ISSUES

The views I am sharing with you here are based on my experience and on values that are deeply rooted in who I am. I believe in keeping an open mind and in the importance of respecting and understanding the opinions of others – especially those who have reached conclusions different from my own. I look forward in the months ahead to talking with many of you - in person and online - and working together to build an agenda for transforming Michigan’s economy. 

- Jim

Thursday
Apr302009

Standing Up for the Middle Class

In Michigan and across this country workers and the labor movement built the middle class through hard struggle and constructive partnerships with industry and government. But for 30 years we have been saddled with an economic ideology in Washington, Wall Street and Lansing that views workers as a cost to be minimized, rather than the engine of our economy, and that tolerates and even rewards income inequality not seen since the 1920s. It is time that we stop blaming working people for our economic challenges and start investing in their capacity to compete. It is time for Michigan and its workers to innovate once again and build a state economy that creates 21st century jobs that will sustain and grow the middle class.

As your state representative I will:

  • Fight against efforts to make Michigan a right to work state
  • Champion policies to create a genuine life-long-learning system in our state that expands options for people of all ages to get training and hands-on experience in growing fields that pay good wages
  • Build partnerships with employers and educational institutions to increase apprenticeships and other work/learning opportunities that enable people to gain an entrée to industry
  • Work for living wage policies.
Thursday
Apr302009

We Have the Power to Change Michigan

Metro Detroiters I talk to know what we need to do to restore a growth economy in our region and state. What we have lacked is a fundamental belief that we can work together to get the job done. Regional mass transit… world-class education and retraining… vibrant communities that attract and retain talent… a culture where businesses want to locate and workers are valued. All of this is possible, but only if we have the courage to think beyond the organizational silos and political divisions that have prevented us from even believing that we have the power to define our future. As your state representative I will fight tirelessly for the interests of Madison Heights and Royal Oak but I will also reach out to my colleagues in the region who are interested in building on the assets we share as metro Detroiters to create an economy our kids will be glad to inherit.

Friday
Apr102009

Health Care

The health care system in Michigan and the US is an injustice to our workers and their families and a competitive albatross for our businesses.  Well over 1 million Michigan residents lack health care coverage and many more fear the loss of coverage. Rising health care costs divert business investment and squelch innovation as workers refrain from changing jobs or starting new businesses because of concerns about access to affordable health insurance.  The good news is that we finally have leadership in Washington that is ready to take significant action to address this issue.  Our job in Michigan is to become a model of progressive innovation in health care that expands access to affordable insurance and lowers the cost of health care for all.

As your state representative I will:

  • Work for a strong comprehensive Patient's Bill of Rights
  • Ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are protected by preserving funding for Medicaid and investing in community health centers
  • Champion investments in public health and preventive health programs
  • Create incentives and  policies that encourage physicians to collaborate in providing care as a means of improving outcomes and lowering costs
Friday
Apr102009

Issues Affecting Women

While much progress has been made in recent decades toward eliminating discrimination against women and opening up a wide array of new opportunities, it is vitally important that we remain vigilant against efforts to turn back the clock on women's rights and freedoms, work to overcome barriers that still stand in the way of full gender equality and take action on problems that disproportionately affect women. The economic crisis in our state hits women especially hard because they still earn only 67 cents for every dollar that men earn, and women are often required to take on a range of duties in addition to work - from caring for children and elders to managing the household and family health. As we build a new economy in Michigan it is vital to ensure that women have the rights, tools and support required to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

As your state representative I will:

  • Fight to preseve a woman's right to choose and oppose efforts to hamper that right
  • Champion access to the full range of reproductive health care options
  • Support legislation to ensure pay equity protections for all workers and insist on enforcement of pay equity for men and women doing equal work
  • Work to ensure the availability of quality, affordable child care and early education programs
  • Advocate for enhanced support programs for domestic violence survivors
Friday
Apr102009

Environment

The global crisis confronting the environment and the economy present Michigan and the United States with the opportunity to take leadership that will not only address the causes of climate change but also stimulate badly needed investment in alternative energy and other technologies that will create jobs today. We must value Michigan's environmental treasures and stand up to those who would take our water or damage our land. In forming the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, I created an organization devoted to reducing urban sprawl and concentrating investment in developed communities, thereby reducing carbon emissions and the loss of open space. Working as a congressional staffer, I drafted legislation that was enacted to strengthen the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act, laws that are critically important to preserving the Great Lakes and their habitats.  

As your state representative I will:

  • Work to make Michigan the national leader in renewable and alternative energy
  • Fight to protect our Great Lakes
  • Champion green building and seek to expand recycling efforts