GUEST OPINION: Time to put an end to partisan gamesmanship
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 4:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 4:49 p.m.
I am honored and humbled by the overwhelming show of support I received throughout our district on Election Day. With your vote, you put your trust in me to return to Washington and work to make our district a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Now, the election is behind us. A new year and a new Congress are in front of us. It is time to move forward — not as Democrats and Republicans, but united as Americans — with the common goal of building a stronger nation.
That means creating jobs, paying down our debt, protecting our seniors' retirement security, ensuring our veterans and their families get the benefits they have earned and reforming our broken immigration system.
While I am willing to work with anyone from any party to accomplish these goals, I will never abandon my core principles and values or the core principles and values of our district.
For our economy, we need to make smart investments in infrastructure, energy and education.
The best way to create jobs is to put people to work fixing our roads, bridges, overpasses and waterways. Smart investments in infrastructure and port improvements create jobs and reduce hidden taxes on business such as congestion and travel time. Projects such as the widening of Jameson Canyon Road in Napa, the SMART train in Sonoma and dredging in Solano and Contra Costa counties make our communities and harbors more accessible for business.
We also have to build an economy that can compete long-term. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure our district continues to grow as a national leader in the development and manufacturing of clean energy technology. We've already seen renewable energy successes in Lake and Sonoma counties. With the right investments, places such as Mare Island in Solano County have the potential to be a hub for renewable energy jobs.
For our fiscal future, we must get our debt and deficit under control and avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. This requires a balanced approach that starts with job creation. More jobs means more revenues to help start our nation on a fiscally sustainable path.
Next, our tax structure must be reformed so that everyone pays their fair share. Congress must also pay for the bills it passes. We can't just cut and borrow our way out of this crisis.
We have to look at all government programs and make sure taxpayers are getting the most bang for their buck. We have to get rid of programs that aren't needed, and if a program is needed we must make sure it's running efficiently. Defense cuts must also be on the table. There are responsible cuts to be made that will not put a single American life at risk.
For our seniors, we must make sure they are guaranteed the retirement security they've earned. Each year, Social Security and Medicare reliably pay benefits to millions of beneficiaries and deliver on their promise of protecting those who have worked hard all their lives. Social Security and Medicare are not just important promises to our seniors — they're important to our economy. More than $2.8 billion comes into the counties that make up our district each year.
For our veterans and their families, we must make sure they receive the benefits they earned. No one who has honorably served our nation should go without a paycheck, proper health care or a roof over their head. That is why I am working to increase funding for job training, veterans homelessness and health care for those suffering from injuries such as TBI and PTS.
For those who have moved to the United States in search of a better life, we must comprehensively reform our broken immigration system. I'm working on efforts to ensure our agricultural industry has a stable workforce and that there is a way for children who were brought to the U.S. through no choice of their own to go to college or join the military. I'm also working to ensure that all active duty military personnel, veterans and their families have a pathway to citizenship.
It's no secret that our nation faces big challenges. They won't be solved though partisan gamesmanship. We've tried that for the last two years and the results were terrible.
But the next two years don't have to be like the past two. We're not a country where politics comes first. We're a country that overcomes big challenges, does big things and never backs down from our principles. We abolished slavery, won two world wars and emerged from the Great Depression with the strongest economy the world has ever known. We made astounding technological advancements and cured dreaded diseases.
We didn't do all these things as Republicans and Democrats. We did them together, as Americans. It's time to get to work and do it again.
Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, represents the 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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