See where Alan Howe stands on the issues most important to you
Strong Communities → Strong Nation
We must help our local communities grow.
The Great Recession of 2007-09 devastated the US economy, ravaging savings and home values, and destroying eight million jobs. While the nation returned to economic growth in July 2009 and to private sector job growth in early 2010, many communities continued to suffer. Many still suffer today.
The actions to restore the national economy were essential. But, as we have seen first-hand, those actions are not enough to lift all local economies. It is time to turn our national efforts to implementing policies that focus on local communities. That means more money in your wallets and more money in your municipalities. While it is possible to improve the national economy and miss local communities, it is not possible to improve the economy in your township or borough or city and fail to lift the nation. When your community is stronger, our nation is stronger.
Seventy percent of the US gross domestic product (GDP) comes from consumer purchases of goods and services by people like you. The more you and your neighbors have to spend, the more demand you can create. The more demand you create, the more businesses will strive to meet that demand. That increased demand will require them to hire more people. More people working in your communities means even more demand, but it also means local jobs for your children and grandchildren and less instances of them moving away to find work.
According to the Census Bureau, “health care and social services” is the largest employment sector in the 11th District. Nearly 48,000 of you work in these fields. Between 2014 and 2016, the increased number of people with access to health care under the Affordable Care Act—some 20 million new customers—led to the creation of some 240,000 new jobs nationwide. Demand was met by suppliers who hired people to meet that increased demand. Should the Republicans ever succeed in “reform” that takes access to care away from tens of millions of customers, that drop in demand will mean less business and fewer jobs. This is a direct threat to your health and to your local economy. I will resist this and any threat to you and your communities.
We need a new deal on education. There was a time when K-12 education was more than what was required to reach the middle class. That is no longer the case, and we therefore need to change how we invest to set young adults on a secure path to the middle class and get a higher return for our investment in education. It may not require that we cover the full costs of getting a four-year college degree, but it will require more interaction between businesses and educators to see that we are meeting the needs of our economy. The more middle-class and higher taxpayers we produce through our education system, the less burdensome the cost for everyone and the greater return on our investment in education for everyone.
Smart, progressive tax policies are critical to defending the nation against dangerously high levels of income inequality and promote economic growth.
It is painfully and personally clear to many in the 11th District that the war on drugs is a failure. A new strategy is necessary.
We cannot fear terrorism. Terrorist groups act on the idea that if they can scare you enough, you will support decisions and policies that work against your interests. When terrorists or politicians tell you to be afraid, tell them to get lost.
We need the clean, reliable energy this country is capable of providing and that will make us world leaders in energy development and production. We can invest in this and reap the advantages, or we can sit idly by and let India and China lead the way.
The flows of pollution into our streams and air that bring CO2 also bring a number of other pollutants that lead to birth defects, disease, and death. There is a museum in Pennsylvania that records the 1948 death of 20 people and the illness of 7,000 due to air pollution. We must not experience that again.
Immigration is key to the strength of our nation. Economists note that reducing immigration will reduce economic growth, and our own Hazleton has experienced an economic revival led by the arrival of immigrants. Reform is needed, but we must not allow wrong-headed immigration approaches to harm us.
As gun owners, every time someone who should not have access to guns gets one and shoots and wounds or kills someone else, our group suffers. We must reduce the risk to innocent people, and to our gun-ownership rights, by insisting on universal background checks that effectively keep guns out of the wrong hands.
I am and will continue to be a stalwart supporter of women’s rights in every respect, including the right to control health-care decisions just as men control theirs. I especially appreciate that groups like Planned Parenthood reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and pregnancy complications that lead to abortion.