Jobs & Living Wages

Job growth is one of government’s most important functions. Stimulating our local economy requires creating an atmosphere for companies to grow, build, and employ, and for entrepreneurs to explore, create, and build. It requires communities have at least a pool of trained or trainable workforce, the required infrastructure, and access to markets.

Each county in the 5th District has challenges and unique personalities. Establishing and supporting small businesses, creatives and artists can strengthen the fabric of our district. It requires a unified effort, working together across each county, to build sustainable growth.

In many communities, families working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to live locally given the local cost of living. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculation for North Carolina, a single person needs to earn $11.36 per hour. The current minimum wage, $7.25, set in 2009, is destroying the purchasing power of millions. It is not a living wage. The minimum wage must be raised to $15/hour. While this must be done in steps, I will work for that increase as soon as I arrive in Washington, DC.

Promoting Growth in Rural Communities

Business creation and expansion are essential to the economic security of our rural communities. Job creation has been highly concentrated in a small number of urban areas in the current economic recovery. According to the Economic Innovation Group, half of new business in the current recovery has been located in just 20 U.S. counties.

Rural counties have seen more businesses disappear than created. Similarly, in the current recovery, rural counties account for just 1 in 10 newly created jobs.

Access to credit – predominantly provided by community banks and credit unions – is critical to reversing this trend and revitalizing our small towns. Regulatory reform, such as raising lending caps, would affect lending in rural areas as well as the community banks and credit unions that serve those areas.

My focus is to create: a safe and healthy society, a fair tax code, and a strong and well-educated workforce. I believe that within our local communities and in our greater society, we all benefit when we lift up those who have fallen, support families so they can return to prosperity, and ensure a secure and safe workplace that pays a decent wage.

Organized Labor

I was a Teamster for nine years working in manufacturing. I know the value labor unions bring members individually and to employee protections for all. Unions have:

  • Brought U.S. workers fair wages and relative income equality;
  • Helped end child labor; and
  • Won widespread employer-based health coverage.

Since the 1970s, an ongoing effort to weaken unions is partially responsible for slow wage growth, while corporate executive incomes have soared. It is time to stop limiting the opportunity to join unions and limiting union activities.

Unions are now working to protect the rights of low wage earners such as housekeepers, care workers, and agricultural workers who are faced with physical threats and employer exploitation.

With so much wealth concentrated is so few hands, our society and economy are out of balance. It is time to acknowledge and support the true working class in farm and labor to help restore prosperity to ALL.

Taxes & Inequality

This is a time of massive income and wealth inequality. Once again we see that trickle-down economics do not work. After the latest tax bill we see that few corporations are increasing wages or increasing new hires. Corporations do not hire people after getting a tax break. Wealthy individuals do not spend the extra money, they invest it while the middle class disappears and the poor struggle to afford to provide.

A fair and equitable tax code is a powerful tool for addressing economic inequality.

I believe the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations must pay their fair share of taxes. We need a tax code that rewards making investments and providing good-paying jobs in the U.S. We need to crack down on money manipulations such as stashing profits abroad or using inversions, the practice of merging with a smaller foreign company to establish a foreign residence and significantly reduce taxes without changing the location of any real business activities.

The revenue raised from fixing the corporate tax code should be used to reinvest in ensuring the economic growth that will lead to millions of good-paying jobs.

We can address this by immediately closing loopholes like those enjoyed by hedge fund managers, restoring fair taxation on multimillion-dollar estates, and ensuring millionaires can no longer pay a lower rate than their secretaries.

There are tax cuts that can put money into the average person’s pocket immediately. One example is to cut the Social Security tax by 2.5% and remove the $128,400 cap. Anyone earning less than $315,000 would keep more of their paycheck, but the largest relief would be for those making under $128,400.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) a nonpartisan research and policy institute, raising raising the cap would offer a double benefit: lowering the Social Security tax and mitigating the erosion of the Social Security payroll tax base caused by rising wage inequality.