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Issues Important to all Virginians


1.  Women’s Issues Are Everyone’s Issues. Addressing These Issues Helps Every American

We must comprehensively and effectively address issues of importance to women because these are issues important to each of us.  Almost a quarter millennium after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we find to our dismay that women are still not treated equally in healthcare, in the workplace, and in the home.  Progressive Democrats consistently promote the causes of equality and fairness for all Americans while the Republicans fight us at every turn.
The GOP claims to want to keep the government out of healthcare and yet uses every opportunity to deny women birth control and to defund women’s health programs. The highest maternal death rate in the developed world is in Texas, where clinics are being closed as the result of GOP efforts. The GOP refuses to take action to effectively deny domestic abusers access to firearms.  They work against family values by defunding education and destroying our healthcare system.  They fight against a higher minimum wage that would lift the lives of women.  At every income level women are consistently paid less for the same work.
I will be a strong advocate for programs and policies that support women, their health, and their livelihoods, specifically:
1.    Equal pay for equal work

2.    Reproductive freedom

3.    Equal and comprehensive preventative healthcare and pregnancy services as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act, to include

a.    Contraception
b.    Prenatal care with additional government support to ensure clinics in rural areas
c.    Breast and cervical cancer screening
d.    Osteoporosis screening
e.    Preventive care visits

4.    Proactive steps to eliminate violence and harassment in the workplace and at home, to include a national abuser gun ban

5.  Protection of Planned Parenthood, one of the nation's leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and in some areas the only health clinic,  from right-wing vilification, harassment and defunding.

As a progressive Democrat, I believe that by confronting violence against women, fighting for workplace equality, pushing for pro-family policies like paid family leave, and defending a woman’s right to control her own body, we ensure women thrive in our country. We know that when women succeed, America succeeds.

 2.  Access to Affordable Healthcare is a Right. Our dysfunctional system is holding American workers and American companies back. Single-Payer is the least expensive and most effective solution

Our healthcare is too expensive and instead of fixing it, our politicians are protecting health insurers and pharmaceutical companies at the expense of providers and patients.   Over the decades, the cost of our healthcare has soared.   We pay twice as much as citizens of other advanced industrial democracies but we do not live any longer and are not any healthier. Often we wait longer to see a specialist and we pay the highest price in the world for our prescriptions. 

Our expensive healthcare system and difficulty in getting insurance ruin families and small businesses financially, create terrible anxiety, and foster unhealthy situations, such as not taking expensive medication to save money.  This is bad for us as individuals and it’s bad for our economy.  It’s not fair and it must be fixed.

I believe single payer healthcare insurance—Medicare for all—is the best and most efficient solution but I will work on alternative solutions with anyone sincerely seeking to improve access to quality healthcare and lower costs for all Americans.

Over time we can sharply reduce our healthcare costs by 50% to levels common in other industrial democracies.  If France and Canada can do it, so can we.  True reform will result in a more vibrant economy, more competitive American companies, better jobs with better wages, and a happier, less anxious, and healthier population.

3.  Let's reduce gun violence; we are all at risk:  Guns don’t die.  People do.

We lose more than 33 thousand citizens each year to gun violence—many, many times those we lose to terrorism—and yet our politicians look the other way.  It’s high time to take sensible action to address gun violence. We can uphold the Second Amendment, respecting the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping our communities safe. This is actually what an overwhelming majority of Americans want congress to do, so why don’t they?  I support:

  • Improved universal background checks, to include those on the No-Fly list, those with domestic violence convictions, and those with demonstrated emotional issues
  • Ban on assault weapons
  • Ban on bump stocks
  • The ability to enforce temporary Gun Violence Restraining or Protective Orders
  • Closing the gun-show and private transaction loop holes

Because the gun lobby has incited its base with unfounded fears that the state will take their weapons away. They vote in lockstep on only one issue:  unfettered access to guns and ammunition for everyone, including the mentally ill and would be terrorists. They and the NRA have frightened politicians into inaction.  Our congressmen keep the victims of gun violence in their thoughts and prayers while refusing to actually do something about it.  I will not ignore this problem and I will stand up to the NRA.

4.  Climate change is real:  Let’s embrace it and benefit from it

The fossil fuel industry uses the same merchants of doubt and techniques to get voters to ignore the perils of climate change that the tobacco companies did a generation ago to keep smokers smoking and denying it causes lung cancer.   I will not argue the science here; it’s already decided:  man-made climate change is real. My argument is that there is no downside-even for deniers-to accepting climate change as a fact and taking steps to prepare for it.

Accepting climate change and taking action to mitigate it essentially means reducing carbon emissions and preparing the infrastructure for more intense storms and a more severe climate. This creates good, high tech jobs here at home, produces products we can export, and lowers the operating costs for our homes, our industries, our schools, and our government. We will live in a cleaner, safer environment.  We will be more energy independent and less reliant on Middle East oil.

5.  Time to invest in infrastructure, not give the well-off a $1.5 trillion tax break

America has a second-class infrastructure.  Go to Japan, Europe, or even China and you will find better roads, faster trains, more efficient airports, and modern electrical grids.  This is because Republican tax policy over the last 40 years has resulted in capital-starved public investment with the idea that lower taxes would result in billionaires and the private sector doing these things.  Well they didn’t; they just kept the money.   Republican economic policies ensure a slowly dying economy and Congressman Wittmann rubber-stamps every bad economic idea that comes down the pike.

Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure will put millions of Americans back to work and result in significant economic growth. It is time to update and expand our roads, bridges, public transit, airports, and passenger rail lines. We can sharply reduce our need for energy, modernize our schools and public buildings, and create an efficient electrical grid.  We can improve our health and protect our environment all the while creating secure, good-paying middle-class jobs, boosting economic growth, and strengthening our long-term competitiveness.  This will also reduce our dependence on Middle East oil and increase our national security.

6.  Campaign finance reform:  Congress should be responsive to citizens, not beholden to special interests!

I will work diligently with both Democratic and Republican colleagues in Congress who will work in good faith want to reduce the overwhelming influence of money in politics.  Political campaigns are expensive. Each week incumbents spend many hours raising money.  They become beholden to their largest donors, such as the gun lobby, pharmaceutical companies, political action committees funded by billionaires, and the fossil fuel industry.  Incumbents are reluctant to take action on the real issues facing our country, like gun violence and climate change, because they are terrified of upsetting their donors.

By acting in good faith and by reaching out to like-minded Republicans as well as Democrats, I will do what I can to reform campaign finance and make all politicians more responsive to our citizens than they are to special interests.

7.  An indexed $15 minimum wage will improve our economy!

I and other progressive Democrats want to raise the minimum wage over time to $15 per hour. Someone working 40 hours per week should be able to earn a living.  A higher minimum wage drives investment, creates demand, and results in all workers at all wage levels being better off.  There is no evidence that a higher minimum wage results in job losses but there is a lot of evidence that a gradual increase in the minimum wage drives investment in labor-saving capital and training workers to be more productive while giving business time to adjust.  This increases our GDP and competitiveness.

Until those who believe that a higher minimum wage suppresses job growth put away their ideological myths, and observe the way the world really works, they will be holding back upward mobility, productivity and economic growth.  I will stand up against this self-defeating misconception and I will stand strongly for a higher minimum wage.

Committee to Elect John Suddarth
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