Mary Headrick on issues that put People before Politics

Dr. Mary Headrick for Congress
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JOBS – Provide and protect jobs for Middle America. Include manufacturing and service jobs that pay a living wage, with benefits, with a safe environment. NAFTA sent 3rd District jobs to other countries, like our textile and electronic manufacturing. Include infrastructure jobs for the many roads, bridges, buildings and water/sewer plants that are aging or outgrown. We need workers who are trained with the special skills for the many jobs available in the U.S. but unfilled due to lack of a trained worker (like a welder or engineer). Training, RE-training and sound education are essential to a vibrant work force and strong Middle Class. Continue government Research and Development jobs, like the open science materials work in Oak Ridge. This leads to new jobs.

MINIMUM WAGE –  At least 1 in 5 children lives in poverty in a home where at least one adult works full or part time.  $7.25/hour does not yield a living wage.  No one who works full time should be living in poverty.  Therefore, as most Americans, I feel we should raise the minimum wage to $10.10/hours over two years and index the minimum wage to inflation.  Many, especially mothers, would be lifted from poverty and reliance on tax-paid assistance programs by this fair raise in wages.

The current, old Chickamauga lock is crumbling.  The new Chickamauga Lock is under arrest and requires approximately $150 Million annually for 5 years to complete the newer, larger, faster Lock.  This could be done by combining monies from: a portion of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, local barge diesel fuel tax, local and temporary lock use fees, general federal appropriations and state approved Bond that has no citizen expense.  Moving hundreds of millions of tons of heavy commodities, like gravel and grain, on the 200 mile waterway is cheaper than moving by railroad or by tractor trailer trucks on I-75.  Using the buoyancy of river water to support the loads is far better than destroying I-75.  The financing requires reaching across party lines, talking and negotiating and ignoring Grover Norquist.  My opponent's 'no new tax' pledge to Grover Norquist obstructs many worthwhile projects like this one.

– We need to stop the ‘purchase’ of our government.  Just go to  to see the special financial reports before and after the January, 2010 Supreme Court Ruling, called Citizens United, that told Congress and America that the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law was ‘voided’.  Even before that awful ruling the number of lobbyists (now at over 13,700) in Washington DC dominated the campaign contributions and information given to our elected officials.  Our elected officials must serve their constituents, not their large campaign contributors nor lobbyists.  Our tax laws that favor the wealthy reflect the ‘loophole-ridden’ laws that resulted from ‘money-in-politics'.

SOCIAL SECURITY – Social Security is not broken.  Protect this program.  Do not allow privatization nor Wall-Street invasion.  If needed, the cap on payroll deductions can be raised allowing a social security payroll tax above the current $117,000 value.  There are myths about Social Security that need to be dispelled.  Click here to read about them (Requires Adobe Reader, download free)

– There is no ‘Plan(et) B’.  Climate change is happening and much of it is due to man-made activities, such as burning coal, oil and natural gas.  We do not need to return to the ‘horse & buggy’ era but we do need a national energy policy that addresses energy efficiency and energy production, incorporating renewable energy sources.  We are all entitled to clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and in which to swim, fish and boat, safe soil in which to grow our crops and on which to place our children’s sand boxes, and a safe temperature.  We must listen very carefully when someone says ‘job-killing regulation’ to be sure this does not hide the awful message ‘environment-poisoning profit-making’.  Our energy policy should include electricity, transportation, food production and housing.

PEOPLE BEFORE POLITICS – Greed is powerful and seems to buy patronage.  Therefore, we need some regulations to keep greed in check. The Glass-Steagall rule that separated regular retail banks from investment banks and holding companies was a good rule born from the Great Depression.  We need to restore that rule and reign in many other greedy activities, some of which are illegal, like robo-signed foreclosures.  The financial abuses, like credit default swaps, collateralized derivatives, extreme leverage allowing some banks to lend a single dollar simultaneously up to 40 times, abuses by ‘special waiver’ on the commodity exchange... these are just a few of the horrible activities that diminish the value of our homes, our pension funds, our ‘spare money’ and our financial security.  It needs to stop.  The financial system is rigged against the Middle Class.  Let’s make changes.  Let's have an honest economy.

REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM  Mary trusts women and therefore supports freedom in reproductive decisions. Mary supports the inclusion of Birth Control Pills and other family planning options among basic health plan benefits.  While some might object for themselves, both reflect the Nation's commitment to personal religious freedom.  Deciding when to start a family or enlarge a family is an important freedom.

WAR – End the war in Afghanistan.  The goals of removing al-Qaeda and Bin Laden have been met, at a cost of nearly One trillion dollars, 4500 American lives, untallied Afghanistan lives and 10 years.  This does not even count the lives ruined by war injury and PTSD.  We need those dollars to help our veterans rebuild their lives and for rebuilding our neglected infrastructure.  How can we use natural gas as a bridge fuel if the distribution lines are old and leaking?  How can we drive across our roads and bridges if they are crumbling and unsafe?

SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS – We have the right to own guns for hunting and sport and for our own protection.  Let's have responsible and safe gun ownership.

TAXES  Our tax structure should be reformed so that all pay a fair share.  There are too many loopholes.  For example, the carried interest rule for hedge fund operators should be eliminated and that income should be treated as wages.

EDUCATION – We must protect our public education.  That is the basis for our future.  Our teachers deserve our honor and respect.  If only the children of rich men get a good education, then we lose the American Dream and American Exceptionalism.  That good education must help every child master every step of learning.  Testing and unfair criticism of teachers are neither the solution to, nor explanation for our underperformance in preparing our citizen and worker population for a bright future.

HEALTH CARE – Medicare is an excellent program with low overhead that provides health insurance for those 65 and older and for many who are disabled.  The program should not be changed to a voucher system.  We need to understand what works and doesn’t work for good health. Some of the problems, like our obesity, can be tackled with public health programs.  Other problems, like whether drug X is good for disease Y, need evaluation by ‘evidence based medicine’.  We all need to make advanced directives, called Living Wills, so that individuals have control over how they live and die based upon their own faith and value system.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a good start in solving some of our nations health care issues.  The PPACA gives consumers protection when buying health insurance by its 'no exclusion for a preexisting illness'.  We cannot be turned down for health insurance even if we have a disease, nor can we be kicked off nor charged higher premiums if we get sick, and we can obtain preventive services like flu shots without a 'copay'.  The rules for premium charges and 'tax credits' make health insurance affordable.  The PPACA has extended Medicare's trust fund so it lasts longer.  Click here to learn what Chuck Fleischmann keeps trying to take away from Tennesseans by his many repeal vote attempts."

UNIONS – Mary supports collective bargaining by workers in Unions.  Unionized workers have higher wages than comparable non-union workers.  Some of the improved wages are realized through improved benefits such as deferred wages for pension plan contributions or medical plan features instead of higher hourly wages.  At a time when income inequality in the U.S. is at an all time high a recent report has shown that the declining income in male workers tracks with a decline in Union membership.  In addition to the effect of Unions on wages, there is a tremendous benefit for worker safety and worker conditions.  No employer should fear negotiating with employees.  Mary believes the union representation of employees in negotiation with employers and that outcome of work productivity work best when the arrangement includes profit sharing.  In negotiating and following contracts, it is important for all parties to share goals, such as avoiding excess absenteeism or dangerous workplace exposures.  The state-by-state attack on Unions harms the circumstances of working families.

RENEWAL ENERGY We must reduce our carbon emissions in order to prevent huge temperature increases and rises in ocean level. Therefore, we must convert our energy use to renewable sources including Wind, Solar, Geothermal and Hydroelectric.  We must use energy more efficiently.  We can and should create incentives for renewable energy use and research.  Our energy use in our homes, agriculture, transportation and businesses must all be improved.  We must remember that Natural Gas is not a solution.  It is another carbon emitting fossil fuel.  With great care, it can help reduce greenhouse gases while we develop new ways to live in our world and protect our planet for the decades ahead.

–  As scientific leaders in the nation, the workforce at Oak Ridge is well poised to assess our nation’s energy needs and create solutions to difficult environmental challenges.  With Federal commitment to develop two light water small modular reactors, Oak Ridge should be heavily involved in the SMR project.  Our nuclear electric generation plants use designs over 30 year old.  We need research and development to design the safest and most cost effective nuclear electric generation plants for the new millennium.  Oak Ridge, together with U.T. and TVA, has the expertise and background to be a leader in this R&D as we seek to meet our nation’s energy needs. 

– Israel has historically proved a reliable ally to the US.  Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East . The U.S. has good reason to value this special relationship and should continue foreign aid to Israel.  The goal from the Israel / Palestinian conflict should be two nations living side by side in peace where Israel exists as a Jewish state with secure borders and there are no attacks from any neighbor and there is a Palestinian state, independent, secure and self governing.

TERM LIMITS – Mary Headrick does not favor term limits.  She states “While I share dissatisfaction with our incumbent, term limits does not address the problem of campaign money influence.  Campaign money has a greater influence than incumbency.  When our elected officials are voting for or against a bill, they should be consulting their conscience and their constituents, not their campaign contributors.  As witnessed by over 40 months of ignoring us, our current elected Representative can ignore us for two years just as easily as ten or twenty years. 

Term limits risks losing the ‘institutional memory’ applied by a true statesman.  Without that knowledge, the office could easily become a staff dominated position in which DC insiders, including hired staff and lobbyists, ultimately make the decisions.  We need better representation, less campaign money influence, less corporate influence.  Voters can limit terms at the ballot box by holding an incumbent accountable and voting against the undeserving incumbent.”
  This election is a good time to start doing that.
These are some of Mary's thoughts on the important issues that face America and Tennessee today.  Tell Mary your thoughts on the issues.
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