having a budget surplus when Clinton left office. But it is only possible if Republicans are willing to work for a compromise instead of demanding all or nothing.
Fixing Medicare funding needs to be part of an overall strategic budget solution. A voucher system is not a solution as the majority of retired Americans cannot afford to fill the gap in cost between the vouchers and the real cost of old age.
We need a long term strategy for growing the economy and putting people to work. Raising the minimum wage will increase consumer demand while reducing the need for government assistance. We also need to rebuild our national transportation infrastructure. We should restore the tax balance of the Clinton era when we had a budget surplus. We need to eliminate the tax loopholes where Wall Street millionaires pay lower tax rates than working people.
The U.S. should continue the current plan to let the Afghan people defend themselves. We may provide training and logistical support, but the fundamental responsibility for their country is clearly in their hands.
There are several major trouble spots internationally, including North Korea with it's unpredictable government, Iran and it's desire for nuclear weapons, Ukraine and its relation to Russia, China and it's territorial expansion as well as the ongoing trouble with Israel and its neighbors. Most recently, Iraq and ISIS has flared up again. The next big issue could be completely unexpected. All need to be dealt with from positions of economic and military strength plus quiet diplomacy. There are no simple answers. We need people who think beyond the easy statements and actions and plan several steps ahead.

There was a time when partisanship stopped at the border and both parties united in foreign policy. I believe we should to return to that approach, but I don't expect it in the current hyper-partisan environment.
A comprehensive approach would be most effective. The Senate bill (744) which passed with bipartisan support (68-32) is an excellent basis for a way forward. Only a comprehensive bill will be able sustain the coalition necessary to get passed into law.

The flood of unaccompanied Central American minors needs a multi-part solution. We need more facilities to house the children in humane conditions. We need more judges and lawyers to rapidly deal with the growing and lengthy backlog of refugee status cases. That would shorten the time in country for those who do not have a valid legal basis for coming here, reducing our overall costs. More rapid return would also reduce the number arriving as people in Central America come to understand there is no automatic amnesty for minors. We should also advertise in Central America the dangers of the journey and the fact of many being returned. That would further reduce the number arriving. Finally, passing comprehensive immigration reform would complete the story that people need to follow immigration law to enter the country.
The Affordable Care Act prevents lifetime limits on coverage, prevents insurance cancellation when you get sick, lets young people stay on their parents insurance until they are 25, and has many other positive aspects including having many millions more with insurance coverage, reducing public costs for emergency room primary care. We have seen problems with the initial rollout and Congress should work to identify how to provide coverage in the gaps and smooth out the problems, not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The federal role in education should focus on helping teachers help students learn. High stakes testing seemed to have promise at first, but clearly has been shown to be counterproductive. Too many teachers burn out in the first few years due to lack of on the job support and training. Listen to teachers about what works and what does not.

We also need to put in place universal, optional, quality full day pre-K. Early education has been shown to be the most cost effective method for helping children reach success in life.
Modest tax subsides for renewable power plants would accelerate our transition to a sustainable economy. The resulting reduction in demand for fossil fuel based energy would reduce the overall price of energy from all power plants and protect our economy from foreign oil and resource shocks. Our strategic goal should be an all of the above strategy to reach energy independence in America within a decade. Politicians have talked about energy independence since the first oil embargo, but now the technology base in several industries can make it a reality if encouraged by federal and state policies.
Regulation of carbon emissions is inevitable as people recognize our atmosphere CO2 levels are growing at rates that could cause massive harm to our grandchildren. The question is when will we start and how abrupt a transition will be attempted. If we start soon, regulation of carbon emissions can be put in place gradually to give current industries time to adapt. That will reduce the pain of the dislocations major structural changes inevitably create. When we do put in place limitations on carbon emissions, any cap and trade rules should insure the trade portion of the benefits are focused to benefit American businesses and provide American jobs. That will provide the broad political support necessary to sustain the transition and keep our economy strong.
See previous answer to same question.