On the Issues

Encouraging job creation and getting our economy fully restarted are my top priorities. And though the economy has been slowly rebuilding since the end of the Bush Administration when we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month, we still have work to do. 

I voted for the Recovery Act, one third of which was dedicated to tax cuts for small businesses and 95% of working Americans.  The Recovery Act also supported targeted investments to rebuild Central Coast infrastructure and develop a clean energy economy.

As a nurse, ensuring all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care has always been one of my top priorities. And as the Vice-Chair of a key Health Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, I worked hard to ensure health insurance reform legislation meets the many needs of Central Coast residents.

Our nation’s overreliance on fossil fuels imperils our environment and hurts American families.  By shipping billions of dollars overseas every year to purchase oil and gas from unstable, often hostile regions of the world, we threaten our economy, national security, and planet’s health.

While women make up more than half of this country, we still account for less than 20% of Members of Congress.  That is one reason why I have worked so hard to promote policies that empower women and ensure that all opportunities for success are open to them.

The large federal deficit is a threat to our long term economic prosperity.  We must enact a balanced plan to address this challenge as we did during the 1990s, the last time our budget was balanced.  Of course, the most important deficit reduction step is to get our economy back to full speed and I’ve outlined my plan to do that.

Ensuring the safety of our citizens is the most important task of government.  The Central Coast is a full partner in that effort with Vandenberg Air Force Base, Naval Base Ventura County, Camp San Luis Obispo, Camp Roberts and other key California National Guard units in our communities.

I believe that environmental protection and healthy natural resources, like clean air and water, are essential parts of long-term economic growth.

That’s why I have long fought to prevent more potentially disastrous oil drilling off our coast and in the Los Padres National Forest.  It’s also why I have written several bills to tackle climate change.  These bills would establish new grant programs to help coastal states, water utilities and public health professionals adapt to the impacts of global warming, like sea level rise and outbreaks of new diseases

Medicare and Social Security have probably done more than anything in the last 75 years to improve the quality of life for senior citizens and their families.  Reaching virtually every senior citizen, they have reduced poverty, improved health, and given peace of mind to all seniors and their loved ones.  We must strengthen these important lifelines to ensure they are always there for the people who have earned these important benefits.  I have opposed the misguided, and often duplicitous, efforts to privatize both. 

I believe the civil rights of all Americans must be upheld by the law. I believe in the dignity, equality and inherent worth of all Americans, including those who are LGBT.

That’s why I have been a long time supporter of marriage equality and was a vocal advocate against Proposition 8.  I was also an original cosponsor of legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which was enacted in 2010.

Agriculture is an engine that drives our local economy, accounting for nearly $3 billion in local economic activity.  That’s why I have worked hard to support Central Coast growers and ranchers. 

Few obligations are more sacred than our responsibility to care for returning and retired servicemen and women and their families. These brave Americans have devoted their lives to the security of our nation and the protection of its citizens.  The way in which we care for them says everything about the type of nation we strive to be.

A good education is essential for our children’s future and for the long term health of our economy.  Over the years, I’ve had the chance to work on education from many perspectives – as a school nurse, teacher, parent and Member of Congress. While education decisions are best made on the local level, I’ve consistently worked to provide our schools with the federal funding and support they need. 

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