I believe with strong leadership, hard work and a dedication to problem solving, we can improve the lives of our society and create a new vision for Northern Virginia.
There is an enormous need to improve the economic climate within our communities throughout northern Virginia. Thousands of families throughout NOVA are struggling to afford the expenses associated with life, including childcare. To help families within NOVA I support President Obama’s strategy to expand the child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to help provide relief for parents and care givers. Currently only 35 percent of the first $3,000 incurred from childcare expenses by a family with one child and a family with two or more children the first $6,000. The credit is not refundable, therefore upper-income families unreasonably benefit while families that earn less than $50,000 a year obtain less than a third of the tax credit. I advocate reforming the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to ensure low-income families to receive more credit for their child care debuts.
Additionally, it is imperative that we create training programs for clean technologies.
I advocate for additional funding to expand federal job training programs to include green technologies training, like advanced manufacturing and weatherization training. This type of job training program will help fuel our economy and create sustainable green jobs.
I support President Obama’s plan to help expand lending to small business through tax cuts and assistance to community banks. The program is designed to have $30 billion in returned cash for the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) made available to help smaller banks lend to local businesses. Small businesses are the fabric of our economy it is imperative that we provide financial support to create jobs, ignite entrepreneurship and innovation.
The Healthcare system in this country is broken and I will fight to fix the system. The United States pays more than any other industrialized country, yet lacks national coverage for all Americans. At the same time, healthcare is inextricably linked to our future fiscal health. Therefore, in order to reduce costs and improve quality for all Americans, three principles must be met in any legislation that passes congress: (1) national coverage; (2) ending insurance company abuses; (3) providing choice and competition in the market.
To meet these principles healthcare reform must contain several different provisions. First, we must find a plan to increase the number of Americans with healthcare. If done properly, it would expand the insurance pool, include more Americans and reduce the costs of premiums. Second, Americans must be protected from the worst insurance company abuses by ending their practices of denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, capping total coverage, and dropping or reducing coverage when people get sick and need it the most. Additionally, reform should mandate how much of a patient’s premium must go toward their care, as opposed to the marketing, profits and salaries for insurance companies.
To provide choice and competition into the market reform should include a national exchange, whereby individuals and small businesses can join together to expand the insurance pool for cheaper insurance. Included within this exchange should be a national option. A national option would be non-profit and have the ability to provide comprehensive care for the best price. Including an American option in the exchange would keep private insurers costs from rising and keep them honest.
To keep health insurance affordable our system must shift to preventative care. For example, if more mobile clinics were put in impoverished and rural community’s potential medical issues could be identified early and treated. This would help to combat the high volume of patients visiting hospitals and help reduce cost. Additionally, we should provide tax credits to small businesses to help healthcare become affordable care. To combat the high volume of patients we should provide more mobile clinics in impoverished communities. Tax credits should also be made available to individuals and families that make below the poverty level. Lastly, waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare system must be rooted out to keep the long-term stability of our Medicare system for seniors.
Implementing these reforms must be done in order to meet the challenges of our nation. The costs of healthcare are driving more Americans into bankruptcy and making our businesses less competitive to foreign competitors. These reforms would reduce our deficit and begin to get our fiscal house in order. I will be a strong believer in healthcare reform.
Our education system has many issues and in need for solutions to combat challenges that Americans are faced with everyday. Our children are falling behind in comparison to other developing nations. To provide our children with a bright future the United States must be at the forefront of innovation. First, we must support children with special needs and invest in early childhood education, because the period before a child enters into kindergarten is the most critical to their educational development. To attain this goal we must dramatically increase funding for Head Start and other Parent Readiness programs that have proved effective in getting our children ready for their education. Funds must be allocated properly to ensure that classrooms are managed efficiently and effectively.
Second, we must improve our K-12 education system. I talked to many parents across northern Virginia and listen to their concerns about the increasing dropout rate and if American students are being prepared to compete with the world. To achieve this goal, funding must be provided in order to bring technology and up-to-date textbooks into the classrooms. Additionally, we must rebuild crumbling schools and reward teachers based on merit and provide incentives to attract quality teachers. I support the President’s Race To The Top Program and will advocate to reform the No Child Left Behind Act to support schools that need improvement. Additionally, I believe that our school days and hours should be extended, so that our children are getting not only high quality education, but as much education throughout the year as our global competitors.
Third, we must expand access to higher education. The high school education that gave our parents and grandparents a career is simply not enough in today’s fast-developing world. Today, in order to purchase a home, support a family and retire comfortably, a college education is a necessity. Unfortunately, college and other advance training has become unaffordable for many Americans that is why I support expanding Pell grants and tax credits to families to help pay for education.
Expanding these programs will be costly, but they are worth the investment. I believe that government has the responsibility to invest in its future leaders, inventors and communities. We cannot compete globally if we are not developing better products and technologies. Failure is not an option we must improve our educational system, as a member of Congress I will push to refocus our Nation’s effort to strengthening our intellectual capital.
I believe with the right values, dedication, leadership and communication a new vision for Northern Virginia is possible. Let’s make it happen.
About the Author:
Ronald Mitchell has worked as an advocate, organizer and served his country in the armed forces. He holds a law degree from the University of Pittsburg, has earned his MBA, and is also a graduate of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. Ronald is also the CEO of the B.E.M. Foundation, a mentoring program that reaches out to at risk youth using today’s technology.