Issues

Economy

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People are concerned with the economy, and so am I.  Our economy has made many New Yorkers wealthy, but many are still left out.  First, I favor a small increase in weekly unemployment benefits while maintaining the present six-month eligibility window.  New York is an expensive place to live, and few people can get by on half their old salary and still afford to cover their rent and groceries. Second, New Yorkers should keep more of their hard-earned money.

I will fight to cut corporate taxes and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps the working poor.  Third, I believe states should set their desired minimum wage, not the federal government.  New York’s high cost of living continues to rise.  We should end the annual debate and simply benchmark the minimum wage to inflation.

That way, when inflation goes up, so does your paycheck.  Fourth, I support reviewing the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill.  We should make sure it is protecting middle-class workers as promised.  Finally, Congress should further research the potential benefits and drawbacks of bitcoin to our economy.  Innovative technologies should be investigated, not swept under the rug.

Top Priorities

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Fight Corruption

Washington isn’t just broken, it’s corrupt.  Public servants should behave with honesty, integrity, and pragmatism.  Members of Congress have forgotten this – and that includes my opponent, Representative Carolyn Maloney.  She has represented New York City for 22 years and seems to have forgotten that the job is a privilege, not an entitlement.

New York deserves serious, sober thoughtful representation. As Congressman, I will be on the job and working hard, whether I’m in Washington, DC or home in New York.  New Yorkers deserve better than a Congresswoman who doesn’t do her homework and makes embarrassing mistakes while supposedly investigating the IRS scandal and other government oversight.  I advocate for independent prosecutors in corruption investigations like the IRS scandal, so as to bring the appropriate charges against those who either abused their government positions or destroyed the evidence.

New Yorkers deserve better than someone who uses Congressional Recess to pull publicity stunts about pandas while Israel is under attack, 92 million Americans are out of work and suffering, and a crisis brews on our border.  She’s introduced more bills than 98% of the entire Congress, yet she has failed to get any of them signed into law.  She’s throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks.  That’s not thoughtful representation.

Stand with Israel

I spent a week in Israel this August to meet with local political leaders, rabbis, IDF soldiers, students, and war victims in hospitals.  Israel needs America’s support more than ever, and it’s clear that many Israelis feel abandoned by America at this time.

Congress must pressure our President to stand with Israel.  It is time for Republicans and Democrats, together, to acknowledge that Israel is fighting for the survival of our democracy just as much as its own. I call on President Obama to initiate the unconditional re-supply of all munitions needed for Israel’s self-defense.

Create Jobs: Support small businesses

Small businesses drive the American economy.  Since 1938, my family has been involved in a small business: DeLuise Bakery.  DeLuise has employed hundreds of people over the decades and takes pride in complying with industry standards and regulations.  But right now, excessive regulations from every level of government are forcing businesses like ours to shrink payroll, pay less in wages, and ultimately earn less money to put back into our products.  The ACA (“Obamacare”) is one example of a well-meaning policy that has introduced onerous regulations.  It forces businesses to pay a fee if they don’t sponsor specific ACA-approved healthcare plans.  And that has raised the cost of doing business, sometimes to the point of forcing businesses to cut employees.  (See my healthcare solution).

Create Jobs: Reform the tax code

American corporations are holding trillions of dollars in foreign banks because they don’t want to pay our corporate tax rate. This is tragic because these billions in tax revenues could be used to support programs like Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, and health insurance subsidies for low-income individuals.  And corporations could use the leftover billions to produce more goods, build more factories, and create more jobs for the unemployed.

America is a free country, and we can’t force corporations to bring their billions back to America so we can tax them.  You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink… unless you provide an incentive.

I first propose lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%.  After all, America’s corporate tax rate is the highest of any first-world country, which makes corporations reluctant to spend money here.  Letting corporations keep a little more money is an incentive to bring their money back to America and spend some of it.  And when they spend it, the billions will be taxed and used for important social programs that support you or someone you love.  The billions could also help America pay down our debt. And corporations would use some of the leftover money to hire more people and build more facilities.

Second, I want to end tax loopholes for corporations. Politicians have passed special laws that allow corporations to pay less than the established rate.  This needs to end.  Every corporation should pay their fair share.

My corporate tax plan benefits everyday Americans without hurting corporations.  Both Republicans and Democrats, including President Obama, have supported the concept. I believe it’s a winner, and I will push for it if elected to Congress.

Education Reform

Overcrowded classrooms and ineffective curriculums are shortchanging our youth.  I support charter schools, which can ease district public school overcrowding and contribute new innovative teaching methods to our public school system.  Parents should have the opportunity to choose whichever public school best meets their children’s educational needs –be it a charter school or a district school.  Unfortunately, many states are not doing enough to give parents the choice between charter and district public schools.  There are still long waiting lists.

My Charter School Bill of Rights states two guidelines for federal education policy that will support children at charter schools and preserve strong public schools.

1. The right to fair charter approval methods.  Federal education funding should reward states with multiple and independent charter authorizers. Authorizers review and accept or reject new charter school applications. They also renew school contracts and verify compliance.  Having multiple independent authorizers ensures proposed charter schools receive objective evaluations.  It prevents political favoritism or special interests from denying promising, viable schools from opening.  For the same reason, the Olympics employs multiple, independent judges for its events.  It’s fairer that way.   States with multiple and independent authorizers should receive priority when the federal government allocates charter school funding to states.

2. The right to equal treatment. District public schools don’t pay rent, and neither should charter public schools occupying public buildings. District public schools pay no rent because they operate in government-owned buildings.   But charter schools are often forced to pay rent when occupying unused portions of those same government-owned school buildings.  When the federal government allocates charter school funding to states, it should prioritize states that do not charge charter schools rent for occupying government buildings.

Social Issues

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Every human being is a unique gift. Every human being deserves to be treated with equal dignity and respect.

Same-sex marriage

Everyone deserves to be treated equally, with dignity and respect.  I cannot think of anything more personal than someone’s sexual orientation.  Something so personal should not be a matter of federal policy.  That’s why I have reservations about the federal government defining marriage.  State governments are closer to people and provide the best place for same-sex marriage discussion and legislation.  Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people should know that we hear their concerns and we value them for who they are.

Women’s rights

Women are a gift to society.  They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.  This applies at all times, in all places, including the workplace.  Therefore, I support the Equal Rights Amendment. It is wrong to pay a woman less than an equally qualified man.

Abortion

I am pro-life.  Forty-one years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade declared every woman’s legal right to have an abortion.  I believe it is bad constitutional law and should be overturned.

And I think many pro-choice advocates would agree that at least a few restrictions are necessary.  After all, scientific research is finding developed fetuses can feel pain and survive outside the womb.  I believe most would agree with me that sex-selective abortions and partial-birth abortions are objectionable and unjust practices.  Rep. Carolyn Maloney, however, is not like most reasonable people in this regard.  In fact, her position is to the left of pro-choice advocates like NARAL, which draws the line at abortion for the purpose of sex selection.

Local Issues

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I want to listen to the concerns of New Yorkers in order to best serve their needs.  There are several issues affecting this district that deserve attention.  First, I oppose the location of the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station.  Placing this facility next to Asphalt Green puts toxic waste next to schoolchildren, apartment communities, and parks.  It should be relocated.  Second, I want to expand the New York City Girls’ Project and New York’s Real Cost of Teen Pregnancy Initiative.  These respective programs build up our community by encouraging our young women to grow in self-esteem and make good life choices.  Our children need to understand that we value them for who they are and the gifts they have.

The progressive improvement of New York’s public transportation system is a priority for me.  I remember how painful it was for my disabled brother to be denied access to transportation and buildings.  First, I will advocate to ensure every express subway stop is handicapped-accessible and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Second, I advocate improving the G Train to provide more frequent and reliable service.  Third, I support the expansion of the East River Ferry service to Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side.  The proper management of mass transit is vital to maintaining an affordable cost of living for New Yorkers.

Healthcare

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Every American deserves a cost-effective healthcare system that delivers the quality care they want.  The goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) is praiseworthy: no one who wants healthcare should be denied it.  Rather than solely addressing the 15% of Americans without health insurance, the ACA overhauled the entire healthcare system.  Now, millions of formerly satisfied Americans have been dropped from their old plans.  Many must pay higher prices for plans deemed “acceptable” by the ACA.  And millions have signed up on the government’s unreliable, low-security healthcare.gov web site, placing their personal information at risk.

I want to preserve the ACA’s positive goal: universal healthcare for all, including people with pre-existing conditions.  But the government botched the ACA implementation.  And, rising healthcare costs (ACA and Medicaid) are plunging America further in debt.  Therefore, it is prudent to make several adjustments to the ACA:

  • Allow people to pick plans they want – no matter how simple or extensive – by deregulating the ACA insurance exchanges
  • Pay subsidies to help low-income individuals cover their premiums
  • Lower our government’s exploding health-care costs by raising the Medicare retirement age by three months each year

Simple but meaningful changes like these can preserve the ACA’s noble aspirations, expand individual choice, and reduce our growing budget deficit.

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